Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Maven's Morning Coffee: DWP spending questioned, FPPC creates new rule for blogs, former Assembly Speaker engaged

Molly Peterson/KPCC

DWP General Manager Ron Nichols is facing questions about the utility's spending on two nonprofits dedicated to improving relations between the utility and its union. At least $40 million in ratepayer money has gone to the two groups, according to the Los Angeles Times.

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.

The Maven's Morning Coffee is also available as a daily email. Click here to subscribe.

Today is Friday, Sept. 20, and here is what's happening in Southern California politics:

Headlines

The Department of Water and Power has directed $40 million to two nonprofit organizations that promote "mutual trust" between the utility and the union that represents most of its employees, reports the Los Angeles Times. The Joint Safety Institute was created in 2000 by then-DWP General Manager David Freeman. "I think it was a good idea then, it resulted in embedding a safety culture," he says.

A proposal to create a Los Angeles city-operated public health department will appear on the June ballot, reports the Daily News. It's estimated it would cost $300 million a year for the city to run its own health department. The measure is sponsored by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

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Showdown in Congress on Obamacare and automatic budget cuts

Stormy days ahead in Congress as lawmakers tackle budget deadline

Call it DC deja-vu.

The U.S. is lurching toward a shutdown of the federal government at the end of the month unless Congress can agree on a temporary funding measure. Prospects for a bipartisan resolution are dim as Democrats and Republicans spar over healthcare and automatic budget cuts.

The GOP-led House has voted 40 times to take apart the Affordable Care Act. And 40 times, the Democratically-led Senate has ignored it. Now, a provision to defund Obamacare has been attached to a temporary funding bill that will keep the government running for a few months.

Republican Congressman John Campbell of Irvine says he'll vote for the bill even though it's likely the Senate will strip out the healthcare portion of it. "What it does provide is it provides a motivation," he says, " a deadline if you will, to make some kind of agreement."

The question is what happens when the Senate version comes back.

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Maven's Morning Coffee: Sheriff Baca speaks to Sherman Oaks, Boeing closes plant in Long Beach, LA city and county support the Olympics

LA Jails

Reed Saxon/AP

Sheriff Lee Baca focused his speech to Sherman Oaks residents on crime rates and charitable giving Wednesday evening, shying away from comments on a federal investigation into his jails.

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.

The Maven's Morning Coffee is also available as a daily email. Click here to subscribe.

Today is Thursday, Sept. 19, and here is what's happening in Southern California politics:

Headlines

Sheriff Lee Baca spoke in Sherman Oaks Wednesday night, where he focused on crime rates and charitable giving, rather than the federal investigation into L.A. County's jail system, reports KPCC. "Baca, who is seeking a fifth term next year as L.A. County's top law enforcement official, said only that he was dealing with a few 'knuckleheads' in the Sheriff’s Department and promised, 'I’ll take care of them'," according to the station.

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Sheriff Baca mum on federal jail inquiries in Sherman Oaks talk

Sheriff Lee Baca

Frank Stoltze

Sheriff Lee Baca insisted his department is in good shape, despite two federal investigations into his jail system. "People want to think the Sheriff's Department is falling apart," he said. "The Sheriff's Department is not in bad shape.”

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca touted lower crime rates and his charitable giving in an appearance at the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association Thursday night, while skirting the biggest problem facing his department: two federal investigations into his sprawling jail system, which houses nearly 20,000 inmates.

Baca, who is seeking a fifth term next year as L.A. County's top law enforcement official, said only that he was dealing with a few "knuckleheads" in the Sheriff’s Department and promised, "I’ll take care of them."

The United States Justice Department is conducting an investigation into allegations that deputies beat up inmates at Men’s Central Jail in downtown L.A. The federal government is also examining whether the Sheriff’s Department engaged in a pattern of violating inmates’ civil rights, especially in its delivery of mental health services.

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Southern California politicos join MPAA fight over online piracy

Dodd and Schiff, MPAA

Kitty Felde/KPCC

Former Sen. Chris Dodd, who now heads the Motion Picture Association of America, and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Glendale) talk movies on Capitol Hill.

The head of the motion picture industry was on Capitol Hill Wednesday touting a new study that shows the role search engines play in directing online users to sites that post pirated movies and TV shows. Lawmakers representing movie and TV workers want more cooperation from Google and other search engines.

The Motion Picture Association of America collected data on how consumers find pirated movies and TV programs online. The MPAA study shows that between 2010 and 2012, search engines were responsible for 20% of traffic to illegal sites. That may not sound like much, but that’s four billion site visits a year to watch bootleg films and TV shows.

Democratic Congresswoman Judy Chu -- co-chair of the House Creative Rights Caucus -- says piracy costs more than $16 billion a year  and 141,000 jobs, creating real consequences for her district.  She says her San Gabriel Valley district isn't home to superstars -- "the people that make the megabucks." She says it does have the people who work behind the scenes, "such as set designers, makeup artists and lighting technicians." 

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