Politics, government and public life for Southern California

A rare bi-partisan public forum on immigration reform

Congressman David Valadao

Kitty Felde/KPCC

Freshman Republican Congressman David Valadao represents a Central Valley district that is 71% Latino. His parents, who are of Portuguese descent, immigrated to the U.S. in 1969.

House Republicans are in the bullseye of labor activists, religious leaders, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Silicon Valley executives and others pushing for immigration reform. Activists plan to keep the pressure on during the August recess. 

But one GOP lawmaker from Bakersfield is stepping away from his hard-line colleagues, initiating a conversation this weekend about immigration with a colleague from across the aisle.

Freshman GOP Congressman David Valadao will join Illinois Democratic Congressman Luis Gutiérrez on Saturday afternoon at an immigration town hall in Bakersfield. Gutiérrez is one of the bipartisan "Gang of Seven" group that has been crafting a comprehensive immigration bill in the House. They'll be joined by United Farmworkers Union co-founder Dolores Huerta, as well as other community and religious leaders.


Immigration reform: Anything less than citizenship is so 'last century,' says Rep. Becerra

Democratic Congressman Xavier Becerra of Los Angeles

Kitty Felde/KPCC

Democratic Caucus Chair Becerra updates reporters on status of "Gang of Seven" immigration bill

President Obama made the rounds of Spanish-language TV networks Tuesday night to talk about immigration reform. The President said there's a problem with the House GOP approach of tackling reform in pieces, which could result in the topics that are hardest to swallow being saved for last "If you’ve eaten your dessert before you’ve eaten your meal – at least with my children – sometimes they don’t end up eating their vegetables."

There's a lot of talking going on about immigration reform on Capitol Hill — much of it in back rooms. And to pick up on the president's analogy, the question is whether those legislative vegetables are served buffet-style or mixed into a casserole. 

The House is still waiting for the bi-partisan "Gang of Seven" members to introduce their comprehensive immigration bill. It's unlikely to happen before Labor Day.


Maven's Morning Coffee: protests a test for Eric Garcetti, Long Beach mayor won't run for reelection, Villaraigosa gets a job

Frank Stoltze/KPCC

The ongoing protests related to the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial present Eric Garcetti's first real test as mayor.

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Today is Wednesday, July 17, and here is what's happening in Southern California politics:


The protests over the verdict in the George Zimmerman case have been the first real test for Eric Garcetti as mayor, per the Los Angeles Times. "The disturbances offered a jarring demonstration of how forces beyond his control can disrupt his efforts to shape a new City Hall agenda," according to The Times.

The L.A. County Board of Supervisors is in agreement that Men's Central Jail needs to be replaced, but it wants further analysis on the estimated $1.37 billion price tag, according to the Daily News.


Whittier Latino Coalition puts Voting Rights Act lawsuit on hold

Whittier Daily News

The Whittier City Council includes, from left: Joe Vinatieri, Owen Newcomer, Cathy Warner and Mayor Bob Henderson.

The Whittier Latino Coalition is delaying its threatened lawsuit against the city over alleged violation of the California Voting Rights Act lawsuit, a spokesman said Tuesday.

The group had originally set July 17 as its deadline for the city to commit to district elections or face legal action.

Members of the coalition allege that the voting power of Whittier's Latino majority population is diluted, and that the Latino community has been unable to elect a candidate of its choice because elections are held at-large. They prefer to elect council members from districts in the belief that Latino candidates would have a better chance to win. They also want city elections consolidated with Whittier's school district and other elections in November.

Mayor Bob Henderson, in a previous interview, said residents of the city are fairly represented by an at-large city council and that there is no barrier to all eligible voters casting ballots on the city's traditional election dates in April.


Money race on in San Bernardino 2014 Congressional district race

GOP Rep. Gary Miller is being targeted in 2014 by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

It's still eleven months until the primary, but the cash is adding up for candidates in the 31st Congressional district in the Inland Empire.

Republican Gary Miller won the newly redrawn district last year. He's had a target on his back ever since. The Democratic political action committee House Majority PAC labeled Miller "the most endangered Republican incumbent" in the country.

Miller raised more than $150,000 in the past few months, increasing his campaign war chest to more than half-a-million dollars. 

But Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar, a Democrat backed by the national party's fundraising arm, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, raised twice that amount that same quarter, more than $300,000. Most of that comes from individuals. Only about one dollar in five comes from political action committees.