Politics, government and public life for Southern California

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.


Mayoral candidates seek to clarify stances on living wage for hotel workers

County Fed Mailer

Ethics Commission

A political action committee supported by the County Federation of Labor sent out this mailer, telling voters Wendy Greuel would increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour if elected mayor. What the candidate actually supports is increasing hourly wages for hotel workers throughout the city.

Can two candidates disagree even when they agree? Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti certainly make it seem that way. 

The latest disagreement comes over a proposal to increase wages for hotel workers in Los Angeles. Over the weekend, Wendy Greuel told KPCC and the Los Angeles Times she supports a $15 an hour wage for employees at hotels throughout the city.

The city already has a "living wage" for hotels near LAX. City leaders made the case that because those hotels benefit from the city-owned airport, they should be required to pay their workers $10.70 an hour plus health care benefits, or $11.95 an hour if no benefits are offered. The wage ordinance does not apply to hotels that have a collective bargaining agreement. 

In the past, Garcetti has supported the wage ordinance. He told reporters he supports expanding the wage ordinance to other hotels, but declined to commit to the $15 figure. 


Medi-Cal expansion mired in money fight

Gov. Jerry Brown

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

California Governor Jerry Brown will release his revised state budget Tuesday morning, which will likely have ramifications for the expansion of Medi-Cal.

When Governor Jerry Brown unveils his revised state budget Tuesday morning, healthcare advocates will be looking for a more detailed Medi-Cal expansion plan. 

The Governor has committed to extend the healthcare coverage for low-income families to one million more residents, as part of federal healthcare reform, but he’s yet to produce a detailed plan.

Brown has said California needs to find a “sustainable” way to expand Medi-Cal, “so we don’t find ourselves in a big hole in a couple of years.”

The federal government will pay all the costs to expand Medi-Cal for the first three years, but that only includes residents who will be newly-eligible.

Hundreds of thousands of Californians who are currently eligible but haven’t signed up for the program, or have fallen off the roles temporarily,  are expected to join when the state eases eligibility rules and simplifies enrollment.  


He said, she said: Garcetti, Greuel bicker in final televised debate


Maya Sugarman/KPCC

City Councilman Eric Garcetti and City Controller Wendy Greuel, seen here in a previous debate, participated in their final televised debate Monday morning. It will air at 7 p.m. on KCAL.

Monday morning at the CBS studios in Culver City, Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti met for their final televised debate of the campaign. The format was different from previous encounters — instead of a panel of questioners, KCBS/KCAL political reporter Dave Bryan alone tried to engage the candidates.

But despite Bryan's best efforts, the candidates mainly repeated themes from their mailers and TV ads — hammering each other on integrity and perceived conflicts of interest.

On the issue of the Department of Water and Power, Garcetti continued to talk about how much money the utility’s union has spent in support of Greuel. The Working Californians political action committee has raised more than $3.3 million for its own efforts on Greuel's behalf. Garcetti maintained that, as mayor, Greuel would not stand up to the union when its contract is up for renewal next year.


Maven's Morning Coffee: Wendy Greuel supports hotel workers, money pours into South LA race, controller candidates debate


Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Wendy Greuel said this weekend that she supports $15 an hour wages for hotel workers in LA. The city already requires a "living wage" of $12 per hour at hotels near LAX.

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Today is Monday, May 13, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:


In Rick Orlov's Tipoff column, voter turnout could hit 25 percent, Kevin James and Jan Perry debut on the airwaves, and there's life after City Hall.

Mayor candidate Wendy Greuel says she supports paying all hotel workers in Los Angeles $15 an hour, reports KPCC. The city already requires hotels near LAX to pay a "living wage" of $12 an hour. Eric Garcetti also supports a higher wage for hotel employees, but would not commit a specific figure.