Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Board of Public Works President Andrea Alarcon resigns following child endangerment investigations

Andrea Alarcon

Courtesy NBC Los Angeles

Andrea Alarcon announced her resignation Friday, less than two months after her daughter was found unattended at City Hall after a late night reception.

The president of the Los Angeles Board of Public Works announced her resignation Friday, less than two months after her daughter was found unattended at City Hall after a late night reception.

Andrea Alarcon has been on leave since November when her daughter, 11, was found in City Hall alone shortly before midnight.

Alarcon came under fire after she was accused of going out drinking one night last fall while leaving her 11-year-old daughter unattended at City Hall.

The incident came as Alarcon faced drunk driving and child endangerment charges in San Bernardino County.

“After much deliberate thought, I have decided to resign from my position as the president of the Board of Public Works and have submitted my letter of resignation to the mayor. I understand and have prayed deeply on the gravity of my actions. I have profound regret for the missteps of my past,” Alarcon said in a statement.


LA City Council confirms general manager to oversee neighborhood councils

Los Angeles City Hall

Alice Walton/KPCC

Grayce Liu will lead the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment as it looks to redefine stakeholders and encourage greater participation.

The woman who has overseen the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment for the last six months was unanimously confirmed by the Los Angeles City Council Friday as DONE's new general manager.

Grayce Liu was named the interim general manager last August after BongHwan Kim left the position for a job in San Diego. The Department of Neighborhood Empowerment is responsible for overseeing the city’s 95 neighborhood councils.

“I’m looking forward to working with the neighborhood councils and continuing to find opportunities for neighborhood councils to work within the city council system and the city family system as well,” Liu said.

The confirmation comes as the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners is working to clarify when a resident can be involved with a local board. The city charter opens membership to anyone who “lives, works, owns property in the neighborhood and also those who declare a stake in the neighborhood.” This created problems last year when medical marijuana clinic owners encouraged their customers to vote in the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council, where dispensary owners are locked in a fight with neighborhood leaders over the proliferation of pot shops. 


Maven's Morning Coffee: Jan Perry profiled, candidates for city attorney debate, city releases a bike plan

Jan Perry, Candidate for Mayor of Los Angeles

Jan Perry

Mayoral candidate Jan Perry is profiled in the Los Angeles Times. The focus? Her frankness.

Good morning, readers. Welcome to the Maven's Morning Coffee -- a listing of the important headlines, news conferences, public meetings and announcements you need to know to fuel up and tackle your day.

The Maven's Morning Coffee is also available as a daily email. Click here to subscribe.

Today is Friday, Jan. 18, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:


The Los Angeles Times profiles Jan Perry and her "frankness." "I like to cut to the chase in my words and my deeds," she tells the newspaper.

Mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti's opponents say they will not sign a pledge to forgo the use of outside funds in the campaign, according to the Daily News. Garcetti says he wants to lessen the influence of SuperPACs and independent expenditures.

Candidates for city attorney debated in Hollywood Thursday, reports KPCC. Incumbent Carmen Trutanich knocked Assemblyman Mike Feuer for his record in Sacramento. "When Mr. Feuer was in Sacramento, his budget solution was to release prisoners to balance the budget, to cut school funding to balance the budget," he told the crowd.


Legacy of Bell's corruption case: high tax rates, new civic engagement

Charlie's Chop Shop

Sharon McNary/KPCC

Charlie Ortiz, owner of Charlie's Chop Shop in Bell, gives Joshua Bolin a haircut under the watchful eye of his father, Red Bolin, and a mural of Bruce Lee

Bell Mayor Ali Saleh

Sharon McNary/KPCC

Bell Mayor Ali Saleh speaks to local business people at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Jan. 16, 2013.

Opening Hearing For Bell City Administrators

Pool/Getty Images

File: From left Bell Mayor Oscar Hernandez, former council members Luis Artiga, former Assistant City Administrator Angela Spaccia and former Bell City Administrator Robert Rizzo appear during a preliminary hearing at Los Angeles Superior Court February 22, 2011 in Los Angeles.

Several former city council members from the city of Bell go on trial next week on charges of public corruption. They are accused of taking large city salaries for no work, attending phantom meetings, and receiving illegal loans from the city.

Since their arrests, and that of former City Manager Robert Rizzo and his assistant, new leaders have been trying to restructure the city. Residents and business owners say they are noticing a difference, although the pace of change has been slow.

RELATED: Jury selection begins in Bell corruption trial in Los Angeles Superior Court

Charlie Ortiz opened Charlie's Chop Shop in Bell a dozen years ago when the Rizzo regime was in full swing. Ortiz swiftly made professional and personal friends with members of the local police department, but suspected something might be wrong.

"I used to think your voice wasn't heard as loud, before," he says.


Los Angeles city attorney candidates trade jabs at Hollywood debate

From left to right, incumbent City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, attorney Noel Weiss, attorney Greg Smith and former State Assemblyman Mike Feuer pose for a photo after their debate Thursday (01/17/13) at the Taglyan Complex in Hollywood.

Four candidates for Los Angeles city attorney debated at the Taglyan Complex in Hollywood Thursday night (01/17/13). From left to right are State Assemblyman Mike Feuer (standing), attorney Greg Smith, incumbent City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, and attorney Noel Weiss. The primary election is March 5.

Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, who is seeking a second four-year term, blasted his challengers during a debate inside the ballroom of the Taglyan Complex in Hollywood Thursday night.

“We’re talking about the Meg Whitman of candidates,” Trutanich said of attorney Greg Smith, who has poured $620,000 of his own money into his campaign. Whitman spent $144 million of her fortune on her losing 2010 campaign for governor.

“Thanks for comparing me to Meg Whitman,” Smith replied. “If I had a fraction of her money, I wouldn’t be here.”

Smith, who often represents LAPD officers who sue the city over workplace conditions, said he’s been forced to fund his own campaign because he is a “political outsider.”

Trutanich also assailed his other main opponent in the race, former State Assemblyman Mike Feuer.