Mixer: iPads and union contracts – can’t we have nice things?

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MixerBannerJack Dolan reports for the LA Times. Hillel Aron for LA Weekly. They both joined us for this week’s Friday Mixer.

LAUSD is spending hundreds of millions of dollars for iPads for every one of its students. Some kids who’ve been lucky enough to get early iPads have reportedly already got around restrictions and downloaded some unapproved apps. We also found out more recently that some people are allegedly stealing them.

Can’t we have nice things? Our panel’s not so sure.

We’ve been hearing a lot about the LA Department of Water and Power contract that workers ratified this week. Members of the IBEW Local 18 — which covers the vast majority of workers — voted to postpone their raise for three years. City officials see it has a big win for ratepayers and for parity among other city workers. Our panel believes the contract was the best the union could do in light of the fact that it had given millions of dollars to Mayor Eric Garcetti’s opponent in this year’s election.

The agreement still needs final approval from the DWP Commissioners and the LA City Council.

This week, DWP is also answering diverting questions about $40 million that, over the last ten years, has gone to two supposed training groups: the Joint Training Institute and the Joint Safety Institute. Those two trusts were formed years ago to smooth relations between DWP workers and management. But few people know what all that money was used for.

When asked about it, IBEW local chief Brian D’Arcy shooed away a reporter asking about it .

To be sure, LA Weekly reporter and regular Mixer Gene “labradoodle” Maddaus wrote about Mayor Garcetti’s re-epiphany to the secretive trusts.

Governor Brown this week signed a bill that would raise the minimum wage from its current $8 an hour to $9 and then $10 in increments over the next three years. No surprise there. And not much of a risk for the governor to sign it, the legislature to pass it, or a politician to back it.

Unless you’re trying to win the support of the Valley Industry and Commerce Association.

In this week’s Mixer Elixir, pot.

A new Public Policy Institute of California poll finds that a majority of California voters back legalizing marijuana. The state already has medicinal marijuana sales. 52% adults/60% likely voters say pot should be legal in the state. There’s an effort to get a recreational marijuana measure on the ballot in 2014.

The times, our panel believes, are a changin’.