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Maven's Morning Coffee: mayoral campaigns wrap up, Villaraigosa gets a hall at LAX, city attorney candidates decline debate
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.
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Today is Monday, May 20, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:
In Rick Orlov's Tipoff column, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa heads to China -- having just returned from Dubai, and City Hall prepares for a mayoral transition.
Los Angeles Times writer Jim Newton says the office of mayor will enlarge its next occupant -- Eric Garcetti or Wendy Greuel. "Garcetti would, I think, be a more creative and daring leader, willing to try new things in areas such as technology and community organization. Greuel would be a more reliable mayor, a solid, dependable steward of the government and a determined advocate for residents," he writes.
Last week for CA Senate committee to advance gun control bills
A State Senate committee is scheduled to decide Thursday whether to advance a package of gun control bills in order for the full legislature to consider them this session.
The collection of measures Democrats call the “Life Act" includes a few intended to restrict various designs and devices that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire more rapidly. Democrats have said the bills close loopholes that gun manufacturers exploit to sell assault style weapons in California—despite a 1989 state ban.
Another bill by Sen. Kevin de León (D-LA) would require a license and background check to purchase ammunition.
Republican lawmakers have voted against the restrictions on guns and ammunition. They say the bills would make it harder for law-abiding people to defend themselves, while criminals will continue to get their guns illegally.
South LA churches get visits from mayoral candidates
It's a political tradition to visit churches the Sunday before Election Day and that's exactly what Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel did across South Los Angeles this morning.
Greuel visited five churches, starting off the day at Faithful Central Bible Church. At West Angeles Church, she was joined by Police Commissioner John Mack and County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. Greuel did not speak, but she received applause and cheers from the congregation when she was introduced.
Greuel has received endorsements from several ministers, including Rev. Chip Murray, former pastor at First African Methodist Episcopal Church.
But on this day, First AME Church welcomed Garcetti — the third of his seven scheduled church visits. He arrived in a party bus with former County Supervisor Yvonne Burke, former Councilwoman Rita Walters and current Councilwoman Jan Perry, who endorsed Garcetti after she finished fourth in the March 5 primary.
Wendy Greuel, Eric Garcetti rally supporters in South LA
Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti and their supporters were in South Los Angeles Saturday morning, rallying voters who could make a big difference in Tuesday’s election.
The Greuel campaign hosted a pancake breakfast with former Lakers superstar Magic Johnson. Virtually every poll that has come out in recent weeks shows Greuel winning the African-American vote. A USC/Los Angeles Times poll out Friday found Greuel leading Garcetti 48 percent to 25 percent with African-American voters.
The poll, however, has Garcetti leading overall by seven points.
Johnson said Greuel has the support of blacks "because she’s done great things in our community a long, long time ago...working with Mayor [Tom] Bradley, and so she is not new to our community."
Also flipping pancakes and scrambling eggs at the event were Congresswoman Maxine Waters and L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.
LA mayor's race: Tracking the TV ads (updated, videos)
May 18: With the final weekend of campaigning underway before Tuesday's runoff, both campaigns are flooding the airwaves with new ads.
In her latest ad, Wendy Gruel takes advantage of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's criticism of a video from an independent committee backing Eric Garcetti. That video notes Greuel's past as a registered Republican and attempts to tie her to former Gov. Pete Wilson and his controversial support of Proposition 187 (see May 15 entry below). A spokesperson for the committee backing Garcetti said Saturday it stands by the video, which remains online.
It should be noted that the mayor also was critical of an ad sponsored by Huntington Park physician Feliciano Serrano that questions Garcetti's Latino-ness (see May 16 entry below). Villaraigosa has not endorsed either candidate.