Index
Friday
Jul312015

L.A. CITY HALL: Editorial, L.A. City Council President Herb Wesson, report card, C+: "How is L.A.'s City Council President doing?" ....

* Los Angeles Times (editorial):  "Grading City Hall: How does L.A.'s City Council President score?"

Just a few years ago, the Los Angeles City Council was considered almost unmanageable, populated by a motley group of elected officials with their own priorities and allegiances. The council president was referred to as the chief cat herder because the poor fellow (it's always been a man) was expected to, somehow, persuade the council members to act together, like members of a functional legislative body, rather than like 15 lords of 15 fiefdoms. Then Herb Wesson took charge.

The former speaker of the Assembly was elected council president by his colleagues in November 2011 and quickly brought a top-down, I'm-the-boss Sacramento sensibility to the City Council — for better and worse. . . . . . . . .

At his best, Wesson has pushed the council to make difficult decisions for Los Angeles, and he has given his colleagues cover for votes that might antagonize their political backers . . . . . . . .

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But when Wesson doesn't want something, it goes nowhere . . . . . . . .

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So what are his priorities? It's a bit hard to say .........................

Friday
Jul312015

MORNING MEMOS: Education, "California's school system ranked 9th worst in the nation"; public employee pensions, "California public pension proposal would create 'uncertainties,' analyst says"; Bay Area, "Oakland's public works employees calling in sick as contract negotiations drag on"; education, "California Community College chancellor says access and success are priorities" ....

***Various items this morning from across the spectrum of politics and/or public policy....

* San Francisco Chronicle:  "California's school system ranked 9th worst in the nation"

* Oakland Tribune:  "Oakland's public works employees calling in sick as contract negotiations drag on"

* Sacramento Bee:  "California public pension proposal would create 'uncertainties,' analyst says"

* San Bernardino Sun:  "California Community College chancellor says access and success are priorities"

 

Friday
Jul312015

POLITICS/URBAN AFFAIRS (National): "Black Lives Matter," 2016 elections: "How Black Lives Matter forced campaigns to alter their strategies on black voters" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "How Black Lives Matter forced campaigns to alter their strategies on black voters" - From the LAT:

Democrats have never been more confident that their chances of hanging onto the White House hinge on black voters, who tipped key states toward President Obama -- but they have never been less confident, it seems, about how to talk to them. The Black Lives Matter campaign is seeing to it that the rules they relied on for courting the vote no longer apply.

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Black Lives Matter inserted itself into the race through a few well-timed and highly publicized confrontations with candidates -- several of which exposed politicians’ tone-deafness on racial issues. Often it was through a simple guerrilla action, during which activists demanded candidates repeat the words, “Black lives matter.”

Many flubbed it. Their frequent response that “all lives matter” was perceived by many blacks as a refusal to acknowledge the particular risks faced by those with black skin. Republicans generally pushed back, accusing the activists of stoking racial division. Democrats, though, are aggressively positioning themselves as empathetic to the outrage that Black Lives Matter has tapped into. They are reeducating themselves on how to talk to black voters, sending surrogates to meet with the activists, shifting their rhetoric and -- in some cases -- issuing apologies .........................

Friday
Jul312015

SACRAMENTO: Public employee pensions, state and local pension funds, "staffering" growth, pension hole, report/analysis: "California's pension hole: Once modest, now enormous" ....

* Orange County Register:  "California's pension hole:  Once modest, now enormous" - From the Register:

Within the span of only 11 years, the hole at the bottom of California’s state and local pension funds increased a staggering 3,046 percent. The monstrous growth of the gap between what public agencies have promised workers upon retirement and what they actually have – from $6.3 billion in 2003 to $198.2 billion in 2013, according to figures gathered by the state controller’s office – matters to all Californians, reformers argue.

If it’s not filled up with meatier investment earnings and heftier contributions from public workers and employers, that hole will continue to expand, and taxpayers must fill it directly. Why? Because in California, the promises made to public workers on Day One of their employment can never, ever be broken – at least, not outside of federal bankruptcy court. And even in court, officials from Vallejo and Stockton and San Bernardino did not request permission to modify these burdens, fearing they’d have trouble attracting and retaining workers if the city next door offered something better.

This fear of competition, the “keeping up with the Joneses” impulse, or whatever you’d like to call it, also fueled the widespread embrace of super-sweetened, retroactive retirement formulas at public agencies large and small in the early 2000s.

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How did we get here? . . . . . . . .

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All this was made possible by SB400, passed in 1999 under then-Gov. Gray Davis .....................

Friday
Jul312015

L.A. CITY HALL: Los Angeles City Council, Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners, new economy, ride-sharing companies, LAX airport pickups?: "Six council members question plan to let Uber, Lyft pick up at LAX" ....  

* Los Angeles Times:  "Six council members question plan to let Uber, Lyft pick up at LAX" - From the LAT:

Citing "significant questions" over equity and public safety, six members of the Los Angeles City Council said Wednesday that they want to reexamine the new rules that would allow Uber and Lyft to pick up passengers at Los Angeles International Airport.

Earlier this month, the Board of Airport Commissioners gave the green light to a policy creating a permitting process for app-based ride-hailing  companies such as Uber and Lyft to operate at LAX. Advocates, including Mayor Eric Garcetti, hailed the decision as a game changer for the thousands of Southern Californians and tourists who fly into the nation's third-busiest airport.

In a motion introduced Wednesday, Councilman Paul Krekorian asked his colleagues to override the airport commission's decision. If the motion passes next week -- at least 10 of the 15 council members would have to vote in favor of it -- the council would have the power to veto the permit policy and send it back to airport officials for revision. Among other topics, the council could discuss requirements for more wheelchair-accessible Uber vehicles, a quota for hybrid vehicles, or driver criminal background checks that would be connected to the FBI's fingerprint database. 

The other council members who signed the motion are Bob Blumenfield, Paul Koretz, Mitch O'Farrell, Nury Martinez and Gil Cedillo ...................

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