L.A. City Hall after an evacuation when a staffer received a letter with white powder inside it, Thursday, April 11, 2013.
A staffer for Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa opened a letter Thursday that had white power inside. The front hall of the Mayor's Office was evacuated and closed off.
The male staffer who opened the letter is now stuck in the men's room, which is blocked off with yellow tape. He went to wash his hands, but was quarantined because a hazardous materials team thinks he could have been contaminated.
Others at City Hall seemed to think it was unlikely to turn out to be something dangerous, with people in the rotunda making jokes.
Mayor's spokesman Peter Sanders says the letter was opened at about 3:30 p.m. Thursday.
He says police and firefighters responded and 12 employees have evacuated. They remained outside waiting to return about an hour later.
Sanders says the mayor was in the office when the letter was received, but left for a meeting.
Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel face off in the first debate since the March 5 primary.
Amid increasingly bitter exchanges, Los Angeles City Councilman Eric Garcetti and City Controller Wendy Greuel are to engage Thursday night in their first face-to-face debate since the March primary election. It takes place at 7 p.m. at the American Jewish University and will be broadcast live on KABC, Channel 7.
In the primary, Garcetti won 33 percent of the vote to Greuel’s 29 percent. He has since widened that advantage. A new ABC7/SurveyUSA poll finds Garcetti leading Greuel 49 percent to 40 percent — a two-point increase for him since the last poll two weeks ago.
Earlier this week, the candidates criticized each other for labor union support and challenged each other to a debate focused on education, which will likely take place next month.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is termed out of office July 1. The mayoral election to succeed him is May 21.
State Senator Alex Padilla at the Democratic National Convention last year in Charlotte, North Carolina. Padilla plans to run for California Secretary of State in 2014.
State Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) said Thursday he’ll run for California Secretary of State in 2014.
Padilla, 40, said he wants to use the role as the state's top elections official to modernize the voting process.
“We have a generation of young people who have their smart phones attached at the hip,” said Padilla. The MIT graduate says California should use that technology to engage them.
“To push information out about elections and candidates, to pre-register or register, to allow people to confirm that their ballot was counted—these are all things that are easily done with the technology that’s available today,” said Padilla.
Padilla's bid for Secretary of State is his first run at statewide office. He served on the Los Angeles City Council for 7 1/2 years before winning his State Senate seat in 2006. San Fernando Valley voters re-elected Padilla in 2010.
Photo by superterrific/dana byerly via Flickr Creative Commons
Wendy Greuel will be at a Granada Hills charter school this morning to release her plan for education.
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 Thursday, April 11, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:
Education is an important issue in the mayor's race and both Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel agree that they should debate the issue. What the two can't agree on is when to debate. On Wednesday, Greuel gave Garcetti a two-hour notice to show up for a debate. Garcetti declined, saying they're already working to schedule an education debate in May. KPCC, Los Angeles Times, Daily News.
Meanwhile, the principal of Camino Nuevo Charter Academy, the site of Wendy Greuel's proposed debate, was not pleased to see the school used for negative campaigning, according to the Los Angeles Times. "In retrospect, Greuel might have wanted her staff to do a little better advance work, because Garcetti is well liked at the school — Camino Nuevo Charter Academy — which he helped get a $700,000 grant to help build a new soccer field," reports The Times.
Mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel rebooted her campaign Tuesday with a speech that defended her support from City Hall unions and attacked her opponent, Eric Garcetti, as someone who “is good at handshakes, but who won’t stand by his work or his commitment.”
While the Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel campaigns have spent millions of dollars in the race for L.A. mayor, independent political action committees are spending millions more. The PAC supporting Eric Garcetti, “Lots of People Who Support Eric Garcetti for Mayor 2013,” is focusing its resources on making direct contact with pro-Garcetti voters, particularly Latinos.
The staff of the “Lots of People” PAC includes a lot of veterans of President Obama’s re-election campaign. The PAC’s campaign director, Mary Jane Stevenson, ran the Obama campaign in California. The PAC is also borrowing a key Obama strategy: It plans to spend nearly $2 million putting paid staffers and volunteers in direct contact with Latinos supportive of Garcetti.