Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Garcetti taps Rockefeller to make LA more ‘resilient’

LA Mayor

Mark J. Terrill/AP

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti speaks in front of City Hall.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is looking outside City Hall for help governing the city. The Rockefeller Foundation has agreed to pay for a “Chief Resiliency Officer” for two years – a person who can help Garcetti plan for disasters.

“I think he’s reached outside more than most,” said Raphe Sonenshein, who heads the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at Cal State LA. “Mayors in LA have not always asked the university or the philanthropic communities to help very much.”

In his first year, Garcetti’s convened meetings with fellow Southern California mayors and university presidents, and created a new non-profit to raise money for city projects.

“This is one unique way mayors can expand their scope of governance,” Sonenshein said.

The grant is part of the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities Program. Selected cities include San Francisco, Mexico City and Rome.


California unions fear 'free-riders' in Supreme Court health ruling

Samuel Alito Jr.

A ruling authored by Supreme Court Samuel Alito Jr. relieves some Illinois health care workers from having to pay union fees.

Monday's Supreme Court decision allowing Illinois home health care workers to avoid paying union fees does not immediately affect California's union workers. However, some public employee unions see it foreshadowing a coming challenge of their access to workers' membership dollars, the lifeblood of any labor organization.

The unions fear something called "free riding" — where public employees get the benefits of collective bargaining and union representation without paying for it.

"The problem of free-riding is a real problem and it's important that as unions we believe in everyone paying their fair share," said Christopher Calhoun, communications director for SEIU California, which represents two-thirds of California in-home health care workers. He said his and other unions that represent more than 300,000 home health care workers were still analyzing the ruling to determine its effect.


Maven's Morning Coffee: Mayor Garcetti's first year, LAPD murder statistics, a final tally for controller

LA Mayor Eric Garcetti

Kitty Felde/KPCC

Mayor Eric Garcetti marks one year in office this week.

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 Monday, June 30, and here is what's happening in Southern California politics:


In Rick Orlov's Tipoff column, Mayor Eric Garcetti marks one year in office, the police union gets into negotiations, and the Los Angeles Economic Development Corp. prepares for its annual awards.

The Daily News and the Los Angeles Times consider Mayor Eric Garcetti's first year in office. "No mayor could have dented all of L.A.’s problems in just one year. But Garcetti could have shown that he has the political courage to do what’s needed. On that, the jury is out," according to the Daily News.


Pot advocates fail to qualify initiative for California ballot

Frank Stoltze/KPCC

California voters anxious to legalize pot will have to wait for at least two years.

Supporters of legalizing the recreational use of marijuana in California are blaming an internal disagreement over strategy for their failure to qualify a measure for the November ballot.

“Most funders of the movement think 2016 is a more viable option for a ballot initiative,” said John Lee, who led the signature gathering campaign for the Marijuana Legalization and Control Act of 2014. It was the best-funded among four campaigns this year.

In two years, voters elect a new president. More liberal voters typically go to the polls in a presidential election year. The Drug Policy Alliance and billionaire political activist George Soros were among those who decided to wait until 2016.

Lee and others pushed to place a measure on the ballot his year because polls showed California voters appear ready to legalize pot. A Field Poll in December found 55 percent of Californians now support legalization.


Burbank's Bob Hope Airport opens new people mover to connect to rental car center in July

Bob Hope Airport Transportation Center

Bob Hope Airport

This aerial view shows the red-roofed Regional Intermodal Transportation Center that will connect air terminals of Bob Hope Airport at left, a new rental car center. Eventually, the walkway will also connect to the train platforms, seen lower right.

Bob Hope Airport  is poised to become the first in the Los Angeles region to connect directly to a rail station platform, but it's still a few years from reality, says airport spokesman Victor Gill.

The first phase of the airport's new $112 million transportation center is set to open July 15. An elevated moving walkway will connect  the air terminals to a new rental car center at the airport. The walkway reaches to within about 75 feet of Empire Avenue and the Amtrak and Metrolink train platform.

The Burbank airport has been authorized to use $3.5 million in Metro funds for design work for a bridge that would cross Empire Avenue to the Amtrak platform.

The new transportation center will also house a bus station and bike storage areas.  The walkway and rental counters  open July 15.