Politics, government and public life for Southern California

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

Read More...

Maven's Morning Coffee: LAPD to upgrade 911 system, county courthouses to close, Howard Berman joins lobbying firm

lafd ambulance

Photo by KristaLAPrincess via Flickr Creative Commons

The LAFD fire chief tells the Los Angeles Times he plans to upgrade the city's 911 dispatch system so it can communicate with other fire departments.

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 Thursday, March 14, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:

Headlines

The Los Angeles Fire Department will upgrade its 911 system to work with other fire agencies, reports the Los Angeles Times. "In an interview with The Times editorial board, (fire Chief Brian) Cummings said he would like to see a seamless network that connects dispatch systems across municipal borders," according to the newspaper.

A Los Angeles Times editorial knocks the Wendy Greuel campaign for trying to paint her mayoral opponent, Eric Garcetti, as anti-union. "Only in Los Angeles would a liberal Democrat who has campaigned time and again with strong labor support stand accused of being this city's version of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican who earned labor's undying enmity for ending collective bargaining rights in his state," according to the piece.

Read More...

Angelenos storm Capitol Hill for annual LA Chamber lobbying trip

Denita Willoughby, who works for the Southern California Gas Company, is part of the L.A. Chamber’s education team. She talked to members of Congress about teacher grants, after-school programs, and funding for students with disabilities.

Wednesday is the third and final day of meetings in Washington for more than 150 business and political leaders from Los Angeles. Sequestration overshadowed this year’s agenda for Access LA — the annual D.C. lobbying trip sponsored by the L.A. Chamber of Commerce.

The group had meetings with White House staffers, cabinet secretaries, both of California’s U.S. Senators, and several members of Congress to talk about everything from immigration to modernizing LAX.

Denita Willoughby of the Southern California Gas Company has made several Access LA trips to D.C. She's part of the Chamber’s education team, talking to members of Congress about teacher grants, after-school programs, and funding for students with disabilities.

Willoughby describes the meetings as "frustrating because we’ve been talking about these issues for more than a few years now and there’s been little progress made." But she sees some movement, with members identifying parts of bills where there is some agreement. "We will eventually get there," she says. "I don’t know if it’s necessarily this year on some of these items, but I don’t think you give up."

Read More...

Maven's Morning Coffee: consultants recap election, Democratic Party endorses for LA City Council, jury still out in Bell case

Los Angeles City Hall

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Consultants for the leading mayoral candidates took to Loyola Marymount University last night to recap the March 5 primary.

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 Wednesday , March 13, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:

Headlines

The political consultants for the mayoral candidates gathered at Loyola Marymount University last night to debrief the March 5 primary. What advice would Harvey Englander have given Jan Perry?  "Run for city controller," LAObserved reports.

The L.A. County Democratic Party declined to endorse in the mayor's race, according to KPCC. "Our members were genuinely split between the two candidates. It’s a race where you have two very strong Democrats running against each other," said chairman Eric Bauman. Other endorsements went to Gil Cedillo in CD 1, state Sen. Curren Price in CD9 and John Choi in CD13.

Read More...

Democratic Party does not endorse a candidate in Los Angeles mayor’s race

Los Angeles Mayor

AP

This combo shows a Feb. 20, 2013 file photo of Los Angeles mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti speaking to media in Los Angeles, left, and undated image provided by the Wendy Greuel Campaign of mayoral candidate Greuel meeting with voters.

Los Angeles Mayor race 2013

A deeply divided Los Angeles County Democratic Party Tuesday night declined to endorse a candidate in the L.A. mayor’s race. Neither City Councilman Eric Garcetti nor City Controller Wendy Greuel garnered the necessary 60 percent of delegates – or 117 votes – to win the party’s backing.

Garcetti won 105 votes. Greuel grabbed 81.

“Our members were genuinely split between the two candidates,” County Chairman Eric Bauman said. “It’s a race where you have two very strong Democrats running against each other.”

Both Garcetti and Greuel are longtime Democrats (though Greuel was a registered Republican in her younger years). Each has deep roots among the party activists that comprise the voting membership, and each had personally wooed delegates.

The mayor’s race is officially non-partisan, but the party traditionally endorses a candidate. It backed Antonio Villaraigosa in the last three elections (He lost his 2001 bid to Jim Hahn).

In the Hollywood-based District 13 city council race, county Democrats voted to back labor activist John Choi over Mitch O’Farrell, a former aide to Garcetti.

In the South LA-based District 9 city council race, county Democrats voted to endorse State Senator Curren Price over Ana Cubas, former chief of staff to Councilman Jose Huizar.

And in the 1st city council district, which stretches from MacArthur Park to Highland Park, county Democrats endorsed former State Assemblyman Gil Cedillo over Jose Gardea. The latter is the chief of staff to the current 1st district councilman, Ed Reyes.

In the special election for the 6th council district in the San Fernando Valley, county Democrats voted to endorse former Assemblywoman and LA Department of Water and Power official Cindy Montanez over current LA Unified School Board Member Nury Martinez.

Earlier Tuesday, the LA County Federation of Labor endorsed Greuel. More than two-thirds of the Committee on Political Education voted to support her. The federation’s executive committee must still ratify the vote, a near certainty.

Some organized labor leaders have been unhappy with Garcetti’s votes to impose layoffs, unpaid furloughs and pension reform during the city budget crisis. Garcetti issued a statement saying he still has the backing of a number of unions, including the Teamsters and Longshore workers.

Read More...