Politics, government and public life for Southern California

And they're off! California 2014 House races already underway

General Election - Grant

Grant Slater/KPCC

The 2012 election was only five months ago, but already California's congressional freshmen are off and running for 2014.

It seems Californians cast ballots in 2012 Congressional races only a few weeks back, but the race for 2014 has already begun.

This week, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee unveiled its list of 26 vulnerable incumbents the party will support with fundraising and outreach support. DCCC Chairman Steve Israel says the so-called "Frontline Program" will "multiply members’ strengths, and make sure they are positioned to compete and win.”

Of the 26, five are California members of Congress: four freshmen—Ami Bera of Sacramento, Julia Brownley of Ventura, Scott Peters of San Diego, and Raul Ruiz of Palm Springs—plus incumbent Lois Capps of Santa Barbara.

The National Republican Congressional Committee says it's "playing offensive" in the upcoming off-year election. The NRCC picked 45 Democrats to target, including seven in California.

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Los Angeles' deficit drops, but cuts and hiring freezes still likely

Los Angeles City Hall

Alice Walton/KPCC

A new budget report suggests the deficit for fiscal year 2013-14 has dropped -- to $150 million. Drastic cuts remain on the table.

Despite a reduction in pension costs and signs that revenues to the city of Los Angeles are improving, closing a multimillion-dollar deficit remains “a daunting challenge,” according to a new report. One councilman is suggesting that could result in extending a hiring freeze to the Los Angeles Police Department.

City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana on Friday submitted an update on the fiscal year 2013-14, which starts on July 1. In it, he suggests that the $216 million deficit has dropped to somewhere between $165 million and $150 million, which he attributes to a reduction in pension obligations, positive trends in the economy, and a reserve that holds $80 million.  

Balancing the budget may depend, in part, on reducing employees’ pay and healthcare benefits. Services could also be cut and departments consolidated, he said.

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What House lawmakers can do — and what they can't — on a sequestered Capitol Hill

US-POLITICS-CONGRESS-SEQUESTRATION

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

The US Capitol in Washington, DC, is seen February 28, 2013.

Congress is learning how sequestration cuts come home to roost.

First, it was a list of entrances to House office buildings that will be closed due to sequestration cuts affecting the Capitol Police. That means longer lines getting through the security line at the remaining entrances.

Now, the House Ethics Committee is laying down the law about what members and their staffs can and cannot do to get by with fewer resources.

In a memo sent by the Ethics Committee and ranking member Linda Sanchez (D-Cerritos), House lawmakers are reminded that “ethics rules, laws, and standards of conduct remain in effect and may be relevant as you consider various methods of savings.”

For instance, you can’t use campaign funds to pay for office furniture or computer equipment or even to hire someone to open constituent mail. And there are “significant limitations” on the use of volunteer services in place of paid staff.

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Will Jan Perry, Kevin James back former rivals in mayor's race?

Forum Mayor Debate

Grant Slater/KPCC

Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel aren't saying yet whether they're seeking the support of their former opponents in the mayor's race.

Los Angeles Mayor race 2013 Jan Perry and Kevin James were eliminated in Tuesday’s primary but together, they captured more than 30 percent of the vote, which leads to the question: where will those votes go in May?

Both Perry and James tell KPCC they have not decided whether to endorse Wendy Greuel or Eric Garcetti in the runoff. A spokesman for the Greuel campaign said she was reaching out to all the losing candidates to ask for their support.

That could be an awkward conversation with Perry. In the days leading up to the primary, the Greuel camp sent out mailers alerting voters to Perry's financial problems back in the 1990s.

As for the Garcetti campaign, a spokesman said that camp is also seeking James and Perry's endorsement.

"He's seeking support from many people and organizations," said spokesman Jeff Millman, "and after finishing on top in Tuesday's primary, he has received phone calls non-stop from people who want to get involved."

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Maven's Morning Coffee: Villaraigosa considers a mayoral endorsement, Harbor Commission improves rail project, claim filed in Christopher Dorner case

LA Mayor Villraigosa Discusses Immigration Reform In Washington

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa says he's thinking about whether to endorse in the May runoff. He notes, though, that he will support whoever wins.

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

Headlines

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is considering whether to endorse in the mayoral runoff, reports the Daily News. "I think it's important that whatever happens, I have a good relationship with the next mayor. I am going to support whoever wins," he says.

Speaking of the runoff, Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel now start from zero in terms of fundraising, according to the Los Angeles Times.

A Daily News editorial looks at the lessons learned from Tuesday's primary: "the public says career politicians are bums but doesn't throw them out."

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