Politics, government and public life for Southern California

PAC releases TV spot highlighting Bill Clinton's support for Wendy Greuel

Bill Clinton

Alice Walton/KPCC

Former president Bill Clinton's recent appearance in L.A. on behalf of mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel has made its way into a TV commercial.

Just two weeks ago, former President Bill Clinton swept through town to support Wendy Greuel's mayoral campaign — and now that appearance has made its way into a television commercial. 

The political action committee Working Californians released the 30-second spot Wednesday. It shows Clinton speaking to Greuel supporters at Langer's Deli. 

"You want somebody who hit it out of the park every time she had a job by getting something done that changed somebody else's life. That's what I think of Wendy. I have seen her get things done," Clinton says in the commercial. 

A recent poll from USC and the Los Angeles Times found 53.7 percent of respondents would be more likely to vote for a mayoral candidate endorsed by Clinton. 

"Our poll shows that Clinton's endorsement has a tremendous impact for Greuel,"  said Dan Schnur, director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC. "She and her allies are obviously smart enough to know that highlighting his support in any and every way possible is critical."


Maven's Morning Coffee: LAX plan approved, former undersheriff speaks out, endorsements in Valley council race

LAX Thanksgiving

Ben Bergman

Despite objections from residents, the Los Angeles City Council approved a $4 billion modernization plan for LAX.

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, May 1, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:


A $4.76 billion plan to upgrade LAX was approved by the Los Angeles City Council 10-3 despite objections from residents in Westchester and Playa del Rey, who said a proposal to move the airport's northern runway would increase noise and traffic congestion. The modernization plan includes terminal additions, a consolidated car rental facility, an elevated people mover and a transportation center with links to light-rail service. Residents are expected to file a lawsuit. Los Angeles Times, Daily News, KPCC.


#DearMayor: LA voters look for relief from city's pot holes

Bureau of Street Services

Alice Walton/KPCC

The profiler is used by the Bureau of Street Services to prepare a street for repaving.

Street Services

Alice Walton/KPCC

Asphalt torn up by the profiler will be recycled into the city's asphalt mix and used to repave city roads.

Dear Mayor landing page

This was true of the responses you gave us when we asked you what you'd like to tell the next Los Angeles mayor to tackle first as part of our #DearMayor initiative.

But the topic came up only briefly when Los Angeles mayoral hopefuls Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel faced off April 22 in a live TV debate co-sponsored by KPCC, KNBC-4 and Telemundo-52. 

RELATED: #DearMayor: What should LA's new mayor work on first?

As much as Angelenos complain about rough drives, the Bureau of Street Services is spending more money than ever. This year, there were enough funds to repair 800 miles of roads and fill 350,000 potholes.

But it's a lengthy process to repair or repave a city road, and finding money to fix streets can be tricky. Street Services had $105 million for repairs this year, and that money comes from a variety of sources. For example, revenue from a 1990 ballot initiative can only be used on streets that have bus lines. Money from gasoline taxes goes to fix neighborhood streets. And money from the federal stimulus? Street services used that to fix 102 miles of roads designated as highways.


California lacks statewide online tools to help voters

Voting booth

Sharon McNary/KPCC

If you need to find your polling place, the state of California is of little help, according to a report from the Pew Charitable Trusts.

So, imagine it's Election Day and you need to find your polling place. In some counties, you can just look it up online from a computer or mobile phone, but in others, you'd have to call your county registrar to look it up for you.

California does not provide voters with statewide voter or election information websites, however,  a bill pending in the state Senate would change that, says David Becker, director of the Pew Charitable Trust's Election Initiatives Project,

The project reports that only California and Vermont have no state-provided tools. But Becker was in Sacramento Tuesday to testify on a remedy bill before the Senate elections committee.

Sen. Alex Padilla's bill SB361 would require the Secretary of State to create online sites to help voters find their polling places, check the status of their voter registration, vote-by-mail or provisional ballot.


State prisons won't rush to move inmates at risk for Valley Fever

Pleasant Valley State Prison is one of the rural facilities where inmates are particularly susceptible to Valley Fever. California’s Central Valley has the highest rates of the disease in the state.

Despite a directive from the federal receiver who oversees California prison healthcare, a spokesman for the state Department of Corrections says the agency will not immediately transfer about 3,300 inmates from two Central Valley prisons rife with Valley Fever.

Valley Fever — a fungal infection also called Coccidioidomycosis that can cause flu-like symptoms — is not contagious. People contract it by inhaling airborne spores dislodged from the soil. California’s Central Valley has the highest rates of the disease in the state.  The rate inside Pleasant Valley and Avenal prisons is even higher. 

Over a recent five-year stretch, 36 inmates at those prisons died of Valley Fever. Some 71 percent of them were African-American. The disease contributed to the deaths of another 40 inmates and hundreds more were hospitalized for treatment.