Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Maven's Morning Coffee: the cost of special elections, policing the sheriff, California's political dynasties

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68082 full

Good morning, readers. Welcome to the Maven's Morning Coffee -- a listing of the important headlines, news conferences, votes and announcements you need to know to fuel up and tackle your day.

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Today is Friday, Dec. 13, and here is what's happening in Southern California politics:


NPR looks at how the federal investigation into the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department compares with what happened to the Los Angeles Police Department in the 1990s. "At this point in time the Sheriff's Department is essentially left to oversee itself, which is a recipe for disaster," said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.

Law professor and Ethics Commissioner Jessica Levinson writes a Los Angeles Times op-ed on the high costs of special elections, which typically have small turnouts. "Allowing the governor to appoint legislators to fill vacancies would save the public the cost of special elections," she writes.

The Sacramento Bee's Dan Walters looks at the increased number of political dynasties in California politics. "Does anyone doubt that Ian Calderon or Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, both scarcely out of college and with scant real-world experience, would not have been elected to the Legislature without family connections that produced campaign funds and cleared away the opposition?" he writes.

The Daily News reports Los Angeles County has officially reached 10 million people. "Analysts say finally hitting the milestone serves to highlight just what a powerful political and economic engine the Los Angeles region represents," according to the newspaper.

The Los Angeles Employee Relations Board says labor groups missed a critical deadline in their fight to rollback pension reforms, reports the Los Angeles Times. The Coalition of L.A. City Unions believes the city violated labor laws when it did not formally negotiate reduced retirement benefits for future employees. The coalition plans to fight the decision.

Former Bell City Manager Robert Rizzo pleaded guilty to two federal charges of conspiracy and filing a false income tax return. He could face a maximum of eight years in federal prison. LAObserved has the release from the U.S. Attorney's Office.



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