Index
Wednesday
Jul102013

L.A. CITY HALL: Los Angeles World Airports, preliminary response, controller's audits, LAX modernization project: "Airport officials take issue with auditors' findings about LAX construction".... 

***Following up on earlier item noted here (LAX, controller audits, criticism, management, modernization project)....

* Daily Breeze:  "Airport officials take issue with auditors' findings about LAX construction" - From the DB:

Los Angeles World Airports officials pushed back Tuesday against charges by auditors that airport executives underestimated the number of construction change orders that would be required to complete the new Tom Bradley International Terminal. Given the project's compressed schedule, officials said, such changes were expected.

The audit, released last month by the Los Angeles City Controller's Office, found that the high number of change orders -- essentially unforeseen construction costs -- have made it difficult for airport executives to effectively manage the $1.9 billion international terminal project at Los Angeles International Airport.

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Officials were also accused of not allowing the city's Board of Airport Commissioners to properly weigh in on construction issues. They took issue with that charge Tuesday as well.

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An LAX spokeswoman noted the responses are preliminary and that final responses will be delivered to the City Controller's Office by July 22.............

Wednesday
Jul102013

L.A. CITY HALL: Los Angeles Fire Department/Los Angeles Board of Fire Commissioners, criticism, ambulance service arrangement with L.A. Dodgers: "Fire commissioners criticize LAFD's ambulance deal with Dodgers"....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Fire commissioners criticize LAFD's ambulance deal with Dodgers" - From the LAT:

A draft contract for the Los Angeles Fire Department to continue providing medical care at Dodger Stadium came under criticism from fire commissioners after department officials disclosed that the arrangement has required shifting on-duty units from other areas and will ask taxpayers to foot part of the bill.

Since spring, the LAFD has stationed three ambulances at Dodgers home games to provide medical care. The department planned to prevent the city from paying the cost by staffing the units with off-duty firefighters who volunteered to be paid overtime by the Dodgers. However, fire officials said Tuesday they have reassigned on-duty firefighters from other parts of the city for 13 games because of a lack of volunteers. They also reported that the terms of a draft agreement hammered out with the Dodgers would cover only the time firefighters spend at the stadium, leaving the city to pay for moving the units to and from the team’s home in Chavez Ravine.

Several fire commissioners, including board President Genethia Hudley-Hayes, were swift to criticize the draft, suggesting that the board would not approve the deal until the Fire Department strikes more favorable terms. "As much as we love the Dodgers, it is a commercial venture,” said Commissioner Alan J. Skobin. “If they can spend $20 million for a player, I don't see why we're being nickel-and-dimed."

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The contract’s total cost to the city had not been calculated; but fire officials defended the arrangement, arguing that serving the stadium’s large crowds -- which can swell to greater than 50,000 -- are part of the department’s mission...........

Wednesday
Jul102013

L.A. CITY HALL: Los Angeles City Council redistricting, litigation, Wesson, Parks, allegations, "too many Mexicans": "Memo alleges race was discussed in L.A. council district mapmaking"....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Memo alleges race was discussed in L.A. council district mapmaking" - From the LAT:

A high-level staffer to Los Angeles City Councilman Bernard C. Parks has alleged that an aide to Council President Herb Wesson dismissed a plan for redrawing political boundaries by saying it would put “too many Mexicans” into Wesson’s council district.

Parks’ son and chief of staff, Bernard Parks Jr., said in a memo that Wesson deputy Deron Williams made the statement last year during protracted behind-the-scenes negotiations over new council boundaries for two South Los Angeles council districts. In his memo, Parks Jr. said that in January 2012 he discussed an alternative map for Council Districts 8 and 10, which are represented by Parks and Wesson respectively, with Wesson's staff. Parks Jr. said the alternative plan was dropped in early February, after Williams told him “there were too many Mexicans” in an area that would have been assigned to Wesson's district.

“I informed [Williams] that [Parks’ office] would not have any part of drawing district lines based solely on race,” Parks Jr. wrote. “He said something about the need [for Wesson's district] to remain a ‘black seat.’”

The memo was posted on Parks' city website earlier this year, along with other redistricting documents. Attorney Leo Terrell, who is representing six L.A. residents suing over the redistricting process, called a news conference Wednesday to discuss the "too many Mexicans" allegations.

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Wesson spokesman Ed Johnson had no comment on either the memo or the lawsuit. . . . . . . .

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Parks Jr. also said in his memo that Mayor Eric Garcetti, while serving on the City Council, told him that Wesson was trying to increase the number of black voters in his district. During that conversation, Garcetti said that issues were being handled "in more of a transactional way" with Wesson as president, Parks Jr. said. Garcetti spokesman Yusef Robb said the mayor has no comment.

Tuesday
Jul092013

POLITICS (National): Detroit, dire financial crisis, last-ditch effort to avoid largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, report, analysis: "Financial Crisis Just a Sympton of Detroit's Woes".... 

* New York Times:  "Financial Crisis Just a Sympton of Detroit's Woes" - From the NYT:

DETROIT — A question unimaginable in most major American cities is utterly commonplace in this one: If you suddenly found yourself gravely ill, injured or even shot, would you call 911? Many people here say the answer is no. Some laugh at the odds of an ambulance appearing promptly, if ever. In Detroit, people map out alternative plans instead, enlisting a relative or a friend.

As officials negotiate urgently with creditors and unions in a last-ditch effort to spare Detroit from plunging into the largest municipal bankruptcy in the nation’s history, residents say the city has worse problems than its estimated $18 billion debt. "The city is past being a city now; it’s gone,” said Kendrick Benguche, whose family lives on a block with a single streetlight, just down from a vacant firehouse that sits beside a burned-out home. The Detroit police’s average response time to calls for the highest-priority crimes this year was 58 minutes, officials now overseeing the city say. The department’s recent rate of solving cases was 8.7 percent, far lower, the officials acknowledge, than clearance rates in cities like Pittsburgh, Milwaukee and St. Louis.

“I guess I’ll be glad if someone else takes over and other people run this thing,” Mr. Benguche said. “The way I look at it, the city is already bankrupt.”

Kevyn D. Orr, the state-appointed emergency financial manager for Detroit, has said that the chances of filing for bankruptcy, a possibility that could be decided as early as this month, stand at 50-50. . . . . . . . .

The prospect of a bankruptcy filing — a move that is extremely rare for cities and one that has never happened to an American city as populous as Detroit, with about 700,000 people — worries some residents. They say they fear that bankruptcy would add more stigma to a city that has contracted alarmingly in the decades since it was the nation’s fourth largest, starting in the 1920s, and that it might worsen already bare-bones services................

Tuesday
Jul092013

MORNING MEMOS: State Senate District 16, special election, commentary (Dan Walters), "Legislative edge hinges on election"; update, San Bernardino bankruptcy, CalPERS objections; San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, delayed opening of new eastern span, legislative reaction....

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

* Sacramento Bee (Dan Walters):  "Legislative edge hinges on election"

* Los Angeles Times (PolitiCal):  "Lawmakers frustrated by delay in Bay Bridge span opening"

* San Bernardino Sun:  "San Bernardino seeks ruling to end dispute over bankruptcy eligibility"