Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Can Richard Riordan put Kevin James into a runoff for Los Angeles mayor?

Former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan endorsed fellow Republican Kevin James for mayor Friday. But how much can he help the fledgling candidate?

Riordan, who served from 1993 until 1999, remains popular among white conservative voters in the city, many of whom reside in the Western San Fernando Valley.  They are also high propensity voters. They’d cast ballots for dogcatcher, if L.A. had one.   Will they listen to Riordan?

In a statement, Riordan praised James as “the only candidate capable of creating real pension reform for the City of Los Angeles.”

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Norwalk Democrat recruits Lakers star for gun violence prevention

Lakers forward Metta World Peace joined Democratic Congresswoman Grace Napolitano on Capitol Hill Friday.

A California Democrat on Capitol Hill has recruited L.A. Lakers forward Metta World Peace to help lobby for a mental health bill.

Congresswoman Grace Napolitano has been pushing for years for federal funding for mental health services in schools. She says, somehow, "we need to start the ball rolling."

The Norwalk Democrat has enlisted a man who knows something about moving the ball down the court. The former Ron Artest, who says he’s been in counseling since he was 13, is an outspoken advocate for seeking mental health services. He says he wants people to know "it's okay if you need help."

Napolitano’s bill would provide grants for school-based, free mental health services to students K-12. It's part of a package of measures backed by House Democrats to try to reduce gun violence.

World Peace, who came to Washington after the Lakers’ home game Thursday night, says the issue hits home for many athletes. He says it's "definitely a topic of discussion" among NBA players because "a lot of athletes grew up in violent neighborhoods." He says "it’s something that we wish we could change."

Napolitano says the challenge is finding the $200 million in mental health funding included in her bill. Al Franken has sponsored a similar measure  in the U.S. Senate. 

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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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