Mayor Villaraigosa to focus on basic L.A. services

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.Villaraigosa, who was joined by council members Bill Rosendahl and Wendy Greuel, said other proposals to be studied and unveiled in coming months include creating more one-way streets across the city. Earlier this year, county Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky had proposed one-way designations for Olympic and Pico boulevards, but the move ran into immediate opposition from Los Angeles and Beverly Hills officials. “We have to look out for what is in the best interest of everyone,” Villaraigosa said. “There are going to be some areas with ones who oppose what we do, but we have to find a way to get it done. We need to ask what is for the greater good.” Fourteen left-turn signals are scheduled to be installed at six San Fernando Valley intersections. They include: Ventura Boulevard and Woodman Avenue; Tampa Avenue and Ventura Boulevard; Reseda Street and Rinaldi Boulevard; Sherman Way and Tampa Avenue; Riverside Boulevard and Vineland Avenue; and Laurel Canyon Boulevard and Riverside Drive. The program marks a return by Villaraigosa to a campaign promise he made two years ago to improve traffic flow throughout the city and show specific accomplishments to a skeptical public. After months of political and personal turmoil, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa started to refocus his administration on practical accomplishments Thursday as he prepares to drum up support from neighborhood councils this weekend for a phone tax and utility-rate hikes. Under the “30-30” program launched Thursday, Villaraigosa and his new transportation chief, Rita Robinson, said the city will install 30 left-hand-turn signals at 13 intersections across Los Angeles over the next 30 workdays. “Make no mistake about it,” Villaraigosa said, shouting over the noise of traffic at an intersection near Los Angeles International Airport where the announcement was made. “This is a start of reinvigorating the Department of Transportation and us looking at bold measures to improve traffic. “Some of them will work, some of them may not. But we are going to be trying to do something positive to deal with traffic congestion. There is no silver bullet, but we are going to look at everything we can.” It also marked a significant step in moving forward for Villaraigosa, who has been seen as being wrapped up in national politics and personal issues involving his separation and impending divorce from his wife, Corina. “I think these are the sort of things he needs to do to re-establish himself with voters,” said Jaime Regalado of the Edmund G. “Pat” Brown Institute of Public Affairs at California State University, Los Angeles. “If he is going to run for a second term, he has to deal with the perception there is no real record of achievement. The more potholes he fills, the more traffic signals he installs, the more the public will see that he is trying to do things. “That’s why he needs to prove himself with schools and the anti-gang programs. People want to see results.” It also comes as Villaraigosa prepares for a major effort to win over the neighborhood councils to help balance a financially difficult budget. Amid the budget squeeze, the city faces a potential loss of more than $200 million in telephone taxes and a transfer of funds from the Department of Water and Power. Villaraigosa will address neighborhood council leaders on Saturday at their annual budget day and lay out the city’s problems. “Given the daunting challenges we must confront, it is important to hear from neighborhood councils on their budget priorities and thoughts on the telephone-users tax,” Villaraigosa said. The 10 percent phone tax has been challenged in court and city officials believe they could lose the case, resulting in the loss of $270 million a year. The mayor has proposed placing a 9 percent tax on the ballot next February and wants to declare it an “emergency” issue – which would allow it to be approved by a simple majority of voters. Ken Draper, editor of CityWatch LA, a newsletter to neighborhood councils, said the mayor will have a tough sell. “We are living in uncertain times and people are sensitive about what the city is doing,” Draper said. “The housing market is unstable and people are suspicious of what the city is doing. We hear about the financial problems, but then see the city making big payouts to unions, to workers, to others.” [email protected] (213) 978-0390160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

City Council debates wearing of masks

first_imgIt started as a dispute over the use of the n-word during public comments to the Los Angeles City Council. On Friday, it escalated into a debate over whether people should be allowed to wear masks while testifying before the council. In both instances, the debates were prompted by City Hall gadflies who scrutinize the council and testify about everything from their protest rights to special permit waivers awarded by the council. This time, however, instead of moving to adopt an outright ban, the council decided to seek a legal opinion on whether the city can ban masks during council meetings. Since then, Hunt and several others, including Matt Down – who wore a bandanna at one meeting last week and demanded to be called “Joe Public” – and Zuma Dogg have become City Hall regulars testifying on a number of items. “I think they are going to find themselves back in court,” Hunt said. “The reason I was present in a KKK uniform was because it was the only way to get them to pay attention.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: Clemson demonstrates that it’s tough to knock out the champCouncilman Jack Weiss, who introduced the proposal, said he introduced the ban after one of the gadflies, Michael Hunt, appeared at a recent council meeting wearing a Ku Klux Klan costume. Hunt, who is African-American, also prompted the council to seek to ban the use of the n-word – a move rejected by the courts as being protected by the First Amendment. “I don’t want to take away anyone’s free speech rights. I’m a big believer in free speech,” Weiss said. “But I also don’t think we should let people parade around in a KKK outfit. I understand First Amendment issues better than anyone, but this is offensive.” Weiss said he asked for the legal opinion on the issue out of concern the city might not be able to uphold a ban on masks. He also said he wants to explore other issues, such as infringement on religious practices. Hunt said he donned the KKK outfit and used the n-word to protest the way the city has treated him. A former vendor on Venice Beach, Hunt was ousted from his spot amid city efforts to control some activities along the boardwalk area. last_img read more


first_imgBREAKFAST with Hector was never so good as the 2FM star brought his radio show to Donegal Town this morning.He’s off to Mayo tomorrow – let’s hope he keeps that jersey on!Said Hector: “We had a fantastic time here in Donegal today.” He also visited Abbey Vocational School, remarking: “A big thanks to the principal, teachers, staff and pupils. They were incredible.” HECTOR TAKES DONEGAL BY STORM – WEARING HIS DONEGAL JERSEY! was last modified: September 19th, 2012 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:HECTOR TAKES DONEGAL BY STORM – WEARING HIS DONEGAL JERSEY!last_img read more

Just 27 do not find the New Year return to work stressful

first_imgJust 27% of respondents do not find returning to work after the Christmas and New Year break stressful, according to research by MetLife Employee Benefits.Its survey of 1,064 employees also found that around a third (31%) of respondents cite catching up on work they failed to finish before the festive break as the biggest cause of workplace stress on returning to work.The research also found: A quarter (25%) of respondents are concerned about financial pressures resulting from Christmas spending.43% of respondents cite readjusting to work after taking time off as the main cause of stress.38% of respondents over the age of 55 are not worried about returning to work, compared to 19% of those aged between 18 and 34.Tom Gaynor (pictured), employee benefits director at MetLife UK, said: “Making the most of time away from work is important and employees need to be able to relax. Of course it is a bit of a shock to the system having to go back to routines after holidays but readjusting should not be a cause of stress and worry. However, it seems it is a concern for many people as they worry about catching up with backlogs at work.“Workplace stress is a major issue for employers and employees and it has a real impact on business performance. There are, however, a range of practical steps organisations can take to help address the issues before they become a major problem.”last_img read more