Politics, government and public life for Southern California

LA mayor's Race: Record-setting PAC spending funds person-to-person ground campaign

Miguel Morales

Sharon McNary/KPCC

Canvasser Miguel Morales shares dinner with fellow campaign workers at a campaign field office paid for by an independent group supporting mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti.

Independent groups have spent a record $18 million dollars on Los Angeles city and school board races -- nearly three times the previous high set in 2011.

Most of the money paid for campaign mailers, and TV and radio ads. A big portion of the rest went to voter outreach.

With only a few days left before Los Angeles chooses its next mayor, campaign worker Eleanor Ramos told her team of paid precinct walkers that they may face people who are tired of being hit up for their vote. But she encouraged them to press the message for Wendy Greuel anyway.
"That sixty seconds at the door is all you need" to win a vote for the City Controller's campaign, Ramos said.
These workers are among hundreds of paid and volunteer foot soldiers in ground campaigns that are financed by political action committees--or PACs. These groups can raise and spend unlimited dollars to influence a campaign.


#DearMayor: KPCC is hitting the streets of Eagle Rock

Dear Mayor Event

Grant Slater/KPCC

KPCC political reporter Frank Stoltze speaks with John Stocking, owner of Republic of Pie in the NoHo Arts District, at our Dear Mayor event.

The L.A. mayoral race between Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti is heating up. And with less than one week left before election day, KPCC wants to know what you want the new mayor to work on first. 

We've already been compiling your priorities online and in person at cafes around Los Angeles. There's even a map that illustrates your suggestions according to topic and location. 

But we're not done yet. This Thursday, we'll be at Auntie Em's Kitchen in Eagle Rock from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. to hear more.

Stop by, say hi, and let us know: What issues would YOU want to see the next mayor of L.A. tackle first?

View Larger Map

Can't make it? Whether it be education or road improvements, tweet us your priorities @KPCC with the hashtag #DearMayor or leave us a comment on Facebook

You can also contribute your thoughts online.


House committee debates the scope and price of border security

Kitty Felde/KPCC

Democratic Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez of Anaheim told a Homeland Security committee that whatever border security plan is adopted, "We know we're going to need money to do that."

As a U.S. Senate committee continues debate on a comprehensive immigration bill, a House committee Wednesday tackled amendments to a more limited measure on border security. Of course, there's a fight over funding.

The House bill requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to develop a "comprehensive strategy to gain and maintain operational control" of the borders.

Democrats on the House Homeland Security Committee say the bill is missing something important: funding. Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez of Anaheim said whatever border security plan is adopted, "We know we're going to need money to do that."

But lawmakers from both parties say they don't like the way the Department of Homeland Security is spending its budget. Homeland Security Committee chairman Mike McCaul of Texas said it's unwise to allocate funds before there's a plan. He added he doesn't want to "throw money" at this department on an ad hoc basis because, "Honestly, I don't trust them right now."


LA budget officials don't know how much money may be hidden in city departments

City Hall

Alice Walton/KPCC

The chair of the Budget and Finance Committee is seeking a complete list of the city's special funds. The recent discovery of an additional $43 million in the LADOT budget shows just how little city leaders know about departments' budgets.

The recent discovery of an extra $43 million in the Department of Transportation's budget shows just how little Los Angeles city leaders know about so-called "special funds," the chair of the Budget and Finance Committee said Wednesday. 

There are between 600 and 700 special revenue funds on the City of L.A.'s books. These funds hold money from grants and taxes that are set aside for specific projects. And in the case of LADOT, sometimes the funds hold city dollars that should be reimbursed back to the General Fund. 

"There was a change in management in the Department of Transportation," Councilman Paul Krekorian told KPCC's Take Two. "And there was an early detection around October 2011 that this fund seemed to have more money that it should have in it, so they launched a forensic accounting effort that involved reviewing of 11,000 documents." 


Maven's Morning Coffee: City Hall loses women leaders, city council races gets contentious, a look at Prop C

Roz Wyman

LA Public Library/Herald-Examiner Collection

Roz Wyman was the second woman ever elected to the Los Angeles City Council. She says the possibility of an all-male city council is "amazing."

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, May 15, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:


Los Angeles is on the cusp of electing its first female mayor and yet, the rest of city government could be all male on July 1, reports KPCC. The station looks at why more women don't run for office, as well as the challenges they face once they get elected. "I mean, think of this, that we would have in 2013 no woman on the city council. That’s really amazing," said former Councilwoman Roz Wyman.

Los Angeles Times writer Steve Lopez had dinner with Eric Garcetti. "No one would be shocked if, in response to a question about aerospace, Garcetti revealed that he's a former astronaut who planted an organic garden on the moon," Lopez writes.