Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Texas Gov. Rick Perry loving California GOP again

Texas A&M v SMU

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The California Republican Party has announced Texas Governor Rick Perry, a possible 2016 presidential contender, will be the featured speaker at its Fall convention in Anaheim.

Possible 2016 presidential candidate Rick Perry travels to California in October as the featured speaker at the Republican Party’s state convention in Anaheim.

The Texas governor spent a lot of time raising campaign cash in the Golden State when he ran for the White House last year, only to stumble badly during GOP primary debates. Among other things, he could not remember the third federal department he wanted to eliminate. State GOP leaders appear willing to give him another chance.

“Gov. Perry’s leadership is a major reason why Texas has emerged as one of America’s leading forces for economic opportunity and personal freedom,” said California Republican Party Chairman Jim Brulte. “We’re delighted that he accepted our invitation.”

In a move last month that appealed to GOP conservatives, Perry won passage of a Texas law that bans abortions 20 weeks after fertilization – four weeks earlier than the standard set by Roe v. Wade. But some California Republicans prefer he steers clear of social issues at their convention.

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Ethics procedure changes advance toward approval at Metropolitan Water District

California Water Wars

Anonymous/AP

Tomorrow the Metropolitan Water District’s board of directors will consider a policy to streamline the way ethics complaints are handled at the agency responsible for supplying water to 19 million people in Southern California.

A policy to streamline the way ethics complaints are handled at the agency responsible for supplying water to 19 million people in Southern California was approved by a subcommittee on Monday.  Tomorrow the Metropolitan Water District’s board of directors will consider the policy, and if approved, it will make MWD’s Ethics Office responsible for screening and investigating allegations of conflicts of interest, gifts and harassment. Under existing policy, committees are charged with receiving and reviewing complaints. 
 
“Because there are so many people involved at the outset before an investigation actually commences, there is a sense from people who either have been through the process or who know about it, that there isn’t sufficient confidentiality," MWD Ethics Officer Deena Ghaly told KPCC. 
 
"So that if you wanted to bring forward a sensitive matter, the issue would be that many people would know about it."
 
If the new proposal passes, the Ethics Office would take over responsibility for conducting preliminary investigations. 
 
Despite the size of the agency, the Ethics Office has just three employees and a professional services budget of $15,000. The policy approved by a subcommittee Monday included up to $245,000 for a policy analyst and investigator 
 
“I’m not anxious to add to the overhead of this organization,” MWD Director Larry Dick said of the agency, which has an annual budget of $1.5 billion. 
 
Dick was one of two dissenting votes. Several directors who are not members of the Audit and Ethics Committee attended the afternoon meeting. Director Glen Peterson, who is not on the committee, said he supports some of the internal changes but wants to see the committees stay in place. He also questioned the additional funding. 
 
“I feel the budget increase is way over the top, just way over the top. It just seems to me like it’s kingdom building,” Peterson said. 
 
It’s unclear what will happen when the ethics policy is taken up by the full board. One director who supported the plan in committee questioned those who opposed the ethics plan as too expensive and politically motivated.  
 
“I actually don’t understand the lack of support from this board,” said MWD Director Sylvia Ballin. “Several people have said to me, primarily women, why is it the men of the MWD Board feel so threatened by this change?”
 
“If there’s ever an organization that needs it, it’s MWD.”
 
The Metropolitan Water District’s board of directors will meet tomorrow at noon. 

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Maven's Morning Coffee: Conflict at LAX, MWD considers ethics policy, big data at City Hall

LAX Tom Bradley Terminal - 7

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

The Board of Airport Commissioners may reconsider a media contract after Clear Channel Airports filed a conflict-of-interest complaint.

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 Monday, Aug. 19, and here is what's happening in Southern California politics:

Headlines

Los Angeles International Airport may restart the bidding process on a media contract because of a conflict-of-interest complaint, reports the Los Angeles Times. Clear Channel Airports filed the complaint after a group that includes former Airport Commissioner Alan Rothenberg received a lucrative advertising contract at the airport.

The Metropolitan Water District is expected to consider a new ethics policy that could improve the independence and confidentiality of its process, according to KPCC. The Los Angeles Times editorial board urges approval of the policy. "A more robust ethics program could catch problems when they are small, and would send a public message that water agencies can and do operate based on some principles other than self-dealing and cronyism," according to the editorial.

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Metropolitan Water District considers stronger ethics policy

MWD Seal

MWD

The way the Metropolitan Water District investigates ethics complaints would be streamlined under a proposal being considered Monday.

The multibillion-dollar agency that oversees water for 19 million people in Southern California will consider a proposal Monday to overhaul the way ethics complaints are handled. 

The Metropolitan Water District has a $1.5 billion budget and is responsible for delivering 1.7 billion gallons of water every day. 

Its Audit and Ethics Committee will meet this afternoon to vote on a plan that would streamline the way ethics complaints are handled. The current system allows complaints against staff members and contractors to be vetted by the district's general manager, auditor, attorney and Human Resources director. 

“Because there are so many people involved at the outset before an investigation actually commences, there is a sense from people who either have been through the process or who know about it, that there isn’t sufficient confidentiality," said MWD Ethics Officer Deena Ghaly.

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Long Beach first city to permanently display Gold Star flag honoring sacrifice of military families

Gold Star Mothers flag in Long Beach

City of Long Beach

A flag honoring U.S. parents of military service members killed on duty during war is raised Aug. 15, 2013 at Long Beach City Hall Plaza. The women dressed in white are members of the American Gold Mothers, who have suffered the loss of a son or daughter in war.

Long Beach this week became the first city in the nation to permanently display the Gold Star flag honoring United States service members killed during times of armed conflict and paying tribute to their families.

The tradition of a mother going to her window to display a blue star, signifying she has lost a loved one at war, goes back to World War I.

"When that blue star in the window has been changed to gold, now the whole community knows there's been a loss in the family," said Terry Geiling who runs the American Gold Star Manor, a housing development for 400 for low-income seniors and veterans in Long Beach.

He says the tradition of putting a service flag  in the window continues today, thanks to a group known as the American Gold Star Mothers.  Some members of that group are among the residents of the American Gold Star Manor.

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