Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Re-elected LA council president Herb Wesson starts term with promises, jokes (updated)

City Councilman Herb J. Wesson Jr.

Andres Aguila/KPCC

Councilman Herb Wesson was reelected council president Tuesday with a 13-0 vote. Councilman Bernard Parks was noticeably absent from the vote.

With a unanimous vote, Los Angeles City Councilman Herb Wesson was re-elected council president Tuesday.

In a city government where the mayor does not have a lot of absolute power, the power that Wesson will continue to wield rivals that of Mayor Eric Garcetti. Councilman Mitch Englander from the San Fernando Valley was elected president pro tempore and Councilman Tom LaBonge was reappointed to the number three leadership post.

“You know, there have been some articles that have described me as a dictator, a mini-Amin,” Wesson told his colleagues. “I’m not that guy, but I do want to be efficient. I don’t tell you how to vote – we build coalitions here.”

“I’m proud when we have a 15-0 vote and it’s not because I said, ‘Vote that way.’”

Absent from Tuesday's vote was Councilman Bernard Parks. Wesson and Parks clashed during the redistricting process as Parks lost valuable parts of his Eighth District. After Parks declined to vote for Wesson in 2011, the new council president stripped Parks of his coveted Budget and Finance committee chairmanship.


Maven's Morning Coffee: settlement for Antelope Valley victims, new LAUSD president, uncertain future for pot shops

KPCC Police Crime stock photo

Christopher Okula/KPCC

Antelope Valley residents who were harassed by Sheriff's Deputies will receive a $12.5 million settlement.

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 Tuesday, July 2, and here is what's happening in Southern California politics:


Antelope Valley residents who were the victims of harassment will receive $12.5 million from Los Angeles County, Lancaster and Palmdale, reports the Los Angeles Times. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, "Antelope Valley authorities conducted a systematic effort to discriminate against African Americans who received low-income subsidized housing and that sheriff's deputies engaged in widespread unlawful searches of homes, improper detentions and unreasonable force."


Mayor Eric Garcetti focuses on the economy, city services on first day

Eric Garcetti

Alice Walton/KPCC

Mayor Eric Garcetti holds office hours on his first day as mayor.

Eric Garcetti

Alice Walton/KPCC

The new mayor says he wants to hold office hours every month.

Eric Garcetti

Alice Walton/KPCC

Leaders from a dozen chambers of commerce met with Mayor Eric Garcetti on his first day in office.

Mayor Eric Garcetti's first morning as the leader of Los Angeles was spent convening an economic roundtable to hear what the city does well — and where it falls short — when it comes to business.

The new mayor invited leaders from a dozen chambers of commerce to talk about their experiences. Noticeably absent from the meeting were the L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce and the Valley Industry and Commerce Association. Garcetti told the roundtable he doesn't want to keep going to the same well for new ideas. But it should be noted that both those groups backed Garcetti's runoff opponent, Wendy Greuel. 

As for his staff, the new mayor said he plans to have just four deputy mayors — a third as many as his predecessor.

"We've been actually talking to a lot of people and we've been reaching out to a lot of Los Angeles and throughout the country," Garcetti said. "Seeking the best people and hiring them requires a lot of interviews." 


LA releases list of authorized marijuana dispensaries

David McNew/Getty Images

LA has issued its list of marijuana dispensaries that may remain open under Measure D, which was approved by voters in May.

The Los Angeles city attorney’s office has released the names of 134 medical marijuana dispensaries eligible to remain open under Measure D, the new law approved by voters in May.

Under Measure D, dispensaries must meet three requirements to continue to operate: they must have registered with the city in both 2007 and 2011, and under Measure M, the pot taxation measure. 

"These 134 dispensaries appear to satisfy the three threshold immunity requirements," city attorney spokesman Frank Mateljian said.

Document: See the full list of dispensaries

Hundreds of other dispensaries must close. The new law took effect June 20.

Eligible dispensaries must be located at least 600 feet from schools and parks, and at least 1,000 feet from each other. They may only stay open from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Dispensaries have 180 days to comply.


GOP lawmaker John Campbell on what's wrong with Congress

Capitol Hill veteran John Campbell reflects on Congressional gridlock.

Irvine Republican John Campbell surprised Capitol Hill last week, announcing he'll step down next year after nearly a decade in Congress. He has a few thoughts about the Washington institution.

Campbell says he's finally "hit the wall." He says in his marriage of 34 years, "We've never liked being apart — and we've been apart most of last 14 years." That includes half a dozen years in Sacramento, serving in the state legislature.

Campbell says this will be his third career change — from accountant to car dealership owner to politics. He's not quite sure what's next, but definitely not a K Street lobbying firm: "You will not find me doing that." 

Campbell says it's frustrating being a Republican from a blue state and predicts nothing but gridlock ahead in Washington, "because there is no overlap between Barack Obama's agenda and any reasonable Republican agenda." But he doesn't blame Congress for the stark divide between liberals and conservatives. He suspects the division is "more a function of the House reflecting the country than the other way around."