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After Much Confusion, 10 Ballot Measures Approved by L.A. City Council

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The City Council after much repetition and last-minute changes approves 10 ballot measures for L.A. voter approval in March.

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The L.A. Times has the nutty details.

Buffeted by the competing wishes of special interests, the mayor and various civic leaders, council members repeatedly changed their minds on the ballot proposals, hastily rewriting some while killing others outright.

Councilman Jose Huizar provided a glimpse into that disarray last week, as he explained his opposition to a proposed ballot measure that would let the council fire the top executive at the Department of Water and Power.

"I previously voted no on this item and today I voted yes earlier," Huizar told his colleagues. "But now that it's up for reconsideration," he added, "I'm going to be consistent and vote no."...

A plan for creating a watchdog at the DWP was amended repeatedly as council members tried to appease the powerful union that represents its employees. A tax on billboards was jettisoned after real estate interests, who contribute to council members' campaigns, demanded that it be pulled from consideration.

A separate tax on oil production was proposed by Councilwoman Janice Hahn, whose harbor district has the most refineries. After representatives of those refineries complained, Hahn publicly rescinded her support on the day of the crucial vote.

Hahn's colleagues passed it anyway, delighted to find a new source of money for the city's cash-strapped budget.

The end result of the unpretty process:

Ten ballot proposals ultimately passed the gantlet. They included a proposed tax on medical marijuana, a plan to set aside more money for libraries, a proposal to shore up the city's emergency reserve and a ban on campaign contributions from city contractors.

An 11th measure, the one that would allow the council to fire the DWP general manager, will get a final vote on Dec. 7. Although the council members voted on Nov. 16 to move ahead with the measure, they fell short of the votes needed to put it on the ballot a week later.

Most amazing procedural detail, something every citizen of L.A. needs to remember as they contemplate the City Council's votes, so, so frequently unanimous: "The council's computers are programmed to vote yes automatically, unless a member specifically indicates otherwise."

Thus, we are governed. Earlier CIty of Angles blogging on the upcoming March elections, ballot measures and candidates and all.

Image taken by Flickr user Mr. Littlehand. Used under user Creative Commons license.

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