Politics, government and public life for Southern California

LA Council races: PAC spending tops $1 million for Curren Price in District 9

Curren Price Ana Cubas

Price campaign; Cubas campaign

State Sen. Curren Price and former City Hall staffer Ana Cubas are facing off in the May 21 runoff for City Council District 9.

Independent spending surpassed $1 million this week in support of State Sen. Curren Price for the 9th District City Council seat.

The battle has been a money mismatch between Price and his runoff opponent Ana Cubas, a former City Council chief of staff. Independent groups have spent just $38,000 backing her.

The spending on Price's behalf is approaching the record for an L.A. City Council seat. Two years ago, $1.14 million was unsuccessfully spent to unseat Bernard Parks. 

Fewer than 12,000 votes were cast in District 9 in the March 5 primary — the lowest turnout among the eight city council races on that ballot.

The Service Employees International Union local representing home health care workers has given the most to back Price, $244,000, followed by several PACs comprised of public employee and other unions affiliated with the L.A. County Federation of Labor.

Read More...

Local officials defend enterprise zones targeted for ax by Governor

California Governor Jerry Brown Unveils State Pension Reform Program

Max Whittaker/Getty Images

California Governor Jerry Brown wants to "reshape" the state's enterprise zone program. Critics say he would dismantle it.

In his revised budget plan released this week, Governor Jerry Brown calls for the state’s enterprise zone program to be completely “reshaped.”

California has 40 of these “distressed” neighborhoods where the state offers tax credits in order to encourage investment and hiring.  

A promotional video on the website for Riverside’s Coachella Valley Enterprise Zone describes it as a place where the sun shines 350 days a year and businesses bask in tax breaks that have them end up paying “little or no state income tax.”

Businesses in an enterprise zone can get tax credits for up to five years. They can also write off part of their equipment purchases and other operating costs. 

Los Angeles City has three of these tax havens. The City of Long Beach has one that includes most of downtown and some of the port. Craig Johnson,  who manages that project, also heads the California Association of Enterprise Zones.  He says the zones help create and — more importantly— sustain jobs.

Read More...

Can Trutanich survive Feuer in LA city attorney’s race?

Mike Feuer

Rebecca Hill/KPCC

L.A. City Attorney candidate Mike Feuer.

Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich is fighting for his political life. The latest poll, by the Pat Brown Institute at Cal State Los Angeles, showed him down 11 points to his challenger, former State Assemblyman Mike Feuer.

His one ray of hope: The poll found 41 percent of likely voters remain undecided.

Trutanich is nothing if not a fighter. If Los Angeles were the O.K. Corral, he would call himself top gun. As proof of his toughness, the city attorney points to his fight with the powerful operator of Staples Center for the costs of the Michael Jackson memorial.

“I wasn’t afraid to stand up to AEG,” Trutanich said. “When everybody else was going to let that walk, I got $1.3 million from AEG and we reimbursed our general fund.”

Lately, the city attorney is focused on his challenger, former state Assemblyman Mike Feuer.

Read More...

Mayoral wrapup: Greuel talks business, Garcetti gets boost from former Obama advisor

Former Obama Administration advisor David Axelrod on Thursday touted the President's admiration for Eric Garcetti, though no official endorsement will come from the White House.

Mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel spoke to the Sherman Oaks Chamber of Commerce Thursday about her plans for economic development.


Los Angeles Mayor race 2013With the mayoral campaign in the homestretch, Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti are criss-crossing the city to energize their bases. 

Greuel spoke to the Sherman Oaks Chamber of Commerce Thursday about her plans to create new jobs and streamline City Hall. As for public education, Greuel told the audience she supports local control and she believes principals need to be responsible for what happens in their schools. 

After the lunch, reporters asked Greuel about a series of negative ads that are out this week, specifically targeting the Latino community. The controller said she wants to see an end to all negative ads -- that are not truthful. 

"I asked my opponent on Monday to stop the negative campaigning, the mudslinging, the negative campaigns, the lies that are on the TV commercials and the radio commercials, and he said no," Gruel said. 

Read More...

House GOP 'Gang of Eight' members threaten to quit immigration talks (UPDATED)

Lofgren and Rodriguez

Kitty Felde

UFW President Arturo Rodgriguez listens to Rep. Zoe Lofgren at House immigration hearing

The Senate Judiciary Committee gets back to work today on amendments to an 844-page immigration bill.The measure was crafted by a so-called “Gang of Eight” senators who pounded out a bi-partisan compromise. But over on the House side, a similar group appears to be falling apart.

Both House Democrats and Republicans say their working group is 95% of the way to an agreement on a comprehensive immigration bill.

But there’s deep disagreement over health care costs and a Senate compromise between unions and the Chamber of Commerce to include both high tech and low-skilled worker visas. GOP Congressman Raul Labrador of Idaho says he’s willing to walk away from the table: "You just need to ask the Democrats if they are willing to — actually for the first time — put Hispanic groups ahead of the unions and ahead of Obamacare."

Read More...