Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Racial politics broached in South LA city council contest

Curren Price

Curren Price campaign website

State Sen. Curren Price told South L.A. ministers that his city council opponent, Ana Cubas, is "committed to dividing the Ninth District along racial lines."

A former member of the Los Angeles City Council is criticizing a South L.A. candidate for accusing his opponent of using race as a tactic in the May 21 runoff campaign.

State Sen. Curren Price, who is African-American, is running against Ana Cubas, a Latina, to represent the Ninth District, which includes much of South Los Angeles.

Speaking to the Baptist Ministers Conference Monday, Price said: “In this campaign we have an opponent who is committed to dividing the Ninth along racial lines." 

Rita Walters, who represented the district from 1991-2001 and has endorsed Cubas, asked Price to retract his comments. 

“I am disturbed that a candidate trying to earn the trust of voters in a district where Latinos and African-Americans have lived side-by-side for decades would utter remarks so clearly aimed at inciting friction between both groups of voters,” Walters said in an open letter.


Maven's Morning Coffee: Villaraigosa's legacy on public safety, LA to end use of coal, Jose Huizar returns from DC

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa Votes Election As He Tries For Second Term

David McNew/Getty Images

KPCC looks at Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's legacy on public safety and who should get credit for a drop in crime.

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


KPCC looks at who should get credit for Los Angeles' drop in crime. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa "embraced (former Chief Bill) Bratton, who receives a lot of credit for turning the LAPD around and delivering the dramatic drops in crime by introducing new technology and cooperating more with federal agencies," according to the station.

Mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel tells the Los Angeles Times that in fact she doesn't want to reopen negotiations on a pension plan approved last year -- she just wants to talk to union leaders. An earlier remark from Greuel that she wanted to begin new labor talks drew concern from one of her backers -- the LA Area Chamber of Commerce. "We want to make sure we are not on opposite sides of this discussion," said the Chamber's Gary Toebben.


Who gets credit for crime drop during Villaraigosa's tenure? (photos)

William Bratton Announces Charlie Beck As His Replacement As LAPD Chief

Pool/Getty Images

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (R) speaks with Deputy LAPD Chief Charlie Beck as they enjoy coffee and chat together at Getty House; the Mayors official residence November 3, 2009 in Los Angeles. The twp later would head outside to a press conference where the Mayor will announce his choice of Beck to head the LAPD.

Antonio Villaraigosa Gala

Pool/Getty Images

Antonio Villaraigosa (L) speaks with chief of police William Bratton during his black tie Inaugural Gala held at the Dorothy chandler Pavilion June 30, 2005 in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Police Move In To Evict Occupy LA Encampment

Michal Czerwonka/Getty Images

Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck talks to members of the media in front of City Hall in downtown in the early hours of November 30, 2011 in Los Angeles.

William Bratton Resigns As Chief Of LAPD

David McNew/Getty Images

Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (L) and Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department Bill Bratton (R) hold a press conference for Bratton to announce that he will resign from the department to head of a private security firm on August 5, 2009 in Los Angeles.

Mayor Villaraigosa And Police Chief Charlie Beck Discuss 2009 Crime Stats

David McNew/Getty Images

Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (L) and police chief Charlie Beck (R) announce the 2009 crime statistics for Los Angeles on January 6, 2010 in Los Angeles.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa Announces Charlie Beck as New LAPD Chief

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (L) congratulates Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief Charles Beck after he was announced as the mayor's selection to be the new Chief of Police at a news conference at the Getty House, the official residence of the mayor, on November 3, 2009 in Los Angeles.

Nick Ut/AP

William Bratton served as Los Angeles Police Department Chief during Antonio Villaraigosa's first term in office.

LAPD Takes Over Security At Dodgers Games After Attack On Giants Fan

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Charlie Beck succeeded William Bratton as Los Angeles Police Department Chief and has served throughout Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's second term.

The drop in crime in Los Angeles since Antonio Villaraigosa became mayor in 2005 has been astounding:

  • Total violent crime plummeted 40.2 percent.
  • Gang crime fell 37.5 percent.
  • Total property crime dropped 23.6 percent.

Figuring out why requires going back to the day after Villaraigosa was elected. The new mayor-elect gathered with a group of mostly African-American supporters in the Crenshaw District.

“Earlier this morning, I met with [LAPD] Chief Bill Bratton to discuss our mutual support for one another,” he told the crowd.
The irony was thick. Villaraigosa defeated incumbent Mayor Jim Hahn in part because of Hahn’s decision to dismiss Bratton’s African-American predecessor, Bernard Parks, a beloved figure in the black community. Hahn lost his once bedrock support among African-Americans.


San Gabriel withholds election results as D.A. reviews misconduct complaint

San Gabriel's city clerk has delayed filing official results of the March 5 election and swearing in new City Council members for at least a week while officials investigate complaints of misconduct in the election.

Normally, results in the election of three council members, treasurer, city clerk plus a ballot measure would have been certified two weeks after the election and the newly-elected members would have been sworn in.

The Los Angeles District Attorney Public Integrity Unit is reviewing an e-mail complaint it received about San Gabriel's election, spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said Monday. She declined to say more about the complaint.

San Gabriel Assistant City Manager Marcella Marlowe also declined to be specific about the reason for the delayed certification of the election results, saying in an e-mail that due to high public interest in the election, the "post-election process has taken longer than usual to complete."


Jesuits in the Vatican and on Capitol Hill

Congressman Juan Vargas, Chula Vista

Courtesy KPBS

Congressman Juan Vargas, (D-Chula Vista)

Pope Francis, who celebrated his first mass Tuesday morning in Rome, is the first Jesuit to head the Catholic Church. A congressman from San Diego might have found his way to Rome too, but instead is now serving in the nation’s capitol.

Democratic freshman Congressman Juan Vargas spent five years as a Jesuit. Had he continued with the religious order, perhaps that could have been him waving to the crowd in St. Peter’s Square.

"Well, that would have been a cool job!” Vargas said.

The congressman said the Jesuits taught him that you have to make changes for social justice. He worked with Central American refugees and became a lawyer working on political asylum cases.

Juan Vargas is not the only former Jesuit in California politics these days: Governor Jerry Brown is also a former novitiate from the order.