Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Senate immigration debate distracted by news stories

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee held its first hearing Friday on the newly-introduced immigration reform bill.

Lobbyist Roberto Fierro attended the hearing for personal reasons: He's a U.S. citizen, but as a child he crossed the border daily from Tijuana to San Diego to attend school.

Following this week's introduction of an immigration reform bill in the U.S. Senate, that body's Judiciary Committee held its first hearing on the matter Friday. But the meeting was shorter and more lightly attended than expected. Testimony by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano was postponed because of the fast moving events in Boston, and committee member John Cornyn of Texas flew home after the fertilizer plant explosion near Waco.

The remaining Senators framed the debate over immigration reform.

California Democrat Dianne Feinstein touted the portion of the immigration bill she helped negotiate: a provision designed to prevent farming from migrating overseas by allowing 112,000 temporary work visas. She called it a "good, strong program" that will result in "a consistant supply of agricultural workers for our farmers."


Maven's Morning Coffee: Wendy Greuel as an outsider, Eric Garcetti's relationship with DWP, cycling in LA

Wendy Greuel Profile

Grant Slater/KPCC

The Los Angeles Times says Wendy Greuel's position as an "outsider" runs counter to her support of the mayor and most of the L.A. City Council.

Los Angeles Mayor race 2013Good 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, April 19, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:


Wendy Greuel's relationship with City Hall insiders runs counter to her "outsider" message to voters, according to the Los Angeles Times. "Over the last eight years, nearly two-thirds of the council's 15 members were endorsed by Greuel, who appeared in mailers, fundraising invitations and other campaign materials promoting them," reports The Times, which also notes that Greuel supported Antonio Villaraigosa for reelection in 2009.


Roundup of the day's news from LA's mayoral candidates

Los Angeles Mayor


Another day, more dueling for mayoral candidates Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel.

It's been a busy day for mayoral candidates Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti. Here's a look at what transpired on Thursday: 

  • The Greuel campaign sent a memo to reporters refuting Garcetti's attacks at Wednesday's Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association debate. On the subject of the Department of Water and Power, the campaign noted that Greuel did not support spending $175,000 on the DWP's Rose Parade float back in 2003. Greuel's campaign also noted that it was her opponent, not her, who supported water rate increases in 2004. "Eric Garcetti and his campaign made a number of false claims. It’s time to set the record straight," according to the memo.
  • The Greuel campaign also released an online video, "Latinos with Wendy." 

  • Eric Garcetti was endorsed by former L.A. City Councilman Joel Wachs and current State Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian. "They join the powerful coalition of Valley leaders who have endorsed Eric Garcetti’s race for mayor," according to the campaign. 
  • Garcetti was also endorsed by the executive director of the Sierra Club, Michael Brune.
  • A political action committee supporting Garcetti began airing radio ads Thursday. The spots will run in English and Spanish. 


Conservative talk radio takes up immigration fight again

Screen shot from scpr.org

From the first page of the "Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act," introduced formally in the Senate early Wednesday. Debate starts Friday, and conservative talk shows are rallying support against it.

As the Senate Judiciary Committee gets ready to hold its first hearing on a comprehensive immigration bill, conservative talk show hosts from around the country are broadcasting down the street from the Capitol.

They say they’ve come to Washington, D.C. to hold politicians' “feet to the fire” - and force a "no" vote on the immigration bill.

They've turned a D.C. hotel into a "Radio Row" of on-air chatter—and most of the chatter is against immigration reform.

"Feet to the Fire" warmed by radio waves

A quick walk down the hall and you'll hear one host say, "We need immigration reform, but we don’t need to do it like this." Another calls the Senate bill "a policy that gives someone a leg up because they broke the law—then it’s an amnesty."

This is the seventh time conservative talk hosts have participated in the “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” event hosted by the Federation for American Immigration Reform.


CA Assembly approves more money to confiscate illegal guns

Bob Blumenfield

Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield's website

Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield (D-San Fernando Valley), seen here in a file photo, said a bill to help take weapons from unlawful owners "is not anti-gun, [it's] about enforcing current law.”

California’s state assembly voted Thursday to spend more money to enforce the state’s policy of confiscating guns from people banned from owning them. 

“This bill is not anti-gun,” said Bob Blumenfield  (D-San Fernando Valley), “this bill is about enforcing current law.”

The state Department of Justice uses its Armed Prohibited Persons System to track people who legally purchase guns and later lose the right to keep them. 

People end up on a list if they commit a felony or show a history of violence, including domestic violence. People diagnosed with certain mental illnesses also lose their right to own guns.

There are currently 20,000 names are on the state’s list of prohibited gun owners. About 3,000 names are typically added each year.

“The [Dept. of Justice] wants to go after these guys,” Blumenfield told the Assembly. “They need the money to do it.”