Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Maven's Morning Coffee: mayoral race roundup, drama on the Metro board, Jerry Brown discusses state's finances

Mayoral Candidates

Photos courtesy of candidates' campaigns

The top mayoral candidates debated in Sherman Oaks Wednesday. The feisty debate focused on Wendy Greuel. Meanwhile, a new poll from ABC 7 finds Eric Garcetti in the lead.

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 Thursday, Jan. 17, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:

Headlines

The LA Weekly questions what the mayoral candidates have done for renters' rights. "(Wendy) Greuel, (Eric) Garcetti and (Jan) Perry have eagerly publicized 'affordable housing' projects they backed, even as many projects fell short of replacing affordable units quietly lost to city-subsidized gentrification and luxury developments they embraced," according to the piece.

A new poll from ABC 7 finds Eric Garcetti leading in the mayor's race. At the same time, one in five voters remain undecided.

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LA mayoral race 2013: Wendy Greuel wins important backing from LAPD labor union

Wendy Greuel

Wendy Greuel Campaign

Controller Wendy Greuel's campaign for mayor was endorsed Thursday by the Los Angeles Police Protective League. The union represents rank-and-file LAPD officers.

Los Angeles mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel scored a major endorsement Wednesday when she won the backing of the union that represents nearly 10,000 rank-and-file LAPD officers.

In past elections, the Los Angeles Police Protective League has made large, independent expenditures supporting political candidates in the city.  It spent more than $700,000 helping City Attorney Carmen Trutanich win office in 2009.

Union President Tyler Izen issued a statement that said: “Wendy recognizes the importance of putting public safety first while at the same time working on issues that people really care about, like creating jobs, fixing potholes and fighting waste, fraud and abuse in city government.”

The union chose Greuel — a former city councilwoman and currently the city controller — over her chief rival, L.A. City Councilman Eric Garcetti, and Councilwoman Jan Perry and attorney Kevin James.

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Former Villaraigosa aide gets endorsement in LA City Council race

Matt Szabo

Marta Evry

Former Deputy Mayor Matt Szabo was endorsed Wednesday by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Szabo is one of a dozen candidates running for a city council seat in the Hollywood area.

A longtime deputy to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa picked up an endorsement Wednesday from his old boss for his city council campaign in the Hollywood area.

Matt Szabo is one of a dozen candidates hoping to replace outgoing Councilman Eric Garcetti in the Thirteenth District.

Szabo is well known to those inside City Hall. He worked for Villaraigosa for six years, handling budgetary issues.

Previously, he worked for then-Councilwoman Wendy Greuel and former Mayor Richard Riordan.

Outside City Hall, Szabo is facing an uphill battle to raise campaign funds.

The latest finance report, posted Jan. 10, shows the Szabo campaign with $83,253.

In contrast, former Public Works Commissioner John Choi posted $189,268 and Alex De Ocampo with the Saban Family Foundation reported $134,056.

“Matt is tenacious and decisive, knows how to lead in a crisis and is not afraid to take on the biggest challenges for the benefit of the community he serves,” Villaraigosa said in a statement. “Matt Szabo will make a great councilman, and the residents of District 13 will be fortunate to have him on their side as their voice in City Hall.”

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LA City Council considers third medical marijuana measure for May ballot

Medical Marijuana

Michael Juliano/KPCC

L.A. City Councilman Paul Koretz is pushing for a ballot measure that would allow some medical marijuana clinics to remain open while implementing restrictions on operating hours and location.

A third measure regulating medical marijuana storefronts in Los Angeles could be headed toward the May ballot.

The Los Angeles City Council voted 11-1 Wednesday to draft ballot language that would allow some existing clinics to remain in operation while formalizing restrictions on where the shops can be located. Only those clinics that were opened prior to September of 2007, when the city first approved a set of rules for dispensaries, could remain open. Even then, they would be have to meet requirements including:

  • Ban consumption on the premises
  • Close from 8 p.m. to 10 a.m.
  • Pay taxes
  • Prohibit minors
  • Conduct LAPD background checks on employees
  • Operate more than 1,000 feet from schools, libraries, parks and religious institutions

The city estimates there are 800 to 1,000 clinics operating in the city. Only about 180 of them opened before the 2007 restrictions took effect. 

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California representatives split on Obama gun control proposals

Mercer 9878

John Moore/Getty Images

Congressman Adam Schiff of the Burbank/Glendale area is introducing a pair of bills - one to help victims of gun violence hold gun makers and sellers accountable for negligence, and one to crack down on straw purchasers of guns.

Congressional Democrats are lining up to keep gun control on the front burner following the Newtown school shootings. Just hours after President Barack Obama outlined his proposals, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California announced she’ll introduce her assault weapons ban bill next Thursday.

Congressman Adam Schiff of Burbank introduced a pair of bills — one to ensure that victims of gun violence have the same rights to hold gun makers and gun sellers accountable for negligence, and one to crack down on straw purchasers of guns. And nearly a dozen of California's congressional Democrats joined other Democrats at a special hearing on the impact of gun violence.

Contra Costa County Congressman Mike Thompson  said no set of laws will end these senseless acts of violence. "But that’s no excuse for sitting around and doing nothin’," he said. Thompson heads a House gun violence task force. He called the challenge complex, but said every idea "and everyone needs to be at that table in order for us to be successful."

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