Represent! | Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Maven's Morning Coffee: Villaraigosa's legacy on public safety, LA to end use of coal, Jose Huizar returns from DC

KPCC looks at Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's legacy on public safety and who should get credit for a drop in crime.
David McNew/Getty Images

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, March 20, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:

Headlines

KPCC looks at who should get credit for Los Angeles' drop in crime. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa "embraced (former Chief Bill) Bratton, who receives a lot of credit for turning the LAPD around and delivering the dramatic drops in crime by introducing new technology and cooperating more with federal agencies," according to the station.

Mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel tells the Los Angeles Times that in fact she doesn't want to reopen negotiations on a pension plan approved last year -- she just wants to talk to union leaders. An earlier remark from Greuel that she wanted to begin new labor talks drew concern from one of her backers -- the LA Area Chamber of Commerce. "We want to make sure we are not on opposite sides of this discussion," said the Chamber's Gary Toebben.

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Who gets credit for crime drop during Villaraigosa's tenure? (photos)

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (R) speaks with Deputy LAPD Chief Charlie Beck as they enjoy coffee and chat together at Getty House; the Mayors official residence November 3, 2009 in Los Angeles. The twp later would head outside to a press conference where the Mayor will announce his choice of Beck to head the LAPD.
Pool/Getty Images
05:37

The drop in crime in Los Angeles since Antonio Villaraigosa became mayor in 2005 has been astounding:

  • Total violent crime plummeted 40.2 percent.
  • Gang crime fell 37.5 percent.
  • Total property crime dropped 23.6 percent.

Figuring out why requires going back to the day after Villaraigosa was elected. The new mayor-elect gathered with a group of mostly African-American supporters in the Crenshaw District.

“Earlier this morning, I met with [LAPD] Chief Bill Bratton to discuss our mutual support for one another,” he told the crowd.
 
The irony was thick. Villaraigosa defeated incumbent Mayor Jim Hahn in part because of Hahn’s decision to dismiss Bratton’s African-American predecessor, Bernard Parks, a beloved figure in the black community. Hahn lost his once bedrock support among African-Americans.

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San Gabriel withholds election results as D.A. reviews misconduct complaint

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San Gabriel's city clerk has delayed filing official results of the March 5 election and swearing in new City Council members for at least a week while officials investigate complaints of misconduct in the election.

Normally, results in the election of three council members, treasurer, city clerk plus a ballot measure would have been certified two weeks after the election and the newly-elected members would have been sworn in.

The Los Angeles District Attorney Public Integrity Unit is reviewing an e-mail complaint it received about San Gabriel's election, spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said Monday. She declined to say more about the complaint.

San Gabriel Assistant City Manager Marcella Marlowe also declined to be specific about the reason for the delayed certification of the election results, saying in an e-mail that due to high public interest in the election, the "post-election process has taken longer than usual to complete."

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Jesuits in the Vatican and on Capitol Hill

Congressman Juan Vargas, (D-Chula Vista)
Courtesy KPBS
01:02

Pope Francis, who celebrated his first mass Tuesday morning in Rome, is the first Jesuit to head the Catholic Church. A congressman from San Diego might have found his way to Rome too, but instead is now serving in the nation’s capitol.

Democratic freshman Congressman Juan Vargas spent five years as a Jesuit. Had he continued with the religious order, perhaps that could have been him waving to the crowd in St. Peter’s Square.

"Well, that would have been a cool job!” Vargas said.

The congressman said the Jesuits taught him that you have to make changes for social justice. He worked with Central American refugees and became a lawyer working on political asylum cases.

Juan Vargas is not the only former Jesuit in California politics these days: Governor Jerry Brown is also a former novitiate from the order.

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Maven's Morning Coffee: Wendy Greuel talks pensions, Villaraigosa's legacy on education, a $35 million claim against city following a shooting death

Mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel, who has been endorsed by every major City Hall unions, tells the Los Angeles Times she wants to revisit changes the city council made to pension benefits for new employees.
David McNew/Getty Images

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 Tuesday, March 19, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:

Headlines

Mayor candidate Wendy Greuel wants to reopen talks with City Hall unions to bargain a new pension tier approved last year by the Los Angeles City Council, reports the Los Angeles Times. Greuel says she supports the higher retirement age and the elimination of health care benefits for spouses, but believes the city council should have bargained in good faith before approving the changes. The pension proposal would apply to civilian workers hired after July 1.

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