Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Maven's Morning Coffee: IBEW considers DWP contract, Obama cancels California trip, will Santa Monica Airport become a park?

Molly Peterson/KPCC

The union representing Department of Water and Power employees is considering its new contract with the city. LADWP general manager Ron Nichols is seen here.

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

Headlines

The Daily News looks at whether members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers will reject a proposed contract with the Department of Water and Power. "We’re risking our lives. Everyone else is sitting in an office," one DWP lineman told the newspaper.

President Obama's trip to California was canceled so he can remain focused on the conflict in Syria, reports KPCC.

Rep. Janice Hahn's opposition to a military strike against Syria is getting her a lot of media attention, according to the LA Weekly. "Among local members of Congress, Hahn has easily been the most visible on this issue ... Alan Lowenthal has agonized publicly about his position. Others, like Adam Schiff, Xavier Becerra and Brad Sherman, have said they would support a strike under certain conditions," per the Weekly.

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Maven's Morning Coffee: USC's Coliseum deal done, a chat with LA County's coroner, LA's NFL future uncertain

salute to the olympic games

Andres Aguila/KPCC

The California Science Board gave final approval to a deal that will allow USC to control the publicly-owned Coliseum.

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

Headlines

The California Science Board gave final approval to a deal that will give USC control of the publicly-owned Coliseum, reports the Los Angeles Times. "Finalizing the arrangement took more than a year longer than the Coliseum's governing commission had hoped, largely because its secretive handling of the lease deliberations alienated key backers of the Science Center and two other museums that share Exposition Park with the stadium," per The Times.

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Neighborhood Councils: Where government and community meet

Neighborhood Councils

Alice Walton/KPCC

Members of the North Hollywood West Neighborhood Council promoted their group at a welcome back night at James Madison Middle School.

KPCC has embarked on a series called Project Citizen, which looks at the rights, responsibilities, traditions and privileges that come with being a citizen. In this story, KPCC's Alice Walton looks at how L.A. citizens get involved in their communities through neighborhood councils.

When the city of Los Angeles reformed its charter in the late 1990s, no issue received more attention than the creation of a grassroots system of Neighborhood Councils. Now, more than a decade later, the councils have produced their first citywide elected official. 

Attorney Ron Galperin spent years on the Bel Air-Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council. That led to him being appointed to a couple of city commissions — experience that helped get him elected this year as city controller. 

"I view myself as having a special responsibility because of that," Galperin said. 

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"Historic" drug sentencing reform bill on Gov. Brown’s desk

HTB, Flickr (creative commons)

Under SB649, prosecutors would be able to charge "simple possession" of cocaine or heroin as a misdemeanor instead of a felony.

The California State Assembly on Wednesday approved legislation that would give local prosecutors the discretion to charge thousands of non-violent drug defendants with misdemeanors instead of felonies. The State Senate already approved the bill, which now goes to Governor Jerry Brown for his signature or veto.

“We give non-violent drug offenders long terms, offer them no treatment while they’re incarcerated, and then release them back into the community with few job prospects,” said the bill’s author, Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco). Leno noted felons have a much harder time getting a job than someone convicted of a misdemeanor.

Under SB649, prosecutors could charge someone accused of “simple possession” of cocaine or heroin with a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in county jail. Currently, “simple possession” – or possession for personal use – is automatically a felony punishable by up to three years in jail. Leno said it doesn’t make sense.

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Yvonne Burke’s daughter is following her mother into LA politics

Autumn Burke Campaign Website

Left: Autumn Burke as she appears in 2013. Right: Autumn Burke appeared in her mother's arms, then-Congresswoman Yvonne Burke, in a 1974 issue of Ebony magazine.

Autumn Burke, with William Burke and Kevin de Leon

Coalition for Clean Air

Autumn Burke hopes to follow her mother, former Congresswoman Yvonne Burke, into politics. She is seen here with her father William Burke, right, and state Assemblyman Kevin de Leon.


Her image first appeared in the news four decades ago. Autumn Burke was an infant in her mother’s arms on the cover of Ebony Magazine. The 1974 article featured Yvonne Burke as the first U.S. Congresswoman to give birth while in office – and the first to be granted maternity leave by the House Speaker.

“I am new to politics but not new to policy or to representing diverse constituencies,” Autumn Burke says on her campaign website.  She’s running to represent the 62nd Assembly district, which stretches along the coast from Marina Del Rey to El Segundo and east to Inglewood and Hawthorne. “I know what is expected of those who are elected to serve and I am honored and proud to be a candidate.”

The Burke name is one of the most powerful in regional politics. Her mother was the first African-American woman from the West Coast to serve in Congress, representing an L.A. area district from 1974-1978.  She was the first woman and first African-American to serve on the L.A. County Board of Supervisors (from 1992-2008). In 2012, President Obama named her as a Director of the national Amtrak Board.

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