Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Antonio Villaraigosa's final State of the City speech: The mayor issues schools challenge (video)

Democratic National Convention: Day 1

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In his final State of the City address Tuesday, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa lashed out at the two candidates seeking to succeed him for their lack of “serious discussion” about education reform. (You can watch the full speech video above.)

“Education can’t be a footnote on a campaign mailer or fodder for an attack ad,” Villaraigosa said in his speech at UCLA’s Royce Hall. 

“It's time for our candidates to demonstrate the ‘fierce urgency of now’ when it comes to ensuring that all of our children have access to great schools.”

RELATED: Villaraigosa's legacy for LA

City Councilman Eric Garcetti and City Controller Wendy Greuel have focused less on education than other issues. The mayor has no direct control over the Los Angeles Unified School District. But Villaraigosa wielded considerable influence over public schools by raising millions of dollars to help elect school board members and creating an education partnership that now operates nearly two dozen campuses.


Jose Gardea and Gil Cedillo in back-to-back, bilingual debates

Jose Gardea

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Jose Gardea, chief of staff to City Councilman Ed Reyes, is running to succeed his boss.

Gil Cedillo with yard sign

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Former state Sen. Gil Cedillo posts a campaign sign in the yard of a First District resident in the Pico-Union area Jan. 31, 2013.

City Council runoff rivals Jose Gardea and Gil Cedillo will face off in back-to-back debates on issues affecting the First District later this month — first in English, then in Spanish.

During the primary, candidates for the First District council seat participated in a forum in English, with translation provided from the sidelines, said Monica Alcaraz, president of the Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council. The district, which extends from  Northeast L.A. to the Pico-Union area, includes a large percentage of Latino residents and Spanish speakers.

"People were asking us why we don't have the debate in Spanish, because things get lost in the translation," Alvarez said.

The answer was to present two debates, she said. She's looking for a bilingual moderator to handle both hour-long debates on April 27 at the Highland Park Recreation Center. The English version is at 10 a.m., the Spanish at 11:30 a.m.


Anti-incumbent Super PAC targeting Congressman Adam Schiff

Senate Impeachment Committee Begins Hearing For District Judge Porteous

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Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-CA), who represents parts of the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys, is being targeted by a political action committee that goes after what it believes are entrenched members of Congress.

In case you haven't noticed: the 2014 Congressional campaign season is in full swing.

The Campaign for Primary Accountability is a political action committee that targets members of Congress it believes are too entrenched.

The PAC isn't partisan — it goes after members of Congress from both parties. And next year its list includes Burbank/West Hollywood Democrat Adam Schiff.

Schiff's been around a few years, first elected in 2000. And according to the Campaign for Primary Accountability, that's too long on Capitol Hill. The group, primarily funded by Texans with deep pockets, has targeted five incumbents.

The group's spokesman, Curtis Ellis, told "The Hill" that Schiff is a "center-right, almost Blue Dog-type guy," running in "one of the brightest blue districts in America."  He added the group will pour money in the race if "someone steps forward there who's more truly representative of that district."


Maven's Morning Coffee: Conflicts in the Wendy Greuel campaign, tax measures in Vernon, Q&A with a city attorney candidate (updated)

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The LA Weekly explores the Greuel campaign's internal power struggle.

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 Tuesday, April 9, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:


LA Weekly takes a look at the inner workings of the Wendy Greuel mayoral campaign. "The Garcetti campaign has more spring in its step. The Greuel campaign clearly has had a metamorphosis. Whether or not seven weeks is enough time to re-create the aura of inevitability, I'm not sure," said Eric Bauman, chair of the L.A. County Democratic Party.

Residents of Vernon will vote on three tax measures today in an effort to close a $8 million deficit, reports the Los Angeles Times. The measures are: a business license tax, parcel tax and utility users tax. The city has 70 registered voters.


Is Dianne Feinstein's decades-long battle over assault weapons over?

Democratic Lawmakers Introduce Assault Weapons Ban of 2013 Legislation

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U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) speaks next to a display of assault weapons during a January news conference on Capitol Hill. Feinstein's proposal to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines will not be part of the Senate's gun control bill.

The Senate returns to work Tuesday and is expected to take up the most comprehensive gun legislation in two decades. Missing from the bill will be California Democrat Dianne Feinstein’s provision to ban assault weapons and large ammunition magazines. That measure will be offered as an amendment – and is expected to fall well short of passage.

Feinstein has battled for decades for an assault weapons ban – a fight that is personal for the nearly-80-year-old Senator.

Assassination at City Hall

It was November of 1978 when Dan White, a former San Francisco Supervisor, walked into City Hall with a gun and a grudge. As President of the Board of Supervisors, Feinstein announced to the media that both Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk had been shot and killed.

It wasn’t Feinstein’s first brush with violence. Last week at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club, Feinstein told the story of the unexploded bomb outside her home and the windows shot out at her beach house in 1976. That’s when she learned to shoot at the city’s police range and began carrying a revolver: "I decided if they were going to come after me, I was going to take a few with me."