Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is making plans to move his family out of Mount Washington and into Getty House, the city's three-story mayoral mansion in Windsor Square, the Daily Breeze reported. The move would constitute the first time in a dozen years that a Los Angeles mayor has resided in the 1921 English Tudor mansion. Former Mayor James Hahn opted to remain in San Pedro and his predecessor, Richard Riordan, stayed in Brentwood. Getty House, which was donated to the city by Getty Oil Co. in 1975, serves as a greeting place for dignitaries and a location for schoolchildren to receive lessons on city government.
Governor All but Vows to Run
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger all but declared Wednesday that he would run for a second term next year, saying at a special election campaign event near Fresno, "I am not in this for the short run," and promising an official announcement Friday in San Diego. Coming less than two years after the historic 2003 recall election that brought Schwarzenegger to power, the announcement this week could boost his Nov. 8 special election platform and signal to financial donors that he intends to be around for another term to hold sway over issues they care about, the Los Angeles Times reported. Two prominent Democrats have said they plan to run for governor: state Controller Steve Westly and Treasurer Phil Angelides, who said he would relish a race against Schwarzenegger.
Antonio Lobbies for $76 Million for L.A. Security
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa made a forceful push Wednesday for Congress to direct more homeland security money to L.A., the Daily News of Los Angeles reported. In town for an evening Congressional Hispanic Caucus gala, Villaraigosa spent the afternoon lobbying Congress for $76 million to revitalize the Los Angeles River and discussing gang prevention with Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez. Villaraigosa said his top priority was urging lawmakers to support a measure that would funnel the bulk of anti-terrorism money to target-rich areas, such as L.A., and oppose one that allocates money evenly to all states.
Belmont Learning Center Construction Starts Again
Construction on the Belmont Learning Center soon will be restarted after years of delay even as the costs for the nation's most expensive school have soared to close to $300 million. Now with the price tag double the original figure, the district has received three bids to complete the existing buildings and erect two new buildings for an estimated $111 million. The bids are expected to be opened later this month. Construction could begin in late November or early December, with the school to be completed in about two years, a decade after its 1997 groundbreaking, the Daily News of Los Angeles reported. The bids mark the final step in the project that has made the school the nation's costliest, as contractors have wrestled with a legacy of environmental problems. The project now is expected to be split into seven "small learning communities" for 2,600 students.
Two Projects, Two Visions of Downtown's Future
Downtown Los Angeles will soon be flanked by two massive developments , the Grand Avenue project on the north, and the L.A. Live project on the south. Anschutz Entertainment Group will break ground Thursday on L.A. Live, a $1.7-billion tourist-oriented project featuring a 55-story convention center and hotel, a theater, broadcast facilities, 14-screen movie theater and nearly a dozen restaurants and clubs. L.A. Live, however, has become a lightning rod for criticism. Downtown hotel operators say that the proposed Hilton Hotel might hurt business by flooding downtown with too many beds. And some of the new loft dwellers cringe at L.A. Live's resemblance to Universal CityWalk , saying downtown doesn't need a "Disney-style" tourist draw.
Ex-DWP Chief Elected Head of Harbor Panel
In a shake-up at the nation's largest seaport, S. David Freeman, the former head of the city's Department of Water and Power, was elected president Wednesday of the Board of Harbor Commissioners. More than 250 people attended the meeting, the largest crowd at a board meeting in recent memory. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa chose Freeman and four other commissioners in late July. Former Mayor James K. Hahn's five commission appointees have either resigned or were not reappointed, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Relocation of LAX Palms OK'd
Dozens of palm trees that Los Angeles International Airport planted as a friendly gesture to its seaside neighbors have instead become a high-priced blunder. Airport commissioners agreed Tuesday to spend $200,000 to uproot the trees and replant them around the airport terminals. Their vote seals a five-year saga of missteps and growing frustration. LAX directors expected the trees to spruce up a dusty stretch of land just outside the airport's chain-link fence. But neighbors complained that the tall palms stood in the way of their ocean views; environmentalists said the trees didn't belong there, the Daily Breeze reported. The work should be done by early next year, and it will cost more than $2,000 to remove each tree.
Rising Premiums Threaten Job-Based Health Coverage
The average cost of health insurance for a family of four has soared past $10,800 , exceeding the annual income of a minimum-wage earner, according to a new survey. For some, this year's survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research Educational Trust was the latest sign that a relentless rise in premiums threatens to collapse the central pillar of America's health insurance system: job-based health coverage. Since 2000, premiums have gone up 73 percent, while wages have grown 15 percent, the Los Angeles Times reported. Rising costs are forcing many businesses to stop offering coverage and are causing some employees who can no longer afford insurance at work to buy it on their own , or go without.
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