Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Maven's Morning Coffee: Tom Calderon speaks, public health measure goes on ballot, the colorful life of Bill Rosendahl

City Councilman Bill Rosendahl

Andres Aguila/KPCC

The Los Angeles Times takes a look at the different worlds of L.A. City Councilman Bill Rosendahl.

Good morning, readers. Welcome to the Maven's Morning Coffee -- a listing of the important headlines, news conferences, public meetings and announcements you need to know to fuel up and tackle your day.

The Maven's Morning Coffee is also available as a daily email. Click here to subscribe.

Today is Thursday, June 20, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:

Headlines

Tom Calderon tells the Sacramento Bee he has "no idea" why federal agents raided his brother's Senate office in Sacramento. In addition the FBI raid, the U.S. Attorney's Office subpoenaed documents from the Central Basin Municipal Water District, which used Tom Calderon has a political consultant for more than a decade. "You know, the enemies of Central Basin, I'm sure have talked to people and are making allegations of what my role was, but my role is my role," he tells the paper.

Read More...

Raul Labrador has own immigration plan, walks away from House Gang of Eight talks

Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

A May Day protester at a Los Angeles immigration rally wears a "Path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrations" t-shirt, May 1, 2013.

The U.S. Senate continues to slap down border enforcement amendments to the immigration bill. On Wednesday, lawmakers voted to table an amendment from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) that would have required a Congressional vote on border security before legal status could be granted to undocumented immigrants.

Over on the House side, a bipartisan group of negotiators continue to work on their own version of a comprehensive bill. Even a breakaway member who recently walked out on those negotiations is planning his own legislation.

Congressman Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) was a member of the House Gang of Eight hashing out an immigration bill. Labrador prefers the term "Group of Eight" saying his mother told him "not to join gangs."

Labrador was born in Puerto Rico, but settled in his wife's home state of Idaho. He dropped out of the official House immigration effort, saying he's writing his own bills to complement various enforcement measures being pushed through the House Judiciary Committee.

Read More...

Court hears testimony on state of mental health care in California prisons

Reed Saxon/AP

Atascadero State Hospital, shown here in a file photo, cares for some of CDCR's mentally ill prisoners.

Psychiatrists and other witnesses are testifying Wednesday that state hospital units charged with treating mentally ill prisoners are dangerously understaffed. 

The evidentiary hearing is part of a long-running case on prison mental healthcare before U.S. Eastern District Court Judge Lawrence Karlton.

In opening statements, Michael Bien, an attorney for inmates, told the judge that the Salinas Valley Psychiatric Program and a similar program at a facility in Vacaville lacked enough psychiatrists to provide timely and adequate treatment to the sickest inmates.  Bien asserted the lack of staff may have contributed to the recent deaths of two inmates at the Salinas facility. "Peoples' lives are at stake,"  he told Judge Karlton.

In November, 2012 an inmate hung himself in his cell after waiting for weeks to be admitted to the program. Another inmate, who suffered from a psychological condition that creates an unquenchable thirst, died in March of this year from drinking too much water. Dr. Pablo Stewart, an expert on psychiatric care, testified that a death from such a condition was "100 percent preventable." Staff should have monitored the patient and restricted his access to water told Karlton.

Read More...

Maven's Morning Coffee: LA bans plastic bags, Metro cracks down on fare evaders, Burbank gets a new city manager

Plastic Bag Manufacturers Fight Back Against Proposed Local Ban

David McNew/Getty Images

After years of delay, the Los Angeles City Council agreed to ban plastic bags beginning in 2014.

Good morning, readers. Welcome to the Maven's Morning Coffee -- a listing of the important headlines, news conferences, public meetings and announcements you need to know to fuel up and tackle your day.

The Maven's Morning Coffee is also available as a daily email. Click here to subscribe.

Today is Wednesday, June 19, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:

Headlines

The city of Los Angeles will ban plastic bags at stores beginning in 2014, reports KPCC and the Los Angeles Times.

There are no more free rides on the Metro's Purple or Red Lines thanks to newly installed gates, according to the Daily News. The transit agency expects to recoup $7 million from fare evaders.

The Montebello City Council is relying on about $1 million in reserves to balance its $45.7 million budget, according to the Whittier Daily News. "It's what we call a basic operational needs budget," says the city administrator.

Read More...

John Boehner: man in the middle of immigration debate (Updated)

john boehner

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

House Speaker John Boehner is walking a fine line in the immigration debate.

A House Judiciary Committee meeting was interrupted Tuesday by demonstrators as members took up a bill that would allow local jurisdictions to enforce their own immigration laws. The bill illustrates the challenges ahead for a bipartisan comprehensive measure — and the political challenges facing House Speaker John Boehner. 

The House is moving forward on two fronts: a bipartisan bill that has yet to be unveiled, and a series of tough enforcement measures working their way through the Judiciary Committee. Boehner is walking a fine line down the middle. 

L.A. Democrat Xavier Becerra, a member of the so-called "Gang of Seven" working on the comprehensive House bill, says he "really" believes Boehner "wants to get this done." But he cautions patience, saying "the worst thing" would be to push through a bill with backing from only one party.

Read More...