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L.A. CITY HALL: "Villaraigosa vetoes measure that would give council power to fire DWP leadership"

***Before the L.A. City Council left for the Thanksgiving holiday (and with the legislative break also then including the council recess last week while a number of members attended the National League of Cities conference in Denver), the body politic voted 7-7 on a proposed ballot measure that would give the elected body the power to fire the DWP general manager and to remove any of the appointed DWP commissioners.  Looking to break the 7-7 tie, the measure was then placed on today's agenda, with the result being a 10-1 vote in favor.  Los Angeles Times reports this evening that, within a few hours of today's council vote, the mayor issued his veto message....

"Villaraigosa vetoes measure that would give council power to fire DWP leadership" - From the LAT:

   Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Tuesday vetoed a measure that would have asked voters to give the City Council power to fire the top executive at the Department of Water and Power. The mayor issued his veto message a few hours after the Council voted 10 to 1 to put the proposal on the March 8 municipal election ballot. In his veto message, Villaraigosa said that if the council wants to change the city commission system, it should look at every agency, not just the DWP.

   “I am disapproving the proposed ballot language inasmuch as it seems to reform the governance of one city department before we have had an opportunity to take a comprehensive assessment of all city departments,” he wrote.

   The council voted on the plan, which would allow the council by a two-thirds vote to fire the DWP general manager. The proposal would also have allowed council members to remove any of the five DWP commissioners, who are also chosen by the mayor.

   The election ballot will be prepared early next month, said Julie Wong, spokeswoman for Council President Eric Garcetti. That means that if the council wants to override the mayor’s veto, an action that would require 10 votes, they would need to do so by Jan. 7, Wong said.


L.A. CITY HALL: Another familiar name returning to City Hall....

***Heard from a very reliable authority this evening that DOANE LIU, former long-time deputy to Jim Hahn, will be returning to City  Hall.  Liu, who had worked with Hahn when he was city attorney and then moved across the street with Hahn to the mayor's office, will now be chief of staff to Councilwoman Janice Hahn. He will be coming back into city service after working in the private sector since 2005....



***I had heard news reports late last night and this morning that Elizabeth Edwards' cancer had advanced to a stage where doctors had advised that further treatment would be unproductive.  The reports were that she likely would likely not survive beyond perhaps a few weeks.  This afternoon the news is that she passed away today at home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  No doubt there will be many reports in both print and electronic media over the coming days.  First one I heard was on CNN.  First one for which I have found a link is from MSNBC...

"Elizabeth Edwards dies of cancer at 61" - "She was reportedly surrounded by famly and friends, not in any pain." - From MSNBC:

   Elizabeth Edwards has died of cancer, NBC News has confirmed. She was 61.

   Gravely ill with cancer that no longer responded to treatment, Elizabeth Edwards was reportedly not in any pain and was surrounded by family and friends, including her estranged husband, at home in North Carolina.

   When rumors began to circulate that she had taken a turn for the worse, Edwards’ family announced Monday that her doctors had recommended against any additional treatment. “Elizabeth has been advised by her doctors that further treatment of her cancer would be unproductive,” said the statement her family provided to NBC News. “She is resting at home with family and friends.”


L.A. CITY HALL: Resignation of Lee Kanon Alpert as president of Board of Water & Power Commissioners....

***L.A. Dept. of Water & Power in the news again, with announcement by Lee Kanon Alpert that he plans to leave the Board of Water & Power Commissioners at the end of this month....

* Los Angeles Times:  "DWP board president says he plans to resign" - Excerpts from the LAT:

   Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's top appointee at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power said Tuesday he would step down from his post at the end of the year, the latest example of churn in an agency that has experienced frequent leadership turnover since the mayor has been in office.

   DWP Commission President Lee Kanon Alpert said the volunteer post had forced him to spend huge amounts of time away from his law practice and his family.


   The announcement comes as the utility is considering a plan to raise electricity rates by an average of 5% to 8% each of the next five years. The departure also follows a period of upheaval for the nation's largest municipally-owned utility as it attempts to meet the mayor's lofty environmental goals by dramatically expanding its use of renewable energy. The agency has had five top executives in the last three and a half years and has lacked a permanent general manager since October 2009. Meanwhile, the five-member DWP commission, whose members are chosen by Villaraigosa, has had four board presidents since 2006.


PORT OF L.A.: Clean Truck Program, "markedly" improved air quality, but "drivers say their plight has gotten worse"

* Los Angeles Times:  "Truckers say L.A.'s 'green' port costs them money" - "The dispute over who should pay for leasing and maintaining 'clean' rigs could go to the Supreme Court."- Excerpt from the LAT:

   The [Clean Truck Program] concept — to replace smog-spawning clunkers with newer and cleaner rigs — promised to slash emissions and offer a new deal for beleaguered port truckers, many of them immigrants from Mexico and Central America.

   Yet, although officials say the area's air has improved markedly since the initiative was launched two years ago, .... drivers say their plight has gotten worse. Many have gone from being owners of polluting rigs to leasers of late-model "clean" trucks, valued at $100,000 to $200,000 — beyond what most drivers can afford to purchase. The new vehicles yield diminished carbon footprints, thanks to green technology. But, drivers say, the new models also cost at least 50% more to operate than their exhaust-spewing predecessors, on top of the lease payments to trucking companies.

    "Things were bad enough when we owned our trucks, but I would say the situation is desperate now," said [Alex] Mejia, who ditched his 1995 Freightliner and now leases a "clean" 2008 International. "We're all happy that the air is cleaner. We live here too. But it is our sweat, our work, that is helping to improve the environment."

   Besides paying leases that often exceed $1,000 a month, drivers say, they must absorb higher costs for insurance, registration, service and other expenses for the trucks, which feature technology like diesel particulate filters. Maintenance generally must be done at certified shops or dealers, not by the cut-rate mechanics who once serviced their rigs.

    The lease process, drivers say, means that much of the financial burden — including paying for servicing needed to maintain trucks' green capabilities — falls on drivers. Environmentalists argue that the fleet may soon turn dirty again as cash-strapped drivers skimp on maintenance charges that rise as the vehicles age.

    This isn't the way it was supposed to work.