Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Turkey Giveway-El Sereno-Barrio Action Youth and Family Center

We pause at this time of year to give thanks for our many blessings and also to reach out to those less fortunate. Any action, big or small, can make a world of difference. And sometimes that means just making sure a family has a hot turkey meal with all the fixings.

Councilmember Jose Huizar-Boyle Heights Senior Center-Turkey Giveway-Thanksgiving

During this Thanksgiving season, my office co-sponsored and participated in a ½ dozen Thanksgiving dinner and turkey giveaways.Working with sponsors, Council District 14 handed out more than 1,000 free turkeys, as well as a dinner that fed about 1,000 people.

From my family to yours, I wish you a wonderful and joyous Thanksgiving.


Friday, November 19, 2010

First Councilmember to Call for DWP Ratepayer Advocate Endorses Measure


Huizar Logo 2

CONTACT:Rick Coca,

José Huizar supports ballot measure, which will bring better oversight to the Department of Water & Power

LOS ANGELES (Nov. 19, 2010) As the City Council ended its debate on what provisions to include in a March 2011 ballot measure on oversight for the Department of Water and Power, the final product looked a lot like what Councilmember José Huizar first offered up as a solution two-and-a-half years ago.

The City Council voted Wednesday to create an Office of Public Accountability “to provide public independent analysis of department actions, as they relate to water and electricity rates.”

In July 2008, Councilmember was the first Councilmember to call for an oversight position at DWP. His legislation came after concerns over several rate hikes by the DWP following 15 years without any price increases and asked to establish a fully independent ombudsperson position “to provide independent and neutral analysis on future proposals for rate increases and rate restructurings.”

In 2008, neither the DWP nor the City Council was ready to engage in a conversation about creating such a position. This summer, following a contentious battle over rate increases and allegations the DWP withheld delivering $73.5 million to the City’s General Fund, the tide turned and several other councilmembers called for such a position.

“While I had hoped we would have gotten here a lot sooner, I am pleased that the voters will now have the opportunity to create an oversight position for the DWP that in the end will benefit everyone involved, most importantly the ratepayers,” said Councilmember José Huizar. “This new office will help the DWP, City leaders and the public engage in informed conversations about rate adjustments and long-range energy projections in a timely, thoughtful and deliberative manner.”

Since 12 votes were not secured, the City Council will need to vote once more next week on the Office of Public Accountability, along with another measure to give the Council the power to fire the DWP General Manager as well as remove members of the DWP Commission via a vote.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

L.A. Voters' Bill of Rights One Step Closer to 2011 Ballot

Los Angeles Voters' Bill of Rights

The City Council voted to support putting a crucial part of our L.A. Voters' Bill of Rights election-reform policy on the March 2011 Ballot, which aims to limit the influence of big money special interests on City elections. The measure will ask voters to support updating the City's Matching Fund Program, which voters first approved 20 years ago. It also will ask voters to support imposing restrictions on campaign contributions from those vying for City contracts. We need one more second-reading majority vote next week to make it official. Also, tomorrow the City Council will vote to put the DWP Ratepayer Advocate on the ballot. I was the first Councilmember to call for such a position in 2008.

Click here to read our press release on the Matching Funds-Campaign Donation Restriction Measure.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Honoring Our Veterans @ Cinco Puntos

Veterans Day-Cinco Puntos-Councilmember Jose Huizar

Veterans Day provides us with the opportunity to honor those who wear and have worn the uniform of the United States. We also pause today to remember those who gave their lives beneath our flag—in the service of our freedom and the defense of our values.

With many still fighting around the world, we also owe a special thanks to the families of those who serve. Earlier today, at the historic Cinco Puntos (Five Points), home of the historic Mexican American All Wars Memorial monument, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4696 & American Legion, known for their annual Memorial Day ceremony, hosted their first Veterans’ Day commemoration.

This Eastside Veterans’ Day featured its first female keynote speaker, Iraqi War veteran Veronica Mayela Martinez. Tony Zapata, Boyle Heights resident, Navy veteran, and Los Angeles County 2010 Veteran of the Year, was also recognized from the podium.

Councilmember Jose Huizar-Iraqi War veteran Veronica Mayela Martinez-Veterans Day-Cinco Puntos

Today and every day, we are moved by the sacrifices made by those in harm’s way. Please take a moment to offer your thanks to a veteran. You can also visit to find out how you can serve military families in your area. Below is footage from this past Sunday’s 5th Annual Northeast Los Angeles Veterans Day Parade & Celebration:

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

City Council Approves Plan to Elevate Matching Fund Program

I was very excited to see this pass today. Below is the release about today's vote for election reform--a key component of the Los Angeles Voters Bill of Rights.


Huizar Logo 2

(213) 473-7014 or

LOS ANGELES (Nov. 2, 2010) — The Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to place a “Voter-owned election” referendum on the March 2011 ballot in order to encourage more candidates to use the City’s matching fund program while limiting special interest influence.

Introduced by Councilmember José Huizar as part of the “Los Angeles Voters’ Bill of Rights,” an election reform package created by good government groups and the Council member, Tuesday’s vote means a ballot measure will be drawn up asking L.A. City voters to lift the current Public Matching Fund Program Trust Fund cap, which experts say is necessary if the City is serious about increasing the number of serious candidates using the City’s matching fund program.

If voters pass the ballot measure to remove the cap, currently a little over $12 million, that vote will enable significant changes in the City’s matching fund program designed to increase the number of qualified candidates, particularly citywide ones, to compete against heavily financed candidates.

“Today, we took a significant step in ensuring fairness in our elections and allowing a more diverse pool of candidates the opportunity to run serious campaigns without being independently wealthy or depending on special interest money,” said Councilmember José Huizar.

Currently, the City’s Matching Fund Program is limited in the amount of funding that it can offer candidates for office due to limited resources, which ironically is one of the main reasons why the fund is currently at its cap. Since the passage of Proposition H in 1990 created the Ethics Commission and the City’s matching funds program, 2009 was the first year that none of the leading candidates for Citywide office agreed to participate in the program.

Enhancements such as increasing the current 1-to-1 matching ratio for citywide candidates, will be needed to entice the expected candidates for the Mayor’s office in 2013 to participate in the City’s program, which sets spending limits for candidates and also requires public debates. There are also a number of Council seats that will be open in both 2013 and 2015 due to term limits and added funding would allow for increased matching fund limits in those races.

“Los Angeles voters owe Councilmember Jose Huizar and Council President Eric Garcetti their thanks for working to give them the chance to vote on this important start to addressing the problem of special interest money in politics,” said Trent Lange, President, California Clean Money Campaign. “Strengthening the City’s voter-passed matching funds system will let candidates spend less time fundraising and more time talking with voters.”

With the increase in Independent Expenditures (IEs) this election cycle on the federal and state levels the ability of the City to help candidates targeted by IEs with matching funds becomes all the more important.

This past Friday, the City Council voted unanimously to adopt Councilmember José Huizar’s legislation calling for Vote-by-Mail elections in the City’s next available Council seat Special Election. The plan would also leave open all polling places so voters can either vote-by-mail or vote in person on Election Day.

Following the Council seat Special Election, the City Clerk’s office would determine the number of people who participated via Vote-by-Mail vs. those who voted in person. The City Council could then use that data to determine how many polling places they would need to keep open in order to expand Vote-by-Mail in future elections.

The Council has referred to committee the third plank of Councilmember Huizar’s election reform package, Ranked Choice Voting (RCV). The proposal, as it stands is to try out this more progressive form of voting in special elections, where in addition to saving the City, LAUSD and Community College District millions of dollars with each usage, RCV also can help to fill vacant seats faster, ensuring that voters do not have to do without elected representation.

Councilmember Huizar election reform package, the Los Angeles Voters’ Bill of Rights, has the support of Council President Eric Garcetti and several good government organizations, including California Common Cause; League of Women Voters of Los Angeles; California Clean Money Campaign and the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project.


Election Day Message from Councilmember Huizar

Today I joined Americans from all across the nation in doing our basic civic duty: voting. Here is some footage from this morning.