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The effects of the federal government shutdown on Los Angeles

City News Service | 10/1/2013, 7:05 p.m.
A federal government shutdown sparked by a dispute over Obamacare raised the ire of some area politicians today, although the ...

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — A federal government shutdown sparked by a dispute over Obamacare raised the ire of some area politicians today, although the local impacts were so far relatively minor.

Federal courts in the Central District of California—which has responsibility for all federal litigation in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties—will remain open at this stage of the government shutdown, according to District Court Executive Terry Nafisi.

While some scheduled courtroom proceedings in individual matters may be affected by the shutdown, attorneys and litigants in such cases will be notified directly by court staff, she said.

The Justice Department has said its prosecutors would attempt to postpone non-critical civil matters and proceed with essential criminal matters only while the government remains shuttered.

Veterans Administration facilities remained open, and while the federal building in Westwood was emptier than usual, the passport office was operating normally.

But Rep. Tony Cardenas, D-Arleta, said some veterans might not be able to sign up for some VA services. He also said entrepreneurs will be unable to get loans through the Small Business Administration.

“It’s time to do our jobs, pay our bills and turn the lights back on across this great nation,” he said. “... It’s time for my colleagues to get around a table and agree that running a country is more important than bitter party politics.”

National Parks across the country were shut down, along with National Archive facilities, including the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda. Portions of the Ronald Reagan presidential library in Simi Valley were also closed, although the outdoor grounds and Air Force One Pavilion were open.

Only rooms for corporate events were open at the Nixon Library, according to Joe Lopez of the Richard Nixon Foundation.

“Guests have come by throughout the day and, unfortunately, have not been able to step inside the door,” Lopez said, adding that in the 30 minutes he was at the library he saw five or six groups of people turned away.

“Some of these folks have traveled from the other side of the country and are here visiting families and friends and want to see the Nixon Library and they can’t today until this thing gets settled,” Lopez said.

Events sponsored by the foundation, such as a two-day meeting of the

Hungarian-American Scholarship Fund and the Baltic-American Freedom Foundation,

will continue, with a dinner scheduled in the East Room Oct. 9, Lopez said.

Metro officials said that since the shutdown means mass furloughs in the Federal Transit Administration, a protracted stalemate in Washington could mean delays in processing grant applications for local rail projects.

Officials with the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank said it had adequate resources to continue providing food for the short term, but if government services remain shuttered, demand will increase.

“When government programs are cut, the agencies we provide food to will see an increase in demand,” food bank President Michael Flood said. “The food bank already sees demand out-stripping supplies.”

According to the state Employment Development Department, Los Angeles County was home to about 48,100 federal workers in 2012.

“Congress needs to put the politics aside and focus on the people’s business,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said. “Washington’s dysfunction is hurting our economy.”

The city’s Housing and Community Investment Department and the Economic and Workforce Investment Department, both of which depend on federal funds, asked for extra funding to tide them over through October prior to the shut down, according to Assistant City Administrative Officer Patty Huber.

Huber said the city “will continue to monitor” those departments and others that may be affected.

Los Angeles County CEO Bill Fujioka said the county was operating normally, noting on his Twitter page that the “federal (government) shutdown will not have significant fiscal or program impact on the county.”