Los Angeles, California

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Los Angeles, California
Seal of Los Angeles.png
General information
Eric Garcetti.PNG
Mayor:Eric Garcetti
Last mayoral election:2013
Next mayoral election:2017
Last city council election:2013
Next city council election:2015
City council seats:15
2014 FY Budget:$8.1 billion
City website
Composition data
Population in 2013:3.8 million
Gender:50.2% Female
Race:White 49.8%
White Not-Hispanic 28.7%
African American 9.6%
Asian 11.3%
Native American .7%
Pacific Islander 0.1%
Two or More 4.6%
Ethnicity:Hispanic 48.5%
Unemployment:11.3%
Median household income:$49,745
High school graduation rate:74.2%
College graduation rate:30.8%
Related Los Angeles offices
California Congressional DelegationCalifornia State LegislatureCalifornia state executive offices
Los Angeles is a city in California and the seat of Los Angeles County. It is the focal point of the larger Los Angeles-Long Beach-Riverside combined statistical area, which contains nearly 17.8 million people. As of 2013, the population of the city of Los Angeles was 3.8 million, making it the second most populous city in the United States.[1]

City government

The city of Los Angeles utilizes a "strong mayor" and city council system. In this form of municipal government, the city council serves as the city's primary legislative body and the mayor serves as the city's chief executive.[2]

Mayor

The mayor serves as the city's chief executive, and is responsible for proposing a budget, signing legislation into law, appointing departmental directors and committee members and overseeing the city's day-to-day operations. The mayor also possesses veto powers.[2] Eric Garcetti is the current Mayor of Los Angeles. Garcetti previously served on the Los Angeles City Council and as President of the Los Angeles City Council.[3]

City council

The Los Angeles City Council is the city's primary legislative body. It is responsible for adopting the city budget, approving mayoral appointees, overseeing the use of municipal properties, levying taxes and making or amending city laws, policies and ordinances.[2]

Membership

The city council is made up of fifteen members from fifteen council districts.[4]

A full list of city council members can be found here.

Council committees

The Los Angeles City Council features eighteen standing and ad hoc committees, which focus on individual policy and legislative issues. The drafting of city legislation begins with the committees.[5]

For a list of Los Angeles's committees and committee members, see here.

Boards and commissions

A series of advisory boards and commissions that are made up of non-elected citizens, whom city council members have appointed and approved, advises the Los Angeles City Council. The roles of these boards and commissions are to review, debate and comment upon city policies and legislation and to make recommendations to the city council.[6]

For a full list of Los Angeles's city boards and commissions, see here.

Budget

The budget for fiscal year 2014 totals $8.1 billion, and aims to close an estimated $242 million gap between revenue and expenditures. Garcetti's proposal includes a reserve fund of $282 dollars, which he noted is the largest ever. The budget would eliminate vacant positions equal to 46 full-time jobs, repair 2,400 of the 28,000 miles of city roadway, fill 350,000 potholes and offer $20 million for sidewalk repairs. The proposed budget would maintain the current level of police officers and allow funding for an additional 140 firefighters. Missing from the proposal is a cut to the city's business tax, an item that Garcetti previously supported.[7]

The city's budget process operates by Fiscal Years running from July 1 to June 30 of the next year. The City Charter gives responsibility for drafting a budget to the Mayor, which must then be submitted to the City Council for review and approval.[8]

Contact information

Office of the City Clerk
200 N. Spring Street, Room 360
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: 213-978-1023

Office of the Mayor
200 N. Spring St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: 213-978-0600
Email: mayor.garcetti@lacity.org

Lobbying

See also: California government sector lobbying

Open Secrets has federal lobbying data for Los Angeles here.

The City of Los Angeles maintains a database of all lobbying activity here.

Ballot measures

See also: Los Angeles County, California ballot measures

The city of Los Angeles is in Los Angeles County. A list of ballot measures in Los Angeles County is available here.

Initiative process

See also: Laws governing local ballot measures in California

Population as of the July, 2011 census update: 3,819,702.[9] Los Angeles is a charter city.

Los Angeles has its own initiative process for ordinances determined by the city charter and code. Petitions can be submitted regarding anything the legislature might have done. The signature requirement is 15% of the total number of votes cast for all candidates for the office of Mayor at the last general municipal election, or primary nominating election, at which a Mayor was elected prior to the filing of the petition.

The pre-circulation process includes registration and publication in a newspaper of the intention to circulate. The petition form requirements are in the city election code, Section 705 to 711. All signatures must be affixed no earlier than 120 days before the petition is filed. A simple majority determines the outcome of the election.

The Los Angeles City Charter and Los Angeles City Election Code

Public pensions

See also: California public pensions

2013

Reforms approved

On September 24, 2013, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to roll back pension benefits and raise the retirement age to 65 for new civilian employees hired after July 1, 2013. Under the plan, spouses of retired workers will no longer be eligible for city-funded healthcare. City employees will see reductions in take-home pay in years when their retirement fund takes a hit in the stock market. Workers who retire at the age of 55 after 30 years of city employment will receive pensions that are roughly one-third the amount provided to existing employees. The changes will only apply to newly hired civilian workers and will not affect the retirement benefits of police officers, firefighters and employees at the Department of Water and Power.[10] Labor unions may file a lawsuit challenging the council's authority to impose new pension plans without negotiating. The plan will need a second vote in 30 days for it to go into effect next year. The approved changes include:[11]

  • Raising the retirement age from 55 to 65
  • Capping the maximum retirement benefit at 75 percent of final compensation, instead of the 100 percent currently allowed;
  • Limiting cost-of-living increases to 2 percent;
  • Increasing employee contributions to benefits;
  • Eliminating retiree health care benefits for dependents; and
  • Using a three-year average to calculate benefits to prevent pension "spiking."

Ballot initiative

Former Mayor Richard Riordan sought to place a pension reform proposal on the May 2013 ballot. His proposal would have required city workers to contribute substantially more to their retirement plans, placed all newly hired city employees into a 401(k)-style system and frozen automatic pension increases when the city’s pension fund investments are not doing well. Labor unions attempted to persuade people not to sign the petition.[12] Riordan ended his signature gathering quest after his group Save Los Angeles determined it would not meet its own December 28 deadline to gather signatures to get the measure on the May 21 ballot.[13]

2012

Mayor's proposal

In a June 6, 2012, letter, LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa ordered the city’s top budget analyst to expedite a report detailing ways the city can enact several changes. The proposed changes included:[14]

  • Raising the retirement age from 55 to 67 for new civilian hires
  • Reducing the maximum amount of money retired city workers can receive through pensions
  • Cutting the amount the city will pay for retirement health care in half
  • Cutting coverage for spouses and dependents

None of the changes would apply to police officers or firefighters — or any civilian worker hired before July 1, 2013. The change in pension benefits was estimated to save the city as much as $4.3 billion over a 30-year period, according to a report released in September 2012.[15]

The union that represents city employees threatened to sue the city if the plan was adopted.[16]

After the success of voter referendums in San Diego and San Jose, Mayor Villaraigosa said he was prepared to take public pension reform directly to voters in 2013. He wanted to raise the city's retirement age to 67 from 55, cap maximum pensions at 75 percent of salary and reduce the cost-of-living adjustments on pensions.[17]

2011

Measure G

In March 2011, voters approved Ballot Measure G, a pension reform plan that would reduce city costs from the pension and healthcare plans of newly hired Fire, Police and Harbor employees. With the measure's passage, the average pension and health cost to the city for each new hire was expected to fall from $15,000 to $12,000 annually.

Nearly 44 percent of voters surveyed on November 6, 2011, backed former Mayor Richard Riordan's plan to transfer city workers to a 401(k)-style plan. Forty-five percent of voters opposed hiking the sales tax. Nearly 26 percent opposed Riordan's ballot measure proposal, which the former mayor later abandoned. Thirty percent of voters did not have a position.[18]

2010

According to a 2010 report published at Northwestern University, Los Angeles was one of the ten municipalities with the largest amount of unfunded pension liabilities. Nationwide there was $574 billion in unfunded pension liabilities for local pension plans in addition to the $3 trillion in debt facing state-sponsored pension plans.[19] The report stated that the pension plans could be out of money as early at 2025.[19]

Website evaluation

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Budget Y
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Meetings Y
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Elected Officials Y
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Administrative Officials Y
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Permits, zoning Y
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Audits Y
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Contracts Y
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Lobbying N
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Public Records Y
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Local Taxes P
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Transparency grading process

The good

  • Current and past budgets are posted.[20]
  • Meeting dates, agendas, and reports are posted.[21][22]
  • City Council members are listed with contact information. Each council member has an individual website with biographical and district information.[23]
  • The Mayor's website has a contact form but phone number and direct email are not listed.[24]
  • Names and phone numbers of city administrators are provided.[25] Email addresses for departments are also provided.[26]
  • Zoning information and building permits are available.[27][28]
  • Audits are posted.[29]
  • Contracts are available for viewing in a searchable database/[30]
  • Bids and RFPs are posted.[31]
  • Contact information is given for those interested in accessing city public records.[32]
  • Business tax information is provided.[33]
  • Registration information is available on those registered to lobby the city. [34]

The bad

  • Information on fees and license costs is not provided.
  • Information on membership in any taxpayer funded lobbying associations, or the city's own lobbying activities, is not provided.

See also

External links

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References

  1. United States Census Bureau, "American Fact Finder," accessed April 24, 2014
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 City of Los Angeles, "About the City Government," accessed on September 15, 2014
  3. Los Angeles Mayor's Office, "About," accessed April 28, 2014
  4. City of Los Angeles, "City Council," accessed on September 15, 2014
  5. City of Los Angeles, "Los Angeles City Council Committees, 2013-14," accessed on August 29, 2014
  6. City of Los Angeles, "Boards and Commissions," accessed on August 18, 2014
  7. losangeles.cbslocal.com, "LA City, County Officials Release 2014-15 Budget Proposals," April 14, 2014
  8. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named council
  9. US Census, Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places in California: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2011
  10. Los Angeles Times, "L.A. City Council backs pension cuts for new workers," September 25, 2012
  11. NBC Los Angeles, "LA Council Approves Pension Reforms for New City Workers," September 25, 2012
  12. SCPR, "LA Unions Launch 'Riordan Signature Busters' to Stop Pension Proposal," November 18, 2012
  13. ABC Local, "Richard Riordan halts pension reform campaign," November 26, 2012
  14. CBS Los Angeles, "Villaraigosa Calls For Pension Reform For City Workers," June 8, 2012
  15. Los Angeles Times, "L.A. pension proposal would hike retirement age, cut benefits," September 18, 2012
  16. Southern California Public Radio, Labor threatens to sue Los Angeles over pension plan, Sept. 18,2012
  17. Chicago Tribune, "LA mayor eyes possible referendum on pension reform," June 14, 2012
  18. Los Angeles Times, "L.A. voters support pension changes over sales tax hike, poll finds," December 3, 2012
  19. 19.0 19.1 MacIver Institute, "City of Milwaukee Pension a Ticking Time Bomb According to Northwestern Study," October 12, 2010
  20. City of Los Angeles, "Budget," accessed August 6, 2014
  21. City of Los Angeles, "City Events Calendar," accessed August 6, 2014
  22. City of Los Angeles, "E-Packets," accessed August 6, 2014
  23. City of Los Angeles, "City Council," accessed August 6, 2014
  24. City of Los Angeles, "Ask the Mayor," accessed August 6, 2014
  25. City of Los Angeles, "Phone Directory," accessed August 6, 2014
  26. City of Los Angeles, "Contact Us," accessed August 6, 2014
  27. City of Los Angeles, "Planning," accessed August 6, 2014
  28. City of Los Angeles, "Building and Safety," accessed August 6, 2014
  29. City of Los Angeles, "Audits and Reports," accessed August 6, 2014
  30. City of Los Angeles, "City Contracts," accessed August 6, 2014
  31. City of Los Angeles, "Bids and RFPs," accessed August 6, 2014
  32. City of Los Angeles, "Records," accessed August 6, 2014
  33. City of Los Angeles, "Finance," accessed August 6, 2014
  34. City of Los Angeles, "Commission," accessed August 6, 2014