Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Angelenos storm Capitol Hill for annual LA Chamber lobbying trip

Denita Willoughby, who works for the Southern California Gas Company, is part of the L.A. Chamber’s education team. She talked to members of Congress about teacher grants, after-school programs, and funding for students with disabilities.

Wednesday is the third and final day of meetings in Washington for more than 150 business and political leaders from Los Angeles. Sequestration overshadowed this year’s agenda for Access LA — the annual D.C. lobbying trip sponsored by the L.A. Chamber of Commerce.

The group had meetings with White House staffers, cabinet secretaries, both of California’s U.S. Senators, and several members of Congress to talk about everything from immigration to modernizing LAX.

Denita Willoughby of the Southern California Gas Company has made several Access LA trips to D.C. She's part of the Chamber’s education team, talking to members of Congress about teacher grants, after-school programs, and funding for students with disabilities.

Willoughby describes the meetings as "frustrating because we’ve been talking about these issues for more than a few years now and there’s been little progress made." But she sees some movement, with members identifying parts of bills where there is some agreement. "We will eventually get there," she says. "I don’t know if it’s necessarily this year on some of these items, but I don’t think you give up."


Maven's Morning Coffee: consultants recap election, Democratic Party endorses for LA City Council, jury still out in Bell case

Los Angeles City Hall

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Consultants for the leading mayoral candidates took to Loyola Marymount University last night to recap the March 5 primary.

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 Wednesday , March 13, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:


The political consultants for the mayoral candidates gathered at Loyola Marymount University last night to debrief the March 5 primary. What advice would Harvey Englander have given Jan Perry?  "Run for city controller," LAObserved reports.

The L.A. County Democratic Party declined to endorse in the mayor's race, according to KPCC. "Our members were genuinely split between the two candidates. It’s a race where you have two very strong Democrats running against each other," said chairman Eric Bauman. Other endorsements went to Gil Cedillo in CD 1, state Sen. Curren Price in CD9 and John Choi in CD13.


Democratic Party does not endorse a candidate in Los Angeles mayor’s race

Los Angeles Mayor


This combo shows a Feb. 20, 2013 file photo of Los Angeles mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti speaking to media in Los Angeles, left, and undated image provided by the Wendy Greuel Campaign of mayoral candidate Greuel meeting with voters.

Los Angeles Mayor race 2013

A deeply divided Los Angeles County Democratic Party Tuesday night declined to endorse a candidate in the L.A. mayor’s race. Neither City Councilman Eric Garcetti nor City Controller Wendy Greuel garnered the necessary 60 percent of delegates – or 117 votes – to win the party’s backing.

Garcetti won 105 votes. Greuel grabbed 81.

“Our members were genuinely split between the two candidates,” County Chairman Eric Bauman said. “It’s a race where you have two very strong Democrats running against each other.”

Both Garcetti and Greuel are longtime Democrats (though Greuel was a registered Republican in her younger years). Each has deep roots among the party activists that comprise the voting membership, and each had personally wooed delegates.

The mayor’s race is officially non-partisan, but the party traditionally endorses a candidate. It backed Antonio Villaraigosa in the last three elections (He lost his 2001 bid to Jim Hahn).

In the Hollywood-based District 13 city council race, county Democrats voted to back labor activist John Choi over Mitch O’Farrell, a former aide to Garcetti.

In the South LA-based District 9 city council race, county Democrats voted to endorse State Senator Curren Price over Ana Cubas, former chief of staff to Councilman Jose Huizar.

And in the 1st city council district, which stretches from MacArthur Park to Highland Park, county Democrats endorsed former State Assemblyman Gil Cedillo over Jose Gardea. The latter is the chief of staff to the current 1st district councilman, Ed Reyes.

In the special election for the 6th council district in the San Fernando Valley, county Democrats voted to endorse former Assemblywoman and LA Department of Water and Power official Cindy Montanez over current LA Unified School Board Member Nury Martinez.

Earlier Tuesday, the LA County Federation of Labor endorsed Greuel. More than two-thirds of the Committee on Political Education voted to support her. The federation’s executive committee must still ratify the vote, a near certainty.

Some organized labor leaders have been unhappy with Garcetti’s votes to impose layoffs, unpaid furloughs and pension reform during the city budget crisis. Garcetti issued a statement saying he still has the backing of a number of unions, including the Teamsters and Longshore workers.


Wendy Greuel gets preliminary endorsement from LA County Federation of Labor

Mayoral Election Held In Los Angeles

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The political committee of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor voted Tuesday to endorse Wendy Greuel for mayor. The endorsement must be ratified by delegates.

Another major labor endorsement could be headed Wendy Greuel’s way.

The Los Angeles County Federation of Labor’s political committee met Tuesday morning and voted to endorse Greuel over Eric Garcetti in the mayor’s race. The backing still needs approval from the Fed’s executive board and delegates.

“Wendy was pleased to participate in today’s first step of the L.A. County Federation of Labor endorsement process,” said Dave Jacobson, a spokesman for the Greuel campaign.

“It is truly unprecedented for a candidate to have such broad and far-reaching support from groups that represent working people as well as business groups like the L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce, VICA, among others.”

Just one day after the March 5 primary, SEIU Local 721 endorsed Greuel’s campaign. The unions representing police officers, firefighters, and Department of Water and Power utility workers also back her. Labor spent $2.1 million to support Greuel in the primary.


Villaraigosa, LA city councilmen in Washington for conferences

L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was in Washington, DC Tuesday to meet with lawmakers about sequestration and transportation issues.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is a man on the move, spending Tuesday in Washington, D.C. and Wednesday in New York.

The mayor is in Washington for the Access DC trip hosted by the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. More than 250 local business leaders are on their annual lobbying trip, telling Congress how sequestration will affect L.A.

The Access LA group told Congress that sequestration means fewer low income housing vouchers and delays getting through customs at LAX.

But the Mayor has also been meeting with Congressional leaders to talk about the federal loan program he promoted called "America Fast Forward." Congress put a billion dollars a year in loans in the two-year transporation bill.

The mayor says there's likely to be more demand than money. Now, he’s lobbying for the other half of the program: federal bonds. He says members "aren't dismissing out of hand" the proposal for bonds the way they did three years ago when he first proposed the loans. "That’s a good thing," the mayor said. He hasn’t gotten any yesses, yet. But he describes Congressional leaders as “open.”