Politics, government and public life for Southern California

2 California Democrat congresswomen going to Rome for papal ceremony

Kitty Felde/KPCC

Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove) will attend the investiture of Pope Francis.

Catholics from around the world will flock to Rome for next week's investiture of the new Pope. Vice-President Joe Biden is going, and House Speaker John Boehner is sending an official Congressional delegation to represent the United States. The group includes a pair of California Congresswomen: Catholic Congresswomen Loretta Sanchez of Garden Grove and Anna Eshoo of San Mateo.

Speaker Boehner, who is Catholic, will not be going since the House is voting on the GOP budget next week. But he says the installation of Pope Francis, the first pontiff ever to hail from the Americas, "is a milestone in world history and an event of monumental significance to the millions of Americans who share in the Catholic faith.”

Boehner says the bipartisan group of members will join the Vice President in communicating the "prayers and warm regards of the American people to Pope Francis as he begins his papacy.”


Emily's List backs Wendy Greuel for mayor of Los Angeles

Wendy Greuel Endorsement

Alice Walton/KPCC

Wendy Greuel accepts Emily's List's endorsement on the First Street steps of City Hall.

Los Angeles Mayor race 2013

The campaign of Wendy Greuel, who could become the city of Los Angeles’ first female mayor, was endorsed Friday by Emily’s List — a national advocacy group dedicated to electing pro-choice Democratic women.

Speaking on the First Street steps of City Hall, Greuel accepted the endorsement by announcing that she would create a Council on Women and Girls within the Mayor’s Office. The council would have at least one paid staffer, Greuel said.

“At a time when there could be no women on our city council, we need to make sure that women have a voice in making the decisions that define Los Angeles,” Greuel said.

Councilwoman Jan Perry, who finished fourth in last week's mayoral election, is the only woman on the Los Angeles City Council. When she leaves office in July, it's possible that the city council could be all-male. One woman, Ana Cubas, is in the May runoff for the Ninth District seat. Two women are the leading candidates for an open seat in the Sixth District, but that race could possibly not be settled until July.


Maven's Morning Coffee: Eli Broad interested in LA Times, personnel changes at Animal Services, the future of AEG

Miami-Dade Wins 2012 Broad Prize for Urban Education

John Moore/Getty Images

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Eli Broad is joining with former Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner to make a bid for the Los Angeles Times.

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 Friday, March 15, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:


The Hollywood Reporter says Eli Broad is joining with former Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner to make a bid for the Los Angeles Times. According to the piece, Beutner wants to run The Times as a nonprofit.

In an exclusive interview, Cardinal Roger Mahony tells the Daily News that the selection of Pope Francis is "an extraordinary grace."

Los Angeles Animal Services' nighttime animal care technicians will be taken off night duty, reports the Daily News. "Critics said the decision to strip six shelters of nighttime personnel could imperil thousands of shelter animals, which would be without supervision," according to the newspaper.


California lawmakers unmoved by President Obama's Capitol Hill diplomacy

left to right: Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) and Rep. John Campbell (R-Irvine).

President Obama continued his diplomatic offensive on Capitol Hill today, meeting with House Democrats. Earlier this week he met with House and Senate Republicans, as well as Democratic Senators. Some members of the California delegation have mixed reactions to the President’s mission.

President Obama spent Wednesday afternoon with House Republicans, like John Campbell of Irvine. Campbell describes the conversation as "certainly respectful," but he says no differences were bridged. The president took questions on everything from immigration to the Keystone pipeline to the impasse over the budget. Campbell says Mr. Obama didn't offer anything new "and I don't think we really offered anything new." 

The president should have had an easier time Thursday, preaching to the choir of fellow Democrats in the House. But Long Beach Democrat Alan Lowenthal says "he told the choir, 'hey, we're going to compromise.'" Congressman Lowenthal says the President told Democrats to be open to entitlement reform – like raising the age for Medicare and changing the inflation calculation for Social Security benefits – if Republicans agree to close tax loopholes.

Can the President’s visit can break the logjam in Congress? "All you can do is hope," says Lowenthal. Campbell says it hasn't changed a thing.

The visits to Capitol Hill may be good practice for the President’s diplomatic mission next week to the Middle East.




Sen. Dianne Feinstein's assault weapons ban advances, still faces hurdles (poll)

Democratic Lawmakers Introduce Assault Weapons Ban of 2013 Legislation

Alex Wong/Getty Images

U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) speaks next to a display of assault weapons during a January news conference on Capitol Hill. Feinstein bill to ban assault weapons has passed a key Senate committee.

An assault weapons ban proposed by California Democrat Dianne Feinstein cleared a key Senate committee Thursday, but the measure still has a tough road before becoming law.

The vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee was 10-8, along party lines (Democrats voted in favor; Republicans opposed). The bill would ban the sale, transfer, importation and manufacture of more than 150 military assault weapons and magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.

Sen. Feinstein says the high powered weapons are being used by "grievance killers, the mentally unstable and others to kill significant numbers of people in our malls, our theaters, our workplaces and our schools." She says it's time "we step up and address this scourge once and for all.”

RELATED: See more than 500 comments on the senator's proposed assault weapons ban