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David Zahniser

CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 13, 2007
The City Council voted Wednesday to instruct City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo to draft a law allowing any car with a state- issued alternative fuel decal to park for free next to a city meter. The move is designed to make it easier for parking enforcement officers to carry out an 18-month-old program that gives four hybrid vehicles -- Honda Civic Hybrid, Honda Insight and Ford Escape Hybrid and Toyota Prius -- free parking at meters. -- David Zahniser
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 10, 2008 | David Zahniser
A package of rate hikes for water and electricity won approval from the City Council on Wednesday, ending six months of debate. The council voted 13 to 1 on a trio of electrical rate increases and 11 to 3 on a pair of water rate increases. The decision will leave electricity customers paying 23% more by 2010 after four years' worth of DWP surcharges are factored in. DWP customers will pay roughly 10% more for water by summer 2009 after an increase from the Metropolitan Water District is included.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 1, 2008 | David Zahniser
The skid row area of downtown Los Angeles is scheduled to receive 100 new pedestrian lights as part of an effort to make the neighborhood safer, officials said Monday. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and other elected officials will appear in skid row today to discuss the $320,000 program, which is designed to reduce the number of sidewalk drug sales. The lights are part of the Safer City Initiative, which targets South Los Angeles, Hollywood, MacArthur Park, North Hills and skid row. Last year, the city's Bureau of Street Lighting increased the wattage of 249 street lights on skid row. -- David Zahniser
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 5, 2008 | David Zahniser
City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo said Tuesday that his office secured a $10-million settlement from a company accused of engaging in a scheme to drive low-income people out of more than 800 rent-controlled apartments. Darren Stern, the owner of Landmark Equity Management Inc., agreed to pay a $1-million penalty and establish a $9-million restitution fund to repay tenants who were forced out of the company's apartments since 2002, according to Delgadillo's office. The settlement will also ban Stern from the city's residential real estate market for four years and six months, city officials said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 3, 2008 | David Zahniser
The City Council voted Tuesday to approve an ordinance to make it easier for building officials to crack down on property owners who allow drug dealing, prostitution, vandalism and other illegal public nuisances to occur. The ordinance, proposed by Councilwoman Jan Perry, seeks to cut the amount of time needed to prosecute a nuisance abatement case. The new law will require that nuisance abatement cases are heard within two years. It also is designed to crack down on public urination, excessive littering, lewd conduct and loud noise.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 17, 2008 | David Zahniser
Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton and L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca said Tuesday that they supported a city ballot measure that would raise taxes to pay for anti-gang programs. The campaign for Proposition A, a $30-million tax hike on the Nov. 4 ballot, said that it also has secured the support of Los Angeles Fire Chief Douglas Barry and businessman and former basketball star Earvin "Magic" Johnson. Proposition A would charge property owners an additional $36 per year, with the proceeds paying for after-school programs.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 3, 2008 | David Zahniser
Two city councilmen called Thursday for a ballot measure that would create an independent assessor to oversee allegations of wrongdoing at the city Fire Department, which has been buffeted by a series of costly discrimination lawsuits over the last three years. Councilmen Jose Huizar and Jack Weiss said the measure, proposed for the March 3 municipal ballot, would create a position similar to the inspector general at the city's Police Department. The city has been hit with at least $4.5 million in judgments, legal bills and settlement costs stemming from the incident involving Tennie Pierce, a firefighter who filed a lawsuit after he ate spaghetti laced with dog food.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 11, 2008 | David Zahniser
The City Council voted Wednesday to ban smoking in farmers markets, saying such behavior is inappropriate in places where customers buy fresh produce. The measure was written by Councilwoman Wendy Greuel, who argued that city officials have been promoting the health benefits of farmers markets and that smoking in such locations undermines that message. Greuel said most farmers markets are small enough that smokers can walk away if they need to light up. Councilman Bill Rosendahl voiced doubts about the measure, saying it potentially "infringes on people's rights," but he voted for it. Los Angeles has already banned smoking on beaches and in parks.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 5, 2008 | David Zahniser
The union that represents 9,000 police officers said Friday it has given $250,000 to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's campaign for Proposition S, a $243-million telephone utility users tax on the Feb. 5 ballot. The head of Los Angeles Police Protective League said the tax revenue is needed to preserve Villaraigosa's plan for adding 1,000 police officers by 2010. "If it doesn't pass, a lot of city services, including public safety, will be reduced," said union President Timothy Sands.
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