Politics, government and public life for Southern California

California lawmakers weigh in on temporary worker visas

US Representative Dana Rohrabacher

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Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher says guest worker visas wouldn't be necessary if certain low-skilled jobs paid enough to attract Americans.

Congress returns to work this week to talk about sequestration, gun control, and immigration. While lawmakers were in their home districts, one of the nation’s largest labor unions, the AFL-CIO, found agreement with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on one area of immigration reform: guest workers.

But the California delegation has opinions of its own on the topic of foreign workers.

Temporary visas for agricultural workers have traditionally enjoyed bi-partisan support on Capitol Hill – particularly from California lawmakers who represent the nation’s salad bowl.

Urban Democrats such as Henry Waxman of Los Angeles support short-term visas. Waxman says agribusiness has a need to hire people when the crops need to be harvested, "and there are people who want to come even though they intend to go back to their homes in another country."

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Eric Garcetti's quest for Los Angeles mayor: He's smart enough, but is he tough enough? (Photos)

Eric Garcetti Feature

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Eric Garcetti walks through the Chinese New Years celebration on February 16th, 2013. Garcetti has played a key role in revitalizing his district in Hollywood.

Mayor Race - Eric Garcetti

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Mayoral Candidate Eric Garcetti prepares to take the stage at a forum at the Autry National Center in Griffith Park sponsored by the Los Feliz Improvement Association.

Mayor Race - Eric Garcetti

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The two leading rivals for the LA mayor's race, City Controller Wendy Greuel and Councilman Eric Garcetti, take part in a candidate forum at Leo Baeck Temple in the Sepulveda Pass.

Mayor Race - Eric Garcetti

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Mayoral Candidate Eric Garcetti speaks at a fundraiser for Latino suporters on his birthday at Monty near Downtown Los Angeles.

Eric Garcetti Feature

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Eric Garcetti and his friend Bea Hsu wave to crowds at the Chinese New Year's celebration on February 16th, 2013.

Eric Garcetti Feature

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Eric Garcetti watches a dragon go past at the Chinese New Years celebration in Chinatown on February 16th, 2013.

Mayor Race - Eric Garcetti

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Councilman Eric Garcetti speaks at a candidate forum at John Burroughs Middle School in Mid-Wilshire.

Eric Garcetti Feature

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Eric Garcetti laughs with Gabriel Porras, left, and Marcel Porras, who works with Garcetti at City Hall.

Mayor Race - Eric Garcetti

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Councilmen Eric Garcetti and Bill Rosendahl share a few words before a forum at John Burroughs Middle School in Mid-Wilshire.

Mayor Race - Eric Garcetti

Grant Slater/KPCC

Mayoral Candidate Eric Garcetti speaks at a forum at the Autry National Center in Griffith Park sponsored by the Los Feliz Improvement Association.

Mayor Race - Eric Garcetti

Grant Slater/KPCC

Councilman Eric Garcetti talks with voters outside Mount Gilead Baptist Church in South Los Angeles.

Eric Garcetti Feature

Mae Ryan/KPCC

Eric Garcetti finishes his speech at the March as One Education Rally in Los Angeles. Garcetti is currently a third-term council member serving the 13th Council District.

Eric Garcetti Feature

Mae Ryan/KPCC

Eric Garcetti watches cheerleaders perform at the opening of his new campaign office in Eagle Rock on February 16th, 2013.

Mayor Race - Eric Garcetti

Grant Slater/KPCC

Mayoral Candidate Eric Garcetti greets supporters outside a fundraiser on his birthday at Monty near Downtown Los Angeles.

Eric Garcetti Feature

Mae Ryan/KPCC

Eric Garcetti and his aide leave the new Eagle Rock campaign office to go to another scheduled event. Garcetti says he hasn't had a day off in the past few months.

Eric Garcetti Feature

Mae Ryan/KPCC

Irene Wong Pec, Eric Garcetti and Bea Hsu wave to the crowds at the Chinese New Year celebration in Chinatown.


In Los Angeles, political candidates sometimes try to build their street credibility by talking about witnessing gang violence firsthand . Eric Garcetti tells of coming under fire in 1993 – at an airport in northern Cambodia.

“As the plane was about to land, Khmer Rouge rebels came out of the jungle and shelled the airport,” Garcetti recalls. “Luckily, it didn’t hit the terminal, but it did hit some soldiers and killed one of them close by.”

RELATED:  KPCC's coverage of the 2013 LA mayoral race

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Race, ethnic lines less visible as Los Angeles picks new mayor

LA Mayor Villraigosa Discusses Immigration Reform In Washington

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa addresses a National Press Club luncheon Jan. 14, 2013 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

Los Angeles voters are picking a new mayor, but the race is far different from the landmark election of Antonio Villaraigosa eight years ago.

Villaraigosa's victory made him the first Hispanic mayor since 1872 and highlighted the clout of a growing Latino population.

With the barrier gone, issues of race and ethnicity have been mostly muted in the nonpartisan contest to succeed him.

There is no Hispanic standard-bearer. The city could elect its first woman mayor, its first Jewish one, or the first gay one.

But jobs, schools and other familiar issues have dominated. The March 5 primary is expected to lead to a May runoff.

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Buck McKeon, top GOP on House Armed Services, blames President for sequestration

Rep. Buck McKeon

Kitty Felde/KPCC

Republican Congressman Buck McKeon of Santa Clarita chairs the House Armed Services Committee.

Congress returns to work next week, trying to find an alternative to mandatory budget cuts called “sequestration.” That's the penalty Congressional negotiators came up with if Democrats and Republicans can’t find a way to trim the federal deficit by $1.2 trillion over a decade. Half those cuts will come from the defense department.

Buck McKeon (R-Santa Clarita) chairs the House Armed Services Committee. He says cutting the military that much would be “terrible.”  He blames President Obama for a lack of leadership. As Commander in Chief, McKeon says "he’s the one that should care the most about the troops and he’s using them as pawns." McKeon says he hasn't heard the President talk about defense until the past week, "and they’re the ones that are impacted the most by this.”

McKeon says Congress could buy time by passing his bill – which would use attrition to cut the federal workforce by 10 percent. He says the savings would only cover the first year of scheduled defense cuts, but that would give Congress several months to find a more permanent solution.

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La Opinión endorses Eric Garcetti in L.A. mayoral race

Eric Garcetti

Eric Garcetti campaign

La Opinion endorses City Councilman Eric Garcetti for mayor.

La Opinión, the largest and oldest Spanish-language newspaper in the L.A. region, has endorsed City Councilman Eric Garcetti for Los Angeles mayor.

The editorial called Garcetti the best candidate to develop jobs within the city's manufacturing, tourism, retail and entertainment industries. It also said he was most prepared to lead reforms of the city's budget and pension system.

Garcetti, whose paternal grandfather was from Mexico, speaks fluent Spanish. He has a few endorsements from prominent Latinos, including former State Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno and former Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante. However, many more of the area's top Latino leaders, including County Supervisor Gloria Molina and Assembly Speaker John Pérez, have endorsed City Controller Wendy Greuel.

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