Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Maven's Morning Coffee: Republicans win at local level, LAUSD funding questions, Mayor Garcetti takes a trip on LA River

Ballot counting machine

Sharon McNary/KPCC

The Los Angeles Times finds Republican politicians are succeeding at the local level at a time when they are disappearing from state government.

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 Wednesday, Sept. 4, and here is what's happening in Southern California politics:

Headlines

The Los Angeles Times looks at why Republicans are succeeding at the local level in California -- at a time when they've disappeared at the state level. "More than 75 cities in California have a majority of Democratic voters but Republican-run city councils; the GOP has toeholds in such otherwise blue bastions as Alameda, Los Angeles and Santa Cruz counties," per The Times.

The United Way of Greater Los Angeles and seven other groups want a say in how the L.A. Unified School District spends an extra $188 million meant to educate disadvantaged students, reports KPCC. The coalition will hold a public forum on Thursday.

Read More...

They're lining up, already, for 2015 LA City Council race

City Council Los Angeles

Mae Ryan/KPCC

LA City Councilman Tom LaBonge will be termed out in 2015. His chief of staff and a former spokesman for Antonio Villaraigosa filed papers Tuesday to run for the Fourth District seat.

A former spokesman for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the chief of staff to a current council member filed papers Tuesday to run for the Los Angeles City Council in 2015. 

Teddy Davis and Carolyn Ramsay will both run for the Fourth District, which has been represented by Tom LaBonge since 2001. Due to term limits, LaBonge is serving his final term in office.

Davis, who lives in Los Feliz, left the mayor's office earlier this year to work for Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley. He is now a fellow at the USC Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics.

"I’m running for city council because I want L.A. to work for every family in every neighborhood," Davis said in a statement. "Between now and 2015, I will be in every corner of our district talking with voters about how we can create jobs, reduce traffic, and keep neighborhoods clean and safe."

Read More...

Maven's Morning Coffee: LA County wants penalties for sex offenders, microbreweries face business problems in LA, Mayor Garcetti's cool relationship with labor

Kitty Felde/KPCC

L.A. County Supervisor Don Knabe will introduce a resolution today that seeks financial penalties for adults who solicit sex from children. He also wants to see these "johns" register as sex offenders.

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 Tuesday, Sept. 3, and here is what's happening in Southern California politics:

Headlines

L.A. County Supervisors Don Knabe and Mark Ridley-Thomas want the state to increase penalties for adults who exploit children for sex, reports the Daily News. The two want "johns" to register as sex offenders and face a financial fine up to $10,000.

The neighborhood council in Silver Lake wants the city to forbid homeowners from using Airbnb, which allows residents to rent out their homes to vacationers, according to the Los Angeles Times. Over at LAObserved, there's a post complaining that the piece does not make it clear that neighborhood councils cannot create city policy on their own.

Read More...

Veteran prosecutor describes SoCal as 'epicenter' of Medicare fraud

Healthcare Stock

Mae Ryan/KPCC

Medicare "fraudsters" often don't even bother setting up a fake clinic — they simply use a post office box.

Last week, a federal judge in Los Angeles sentenced the the ringleader of a $9 million Medicare fraud scheme to 18 months in prison, and ordered him to reimburse the federal government. Estill Mitts, 68, was a Vietnam War veteran and recipient of the Purple Heart who apologized for his actions — even as he sought to minimize his role in the operation that including recruiting bogus patients from Skid Row.

“We’ve encountered numerous defendants who would never think to steal from any other commercial business, but literally don’t see that much wrong from stealing from the Medicare or Medical program," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Consuelo Woodhead.

The veteran prosecutor specializes in healthcare fraud, and says there are reasons Southern California is a hotbed of such activity.

“There are many, many elderly people here," she said.  "And there are many people on Medi-Cal, which is California’s Medicaid program. Both of them are very vulnerable to fraud."

Read More...

Report finds 'deeply challenging' labor market in California

Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

Unemployed Americans line up to enter a job fair in El Monte, Calif. Most California counties still face double digit unemployment, according to a new report by the California Budget Project, which finds more than two out of five unemployed Californians have been looking for a job for at least half a year.

A report by the California Budget Project says the addition of 750,00 jobs over the past three years has still left much of the state in double-digit unemployment.  

"California still has a job market in which too many workers can't obtain full-time jobs that pay a good wage," said Luke Reidenbach, policy analyst with the non-partisan CBP and the report's author. "California's emerging recovery is not providing the mix of jobs needed for a robust economic rebound that benefits the full range of workers and their families."

Among the group’s findings: The share of unemployed Californians who have been seeking work for six months or longer is down only slightly from a record high, and stands at 43 percent. The report also found men have fared better than women. During the past three years of overall job growth, employment among prime-working-age men – ages 25 to 54 – has increased, as it dropped slightly for women in the same age group.

Read More...