Reporter for the LA Times.
Reporter for the LA Times.
Celebrities fight over elephant's fate at the LA Zoo In a city council committee hearing on Wednesday, there was a heated debate over whether to keep Billy the elephant at the LA Zoo. Some of Billy’s fans want to see him sent to a sanctuary, including singer Cher. But there was also robust support for keeping Billy at the LA Zoo, including from Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash.
The rise and (fast) fall of LA City Council candidate Joe Bray-Ali News recently surfaced that Joe Bray-Ali made offensive comments about black people, overweight people, and trans people getting gender reassignment surgery. Then on Friday, he wrote a Facebook post airing all his dirty laundry. Several groups have rescinded their endorsements of Bray-Ali. He says this scandal distracts from the main issues he has with incumbent Gil Cedillo.
A Mayoral Endorsement Flap The LA City Ethics Commission says it cannot confirm or deny whether there will be an investigation of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office, after an official endorsement went out yesterday of Democratic president candidate Hillary Clinton. That endorsement came from City Hall. And journalists and watchdogs soon pounced, claiming that the Mayor violated city ethics laws by using city infrastructure for the nod.
Labor Asks for a Pass on LA's New Minimum Wage? After eight months of often contentious negotiations, last week LA labor unions helped push through a plan to increase the city's minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020. Now they seem to have pulled an about-face on the position that everyone deserves a living wage. They're asking that businesses with unionized work forces be exempt . Why? How might it affect the final draft of the city's new minimum wage ordinance?
The City of Los Angeles Will Be Raising the Minimum Wage The vote was 14 to 1 today in the LA City Council -- almost unanimous on behalf of working people -- with just one vote for business. All the rest approved raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour by the year 2020. Mike Bonin, who represents most of the Westside, called raising the wage to $15 “the least we can do. It is the very least we can do.” Los Angeles is not the only place where the minimum wage is changing. Today's near-unanimous vote in the City Council is the latest moment in a long process of political change. LA politics used to be the almost exclusive province of business. Not any more, say KCRW reporter Saul Gonzalez, who went inside City Hall.
Rivals Face a Rematch for Valley Council Seat After Tony Cardenas was elected to Congress in 2012, Nury Martinez won a special election to fill out his unexpired term on the LA City Council. She defeated Cindy Montañez — who was the favorite, with backing from Mayor Garcetti and the County Democratic Party. Now, Martinez is running for re-election, and Montañez is the challenger — but the Mayor and the Party have switched sides. This time, they’re backing the incumbent, Nury Martinez. Dakota Smith is covering the race for the Daily News .
Eric Garcetti on His First 100 Days as Mayor of Los Angeles Forget the splashy news conferences, visits to Washington and other high-profile actions. In his first 100 days, Eric Garcetti has been interviewing department heads, getting to know the nuts and bolts of city government—even though he served 12 years in the City Council. A recent poll shows a majority thinks he’s doing a good job—but almost a third don’t know enough to have an opinion. Tonight, we’ll ask the new Mayor about what he’s planning to do and when we’ll see evidence that he’s making a difference.
Two Women Vie for Open Seat on LA City Council Fourteen of the 15 seats on the LA City Council are already filled. Next Tuesday, a special election will fill the final seat, vacated by Tony Cardenas, who's been elected to Congress. The run-off candidates are both former members of the San Fernando City Council. Cindy Montañez later served in the state legislature and at the DWP. Nury Martinez recently left the LA Unified School Board. Dakota Smith of the Daily News has been covering what's become a nasty campaign between former allies.
A Green Political Agenda for City Elections Anti-tax activist Grover Norquist won power and fame by getting Republicans to sign a pledge to never vote for a tax increase. Maybe that’s what environmentalists should try – a pledge. A new study looks at how the city could become a lot greener through the next two mayoral terms… cut carbon emissions, use less water, boost solar and wind, double public transit ridership…and suggests that anyone who wants to get elected mayor or to the city council should sign on. One concern – there’s no dollar figure anywhere in the study. First, New York has one, San Francisco, Philadelphia – big cities that also plan to be sustainable cities. Sustainability means living and working so that the world remains livable for the generations to come. It means cutting carbon emissions that build a warmer climate, using less water, generating less waste, while still ensuring an urban life that offers opportunity and justice. A new study from UCLA – Visions 2021 LA – A model Environmental Sustainability Agenda for Los Angeles’s Next Mayor and City Council. It examines almost a dozen of what it calls ‘goal areas’ – with far ranging green policy prescriptions that would remake the city. And the study advocates asking politicians to sign on – a pledge to actually try to make this work if elected.
Are the NFL and MLB Putting the Squeeze on LA City Hall? Mayor Villaraigosa and members of the Los Angeles City Council have been jumping through hoops to get the National Football League to field a team in downtown Los Angeles. They've made concessions to Phil Anschutz of AEG, the developer of Staples Center and LA Live. But Anschutz himself is driving a hard bargain with the NFL, and the much-ballyhooed $2.15 billion deal for the Dodgers — more than anybody has ever paid for a sports franchise -- could complicate matters still further.
Can a Football Stadium Be 'Environmentally Friendly?' The developer AEG is demanding special relief from state environmental procedures as a condition for building an NFL stadium in downtown LA. It would still have to complete an environmental impact report, and challenges could still be filed in court. But AEG wants to speed up the procedure. The stadium hasn’t been fully approved, but AEG wants action now, before this year’s legislative session ends on Friday.
Bright Lights, Bickering City The City Council took step today to make downtown's Figueroa Corridor look like Tokyo after dark. The Wilshire Grand project, a 45-story hotel and residence building and a 65-story office complex, will feature lighted advertising that changes every four minutes or every eight seconds depending on which floor it's on. Other floors will have streaming text and the floors in between will feature LED lights built into the buildings' surfaces showing giant flowers and vines. The Council approved the plan today 13 to 1, with Westside member Bill Rosendahl the lone dissenter. Today's City Council action overruled the City Planning Commission, which voted unanimously against the architectural lighting plan. Segment image: Colored "architectural LED lighting" that will rise on the upper part of the Wilshire Grand hotel and office project, courtesy of AC Martin
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?
What is Trump's plan for Middle East peace? On his first foreign tour, President Trump has promised "peace" between Israel and the Palestinians. Are there any details for re-starting talks that have been stalled for the past three years?
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.