Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Independent group organizes to support Eric Garcetti in May runoff (updated)

Forum Mayor Debate

Grant Slater/KPCC

Eric Garcetti recently asked his opponents – and specifically Wendy Greuel – to sign a pledge that would blunt the impact of outside money.

Eric Garcetti may have wanted to keep outside groups from funding the Los Angeles mayor’s race, but his supporters say it’s time to fight fire with fire.

An independent group backed by Rick Jacobs of the Courage Campaign and Mary Jane Stevenson, who organized for President Obama in California, will raise money on behalf of Garcetti. With the primary just two and a half weeks away, the “Lots of People Who Support Eric Garcetti for Mayor 2013” PAC will focus its efforts on mobilizing voters for the May 21 runoff.

Garcetti and his main rival, City Controller Wendy Greuel, are the presumptive favorites to advance to the runoff.

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Prison boss touts new Vacaville mental health facility as reason to end federal oversight

Mercer 9447

Julie Small/KPCC

Doctors at California Medical Facility (CMF) in Vacaville, Calif., see inmates in a modern medical clinic.

California's new prisons chief says the new inmate mental health facility in Vacaville is reason to end nearly two decades of federal oversight of psychiatric care at the state’s correctional system.

Corrections Secretary Jeff Beard made his comments during a media tour of the $24 million California Medical Facility that can povide intensive outpatient mental health therapy for 600 inmates.

“I’ve been around this system and visited over 20 institutions," he said. "I can assure you there is not a deliberate indifference to the needs (of inmates).”

“People are being identified, people are being properly placed, and people are given the level of care that they need,” said Beard.

Poor care led to federal court action

In 1995, a federal judge agreed with inmates in a class action lawsuit that California's correctional system failed to provide adequate medical care to prisoners, including those with schizophrenia, bipolar disorders and other severe mental illnesses.

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Maven's Morning Coffee: Jan Perry sends conflicting mailers, cost of police overtime hits $85 M, endorsements in LAUSD races

Jan Perry, Candidate for Mayor of Los Angeles

Jan Perry

Voters in the San Fernando Valley received Jan Perry mailers attacking Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. But, Latino voters got ads in support of the mayor. The Perry campaign calls it politics 101.

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 Friday, Feb. 15 and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:

Headlines

How does Jan Perry feel about Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa? Well, the answer will depend on who you are, according to the Los Angeles Times. Conservative voters in the San Fernando Valley received mailers attacking the mayor, while Latino voters got mailers that appear more supportive of Villaraigosa. "This is not rocket science. This is campaign 101," a campaign consultant told The Times.

The city of Los Angeles has an $85 million tab for police overtime and when officers burn off the time, it is the equivalent of having 400 to 700 cops off the street, reports the Daily News. To address the issue, Jan Perry wants to change the structure of officers' schedules, while Eric Garcetti wants to use new revenues to pay for overtime.

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Magic Johnson hits the radio airwaves for Mike Feuer

NBA Hall of Fame point guard Magic Johnson is delivering one more assist — an endorsement of Mike Feuer in his campaign for city attorney.

The basketball great recorded a radio ad for Feuer, who is running against incumbent City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, attorney Greg Smith and attorney Noel Weiss. The spot will air on KHLH 102.3 FM and KHHT 92.3 FM. 

“Mike Feuer will crack down on crime with neighborhood prosecutors, who’ll work with police and local leaders to get gangs and guns off our streets and away from our schools.  And he’ll help prevent crime with after-school programs, and gang and drug prevention,” Johnson says in the ad.

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Senate committee approves another federal judge for Los Angeles

The nomination of L.A. Superior Court Judge Beverly Reid O’Connell (right) to the federal bench has been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

California is one step closer to getting a new federal judge. The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved the nomination of L.A. County Superior Court Judge Beverly Reid O’Connell to the federal bench. But there could still be a wait before her nomination is brought up for a full vote.

O’Connell was nominated last November by President Obama to serve as a U.S. District Court Judge. She sailed through her confirmation hearing and now has been approved by the Judiciary Committee. But it could be a while before O’Connell takes her seat on the bench.

University of Richmond Law Professor Carl Tobias says, in the past, consensus nominees were bundled together for a floor vote. That's no linger the case.

"What’s different is — in the Obama administration — Republicans are saying, ‘No, you have to take them one at a time,’" Tobias says. "And so that has really led to this backlog"

There are currently 90 federal judicial vacancies around the country. Since Congress returned to work in January, only one nominee has come up for a vote before the full Senate.

 

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