Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Jan Perry seeks to play fiscal conservative in LA Mayors race

Jan Perry

Courtesy of Perry campaign

L.A. City Councilwoman Jan Perry is running for mayor in next Spring's election.

In what was billed as a major policy speech on pension reform Thursday, Los Angeles City Councilwoman and mayoral candidate Jan Perry said city workers must pay more into their pension and healthcare plans.

“This has to begin with an honest conversation with our city employees about our finances and the hard choices that we have to make to solve our budget crisis,” Perry said to supporters and journalists at the Japanese American National Museum in downtown L.A.

Los Angeles faces an estimated $1 billion dollar deficit over the next five years, she said. Employee wages and benefits comprise the biggest portion of the city budget.

Perry said city analysts project a $73 million increase in revenue next year.  But employee costs will jump $208 million – mostly because of the rising costs of healthcare and pensions.

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How election 2012, redistricting changed California's congressional map (graphic)

U.S. Capitol

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Tuesday's election — coming on the heels of a tumultuous redistricting process — transformed the map of California's congressional representation, if not the actual balance between Republicans and Democrats in the state's official delegation.

Check out the geographical differences in the interactive map below. (You can toggle between the map as it appeared in 2010 and the new map as it appears now.)

New concentrations of congressional power for Democrats, incumbent losses and new faces — as well as the appearance of "No Party Preference" candidates in the general elections — were among the political changes that came out of Tuesday's election.

The redistricting process delivered congressional districts to Democrats around Sacramento and in the 31st and 56th in the southern part of the state for a net gain of one seat from the GOP.

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Los Angeles City Council approves ID & debit cards for undocumented immigrants

LA City LIbrary Card

Jose Luis Jiménez

A current City of Los Angeles library card.

The Los Angeles City Council has approved a plan to create a library card that also acts as an identification and a pre-paid debit card designed to help undocumented immigrants.

The ID card would include a resident’s photograph, full name, address, date of birth and details on height, weight, and hair and eye color. The card would not be a driver’s license and could not be used as an ID to board a plane. It will also be a pre-paid debit card that allows residents to build credit. 

Whether law enforcement agencies will accept the ID remains unknown. Distribution is expected to begin early next year.

The council voted 12 to 1 on Wednesday to select a vendor to develop and administer the identity card program.

The new ID is intended to help about 200,000 Los Angeles households that do not have access to banking services. Those families are vulnerable to theft and financial emergencies, according to the Mayor’s Office. A financial institution will back the proposed ID card, and the funds will be FDIC insured.

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Democrats may have super majority in Sacramento

Mercer 15687

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

If Democrats secure a super majority in the state legislature, Speaker of the Assembly John Perez, left, and Governor Jerry Brown say they'll have to control the party's urge to spend.

California Democrats appear to have clinched a super majority in the state legislature — control of two-thirds of the seats in both the Senate and Assembly. Such numbers would empower Democrats to raise taxes and expedite fiscal changes though urgency legislation without Republican votes.

Millions of vote-by-mail and provisional ballots are still being counted, and some races are too close to call, but Democratic leaders are confident the numbers will work out for them. Those leaders have claimed they could balance the state budget and solve long-term fiscal problems if they didn’t need Republican cooperation.

That theory could be put to a test in the next legislative session. Bob Stern, former president of the Center for Governmental Studies, says a super majority gives Democrats more flexibility — but it also puts the onus on them: "Now, Democrats have to come through and show that they’re a responsible party, as opposed to making excuses."

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Jackie Lacey faces reporters for first time as LA DA-elect

Jackie Lacey

Grant Slater/KPCC

Jackie Lacey speaks to supporters on election night after winning the Los Angeles District Attorney race.

At her first news conference the day after her historic election as L.A.’s top prosecutor, District Attorney-elect Jackie Lacey was asked about becoming the county's first female and first African-American D.A.  But before she could answer, her boss suggested a response.

“Tell ‘em it was on the merits,” said L.A. District Attorney Steve Cooley as he stood next to Lacey on the 18th floor of the downtown criminal courts building.  It was kind of a whisper, but everyone in the D.A.’s conference room could hear him.

“I’m sorry Steve, I think I’ve got this one,” Lacey retorted.  Everyone laughed.  Lacey and Cooley are friends, and his endorsement was key to her election.  She serves as his second-in-command.

It’s probably not the first time Lacey’s wrangled a white man butting into her business.  And Cooley did not shut up when Lacey indicated she was prepared to give her own answer about why voters elected her.

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