Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Unions bankroll independent campaigns in LA primary races

Wendy Greuel

Wendy Greuel Campaign

Los Angeles employee unions are spending millions to independently support Controller Wendy Greuel's run for mayor.

Los Angeles public employee unions are showing their clout as they pour millions of dollars into independent campaigns that are backing candidates in Tuesday's primary elections for mayor and other city offices.

Political action committees have spent more than $4 million to support candidates in the L.A. races for mayor, city attorney, controller and eight city council districts.

It nearly matches the $4.28 million that independent groups spent in the entire city election —  primary and runoff — in 2005, which is the last time open seats were contested for both council and mayor.

Read More...

Emanuel Pleitez sprints to the finish in long-shot run for Los Angeles mayor

Emanuel Pleitez Profile

Grant Slater/KPCC

Mayoral candidate Emanuel Pleitez sprints through the streets of Pico-Union. The former tech executive will run 100 miles through the streets of Los Angeles in the final week of his campaign.

Emanuel Pleitez Profile

Grant Slater/KPCC

Mayoral candidate Emanuel Pleitez shakes hands with the daughter of a voter in Pico-Union.

Emanuel Pleitez Profile

Grant Slater/KPCC

Volunteers make phone calls at Pleitez campaign headquarters in Boyle Heights.

Emanuel Pleitez Profile

Grant Slater/KPCC

Mayoral candidate Emanuel Pleitez works in his Boyle Heights headquarters on Valentine's Day. The flowers are for his wife Rebecca.

Emanuel Pleitez Profile

Grant Slater/KPCC

Boyle Heights residents pass by Pleitez campaign headquarters on East Cesar Chavez Avenue.

Emanuel Pleitez Profile

Grant Slater/KPCC

Mayoral candidate Emanuel Pleitez tries to catch a breath mint tossed in the air by his wife Rebecca before a candidate forum at the Autry National Center.

Emanuel Pleitez Profile

Grant Slater/KPCC

Zoe Kipping of Sacramento works on the Pleitez campaign in it's Boyle Heights headquarters. She worked for Obama for America for eight months before joining the LA mayoral race.

Emanuel Pleitez Profile

Grant Slater/KPCC

Pleitez prepares for a television interview with a local Spanish-speaking news station at his headquarters in Boyle Heights.

Emanuel Pleitez Profile

Grant Slater/KPCC

Mayoral candidate Emanuel Pleitez speaks with Javier, a mechanic who lives in Pico-Union.

Emanuel Pleitez Profile

Grant Slater/KPCC

Pleitez prepares to surprise his wife, Rebecca, with flowers for Valentine's Day.

Emanuel Pleitez Profile

Grant Slater/KPCC

Mayoral candidate Emanuel Pleitez speaks with voters outside an apartment building in Pico Union.

Emanuel Pleitez Profile

Grant Slater/KPCC

Bella, 5, jumps rope outside her house in Pico-Union while mayoral candidate Emanuel Pleitez speaks with voters on the sidewalk.

Emanuel Pleitez Profile

Grant Slater/KPCC

Mayoral candidate Emanuel Pleitez speaks with voters outside an apartment building in Pico Union.

Emanuel Pleitez Profile

Grant Slater/KPCC

Mayoral candidate Emanuel Pleitez approaches a house that his staff has identified. A target voter lives inside.

Emanuel Pleitez Profile

Grant Slater/KPCC

Mayoral candidate Emanuel Pleitez fist bumps with a Sabaq. Pleitez has focussed on canvassing poorer, Latino neighborhoods since his campaign started in July.

Emanuel Pleitez Profile

Grant Slater/KPCC

Mayoral andidate Emanuel Pleitez speaks with residents in Pico-Union during a canvass on February 14.

Emanuel Pleitez Profile

Grant Slater/KPCC

Pleitez campaign field director Alberto Avalos speaks with a voter outside the candidate's headquarters in Boyle Heights.

Emanuel Pleitez Profile

Grant Slater/KPCC

Volunteers make phone calls at Pleitez campaign headquarters in Boyle Heights.

Emanuel Pleitez Profile

Grant Slater/KPCC

Pleitez arrives at a candidate forum in Hancock Park with his wife, Rebecca (right) and campaign aide Jocelyn Sida.


The conventional wisdom in Los Angeles is that Emanuel Pleitez’s campaign for mayor is going nowhere. If so, it’s definitely going nowhere fast.

The 30-year-old former tech executive is spending his final days running for mayor performing a low-tech, high-speed publicity stunt designed to increase name recognition.

The week before election day, he will run 100 miles, snaking his way from the San Fernando Valley to San Pedro.

“We’ve got to get to as many voters as possible,” Pleitez said. “We’ve been doing this since July, and we’ve still got more voters to go. We count the hours in the campaign.”

Pleitez needs to shake a lot of hands to have a chance in the race. The two leading candidates have $4 million war chests and rosters of high-profile endorsements. Pleitez has neither.

Read More...

South Los Angeles prepares for new city council member

The historic Dunbar Hotel on Central Ave. is being re-made into senior housing.

One of the most competitive campaigns on next Tuesday’s ballot is the crowded race for the Los Angeles City Council’s Ninth District.

Central Avenue is the historical heart and soul of the district, but a lot has changed since its heyday of the 1930s and ‘40s. The Dunbar Hotel at Central and 42nd St. once hosted Billie Holiday, Lena Horne and Louis Armstrong. Now, after years of decay, the Dunbar is being remade into senior housing.

“We pretty much hit rock bottom, I would say, right after the Watts riots," says Vivian Bowers of Bowers and Sons Cleaners, which is located on Central. "And then again in ’92 when we had the Rodney King riots. It was pretty devastating. Drugs and gang violence kind of took over the area,” 

Sitting in a back office, Bowers talks about how she once thought about relocating the business. But she stayed and, a few years ago, Bowers used city redevelopment money to refurbish her building’s façade.

Read More...

CA Assembly, Senate pass healthcare reforms for individuals

Both houses of the California legislature approved bills Thursday that set new rules for how health plans handle individual customers in California.

Currently, 1.5 million Californians buy their own health insurance.  That number is expected to grow to 5 million next year when the federal Affordable Care Act takes effect and requires everyone to get insured.

The measures passed Thursday aim to make it easier for people to purchase individual plans, starting Jan 1, 2014.

They both prohibit companies from rejecting people for pre-existing conditions.  Both allow insurers to set premium rates for customers based on age, family size and where they live.  

The bills differ on how to standardize ratings based on geographic regions. That part is still “under negotiation.”

 

 

Read More...

Greuel goes on offensive over Garcetti's oil connections

Oil wells provide the background for archery class at Beverly Hills High School in 1937. Eric Garcetti's family granted drilling rights to a property it owns about a half-mile away.

Big Oil washed over the race for Los Angeles mayor Thursday when City Controller Wendy Greuel called on her chief rival, Councilman Eric Garcetti, to end his relationship with the drilling company Venoco.

At issue is a 1998 lease agreement allowing the company to drill for oil and gas under a  Wilshire Boulevard property owned by Garcetti's family. Under the agreement, Venoco could slant drill from nearby Beverly Hills High School, as first reported Tuesday in the Los Angeles Times.

“It is absolutely wrong that Eric is allowing children to be put in danger by leasing his property to this company,” Greuel said Thursday.

Garcetti immediately shot back: “This is a desperate attack by a desperate Wendy Greuel.”

The testy exchange between the candidates comes just days before the March 5 election. Greuel and Garcetti have been neck-and-neck atop the polls and they are expected to advance to the May 21 runoff. 

Read More...