Index
Sunday
Jun162013

L.A. CITY HALL: Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti, plans for scrutinizing management of city departments, report, "Garcetti to closely scrutinize DWP, fire, technology departments"....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Garcetti to closely scrutinze DWP, fire, technology departments" - From the LAT:

Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti on Friday called out three key areas of city operations that will get close scrutiny after he takes office July 1, saying each may need changes either in management or operations.

Garcetti cited the Department of Water and Power, the Fire Department and the city's disparate information technology units as being high on his list for review, starting with potential changes at the top. He also named the Library Department but added that problems there might be more a function of budget cuts than ineffective operations.

His comments came during a talk with the Los Angeles Times editorial board and in response to a question about which departments he viewed as needing a "change agent" to lead them forward.

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During the campaign, Garcetti repeatedly said he would ask the city's general managers, roughly 30 in total, to reapply for their jobs. On Friday, he said it would take a "minimum" of two months to complete his review of top agency executives after he takes office.

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Managers who are performing well shouldn't worry, Garcetti said. But he will be demanding measurable goals from department leaders so he can judge their performance going forward, he said. "I don’t know right now how to judge our general managers, except a couple, because we never have them say what they are going to be accomplishing,'' he said..........

Sunday
Jun162013

L.A. CITY HALL: California Coastal Commission, rejection (once again), overnight parking restrictions in Venice....

***Following up on most recent earlier item noted here (Los Angeles Times editorial - overnight parking restrictions in Venice)....

* Venice-Mar Vista Patch:  "California Coastal Commission Nixes Overnight Parking Districts in Venice"

* Los Angeles Times (Carla Hall - Opinion L.A. ):  "Coastal Commission scathingly rejects parking restrictions in Venice"

Sunday
Jun162013

LOCAL GOVERNMENT: Update, Los Angeles County Assessor John Noguez influence-peddling case,, Beverly Hills property developer Eskandar Bolour under investigation in alleged money-laundering scheme for Noguez....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Builder investigated in alleged money-laundering scheme for Noguez" - "Eskandar Bolour is suspected of asking two company executives to contribute $500 each to the L.A. County Assessor's campaign and havng his daughters reimburse them." - From the LAT:

A Beverly Hills-based property developer is under investigation for allegedly using his daughters and two of his firm's attorneys to launder illegal campaign contributions to Los Angeles County Assessor John Noguez, according to a search warrant obtained by the Los Angeles Times. The warrant comes as the district attorney's influence-peddling investigation focuses on whether commercial property owners who contributed to Noguez — and received significant property tax breaks — violated the law by hiding the true source of campaign money to the assessor.

Eskandar Bolour, founder of real estate firm Bolour Associates, with local properties stretching from the San Fernando Valley to Long Beach, is suspected of asking two company executives to contribute $500 each to Noguez's campaign and reimbursing them for those contributions, according to the warrant. Reimbursement checks signed by Bolour's daughters were written to the two executives, attorneys Elliot Shirwo and Todd Allen, the warrant said.

The two lawyers were offered immunity to testify last year before a grand jury that was probing allegations of corruption in the assessor's office, according to the warrant.................

Saturday
Jun152013

POLITICS/TRANSPORTATION: Metrolink, average 5% systemwide fare increase to go into effect July 1....

* Daily Breeze (City News Service):  "Metrolink fares to increase July 1" - From the DB:

An average 5 percent system-wide Metrolink fare increase will go effect July 1 to help close a $10.2 million funding gap for the 2013-14 fiscal year caused by an increase in operating expenses, a system official said.

The Metrolink Board of Directors also approved two fare policy changes. The weekend pass will be changed to a weekend day pass. The price will remain $10, but riders needing to buy passes for the entire weekend will effectively have their cost doubled to $20.

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Students were exempted from the fare changes.

The higher fares will be reflected in the July monthly passes, which will go on sale June 25.

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More information is available on the system's website, metrolinktrains.com.

Saturday
Jun152013

SACRAMENTO: State budget legislation, changes to California Public Records Act, report, "California Public Records Act 'eviscerated' in state budget bill, critics charge"....

***Following up on most recent earlier report noted here (weakening of California Public Records Act, trailer bill to state budget)....

* San Jose Mercury News:  "California Public Records Act 'eviscerated' in state budget bill, critics charge" - From the MN:

Legislation tucked into the state budget bill would "eviscerate" the public's ability to track tax dollars and hold local officials accountable, open government advocates charged Friday. "This is the worst assault on the public's right to know I have seen in my 18 years of doing this," said Jim Ewert, general counsel of the California Newspaper Publisher's Association, said Friday as the bill appeared headed for passage.

Language inserted into a budget bill on Wednesday would allow local governments to turn down requests for records without citing a legal reason. It would no longer require government officials to respond to to records requests within 10 days or force them to help the public by describing what records exist.

Gov. Jerry Brown has said he favored some changes aimed at reducing costs, but details did not emerge until a rider bill to the budget was introduced. Ewert ripped the process, saying "not one policy committee read this thing."

The bill was authored by the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee. . . . . . . .

Brown's spokesman on the budget, H.D. Palmer, said late Friday the budget conference committee had adopted a "compromise" solution by the Legislative Analyst's Office, rather than governor's original proposal. He referred questions about the legislation's effect on public-records access to Leno.

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Terry Francke, general counsel of the good government group Californian's Aware, said the changes "cannot be justified by fiscal necessity; no one has provided any evidence of savings." He accused Brown and legislative leaders of trying to sneak through a gutting of transparency requirements that would never pass otherwise.

The ACLU of Northern California also ripped the changes Friday. "Interfering with public access to public records will only shroud elected officials in more secrecy at a time when transparency is more crucial than ever before," said its spokesman, Will Matthews.