Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Jesuits in the Vatican and on Capitol Hill

Congressman Juan Vargas, Chula Vista

Courtesy KPBS

Congressman Juan Vargas, (D-Chula Vista)

Pope Francis, who celebrated his first mass Tuesday morning in Rome, is the first Jesuit to head the Catholic Church. A congressman from San Diego might have found his way to Rome too, but instead is now serving in the nation’s capitol.

Democratic freshman Congressman Juan Vargas spent five years as a Jesuit. Had he continued with the religious order, perhaps that could have been him waving to the crowd in St. Peter’s Square.

"Well, that would have been a cool job!” Vargas said.

The congressman said the Jesuits taught him that you have to make changes for social justice. He worked with Central American refugees and became a lawyer working on political asylum cases.

Juan Vargas is not the only former Jesuit in California politics these days: Governor Jerry Brown is also a former novitiate from the order.

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Maven's Morning Coffee: Wendy Greuel talks pensions, Villaraigosa's legacy on education, a $35 million claim against city following a shooting death

Mayoral Election Held In Los Angeles

David McNew/Getty Images

Mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel, who has been endorsed by every major City Hall unions, tells the Los Angeles Times she wants to revisit changes the city council made to pension benefits for new employees.

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 Tuesday, March 19, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:

Headlines

Mayor candidate Wendy Greuel wants to reopen talks with City Hall unions to bargain a new pension tier approved last year by the Los Angeles City Council, reports the Los Angeles Times. Greuel says she supports the higher retirement age and the elimination of health care benefits for spouses, but believes the city council should have bargained in good faith before approving the changes. The pension proposal would apply to civilian workers hired after July 1.

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Councilman Paul Krekorian endorses Eric Garcetti for mayor

City Councilman Paul Krekorian

Andres Aguila/KPCC

L.A. City Councilman Paul Krekorian said Eric Garcetti's work on the city budget and innovative ways of delivering city services led to his endorsement.

Los Angeles Mayor race 2013Mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti picked up the support of San Fernando Valley Councilman Paul Krekorian on Monday.

Krekorian — whose Second Council District is in the East valley — endorsed Garcetti over Wendy Greuel. That's called payback: When Krekorian first ran for CD2, Greuel backed another candidate – Chris Essel. (Greuel represented CD 2 from 2002 to 2009.)

“Right now, more than ever, we need a mayor who will have the courage to deal honestly with the budget challenges we face," said Krekorian, who chairs the Budget and Finance Committee. "We need somebody who's going to think innovatively about new ways to deliver government services."

“As mayor, Eric's going to make sure the San Fernando Valley and all of Los Angeles are the best they can be.”

The Valley is considered a strong base for Greuel. A Los Angeles Times breakdown of the March 5 vote shows the Valley leaned toward Greuel and Republican Kevin James. An exit poll from Loyola Marymount University estimated that 34 percent of Valley voters supported Greuel.

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Police union backs Nury Martinez for LA City Council

clcv/Flickr Creative Commons

LAUSD Board member Nury Martinez was endorsed by the police union Monday in her bid to be the next council member of the San Fernando Valley.

The union that represents officers with the Los Angeles Police Department endorsed a school board member for an open L.A. City Council seat in the San Fernando Valley Monday.

The Los Angeles Police Protective League backed Nury Martinez, one of six certified candidates for the May 21 primary. The winner, who will likely be selected in a July runoff, will fill a vacancy left by Tony Cardenas’ election to Congress.

“We know that she will work to fully fund public safety, give officers the resources they need and work to put more officers on the street,” said LAPPL President Tyler Izen. “L.A.’s sworn police officers agree that Nury Martinez is a terrific choice to continue the work of many for safer, more secure neighborhoods.”

The endorsement could translate into a financial win for Martinez. The union spent $644,717 in independent expenditures to support its candidates in the March 5 primary.

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Maven's Morning Coffee: city attorney's fight for neighborhood councils, pension reform becomes issue in mayor's race, a look at Villaraigosa's legacy on the environment

Sharon McNary/KPCC

In a letter to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, City Attorney Carmen Trutanich suggests that the city cannot ask neighborhood councils to pay for their own elections.

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 Monday, March 18, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:

Headlines

City Attorney Carmen Trutanich is fighting a plan that would require neighborhood councils to pay for their own elections, according to the Daily News. In a letter to the mayor, Trutanich wrote, "I know that you are aware of the line of legal authority that concludes that constitutionally-required activities of government cannot be defunded as to materially impair...their duties."

Wendy Greuel says labor was treated unfairly during last year's pension vote at City Hall, reports the Daily News. Her opponent, Eric Garcetti, vote for the new pension tier, which is expected to save the city $4 billion over 30 years.

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