Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Race, ethnic lines less visible as Los Angeles picks new mayor

LA Mayor Villraigosa Discusses Immigration Reform In Washington

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa addresses a National Press Club luncheon Jan. 14, 2013 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

Los Angeles voters are picking a new mayor, but the race is far different from the landmark election of Antonio Villaraigosa eight years ago.

Villaraigosa's victory made him the first Hispanic mayor since 1872 and highlighted the clout of a growing Latino population.

With the barrier gone, issues of race and ethnicity have been mostly muted in the nonpartisan contest to succeed him.

There is no Hispanic standard-bearer. The city could elect its first woman mayor, its first Jewish one, or the first gay one.

But jobs, schools and other familiar issues have dominated. The March 5 primary is expected to lead to a May runoff.


Buck McKeon, top GOP on House Armed Services, blames President for sequestration

Rep. Buck McKeon

Kitty Felde/KPCC

Republican Congressman Buck McKeon of Santa Clarita chairs the House Armed Services Committee.

Congress returns to work next week, trying to find an alternative to mandatory budget cuts called “sequestration.” That's the penalty Congressional negotiators came up with if Democrats and Republicans can’t find a way to trim the federal deficit by $1.2 trillion over a decade. Half those cuts will come from the defense department.

Buck McKeon (R-Santa Clarita) chairs the House Armed Services Committee. He says cutting the military that much would be “terrible.”  He blames President Obama for a lack of leadership. As Commander in Chief, McKeon says "he’s the one that should care the most about the troops and he’s using them as pawns." McKeon says he hasn't heard the President talk about defense until the past week, "and they’re the ones that are impacted the most by this.”

McKeon says Congress could buy time by passing his bill – which would use attrition to cut the federal workforce by 10 percent. He says the savings would only cover the first year of scheduled defense cuts, but that would give Congress several months to find a more permanent solution.


La Opinión endorses Eric Garcetti in L.A. mayoral race

Eric Garcetti

Eric Garcetti campaign

La Opinion endorses City Councilman Eric Garcetti for mayor.

La Opinión, the largest and oldest Spanish-language newspaper in the L.A. region, has endorsed City Councilman Eric Garcetti for Los Angeles mayor.

The editorial called Garcetti the best candidate to develop jobs within the city's manufacturing, tourism, retail and entertainment industries. It also said he was most prepared to lead reforms of the city's budget and pension system.

Garcetti, whose paternal grandfather was from Mexico, speaks fluent Spanish. He has a few endorsements from prominent Latinos, including former State Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno and former Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante. However, many more of the area's top Latino leaders, including County Supervisor Gloria Molina and Assembly Speaker John Pérez, have endorsed City Controller Wendy Greuel.


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.