Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Maven's Morning Coffee: Jerry Brown's legacy, Vernon's audit, a breakdown of LA's racial groups

Governor Jerry Brown

Andrew Nixon/Capital Public Radio

Rolling Stone did a sitdown with Gov. Jerry Brown. It follows other flattering pieces in The Atlantic and The New York 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, Aug. 30, and here is what's happening in Southern California politics:

Headlines

Rolling Stone spends some time with Gov. Jerry Brown. "No longer thinking of his post as a steppingstone to higher office, Brown is instead determined to craft a durable legacy – the capstone to more than four decades of public service. His foulmouthed motto? 'I want to get shit done.'" Capitol Alert calls the piece (along with some other recent articles) "flattery from afar."

Vernon city officials are conducting a forensic audit of their former city administrator's compensation, reports the Los Angeles Times. "The new openness has intrigued prosecutors. They complained bitterly that Vernon withheld key information during the district attorney's investigation into (Bruce) Malkenhorst, who at the height of his power rode around in a limousine and regularly played 18 holes of golf on the city's dime," according to The Times.

Read More...

UPDATED: California lawmakers split over Syria, but not along party lines (Read reps' letter to President Obama)

Democratic Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez says, regarding U.S. involvement in Syria, "Congress should be involved in any course of action that the Obama Administration takes."

Congress is out of session until September 9th, but that hasn't stopped lawmakers — including many Californians — from weighing in on whether the U.S. should get involved militarily in Syria following allegations of a chemical weapons attack against civilians.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee of Oakland and 12 other California Democratic colleagues were among those who signed a letter to President Obama, saying they join "the unequivocal condemnation" over reports the Syrian government used chemical weapons. But before the use of military force, the Democrats want a debate on the facts and the alternatives.

The letter reads: "while the ongoing human rights violations and continued loss of life are horrific, they should not draw us into an unwise war – especially without adhering to our own constitutional requirements."

Read More...

Maven's Morning Coffee: Trial of Robert Rizzo, San Bernardino in bankruptcy, investigation into Venice hit-and-run

Mercer 15780

Irfan Khan/AFP/Getty Images

Former Bell City Manager Robert Rizzo will have his trial in Los Angeles County, a judge ruled.

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, Aug. 29, and here is what's happening in Southern California politics:

Headlines

San Bernardino is eligible for bankruptcy protection according to a federal judge, reports KPCC. "The city asked the bankruptcy court to allow restructuring of its debts, including those it owes its own employees and retirees. A mediator will now work with the city and creditors to negotiate payment of debts," per the station.

The trial of Bell's Robert Rizzo will not be moved to another county, according to the Los Angeles Times. Rizzo is facing 69 counts of falsifying public records, perjury, conspiracy, misappropriating public funds and conflict of interest. According to his attorney, the public perception of Rizzo is that he is a "scoundrel and should spend rest of life in jail."

Read More...

Judge rules San Bernardino is eligible for bankruptcy protection

berdoo bankrupt

Steven Cuevas / KPCC

The San Bernardino City Council voted last summer to seek bankruptcy protection in a case that is being watched closely by other financially-strapped cities.

A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the City of San Bernardino is eligible for bankruptcy protection. The city, facing a $24 million deficit, filed for bankruptcy a year ago.

The city asked the bankruptcy court to allow restructuring of its debts, including those it owes its own employees and retirees. A mediator will now work with the city and creditors to negotiate payment of debts.

While San Bernardino is a fairly small city, with a population of about 213,000, the case is being watched closely by officials in other debt-stressed cities in California, and also in bankrupt Detroit. They are watching to see whether the bankruptcy court will let them change pension contracts. That matter was not taken up by the court Wednesday.

San Bernardino has also asked the court to let it reject its collective bargaining agreements with police, firefighter and employee unions. Wages and benefits make up about three-quarters of the city’s budget. The city expects to save about $26 million with the personnel cuts they’ve imposed.

Read More...

Los Angeles City Council paves way for return of murals

Kevin Ferguson/KPCC

The Los Angeles City Council voted 13-2 to lift a decade-long moratorium on public art murals.

With a 13-2 vote, the Los Angeles City Council took steps Wednesday to overturn a a ban on murals, although the question of whether art displays belong on single-family homes remains unanswered. 

Because the ordinance did not receive a unanimous vote, it must receive a second vote by the council next week. 

"The city of Los Angeles was once known as the mural capital of the world," said Councilman Jose Huizar, who sponsored the ordinance. "The city of Los Angeles was known as  a place where it supported the arts, where we had free expression on our walls, and where we wanted to make sure that we continued to allow the artists' communities to flourish."

The new ordinance would allow non-commercial murals to once again be created throughout Los Angeles. A decade ago, a ban on murals was put into effect as the city struggled to regulate commercial billboards. Now, the Department of Cultural Affairs will have the authority to permit murals that will:

Read More...