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The U.S. Capitol building and Congressional office buildings are seen from the air over Washington, D.C. Some freshman lawmakers use the couches in these office buildings as a home away from home. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
One of the challenges facing California’s 14 Congressional freshmen is where to live in D.C. Democrat Alan Lowenthal of Long Beach sent his wife out to look for housing. Mark Takano, a Democrat from Riverside, found an apartment within walking distance of the Capitol.
But more than a few members choose to sleep on a couch… in their office. Republican Doug LaMalfa of Redding will be joining an estimated 75 members who camp out in their offices when Congress is in session. After a day's work and perhaps dinner with colleagues, he says, you can "read up on some of the legislation or some of the things coming down the pike. You can read yourself to sleep."
LaMalfa, who’s leaving his family back in California, says he wants to get a “real world feeling” about the way Congress works before he commits to a residence. He says a bad decision could be expensive and a “pain in the rear” to get out of.
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The race to become L.A.'s next mayor is the backdrop for a kerfuffle between leading candidates Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel.
L.A. mayoral frontrunners Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel entered into what appears to be their first public spat of the campaign Friday.
At a morning press conference, Greuel, who serves as Controller for the City of Los Angeles, announced she had issued subpoenas “to compel AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile, and Sprint Nextel Corp to hand over the City’s cell phone bills from 2006 – June 2011.” She said it was part of a larger investigation into the city’s wireless phone contracts.
“This billing information is crucial in determining whether the cell phone carriers provided the city with optimized savings and billed the City accurately for wireless services,” Greuel said.
She said the subpoenas are a follow up to a 2011 audit that found individual city departments failed to ensure that cell phone carriers complied with requirements to “optimize” phone plans to fit the departments’ usage. “As a result, the initial audit found that the city regularly paid more for cell phones than necessary.”
Former Congressman Dan Lungren, 66, doesn't have immediate plans because he hadn't planned on losing his re-election bid in November.
The new Congress was sworn in this week, but one veteran lawmaker missing was Dan Lungren, who served constituents in both Northern and Southern California.
The Republican spent ten years in the House representing his native Long Beach, ran and won the state Attorney General’s job, then ran again in 2005 to represent a Sacramento district. But he was defeated in November by a Democrat.
Lungren ended nearly two decades on Capitol Hill exactly where he started: in the same two-room Longworth House Office Building suite. Back in 1979, Lungren says this was freshman turf— a small office for him and, next door, a room for his receptionist, some staff, and his personal assistant ("At that time we called them secretary"). His entire legislative staff was in an office on another floor. A slightly fancier office now houses the boss of the House Administration Committee, a job Lungren has turned over to a new chairman.
Five candidates for mayor of Los Angeles debated at Beth Jacob Temple in Beverly Hills on Thursday.
In advance of the L.A. mayoral primary scheduled for March 5, CivicCare — an organization serving to engage and educate Jewish voters in the Greater Los Angeles community — hosted a mayoral debate Thursday moderated by David Suissa, President of the Los Angeles Jewish Journal.
WATCH THE DEBATE
- Eric Garcetti (Councilmember)
- Wendy Greuel (City Controller)
- Kevin James (Former Assistant US Attorney)
- Jan Perry (Councilmember)
- Emanuel Pleitez (Businessman)
CivicCare is focused on improving voter turnout, engagement and education primarily in the Jewish Community. The mission of CivicCare is to be a voice for all corners of the Jewish Community in the Greater Los Angeles Area.
CiviCare was founded to make sure that all members of the Jewish Community, regardless of affiliation level, have the opportunity and feel comfortable to fully engage in the political process at all levels of local government.
In addition to encouraging Jewish voters to be educated, the initiatives also focus on the importance of developing relationships with local elected officials at the State, County, and City level and in engaging students at the high school and college level to understand the impact they can make at the local level.
When it came time for L.A. mayoral candidates to discuss transportation issues Thursday night at Beth Jacob Temple, moderator David Suissa was clear.
“Many of us have heard over the years politicians who promise us solutions to the traffic mess,” said Suissa, president of the Los Angeles Jewish Journal. “But we’d like to hear some new and fresh ideas.”
Beth Jacob sits in Beverly Hills, but many in attendance live on L.A.’s Westside, where drivers regularly describe traffic as horrendous.
City Councilman Eric Garcetti was the most specific in his response. He promised to start or complete 10 new rail lines, and suggested that one might be a tunnel underneath the Sepulveda Pass.
“That would allow us to get from Sherman Oaks to UCLA in 10 minutes,” Garcetti said.