Index
Tuesday
Nov202012

L.A. CITY HALL: Los Angeles City Council, final approval, 11-4 vote to place one-half cent sales tax increase on March ballot, Mayor Villaraigosa sign-off on measure still pending....****UPDATED: Villaraigosa statement, mayor will return measure to council without signature, seeking new set of reforms....

* Daily News:  "Los Angeles City Council puts sales tax measure before voters" - From the DN:

 

Warning that the Los Angeles Police Department would have lay off police officers without new revenues, the Los Angeles City Council voted today to place a half-percent sales tax increase before voters on March 5.

The council, in an 11-4 vote, agreed to submit the tax hike to voters, if Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa signs off on the measure. It would need a simple majority of voters to approve the measure, which would increase the sales tax to 9.5 percent on all goods sold in L.A.

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. . . . [F]ormer Mayor Richard Riordan, who is pushing a pension reform measure, urged the council to vote against the tax increase. "What Los Angeles needs is more jobs, not more taxes," Riordan said.

Members voting against the proposal included Council members Eric Garcetti and Jan Perry, who are running for mayor, and Councilman Dennis Zine, who is running for city controller. Also opposed was Councilman Mitch Englander. Perry and Zine said they did not believe now was a good time to raise taxes and there are other areas in which the city can save money.

***UPDATED:  Partial text of Villaraigosa press release:

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced today that he will return without signature a City Council election ordinance to place a half-cent sales tax increase on the March 5, 2013 ballot:

"I will not ask the people of Los Angeles to support higher taxes until the City Council makes progress on a set of new reforms that will make us more efficient, accountable and competitive. We must tie new revenue to new reforms.

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“I have proposed a series of measures that will reduce the size of our workforce, embrace new public-private partnerships, and streamline city services. Council President Wesson has indicated a desire to move forward on this reform agenda.

“Now is the time to make the tough choices to reduce our long-term structural deficit. I will be directing the CAO to prepare a budget by January based on present realities, not the hope of new revenue. We will continue to make the hard calls to protect public safety while balancing our budget."

 

Tuesday
Nov202012

POLITICS: California Supreme Court ruling, Los Angeles County, other counties, ordered to pay millions to cities, improper withholding of property tax administrative fees on education money.... 

* Daily News:  "State Supreme Court orders Los Angeles County to pay millions to cities" - From the DN:

Cities across Los Angeles County should have an extra $10 million a year after a state Supreme Court ruling Monday. In a unanimous opinion, the state's top court said the county improperly withheld millions of tax dollars from at least 47 cities and now must pay up. The county, like others in California, charged property tax administrative fees on education money that is exempt from such fees under state law.

Michael Colantuono, the attorney who represented the 47 plaintiff cities, said L.A. County owes municipalities $10 million to $30 million that was improperly withheld in past years. That's in addition to the $10 million a year in the future. Those numbers cover all 88 incorporated cities in Los Angeles County, even those that weren't involved in the case. The 47 plaintiffs will get about half of the money at stake, or $5 million a year.

Statewide, the ruling means a difference of about $40 million a year for cities. "It's significant for the simple reason it affects every city in the state," said Benjamin Fay, an attorney who wrote a friend-of-the-court brief for the League of California Cities. Fay said cities around California, including those in San Mateo County that he represents, had been waiting for the ruling and will be seeking refunds from their counties. Most counties used the same interpretation of law the Supreme Court struck down Monday.

At least in L.A. County, cities won't be getting that money for a while. The two sides first will go back before a judge to argue about whether the refunds go back several years or, as the county will argue, only one year. That ruling isn't expected for months.............

***ALSO:

* Southern California Public Radio:  "CA Supreme Court ruling: LA County overcharged cities by millions"

Tuesday
Nov202012

L.A. CITY HALL: Update, labor demonstration outside LAX, anticipated pre-Thanksgiving traffic jam, union leaders expecting more than 1,000 protesters, complaint against an LAX airport contractor.... 

***Following up on item previously noted here....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Union march outside LAX expected to jam pre-Thanksgiving traffic" - From the LAT:

A huge labor march is expected to snarl traffic around Los Angeles International Airport on Wednesday, just as passengers are arriving and departing for Thanksgiving trips.

The day before Thanksgiving is typically one of the busiest of the year at LAX. People are being advised to arrive at terminals two hours before domestic flights and three hours before international flights, the Los Angeles Police Department said. 

Police said the labor demonstration by the Service Employees Union is expected to last from about 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. . . . . . . . .

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The protest is expected to clog airport entrances on westbound Century Boulevard and northbound Sepulveda Boulevard north of the Sepulveda Tunnel......

Tuesday
Nov202012

SACRAMENTO: Follow-up, more info/details, Sen. Ted Lieu withdrawal of plan for measure to triple vehicle license fees, voter backlash, background/lobbying group support....

* Daily Breeze:  "Ted Lieu withdraws vehicle license fee boost plan after backlash" - From the DB:

That sound you just heard may have been a collective sigh of relief from vehicle owners across the state. Just five days after announcing a controversial proposal to triple vehicle license fees, a South Bay legislator is having a change of heart.

In the wake of backlash that extended from the halls of the Capitol in Sacramento to his district boundaries and even the confines of his own home, state Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Redondo Beach, is backing down from a plan to restore vehicle license fees slashed by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Hundreds of constituents reached out either personally, through his staff, or on social networking sites to oppose the proposal, Lieu said.

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Last week, Lieu told the editorial board of the Los Angeles News Group that the proposal to restore the 2 percent transportation system user fee would generate up to $4 billion annually for roads and public transportation. The fees, which currently stand at 0.65 percent of a vehicle's value, were slashed from 2 percent by Schwarzenegger. If it had been approved by the Legislature, the measure could have gone before voters in November 2014.

Reaction to Lieu's plan was swift and fierce.

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Lieu said he decided on Sunday to rescind the proposal. "I'm trying to be responsive to constituents," Lieu said. "It became clear to me that the best way to be responsive was to undo the proposal."

Lieu crafted the vehicle license tax plan with Transportation California, a lobbying group that includes construction companies and labor unions. On Monday, Executive Director Bert Sandman said the group would still try to push the proposal forward.

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Lieu's proposed vehicle license tax increase was vetted through voter focus groups in Los Angeles and San Diego, starting in the fall of 2011 and stretching through the spring of 2012, Sandman said. "I'm surprised he received so much backlash," he added. "Certainly, infrastructure conditions haven't improved since then."

But the attitude of voters apparently has. Proposition 30, Gov. Jerry Brown's tax initiative aimed at restoring education funding, passed earlier this month. Senior state lawmakers warned against floating another tax hike to voters, Sandman said.

Lieu said he had failed to properly understand the post-election political climate...............

Tuesday
Nov202012

POLITICS: Politico, report, "Rumors Antonio Villaraigosa could add Cabinet to resume".... 

***Two items here, one from an East Coast media perspective and a different take on this from a local Los Angeles journalist....

* Politico:  "Rumors Antonio Villaraigosa could add Cabinet to resume" - From Politico:

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is closely following the most important rule for a potential Cabinet member. Don't pine after the job. But the man with the top job in the nation's second-largest city admits that he, too, hears the secretary rumblings and rumors. "I've heard commerce....transportation. The other day someone congratulated me that I got appointed. I said, 'There's not a job opening, man.'

A Cabinet job or a post with the Democratic National Committee would be just the next step in the mayor's meteoric rise. In fewer than 20 years, he has gone from the California Assembly to a national player. Though he's flattered to see his name among the contenders to replace Ray LaHood at the Department of Transportation or Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz with the DNH, he said he learned long ago to keep his head down and do his work................

***ALSO:

* LA Weekly:  "Antonio Villaraigosa Will Always Be A Rising Star In The Eyes Of The National Media" - From the Weekly:

For some reason, the national media never tires of writing about L.A.'s own "rising star," Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. There were a bunch of stories in that vein when Villaraigosa chaired the Democratic National Convention. And even though he turned in an unsteady, deer-in-the-headlights performance during a contentious floor vote, that hasn't stopped his star from rising in the eyes of the D.C. press.

The latest example is this story in Politico, which is full of the usual speculation about the mayor being appointed to the Obama cabinet.
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But trust us, Politico, that stuff wears off fast. Pretty soon, you wind up with a thin-skinned opportunist who can barely remember his bromide-and-jargon-laden talking points whenever he's forced to give an extemporaneous talk.
None of that, of course, disqualifies him from serving as Secretary of Transportation. He might do an OK job, assuming he's got some staff who can tend to the details. (Governor is another matter, but Jerry Brown seems not to be going anywhere.) But forgive us if we can't get on board with the idea of Villaraigosa as the fresh face of a new America. Been there, done that, ready for something else.