Former high school English teacher Mark Takano (D-Riverside) gives a failing grade to a Congressional colleague's immigration letter. For a larger version of the image, go to @RepMarkTakano on Twitter or click the link in the story below.
You can take the teacher out of the classroom — even send him to Congress — but you can't take the classroom out of the teacher. Or take away his red pencil.
Before coming to Washington, freshman Democrat Mark Takano taught English for 23 years — mostly at Rialto High School. He must have been a tough grader.
In the midst of the heated Congressional debate over immigration, Takano tries humor — a bit of political fun at the expense of his GOP colleagues.
Republican House members were circulating a "Dear Mr. Speaker" letter urging John Boehner to take up immigration reform in pieces rather than consider the comprehensive Senate bill. (No mention is made of the bipartisan bill being crafted in the House by the "Gang of 7.")
David Berkowitz (cc by-nc-nd)
The city of Long Beach wants ice cream trucks to turn off their music when serving customers. Ice cream truck operators say the music helps attract customers.
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Today is Thursday, July 11, and here is what's happening in Southern California politics:
KPCC looks at the impact of at-large districts in the town of Whittier. "Under the at-large system, just one Latino has won a council seat in Whittier's 115-year history," according to the station.
The Long Beach City Council is considering an ordinance to silence ice cream trucks, according to the Los Angeles Times. "Council officials are getting a lot of national attention as a result, and not all of it is flattering. They have nothing against ice cream trucks, they say, but they want them to be quieter," reports The Times.
Thomas Saenz, president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, says "there are a number of cities, some of them not even known to us, where there are serious issues of racially-polarized voting and exclusion of Latino candidates."
KPCC has launched a series called "Project Citizen." Our stories look at the responsibilities, traditions and privileges that citizenship entails. Voting is one of them. But some voters say fair representation remains elusive. As KPCC's Sharon McNary reports, California's Voting Rights Act is being used with greater frequency to change how voters elect their local officials.
As Miguel Garcia strolls Greenleaf Avenue — the quaint shopping street in Uptown Whittier — he points out the many Latino-owned businesses.
"You have a restaurant that is called La Pescadora," he says. "There's the shop that imports furniture from Guadalajara, the ice cream store, Steve's Barbeque and a couple of upscale restaurants." Garcia estimates about one-third of the city's businesses are Latino-owned.
Garcia has been a resident since 1987, and he loves the place — except for this one thing:
"We've been trying to elect a Latino to the City Council at least for ten years and we haven't been able to do so.
About two-thirds of Whittier's population and more than half the people of voting age there are Latino. Like more than 4o0 other California cities, Whittier uses at-large elections. In such cases, voters from throughout the city select all the council members.
Under the at-large system, just one Latino has won a council seat in Whittier's 115-year history. He was Victor Lopez, a popular local high school football coach.
Garcia and a group called the Whittier Latino Coalition are demanding the council switch to district elections and move them from the low-turnout month of April to November.
If the council refuses, the Coalition says it will sue under the California Voting Rights Act. The 2001 law is a powerful legal tool designed to force local governments to switch from at-large to district elections.
LA Mayor Eric Garcetti says he wants to think about City Hall diversity "more robustly."
Earlier this week, Eric Garcetti summoned reporters to his third-floor office inside Los Angeles City Hall to tout a reorganization.
He said he is requiring city managers to reapply for their jobs and detail goals for improving their departments. Then, almost off-handedly, he mentioned diversity.
“We have diversity programs that date back to the 1970s,” he said.
"The model back then, " he added, "was to get one person of each color at each thing,” Garcetti explained. “I want to get past that kind of tokenism towards a broader diversity.”
In an interview later, Garcetti said people still think in terms of four broad categories: black, white, Latino and Asian-Pacific Islander. He said that doesn't begin to touch on the city's diversity.
“There are Mexican-Americans who speak Spanish as their second language, after an indigenous language,” he said. Many Guatemalans in Los Angeles speak Quiche. How can he improve their access to City Hall? Garcetti asked.
As House GOP members met in the Capitol basement Wednesday to discuss immigration, activists marched outside with a message: the future of the Republican party could ride on their votes.
House Republicans met for more than two hours at the U.S. Capitol Wednesday to discuss immigration. There was no consensus on anything but border security, but one things seems clear: a path to citizenship looks to be a tough sell.
House leaders told their colleagues that Republicans will be in a "much weaker position" if they fail to act on immigration. Afterwards, House Whip Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield was upbeat.
"We had very good discussions, very productive, a lot of participation," McCarthy said.
The man who counts votes says there will be a majority of GOP members who can agree on something. When asked whether that includes a path to citizenship or legal status, McCarthy quickly slipped away behind his office door without answering.
Central Valley Congressman Devin Nunes said he believes two-thirds of his House GOP colleagues support legal status for the undocumented. But he doesn't understand what he termed "infatuation" with a path to citizenship among Democrats and immigration advocates.