Advertisement

NEWS IN BRIEF / A summary of developments across Los
Angeles County | Community News File / Los Angeles

Wachs Proposes Change in Living Wage Law

October 27, 1998

Los Angeles City Councilman Joel Wachs on Monday proposed eliminating language that has hobbled enforcement of the living wage law, which is aimed at raising the pay of thousands of low-wage workers employed by firms under contract with the city.

The language, inserted at the request of the city attorney's office, bars officials from requiring raises for workers paid with federal grant funds unless the federal government gives an explicit pledge not to sue the city for unnecessarily spending its funds. Federal officials have informally assured Los Angeles that there would be no lawsuit, but they have been unwilling to make an overall explicit pledge.

Wachs, a lawyer, said he introduced the motion to excise the language after reading a recent Times article that found that municipal lawyers in other cities had decided an explicit pledge was unnecessary. Wachs said the cautious approach here is "just typical of the city attorney's office, which tells you why you should not do something rather than how to get it done."

In an interview, City Atty. James K. Hahn accused Wachs of being irresponsible. "It's the height of rudeness to spend federal money other than the way they want you to," Hahn said. "We want to be cautious so that we don't end up in a situation with disallowed costs."

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|