Index
Saturday
Feb212015

POLITICS (National, State, Local/Los Angeles): Los Angeles mayors, pitfalls, candidacy for higher office, report/analysis: "L.A. Mayoralty Has Been Shaky Launching Pad for Higher Office" ....

* ABC News (AP):  "L.A. Mayoralty Has Been Shaky Launching Pad for Higher Office" - From ABC:

If former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa wants to be California's next U.S. senator, he's going to have to beat the jinx. LA's City Hall has proved to be a political graveyard for a string of its former mayors, whose appeal at home didn't extend widely enough when they set their sights on statewide office.

Former Mayor Tom Bradley broke racial barriers and shaped the city's modern skyline during two decades in office, from 1973 to 1993, but he failed twice to become governor. His predecessor, Sam Yorty, served a dozen years but bombed in races for governor and president. Businessman Richard J. Riordan, who held the post from 1993 to 2001, lost a bid for governor in 2002.

Bradley and Riordan got close. But "in general, in American history, mayors have not done terrifically well in moving up," said Raphael Sonenshein, who heads the Pat Brown Institute of Public Affairs at California State University, Los Angeles.

The scorecard for recent Los Angeles mayors is similar to the record in New York City . . . . . . . .

Fairly or not, big city mayors become adhesive for all manner of urban gripes and ills, whether its potholes that didn't get filled, garbage that didn't get picked up or police officers who shot the wrong way. They get their hands messy with municipal labor contracts, broken water mains and local taxes, issues that don't concern members of Congress. "Governing a city is unlike any other position in the American political system and it doesn't always translate well" into a campaign for higher office, Sonenshein added. "In Congress, you don't have to get people angry."

Villaraigosa, a 62-year-old Democrat who has said he is considering entering the 2016 race, already has seen some of his past surface .................................

Saturday
Feb212015

POLITICS (State, Local/Bay Area): More info/details, California Public Utlities Commission, PG&E, criminal investigation, hiring of outside counsel: "PUC hires outside criminal lawyer to help with probe" .... 

***Following up on earlier item noted here (California Public Utilities Commission, criiminal investigation, CPUC hiring $882-per-hour outside counsel)....

* Los Angeles Times:  "PUC hires outside criminal lawyer to help with probe" - From the LAT:

The Public Utilities Commission has hired a prominent, white-collar criminal defense lawyer to help it with an expanding investigation into possible improper communications, bribery and other wrongdoing at the powerful regulatory body. The action comes as state and federal law enforcement agencies are looking through tens of thousands of emails and mountains of documents that appear to indicate that PUC officials, including the former president and executive director, had overly cozy relations with executives at Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and other regulated power companies.

Spokeswoman Terrie Prosper said the PUC hired outside defense attorneys because "it is customary in legal investigations to have an attorney who can interface with investigative agencies, accept and handle subpoenas etc." What's more, she said, "our in-house lawyers are not criminal attorneys." Additionally, in this case, the PUC cannot rely on its regular legal representative, state Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris, because Harris has launched her own probe into the PUC, Prosper said.

The PUC has signed an initial $49,000 contract with the downtown Los Angeles law firm of Sheppard Mullin. The scope of the contract covers "all criminal, civil and administrative proceedings undertaken by any federal state or local agency ... involving directly and indirectly any allegations of inappropriate interactions by CPUC personnel with Pacific Gas & Electric and any other utility from 2009 to 2014."

Leading the team is . . . . . . . .

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The chummy relations between former PUC President Michael Peevey and top executives at Pacific Gas & Electric Co. are being probed by Harris and the U.S. Attorney in San Francisco ...............

Saturday
Feb212015

POLITICS/BUSINESS: West Coast ports, labor dispute, settlement: "Shipping lines and dockworkers reach deal; port shutdown averted"; "Deal reached in port labor talks"; "West Coast port deal reached with White House prodding"; "West Coast Port Employers, Union Reach Tentative Five-Year Agreement"; "West Coast ports negotiators reach settlement"; "Perez brokers end to West Coast ports impasse ....

***Sampling of coverage....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Shipping lines and dockworkers reach deal; port shutdown averted"

* Daily Breeze:  "Deal reached in port labor talks"

* San Francisco Chronicle:  "West Coast port deal reached with White House prodding"

* San Jose Mercury News:  "West Coast ports negotiators reach settlement"

* Wall Street Journal:  "West Coast Port Employers, Union Reach Tentative Five-Year Agreement" - "Union employees and maritime association members still need to ratify the pact"

* Politico:  "Perez brokers end to West Coast ports impasse"

Saturday
Feb212015

POLITICS/TRANSPORTATION (Bay Area): San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, eastern span tower: "Rust, cracks found on Bay Bridge tower rod" ....

* San Francisco Chronicle:  "Rust, cracks found on Bay Bridge tower rod" - From the Chronicle:

Tests on a steel anchor rod removed from the Bay Bridge eastern span’s tower after being inadvertently submerged in water for years revealed rust and tiny cracks, bridge officials said Friday — a potentially worrisome sign for the long-term viability of the span.

The 25-foot-long rod is one of more than 400 galvanized-steel fasteners that became soaked in water because they sat in holes at the tower’s foundation that were poorly grouted. They cannot be removed without being destroyed, and there is not enough room to maneuver replacement rods into position — so any evidence that the water has damaged the rods presents Caltrans with what could be an unsolvable dilemma.

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It’s the latest in a series of construction problems on the $6.4 billion bridge, and potentially one of the most serious. Other steel rods that stewed in rainwater for several years snapped when they were tightened in 2013 on seismic-stability structures on the bridge, but Caltrans was able to engineer a replacement for them. There is no obvious work-around for the rods that anchor the 525-foot tower to its foundation. They were essentially fixed in place when the tower was lowered atop them during construction in 2010.

Maroney said that even if other rods that remain at the tower base are cracked and rusted, it is “not a safety issue.” He said even if many of the rods failed in a large earthquake, it would simply result in the tower suffering extra damage — but not catastrophic failure. He has not yet decided what can be done to reduce the risk to the tower rods until he sees more test results ....................

Saturday
Feb212015

LOCAL GOVERNMENT (Los Angeles): Voter turnout, Los Angeles County: "Officials seek ways to boost L.A. County's voter turnout" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Officials seek ways to boost L.A. County's voter turnout" - From the LAT:

After abysmal voter participation in California's last election and in Los Angeles County in particular, some state officials want to follow in the footsteps of Oregon and look into creating an automatic voter registration system. Proponents say creating a system that automatically signs up eligible voters instead of requiring them to take the initiative would remove a major barrier to participation and free up resources that could be spent on getting more people interested in voting.

That proposal came up Friday at a joint legislative hearing in Los Angeles that focused on increasing voter turnout in Los Angeles County . . . . . . . .

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Academics and community organizers floated a number of potential remedies ........................