Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Brown's proposed budget boosts K-12 education, but goes easy on spending

Space Shuttle Endeavour Grand Opening

Bill Ingalls/NASA/Getty Images

California Governor Jerry Brown speaks from a podium underneath the space shuttle Endeavour during the grand opening ceremony for the California Science center's Samuel Oschin Space Shuttle Endeavour Display Pavilion, on October 30, 2012, in Los Angeles, California.

Riding a wave of state tax revenue, Gov. Jerry Brown released a budget proposal Tuesday that looks much different from the ones Californians have become accustomed to in recent years: It has a surplus.

Brown is proposing a $96.4 billion spending plan for the coming fiscal year that starts July 1, funneling more money to K-12 schools but otherwise taking a cautionary approach to spending.

He wants to spend extra money on schools in economically disadvantaged communities, giving California a new narrative from the multibillion dollar deficits that led to teacher layoffs, IOUs for state workers and deep spending cuts for nearly all government programs just a few years ago.

At the same time, the Democratic governor is maintaining his pledge to keep spending under control by resisting demands from within his own party to spend more freely and fully restore the safety net programs cut during the recession.


House GOP hardliners vow to fight Senate immigration bill

Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert (at podium) and some of his House GOP colleagues want to secure the border first before considering any other elements of immigration reform.

The Senate Judiciary Committee began a second day of debate Tuesday over amendments to the 844-page immigration bill. Republican lawmakers on the House side are already lining up to shoot down whatever immigration bill the Senate sends their way.

The House has not yet introduced a comprehensive immigration bill.

But a half dozen GOP members say they're ready to reject the measure currently under consideration in the Senate. Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert and his colleagues want to secure the border and go after those who've overstayed their visas. What they don't want is a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S.

Speaking at a press conference outside the Capitol, Gohmert said when we "ignore the rule of law, we actually become like countries that many immigrants are fleeing because the rule of law, if it's not observed, then you have chaos."


Maven's Morning Coffee: poll finds Feuer, Zine in the lead, city attorney picks up endorsement, confusion over living wage

City Attorney Candidates

Rebecca Hill/KPCC

The latest poll from the Pat Brown Institute finds Mike Feuer and Dennis Zine leading in the races for city attorney and controller, respectively.

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, May 14, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:


Are mailers from the County Federation of Labor misleading voters to think Wendy Greuel will raise the minimum wage in Los Angeles? Eric Garcetti thinks so, according to KPCC and the Daily News. Greuel has said she supports a "living wage" for hotel workers in Los Angeles -- not necessarily increasing the minimum wage for all employees.

Here's Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti's debate from KCAL 9.

A poll from the Pat Brown Institute found Mike Feuer and Dennis Zine leading in the races for city attorney and controller, respectively, the Los Angeles Times reports. In each race, more than 40 percent of voters remain undecided.


Former lawmakers impart lessons from the 1986 immigration battle

Mercer 13708

Kitty Felde/KPCC

Former California GOP Congressman Dan Lungren has advice for colleagues tackling immigration

It’s been a quarter-century since Congress passed comprehensive immigration reform. Veterans of that legislative battle have some ideas about why it didn’t completely work and whether the bill currently being debated in the Senate will finally solve the challenge of illegal immigration.

As the Senate Judiciary Committee last week began taking up hundreds of amendments to an 844-page bill, California Democrat Dianne Feinstein asked her colleagues to consider the gravitas of their decision making.

"For those of us sitting at this table," she said, "this is the only chance we’re going to have to reform what is a very broken system, and to bring a lot of people who have worked very hard in this country out of the shadows."

Feinstein wasn’t on Capitol Hill for the 1986 debate. But fellow Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa was a freshman Republican on the Judiciary Immigration Subcommittee. Weighing in on the current debate, he told Feinstein he has concerns about the measure under consideration: "Unfortunately, this bill looks too much like the 1986 bill, which failed to take care of the problems we’re now trying to solve."


CA takes first step in appeal of prison population cap ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Chino State Prison is one of the facilities subject to a court order requiring that the statewide inmate population be reduced by 10,000 by the end of the year.

California officials on Monday appealed a federal court’s decision to uphold a cap of the state’s prison population that must be met by the end of the year. 

In January, attorneys for the state asked the three-judge panel, which in 2009 ordered the reduction of inmates, to reconsider whether such a cap was still necessary, given a dramatic population drop in the state’s 33 prisons and improvements to inmates' medical and mental healthcare.

The judges had ordered the state to reduce the prison population by 40,000 inmates after they found that overcrowding in the prisons was the main reason inmates suffered, and sometimes died from, a lack of treatment.

Last month, the court rejected the state’s appeal to vacate the order, and ordered officials to shed 10,000 inmates by the end of the year or face being held in contempt.