Government Relations Committee

June 29, 2009


Roll call. Present: Charlotte Laws, Monte Mazo, Vic Viereck, Helen Lamonica

Committee Member Comments: Microphone is needed for the general meetings

No public Comments

1. Increases in fees which are supposed to be dedicated to specific services by a particular department, but which are sent elsewhere. Monte Mazo presented on this issue. The City Council puts in increases for one thing, then often sends the money to the general fund. So they are not doing what they say, but they are still charging the money. i.e. if the purpose of the money is to add police officers, it should go to this. NCs should have 90 days to review and discuss fee increases.

The following motion was made by Monte Mazo and seconded by Vic Viereck. “A memo of understanding (MOU) between the Mayor / City Council of the City of Los Angeles and the Neighborhood Councils (NCs) is to be entered into and NC’s shall be given 90 days to review and act on all fee increases by the city. All such fee increases shall be retained by said Department to provide and improve services to the community for which the fee increase was created and not to be put into the General Fund.” Motion passes unanimously.

2. City employee retirements - should they be by defined contribution rather than defined benefit. Vic Viereck presented on this issue. Benefits are paid through defined benefit now and taxpayers have to pay based on whatever the cost of the plan is, not based on how much money is available. Pension payments are boosted for no reason other than that there is extra money in the pot. When pensions lose money, the taxpayers must make up the difference.

The following motion was made by Vic and seconded by Monte: “City employee retirement accounts should be based on defined contribution rather than defined benefit.” It passes unanimously.

3. Van Nuys airport – Documents provided by Judy Price were used to review and discuss this issue. LA gets revenue when more planes land in its airports; committee assumes this is why the city council has not come out against additional planes in Van Nuys. Two committee members said they were impacted by the noise at the Burbank airport, but not by the noise at the Van Nuys airport. Committee decided Greater Valley Glen is not impacted by an increase in planes at the VN airport, so decided not to make a motion on the issue.

4. LA point-of-sale requirement on sidewalk repair. Vic Viereck and Charlotte Laws presented on this issue. Union is pushing this measure; only city union employees would be allowed to do the repairs. Questions: if homeowner pays, does responsibility of a slip and fall shirt to homeowner? If so, shouldn’t the homeowner get the land and be able to block off pedestrians. Will the city ask homeowner next to pay to fix power lines and cut trees on city property? It would take 83 years to get your sidewalk repaired if you were to call today for service. The city has no money. The 50/50 program worked well, but it is unclear as to whether there is still money for it to operate. If sidewalks were repaired or replaced at COE, the city would save money because there would be fewer accidents.

The following motion was made by Charlotte Laws and seconded by Vic Viereck: “The Greater Valley Glen Council does not recommend point-of-sale sidewalk repair. Due to the downward turn in the economy, we feel this is the wrong time implement such a program. Many homeowners have lost their job, have little or no equity in their homes and are struggling with the tax increases imposed by the state.” It passes unanimously.  

5. DWP resolution to defer decision about ECAF increases. Monte Mazo presented on this issue. The following motion was made by Monte Mazo and seconded by Charlotte Laws.

“WHEREAS the 09-010 LADWP budget is not placing a cap on the Energy Cost Adjustment Factor (ECAF); and,

WHEREAS the LADWP has not implemented Motion #09-0652, as proposed by Perry, Garcetti and Greuel, to establish a Community Solar Outreach Plan; and,

WHEREAS a solar in-basin plan has not been shared with the Los Angeles community,

Be it therefore resolved that the Greater Valley Glen Council urges the LADWP Board of Commissioners to defer any decision to change ECAF increases until a fully vetted solar program is disclosed to all Neighborhood Councils, associations and interested stakeholders.” The motion passes unanimously.

6. LAUSD mandatory school uniforms. Charlotte Laws presented on this issue. The Rules and Government Committee of the LA City Council has recommended that all LAUSD schools mandate uniforms.

The following motion was made by Charlotte Laws and seconded by Helen Lamonica:

“The GVGC supports a mandatory uniform policy for all LAUSD schools. It would help maintain discipline in the schools, reduce disruptions and violence associated with gang colors and help to eliminate socio-economic distinctions between families who can and cannot afford designer clothing. It would allow teachers to differentiate more easily between those who belong on campus and those who do not, and it would contribute to an atmosphere of learning and scholarship.” Motion passes unanimously.