Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Maven's Morning Coffee: city attorney candidates debate, Universal Studios expands, Wendy Greuel seeks more public safety

Roberto (Bear) Guerra

City attorney candidates, including incumbent Carmen Trutanich, left, appeared on KPCC's AirTalk to debate the major issues in their race.

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, Feb. 6 and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:

Headlines

KPCC's AirTalk hosted a debate with three of the candidates for city attorney. "Political observers say (Carmen) Trutanich is vulnerable in this election because of his unexpected defeat last year in the race for L.A. County district attorney," according to the station.

What does Gov. Jerry Brown make of Texas' efforts to lure California businesses to the Lone Star State? "It's not a serious story, guys. It's not a burp. It's barely a fart," per Capitol Alert.

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PHOTOS, AUDIO: LA city attorney candidates get feisty in KPCC debate

City Attorney Candidates

Rebecca Hill/KPCC

Candidates for Los Angeles City attorney, (from left) Carmen Trutanich, Mike Feuer and Greg Smith, face off in a debate in the AirTalk studios at the Mohn Broadcast Center on February 5.

City Attorney Candidates

Rebecca Hill/KPCC

City Attorney Candidate Mike Feuer.

City Attorney Candidates

Rebecca Hill/KPCC

City Attorney Candidate Greg Smith.

City Attorney Candidates

Rebecca Hill/KPCC

City Attorney Candidate Carmen Trutanich.

Mike Feuer

Rebecca Hill/KPCC

City Attorney Candidate Mike Feuer.

City Attorney Candidates

Rebecca Hill/KPCC

City Attorney Candidate Greg Smith.

City Attorney Candidates

Rebecca Hill/KPCC

City Attorney Candidate Carmen Trutanich.


The three leading candidates for Los Angeles City Attorney clashed in a heated debate Tuesday afternoon on KPCC’s AirTalk.

Incumbent Carmen Trutanich endured the most fire.

“Horrible morale, the deputies are constantly complaining,” private attorney Greg Smith said of Trutanich’s office. “They do not have the equipment to fulfill their duties. They don’t have a color copy machine – they haven’t had it for a year.”

“Sure, we have issues,” Trutanich said.  But he blamed budget cuts imposed by the city council and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

“Our lawyers are furloughed 36 days a year – not by me, but by the mayor,” Trutanich said.  The number of lawyers in his office has plummeted from 647 to 475, he said.

“But at the end of the day, they realize they have a real prosecutor as city attorney,” said Trutanich, who is a former deputy district attorney.

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LA City Council OKs third ballot measure on medical marijuana

San Francisco Patients Smoke Marijuana

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A third measure regulating medical marijuana clinics will appear on the May ballot thanks to a vote of the Los Angeles City Council.

It’s official: a third medical marijuana measure is headed to the City of L.A.'s May ballot.

The proposal from L.A. City Councilman Paul Koretz would limit the operation of storefront clinics to those stores that opened prior to the city’s marijuana moratorium in September of 2007. It would increase the taxes paid by clinic owners, from $50 per $1,000 of gross receipts to $60, and place restrictions on operating near schools and libraries.

The measure is backed by a coalition made up of Americans for Safe Access and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. That group has its own measure on the May 21 ballot. However, organizers hope voters will see the City Hall proposal as something of a compromise. A third measure on the ballot, from Angelenos for Safe Access, would increase the tax on shops but not limit the number that can operate in the city.

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California House members stake out positions on immigration reform

Mercer 11903

AP / Alex Brandon

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., argued on behalf of state agriculture interests during Tuesday's immigration reform hearing before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee.

A bipartisan group of U.S.  House members has been meeting to work out an immigration reform bill both sides can support. Exactly what’s in that plan is still up in the air. But the first House immigration hearing makes it clear where both sides agree…and where they do not.

The line in the sand for Democrats is citizenship, not legalization — what they see as second class status — for the estimated 11 million people who illegally reside in the United States.

Democratic Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren of San Jose is a member of the bipartisan group looking for compromise.  "With the exception of slavery and the Chinese exclusion act," she said,  our laws have never barred persons from becoming citizens. "And we should not start now."

But Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee nearly unanimously say legalization should be enough. Several pointed to belief in the rule of law as the opposite of granting citizenship to people who broke the law to get here. GOP Representative Blake Farenthold of Texas worried what message it would send to the next wave of immigrants who want to illegally cross the border. Alabama Republican Spencer Bachus called citizenship the "toxic" issue that could derail the prospects of passing an immigration reform bill.

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LA Mayoral Race 2013: Wendy Greuel wants to increase LAPD, LAFD ranks without new taxes (updated)

Wendy Greuel

Alice Walton/KPCC

Controller Wendy Greuel says that as mayor, she will increase the size of the LAPD to 12,000 officers and LAFD to 4,000 firefighters and paramedics.

The unions that represent police officers and firefighters endorsed Wendy Greuel for L.A. mayor and on Tuesday, she announced a plan to increase their ranks by the year 2020.

Standing outside the headquarters of United Firefighters of Los Angeles City, Greuel pledged to increase the Los Angeles Police Department’s ranks to 12,000 officers by 2020. LAPD crossed the 10,000 cops threshold last month when it folded General Services officers into the department. The Greuel campaign also called for hiring about 1,000 paramedics and firefighters to get the Fire Department to 4,000 personnel.

“L.A.’s police officers and firefighters understand that keeping our city safe isn’t just about getting tough on crime. It’s about giving our first responders the resources and technologies they deserve,” Greuel said.

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