Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Maven's Morning Coffee: Councilman Price hires a lobbyist, Holly Mitchell gets sworn in, mayor gets a film czar

Los Angeles City Councilman Curren D. Price

Grant Slater/KPCC

L.A. City Councilman Curren Price hired a lobbyist on his staff. He's also voted on several issues that the staffer's firm has advocated for in the past.

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. 27, and here is what's happening in Southern California politics:

Headlines

A longtime lobbyist has joined the staff of L.A. City Councilman Curren Price, reports the Los Angeles Times. As he joined Price's staff, Robert Katherman made his wife the sole owner of the advocacy firm Katherman Co. "Katherman's move from lobbying to a council office is somewhat unusual for City Hall, where political aides are much more likely to spend time working for lawmakers, building political and government contacts, and then find higher paid consulting and advocacy jobs," according to The Times.

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Government shutdown: Republicans digging in to fight Obamacare

JAPAN-US-DIPLOMACY

AFP/AFP/Getty Images

Huntington Beach Republican Dana Rohrabacher says there's never any progress without risk, even if it means a government shutdown.

Deadlines, deadlines. Congress has until the end of Monday to approve a continuing resolution to keep the government funded — and until Oct. 17 to increase the nation's debt limit.

Thursday morning, Speaker John Boehner said he didn't "expect" a government shutdown, but said he also doesn't see the House accepting the Senate version of the funding resolution. The battle over healthcare is likely to continue into the debt limit fight in October.

House Republicans attended a closed door strategy session but refused to discuss what they'll do if the Senate version of a temporary funding measure comes back without the House provision to strip funding for the Affordable Care Act.

Huntington Beach Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher admitted that even if the GOP is successful at cutting off funding, the healthcare exchanges created under Obamacare would still begin enrolling people on Oct. 1.

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Maven's Morning Coffee: Data tracking at City Hall, DWP dollars to nonprofits, new poll on legalization of marijuana

Eric Garcetti DWP City Hall

Mae Ryan/KPCC

Later this month, Mayor Eric Garcetti will launch a data system that will allow Angelenos to see how long it takes to complete city services in their neighborhoods.

kGood 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. 26, and here is what's happening in Southern California politics:

Headlines

Tax returns show two nonprofits operated by the Department of Water and Power and its union spent millions every year on salaries, travel and office expenses, according to KPCC. Mayor Eric Garcetti has called for a full accounting of the similarly named Joint Safety Institute and Joint Training Institute, which share space on the same property as a DWP generating station. Meanwhile, when union boss Brian D'Arcy was approached by a Daily News reporter on the subject, he told her, "Get away from me, go away."

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Poll: Californians support legalizing marijuana; many are leery of Obamacare

Mercer 716

Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

More Californians than ever say smoking marijuana recreationally should be legal, according to a new poll.

Support for legalizing marijuana use is growing, according to a poll released Wednesday by the Public Policy Institute of California. For the first time, a majority of all Golden State residents (52%) – not just likely voters – say people should be free to ingest pot recreationally. Among likely voters, 60 percent favor full legalization.

“Californians now have more experience with medical marijuana being available,” said Mark Baldassare, president of the PPIC, in explaining why people may be more supportive of treating marijuana like alcohol.

Voters rejected a 2010 ballot measure that would have legalized pot. Pro-marijuana activists have said they plan to place another measure on the ballot in 2016.

Amid a fierce debate in Washington D.C. over the Affordable Care Act, the poll found only a slender majority of people (53%) in overwhelmingly Democratic California support the law – also known as Obamacare. Only a quarter of those surveyed believed they would be better off under the law.

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Tax returns show millions spent on salaries, travel at DWP trusts

Karen Foshay/KPCC

The DWP Valley Steam Plant is home to two tax exempt trusts jointly run by the Department of Water and Power and its powerful union. Together they've received more than $40 million since 2000.

Twin trusts run jointly by the Department of Water and Power and its powerful union are spending more than $3 million a year on salaries, travel and office expenses, according to tax returns reviewed by KPCC.

The two trusts have received more than $40 million from the utility since being established more than a decade ago. 

The Joint Safety Institute was created in 2000 by the Los Angeles City Council. Two years later, it was joined by the Joint Training Institute. Besides having nearly identical names, the agencies have the same trustees, same accountant, the same address and phone number. The trusts, which have tax exempt status, have office space at the DWP's Valley Steam Plant in Sun Valley. A security guard confirmed to KPCC that the institutes are on the property, but would not allow a producer to visit the office. 

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