Politics, government and public life for Southern California

LA mayor's race: Wendy Greuel re-starts campaign with aggressive tone (updated)

Grant Slater/KPCC

Controller Wendy Greuel, seen here on election night for the primary, gave an aggressive speech Tuesday intended to quiet critics who say she may be overly influenced by support from labor.

Los Angeles Mayor race 2013Mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel rebooted her campaign Tuesday with a speech that defended her support from City Hall unions and attacked her opponent, Eric Garcetti, as someone who “is good at handshakes, but who won’t stand by his work or his commitment.”

Greuel also used the speech to criticize the media for focusing on the $2.1 million that labor spent to support her in the primary. In a briefing with reporters, Greuel said Garcetti chose to “demonize” City Hall unions after failing to win their support.

“When he’s not out pandering to them for their endorsement, Garcetti throws the word ‘union’ around like it’s a slur, and has even called L.A.’s working people ‘power brokers,’” Greuel said.

Her comments came just after former mayoral candidate Kevin James endorsed Garcetti for mayor.


LA mayor's race: Former candidate Kevin James endorses Eric Garcetti (Updated)

Kevin James and Eric Garcetti

Sharon McNary/KPCC

Kevin James, left, endorsed onetime rival mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti outside the Van Nuys branch of L.A.'s City Hall Tuesday.

Los Angeles Mayor race 2013Kevin James, who finished third in the mayoral primary, endorsed Eric Garcetti over Wendy Greuel in the race for L.A. mayor Tuesday.

James said he ran to provide an independent voice at City Hall, and he concluded that Garcetti was the more independent of the two finalists. He also saw Garcetti as more able to focus on economic development and job creation.

“Eric has demonstrated some independence from the traditional  power interests inside City Hall. That is important as we move forward as a city,” James told reporters and others as he stood alongside Garcetti at the steps of the Van Nuys City Hall building.

James has been critical of Greuel's support from labor unions, saying she would be beholden to them when key contracts come up for renewal next year. Greuel countered with her own press briefing Tuesday, accusing Garcetti of "demonizing" the unions.


As Congress approaches gun control vote, California members split


SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 2, 2013.

When the Senate returns from its Easter break next week, one of its first votes is expected to be on a gun violence measure. Some Republican Senators have threatened a filibuster. Any gun control measure that survives the Senate will face stiff opposition in the GOP-led House.

The positions of California lawmakers on gun issues are shaped by political philosophy – but also geography and personal experience.

The Big Bear Shootout

Freshman Republican Congressman Paul Cook represents a rural California district that includes Big Bear, where  ex-LAPD cop Christopher Dorner ended his shooting rampage. That happened on Feb. 12, just hours before President Obama prodded Congress for new gun control legislation in his State of the Union address. 

Cook says the Dorner incident could well turn his constituents against gun control. He says that’s part of the reason why they’re "very sensitive about having their own personal weapon, that they can defend themselves against somebody that comes in there."


Maven's Morning Coffee: Villaraigosa defends his record, City Hall calls for hearings on street repairs, mayoral candidate opposes moving LAX runway

Los Angeles International Airport

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti says he opposes a plan to move LAX's northern runway 260 feet closer to residential homes.

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 Tuesday, April 2, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:


Mayor candidate Eric Garcetti says he is opposed to moving LAX's northern runway 260 feet to the north, reports the Los Angeles Times. That places Garcetti on the side of Westchester and Playa del Rey neighbors. "Backers say the additional distance will make it easier to serve the largest commercial jets, such as the Airbus A380, which require special handling when it arrives at LAX," according to the newspaper.


Steve Soboroff: find creative ways to fund LA's parks

Mercer 3425

Newly Paul/KPCC

Kids play basketball on a court at the Martin Luther King park at Western Avenue and 39th Street in south Los Angeles.

As Los Angeles prepares its next budget, Steve Soboroff, the former head of the city's Recreation and Parks Commission, says L.A. needs to start getting creative about finding money to revive the depleted parks budget.

Standing outside City Hall recently, Soboroff described how he’d just met with the city administrative officer to discuss the issue. Soboroff is lobbying for different funding approaches, such as building solar canopies over parking lots to provide power, and taking on commercial partners.

“Why not go to Nike, and say ‘hey, here’s our 40 parks that need the basketball courts redone, and if you want to put your 'swoosh' in the middle, god speed,’” the entrepreneur said. “To me that’s commercialization with taste.”

Soboroff also pointed out that private foundations can be a source of funds.