NEW LAWS RESULT IN BAN ON MOBILE BILLBOARDS IN LOS ANGELES!

Report mobile billboards to Dept. of Transportation Parking Enforcement:  818-752-5100 (press 2 to be connected to an operator) for ticketing and removal.

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On Wednesday, March 7th the LA City Council unanimously adopted an ordinance banning mobile billboards from City streets.

Past efforts to regulate these nuisance signs were fraught with loopholes which made enforcement nearly impossible. Billboard companies frequently moved the billboards or vehicles a few feet every few hours to avoid the 72 hour parking rule.  A new State law (AB 1298 by Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield) gives local governments the means to eliminate the mobile billboards mounted on cars, mopeds, and sleds by expanding the definition of mobile billboard which state law makes subject to regulation by local ordinance.  The definition now includes any device which transports a sign for the purpose of advertising, ending the ways in which a new generation of mobile billboards has sought to skirt Los Angeles' ban on unhitched trailer advertising 

The new ordinance restricts ANY mobile billboards whether or not they are attached to a vehicle, bicycle or are freestanding. The adopted ordinance is an outright ban making the first violation a warning and subsequent violations a criminal act, punishable as a misdemeanor to the registered owner of the vehicle. Perhaps the greatest deterrent is that the billboards can now be impounded after 24 hour notice.

The ordinance was signed by Mayor Villaraigosa and goes into effect immediately. 

It is expected that there will be lawsuits filed against this ordinance before the ink is even dry on the Mayor's signature - at least that was what was threatened during public comment on this item.  The court may impose an injunction against enforcement until it is determined whether or not the ordinance is legal. Until then, it is illegal and violating signs should be reported to Dept. of Transportation Parking Enforcement:  818-752-5100
 (press 2 to be connected to an operator).

LA City Faces Many Challenges in Attempting to Balance the Budget 

It isn't easy, but someone's got to do IT.  After years of ignoring coming budget shortfalls which were exacerbated by a downturn in the economy, LA City must address structural deficits in the budget process leading to deficit spending -- as much as $ 400 million.  The state and federal deficits ensure that LA cannot look to Sacramento or Washington DC for any large bailouts.  The Feds are facing their own budget meltdown as is the Golden State. 

So, what's a city to do?  We are fortunate to have some dedicated volunteers and staff who area working to establish practices that will improve revenue collection in the city and will reduce expenditures.  Take a moment to review their work and their recommendations:

LA CORE:  Commission on Revenue Efficiency:  In the spring of 2010, the Los Angeles City Council created the Ad Hoc Commission on Revenue Efficiency (CORE) at the initiation of Council President Eric Garcetti to evaluate and recommend improvements in collections, billing and new revenues. Comprised of seven volunteer Commissioners, and chaired by volunteer Ron Galperin, CORE has had more than 25 meetings and hearings to study and develop its Blueprint for Reform of City Collections.

RECOMMENDATIONS -- CORE offers 65 specific Recommendations for reform. A summary of priorities:
• Inspector General – Establish and appoint an Inspector General for Revenue & Collections to:
a. Prepare and provide independent and objective reports on implementation of Controller’s recommendations and CORE’s Blueprint recommendations adopted by the City.
b. Independently report on departments’ revenue and collections performance compliance.
c. Aid in facilitating collaborations and coordination needed to implement recommendations and directives.
d. Provide technical, consultative advice and independent oversight of collections reforms.
e. Serve as a conduit to other officials charged with oversight.
• Centralization and clear authority -- Of and for collection, billing, reporting, systems and data.
• Accountability, incentives and budgeting -- Hold departments accountable and incentivize new revenues.
• Intensify consequences for delinquencies -- With interest, penalties, liens and public reporting.
• Enhance quality and availability of information -- Improve accuracy and share data.
• Ease of payment and collection -- Expand and improve payment options.
• Collect systematically and with a sense of urgency – Automate and simplify process flow.
• Collections agencies -- Transfer accounts to secondary vendors after the first round of collections.
• Sell / auction aged receivables – Instead of waiting to write off old debt, sell it now.
• Amnesty and settlements -- Expedite a comprehensive non-tax amnesty and settlements program.
• LAFD billing and collection -- Expedite modernization of LAFD’s paramedic billings.
You can read more about their work and recommendations at:

http://www.rongalperin.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/Blueprint-for-Reform-of-City-Collections.pdf

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Neighborhood Council Budget Advocates:  As appointed delegates of the Neighborhood Council system, this group has actively engaged in a systematic analysis of the City’s sources of revenue, management of departments, pension programs, collection processes, and a host of other factors that could potentially help contribute to narrowing the budget deficit. As a result of this analysis, they have come up with specific recommendations to help save the City money or in certain situations, help contribute to an increase in revenues to the City. These budget proposals have been guided by four principles: (i) Increasing Efficiency; (ii) Generating Revenues; (iii) Structural Changes; and, (iv) Reducing Expenses.  Read all about it at:

http://budgetadvocatesla.com

An article on a recent meeting between the Budget Advocates and the Mayor appeared on CityWatch: 

http://citywatchla.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4712

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ACE:  Administrative Code Enforcement Program:  The proposed ACE program is a comprehensive and self-funding administrative citation, hearing and enforcement program that will capture a wide range of low-grade municipal code violations and free up scarce courtrooms and law enforcement officers for more serious crimes and civil actions.  The ACE program was introduced by a motion from Councilmember Paul Koretz and is pending before the Council Budget and Finance Committee.  The City Attorney's office is prepared to implement the program once approved by the Council.  

For more info on ACE, refer to:

http://plancheckncla.com/2011/03/ace-program/

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The  ballot measure to implement a RATE PAYERS ADVOCATE at the DWP is an effort to improve efficiency and transparency at the City's energy agency, DWP.  The City has hired the new position at long last.

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And, finally there are many audits that have been done by the Controller's office over the years that have not yet been implemented. 



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