Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Maven's Morning Coffee: Jerry Brown to China, voting systems in LA County, arsenic emissions in Vernon

Max Whittaker/Getty Images

Gov. Jerry Brown will travel to China next week to open a trade office and promote environmental regulations.

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, April 4, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:


Gov. Jerry Brown is headed to China next week to promote environmental protections and open a trade office, according to the Los Angeles Times. "We're going to facilitate billions of dollars of investments ... Not overnight, but over time," the governor says.

NPR looks at why Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will not be succeeded by a major Latino politician. "From the beginning what I've said is in this the most diverse city ... we need the bridge builders, the coalition builders," Villaraigosa says.


LA County developing a voting system for the digital age (Photos)

Dean Logan, Registrar-Recorder, Los Angeles County

Sharon McNary/KPCC

Dean Logan, who heads the Registrar-Recorder's office of Los Angeles County, is leading a crowdsourced effort to reinvent the way votes are cast and counted in the nation's largest voting jurisdiction

Katsy Chappell

Sharon McNary/KPCC

Katsy Chappell is a longtime poll worker who knows what voters don't like: long lines, changing voting locations.

Ballot box, Los Angeles County

Sharon McNary/KPCC

Mechanized ballot boxes like this are used at polling places in Los Angeles County to scan ballots for errors like voting for too many candidates in a race, however they are not used to count election results.

Audio voting machine, Los Angeles County

Sharon McNary/KPCC

Audio voting machines like this help voters who have poor vision, or who have difficulty reading a ballot or operating the ballot marking systems. It speaks the ballot, choices are entered using the yellow buttons, and the printer puts out a marked ballot slip.

Vote processing center

Sharon McNary/KPCC

Efrain Escobedo, a project manager working on the overhaul of Los Angeles County's voting system, shows stacks of voter sign-in logs to visiting election experts during a tour of the Registrar of Voters back offices.

Voting booth

Sharon McNary/KPCC

Typical voting booth and the Ink-a-Vote ballot marking machine used throughout Los Angeles County.

Ballot counting machine

Sharon McNary/KPCC

One of 36 high-speed IBM card readers used to read ballots during Los Angeles County elections.

Vote counting machine display

Sharon McNary/KPCC

The screen linked to a ballot counting machine at the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder's office shows vote totals.

Los Angeles County is re-inventing the nation's largest electoral system, which serves nearly 4 million registered voters. The goal is a more flexible, user-friendly system that county officials hope will increase turnout.

To design the system from scratch, county officials started in 2010 by surveying voters and stakeholder groups. They added observations from poll workers. The county registrar of voters also co-sponsored a design challenge on a crowdsourcing website that drew responses from all over.

Cansu Akarsu, a designer from Turkey, suggested a computer tablet that helps poll workers interact with disabled people to select the right voting method. A person could use the system to select polling place accommodations days in advance.

Tina Lee, a U.S.-based designer, suggests a tablet app that lets the voter decide the pace of the ballot display or the order in which contests would appear.


LA mayor's race: Wendy Greuel PAC releases new video with Magic Johnson

Magic Johnson

Alice Walton/KPCC

An independent group backing Wendy Greuel for mayor has turned Magic Johnson's endorsement into an online commercial.

Los Angeles Mayor race 2013Magic Johnson and Wendy Greuel are coming to a website near you – courtesy of an independent group backing her mayoral campaign.

A week ago, the businessman and former NBA star endorsed Greuel to succeed Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Working Californians has now made a 60-second video of the endorsement. It will appear on news websites, and a shorter version may eventually run on TV.

The union that represents Department of Water and Power employees, former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt and director Steven Spielberg have all contributed to the Working Californians independent committee. The group spent $1.4 million on Greuel ads and mailers in the primary. 

RELATED: KPCC'S LA mayoral endorsement tracker

Release of the commercial comes on the same day U.S. Rep. Brad Sherman and former Congressman Howard Berman endorsed Greuel. 


Assembly speaker endorses Ron Galperin in controller's race

Ron Galperin

Kenna Love

Attorney Ron Galperin was endorsed Wednesday by state Assembly Speaker John Pérez.

The speaker of the State Assembly endorsed Ron Galperin Wednesday in his race to become Los Angeles City Controller.

John Pérez is backing Galperin over L.A. City Councilman Dennis Zine.

“Ron Galperin is the type of innovative and effective leader Los Angeles needs,” Pérez said in a statement. “Ron has the right experience and a proven commitment to sound fiscal management.”

Galperin, an attorney who has served as chairman of the city's Commission on Revenue Efficiency, placed first in the March 5 primary with 37 percent of the vote. Zine, who is termed out after 12 years on the city council, placed a close second with 36 percent.

A week ago, the Galperin campaign filed an ethics complaint, alleging that Zine's campaign had inappropriately coordinated with a political action committee to send out nearly identical mailers. A spokesman for Zine's campaign told KPCC the candidate is not responsible for how other groups use his materials. (Here’s the Zine mailer that was filed with the Ethics Commission Feb. 21 and the mailer filed by L.A. Citizens for Fiscal Reform on March 2.)


Maven's Morning Coffee: Wendy Greuel addresses critics, the state of the Republican party, and a visit with Ed Edelman

Grant Slater/KPCC

Wendy Greuel, seen here on election night, used a speech at UCLA to address "the political establishment and the media" who have questioned whether she would be beholden to labor if elected mayor.

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, April 3, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:


In a speech at UCLA, Wendy Greuel told her supporters she would be an independent mayor, despite criticism that she would be beholden to labor because of the money unions have spent to back her campaign. "My opponent seems to think I should apologize for having earned the support of working people. When he's not out pandering to them for their endorsement, (Eric) Garcetti throws the word 'union' around like it's a slur, and has even called L.A.'s working people 'power brokers', " she said in her speech. Los Angeles Times, KPCC, LAObserved, LA Weekly