Mixer: LA wifi and bacon-wrapped hot dogs in the air

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MixerBannerGene Maddaus from LA Weekly and Kate Linthicum from the Los Angeles Times joined us.

Taxpayers may have to dig into their pockets to sustain the LAUSD’s plan to equip teachers and students with iPads. It could take bond measures to keep the program going long-term.

The school district is using money from construction bonds to pay for the iPad rollout. The iPads are only guaranteed to last three years. But what happens when that money runs out?

The district is considering several options to sustain the program, including floating new technology bonds on the local or state level. They could also take more money from existing construction bonds – but the district says those funds are already too meager to make all the necessary fixes at LA schools.

Another option would be taking money from the district’s general fund, but that would mean cutting back in other areas.

So far, the district has given out iPads at 41 schools, at a cost of nearly $770 each. That’s higher than retail, but it includes a protective case, a three-year warranty and other features.

Over at City Hall, the Los Angeles City Council agreed this week to look for a company to provide free wireless Internet access citywide. (Those iPads need to connect to something.)

The council voted to start a bidding process for vendors to set up a free WiFi network, while also ensuring the city does not influence competition among private Internet service providers.

It could cost billions of dollars to implement a new network. So, who will pay for it, and what kind of rewards are we talking about? To be sure, WiFi and high speed fiber-optic networks have been set up in other cities in the country, including Kansas City, Missouri, and Chattanooga, Tennessee.

The City Council is also mulling over making those sidewalk vendors you see (think bacon-wrapped hot dogs being made outside of the bar) have to get permitted. Jose Huizar and Curren Price brought the motion.

There’s a two-decade history of trying to permit those street vendors, but it for one reason or another, it hasn’t caught on.

Why is the city concerned about bacon-wrapped hot dogs or fruit juice sellers? Regulation, of course. And a push from city businesses to make sure everyone (read: their competition) is operating under the same guidelines.

Meanwhile, the wait is over! LA has a new economic development czar! The city’s Chief of Economic Development.

Mayor Eric Garcetti chose Kelli Bernard – a City Hall veteran – to manage his economy-boosting and job creation initiatives.

Hmmm. Why is that name familiar?

Gene Maddaus has an idea. It’s because she’s been in the job on an interim basis for several months now. Which is interesting, because the mayor’s office and the city made a nationwide push to find a big name or former CEO, who could bring excitement to the post. Someone who could work on creating incentives for growing and attracting new industries in LA.

Apparently, no one worthy of replacing the interim chief showed up.

Absolutely nothing against Kelli Bernard, to whom we wish the best of luck.