Politics, government and public life for Southern California

California Democrats lose state Senate two-thirds supermajority — for now

Schwarzenegger Holds Press Conference On Passing Of California Budget

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A view of the California State Capitol Feb. 19, 2009 in Sacramento.

Central Valley state Senator Michael Rubio abruptly resigned Friday to head California governmental affairs at Chevron.

With two state Senate seats already vacant, Rubio’s departure pushes Democrats’ numbers below the two-thirds majority they need to raise taxes without Republican support or override a gubernatorial veto.

That is, until, or if, another Democrat wins a senate seat—and that could be as early as 3 weeks from now:

Assemblyman Ben Hueso stands a strong chance of winning a March 12 primary for state Senate District 40 in San Diego, vacated by Juan Vargas.  If he does Senate Democrats regain the majority.

Torrance Assemblywoman Norma Torres, is considered less likely to her primary election for the Riverside senate seat vacated by Gloria Negrete Mcleod.  But even with a runoff in Senate District 32—Democrats would hold onto their two-thirds majority until… Senator Curren Price leaves to take a seat on the LA City Council, presuming he wins.


CA House Democrats not completely united on citizenship for undocumented immigrants

Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod

Congresswoman Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-Ontario) says Republican opposition to a path to citizenship is likely based on how new citizens may vote.

It’s often said that trying to keep Democrats together is like herding cats. That’s true with California's Congressional delegation — at least on some immigration issues.

Democrats sometimes sound like they’re reading off the same page. Literally. Henry Waxman of Los Angeles says a comprehensive immigration bill "should give people a pathway to citizenship." Judy Chu of Monterey Park says "immigration reform must have a roadmap to citizenship." Adam Schiff of Burbank: "There has to be some pathway to citizenship for them."

Democrats have made a path to citizenship the centerpiece of comprehensive immigration reform. But two of the newest California Democrats on Capitol Hill aren’t ready to walk that path just yet.

Congresswoman Gloria Negrete McLeod, who represents the Ontario area, says she has to give "some thought" to granting citizenship rather than legal status to the undocumented. She reflects about people in the U.S. who have green cards.


Maven's Morning Coffee: Eric Garcetti's record, mayoral candidates talk transit, an endorsement in CD 11

Forum Mayor Debate

Grant Slater/KPCC

The Los Angeles Times looks at how Eric Garcetti handled labor negotiations when he was the city council president.

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 Friday, Feb. 22, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:


The Los Angeles Times looks at the role Eric Garcetti played in negotiations with labor groups back when he was council president. "Critics find Garcetti too malleable, ready to shift to the last argument he has heard. But others appreciate his quest for the middle, saying the fact he sometimes irritated both budget hard-liners and unions showed he had taken a reasoned approach," according to the newspaper.

The LA Weekly profiles Emanuel Pleitez as the "most amazing person" who won't win the mayoral primary.


Wendy Greuel, Eric Garcetti each top $4 million mark in fundraising

Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association mayoral debate.

Rebecca Hill/KPCC

With 12 days until the primary, Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti remain virtually tied in fundraising. At the same time, the Greuel campaign released a graphic defending her claim that as controller, she has identified $160 million in waste, fraud and abuse.

Wendy Greuel Truth Squad

Wendy Greuel Campaign

Wendy Greuel's campaign released this graphic on social media Thursday to defend against allegations that numbers from her audits as controller are not accurate.

With just 12 days to go until the primary, mayoral frontrunners Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel remain neck-and-neck in fundraising, according to the latest figures filed to the City of L.A. Ethics Commission.

Between Jan. 20 and Feb. 16, Garcetti raised $452,819, bringing his total to $4.13 million. During the same time, Greuel raised $473,582, giving her a grand total of $4.07 million. (Both candidates have each qualified for an additional $667,000 in matching funds.)

The Greuel campaign has also benefited from $1.2 million in independent expenditures from political action committees, including Working Californians and the Police Protective League. A PAC supporting Garcetti is expected to start spending after the primary. He and Greuel are virtually tied in the polls and are expected to advance to the May 21 runoff.


Jerry Brown goes to Washington to build relationships with other governors

Gov. Jerry Brown

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Jerry Brown is in Washington, D.C. for the annual meeting of the nation's governors. A couple of them have recently visited the Golden State, seeking to woo businesses away.

Gov. Jerry Brown is in Washington for the annual gathering of governors from around the country, and he'll have his work cut out for him.

Unlike his predecessor, Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger, Democrat Brown is a rare visitor to the nation’s capitol. Last winter, he attended the National Governors Association’s meeting but also met with a cabinet secretary to talk about Medi-Cal reimbursement. This year, the Governor’s office says his only agenda is to “build relationships” with other governors.

He may have some work to do.

Earlier this month, Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry ran ads in California inviting businesses to “check out Texas.” Brown called the ads “barely a fart.” A second governor, Republican Terry Branstad of Iowa, is in California this week to deliver the message that it's less expensive to do business in the Hawkeye State.

Last fall, another GOP governor, Chris Christie of New Jersey, called Brown an “old retread.” The 74-year old Californian challenged Christie to a three-mile race, pushups and chin-ups. The portly Christie declined to take him up on the offer.

Brown will join other governors at a Monday meeting with the President. He’s also expected to talk with fellow governors about California’s climate change law.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The headline on an earlier version if this story inaccurately stated that Gov. Brown was in D.C. to "repair" relationships with other governors.