Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Maven's Morning Coffee: acrimonious debate in Sherman Oaks, new TV ad in mayor's race, adult film permits down

Los Angeles Mayor


Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti told a debate crowd Wednesday that neither was qualified to oversee the Department of Water and Power.

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.

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Today is Thursday, April 18, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:


It was an acrimonious debate in Sherman Oaks between mayoral candidates Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel, according to the Los Angeles Times. Greuel and Garcetti accused each other of being incapable to oversee the Department of Water and Power. The controller also brought up the councilman's ethics violations for accepting free tickets to events.

The Wendy Greuel campaign released its second television ad this week, featuring Sen. Barbara Boxer, Magic Johnson and former Mayor Richard Riordan, reports KPCC.


Lobbyists assess success crafting immigration bill

The U.S. Senate’s  “gang of eight” Wednesday released its 844-page comprehensive immigration bill. 

There have been meetings and phone calls and piles of fact sheets from lobbyists — all directed at members of Congress who are shaping immigration reform. Democrat Xavier Becerra of Los Angeles is a negotiator on the House bill, which is still being shaped. He says you know when you’re "close to something really happening when all the special interests come out of the woodwork."

Now that the Senate has introduced its bill, much of the effort is focused on the House. Becerra wouldn’t name any particular special interests, but he says if you "look at the places where there are dollars involved, principally when it comes to workers coming in the future through these guest worker programs," you can get a sense of who’s starting to lobby for or against certain things.


New Wendy Greuel ad features high-profile supporters

Five weeks out from the election, mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel released her second television ad Wednesday, this time touting her accomplishments in various government posts. 

The commercial is narrated by three famous voices (and faces): Sen. Barbara Boxer, former Mayor Richard Riordan and former NBA superstar Magic Johnson. 

“We’ve seen Wendy Greuel lead in a crisis ... We urge you to vote Wendy Greuel for Mayor ... We need Wendy Greuel," the three supporters say in the 30-second spot. 

They also reference her work to establish the LA's BEST after-school program while serving under Mayor Tom Bradley, bringing federal dollars to L.A. after the 1994 Northridge earthquake when she was with the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, and her audits of city departments as the controller. 


Bill to boost state funds for UC Riverside Medical School heads for critical vote


The medical school at UC Riverside is seeking additional state funds to help its transition to a four-year program.

California’s Senate Education Committee unanimously approved a bill Wednesday that would allocate an extra $15 million annually to the UC Riverside Medical School for the next decade.

The additional state funds in Senate Bill 21, along with local government funds and donations, would make it possible for UCR to expand its two-year medical program to a full four years.

The bill’s author, Senator Richard Roth (D-Riverside), said that's critical. 

“In 10 years, with the fast growth of our region’s population and with the current decline in the number of doctors, we’ll be down to less than a third of the providers our residents need,” Roth said.

Roth got the votes for SB21 this round, but he’ll have to clear a higher bar when the bill goes before the state’s purse holders — the  Senate Appropriations Committee.


Former mayoral candidate Kevin James endorses Carmen Trutanich

Carmen Trutanich Stock

Damian Dovarganes/AP

Former mayoral candidate Kevin James endorsed City Attorney Carmen Trutanich for reelection Wednesday.

Former mayoral candidate Kevin James backed City Attorney Carmen Trutanich for re-election Wednesday.

Trutanich is facing former Assemblyman Mike Feuer in the May 21 race. He finished second in the primary, trailing Feuer by 14 percent. Since then it’s been an ugly campaign. The city attorney filed an ethics complaint against Feuer, accusing him of receiving an illegal gift by withholding payment to his political consultant. The Feuer campaign filed its own complaint, accusing Trutanich of illegally coordinating with an independent political action committee.

The city attorney has also been locked in a legal battle with his former political consultant – who is now running the Feuer campaign. The LA Weekly reported Wednesday that Trutanich and John Shallman reached a confidential settlement after the city attorney sued for mismanagement of funds from Trutanich's 2012 campaign for District Attorney. Shallman countersued, saying Trutanich owed him $166,000 in unpaid bills.