Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Councilman describes colleague's reaction to Venice hit-and-run

Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin

Grant Slater/KPCC

L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin's reaction to Saturday's Venice crash was like something out of a movie, says fellow Councilman Mitch Englander.

Members of the Los Angeles City Council were gathered Saturday evening at the Hansen Dam Ranger Station for the community swearing-in of Councilman Felipe Fuentes — just about the time a driver allegedly plowed through a group of people gathered on the Venice Beach boardwalk. 

Councilman Mitch Englander spoke at Tuesday's council meeting about the incident and the response of his colleague, Mike Bonin, who represents the Venice neighborhood.

"All of the sudden it was like a movie where you look down and every single council member, their phones are going off and everybody is in shock," Englander recalled. "You saw Mike bolt out and run toward the car and just take off to go down to the incident." 

"We all share, Mike, in what you've been going through," said Englander after the city council approved the concept of a Venice Beach Public Safety Needs Assessment.

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Maven's Morning Coffee: LA County mayors meet at Getty House, congressman wants to expand redistricting commission, Democrats split in Valley

Garcetti gestures

Frank Stoltze

Mayor Eric Garcetti hosted a summit of mayors from throughout Los Angeles County to discuss regional solutions to common problems.

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

Headlines

Mayor Eric Garcetti invited mayors from throughout Los Angeles County to Getty House Monday to talk about how they can tackle regional problems, according to the Los Angeles Times. "I've heard from so many friends in neighboring cities that we act sometimes like the 800-pound gorilla that doesn't listen," Garcetti said.

Southern California Rep. Alan Lowenthal wants to bring citizen redistricting commissions to the rest of the country, reports KPCC. "Lowenthal admits it'll take years -- and a lot of pressure from good government groups -- to change minds on Capitol Hill," according to the station.

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SoCal Rep. Lowenthal takes a big swing at redistricting with new bill

California Pensions

Rich Pedroncelli/AP

Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) fought for redistricting reform when he served in the state legislature

California has 14 new members in Congress this year — more than a quarter of the state's delegation. Much of the turnover can be traced to California's citizen-drawn redistricting map. Now, one of the state's freshman lawmakers wants to expand citizen redistricting commissions nationwide.  

With the idealism of a modern-day Don Quixote, Long Beach Democrat Alan Lowenthal admits his idea will be an uphill struggle. (You can read the full text of his bill below.)

Lowenthal says the last straw for him was in 2001 when the California state legislature — with lots of input from Congress — redrew Congressional district lines, eliminating the seat of Long Beach Republican Steve Horn. Lowenthal, himself a state assemblyman at the time, disagreed politically with the former Cal State Long Beach president,, but says Horn "was in that district all the time. People liked Horn. He represented us."

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Garcetti names LA’s first Chief Sustainability Officer

Matt Petersen

Flickr/Yahoo

Global Green USA CEO Matt Petersen, LA's first Chief Sustainability Officer, says “cities are on the front lines of solutions to climate change and creating a clean energy economy.”

Signaling he intends to focus on creating a more environmentally-friendly Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti Friday named Global Green USA CEO Matt Petersen as the city’s first Chief Sustainability Officer.

“I am proud to have him lead my citywide effort to make every neighborhood healthier, create green jobs, and hold every city department responsible for cleaner air and water,” Garcetti said in a statement.

Since 1994, Petersen has led Santa Monica-based Global Green USA. It is the American affiliate of Green Cross International, which was founded by former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev to “foster a global value shift toward a sustainable and secure future,” according to the group’s website.

Petersen, 46, has worked to create greener cities and advance solar energy and fuel-efficient car markets, according to the mayor’s office. In 2008, Time Magazine recognized him for helping New Orleans rebuild a greener community after Hurricane Katrina.

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Is Congress sick and tired of fighting with itself?

"No Labels" is a bipartisan group of lawmakers trying to find common ground across party lines.

Nearly six dozen members of Congress from both parties appeared at a recent "No Labels" rally.

Democratic Congressmen Alan Lowenthal of Long Beach (front) and Jared Huffman of San Rafael join the bipartisan group "No Labels."


Members of Congress are headed home for their summer recess, interrupting an unusual phenomenon that cropped up in recent weeks: little bits of bipartisanship breaking out on Capitol Hill.

On a recent afternoon — the hottest day, so far, of this summer — nearly six dozen members of Congress marched out under the noonday sun onto a podium, American flags at their back and bottles of water at their feet. One by one, lawmakers stepped forward, giving their pitch for the merits of working together.

It was a public rally to show bipartisan support for a package of bills endorsed by a group that calls itself “No Labels.” Two California Republicans and nine Democrats identify themselves as “No Labels Problem Solvers,” including GOP freshman David Valadao of Hanford. He says every person running for office always talks about bipartisanship and  working across the aisle. "This is an opportunity for me to do that and find opportunities to do that," said Valadao, "and find issues where we get along."

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