Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Senate approves another federal judge for LA: Beverly Reid O'Connell

L.A. Superior Court Judge Beverly Reid O'Connell has been approved by the U.S. Senate for a seat on the federal bench. She is seen here during her nomination hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

By unanimous vote of 92 to zero, the U.S. Senate has confirmed a new federal judge for Southern California. The bench for the L.A. area is now fully staffed, but that’s not the case elsewhere in the state.

The confirmation means Judge Beverly Reid O’Connell will leave the L.A. Superior Court for the federal bench. University of Richmond Law Professor Carl Tobias says it’s a "great addition" to the court. He says Judge O’Connell is highly regarded in California. She created a program that brings inner city students to the courthouse to talk to judges and lawyers.

Her confirmation means the Central District, which serves the greater L.A. area, is fully staffed with 28 judges.

That isn't the case  for the rest of the country, or for California. Tobias says then state still has five vacancies on the federal bench; other border states have even more.


Greuel TV ad calls for end to gun violence, references Sandy Hook

Mayoral Election Held In Los Angeles

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Mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel references the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in her new political ad.

In her first television spot of the runoff campaign, mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel calls for an end to gun violence by referencing the December shooting that killed 20 children and six adults at a Connecticut elementary school.  

"We could all have our own Sandy Hook," Greuel says in the commercial. "For me, it was a gunman with an assault weapon firing on children at a Jewish community center and a murder-suicide with a semi-automatic at our family business."

That first reference is to the 1999 shooting at the North Valley Jewish Community Center in Granada Hills. Five people were injured and a postal worker was later killed by the gunman, Buford O. Furrow, Jr. The campaign says Greuel grew up blocks away from the community center. 

The murder-suicide Greuel talks about in the ad occurred in 1992. 


Maven's Morning Coffee: mayoral priorities and a legacy, film fees in Grand Park, digital billboards go dark

Grand Park

Michael Juliano/KPCC

The Board of Supervisors is considering a proposal to waive film fees in Grand Parks. The six month pilot program is intended to drum up production.

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 Monday, April 15, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:


In a mega op-ed for the Los Angeles Times, former Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner, former State Sen. Gloria Romero, Rep. Chip Murray and UCLA's Kent Wong, among others, write what they believe should be the next mayor's "to do list."

In Rick Orlov's Tipoff column, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa sets the agenda for this mayoral race, there's an Assembly race in the Valley, and does the Electoral College still matter?


Los Angeles County releases $24 billion budget (Updated)

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Los Angeles County's budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year was released Monday.

Los Angeles County officials unveiled a $24.7 billion budget Monday that, for the first time in five years, does not include any cuts or anticipated shortfalls. 

Just three years ago, the county was facing a $491 million deficit. Over the past five years, county departments have experienced — on average — a 15 percent reduction in their budgets. County employees have also forgone salary and cost-of-living increases. Because of that, the county has not experienced layoffs or furloughs. 

Speaking at a press briefing Monday, County CEO William Fujioka credited the city’s good fiscal health to the longevity of the supervisors. 

“When we have this long-tenured board, you have people who had to live with the consequences of their actions," Fujioka said. "That isn’t happening in Sacramento, when you have people leaving every two years or every four years.” 


RNC votes on resolution defining marriage as between one man and one woman

Mercer 9410

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Prop 8 supporters like this couple (seen at a 2010 San Francisco protest) might be encouraged by the Republican National Committee's vote to continue opposing gay marriage.

Top officials of the Republican National Committee are in Hollywood for their annual spring meeting. Friday afternoon, RNC chiefs voted in favor of a resolution that affirms the party’s support for marriage as between one man and one woman.

The so-called “resolution for marriage and children” was tucked in among a dozen resolutions on topics from overseas military voting to support for a strong space program. There was no debate, just a simple voice vote on all 12 resolutions at once. They all passed.

One party leader who did not vote was the head of the California Republican Party. Jim Brulte says he stepped out of the room for a cup of coffee. He wouldn’t comment on the vote because he hadn’t read the resolution.

Adam Abrams, regional vice chairman for the California GOP, says the will of the people in California is still represented by Proposition 8. "I was in a black-American community, giving a speech not too long ago," he says. Abrams says people told him, "Do not leave us on the marriage issue."