Politics, government and public life for Southern California

LA Mayor’s Race: furious final weekend for Garcetti, Greuel

Get Out the Vote

Frank Stoltze

A get-out-the-vote schedule at the LA County Federation of Labor.

Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel face a final, frenetic weekend of campaigning in their contest to succeed Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

For Greuel, her labor allies will play a key role.

The head of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor said Friday that hundreds of union volunteers would walk door-to-door and make phone calls for Greuel. The federation has one of the largest get-out-the-vote operations in California.

“We’re confident it’s going to be a historic moment because we’re going to elect our first woman mayor,” said Secretary-Treasurer Maria Elena Durazo.

But one union flier focuses more on money than gender. It suggests Greuel would push for a $15-an-hour minimum wage for all city workers. Greuel has said she’d fight for that amount for hotel workers only.

Read More...

What's next for House immigration deal?

Gage Skidmore/Flickr/Creative Commons

Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher of Huntington Beach is opposed to a path to citizenship in an immigration reform bill.

The bipartisan group of U.S. Representatives known as the "Gang of Eight" has an agreement on what should be included in the House immigration bill. Here's what we know — and what happens next.

There is no bill, just an agreement to file bipartisan legislation on immigration. Democratic Congressman Xavier Becerra of Los Angeles — one of the "Gang of Eight" — declined to give specifics, saying he wants to be "respectful of the agreement that we had to try to really get this done without speaking publicly about what are still private conversations that need to be translated into a full agreement."

The bill is expected to be more conservative than the Senate immigration version, which is already in hearings. Florida Republican Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart, another "Gang of Eight" member, couched the details in his description of what the American people will accept: a legal way for the undocumented to stay in the U.S. in exchange for a promise to solve this once and for all.

Read More...

Legislative analyst sees $3.2 billion more in California revenues than Governor

Jerry Brown Delivers California State Of The State Address

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

California Governor Jerry Brown is flanked by Assembly Speaker John Perez (L) and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg. The trio of Democrats is likely to squabble on how to use the state's projected budget surplus.

The waiting is over.

With the release Friday of the Legislative Analyst’s projected revenues — and its appraisal of the governor’s revised budget — Democrats in Sacramento have the information they need to start making choices on where they’ll agree to the Governor’s mostly flat-spending plan, and where they’ll push to restore cuts to social programs.

The analyst projected $3.2 billion more in revenues than the Brown Administration estimated earlier this week, money that would flow into the state’s general fund. The Governor’s finance team predicted Tuesday that the federal payroll tax increase and global economic challenges would erode the state's surplus to $2.8 billion.

The LAO stated: “We do not agree with the administration's view of the state's revenue situation.”

The analyst said the recent rise in stock prices and other economic improvements bode well for higher tax revenues. But the report also cautioned that’s no reason to go wild:  “After years of ‘boom and bust’ budgeting, California's leaders now have the opportunity to build a budget for future years that gives the state more choices.”

Read More...

LA Council races: PAC spending tops $1 million for Curren Price in District 9

Curren Price Ana Cubas

Price campaign; Cubas campaign

State Sen. Curren Price and former City Hall staffer Ana Cubas are facing off in the May 21 runoff for City Council District 9.

Independent spending surpassed $1 million this week in support of State Sen. Curren Price for the 9th District City Council seat.

The battle has been a money mismatch between Price and his runoff opponent Ana Cubas, a former City Council chief of staff. Independent groups have spent just $38,000 backing her.

The spending on Price's behalf is approaching the record for an L.A. City Council seat. Two years ago, $1.14 million was unsuccessfully spent to unseat Bernard Parks. 

Fewer than 12,000 votes were cast in District 9 in the March 5 primary — the lowest turnout among the eight city council races on that ballot.

The Service Employees International Union local representing home health care workers has given the most to back Price, $244,000, followed by several PACs comprised of public employee and other unions affiliated with the L.A. County Federation of Labor.

Read More...

Local officials defend enterprise zones targeted for ax by Governor

California Governor Jerry Brown Unveils State Pension Reform Program

Max Whittaker/Getty Images

California Governor Jerry Brown wants to "reshape" the state's enterprise zone program. Critics say he would dismantle it.

In his revised budget plan released this week, Governor Jerry Brown calls for the state’s enterprise zone program to be completely “reshaped.”

California has 40 of these “distressed” neighborhoods where the state offers tax credits in order to encourage investment and hiring.  

A promotional video on the website for Riverside’s Coachella Valley Enterprise Zone describes it as a place where the sun shines 350 days a year and businesses bask in tax breaks that have them end up paying “little or no state income tax.”

Businesses in an enterprise zone can get tax credits for up to five years. They can also write off part of their equipment purchases and other operating costs. 

Los Angeles City has three of these tax havens. The City of Long Beach has one that includes most of downtown and some of the port. Craig Johnson,  who manages that project, also heads the California Association of Enterprise Zones.  He says the zones help create and — more importantly— sustain jobs.

Read More...