New order. From the airports to the zoo, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti is following through on a campaign pledge to require the heads of all city departments to reapply for their jobs.
Garcetti says his goal is productivity, not politics. And the new mayor says he’s keeping an open mind. But he acknowledged yesterday that some of the city’s 37 current department heads probably will not keep their jobs.
Garcetti told KCRW that he’ll ask department heads to present him with a list of goals. The focus, he said, will be on making better use of technology and improving customer service.
“Government needs to be in your palm, it needs to be at your front door and it needs to be trackable,” Garcetti said. “It’s something that customers and constituents deserve, and it’s their taxpayer money after all.”
During his campaign, Garcetti was critical of the leadership of the Department of Recreation and Parks. He says he’ll be taking a hard look at that department, as well as the Department of Water and Power and the Fire Department. L.A. Daily News
Crash details. Federal investigators are providing more information about the final seconds of Asiana Flight 214, which crashed at San Francisco International Airport Sunday. But one thing that remains a mystery is why the pilots didn’t react sooner to avert disaster. Attention has focused on the fact that the plane was coming in too low and too slow. But investigators also want to know why the pilots didn’t talk to one another in the moments leading up to the crash. Cockpit voice recordings show the co-pilots didn’t communicate until just two seconds before the plane hit a sea wall, broke apart and spun across the runway. The four pilots have been holding joint interviews with American and Korean investigators. CNN
Prison protest. As many as 30,000 California prison inmates refused food yesterday – joining a protest organized by prisoners at the high-security Pelican Bay penitentiary. It’s unclear if the action will turn into a full-fledged hunger strike in California lockups. The protest was organized by a small group of inmates at Pelican Bay, a facility near the Oregon border that’s reserved for the most dangerous offenders in the state prison system. Inmates there have complained for years that anyone suspected of gang activity can be held in long-term isolation. They want a five-year limit on solitary confinement and more access to education and rehabilitation programs. L.A. Times
S&P Suit. It’s looking like a California judge will reject a motion to dismiss a $5 billion civil fraud lawsuit filed by the Obama Administration against the credit ratings agency Standard & Poor’s. U.S. District Judge David Carter says he wants to think about it a little while longer, and he’ll issue a final decision by Monday. The Obama administration accuses S&P of refusing to warn investors about the collapsing housing market in 2006 and inflating its ratings of risky mortgage investments. S&P says the suit should be thrown out. The company says that other agencies issued identical ratings before the start of the financial crisis. Wall Street Journal
Out of Egypt. The University of California has suspended its study abroad program in Egypt because of political instability and civil strife in the wake of a military coup that pushed President Mohamed Morsi from power. The move affects 22 students who had signed up for classes at the American University in Cairo. The suspension is for the fall 2104 semester. U.C. officials say they’ll monitor events in Egypt before making a decision about the spring 2014 semester. L.A. Times