Mar 29 2013

LA Times: Panel of L.A. insiders will address budget gap and unemployment

Newswire | Published 29 Mar 2013, 8:02 am | Comments Off on LA Times: Panel of L.A. insiders will address budget gap and unemployment -

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A panel made up mostly of Los Angeles political insiders will spend the next six to eight months developing strategies for addressing two problems that have bedeviled City Hall — how to eliminate a persistent budget gap and create more jobs after a deep economic downturn.

City Council President Herb Wesson, appearing with lawyer and former U.S. Commerce Secretary Mickey Kantor, said Thursday that the 12-member L.A. 2020 commission will submit proposals later this year to a new mayor and seven new council members.

The panel, which includes business leaders and top officials from city employee unions, will speak with workers, elected officials and others during three months of confidential, closed-door meetings.

“I want people to be candid,” said Kantor, sitting with his fellow panelists in the downtown offices of his law firm, Mayer Brown. “It will be easier if these [meetings] are private.”

Both Wesson and Kantor promised that the panel would remain “non-political.” But Kantor, whose law firm was registered to lobby on behalf of a dozen clients at City Hall last year, acknowledged that a handful of panelists have business before the city.

One of those is Brian D’Arcy, the top official at International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 18, which represents Department of Water and Power employees. Another is Tyler Izen, president of the Police Protective League, which represents rank-and-file police officers at the LAPD.

Both employee groups are scheduled to negotiate new salary and benefits agreements with the next mayor. Together, the two unions have spent more than $1 million to support City Controller Wendy Greuel’s mayoral bid.


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