POLITICAL LANDSCAPE:

Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich called on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Wednesday to appoint a five-member Blue Ribbon Commission to examine structural and procedural reforms during a special legislative session to deal with the budget crisis brought on by Tuesday’s electoral routing of Proposition 1A.

In calling for the commission, which would comprise members from the state’s top business schools, Antonovich said that it was “imperative that this be done within 60 days,” given the state’s multibillion budget deficit and battered bond rating.

Under Antonovich’s proposal, the Blue Ribbon Commission would evaluate the possible consolidation or elimination of state agencies with duplicative responsibilities, cut nonessential commissions, replace salaried commissioners with a $100-per-meeting stipend and civil service reforms.

The commission would also look at repealing term limits, creating a part-time legislature and instituting a two-year budget for more stability.

Easter Seals Disability Services honors Liu

State Sen. Carol Liu was honored Monday by Easter Seals Disability Services, a nonprofit that assists people with disabilities and special needs, for her legislative work on crimes against the disabled and autism screening for toddlers.

Liu, who serves as chairwoman of the Senate Human Services Committee, received the Senate Champion Award at the nonprofit’s annual Legislative Awards Dinner in Sacramento.

Local representatives back credit regulations

A new law that would prevent credit card companies from retroactively charging customers interest on paid-off debt or hiking penalty fees and other costs sailed through Congress on Wednesday with strong backing from local representatives.

The Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights Act ratchets up dozens of consumer protections, including a prohibition on increased interest rates within the first year of an new account and early morning payment deadlines.

Promotional rates must also last at least six months, and cardholders must be notified of a rate increase at least 45 days in advance, under the bill’s provisions.

Rep. Brad Sherman, whose district includes much of Burbank, touted the new bill as an important step in enabling consumers to dig themselves out from under crushing credit card debts.

A provision of the bill, which was expected to be signed into law by President Barack Obama this week, would also require companies to tell customers how much they would need to pay each month in order to pay off their credit balance in three years.

In a statement after the vote, Sherman, who co-sponsored the bill as a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee, said the bill would go a long way in highlighting the “enormous costs of just making the minimum payment.”

Rep. David Dreier, whose district includes La Crescenta, also backed the bill, calling it an important step in ending the “abusive credit card policies” that have made it difficult for consumers to pay off their debts.

Schiff hails Obama’s Guantánamo stance

Rep. Adam Schiff on Wednesday issued a statement supporting Obama’s determination to close Guantánamo Bay Detention Facility, despite push back from Congress over the cost.

Congressional leaders have balked at appropriating millions toward closing the controversial foreign detention facility without a clear schedule and plan for doing so.

Schiff, author of the Terrorist Detainees Procedures Act and staunch critic of the facility, said he fully supported Obama’s decision to close Guantánamo Bay “and the necessity of our sharing the burden of [detainee] incarceration with other nations.”

Planning officials to reveal results

Glendale planning officials have scheduled two public meetings to go over the results of months of outreach for possible amendments to the North Glendale Community Plan, a guide for future development in the area.

Planners will report back to the community on the input they gathered, giving the public a chance to weigh in on the findings to ensure their points were accurately logged before they are included in a draft report to the City Council.

The draft findings will be used to amend the north Glendale portion of the city’s General Plan to reflect changing community needs and tastes in the area following La Crescenta’s own efforts to codify new development guidelines for the adjacent unincorporated county district of the foothills.

New developers to the area have in recent years encountered growing opposition from local residents over plans to redevelop certain parcels. The confluence of jurisdictions in the area, including Los Angeles County, Glendale and Los Angeles — all with different design guidelines — has complicated efforts to unify the area under similar development goals.

The meetings will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. June 1 and 3, at the Clark Magnet high School Auditeria, 4747 New York Ave. For more information, call the Planning Department (818) 548-2140.

Krekorian to host housing workshop

Assemblyman Paul Krekorian will hold a housing and financial fitness workshop Saturday to help residents solve fiscal quandaries created by the slumping economy.

The four-hour workshop will help job-seekers, recent and potential home owners, renters and other residents seeking to improve their financial standing.

Government officials from legal, employment and real estate backgrounds will be there to guide participants through a set of discussions and hands-on activities.

The event will take place at Romer Middle School, located at 6501 Laurel Canyon Blvd. in North Hollywood, starting at 10 a.m.

— Jason Wells and Zain Shauk


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