Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Villaraigosa taps former Assemblyman for Board of Public Works

California Budget

Rich Pedroncelli/AP

Former Assemblyman Warren Furutani was appointed to the Board of Public Works Monday. If approved, he would fill a vacancy left by Andrea Alarcon.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Monday named former Assemblyman Warren Furutani to a coveted position on the Board of Public Works.

The position is subject to approval by the Los Angeles City Council. Furutani would fill a vacancy left by Andrea Alarcon, who left the board in January after she was charged with drunk driving and investigated for child endangerment.

"Warren has been dedicated to public service for over 40 years," Villaraigosa said in a statement. "His skills as a problem solver and consensus builder will be great assets to the Board of Public Works and the city of Los Angeles."

Furutani left the state Assembly in 2012. He previously served as member of the L.A. Unified Board of Education and Los Angeles Community College District. He ran for the Los Angeles City Council in 2012, but lost to Joe Buscaino.


Carmen Trutanich amends ethics complaint against political rival over consultant's fees


Maya Sugarman/KPCC

City Attorney Carmen Trutanich believes his political rival is financially benefitting from a no-win, no-pay contract a consultant. He's filed a complaint with the Ethics Commission.

The Los Angeles city attorney is continuing to complain that his political rival accepted an illegal gift -- filing new paperwork Monday containing what he claims is proof of improprieties.

Carmen Trutanich first filed a complaint with the Ethics Commission March 1, just days before he appeared on the primary ballot for reelection.

In last week's election, Trutanich finished second place behind Assemblyman Mike Feuer, forcing a runoff in May.

According to reports filed with the city Ethics Commission, Feuer paid his political consultant John Shallman $7,871 for work done during the primary. Trutanich complains the fee should have been in the $150,000 to $250,000 range. The complaint was amended Monday to note that three politicians who hired the same consultant – Wendy Greuel, Mike Bonin and Gil Cedillo – paid more than half a million dollars in fees for the primary election, according to expense reports with the Ethics Commission.


Maven's Morning Coffee: questions for the mayoral candidates, county assessor makes bail, Congress prepares for 2014 election

Los Angeles Mayor


Los Angeles Times writer Jim Newton has tough questions for Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel on gangs, the Port of Los Angeles, and political independence.

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 Monday, March 11, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:


In Rick Orlov's Tipoff column, consultant John Shallman congratulates his clients on their success, two Assemblymen easily advance to the Los Angeles City Council, and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa takes a few victory laps.

Los Angeles Times writer Jim Newton says he wants to hear from Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti on gangs, the Port of Los Angeles and political independence. "These two candidates have shown a penchant for caution, for soft responses to hard questions. One result is a disillusioned and disengaged electorate, where most voters ignore the campaign and special interests thus have outsized influence," Newton writes.


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.


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.