Politics, government and public life for Southern California

LA mayor's race: Former candidate Kevin James says he's close to making an endorsement

KEVINJAMES - 6

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Kevin James placed third in the March 5 primary and did well with Republicans and decline-to-state voters. He says he's getting closer to making an endorsement in the runoff.

Los Angeles Mayor race 2013Kevin James spent months criticizing the politicians working inside City Hall, but now that he’s not in the mayoral runoff, is he ready to endorse Wendy Greuel or Eric Garcetti for the job?

Almost.

In an interview with KPCC, James said he is getting close to making a decision. He sent an e-mail to supporters Thursday evening asking for their input on the endorsement.

“I recognize that some of my supporters would prefer that I not endorse either candidate, while other supporters would like to know my position on which of these two remaining candidates would be best to lead the city for the next four years,” James wrote.

“I encourage, and would appreciate, your input and your concerns.”

RELATED: KPCC's LA mayoral race endorsement tracker

James finished third in the March 5 primary, with 16 percent of the vote. Thought the race is non-partisan, James is a Republican who regularly touted the city's need to exercise fiscal conservatism.

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Maven's Morning Coffee: LA gets fiscal commission, Hollywood development approved, bike lanes on the Eastside

US Trade representative Mickey Kantor (C

ABDELHAK SENNA/AFP/Getty Images

Former U.S. Commerce Secretary Mickey Kantor has appointed the Los Angeles 2020 Commission to look at the city's finances.

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 Friday, March 29, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:

Headlines

A new poll from ABC 7 finds Eric Garcetti leading Wendy Greuel 47 percent to 40 percent in the mayor's race.

Former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Mickey Kantor announced the members of the Los Angeles 2020 Commission Thursday. The panel will be responsible for examining the city's finances, reports KPCC. Commissioners include former Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner, former Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, and IBEW Local 18's Brian D’Arcy.

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Audit: Caltrans workers falsified safety data on Southern California road projects (PDF)

A state audit released Thursday says lax management at Caltrans allowed technicians to collect pay for work they never did and to falsify data on the safety of 11 construction projects. Read the complete report below.

California’s Bureau of State Audits also found that the transportation agency took years to ensure the suspect projects were sound.
 
The four-year probe found that a Caltrans supervisor paid a couple of technicians $13,700 for work they did not do.

One of the workers falsified data on the safety of three construction projects, including the La Sierra Avenue bridge in Riverside, and a retaining wall at Braddock Avenue on the I-5 Freeway in Los Angeles.
 
A whistle blower told the state auditor about the abuses  in 2009. That same year Caltrans identified the affected projects – but didn’t test their soundness until October 2011.

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City controller candidate accuses opponent of illegal collaboration with PAC

Ron Galperin

Kenna Love

City Controller candidate Ron Galperin

Ron Galperin's city controller campaign has filed a complaint with the City Ethics Commission alleging an independent political action committee illegally sent out a mailer that duplicates one used by rival Dennis Zine.

Zine, who represents the San Fernando Valley Third District, is running against Galperin, an attorney and business owner in the May 21 runoff election.

Political action committees that independently spend money on behalf of candidates in city races are barred from coordinating with the candidate's campaign. That includes using the same campaign materials, said David Graham-Caso, a Galperin spokesman.

The complaint said the pro-Zine committee, L.A. Citizens for Fiscal Reform,  circumvented state and city campaign finance laws by sending a copycat mailer. Brad Rosenheim,  Fares T. Wehbe, Deborah P. Wehbe  and the Wehbe Family Trust were named on the mailer as the financial backers. According to documents filed with the Ethics Commission, Rosenheim and the Wehbes each gave the committee $2,000.

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LA mayor's race: Jan Perry endorses Eric Garcetti; Magic Johnson endorses Wendy Greuel

Magic Johnson

Alice Walton/KPCC

Former NBA star Magic Johnson endorses Wendy Greuel for mayor.

Eric Gracetti

Alice Walton/KPCC

Mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti accepts the endorsement of his former opponent Jan Perry.


Los Angeles Mayor race 2013It was a busy day for candidates in the mayor’s race, with both Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti picking up major endorsements with less than eight weeks before the runoff.

Entrepreneur and former Lakers star Earvin “Magic” Johnson endorsed the Greuel campaign. Johnson has a track record of backing winning mayoral candidates, with Jim Hahn in 2001 and Antonio Villaraigosa in 2005.

“We know that she’s a problem-solver," Johnson said outside the West Angeles Church of God. "We already know that she has the skill and the talent and the expertise to get the job done.” 

Other African-American leaders who have endorsed Greuel, including County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, the Rev. Cecil "Chip" Murray and LAPD Commissioner John Mack.  The Los Angeles Sentinel newspaper, a longtime presence in the African-American community, also endorsed Greuel's campaign.

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