Mixer: Mayor Garcetti mixes things up, and suddenly a sheriff’s race

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Today, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti overhauled the Department of Water and Power commission. The mayor said in a statement the new panel will help him shake up the status quo at the DWP to save money for ratepayers.

The four new members to the panel that oversees the Department of Water and Power are former Congressman Mel Levine, foundation director Michael Fleming (who is also KCRW’s Board Chairman), attorney William Funderburk, and political consultant Jill Banks Barad. Christina Noonan is the only remaining member from Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s tenure.

Garcetti’s been on a commission change kick of late.

On Tuesday, he shook up the airport commission. On Wednesday,  it was the police commission. Yesterday, it was LA’s fire commission.

Our panelists – Gene Maddaus of the LA Weekly, and Seema Mehta from the Los Angeles Times – both agree this is Garcetti flexing his mayoral muscle. But also that he is finding places for friends and supporters in his administration.

Friends, indeed, are important. And rewarded.

Just this week, the mayor also tapped former mayoral rival Emanuel Pleitez to the city’s pension board.

Meanwhile, the LA City Council held a public hearing today over the contract negotiations for the Department of Water and Power.

A new contract would delay pay raises in October, as well as restructure pension obligations and increase employee healthcare contributions.

Mayor Garcetti has vowed not to sign off on the proposed contract, saying more reform is needed.

And our panel agrees: why would he sign off? The union supported his opponent, Wendy Greuel during the mayor’s race. And gave her campaign millions of dollars.

Speaking of Greuel, time’s ticking on whether she will throw her hat into the ring for LA County Supervisor Zev Yaroslovsky’s board slot. Other candidates are also making last-minute decisions about whether they want to jump in.

Meanwhile, the LA County Sheriff’s race is getting interesting.

After a slew of candidates entered that race, we got word just this week that former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka — Sheriff Lee Baca’s underling — wants the big job. Both Tanaka and Baca were tainted by a scathing blue ribbon commission report saying there’s a culture of abuse and violence in county jails, at the hands of the sheriff’s deputies.

In today’s Mixer Elixir, our cocktail consists of one part cable company, one part TV conglomerate. Both giant corporations. And for cable consumers, it tastes awful.

Today marks two weeks since Time Warner Cable said – no CBS for you. And by you, they mean LA, New York and Dallas cable customers. Indeed, TWC followed through with the threat to take the broadcast network (KCBS-TV and KCAL-TV) off its channel lineup.

We’ve been seeing a lot of these fights for some time now; a sort of new normal. But no one seems to think this dispute will get settled anytime soon.

And, while there is some consternation in New York, a lot of folks in LA just don’t seem to care. When Seema asked several city councilmembers whether they were concerned about the blackout in LA, she was told no. Because their constituents hadn’t raised much of a fuss.

Stay tuned. If you can.