Federal shutdown has minor local impact so far

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The Capitol is mirrored in the Capitol Reflecting Pool on Capitol Hill in Washington early Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/J. David Ake)

The Capitol is mirrored in the Capitol Reflecting Pool on Capitol Hill in Washington early Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/J. David Ake)

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

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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