Politics, government and public life for Southern California

LA City Council to consider paying for Jose Huizar's legal defense

City Council Los Angeles

Mae Ryan/KPCC

The Los Angeles City Council will vote Friday whether to pay for a private attorney to defend Councilman Jose Huizar in a sexual harassment lawsuit.

The Los Angeles City Council is expected to vote Friday on whether to pick up the tab for Councilman Jose Huizar's legal fees in a sexual harassment lawsuit. The suit was brought by a former member of the councilman's staff. 

The City Council will be asked to hire the firm of Walsh & Associates to represent Huizar in the case filed by Francine Godoy. The firm would be hired on a $200,000 retainer. To date, attorneys there have billed Huizar $41,570 in fees.

The city's legal department cannot defend Huizar because the city is also named as a party in the lawsuit. 

It was last October when Godoy, the councilman's former deputy chief of staff, sued Huizar for sexual harassment and retaliation. Huizar, who is married, denied the allegations, though he did confess to an affair with his former employee. 

Read More...

Maven's Morning Coffee: 2020 Commission's report, LA County's child welfare system, LAPD officer dies

los angeles city hall seal

Photo by Kansas Sebastian via Flickr Creative Commons

The 2020 Commission calls for greater transparency and regional coordination if Los Angeles is going to be a 21st Century city.

Good morning, readers. Welcome to the Maven's Morning Coffee -- a listing of the important headlines, news conferences, votes 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 Thursday, April 10, and here is what's happening in Southern California politics:

Headlines

The 2020 Commission released 13 recommendations Wednesday that essentially called for greater transparency and regional coordination if Los Angeles is going to be a 21st Century city. "This gives us a map, it gives us a direction as to where we can go," said council President Herb Wesson. KPCC, Los Angeles Times, Daily News, LA Weekly

KPCC looks at one of the 2020 Commission's boldest recommendation -- merging the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. "The combining of the two ports is one of the worst ideas I have ever heard of," says the vice president of the Harbor Commission in Long Beach.

Read More...

2020 Commission issues direct, blunt challenges to City of LA (Updated)

Garcetti Inauguration

Mae Ryan/KPCC

The 2020 Commission released a report Wednesday that finds transparency and regional coordination are key to Los Angeles' future.

A sweeping report that calls for merging the region's ports and creating a new utility commission in order to bring prosperity and stability to Los Angeles was met with a terse response Wednesday from Mayor Eric Garcetti.

The blue ribbon 2020 Commission, created last year by council President Herb Wesson and led by former U.S. Commerce Secretary Mickey Kantor and former Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner, issued recommendations Wednesday to address problems identified in its initial report. That report, issued in January, found L.A. has a "crisis in leadership and direction."

"We said in the first report we're treading water in Los Angeles. We hope this is the beginning to swim — this is the start," Kantor said. "I hope people will be inspired by reading this – people in power, people in civic groups will say, 'We can do something here.'"

Read More...

Elections 2014: Robert Garcia, Damon Dunn headed to Long Beach mayoral runoff

Courtesy Robert Garcia and Damon Dunn campaigns

Long Beach Vice Mayor Robert Garcia, left, won the most votes in Tuesday's primary election for Long Beach mayor. He advances to the June 3 runoff, facing businessman Damon Dunn.

Vice Mayor Robert Garcia and businessman and real estate investor Damon Dunn emerged early Wednesday as the top two candidates headed for a June 3 runoff to become mayor of Long Beach.

They fought off State Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal, who has high name recognition in the city. She finished third.

Garcia had been endorsed by departing Mayor Bob Foster and the Press-Telegram newspaper. He received 25.4 percent of the vote.  If elected in June, the college professor and member of the California Coastal Commission would become, at 36, the city's youngest, first Latino and first openly gay mayor.

Dunn, 38, built his wealth developing drug stores. The onetime candidate for California Secretary of State pulled in 22.3 percent of the mayoral primary vote. He self-financed much of his campaign. Dunn was endorsed by the Long Beach Jobs Political Action Committee, which is affiliated with the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce. If elected, Dunn would become the city's first African-American mayor.

Read More...

LA councilman wants to cut pensions to city employees convicted of work-related crimes

City Council Los Angeles

Mae Ryan/KPCC

L.A. City Councilman Mitch Englander wants to cut pensions to city workers convicted of on-the-job crimes.

Los Angeles city employees who are convicted of job-related crimes would be forced to forfeit their pensions under a proposal introduced Tuesday. 

The motion from Councilman Mitch Englander follows a Los Angeles Times story about Samuel In, a city building inspector who pleaded guilty last year to taking more than $30,000 in bribes, but will continue to receive an annual city pension of $72,000. 

State employees who are found guilty of crimes related to their jobs cannot receive their pensions. However, that state law does not apply to cities with their own charters and pension systems. 

"We need to eliminate this loophole and explore the feasibility of retroactively eliminating the pension benefit," Englander said. "If not in this case then in all future cases where a felony conviction occurs after a city employee has already retires." 

Read More...