Wendy Greuel didn’t grow up thinking about politics, but as the student body president of John F. Kennedy High School in the San Fernando Valley, she got an opportunity that would change her life – she met then-Mayor Tom Bradley.
She was 17 at the time. As a student at UCLA, Greuel interned in the Mayor’s Office. Her first job was as an assistant to Bradley in the Office of Youth Development.
“I had fallen in love with Tom Bradley — in a good way,” Greuel said during a recent interview in her Boyle Heights campaign office.
As she crisscrosses the city for her mayoral quest, Greuel — who has served as L.A.'s City Controller since 2009 — likes to cite her work with Bradley. She invokes his name so much that two of her opponents — including Councilwoman Jan Perry, who is African-American — have a running bet to guess how many times Greuel mentions the former mayor during a debate.
Eric Garcetti’s mayoral campaign is hoping a bump in turnout from young voters will lead the councilman to victory on March 5 and, to that end, his camp has released another celebrity video, this time from comedian Will Ferrell.
Ferrell's spot follows two videos from actress Salma Hayek.
“I want a city that is vibrant and healthy for my three sons and my four illegitimate children to grow up in,” Ferrell jokes.
The comedian goes on to describe how Garcetti wrote Olivia Newton-John’s 1981 jam, “Let’s Get Phyiscal,” and once talked Ferrell out of flying C-1 cargo planes for the Air Force … at the age of 38.
The video is part of the campaign’s effort to appeal to voters ages 18-to-29.
“We know that young voters are often not as tuned into traditional media and so, definitely, we’re using every vehicle we can to communicate with them,” says Bill Carrick with the Garcetti campaign.
Republican Congressman Paul Cook of Big Bear says targeting guns alone is not enough, we also have to “examine what we’re doing" to produce people like Christopher Dorner.
In his State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Obama called for a vote on new legislation designed to prevent gun violence. One of those listening from the House floor was Paul Cook, the newly-elected Congressman who represents Big Bear, where former L.A. police officer Christopher Dorner appears to have made his last stand.
Cook, a Republican, believes the shootout could make his constituents less inclined to support restrictions on guns.
Cook says his first thoughts Tuesday were for the families of the officers shot by Dorner. But the freshman lawmaker says this week’s brush with violence in the San Gabriel mountains doesn’t mean he or his constituents will embrace restrictions on gun ownership.
The immediate reaction of people in the Big Bear area, Cook says, will probably be less support for legislation that limits personal weapons, so "they can defend themselves against somebody that comes in there."
Cook says he wants to look “carefully” at any legislation aimed at reducing gun violence. But targeting guns alone is not enough; he says we've got to look at ourselves as a culture and “examine what we’re doing to produce people” like Dorner.
A screenshot showing a cabin on fire near Big Bear where police surrounded a man they believe to be murder suspect Christopher Dorner following two gun battles on Feb. 12, 2013. A deputy was killed in one of the battles.
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Today is Wednesday, Feb. 13 and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:
Former LAPD Officer Christopher Dorner is believed to have died in Big Bear following a standoff with law enforcement. A charred body was found inside a cabin after a shootout left one sheriff's deputy dead. Police are expected to release more details at a morning briefing. KPCC, Los Angeles Times
During Tuesday's standoff, media helicopters were asked by law enforcement to leave the scene and cut their lives feeds, reports the Daily News.
President Obama delivers his State of the Union address Tuesday night to a joint session of Congress.
Tuesday night was the first State of the Union address for more than a dozen new California congressional representatives. It wasn’t quite what most expected.
Republican freshman David Valadao of the Central Valley noticed several things right away: How bright it was in the chamber for all the TV cameras, and how long it took to get everybody on the floor when the cabinet and Supreme Court justices and other dignitaries arrived.
"It was a process," he said.
Democrat Scott Peters from San Diego says sitting on the House floor is different than it looks on C-Span. "When you watch it on TV, it seems like there’s a lot more activity," he says. But sitting "in the middle of the sea of people, there’s a lot of down time."
Peters says he resisted the temptation to turn on his phone and tweet during the President’s speech. He says he wanted to pay attention to how fellow members reacted to what the President was saying.
The speech itself reminded Long Beach Democratic freshman Alan Lowenthal of the existentialist writer Albert Camus. The former California State University professor said the President's message echoed Camus' phrase, "in the midst of winter, I found within me an invincible summer."
Last night’s State of the Union address was unusual in one respect: Several rookie California congressional members chose to sit with someone from the other party. Republican Valadao sat with Democrats Eric Swalwell and Juan Vargas; Democrat Janice Hahn sat with Republican Congressman Michael Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania; Democrat Ami Bera of Sacramento sat with Republican Ed Royce of Fullerton. Bera said it was great.
"It’s a spirit of bipartisanship," said Bera.
He said the President touched on bipartisanship in his speech.
"The challenges that we face are not Democrat vs. Republican," Bera said. "We have to approach these challenges as Americans."
Bera, Hahn and freshman Democrat Jared Huffman are members of the No Labels group, which is trying to foster a spirit of Congressional bipartisanship.
Bera noted there were times during the President’s speech when both Democrats and Republicans actually stood up together to applaud.