Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Grand Jury says one-third of LA cities failed to adopt better management

Los Angeles County Grand Jury 2013-14

Los Angeles County Grand Jury

The Los Angeles County Grand Jury's annual report said one-third of the county's 88 cities failed to implement better financial management practices it recommended they adopt one year ago.

Some city officials are disputing a new Los Angeles County Civil Grand Jury report that 29 of the county's 88 cities failed to implement financial controls it recommended they adopt a year ago. The report, out this week, is intended to help cities avoid the management deficiencies that got Bell city officials into criminal trouble.

It caught several city managers by surprise. Bellflower City Manager Jeff Stewart said he responded to the grand jury's criticisms a year ago with a letter showing it had complied with recommendations.

"I remember when that came out, we took it pretty seriously," Stewart said.

He and Bell Gardens City Manager Philip Wagner disputed the Grand Jury's conclusion that their cities failed to form a committee to oversee its outside auditor.  Both said a committee was not needed because their city council and management teams handle that oversight.

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Maven's Morning Coffee: LAPD's union considers contract, Darrell Steinberg looks to the future, will LA finally fix its sidewalks?

LAPD Crash Folo - 1

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

LAPD's rank-and-file officers will consider a new contract with the city that could increase starting salaries and provide more money for overtime.

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, July 3, and here is what's happening in Southern California politics:

Headlines

The LAPD's union is considering a one-year contract with the city, reports KPCC. The agreement could increase starting salaries and provide more money for overtime. The L.A. Police Protective League declined to comment but did release a video from its president.

L.A. County's interim sheriff wants to delay creation of a civilian oversight committee until the inspector general's office is operating, according to the Los Angeles Times. Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said he was "disturbed" by that recommendation. "The Sheriff's Department cannot police itself. That truth is not going to change with the passage of more weeks or more months; it is not going to change even with the advent of a new sheriff," he said.

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Maven's Morning Coffee: A minimum wage proposal for LA, Assembly Republicans get a new leader, LAFD could get new chief

Coalition of LA City Unions

Alice Walton/KPCC

The Coalition of LA City Unions wants city employees and contractors to make $15/hour.

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 Wednesday, July 2, and here is what's happening in Southern California politics:

Headlines

Los Angeles unions want to raise the minimum wage for city employees and contractors to $15/hour, reports the Los Angeles Times. "Besides the $15 minimum, the (Coalition of L.A. City Unions) also wants to curb outsourcing of city work and ensure that part-time workers are assigned enough hours to qualify for health benefits," per the Times. The wage issue was also discussed on Which Way, LA?

The Los Angeles City Council approved Seleta Reynolds as the new general manager for the Department of Transportation, according to the Los Angeles Register. "We want them to (travel) at human speed so that when people make mistakes, we have a system that forgives, so that those mistakes don’t result in deaths," Reynolds said during her confirmation hearing.

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Election 2014: Super PACs set stage for big spending in Shriver-Kuehl showdown

Bobby Shriver Sheila Kuehl

Shriver Campaign/Kuehl Campaign

Bobby Shriver faces Sheila Kuehl in November for a seat on the Board of Supervisors.

A third super PAC has thrown its support behind Bobby Shriver in the hotly contested race for a seat on the powerful five-member Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.  Shriver, the former mayor of Santa Monica and nephew of President John Kennedy, faces former State Senator Sheila Kuehl, who beat Shriver in the June primary 36-29 percent.

Shriver refused to abide by spending limits in the primary, contributing one million dollars of his own money. But he’s agreed to contribution limits of $1,500 and a spending cap of $1.4 million in the general election. That means super PACs could play a prominent role in the only supervisor’s race on the November ballot.

The limits “encourage people to give to outside super PACs because they can have a much bigger impact,” said Bill Carrick, Shriver’s campaign consultant.  Unlike candidates, these groups, known as independent expenditure committees, can raise and spend unlimited amounts. They are prohibited from coordinating their efforts with the candidate.

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Broadcast TV stations must now post political ad buy documents online

Big Sky, Big Money

PBS Frontline

Screen shot of a political ad featured in the PBS Frontline special "Big Sky, Big Money."

The Federal Communications Commission today greatly expanded its online database documenting political ad purchases on broadcast TV. At the same time, a nonprofit group is making the newly available information on these deals more accessible to the public.

The public has long had the right to see who's buying political TV ads about candidates, ballot measures and even political issues that are not on any ballot. But it hasn't always been convenient.

"You would have had to physically go to your local TV station and open a file drawer and rummage through papers," said Kathy Kiely, managing editor at the Sunlight Foundation, which has partnered with another nonprofit, Free Press, to make political ad buy documents available to the public online.

"They were often disorganized and it is a Herculean task to go back multiple times during a campaign," Kiely said. In early 2012, Sunlight Foundation, Free Press and the nonprofit investigative news website ProPublica began a campaign to get volunteers to visit stations, copy the documents and provide them online.

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