Form of Government
The City of Los Angeles is a Mayor-Council-Commission form of government, as originally adopted by voters of the City of Los Angeles, effective July 1, 1925 and reaffirmed by a new Charter effective July 1, 2000. A Mayor, City Controller, and City Attorney are elected by City residents every four years. Fifteen City Council members representing fifteen districts are elected by the people for four-year terms, for a maximum of two terms. Members of Commissions are generally appointed by the Mayor, subject to the approval of the City Council. General Managers of the various City departments are also appointed by the Mayor, subject to confirmation by the City Council. Most employees of the City are subject to the civil service provisions of the City Charter.
The basic law of the government of the City of Los Angeles is found in the City Charter, first adopted by a vote of the people in 1924, effective July 1, 1925, and subsequently amended from time to time. In 1999, the voters approved a new City Charter that addresses government in this new century. The Charter provides for a mayor-council type of municipal system, the Mayor being the executive branch and the Council the legislative. The governmental machinery consists of approximately 42 departments and bureaus which are headed by General Managers or advisory or controlling Boards or Commissions appointed by the Mayor subject to confirmation of the Council. The Board of Public Works is the only full-time board. The new City Charter, effective July 2000, provided for the creation of a Citywide System of Neighborhood Councils. The goal of the Neighborhoods Councils is to promote public participation in City governance and decision-making process to create a government more responsive to local needs.Founding and Incorporation
The first settlers of the City of Los Angeles consisted of 14 families numbering 44 individuals. The ceremonies founding the City took place on September 4, 1781. At that time, Colonel Felipe De Neve, who was then Governor of the Spanish Province of Alta California, officially used the name "El Pueblo de la Reina de Los Angeles" or "The Town of the Queen of the Angels."
The City of Los Angeles was incorporated on April 4, 1850. At that time, it had a population of 1,610 (U.S. Census) and an area of 28 square miles. It did not have a graded street, a sidewalk, a water system, lights, nor a single public building of its own. Residents on Saturday morning swept or cleaned the street in front of their houses. Street lighting was simple, as owners of houses, which faced streets, were obligated to place a light at the door in front of their houses during the first two hours of darkness each night.
Los Angeles Today
Today, Los Angeles has a population of nearing four million people, an area of 465 square miles, 7,366 miles of streets, water and power brought from mountains hundreds of miles away, and thousands of publicly-owned structures of various types. The friendly lanterns that once hung at the door have been replaced with electrolier lights and utilitarian lights. Adobe houses have been replaced with modern buildings and residences, volunteer police and fire departments have been succeeded by highly trained, properly equipped, and well organized municipal forces, and mud flats have been dredged to become one of the world's busiest harbors at Wilmington and San Pedro.
Your City government touches your life at more points more frequently than any other governmental agency, be it federal, state, or county. City government furnishes water, supplies electricity, provides ambulance, police, sanitation, and fire services, maintains streets, maintains parks and provides other essential services to citizens. In a very real sense, the City government is a huge corporation with nearly four million stockholders -- the second largest city in the United States. This City, in which you are a stockholder, is engaged in business exceeding several billion dollars a year.
The City Administrative Officer (CAO) is the chief financial advisor to the Mayor and the Council and reports directly to both. The CAO conducts studies and investigations, carries out research and makes recommendations on a wide variety of City management matters for the Mayor and Council. The CAO assists the Mayor and Council in the preparation of the City budget; forecasts and manages revenue projections; plans and directs the administration of the budget; manages the City's debt program; manages the City's risk management program; and directs the development of work programs and standards. The CAO represents the management of the City in negotiating all labor contracts, coordinates applications for federal and state grants and claims for disaster relief, provides support for the Quality and Productivity Commission, chairs and participates on many coordinating committees, and performs other duties required by the Mayor or the Council.
The Department of Aging advocates for the interests and welfare of seniors by administering programs which provide services to older adults and caregivers in the City of Los Angeles. The functions of the Department include planning, contract development, and fiscal and programmatic monitoring of senior and caregiver programs. The Department's programs are carried out in compliance with the federal Older Americans Act and the Older Californians Act, as amended. The Department provides services directly and through contracts with community-based agencies which serve as focal points for delivery of services throughout the City.
The Los Angeles World Airports, under its Board of Commissioners, is responsible for the management, supervision, and control of all airports and airport facilities under the jurisdiction of the City of Los Angeles. These airports are: The Los Angeles International Airport (LAX); The Ontario International Airport (ONT); The Van Nuys Airport (VNY); and The Palmdale Regional Airport (PMD). These airports are among the busiest in the world.
The Department of Animal Services provides services that enable people and animals to live together in safety in the City of Los Angeles. The Department houses and cares for lost and abandoned animals in its six shelters located throughout the City, enforces animal-related laws, and acts to prevent cruelty to animals. The Department issues dog and equine licenses, collects license fees, and participates in the State rabies control program. The Department also issues cat identification tags and collects tag fees. The Department enforces the Leash Law; inspects medical research laboratories; and accepts unwanted animals.
The City Attorney is elected by the people of Los Angeles to represent the City and serves as legal advisor to the Mayor, City Council, and all City boards, departments, officers and entities. As the City's general counsel, the City Attorney provides advice and opinions on matters of municipal concern, examines contracts and ordinances as to form and legality, and is frequently called upon to interpret the City Charter, federal and state statutes, and other laws that govern Los Angeles. As the City's chief prosecutor, the City Attorney prosecutes all misdemeanor criminal offenses and infractions that occur in the City, including domestic violence, child abuse, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, theft, and assault. The City Attorney's Office is also a resource for victims and witnesses of crimes, and provides a network of referral services as well as crisis intervention and support. Additionally, the City Attorney administers a number of citywide crime prevention initiatives focused on preserving the quality of life throughout Los Angeles' neighborhoods, including the Neighborhood Prosecutor Program and the Citywide Nuisance Abatement Program.
The City Attorney litigates all civil actions on behalf of the City and represents the City, its boards and officers in all civil trials and legal proceedings, in both state and federal court. The City Attorney advocates for the benefit of the City before the United States Congress and the State Legislature and represents the City in proceedings before the State Public Utilities Commission, the Federal Maritime Board, and other federal and state administrative bodies and committees when the City is an interested party.
The mission of the Department of Building and Safety is to protect the lives and safety of the residents and visitors of Los Angeles, preserve the City's quality of life, and contribute to the City's economic development. This is accomplished through the implementation and enforcement of the Zoning, Building, Plumbing, Mechanical, and Electrical Codes, as well as Engineering, Energy, and Disabled Access Regulations, and local and State laws for construction and maintenance of commercial, industrial, and residential buildings.
Many public safety-related ordinances are administered by the Department including the City's Earthquake Hazards Reduction, Security Bars and Grills, Fire Safety Standards For High-Rise Retrofit, Seismic Gas Shut Off Valve, and Swimming Pool Fencing Ordinances. In addition, the Department also completes reports of residential building records and provides information regarding pending special assessment liens to potential purchasers of residential properties prior to sale or exchange.
The City Clerk serves as the Clerk of the City Council and maintains a record of all Council proceedings; maintains the official City records and archives; administers all City elections; provides special presentations for the Council and the public, special administrative and personnel services to the Council and Mayor; and provides staff assistance to Council Committees. The City Clerk also provides a records management service for all City departments. All claims filed against the City must be received and recorded by the City Clerk.
The Community Development Department (CDD) was created in August 1977 to improve the quality of life in the City of Los Angeles by creating economic, social and employment opportunities for individuals, families, and neighborhoods in need. Today, the Department, with a staff of more than 600 individuals, administers approximately $500 million in Federal and State grants. Each year, through its network of service providers, the Department provides a variety of client contacts or social services to more than 130,000 poor and disadvantaged residents. The CDD administers WorkSource Centers that provide services to businesses and job seekers, and assists young people with preparing for and getting their first jobs. In addition, CDD administers programs for businesses such as: loan programs, technical assistance programs, and geographically targeted incentive programs.
The Bureau of Contract Administration is responsible for assuring that all public works projects are constructed and administered in accordance with the plans, specifications, contract provisions, State and Federal laws and safety provisions necessary to achieve a quality and beneficial product
The City Charter establishes the Controller as an elected official and gives the Controller the responsibility for serving as the auditor and chief accounting officer of the City. The Controller is required to exercise general supervision over the accounts of all officers and departments of the City, including the independent departments of Airports, Water and Power, Harbor and the Community Redevelopment Agency. The Controller prescribes the method and installation of accounting systems as approved by the Council, records and audits all receipts and disbursements; audits and approves all payments to employees, contractors or vendors before payment; and protects appropriations against overdraft or expenditure for unauthorized purposes. The Controller centrally prepares payrolls and maintains records of payroll deductions for employee participation in group insurance, medical service, and other voluntary activities.
The Controller prepares the official financial reports for the City that are submitted to the State Controller, the Federal Government and Bond rating agencies; monthly and yearly financial reports are submitted to the Mayor and Council. Also, the Controller submits to the Mayor the estimated revenue for budget purposes (other than property taxes) for the City. The Controller prepares annually the computation of the City tax rate for the City Council.
The City is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the Convention and Exhibition Center in accordance with the lease and leaseback agreements between the City of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Convention and Exhibition Center Authority. The Los Angeles Convention Center Department markets and rents its facilities for conventions, trade shows, public shows, private functions, meetings, banquets and other special events. After completion of a major expansion in 1993, the Center capacity increased to 860,000 square feet with nine exhibit halls, 64 meeting rooms, and 6,000 parking spaces. The Department operates the parking facilities, provides client services and maintains the entire complex.
The Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) enhances the quality of life for residents and visitors by creating partnerships that leverage public funds to generate and support the arts, cultural experiences, and heritage through activities such as programming, marketing and development, grant making, communication, and building relationships with community partners. The public funds include: the City's General Fund; the Los Angeles Endowment for the Arts, a trust fund that provides support for cultural projects with proceeds from the Transient Occupancy Tax; the Arts Development Fee Ordinance, which mandates that arts fees be gathered as mitigation for new construction in the City. A Mayor-appointed Commission serves as an advisory body to the Department.
The Mayor and the City Council created the Department on Disability in 1998 to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities. The Department replaced the Office on Disability, a division of the City of Los Angeles Mayor's Office, in response to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The Department is supported by a nine-member advisory commission established in 1989, in recognition of the City's commitment to expand equal opportunities and to provide the full extent
of municipal services to persons with disabilities. Transferred from the City's Community Development Department in 2000, the AIDS Coordinator's Office became part of the Department on Disability. As an integrated system, the AIDS Coordinator's Office devises strategies and develops policies to address the epidemic of AIDS, and implements prevention programs in the City.
The Department on Disability is committed to ensuring full access to public employment, programs, facilities, and services under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Department maximizes its efforts through strategic management, partnerships, community, education, legislative advocacy, training, and research for the benefit of persons with disabilities.
The El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument Authority Department manages 22 historic buildings surrounding Plaza Park, site of the founding of the City of Los Angeles in 1781. The Monument's major attraction is Olvera Street, which is a Mexican marketplace and world famous tourist attraction operating continuously since 1930. The unique shopping area contains seventy-eight food service, retail, and specialty businesses. The Monument operates two museums and an art gallery. The Avila Adobe Museum, located in the oldest remaining building in Los Angeles, recreates life in Los Angeles in the 1840's. The Firehouse Museum, located in the City's first fire station, has been restored to show the exciting history of fire fighting in Los Angeles. A restored winery building has been converted into an art gallery which offers rotating exhibitions. Complimentary docent-led tours are provided Tuesday through Saturday. Numerous cultural events are conducted at various times of the year. Admission is free to all facilities, events and activities.
The mission of the Emergency Management Department (EMD) is to provide Citywide emergency management program leadership, continuity, and direction to enable the City and its partners to respond to, recover from, and mitigate the impact of natural, manmade, or technological disasters upon its people and property. Although the Department was established in July 2000, its lineage and the City's commitment to disaster preparedness are decades old.
The Department coordinates the interdepartmental preparedness, planning, training and recovery activities of the City's Emergency Operations Organization, its divisions and all City departments. Additionally, it serves as the City's emergency preparedness liaison with other municipalities, state and federal agencies, and the private sector; and performs related education and community preparedness activities.
The functions of the Employees Relations Board include determining representation units for City employees, arranging for election in such units, determining the validity of charges of unfair practices by management or employee organizations, maintaining lists of impartial third parties for use in the resolution of impasses, and arbitration of grievances, and acting upon requests for mediation or fact-finding in the resolution of impasses.
This Department, under its Board of Administration, is vested with the exclusive management control of the investments of the Los Angeles City Employees' Retirement Fund. Additionally, the Department is charged with the administration of provisions of the City Charter and Administrative Code relative to the retirement, disability, and death benefits provided for all City employees, except the sworn forces of the Fire and Police Departments, and the employees of the Department of Water and Power.
The Bureau of Engineering, headed by the City Engineer, is primarily responsibility for the design and construction of public works projects and private development affecting the public right of way for the City. More specific responsibilities to support this include: engineering features and standards of all privately developed subdivisions and tracts; issuing permits for work; maintaining public counters for research into City records; reviewing of private projects; surveying; preparing official City maps; keeping original maps, plans, profiles, field books, estimates, records and other data relating to the public works with which the Bureau is concerned.
The Bureau also provides specialized services in support of capital projects and for other City departments and agencies in such areas as sustainable design evaluation, structural analysis, environmental compliance, hydraulic modeling research, and research into geology and soil conditions. It conducts research into all aspects of Public Works engineering, develops standard plans for its use in design, and distributes this information to the private sector for continuity and standardization.
In June of 1990, the voters of Los Angeles created the City Ethics Commission through passage of Proposition H. In addition to creating the Commission, the action of the voters implemented the most comprehensive local ethics and campaign finance program in the country. The ethics law helps to assure government decisions are made in the public interest, unattained by any consideration of private gain.
The City Ethics Commission is responsible for administering and enforcing the City's laws relating to ethics, campaign financing and lobbying. The programs administered include: a campaign finance audit and disclosure program, a public matching funds program for City candidates, a lobbyist registration and disclosure program, and an ethics and financial disclosure program for City officials. To assist City employees, candidates and others in complying with the laws, the Commission provides oral and written advice, conducts training sessions, and produces manuals and informational materials. Further, the City Charter mandates that the Commission make legislative recommendations to the Council in these policy areas and authorizes it to investigate and enforce violations of the ethics, campaign finance and lobbying laws. To this end the Commission conducts audits of City campaigns and maintains a 24-hour Whistleblower Hotline (800) 824-4825 to receive confidential complaints and reports of violations.
The Office of Finance aims “to provide efficient, effective and responsible revenue collection and treasury services through a customer focused environment to taxpayers and City departments through management, assessment and application of best practices.” Finance serves as the custodian of all money deposited in the City Treasury, including managing the City's investment portfolio and cash and debt management programs. It also collects City taxes and revenue from licenses, permits and fees other than those administered directly by other City departments. Most of this revenue goes into the City's General Fund to support essential services such as those provided by the Police, Fire, Library, and Street Services Departments.
This Department provides Class-1 fire protection, rescue, and emergency medical services for nearly four million Los Angeles citizens. Through contractual agreement, this service is also provided to the City of San Fernando. This high level of professional service is conducted through five main bureaus which perform separate vital functions: Administrative Services Bureau, Training and Support Bureau, Bureau of Emergency Operations, Bureau of Fire Prevention and Public Safety, Emergency Services Bureau.
This Department administers the Fire and Police Pension System for all uniformed fire, paramedic and police employees. The Department is responsible for the investment of pension funds in stocks, bonds, real estate and money market instruments.
The Department of General Services (GSD) provides centralized support services to City departments, elected officials, and non-City organizations, as directed by the Mayor and City Council. The Department's responsibilities include: purchasing (the General Manager acts as the City's Purchasing Agent); materials management and warehousing; mail and messenger services; maintenance and repair of the City's vehicle and helicopter fleet; testing of soils, asphalt, and building construction materials; printing and duplication services; construction and maintenance of City-owned buildings; property leasing and management (including the Los Angeles Mall); custodial, recycling and moving services, security, and parking services for City facilities; and coordination of and logistical support for special events, visits by foreign dignitaries, the Mayor's inauguration, and fund raisers for charitable organizations.
The Los Angeles Housing Department (LAHD) advocates safe and livable neighborhoods through the promotion, development, and preservation of decent, safe, and affordable housing. To achieve this mission, the Department utilizes federal resources including HOME and CDBG funds, tax-exempt bonding authority, and tax credits in addition to leveraging other funds from the public and private sectors. These resources are used to assist in the development of single-family homes, rental housing, mixed-use (commercial/residential) developments, and housing for persons with special needs (persons with AIDS, mentally or physically disabled, victims of domestic violence, kinship families). The department also performs code enforcement, administers the Rent Stabilization Ordinance, provides homeownership programs and home repair programs, and administers a contract for Fair Housing activies.
The Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) is one of the nation's largest public housing authorities, and is the largest provider of affordable housing and rent assistance to low and very low-income households in the City of Los Angeles. Through a variety of programs, the HACLA owns and operates housing units and administers Section 8 Rent Assistance Vouchers. The HACLA also provides extensive economic development, employment, education and social programs as part of a commitment to foster healthy communities and promote economic self-sufficiency.
The Information Technology Agency (ITA) is responsible for planning, designing, implementing, operating and coordinating the City's information technology systems and networks, and for the delivery of information processing and communications services. This department provides all telecommunications regulatory services, cable television licensing and franchise enforcement, municipal cable programming and utilization, operates the City's cable channel, and related matters.
The Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL) provides free and easy access to information and opportunities for life-long learning. These opportunities include variety a of programs and services for infants, children, teens and adults. The LAPL is one library (one collection of books and other materials and one staff of librarians and support personnel), which is accessed through a Central Library downtown, eight regional branch libraries, 59 community branches, four bookmobiles and the Internet.
The LAPL has more than six million books and other materials in its collection; over two million are at the Richard Riordan Central Library. All LAPL libraries provide state-of-the-art technology that includes a computerized catalog of library materials, Internet access, databases for a wide range of topics, and information about library locations, hours of service, events and programs. Patrons can also reserve materials and have them delivered from anywhere in the system to their local LAPL facility.
The Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE) was created in 1999 and the department created a Plan for a Citywide System of Neighborhood Councils, which was adopted by the City Council and Mayor on May 31, 2001. The Neighborhood Councils are empowered to elect or select their own leaders, choose their own boundaries, and determine their own issues. As the centerpieces of this new system of participatory democracy, they are as independent from government as possible. The City provides them with the resources, training, and access that they need to hold their elected officials accountable, and ensure that their neighborhood priorities are given proper attention.
More than half of the Department's employees are the community organizers who form the field staff. They operate from a main office in Downtown Los Angeles, and out of five additional access centers located throughout the City in Van Nuys, Reseda, Boyle Heights, the Eighth District Constituent Center, and San Pedro. The field staff, known as Project Coordinators, work closely with over 100 groups that are preparing to be officially certified as neighborhood councils.
The Personnel Department recruits employees, administers competitive examinations, and establishes eligible lists for employment. In addition, the Department recruits and examines sworn police and fire candidates and conducts background investigations. It establishes rules and regulations governing the promotion, transfer, leave of absence, removal, and reinstatement of City employees; administers the City's classification plan; administers the City's affirmative action and equal employment programs; and maintains a variety of employment records for all City employees. The Personnel Department assists other departments with in-service training, placement, and counseling; administers employee health and dental insurance and other benefit programs; investigates grounds for removal or suspension of employees; investigates discrimination complaints; and conducts hearings. The Department administers preemployment health examinations; administers a workers' compensation program, including vocational rehabilitation for City employees; and provides medical care for persons in custody of the Police Department. It administers the City's Trip Reduction/Commuter Services Program which includes ridesharing, vanpooling, mass transit subsidies and employee parking.
The misson of the Planning Department is to promote the social, economic, physical, environmental and aesthetic well-being of the people of Los Angeles. The Planning Department prepares and maintains planning documents that guides the City in its land use development and infrastructure decisions. These address population distribution, traffic circulation, public facilities, location of housing, commercial and industrial facilities, and protection of the natural environment and the health welfare, and safety of the general public.
This Department has the duty and power to enforce the penal divisions on the City Charter, the ordinances of the City, and the laws of the state and the nation for the purpose of protecting persons and property and for the preservation of the peace of the community. To these ends, the department engages in patrol, prevention of crime, investigation of reported crimes, apprehension of suspects, the gathering and presentation of evidence, the detention of unarraigned persons, the regulation of traffic, the investigation of traffic accidents, the custody of property, and such staff services as are necessary to engage in these activities. In addition it investigates and regulates solicitations for charitable projects, grants, endorsements to qualified charitable agencies, and determines eligibility of charitable organizations for exemption from payment of license and permit fees. It also investigates applicants, issues licenses, and regulates the conduct of bingo games in the City.
The Port of Los Angeles is one of the leading containerports in the United States. Responsible for over a quarter-of-a-million jobs in the Southern California region, it has one of the most diversified arrays of facilities in the world. Nearly 2.5 million containers are moved each year along with millions of tons of crude oil, coal, jet fuel, gasoline, and other bulk commodities.
The Port of Los Angeles is overseen by the Board of Harbor Commissioners. When it was designated by the State as the Port of Los Angeles in 1907, the area was little more than mud flats. It now consists of over 7,500 acres of land and water with more than 28 miles of waterfront and is one of the largest man-made harbors in the world and one of the most significant factors in Southern California's economy.
The Port does not use any tax dollars from the City's general fund, but operates the facility through the California Tidelands Trust Act and generates its own funds. The Tidelands Trust Act states that all the money generated by the Port must be used
The Department of Public Works, is responsible for construction, renovation, and the operation of City facilities and infrastructure. Facilities include the Los Angeles International Airport, City Hall, Hyperion and Tillman Treatment Plants, Hyperion and park facilities. Infrstructure includes streets, bridges, sewers, and storm drains. The Board of Public Works Commissioners are the chief administrators of the Department of Public Works, overseeing the design and execution of department projects. They are the City's only full time, policy-making board, serving as the General Manager of the Department of Public Works. The Board is an executive team composed of five members, selected and appointed by the Mayor of Los Angeles, and confirmed by the City Council to five-year terms. Directors of the Department's five Bureaus and the Executive Officer of the Board of Public Works report to the Board of Public Works.
This Office of the Board of Public Works is comprised of the Board Secretariat, the Offices of Community Beautification, Accounting, Management-Employee Services, Public Affairs, and Emergency Preparedness.
The Board Secretariat coordinates the organization and the administration of the Board of Public Works and is also responsible for accepting all proposals or bids for the Department's construction contracts. The Board Secretariat reviews and maintains all construction project insurance documents, personal services contracts, and permits for the Department of Public Works.
The Office of Community Beautification is a long-term, Citywide anti-litter and anti-graffiti program. OCS serves as a resource for community improvement programs in the areas of graffiti removal, volunteer clean-up assistance, educational programs, and the community beautification matching fund program.
The Office of Accounting provides accounting and financial services to the Department and advises the Board and Bureau heads on accounting and financial matters. The Office also provides accounting and financial services to the Department, the City Controller, the City Administrative Officer, Treasurer, and other City Departments.
The Office of Management/Employee Services administers uniform personnel programs for the Department, and provides services pertaining to employee relations, affirmative action, discipline, drug/alcohol programs, violence prevention, counseling and employee personnel record processing, and employment verification.
The Public Affairs Office serves in the capacity of Public Information Officer for the Department of Public Works. It coordinates a variety of programs designed to increase public awareness and provides public outreach services.
The Emergency Preparedness Office represents and coordinates the Department in all emergency management activities and acts as the one-stop emergency operations contact for the Department.
The Department of Recreation and Parks, operates and maintains over 420 parks on more than 15,000 acres of parkland, as well as 184 recreation centers, 2 state licensed child-care centers, and 31 senior centers. Some of the regional parks include Griffith, Sepulveda Basin, Hansen Dam, Ken Malloy, and Ernest Debs.
Other Department facilities include 13 golf courses and a youth golf academy, 368 children's play areas including 19 that are specifically designed for children of all abilities, 256 ball fields, 56 soccer fields, 321 tennis courts, 61 swimming pools, 92 miles of hiking trails, 18 skateboard parks, and an outdoor roller hockey rink.
Venice and Cabrillo beaches are also part of the Department, as are Balboa, Echo Park, Hansen Dam, Hollenbeck, Lincoln, MacArthur, and Harbor Regional lakes, at which activities vary, but include fishing, canoeing/kayaking, and paddle boats. Seven residential campsites at locations within and outside City limits, offer a variety of nature-oriented experiences.
Among the museums, historic sites, and horticultural locations that are maintained by the Department are Griffith Observatory, the Los Angeles Maritime Museum, Banning Residence Museum, the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, Travel Town (in Griffith Park), Fort MacArthur, Exposition Park Rose Garden and other community gardens, Orcutt Ranch, Campo de Cahuenga, Barnsdall Art Park, and the Drum Barracks Museum.
The Department has 1,524 full-time and 2,938 part-time employees, as well as 25,000 registered volunteers who work at Department facilities and conduct Department programs. A five-member Board of Recreation and Park Commissioners sets Department policy, which is implemented by the General Manager and Department staff. Construction of new facilities and improvement of existing ones is also supervised by the Department.
The Department offers a wide range of recreational, educational, and cultural programs and plenty of entertainment opportunities, including summer and winter concerts (in conjunction with the annual “Downtown on Ice” outdoor ice skating rink) at Pershing Square, Shakespeare by the Sea in San Pedro, concerts at the Greek Theater.
The Bureau of Sanitation collects, treats and disposes of sewage from homes and businesses throughout the greater Los Angeles Metropolitan Area, and for 27 other cities and agencies on a contractual basis. The Bureau also provides refuse collection, and disposal and recycling services to 720,000 households in the City of Los Angeles and to various City facilities. The Bureau controls the discharge of sewage, industrial wastes and storm waters into sewers, storm drains, open channel and navigable waters; inspects and maintains open storm water channels; maintains, operates and repairs all sanitary sewers, storm drains, culverts and appurtenant structures such as sewage and storm water pumping plants and sewer ventilating plants; and operates and maintains wastewater treatment plants, some of which reclaim water and produce electrical energy.
The Bureau of Street Lighting provides engineering design, construction, maintenance and repair of the City's Street Lighting System; maintains adequate roadway and sidewalk illumination for vehicular and pedestrian safety; prepares specifications, and cost estimates for new installations and maintenance assessments for operation of all streetlights in the Los Angeles City Lighting District; evaluates petitions for street lighting in accordance with the 1911 Improvement Act and requests for utilitarian (additional illumination) streetlights; provides technical services to other agencies; and participates in the development and application of national illumination standards.
The Bureau of Street Services maintains, repairs, resurfaces, and cleans improved streets, alleys, bridges, tunnels, pedestrian subways, and related structures. The Bureau provides maintenance for unimproved roadways and alleys; and abates or removes weeds, illegally deposited debris and other hazards from improved and unimproved public and private properties. The Bureau maintains street trees and landscaped median islands and embankments; inspects, trims, removes, and plants trees; issues permits for tree removals, trimming, root pruning and planting; develops and maintains a street tree master plan and inventory; and administers tree trimming, planting, removal and landscaped median island maintenance contracts with private contractors. The Bureau enforces street use ordinances and inspects the movement of houses or oversize loads on City streets.
The Bureau is also responsible for the construction of access ramps associated with the American Disabilities Act; manages all Targeted Neighborhood Initiative work, which includes beautification of neighborhoods through streetscapes and street printing; constructs and performs minor maintenance on stairways, bridges and concrete gutters. The Bureau also provides design coordination and construction management of street projects within the public right-of-way. The projects may involve improvements to curb ramps, pedestrian facilities, street reconstruction, transit shelters, bridge and tunnel maintenance, pavement, curb and gutter, guardrail, stairways, bikeways, and other roadway items. In addition, the Bureau provides design construction and construction management services of streetscape projects; and provides the needed technical expertise and project management to handle these projects.
This Department is responsible for the development of plans to meet the ground transportation needs of the traveling public and commerce; it has centralized authority over the conceptual planning and operation of the City's streets and highways system; and it provides a primary interface with the other government agencies on transportation matters. The Department studies traffic problems; analyzes the effect of new development on parking and highway needs; designs, installs and maintains traffic signs, signals, parking meters, street name signs, line striping and other transportation control devices; develops and operates bus transit programs for the general public and the elderly and disabled; coordinates the development of off-street parking; enforces parking regulations; administers the City's Administrative Adjudication Program for parking citation appeals; collects parking violation revenues; collects parking meter revenue; provides for intersection control; provides crossing guard services at public and parochial schools; provides public utility regulation through investigation of services and rates of the privately owned public utilities, such as taxicabs, ambulances and sightseeing vehicles; and prepares and enforces provisions of franchises.
The Department of Water and Power is responsible for supplying the City and its inhabitants with water and electric energy. This is accomplished by constructing, operating, and maintaining works extending throughout the City and to Inyo and Mono Counties to import water and electric energy and to other western states to import electric energy. The rates for water and electric services are subject to the approval of the City Council and Mayor.
The Los Angeles Zoo nurtures wildlife and enriches the human spirit. Accessible to everyone who lives in or visits the Los Angeles area, the Zoo is a great place to explore with friends and family. But the mission goes beyond the excitement and wonderment of seeing exotic animals. The Zoo is committed to education and conservation. Each year thousands of school children enjoy tours with Zoo volunteer docents. In-depth classes, summer camp, preschool programs and community outreach introduce audiences of all ages to the wonderful wildlife of the world. Accredited by the American Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the L.A. Zoo cooperates with a network of other zoos to save rare and endangered species.
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