Airport Commission Nominee Resigns From Community Group
Los Angeles airport commission nominee Valeria Velasco resigned as president of the Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion, the community group said Monday. Velasco, who was tapped by L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to serve as one of seven commissioners overseeing Los Angeles World Airports, headed the alliance when it filed a lawsuit challenging Mayor James Hahn’s $11 billion airport plan. She will be replaced by Jennifer Dakoske-Koslu, the Daily Breeze reported. Some critics questioned whether Velasco’s legal activities could create a conflict on the commission.
Times Media Critic David Shaw Dies
David Shaw, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Los Angeles Times writer who set standards for media criticism with his examinations of the American press died Monday evening. He was 62. Shaw died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles of complications from a brain tumor that was discovered in late May. Since 2002, Shaw had been writing about food and wine for the paper’s weekly Food section. He also continued to write a media column that appeared on Sundays. For most of his 37 years at The Times, Shaw dissected trends and issues in media. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for criticism in 1991 for his series examining coverage of the McMartin molestation case.
New Mayor Spent Twice Hahn’s Total
Antonio Villaraigosa spent twice as much as incumbent James K. Hahn to win the May runoff election for mayor of L.A., according to the final tally of campaign finances filed Monday. The new mayor spent $5.2 million compared with $2.5 million for Hahn, although Hahn substantially outspent Villaraigosa in the March round of the election. Villaraigosa got a late surge of campaign money in the weeks before and just after the May 17 election, although he ended the reporting period on June 30 with $176,600 in unpaid bills. The big ference between the two candidates surprised political experts, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Judge Presses Both Sides in Suit Over Playa Vista Project
A judge on Monday grilled lawyers on both sides of a plan approved by the Los Angeles City Council to expand the Playa Vista development by 2,600 homes after he said he was “troubled” by its potential impact on traffic. Superior Court Judge William Highberger heard opening statements in a non-jury civil trial that environmental groups and the city of Santa Monica filed to stop the expansion of the Playa Vista development, Copley News Service reported. The lawsuit contends L.A. officials approved the project despite an environmental impact report that didn’t address an increase in traffic, high methane gas concentrations, disturbing an Indian burial ground and increased wastewater.
DWP Salary Plan Irks Unions
To the chagrin of the city unions, the Department of Water and Power agreed to give its 8,000 union workers a minimum 16.25 percent pay hike worth nearly $69 million over the next five years, but the increases could balloon to 30 percent if inflation rises, the Daily News of Los Angeles reported. The proposed amendment to the existing memorandum of understanding with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 18, goes to DWP commissioners for consideration today. The deal would automatically bump DWP employee salaries up at least 3.25 percent each year on Oct. 1, and more if inflation is higher, to a maximum of 6 percent a year.
GM Resumes Buying Advertising in The Times
General Motors Corp. has resumed corporate advertising in the Los Angeles Times more than three months after withdrawing its ads from the paper in a dispute over coverage of the company. GM pulled its ads in April after a column by Times automotive critic Dan Neil called on the automaker to oust Chief Executive Rick Wagoner. At the time, GM executives said they had concerns beyond Neil’s column but declined to publicly air them. The decision to resume advertising was made by GM’s Western region manager, Michael Jackson, “in line with our current newspaper strategy for the region,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
State Examines Spending at Getty
The California attorney general’s office has opened a wide-ranging inquiry into financial practices at the J. Paul Getty Trust, according to a confidential memorandum. The memo, written by the Getty’s general counsel and circulated to the trust’s upper management, said the attorney general has requested eight years of records relating to trust Chief Executive Barry Munitz’s compensation and expenses, as well as expenditures made for his wife, grants, gifts to trustees, and a 2002 real estate transaction, the Los Angeles Times reported. State regulators also asked for documents connected to criminal charges pending in Italy against the Getty’s curator for antiquities for allegedly conspiring to purchase looted artifacts.