Politics, government and public life for Southern California

LA Mayoral candidates prepare for Monday TV debate; Garcetti gets LA Times nod

Forum Mayor Debate

Grant Slater/KPCC

Mayoral candidate and LA City Controller Wendy Greuel sits next to her main rival in the campaign, councilman Eric Garcetti.

With just two weeks to go before Angelenos vote in the primaries, Los Angeles mayoral candidates will gather at the campus of Cal State L.A. for their next televised debate. 

The event will be hosted by the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs and be broadcast live on KABC Channel 7at 6:30 p.m. Frontrunning candidates Eric Garcetti, Wendy Greuel, Kevin James, Jan Perry and Emmanuel Pleitez will answer questions generated by the institute's executive director, Raphael Sonenshein and L.A. League of Women Voters President David Holtzman. ABC7 News anchor Marc Brown will moderate. 

Read More...

Governor approves parole for convicted killers far more often than his predecessors

Gov. Jerry Brown

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Governor Jerry Brown's office on Friday issued a report of his parole decisions from 2012.

Last year, Governor Jerry Brown approved parole for 377 prisoners convicted of murder, rejected another 91 recommendations for parole, and returned two cases to the Board of Parole Hearings for review.

That puts Brown's parole approval rating at over 80 percent for the second consecutive year, and on the opposite end of the spectrum from former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who rejected most parole recommendations for murderers.

The statistics were part of a report issues Friday by the governor's office.

California law says the governor can only overturn parole recommendations for murderers still deemed a threat, and cannot measure that threat on just the heinousness of the original crime.

Read More...

Can Richard Riordan put Kevin James into a runoff for Los Angeles mayor?

Former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan endorsed fellow Republican Kevin James for mayor Friday. But how much can he help the fledgling candidate?

Riordan, who served from 1993 until 1999, remains popular among white conservative voters in the city, many of whom reside in the Western San Fernando Valley.  They are also high propensity voters. They’d cast ballots for dogcatcher, if L.A. had one.   Will they listen to Riordan?

In a statement, Riordan praised James as “the only candidate capable of creating real pension reform for the City of Los Angeles.”

Read More...

Norwalk Democrat recruits Lakers star for gun violence prevention

Lakers forward Metta World Peace joined Democratic Congresswoman Grace Napolitano on Capitol Hill Friday.

A California Democrat on Capitol Hill has recruited L.A. Lakers forward Metta World Peace to help lobby for a mental health bill.

Congresswoman Grace Napolitano has been pushing for years for federal funding for mental health services in schools. She says, somehow, "we need to start the ball rolling."

The Norwalk Democrat has enlisted a man who knows something about moving the ball down the court. The former Ron Artest, who says he’s been in counseling since he was 13, is an outspoken advocate for seeking mental health services. He says he wants people to know "it's okay if you need help."

Napolitano’s bill would provide grants for school-based, free mental health services to students K-12. It's part of a package of measures backed by House Democrats to try to reduce gun violence.

World Peace, who came to Washington after the Lakers’ home game Thursday night, says the issue hits home for many athletes. He says it's "definitely a topic of discussion" among NBA players because "a lot of athletes grew up in violent neighborhoods." He says "it’s something that we wish we could change."

Napolitano says the challenge is finding the $200 million in mental health funding included in her bill. Al Franken has sponsored a similar measure  in the U.S. Senate. 

Read More...

Independent group organizes to support Eric Garcetti in May runoff (updated)

Forum Mayor Debate

Grant Slater/KPCC

Eric Garcetti recently asked his opponents – and specifically Wendy Greuel – to sign a pledge that would blunt the impact of outside money.

Eric Garcetti may have wanted to keep outside groups from funding the Los Angeles mayor’s race, but his supporters say it’s time to fight fire with fire.

An independent group backed by Rick Jacobs of the Courage Campaign and Mary Jane Stevenson, who organized for President Obama in California, will raise money on behalf of Garcetti. With the primary just two and a half weeks away, the “Lots of People Who Support Eric Garcetti for Mayor 2013” PAC will focus its efforts on mobilizing voters for the May 21 runoff.

Garcetti and his main rival, City Controller Wendy Greuel, are the presumptive favorites to advance to the runoff.

Read More...