Index
Thursday
Jan022014

L.A. CITY HALL: Pay raise for Los Angeles city employees, 5.5% effective January 1, total of 24.5% since 2007: "L.A. city employees receive last in a costly series of raises"; also, "Los Angeles city workers getting 5.5 percent pay raises"....

* Los Angeles Times:  "L.A. city employees receive last in a costly series of raises" - "Los Angeles city employees get a 5.5% raise, part of a 24.5% increase since 2007 under a contract city leaders came to regret." - From the LAT:

At least 13,000 Los Angeles city employees received a 5.5% raise Wednesday, the final piece of a salary agreement that became a major financial burden during the recent economic downturn. The pay hike means a majority of workers with the Coalition of L.A. City Unions, which represents non-public-safety employees such as clerks, gardeners and mechanics, have received increases totaling 24.5% since 2007, according to city budget officials.

Wednesday's raise sets the stage for a new round of salary talks between city leaders and the coalition, whose contract expires this summer. Those negotiations will pose a major test for Mayor Eric Garcetti, who campaigned as a leader who would show independence from special interests and City Hall unions. The coalition — made up of six separate unions — backed Garcetti's opponent, former City Controller Wendy Greuel, in last year's mayoral election.

In April, as he unveiled his final budget plan, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called on the coalition to give up the 5.5% raise, saying such a move would save the city $108 million during the current fiscal year. Coalition leaders refused to budge on the Jan. 1 pay increase, saying money for the raise was available in a special fund in Villaraigosa's budget. City Council members, including Garcetti, soon acknowledged that city leaders had no leverage to force such a concession, because the raise was part of a binding agreement backed by Villaraigosa and elected officials..........................

* Daily News:  "Los Angeles city workers getting 5.5 percent pay raises" - From the DN:

Despite the city’s shaky fiscal outlook, most Los Angeles city workers received pay raises this fiscal year, with the latest round of wage hikes set to take effect on January 1.

About 13,000 full-time city employees, a group that includes trash collectors, street repair workers and tree trimmers, will receive a 5.5 percent raise at the start of the new year. Combined with other raises over the years, their pay has risen 24.5 percent since 2007. Former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa negotiated the raises, increases he later called a mistake given the economic downturn. Last year, he asked city leaders to renegotiate the raises, a proposal ignored by the unions..........................

Wednesday
Jan012014

SACRAMENTO: 2014, election year politics, commentary (Dan Walters): "An election year with some certainties and some uncertainties"....

* Sacramento Bee (Dan Walters):  "An election year with some certainties and some uncertainties" - From the Bee:

The new year is an election year – by no means the most important one in California history, but one that has interesting and perhaps significant aspects. We can be certain about some outcomes.

We know, for instance, that Democrats will retain control of the Legislature and the state’s congressional delegation. We are reasonably certain that Gov. Jerry Brown will be re-elected to a fourth term, and that his fellow Democrats will continue to dominate other statewide offices.

But within those parameters, there is some uncertainty. . . . . . . . .

The possibility that Republicans may rebound in legislative elections creates another uncertainty – whether Democratic leaders will employ their supermajorities this year before they lose the clout. . . . . . . . .

Speaking of which, the current leaders, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, must both step down this year due to term limits, and there’s great uncertainty about who will succeed them. Personal ambitions, geographic balance and a huge number of first-termers in the Assembly are factors.

There’s also a chance that Republicans could pick up a congressional seat or two this year, when voter turnout is likely to be much lower than it was in 2012, a presidential election year. And there’s a possibility, albeit an outside one, that Republicans could see a comeback at the state level with Pete Peterson, who’s running for secretary of state.

The biggest election action, in terms of money and other campaign implements, will likely be found in ballot measures.........................

Wednesday
Jan012014

POLITICS (National, International, Local): Los Angeles Times editorial, "Our 2014 resolutions for OTHER people"....

 Los Angeles Times (editorial):  "Our 2014 resolutions for other people" - "An optimistic list: New Year's resolutions we'd like to see our leaders adopt." - From the LAT:

As the New Year begins, hopeful signs abound that the U.S. economy is finally getting its mojo back. Employers are creating jobs at a faster pace, more houses are being built than at any point in the last five years, consumer spending is rising — the signs are promising enough for the Federal Reserve to start tapering off its extraordinary efforts to stimulate the economy.

Which is not to say that everything is going swimmingly, either at home or abroad. Far too many Americans remain unemployed. Major, divisive issues, such as immigration and climate change, remain to be addressed. Much of the Middle East and Africa remains in turmoil, Europe is still struggling with excessive sovereign debt and sluggish economies, and North Korea continues to be North Korea.

Nevertheless, we resolve to remain hopeful about the coming year, at least until another nasty election season gets under way. In that spirit of optimism, we have some New Year's resolutions that we'd like to see adopted by our leaders and even our readers.

Congress: . . . . . . . .

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President Obama: . . . . . . . .

The U.S. Supreme Court: . . . . . . . .

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Pope Francis: . . . . . . . .

Hollywood: . . . . . . . .

Los Angeles County residents: . . . . . . . .

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca: . . . . . . . .

Councilman Jose Huizar: . . . . . . . .

The Los Angeles Unified school board................................

Wednesday
Jan012014

L.A. CITY HALL: Report/analysis, Mayor Eric Garcetti, first six months in office, "low-key cool": "Eric Garcetti brings change in style to L.A. mayor's job"....

* Daily News (Rick Orlov):  "Eric Garcetti brings change in style to L.A. mayor's job" - From the DN:

In his first six months in office, Mayor Eric Garcetti has brought a low-key cool to the job that presents a sharp contrast to the heat and flash of his predecessor, Antonio Villaraigosa. While every news conference was a major happening for Villaraigosa, Garcetti has steered away from such events and proclamations. Instead, Garcetti seems more comfortable with often letting others get the notice.

“I think the most successful mayors have to be their own person,” Garcetti said in a recent City Hall interview. “It is not a rejection of who was before you, but I am being who I am. I am not hearing, ‘Oh, you’re so boring.’ I hear a lot of ‘Thank God, you are who you are.’ That’s important to me.”

 

Villaraigosa came at a time when expectations of him were high and he tried to live up to them, Garcetti said. “What I take very seriously is the promises I made,” Garcetti said. “You only have two critical moments when you’re mayor: What you promise to do and who you hire to do that.” To achieve that, Garcetti has devoted much of his first months to interviewing department heads, replacing a handful and now moving on to governing the city.

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Garcetti has not shied away from controversy, taking on the Department of Water and Power union. . . . . . . .

 

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In the coming year, Garcetti said he expects to lead trade delegations to Asia and Latin America.

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He also hopes to bring a new dynamic to the city’s budgeting process, using a performance-based system. “We want them to not just continue what they’re doing, but look at what our priorities should be,” Garcetti said.

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The biggest challenge Garcetti faces is whether the economy can continue to come back ........................

Tuesday
Dec312013

SACRAMENTO: Sen. Ron Calderon, Tom Calderon, Yes We Can, Latino Caucus political action committee: "California Latino Caucus closes one of iots fundraising PACs"; also, "Political committee is shutting down after Calderon controversy".... 

* Sacramento Bee:  "California Latino Caucus closes one of its fundraising PACs" - From the Bee:

The Legislature's Latino Caucus is ringing in the new year by severing ties to a political action committee that has attracted the attention of the FBI.

Yes We Can, one of two political fundraising accounts affiliated with the Latino Caucus, filed papers declaring its termination today, the last day of 2013. The PAC began the year by making a $25,000 contribution on January 2 to a nonprofit group run by a brother of Sen. Ron Calderon, the Montebello Democrat who is the subject of a federal corruption investigation.

The contribution is described in a 124-page FBI affidavit that alleges Calderon took $88,000 in bribes from an undercover agent and a hospital executive. The affidavit suggests that the Latino Caucus PAC made the $25,000 contribution to Calderon's brother's group to settle a dispute between Calderon and state Sen. Ricardo Lara over who would chair the powerful caucus.

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The contribution to Tom Calderon's nonprofit was the only "civic donation" that Yes We Can has ever made, according to its campaign finance filings.................

 

* Los Angeles Times (PolitiCal):  "Political committee is shutting down after Calderon controversy" - From the LAT:

SACRAMENTO -- A political committee tied to the California Legislature's Latino caucus is shutting down after drawing controversy for one of its donations.

The group, called Yes We Can, notified state officials on Tuesday that it plans to end operations. It attracted scrutiny from federal and state authorities after allegations were made that it transferred $25,000 to a nonprofit, Californians for Diversity, to resolve a leadership dispute within the Latino caucus. The nonprofit is tied to Tom Calderon, the brother of Sen. Ron Calderon (D-Montebello), who stepped down as caucus vice chair and paved the way for Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) to take over............