Tuesday, March 12, 2013

BIG WIN TODAY - LA County Supervisors vote down storm water parcel tax measure


BizFed Leaders,


Today we are pleased to report that the LA County Board of Supervisors voted NOT TO PROCEED with the proposed “Clean Water, Clean Beaches” parcel tax measure.  This is a big victory for the business community, and indeed for all of the diverse stakeholders who ultimately concluded that too many problems remained with the proposal.  BizFed’s Water Quality Parcel Tax Working Group, chaired by Mike Lewis, Construction Industry Coalition on Water Quality, has engaged in months of detailed and painstaking work on this issue.  While we appreciate the good-faith efforts of the Department of Public Works to address our various concerns (and they did make some improvements), far too many problems remained.  (A copy of our talking points are attached, which detail the substantive problems that were never resolved.)

THANK YOU to the broad and diverse group of BizFed members and others who joined with our BizFed Coalition to speak out at hearings, in Supervisors’ offices, in writing, in the press, and on the phone to make sure the voice of the business community was heard!

Here is a summary of the joint motion offered by Supervisors Molina and Knabe and seconded by Supervisor Antonovich, which passed by a 4-1 vote:

·         The Board of Supervisors shall close the Protest Hearing and not proceed with the Clean Water, Clean Beaches Measure at this time.

·         Instructs the LA County Chief Executive Officer to send a letter to the Regional Water Quality Control Board requesting that the Board work with DPW and the cities in the County to educate the public about storm water pollution.

·         Instruct the CEO and DPW to continue to work with the business community, school districts, and non-profits to address their concerns.

·         Direct the CEO to report back regarding the necessary steps the County must take should the Board decide to place this item on a general election ballot, and determine potential future election dates, with the goal of either the June 2014 or November 2014 ballot, to ensure transparency to the public.

·         Instruct DPW to provide the Board with quarterly status reports, the first of which being in 90 days, including the status of the Regional Water Quality Control Board's implementation and enforcement of the MS4 permit and a report of all existing revenues that could be used for storm water pollution compliance.

·         Instruct DPW to designate a staff person within the department to act as the Unincorporated Storm Water Manager, who will report quarterly on storm water compliance in the unincorporated areas.

(Note: Supervisor Antonovich ultimately voted against the motion because he believes storm water cleanup is a federal and state, and not a county, responsibility.)

One key problem with the “Clean Water, Clean Beaches” proposal was the insistence that it be pursued as a Proposition 218 fee, which blocked the County’s ability to develop a more fair, effective, efficient approach.  (For example, existing regulated permit holders, property owners already paying for 100% mitigation, and other categories of property cannot legally be exempted from fees under a Prop 218 process.)  The motion passed today makes it crystal clear that, should anything move forward at a future date, it must go to a general election ballot, which opens the door to more fair, effective, win-win solutions to address storm water pollution.

Please take a moment to thank the LA County Board of Supervisors for their leadership.  Send them each a quick note like this: “I join BizFed in thanking you for stopping the ‘Clean Water, Clean Beaches’ parcel tax from moving forward.  Your show of leadership today protects us from paying for a flawed plan and paves the way for a future, collaborative process to develop a fair and effective solution that could earn the broad support necessary to actually solve the problem.”  Here are their email addresses:

The challenge of complying with regional, state, and federal storm water requirements isn’t going away, and the Board clearly expects continued dialogue seeking to address the problem, so BizFed will continue to stay engaged.  Today’s victory demonstrates the effective voice we can have when the business community stands together.  Congratulations!


Warm Regards,




Tracy Rafter, CEO

BizFed, Los Angeles County Business Federation

818.429.0862 ~ tracy.rafter@bizfed.org


A Grass Roots Alliance of 100 Top LA County Business Groups

Mobilizing Over 185,000 Businesses

LA County _Clean Water, Clean Beaches_ Measure Talking Points - March 12....docx Download this file


Synopsis From Andrew Wolfberg (Member Pacific Palisades Community Council and Land Use Committee).

Land-use zoning may be able to reduce crime in urban areas, study finds

Using zoning laws to shape the type of development and activity that occur in a neighborhood may be one way to reduce crime in urban areas, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

Studying high-crime areas in the city of Los Angeles, researchers found that city blocks that included both residential and commercial zoning purposes experienced less crime than nearby blocks zoned primarily for commercial purposes. Crime was lowest in blocks zoned for residential-only uses, even in relatively high crime neighborhoods.

The study found that single-use commercially zoned blocks in Los Angeles have crime rates that are 45 percent higher than similar blocks that include residential uses.

"At least in the case of a city like Los Angeles, zoning matters -- an important fraction of reported crime is associated with the kind of zoning on a city block," said James M. Anderson, the study's lead author and a behavioral scientist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. "These results suggest both researchers and policymakers should pay more attention to the ways in which zoning and other land-use policies can affect crime."

Policymakers have long debated the effect that city planning and zoning can have on crime. Some experts have urged diverse uses of land in order to create an urban environment that encourages "eyes on the street" to deter crime.

But there has been relatively little objective research designed to test these theories and most of the studies that have occurred have focused on older cities in the eastern United States.

The study by Anderson, co-principal investigator John MacDonald of the University of Pennsylvania and colleagues uses stronger scientific methods than previous studies and focuses on a younger city -- Los Angeles-- that has land-use patterns that are more typical of where urban growth is occurring today. The results are published in the February edition of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review.

Researchers examined the relationship between land-use law, the built environment and crime using detailed block-level crime information from July 2010 to January 2011 and detailed observations about 205 blocks in eight relatively high-crime areas in Los Angeles. In addition, researchers conducted a separate analysis of the relationship between changes in land-use zoning and crime in all neighborhoods in Los Angeles from 1994 to 2010.

The central finding of the study is that blocks in the study area that include both residential and commercial zoning uses experienced less crime than blocks that are zoned for primarily commercial purposes.

Overall, crime was lowest on blocks zoned for residential-only uses, even in relatively high crime neighborhoods. Researchers say the finding suggests that efforts to reduce crime by introducing commercial activities in residential areas are probably misguided.

The study also found that when neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles undergo some change in zoning, mostly toward residential uses, crime drops more than it does in neighborhoods with comparable crime trends before the zoning change. In these cases, crime dropped by about 7 percent on average, mostly as a result of fewer automobile-related property crimes.

This finding is consistent with the apparent crime-reducing effects of residential development that was found in the first study, researchers say.

"Our findings suggest that strategic decisions about zoning could be part of the overall crime prevention strategy in urban areas," MacDonald said. "However, our findings are based on one city and should be replicated by additional studies."

Researchers suggest it would be good to test the study's conclusions with a small-scale experiment in which a limited set of proposed zoning changes could be permitted randomly to see if the benefits of zoning changes reduce crime in neighborhoods.

The city blocks examined in the study were drawn from the communities of Boyle Heights, Highland Park, Hollywood, San Pedro, South Los Angeles, Southeast Los Angeles, West Adams and Westlake.


Support for the study was provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Public Health Law Research program. Other authors of the study are Ricky Bluthenthal of the University of Southern California and J. Scott Ashwood of RAND.

The project was conducted within the RAND Safety and Justice Program, which conducts public policy research on corrections, policing, public safety and occupational safety.

Best Regards,

Full Text:  

AndersonMacdonaldBluthenthalAshwood161U.Pa.L.Rev.699(2013).pdf Download this file

Engage Your Local Government Officials on CEQA Reform

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Recruit your local government officials to sign on to letter in support of CEQA modernization

CEQA Working Group Coalition: 


The road to accomplishing meaningful CEQA modernization this year will be tough and engaging support from local government officials will be critical. Today we are asking for your help in this regard. 


We have put together an open letter to the Governor and Legislature in support of CEQA modernization and are in the process of gathering endorsements from local government officials from all over the state. 


Please reach out city council members, mayors, county supervisors and other local officials in your area today and encourage them to sign on to the letter. 


We have dedicated a page on our website to make this easy. 


Read the letter here and share this link:  http://bit.ly/Z6p1Yr


Thanks for your continued partnership and support.  



This email was sent to will@aialosangeles.org by afrew@bcfpublicaffairs.com |  
CEQA Working Group | 1121 L Street, #803 | Sacramento | CA | 95814

AIA|LA Breakfast Reception w/ MARTIN CAVERLY - Friday, March 15 (8am - 9:30am)

We have a few extra seats available for our upcoming breakfast reception w/ Martin Caverly.  

the tenth annual AIA|LA Breakfast Series
Chief Executive Officer, EVOQ PROPERTIES 
Friday, March 15 (8:00 - 9:30am)
333 South Hope Street, 16th Floor
Los Angeles, CA  90071


The 2013 AIA|LA CITY LEADERS BREAKFAST SERIES serves as an opportunity for architects & designers and other community stakeholders to meet directly with key individuals transforming Los Angeles in a roundtable setting to discuss innovative ideas that will ensure a healthy, sustainable and economically competitive future.  


Mr. Caverly is a seasoned real estate private equity investor with over 20 years of direct and platform real estate investing experience. Prior to joining EVOQ Properties, Mr. Caverly founded a real estate consulting, advisory, and principal investing firm, 2120 Partners, focused on fundraising, operational and investing strategies for existing real estate platforms and institutional and high net worth investors. Mr. Caverly was previously a Principal at O’Connor Capital Partners where he opened and headed all West Coast operations for the firm. Mr. Caverly also held senior positions with Security Capital Group in Chicago and Tishman Speyer in London where he was the head of European acquisitions for Tishman’s core and opportunistic funds. While in London, Mr. Caverly cofounded Centric Telecom, a real estate technology company sponsored by Goldman Sachs and Providence Equity Partners. Mr. Caverly began his career at Citigroup Real Estate in New York. Mr. Caverly holds a BA from Harvard University and received his MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management. Mr. Caverly is a frequent panel speaker and an active member of numerous real estate organizations.

The 2013 AIA|LA CITY LEADERS BREAKFAST SERIES serves as an opportunity for architects & designers and other community stakeholders to meet directly with key individuals transforming Los Angeles in a roundtable setting to discuss innovative ideas that will ensure a healthy, sustainable and economically competitive future.  

On various Thursday or Friday mornings (8am - 9:30am) in 2013.  

Locations vary, depending on when and who the specific speaker is.  Typically, we host these breakfast receptions at various architecture firms around town.  We've also hosted specific receptions at the City Club or the California Club, as well.

The monthly breakfast receptions serve as a leadership forum to discuss issues relevant to improving the built and natural environment of the city in areas relating to economic development, energy and water conservation, open space, architecture, urban design and land-use policy. 

Past speakers have included Los Angeles Council Members, California State Senators, Assembly Members, General Managers, Deputy Mayors, School Superintendents and leading Developers among many notable others.  

The 2013 AIA|LA City Leaders Breakfast Series

a.     Jim Jacobsen – Founding Partner, Industry Partners

      March 8 (8am) :: Clive Wilkinson Architects 

b.     Martin Caverly – CEO, EVOQ Properties

      March 15 (8am) :: Alston & Bird LLP

c.     Randy Johnson – Executive Vice President, Brookfield Residential

Friday, May 10 (8am) :: Location TBD

d.     Janet Marie Smith – Sr. VP, Planning & Development, Los Angeles Dodgers

      Thursday, May 16 (8am) :: Dodger Stadium

e.     Christopher Rising – President & COO, Rising Realty Partners

                        Thursday, May 23 (8am) :: Johnson Fain

f.      Jim Cowell, PE – Vice President, Facilities, CalTech

                        June 7 (8am) :: Rios Clementi Hale Studios

g.     Martha Welborne, FAIA – Executive Director, Countywide Planning, METRO

      November 1 (8am) :: Location TBD

h.     Wayne Ratkovich - President & CEO, The Ratkovich Company

                        November 15 (8am) :: Location TBD

i.      Michael Govan – Director, LACMA

      date tbd

Limited Capacity.  Register Early! - TO REGISTER TO ATTEND, PLEASE CLICK HERE.

Very truly yours,

Will Wright, Hon. AIA|LA
Director, Government and Public Affairs
The American Institute of Architects // Los Angeles

3780 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 800
Los Angeles, CA 90010
213.639.0764  phone
213.639.0767  fax

Thursday, March 7, 2013

LA City Billboard and Visual Landscape Visioning Group

Visioning Group members,

We're looking forward to seeing you for our third and final meeting on Thursday! Attached are the notes from our most recent meeting, along with other input we received during and after the meeting. The attached PDF includes:

- Notes on your input from the three discussion rounds
- Notes on public comments at the close of the meeting
- Compilation of Post-It Notes posted in the Rotunda lobby
- E-mails and letters we received after the meeting
- A study, forwarded by Jacqueline Kerr, on digital signs and traffic safety

The PDF is bookmarked to help you navigate through it. 

The meeting this Thursday will be from 9 am - 11 am in the same place, City Hall room 525, Rotunda Conference Room. Since the meeting will be during regular business hours, we unfortunately won't have free refreshments for you, but there is a cafe on the 2nd floor where you can get coffee, pastries, etc. If you need parking and have not already sent me your car information, please do so by noon tomorrow (Wednesday). 

Thanks very much, and see you Thursday!

Daisy Mo
City Planning Associate
City of Los Angeles Department of City Planning
200 N. Spring St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Meeting 2 Notes and Other Input.pdf Download this file

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

San Pedro Community Plan Staff Recommendation Report

Thank you for your participation in the San Pedro Community Plan Update process. Attached, please find a copy of the Staff Recommendation Report for the upcoming City Planning Commission meeting on Thursday, March 14, 2013. You are receiving this report because you are on our interested parties list. Thank you for your continued interest in the San Pedro Community Plan.

The report includes revisions to the proposed plan that was presented at the public hearing. To access the accompanying exhibits, please visit the Los Angeles Department of City Planning website at http://sites.google.com/site/sanpedrocommunityplan select the link to Click here for CPC Documents listed under the “What’s New!” section of the website.

We invite you to attend the City Planning Commission meeting, which will take place after 8:30am on March 14, 2013, after 8:30 a.m. at the Boys and Girls Club, 100 W. 5th Street, San Pedro, CA 90731. If you have any questions, please contact Debbie Lawrence via email at debbie.lawrence@lacity.org or by phone at (213) 978-1163.

Staff report San Pedro 3.14.13.pdf Download this file

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

City of Los Angeles Procurement Matchmaking Event -- March 21

Hello, Businesses 

The Mayor's Office of Contractor Relations and the Office of Small Business invites you and your members to participate in a City Sponsored Procurement Matchmaking Event on March 21 from 12 noon to 5pm at the Roy A. Anderson Recreation Center in the Expo Center. This event is open to public agencies and private companies who buy and sell commodities and services.

Please register at the following site   http://bit.ly/TH0Oce.

Registration will close on March 15th.  If you are matched to a buyer/supplier you will receive your schedule by close of business March 18th.   If you are not matched, please feel free to come as there will be agencies and service providers in the exhibition area.  If you would like exhibition space please contact Kecia Washington at kecia.washington@lacity.org.

Please make sure to indicate the NAIC codes and descriptive words for the commodities/services you are seeking or offering.

Registration opens at 11:00 am

We will schedule the appointments for 15 minute increments from 1 to 4:30 pm. Parking is provided and there will be food trucks outside.

Please contact Kecia via email if any questions.

3-21-13 Matchmaking Flyer.pdf Download this file

Monday, March 4, 2013

City of LA Election Day is Tomorrow, March 5th-- Michelle’s Awesome City of LA Voter Guide

2013 City of LA Voter Guide.pdf Download this file

-Will Wright, Hon. AIA|LA

-------- Original message --------
Subject:City of LA Election Day is Tomorrow, March 5th-- Michelle’s Awesome City of LA Voter Guide
From:Michelle Garakian <mgarakian@gmail.com>

Hi all, 

So tomorrow, March 5th,  is election day for the City of LA municipal elections. I've essentially sent this to my entire database which is most comprised mostly of locals, though some friendzies abroad or in other cities my receive this. (If you'd like me to forever remove your name from the listserv for this guide, let me know) Anyways, I hope that if you live in the city of LA you will go and vote tomorrow. Unfortunately, less than 30% of registered voters in LA determine an election. 

To that end, please find attached and below my recommended voter guide for tomorrow's municipal elections. Feel free to use it or not. Most importantly, just go vote!!

Yours Truly,
Michelle Garakian

P.S.- Polling places are open from 7am-8pm tomorrow. If you don't know your polling station, go here and look it up: http://www.lavote.net/locator/


Michelle’s Awesome LA Voter Guide

March 5, 2013


Heyo! And we’re back. Have you received like a billion political mailers in your mailbox in the past two weeks?  Then you live in LA and we have a big ‘ole election coming up next week on Tuesday, March 5th. To be clear, next week are the primaries and the general election is May 21st. What does that mean? For example, there are many candidates running to be Mayor of LA. Next week, your votes will determine the top two contenders. There will be a brief period where you will receive many more mailers, people knocking at your door at dinnertime and a barrage of commercials, and then you’ll return to the polls on May 21st to determine the winner. The same goes for those City Council districts that have a large candidate pool.  


On to the more important question you may be asking yourself: Why should I give a shit about this election? There are eight City Council seats open, an election to select a City Attorney, City Controller, multiple LAUSD School Board seats, the LA Community College Board of Trustees, a ballot measure and of course, a Mayoral contest. Essentially, there are some big decisions to be made and by not paying attention to these seemingly unimportant elections could result in a crappy person representing your district. You don’t want that. 


As you know, this voter guide has become somewhat of a tradition and who am I to ruin Christmas. People will disagree with me. To that end, I encourage you to do your own research. Also, this voter guide will not be weighing in on the school board races (though, I like Monica Garcia in district 2) nor the LA Community College Board of Trustee races (also I favor Tom Oliver for District 6). There are a lot of publications out there with endorsement slates such as the LA Times, Downtown News, LA Sentinel, etc. Do some comparisons and determine which candidate appeals to you.  Lastly, this guide took me forever to do.  I actually finished the damn thing last night and my computer crashed causing me to lose half the data, arg!!! If you do pass it on, give me props and feel free to forward the guide, post on facebook, link to twitter, et al.  

Mayor: Eric Garcetti

For those that know me, I’ve been hyping this dude since 2006. I’ve worked in or adjacent to city government for a long time and during this time, I’ve had the pleasure of working with Eric Garcetti and his office on a variety of exciting and bold policies for the City of LA. During his six year tenure as City Councilor and President of the City Council, he’s championed funding for the Affordable Housing to help folks gain access to more workforce housing in LA and spearheaded various environmental initiatives from the largest Green Building ordinance in the nation to recently help pass the largest urban solar program in the nation, the Solar Feed-in Tariff.

These are some of the big picture things I can point to, but everyday he is working tirelessly to improve the quality of life for Angelenos by working to create more parks in the city, or after school programs in his district or limit gang activity or create more municipal oversight such as working on needed pension reform. He’s also created more access to City Government by empowering members of his community through leadership programs and local neighborhood councils. As a business advocate, he’s working towards eliminating bureaucracy around permitting and building in the city as well as attempting to eliminate gross receipts taxes for local businesses. All and all, he gets shit done and the LA Times thinks so too because they endorsed him for Mayor. He’s also got the endorsement of Sierra Club and National Organization for Women (NOW), which is telling with two women in the race.


This city is a unique period in its existence. Communities are becoming revitalized and walkable. Biking and public transportation are prioritized and used. We’re brimming with cutting edge art and exciting events that bring people together and unite communities around good causes. It’s really exciting to live here because things are happening very organically. We need a mayor who is an innovative and intellectual thinker; someone who can harness all this goodness and capitalize on it. We all see the change, but in order to keep the momentum, we need to ensure we’re moving in the right direction. There are some excellent candidates in the race to become LA’s next Mayor, but only Eric Garcetti is poised to lead the way forward.


 City Controller:  Indifferent

The City Controller has the ability to identify waste fraud and abuse and audit a department but has little authority to follow up. In fact, the Council moved to implement a rate payer advocate which undermined the position of the controller but also showed how sometimes totally irrelevant this position is. I guess it’s good to have a controller for the city however it really depends on the personality. Laura Chick was feared and admired because she handled business and put everybody on blast. None of the candidates in this race has inspired me to take a position. The LA Times and others endorse Ron Galprin and lots of unions support Dennis Zine.  Galprin seems better than the two to me but eh...


City Attorney: Mike Feuer

This is a total no brainer. Prior to entering into public office, Mike Feuer ran Bet Tzedek Legal Services, one of the nation's most highly regarded providers of legal services to the poor. He served as City Councilor of LA many years ago and has most recently finished a stint as a State Assemblymember where he has championed transportation, public safety and environmental policies. He’s tough, smart and a great negotiator, just the person LA needs to navigate the tough waters ahead. I’ve had the pleasure of working with his office for many years and it has continually been a rewarding experience to work with an elected official who remains dedicated, humble and has the tenacity to get the job done without sacrificing his integrity.


Los Angeles City CouncilOh, you don’t know what district you are in? Go here put your address in the Neighborhood Resources line and voila, all the info you need at your disposal.


CD 1: Jose Gardea

Ok. This is my council district and I’m pretty hyped on this race because it’ll directly impact my neighborhood. Gardea has acted as chief of staff to City Councilmember Ed Reyes for many years. He has first-hand knowledge of this district from helping constituents balance communities through improved housing, transportation infrastructure, increased public safety and more green space. Both Gardea and Reyes have a great reputation in City Council on smart planning and environmental measures like revitalizing the LA River to a world class recreation area.  Cedillo may have the support of everybody and his mother but I don’t see any community support for him and that is very telling. Lastly and most importantly to me and my neighborhood,  Gardea has firmly come out against the Barlow Hospital Development in Elysian Park which would put almost 900 units of housing in Elysian Park with no plan for parking or transportation options. It’s gross to even consider this large of a project in one of the city’s most amazing urban parks. Gardea is the best guy for CD 1.


CD 3: Bob Blumenfield

This one is also a no brainer. Bob Blumenfield was Chief of Staff for the well respected though recently defeated Congressmember Howard Berman. Together, they represented this part of the valley with much aplomb. Blumenfield decided to step out and run for CA Assembly and he did a terrific job focusing on budget cutting in Sacramento. As a long time environmentalist he will be good for this usually conservative district which balks at any environmental overtures. He’s supported by the LA Times and the Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters. He’s your man if you live in this district.   


CD 5: Paul Koretz

Koretz is a good guy on the city council. In all my dealings with his office since the beginning of his tenure, he has revealed himself an honest broker with the best intentions of the city and his district. He vehemently supports and advocates for animal welfare issues and environmental policies and initiatives. He enjoys a lot of city wide support from business, labor, community and press, etc.   


CD 7: Felipe Fuentes, I guess

I’m not really jazzed on this guy but nobody else of substance is running in this district.


CD 9: Staying out of this race till after the primaries

There are like a million people running in this race. I’m going to stand by and let the voters determine who should be in the run off then make a decision. Though, I am leaning towards Dave Roberts. He was just recently endorsed by the LA Times and I’m sure will get a lot more love after the primaries.


CD 11: Mike Bonin

Mike Bonin is a good successor to popular City Councilmember Bill Rosendahl. He’s been a chief aide to Rosendahl for almost 8 years and knows this district like a baby knows its mom. He cares a lot about the environment, hence the Sierra Club endorsement, and works hard to ensure that district concerns are being addressed in detail. I have enjoyed working with him and his office over the course of my career and know he would do right by the residents and businesses of his district. 


CD 13: Matt Szabo

Like CD 9 there are A LOT of folks running to represent this district. I mean A LOT. If you live in this district, I can’t imagine the amount of mailers you are getting in one day, probably enough to reconstitute a redwood in your backyard. There are a lot of great candidates running in this race, from Mitch O’Farrell to Josh Post to Emile Mack to Alex DeCampo and John Choi. All have certain traits and qualities that would make a good councilmember but I think Matt Szabo is head and shoulders above them all. For the past eight years, Matt has been the braintrust at City Hall. He has mediated and negotiated some of the most pressing issues this city has faced. He has been paramount to the effort to reach the city’s renewable goals by 2020. He has spearheaded important public safety and affordable housing initiatives and worked towards syncing the city’s traffic lights. He’s a strong, behind-the-scenes player with a reputation for being both respected and feared. Most importantly he is incredibly tenacious. If he says he is going to do something, it will happen and then some. And trust me, this comes in handy when advocating for your district. Garcetti has worked tireless to make this district terrific but we need to continue the momentum. Matt has the clout and know how to bring real and lasting changes to CD 13 like expanding transit opportunities and creating more open space while keeping a keen focus on the little things that make this district great.


CD 15: Joe Buscaino

Joe is a good guy. He was just elected in a special election last year when long time Councilwoman Janice Hahn moved on to the US Congress. Since being elected in an underdog race, he’s really picked up the ropes. Further, he’s exercised a nice degree of independence which is always refreshing.  He needs a bit more time to grow into this position.  


Prop A:  Half cent sales tax increase- Hmmmm…

So this one is really a toughie. The organization that I work for is supporting it because it does not put the tax burden on business alone and it will maintain standards of public safety that have helped keep crime rates low in the city. However, the breadth of mayoral and council candidates opposes this. Though, it may be due to political jockeying rather than true intent, given that said candidates would have a huge budget monkey off their back when they assume public office if this measure passes. There are two issues at hand: One is that most of the city revenue goes towards public safety, approximately 70% I think, so with looming deficits in the next two years, there will be a major impact to the LAPD and LAFD and cuts to needed repairs and maintenance. Two, is the issue of union negotiations. The LA Times states it better than I, “A related problem with the timing of Proposition A is that the generous 2007 contracts with public employee unions expire next year, setting up a crucial round of negotiations. As Santana's budget projections show, the city's labor costs — particularly its obligations on pensions and retiree healthcare — are likely to cause deficits even if voters raise the sales tax; the shortfalls two, three and four years from now are expected to be up to 50% larger than the one in the coming year. By filling the short-term hole in the city budget, a tax hike now would dim the prospects of city leaders seeking, let alone winning, the concessions from unions on pay and benefits that the city badly needs for the long term.” In a nutshell, this proposition is a half-assed short term solution that will barely put the city in the black for fewer than two years, then we’re back to larger deficits. Unless we deal intelligently with pension reform, we’ll continue to face this problem. I will most likely vote no on this issue but you may value the quality of public safety in this city and see this measure as a way to stave off machete-sized cuts.