Politics, government and public life for Southern California

CA bill to limit immigration detentions clears key committee

OC Immigrant Detention

Jae C. Hong/AP

An Orange County Sheriff's deputy keeps a watch over a group of immigration detainees in the medical and dental care area at the Theo Lacy Facility in Orange, Calif., Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2010.

A California lawmaker is reviving an effort to change how local authorities respond when federal immigration officials request custody of a detainee.  

Governor Brown vetoed the so-called Trust Act last year because he said it prevented law enforcement from detaining certain violent criminals. 

A new version of the bill cleared its first committee Tuesday and is heading for a full Assembly vote as soon as next week.

The federal Secure Communities Program requires local law enforcement agencies to report all arrests to federal immigration officials.  If immigration officials suspect a detainee is here illegally, they can ask local agencies to keep them in custody.  
 
Rosa Aqeel of the faith-based advocacy group, PICO California, says the law is supposed to help detain and deport dangerous criminals, but that’s not how it has worked.
 
"What’s happened in actuality is that the program has swept up everybody and anyone that comes into contact with law enforcement," Aqeel said, "including someone who gets pulled over for a broken taillight, or a victim of domestic violence who reports the crime."

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Suze Orman joins Karen Bass to tackle student loan problem

MSNBC financial guru Suze Orman wants relief for college graduates facing debt from student loans.

Los Angeles Congresswoman Karen Bass has been pushing for student loan debt relief. Tuesday on Capitol Hill,  she and two other House Democrats turned to financial guru Suze Orman to champion their cause. Orman had some ideas of her own.

Bass has introduced a bill that gives borrowers a break after they’ve paid back federal student loans for ten years — if they've kept current on payments. "After ten years," Bass said, "that loan would be forgiven up to $45,000."

The bill would also cap interest rates for federal loans at the current 3.4 percent, rather than wait for an annual vote from Congress. Unless Congress acts by July 1st, the rate will double. The Bass bill would also suspend interest rates while the borrower is unemployed.

Orman told a room full of young Congressional staffers that the issue of student loan debt keeps showing up on her weekly financial advice show on MSNBC.

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Antonio Villaraigosa's final State of the City speech: The mayor issues schools challenge (video)

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In his final State of the City address Tuesday, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa lashed out at the two candidates seeking to succeed him for their lack of “serious discussion” about education reform. (You can watch the full speech video above.)

“Education can’t be a footnote on a campaign mailer or fodder for an attack ad,” Villaraigosa said in his speech at UCLA’s Royce Hall. 

“It's time for our candidates to demonstrate the ‘fierce urgency of now’ when it comes to ensuring that all of our children have access to great schools.”

RELATED: Villaraigosa's legacy for LA

City Councilman Eric Garcetti and City Controller Wendy Greuel have focused less on education than other issues. The mayor has no direct control over the Los Angeles Unified School District. But Villaraigosa wielded considerable influence over public schools by raising millions of dollars to help elect school board members and creating an education partnership that now operates nearly two dozen campuses.

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Jose Gardea and Gil Cedillo in back-to-back, bilingual debates

Jose Gardea

Sharon McNary/KPCC

Jose Gardea, chief of staff to City Councilman Ed Reyes, is running to succeed his boss.

Gil Cedillo with yard sign

Sharon McNary/KPCC

Former state Sen. Gil Cedillo posts a campaign sign in the yard of a First District resident in the Pico-Union area Jan. 31, 2013.


City Council runoff rivals Jose Gardea and Gil Cedillo will face off in back-to-back debates on issues affecting the First District later this month — first in English, then in Spanish.

During the primary, candidates for the First District council seat participated in a forum in English, with translation provided from the sidelines, said Monica Alcaraz, president of the Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council. The district, which extends from  Northeast L.A. to the Pico-Union area, includes a large percentage of Latino residents and Spanish speakers.

"People were asking us why we don't have the debate in Spanish, because things get lost in the translation," Alvarez said.

The answer was to present two debates, she said. She's looking for a bilingual moderator to handle both hour-long debates on April 27 at the Highland Park Recreation Center. The English version is at 10 a.m., the Spanish at 11:30 a.m.

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Anti-incumbent Super PAC targeting Congressman Adam Schiff

Senate Impeachment Committee Begins Hearing For District Judge Porteous

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Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-CA), who represents parts of the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys, is being targeted by a political action committee that goes after what it believes are entrenched members of Congress.

In case you haven't noticed: the 2014 Congressional campaign season is in full swing.

The Campaign for Primary Accountability is a political action committee that targets members of Congress it believes are too entrenched.

The PAC isn't partisan — it goes after members of Congress from both parties. And next year its list includes Burbank/West Hollywood Democrat Adam Schiff.

Schiff's been around a few years, first elected in 2000. And according to the Campaign for Primary Accountability, that's too long on Capitol Hill. The group, primarily funded by Texans with deep pockets, has targeted five incumbents.

The group's spokesman, Curtis Ellis, told "The Hill" that Schiff is a "center-right, almost Blue Dog-type guy," running in "one of the brightest blue districts in America."  He added the group will pour money in the race if "someone steps forward there who's more truly representative of that district."

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