Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Maven's Morning Coffee: a debate over LA's finances, child abuse in LA County, an end to a sister city relationship?

Wall Street Protest Spreads To Other Cities

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Incumbents and candidates continue to bicker over the city of Los Angeles' finances. Meanwhile, one councilman wants to end a sister city relationship with St. Petersburg.

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 Thursday, Feb. 14 and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:

Headlines

L.A. City Councilman Paul Krekorian objects to the mayoral candidates' stances that they can fix the city budget without increasing taxes, reports the Daily News. "Those who say we can solve our problems by waste, fraud and abuse ... is clearly nonsense. There are some who say if we merely attract more business ... clearly is not enough in itself," he says.

A confidential report from Los Angeles County found children have remained in unsafe homes and died at the hands of caretakers, reports the Los Angeles Times. The report found often the most inexperienced social workers were put in charge of assessing dangers to children. "Supervisors are poorly qualified and often disregard policy, creating a situation akin to 'the blind leading the blind'," according to the newspaper.

Read More...

After three decades in politics, Wendy Greuel hopes to win LA's top job

Wendy Greuel Profile

Grant Slater/KPCC

Mayoral Candidate Wendy Greuel comes down the stairs at the opening of her field office in Boyle Heights with her son Thomas, her husband Dean Schramm, Councilman José Huizar and State Assembly Speaker John Pérez.

Wendy Greuel Profile

Grant Slater/KPCC

Mayoral Candidate Wendy Greuel speaks at an event in Boyle Heights designed to reach out to Latino voters. The event featured a mariachi group and chants of "¡Sí, se puede!"

Wendy Greuel Profile

Grant Slater/KPCC

A supporter hugs mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel after she opened her field office in Boyle Heights.

Wendy Greuel Profile

Grant Slater/KPCC

Mayoral Candidate Wendy Greuel plays with children in Los Angeles' first parklet in Highland Park.

Wendy Greuel Profile

Grant Slater/KPCC

Greuel's son Thomas waits for her to finish shaking hands at a debate at Leo Baeck Temple in the Sepulveda Pass.

Wendy Greuel Profile

Grant Slater/KPCC

Greuel takes the stage for a forum at John Burroughs Middle School in Mid-Wilshire after being introduced by Councilman Tom LaBonge.

Wendy Greuel Profile

Grant Slater/KPCC

Greuel and members of her entourage descend the staircase at the Autry National Center in Griffith Park for a forum sponsored by the Los Feliz Improvement Association.

Wendy Greuel Profile

Grant Slater/KPCC

Greuel stands with other candidates in the mayor's race as they prepare to take the stage at a forum at the Autry National Center in Griffith Park sponsored by the Los Feliz Improvement Association.

Wendy Greuel Profile

Grant Slater/KPCC

City Controller Wendy Greuel participates in the opening of Los Angeles' first parklet in Highland Park.

Wendy Greuel Profile

Grant Slater/KPCC

Mayoral Candidate Wendy Greuel speaks with firefighters in Boyle Heights. Greuel has the endorsement of the city's police and firefighter unions. Critics say those and other endorsements are a sign that Greuel would be beholden to unions as mayor.

Wendy Greuel Profile

Grant Slater/KPCC

Martin Romero, owner of a medicinal marijuana collective, buttonholes mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel on a crosswalk on York Boulevard in Highland Park during a public event. Greuel has said she hopes to tighten regulations on marijuana clinics in the city.

Wendy Greuel Profile

Grant Slater/KPCC

Mayoral Candidate Wendy Greuel speaks at a forum at Mt. Gilead Baptist Church in South Los Angeles sponsored by the local chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Wendy Greuel Profile

Grant Slater/KPCC

Greuel campaign volunteers set up decorations at a new field office the campaign opened in Boyle Heights.

Wendy Greuel Profile

Grant Slater/KPCC

Mayoral Candidate Wendy Greuel speaks with supporters on York Boulevard in Highland Park. Politicians and staff who have worked with Greuel since the 1980s describe her as someone who builds and maintains relationships.

Wendy Greuel Profile

Grant Slater/KPCC

City Controller Wendy Greuel speaks at the opening of her campaign's Boyle Heights field office flanked by Councilman José Huizar and State Assembly Speaker John Pérez. Racking up endorsements has been a major part of Greuel's strategy.


Wendy Greuel didn’t grow up thinking about politics, but as the student body president of John F. Kennedy High School in the San Fernando Valley, she got an opportunity that would change her life – she met then-Mayor Tom Bradley.

She was 17 at the time. As a student at UCLA, Greuel interned in the Mayor’s Office. Her first job was as an assistant to Bradley in the Office of Youth Development. 

“I had fallen in love with Tom Bradley — in a good way,” Greuel said during a recent interview in her Boyle Heights campaign office. 

As she crisscrosses the city for her mayoral quest, Greuel — who has served as L.A.'s City Controller since 2009 — likes to cite her work with Bradley. She invokes his name so much that two of her opponents — including Councilwoman Jan Perry, who is African-American — have a running bet to guess how many times Greuel mentions the former mayor during a debate. 

Read More...

Will Ferrell endorses Eric Garcetti for mayor in new video

Eric Garcetti’s mayoral campaign is hoping a bump in turnout from young voters will lead the councilman to victory on March 5 and, to that end, his camp has released another celebrity video, this time from comedian Will Ferrell. 

Ferrell's spot follows two videos from actress Salma Hayek.

“I want a city that is vibrant and healthy for my three sons and my four illegitimate children to grow up in,” Ferrell jokes. 

The comedian goes on to describe how Garcetti wrote Olivia Newton-John’s 1981 jam, “Let’s Get Phyiscal,” and once talked Ferrell out of flying C-1 cargo planes for the Air Force … at the age of 38.

The video is part of the campaign’s effort to appeal to voters ages 18-to-29.

“We know that young voters are often not as tuned into traditional media and so, definitely, we’re using every vehicle we can to communicate with them,” says Bill Carrick with the Garcetti campaign. 

Read More...

As Big Bear processes Dorner incident, area Congressman is cautious about new gun laws

Republican Congressman Paul Cook of Big Bear says targeting guns alone is not enough, we also have to “examine what we’re doing" to produce people like Christopher Dorner.

In his State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Obama called for a vote on new legislation designed to prevent gun violence. One of those listening from the House floor was Paul Cook, the newly-elected Congressman who represents Big Bear, where former L.A. police officer Christopher Dorner appears to have made his last stand.

Cook, a Republican, believes the shootout could make his constituents less inclined to support restrictions on guns.

Cook says his first thoughts Tuesday were for the families of the officers shot by Dorner. But the freshman lawmaker says this week’s brush with violence in the San Gabriel mountains doesn’t mean he or his constituents will embrace restrictions on gun ownership.

The immediate reaction of people in the Big Bear area, Cook says, will probably be less support for legislation that limits personal weapons, so "they can defend themselves against somebody that comes in there."

Cook says he wants to look “carefully” at any legislation aimed at reducing gun violence. But targeting guns alone is not enough; he says we've got to look at ourselves as a culture and “examine what we’re doing to produce people” like Dorner.

Read More...

Maven's Morning Coffee: Christopher Dorner believed to be dead, Los Angeles Times opposes Measure A, leading candidates bicker over Hollywood development

Christopher Dorner Big Bear Manhunt

Courtesy KTLA

A screenshot showing a cabin on fire near Big Bear where police surrounded a man they believe to be murder suspect Christopher Dorner following two gun battles on Feb. 12, 2013. A deputy was killed in one of the battles.

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

Headlines

Former LAPD Officer Christopher Dorner is believed to have died in Big Bear following a standoff with law enforcement. A charred body was found inside a cabin after a shootout left one sheriff's deputy dead. Police are expected to release more details at a morning briefing. KPCC, Los Angeles Times

During Tuesday's standoff, media helicopters were asked by law enforcement to leave the scene and cut their lives feeds, reports the Daily News.

Read More...