Los Angeles, California
|Los Angeles, California|
|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|
|Population in 2013:||3.8 million|
White Not-Hispanic 28.7%
African American 9.6%
Native American .7%
Pacific Islander 0.1%
Two or More 4.6%
|Median household income:||$49,745|
|High school graduation rate:||74.2%|
|College graduation rate:||30.8%|
|Related Los Angeles offices|
|California Congressional Delegation • California State Legislature • California state executive offices|
- 1 City government
- 2 Elections
- 3 Budget
- 4 Contact information
- 5 Lobbying
- 6 Ballot measures
- 7 Public pensions
- 8 Website evaluation
- 9 See also
- 10 External links
- 11 References
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.
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. 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.
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.
The city council is made up of fifteen members from fifteen council districts.
A full list of city council members can be found here.
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.
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.
For a full list of Los Angeles's city boards and commissions, see here.
The city of Los Angeles, California will hold elections for city council on May 19, 2015. A primary election will take place on March 3, 2015. The filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election is February 16, 2015. Seven of the 15 city council seats are up for election.
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.
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.
Office of the City Clerk
200 N. Spring Street, Room 360
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Office of the Mayor
200 N. Spring St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
- 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.
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.
- See also: California public pensions
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. 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:
- 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."
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. 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.
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:
- 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.
The union that represents city employees threatened to sue the city if the plan was adopted.
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.
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.
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. The report stated that the pension plans could be out of money as early at 2025.
|Transparency grading process|
- Current and past budgets are posted.
- Meeting dates, agendas, and reports are posted.
- City Council members are listed with contact information. Each council member has an individual website with biographical and district information.
- The Mayor's website has a contact form but phone number and direct email are not listed.
- Names and phone numbers of city administrators are provided. Email addresses for departments are also provided.
- Zoning information and building permits are available.
- Audits are posted.
- Contracts are available for viewing in a searchable database/
- Bids and RFPs are posted.
- Contact information is given for those interested in accessing city public records.
- Business tax information is provided.
- Registration information is available on those registered to lobby the city. 
- 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.
- Cities in California
- Los Angeles County, California
- Largest 100 U.S. cities by population
- Ten cities facing the worst of the pension crisis
- Official city website
- City Council website
- Office of the Mayor
- Office of the City Controller
- Office of the City Attorney
- City of Los Angeles Personnel Department
- United States Census Bureau, "American Fact Finder," accessed April 24, 2014
- City of Los Angeles, "About the City Government," accessed on September 15, 2014
- Los Angeles Mayor's Office, "About," accessed April 28, 2014
- City of Los Angeles, "City Council," accessed on September 15, 2014
- City of Los Angeles, "Los Angeles City Council Committees, 2013-14," accessed on August 29, 2014
- City of Los Angeles, "Boards and Commissions," accessed on August 18, 2014
- Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk, "2015 Scheduled Elections," accessed September 18, 2014
- losangeles.cbslocal.com, "LA City, County Officials Release 2014-15 Budget Proposals," April 14, 2014
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- US Census, Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places in California: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2011
- Los Angeles Times, "L.A. City Council backs pension cuts for new workers," September 25, 2012
- NBC Los Angeles, "LA Council Approves Pension Reforms for New City Workers," September 25, 2012
- SCPR, "LA Unions Launch 'Riordan Signature Busters' to Stop Pension Proposal," November 18, 2012
- ABC Local, "Richard Riordan halts pension reform campaign," November 26, 2012
- CBS Los Angeles, "Villaraigosa Calls For Pension Reform For City Workers," June 8, 2012
- Los Angeles Times, "L.A. pension proposal would hike retirement age, cut benefits," September 18, 2012
- Southern California Public Radio, Labor threatens to sue Los Angeles over pension plan, Sept. 18,2012
- Chicago Tribune, "LA mayor eyes possible referendum on pension reform," June 14, 2012
- Los Angeles Times, "L.A. voters support pension changes over sales tax hike, poll finds," December 3, 2012
- MacIver Institute, "City of Milwaukee Pension a Ticking Time Bomb According to Northwestern Study," October 12, 2010
- City of Los Angeles, "Budget," accessed August 6, 2014 (dead link)
- City of Los Angeles, "City Events Calendar," accessed August 6, 2014
- City of Los Angeles, "E-Packets," accessed August 6, 2014
- City of Los Angeles, "City Council," accessed August 6, 2014
- City of Los Angeles, "Ask the Mayor," accessed August 6, 2014 (dead link)
- City of Los Angeles, "Phone Directory," accessed August 6, 2014
- City of Los Angeles, "Contact Us," accessed August 6, 2014
- City of Los Angeles, "Planning," accessed August 6, 2014
- City of Los Angeles, "Building and Safety," accessed August 6, 2014
- City of Los Angeles, "Audits and Reports," accessed August 6, 2014
- City of Los Angeles, "City Contracts," accessed August 6, 2014
- City of Los Angeles, "Bids and RFPs," accessed August 6, 2014
- City of Los Angeles, "Records," accessed August 6, 2014
- City of Los Angeles, "Finance," accessed August 6, 2014
- City of Los Angeles, "Commission," accessed August 6, 2014