Government of Los Angeles
The Government of Los Angeles operates as a charter city (as opposed to a general law city) under the Charter of the City of Los Angeles. The elected government is composed of the Los Angeles City Council with 15 city council districts and the Mayor of Los Angeles, which operate under a mayor-council government, as well as several other elective offices. The current mayor is Eric Garcetti, the current City Attorney is Mike Feuer and the current City Controller is Ron Galperin.
In addition, there are numerous departments and appointed officers such as the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD), the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT), the Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL), and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP).
The government of the city of Los Angeles includes the following city officers:
- Members of the Council
- City Attorney
- City Clerk
- The members of the boards or commissions of the departments and the chief administrative officer of each department and office
- An Executive Director of the Board of Police Commissioners
- Other officers as prescribed by ordinance
The Mayor of Los Angeles is the chief executive officer of the city. He is elected for a four-year term, and limited to serving no more than two terms. Under the California Constitution, all judicial, school, county, and city offices, including those of chartered cities, are nonpartisan. The 42nd and current Mayor is Eric Garcetti.
The Los Angeles City Council is the governing body of Los Angeles. The council is composed of fifteen members elected from single-member districts for four-year terms and limited to three terms. The president of the council and the president pro tempore are chosen by the council at the first regular meeting after June 30 in odd-numbered years. An assistant president pro tempore is appointed by the president. The current president of the Los Angeles City Council is Herb Wesson, the president pro tempore is Mitchell Englander and the assistant president pro tempore is Tom LaBonge.
The city also maintains four specialized police agencies; The Office of Public Safety, within the General Services Department (which is responsible for security and law enforcement services at city facilities, including City Hall, city parks and libraries, the Los Angeles Zoo, and the Convention Center), the Port Police, within the Harbor Department (which is responsible for land, air and sea law enforcement services at the Port of Los Angeles), the Los Angeles City Schools Police department which handles law enforcement for all city schools, and the Airport Police, within the Los Angeles World Airports Department (which is responsible for law enforcement services at all four city-owned airports, including Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), LA/Ontario International Airport (ONT), LA/Palmdale Regional Airport (PMD), and Van Nuys Airport (VNY).
The Charter of the City of Los Angeles ratified by voters in 1999 created a system of advisory neighborhood councils that would represent the diversity of stakeholders, defined as those who live, work or own property in the neighborhood. The neighborhood councils are relatively autonomous and spontaneous in that they identify their own boundaries, establish their own bylaws, and elect their own officers. There are currently about 90 neighborhood councils.
The Los Angeles City Attorney is an elected official whose job is legal counsel for the city and may prosecute misdemeanor criminal offenses within the city. The Los Angeles City Clerk is in charge of record keeping for the city and elections. The Los Angeles City Controller is the elected auditor and chief accounting officer of the city. The Los Angeles City Treasurer handles financial matters.
In addition, there are numerous departments and appointed officers such as the:
- Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD)
- Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA)
- Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT)
- Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL)
- Los Angeles City Clerk
- Port of Los Angeles
- Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP)
The most recent elections were in May 2013, with 13th district City Councilman Eric Garcetti defeating City Controller Wendy Greuel for Mayor. The voter turnout was about 19% of registered voters, one of the lowest turnouts on record, with Garcetti garnering about 54% of the votes.
The Charter of the City of Los Angeles is the founding document of Los Angeles. Pursuant to its Charter, all legislative power is vested in the Council and is exercised by ordinance subject to a veto by the Mayor.
Pursuant to this power, the Council has caused to be promulgated the Administrative Code, consisting of administrative and procedural ordinances, and the Municipal Code, consisting of codified regulatory and penal ordinances. Violations of the ordinances are misdemeanor crimes unless otherwise specified as an infraction and may be prosecuted by city authorities.
The Los Angeles Superior Court, which covers the entire county, is not a County department but a division of the State's trial court system. Historically, the courthouses were county-owned buildings that were maintained at county expense, which created significant friction since the trial court judges, as officials of the state government, had to lobby the county Board of Supervisors for facility renovations and upgrades. In turn, the state judiciary successfully persuaded the state Legislature to authorize the transfer of all courthouses to the state government in 2008 and 2009 (so that judges would have direct control over their own courthouses). Courthouse security is still provided by the county government under a contract with the state.
Los Angeles County
Los Angeles is also part of Los Angeles County, for which the Government of Los Angeles County is defined and authorized under the California Constitution, California law, and the Charter of the County of Los Angeles. The County government provides countywide services such as elections and voter registration, law enforcement, jails, vital records, property records, tax collection, public health, and social services. The County government is primarily composed of the elected five-member Board of Supervisors, other elected offices including the Sheriff, District Attorney, and Assessor, and numerous county departments and entities under the supervision of the Chief Executive Officer.
- Los Angeles Charter, Vol I, Article II, Sec 200
- Los Angeles City Charter, Vol I, Article II, Sec 230
- Los Angeles City Charter, Vol I, Article II, Sec 205
- Los Angeles City Charter, Vol I, Article II, Sec 206
- California Constitution, Article II, Section 6
- "Los Angeles City Council". LACity.org. 2009-01-01. Retrieved 2010-04-13.
- Musso et al. 2007, p. 4.
- Chen et al. 2009, p. S110.
- Murray 2000, p. 26.
- Mehta, Seema; Nelson, Laura J. (22 May 2013). "Garcetti wins race for L.A. mayor; Greuel concedes". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
- McGreevy, Patrick (23 May 2013). "Lawmaker has solution to low voter turnout in Los Angeles". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
- Medina, Jennifer (22 May 2013). "Garcetti Is Elected Mayor of Los Angeles, Thwarting Opposition of Labor Unions". New York Times. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
- California Government Code § 36900 et seq.
- California Government Code § 36900(a)
- California Government Code § 23004
- Musso, Julie A.; Weare, Christopher; Elliot, Mark; Kitsuse, Alicia; Shiau, Ellen (2007). Toward Community Engagement In City Governance: Evaluating Neighborhood Council Reform in Los Angeles. Civic Engagement Public Policy Briefing. Los Angeles: University of Southern California Sol Price School of Public Policy Civic Engagement Initiative.
- Chen, Bin; Cooper, Terry L.; Sun, Rong (December 2009). "Spontaneous or Constructed? Neighborhood Governance Reforms in Los Angeles and Shanghai". Public Administration Review 69 (S1): S108–S115. doi:10.1111/j.1540-6210.2009.02097.x.
- Murray, Bobbi (June 2000). "Power Failure: The Mayor's Vaunted Neighborhood Councils Are A Nice Idea—And Nothing More". Los Angeles: 26.