Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Asian-American academy seeks to develop new political leaders

Danny Chee Kwan, Iraq War Veteran, Asian American politics

Frank Stoltze

Danny Chee Kwan is an Iraq War veteran who is participating in an Asian American leadership academy in Southern California.

Danny Chee Kwan, Iraq War Veteran, Asian American politics

Frank Stoltze

Danny Chee Kwan is an Iraq War veteran who is participating in an Asian American leadership academy in Southern California.

For four years, Danny Chee Kwan served in the U.S. Marine Corps. But it’s not his two tours in Iraq and Afghanistan that inspires his interest in politics. It is his experience of coming home.

“The reason I want to be politics is so I can do more to help returning veterans,” Kwan said. “I’ve had six friends that actually committed suicide not too long ago. That’s more than the amount of friends that I had killed in combat.  There’s something seriously wrong with that.”

Kwan, 25, is one of nine young people selected by the Center for Asian Americans United for Self Empowerment – or CAUSE – for its summer leadership academy. The San Gabriel resident will work on veteran’s issues with Congresswoman Grace Napolitano as part of an internship program.

As Asian-Americans seek to exercise more political power in Southern California, CAUSE is working to find new young leaders who might run for office or serve in government.


Maven's Morning Coffee: questions for new Compton councilman, bathrooms on Skid Row, LA city councilman's transit policies

Compton City Seal


Compton's new Latino councilman is drawing criticism for failing to file campaign finance documents and for hiring a staffer with a criminal past.

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 Monday, July 29, and here is what's happening in Southern California politics:


Compton Councilman Isaac Galvan has only been in office for a few weeks but he's already drawing criticism for failing to file his campaign finance documents, hiring a staffer with a criminal pass, and refusing to answer questions about his residency, reports the Los Angeles Times.

In the wake of San Diego Mayor Bob Filner's announcement that he'll seek therapy for harassing women, KPCC questions why sexual harassment claims are not more prevalent in Washington, DC.


6 reasons why sexual harassment complaints aren't more common in DC

Bob Filner

Charles Dharapak

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner served in Congress for almost two decades, which included a stint as Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs.

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner announced Friday that he's checking himself in for two weeks of therapy in August — but not resigning. This after four additional women — including a retired Navy rear admiral and a dean at San Diego State University — accused him of sexual harassment.

All seven of the women who have accused Filner of inappropriate behavior are in California. So far, no accusations have come from Washington, D.C., where Filner served as a Congressman for almost two decades.

Could his behavior have only begun when he became San Diego's mayor last year?  Or is there a reason why no complaints against Filner have surfaced in D.C.? Well, in fact, there are six possible reasons why such claims aren't generally more prevalent:

Reason 1: Capitol Hill is not like anywhere else.


Whistleblower at facility for mentally ill prisoners claims he was blacklisted

Reed Saxon/AP

Atascadero State Hospital, shown above in this 1999 photo, cares for more than 600 mentally ill patients.

A psychiatrist who testified about dangerously low staffing at a facility that treats mentally ill inmates says he’s been blacklisted from working in California prisons.

Dr. Joel Badeaux, a former staff psychiatrist at the Salinas Valley Psychiatrist Program, told U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton that he’d co-signed a letter to the head of the SVPP warning that caseloads of up to 60 patients were too heavy.

“We didn’t feel we could safely take care of that many patients with the number of psychiatrists we had,” Badeaux explained.

Karlton ordered an investigation of SVPP following the testimony from Badeaux and others last month about problems at the unit, which is on the grounds of the state prison there.

Badeaux said he was blacklisted because of his testimony. In a July 17 letter to the judge, Badeaux wrote that “negative information may have been improperly placed into my state employee file which could negatively affect my ability to gain employment anywhere for the rest of my career as a psychiatrist.”


Nury Martinez makes appearance at City Hall, supporters take victory lap

clcv/Flickr Creative Commons

Former Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education member Nury Martinez defeated former Assemblywoman Cindy Montañez in Tuesday's special election to fill the Sixth District Los Angeles City Council seat.

L.A. City Council President Herb Wesson runs the show at City Hall — from presentations to deals to votes — and even when things don’t go his way, he tries to make up for it in conspicuous fashion.

That was the scene Friday at the Los Angeles City Council meeting where Sixth District Councilwoman-elect Nury Martinez made an appearance. Earlier this week, Wesson congratulated Martinez’s high-profile supporters and today he gave them the floor to make speeches about themselves and Martinez.

Actually, he did so after publicly calling himself “an idiot” for endorsing Martinez's opponent, Cindy Montañez, and telling Martinez — the only female on the 15-member council — that she will be in charge of Women’s Day at City Hall.

The first supporter to take the floor was U.S. Rep. Tony Cardenas, who represented the Sixth District in the San Fernando Valley until he joined Congress  in January.