Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Maven's Morning Coffee: state lawmakers run for the LA City Council, a power grab at the Metro Board, traffic lights sync up

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Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Supervisor Mike Antonovich chairs the Metro Board and he wants to kick off a Glendale councilman who voted the a different way on a sales tax extension.

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


In Rick Orlov's Tipoff column, school board member Tamar Galatzan interviews mayoral candidates, Councilman Richard Alarcon wishes D.A. Jackie Lacey good luck on most of her cases (presumably not his own), and Councilman Bill Rosendahl campaigns against a plan to move a runway at LAX.

In last night's mayoral debate, Councilman Eric Garcetti attacked Controller Wendy Greuel for inflating the results of her audits, reports KPCC. "It rests on an accounting maneuver and unrealistic projections," he said. The controller stands by the assertion that she found $160 million in waste.


Los Angeles mayor candidates Garcetti, Greuel exchange sharp jabs during TV debate

Forum Mayor Debate

Grant Slater/KPCC

The two leading candidates for mayor of Los Angeles, Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti, at an earlier debate.

You could almost see Los Angeles City Councilman Eric Garcetti preparing his attack when City Controller Wendy Greuel delivered her now familiar campaign pitch during a debate Monday night at Cal State L.A.

“I’ve identified $160 million in waste, fraud and abuse,” Greuel said. “There are efficiencies that we could do today to help solve our budget problem.”

Garcetti pounced.

“Miss Greuel said she identified $160 million in waste, fraud and abuse – something the LA Times said is simply not true,” he said. “It rests on an accounting maneuver and unrealistic projections.”


LA Mayoral candidates prepare for Monday TV debate; Garcetti gets LA Times nod

Forum Mayor Debate

Grant Slater/KPCC

Mayoral candidate and LA City Controller Wendy Greuel sits next to her main rival in the campaign, councilman Eric Garcetti.

With just two weeks to go before Angelenos vote in the primaries, Los Angeles mayoral candidates will gather at the campus of Cal State L.A. for their next televised debate. 

The event will be hosted by the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs and be broadcast live on KABC Channel 7at 6:30 p.m. Frontrunning candidates Eric Garcetti, Wendy Greuel, Kevin James, Jan Perry and Emmanuel Pleitez will answer questions generated by the institute's executive director, Raphael Sonenshein and L.A. League of Women Voters President David Holtzman. ABC7 News anchor Marc Brown will moderate. 


Governor approves parole for convicted killers far more often than his predecessors

Gov. Jerry Brown

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Governor Jerry Brown's office on Friday issued a report of his parole decisions from 2012.

Last year, Governor Jerry Brown approved parole for 377 prisoners convicted of murder, rejected another 91 recommendations for parole, and returned two cases to the Board of Parole Hearings for review.

That puts Brown's parole approval rating at over 80 percent for the second consecutive year, and on the opposite end of the spectrum from former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who rejected most parole recommendations for murderers.

The statistics were part of a report issues Friday by the governor's office.

California law says the governor can only overturn parole recommendations for murderers still deemed a threat, and cannot measure that threat on just the heinousness of the original crime.


Can Richard Riordan put Kevin James into a runoff for Los Angeles mayor?

Former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan endorsed fellow Republican Kevin James for mayor Friday. But how much can he help the fledgling candidate?

Riordan, who served from 1993 until 1999, remains popular among white conservative voters in the city, many of whom reside in the Western San Fernando Valley.  They are also high propensity voters. They’d cast ballots for dogcatcher, if L.A. had one.   Will they listen to Riordan?

In a statement, Riordan praised James as “the only candidate capable of creating real pension reform for the City of Los Angeles.”