Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Maven's Morning Coffee: LA city elections in the homestretch, Laura Chick questions timing of municipal races, LAPD talks about Christopher Dorner

Election Day Voting Polling

Mae Ryan/KPCC

It's almost Election Day, which means more negative mailers, newspaper endorsements, and lots of media attention.

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 Wednesday, Feb. 20, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:

Headlines

LAPD Capt. Phil Tingirides talked to reporters about what it was like to be under police protection during Christopher Dorner's rampage. "Phil and (his wife) Emada tried to be strong in front of their kids, so they went into the garage to cry. They were determined not to be prisoners in their home, and they started to prepare for this to last months, a year, two years," reports the Daily News.

In a Los Angeles Times op-ed, former Controller Laura Chick questions why Los Angeles municipal elections are held on off years. "It's no wonder that only a small fraction of registered voters will cast ballots this March. They're suffering from election fatigue," she writes.

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LA's Council District 1 race pits veteran pol Gil Cedillo against policy wonk Jose Gardea (Photos)

Jose Gardea First District City Council candidate

Sharon McNary/KPCC

Jose Gardea canvasses for votes in the Pico-Union area of the Los Angeles City Council's First District.

Jose Gardea

Sharon McNary/KPCC

Jose Gardea, chief of staff to City Councilman Ed Reyes, is running to succeed his boss. He's on a freshly-paved street in the Pico-Union area.

Gil Cedillo with yard sign

Sharon McNary/KPCC

Former state Sen. Gil Cedillo posts a campaign sign in the yard of a First District resident in the Pico-Union area Jan. 31, 2013.

Gil Cedillo meets a voter

Sharon McNary/KPCC

First District City Council candidate Gil Cedillo poses for a campaign photo with Gueadalupe Vasquez Gonzalez at a home in the Pico-Union area.

Jesse Rosas, First District City Council candidate

Sharon McNary/KPCC

Jesse Rosas, a Lincoln Heights property manager, is running for the First District City Council seat.

William Morrison, First District write-in candidate

William Morrison is a write-in candidate in the Los Angeles First District City Council race.


The March 5th Los Angeles city election pits two very different candidates against each other in the race for Council District 1, which stretches diagonally from Northeast L.A. to the Pico-Union neighborhood. One is a detail-oriented city staffer who knows the district from 12 years of hands-on contact, the other a longtime Sacramento lawmaker who promises to wield his political know-how to get things done.

Given the choice to showcase their interaction with voters in any neighborhood in the sprawling First District, both candidates chose the Pico-Union area. Not just the same neighborhood, but the same streets.

On separate days, former Assembly member and State Senator Gil Cedillo and First Council District Chief of Staff Jose Gardea walked by the same barking dogs, rattled the same fence gates and fielded complaints of cars zooming through the same side streets.

This neighborhood – among the oldest and poorest in the city – is dense with immigrants from Mexico and Central America, so registered voters are few and they mostly prefer Spanish.

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Gov. Jerry Brown backs Gil Cedillo for LA City Council

California Dream Act

Damian Dovarganes/AP

Gov. Jerry Brown, right, endorsed Gil Cedillo, left, Tuesday for the Los Angeles City Council's First District. He faces two opponents in the March 5 primary.

A longtime state lawmaker picked up support Tuesday from Gov. Jerry Brown in his bid for the Los Angeles City Council’s First District seat.

Gil Cedillo has served in both the State Assembly and Senate. He is running against Jose Gardea, chief of staff to incumbent Councilman Ed Reyes, and businessman Jesse Rosas. 

“Gil Cedillo is a proven local leader who knows how to bring people together to get things done,” Brown said in a statement from the campaign.

“We need Gil Cedillo’s leadership, strength and passion on the Los Angeles City Council in order to create jobs, increase neighborhood safety, and expand after-school programs that keep our kids safe.”

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Activists push immigration reform while Congress is out of town

Eliseo Medina of the Service Employees International Union says immigration reform must include a pathway to citizenship.

Congress is out of town this week, but a group of activists is keeping up the drumbeat for lawmakers to adopt comprehensive immigration reform. They want a path to citizenship that’s an actual path.

The group of labor, immigration and clergy calls itself the Alliance for Citizenship and promises to lobby members of Congress on Capitol Hill as well as in their districts this week. Eliseo Medina of the Service Employees International Union says immigration reform must include a pathway to citizenship without roadblocks or unreasonable waiting periods designed to delay and deny.

Medina says he understands there will be a wait time to process the estimated 11 million undocumented people through the immigration process, "but we want to make sure that it is a fair and reasonable amount of time. And it’s gotta lead in a clear path to that citizenship."

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Survey: Measure A opposed by nearly half of Los Angeles' likely voters

City Councilman Herb J. Wesson Jr.

Andres Aguila/KPCC

L.A. City Council President Herb Wesson is backing Measure A as the solution to solving the city's anticipated $216 million deficit for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

A proposed half-cent sales tax increase on the March 5 ballot is supported by just a quarter of likely voters, though just about as many people remain undecided on Measure A, according to an ABC 7 survey released Monday.

Of the 509 likely voters surveyed by phone, 46 percent oppose Measure A. The tax increase is supported by 26 percent of respondents and another 28 percent remain uncertain as to how they’ll vote. 

The survey found that among voters between the ages of 50 and 64, 59 percent oppose the tax. Along ethnic and racial lines, 53 percent of both African-Americans and Asian-Americans oppose Measure A. Forty-five percent of white voters oppose the tax and 44 percent of Latino voters oppose it.

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