The latest proposal would require hotels near city-owned Los Angeles International Airport to pay wages of $9.39 an hour with health benefits or $10.64 an hour without benefits by July 1. In return, the city promised to make $1 million in streetscape improvements, spend $50,000 on marketing, and study other ways to improve the area, such as building a conference center. The hotels and business community have been upset with the proposal, which extends the concept of a living wage beyond firms that contract directly with the city. However, officials have argued that the hotels benefit by their proximity to LAX and the city’s investments in the area. [email protected] (213) 978-0390160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! He also noted that the law prohibits adoption of a law with only minor changes – which he contends is the case with the latest proposal. “It may be natural to believe that simply by adding features, one can change the essence of an ordinance, but not in the referendum process,” Kieffer said. But Richard McCracken, an attorney working with the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy in support of the proposal, disputed Kieffer’s assertions. “Los Angeles is a charter city and the provisions he is discussing do not apply,” McCracken said. “Los Angeles is able to make its own regulations on issues like this.” Garcetti said he had no comment on the letter, which will be referred to the City Attorney’s Office for review. An attorney representing LAX-area hotels said Friday that a newly crafted “living-wage” ordinance impacting hotel workers was simply a ruse by the City Council to avert a costly election on the original plan. Attorney George Kieffer, whose firm represents several of the dozen hotels along the Century Boulevard corridor, released a four-page letter he wrote to council President Eric Garcetti objecting to the proposed ordinance. The compromise was released Thursday and will be considered by the council next week. “The law is clear that, where a qualified referendum petition has been submitted to the City Council and the City Council have voted to repeal the ordinance, the City Council may not simply once again adopt the original ordinance,” Kieffer’s letter said.