Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Netflix 'House of Cards' star Kevin Spacey got real-life tips from Bakersfield Rep. Kevin McCarthy

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Kitty Felde

House of Representatives Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (right) with Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

It’s a big deal to be the Majority Whip, the third most powerful Republican in the House of Representatives. Bakersfield Congressman Kevin McCarthy is the current Whip. But another Kevin is casting a dark shadow over the job. Actor Kevin Spacey picked up some insider tips from the real-life Whip for his lead role in the Netflix political drama “House of Cards.”

"House of Cards" is an American version of the BBC drama of the same name. In it, Spacey introduces his Washington to the audience, calling himself "the lowly House Majority Whip" who keeps things moving in a Congress "choked by pettiness and lassitude." The Whip's job description, Spacey's character says, is to "clear the pipes and keep the sludge moving."

Spacey visited Washington to pick the brain of the real Majority Whip, Kevin McCarthy, who gave the actor a tour of the Capitol and accompanied him onto the House floor, discussing the Whip’s day-to-day responsibilities.


LA Mayoral Race 2013: Teachers union is backing Garcetti with words, but no money

A student on his way to school walks pas


Mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti and city attorney hopeful Mike Feuer were each endorsed by UTLA Thursday.

The union that represents Los Angeles Unified School District teachers has weighed in on the city’s March 5 municipal election and backed Eric Garcetti for mayor.

The governing body of United Teachers Los Angeles voted 146 to 12 to back the councilman’s campaign. Unlike other big city mayors, such as New York and Chicago, the mayor of Los Angeles does not have control over the public school district. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa tried to change that during his tenure, ultimately with limited success. (An organization he created, the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, manages 22 schools.)

“We look forward to working with Eric Garcetti as mayor," said UTLA President Warren Fletcher. "He listens to teachers. He understands the importance of our expertise and our commitment to educating students.” 


Maven's Morning Coffee: Cardinal Mahony relieved of public duties, Downtown News endorses Jan Perry, former Assemblyman runs for Community College Board

Xavier de Jauréguiberry / Flickr

The personnel files of more than 120 priests believed to have molested children were released Thursday by the Catholic Church.

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Today is Friday, Feb. 1 and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:


Cardinal Roger M. Mahony has been relieved of all his public duties because of his handling of sexual abuse cases involving children. The move coincides with the release of personnel files involving more than 120 priests accused of molesting children. Los Angeles Times, KPCC, The New York Times

The Downtown News endorsed Jan Perry for mayor. "She has shown significant skill in creative problem solving, which is the most important trait a leader has to possess, as evidenced by her key role in the last decade in the phenomenal emergence of Downtown Los Angeles as a place to live, work and spend free time. At the same time, she has found ways with her leadership skills to aid and improve Skid Row and South Los Angele," according to the newspaper.


LA Area Chamber of Commerce backs sales tax increase

A measure that would increase the City of L.A. sales tax by a half percent was endorsed Thursday by the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.

The tax increase, if approved, would generate enough money to close next year’s projected $216 million deficit. 

“Public safety will be threatened if Measure A fails. It was a tough decision, but to avoid layoffs of police officers and firemen it was necessary that we support Measure A,” said Gary Toebben, president and CEO of the Chamber.

Usually averse to tax hikes, chamber members supported the measure, in part, because the city has promised to create a Commission on Fiscal Sustainability, Toebben said. 

The Los Angeles City Council agreed to place the measure on the March 5 ballot over the objections of four of its members. Two dissenters will appear on that same ballot as mayoral candidates – Jan Perry and Eric Garcetti. Dennis Zine, who is running for city controller, also voted against the tax. (The fourth vote was Councilman Mitch Englander, who is not up for re-election.)


Democratic PAC to target San Bernardino Congressman Gary Miller in 2014

Rep. Gary Miller (R-San Bernardino)

Dennis Cook/AP

Longtime Republican Congressman Gary Miller (R-San Bernardino) is on a Democratic PAC list of vulnerable districts in the 2014 election.

Believe it or not, the 2014 election season is already heating up. A Democratic political action committee has picked its top ten Republican House targets for next year. One is a San Bernardino Congressman who's served on the Hill since 1999.

Gary Miller represented Diamond Bar for a dozen years. New Congressional boundaries put him in the same district as another GOP stalwart, Ed Royce. So, last year, Miller ran — and won — in the newly- drawn 31st district in San Bernardino.

Andy Stone with the Democratic House Majority PAC calls Miller "the most endangered Republican incumbent in the entire country." Stone says Miller's new district is "overwhelmingly Democratic," with a large Latino population. Voter registration in the district does favor Democrats, though there is a large contingent of people who claim a third party or none at all.