Politics, government and public life for Southern California

As Big Bear processes Dorner incident, area Congressman is cautious about new gun laws

Republican Congressman Paul Cook of Big Bear says targeting guns alone is not enough, we also have to “examine what we’re doing" to produce people like Christopher Dorner.

In his State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Obama called for a vote on new legislation designed to prevent gun violence. One of those listening from the House floor was Paul Cook, the newly-elected Congressman who represents Big Bear, where former L.A. police officer Christopher Dorner appears to have made his last stand.

Cook, a Republican, believes the shootout could make his constituents less inclined to support restrictions on guns.

Cook says his first thoughts Tuesday were for the families of the officers shot by Dorner. But the freshman lawmaker says this week’s brush with violence in the San Gabriel mountains doesn’t mean he or his constituents will embrace restrictions on gun ownership.

The immediate reaction of people in the Big Bear area, Cook says, will probably be less support for legislation that limits personal weapons, so "they can defend themselves against somebody that comes in there."

Cook says he wants to look “carefully” at any legislation aimed at reducing gun violence. But targeting guns alone is not enough; he says we've got to look at ourselves as a culture and “examine what we’re doing to produce people” like Dorner.


Maven's Morning Coffee: Christopher Dorner believed to be dead, Los Angeles Times opposes Measure A, leading candidates bicker over Hollywood development

Christopher Dorner Big Bear Manhunt

Courtesy KTLA

A screenshot showing a cabin on fire near Big Bear where police surrounded a man they believe to be murder suspect Christopher Dorner following two gun battles on Feb. 12, 2013. A deputy was killed in one of the battles.

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Today is Wednesday, Feb. 13 and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:


Former LAPD Officer Christopher Dorner is believed to have died in Big Bear following a standoff with law enforcement. A charred body was found inside a cabin after a shootout left one sheriff's deputy dead. Police are expected to release more details at a morning briefing. KPCC, Los Angeles Times

During Tuesday's standoff, media helicopters were asked by law enforcement to leave the scene and cut their lives feeds, reports the Daily News.


Rookies in California's congressional delegation review State of the Union experience

President Obama delivers his State of the Union address Tuesday night to a joint session of Congress.

Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Landov

President Obama delivers his State of the Union address Tuesday night to a joint session of Congress.

Tuesday night was the first State of the Union address for more than a dozen new California congressional representatives. It wasn’t quite what most expected.

Republican freshman David Valadao of the Central Valley noticed several things right away: How bright it was in the chamber for all the TV cameras, and how long it took to get everybody on the floor when the cabinet and Supreme Court justices  and other dignitaries arrived.

"It was a process," he said.

Democrat Scott Peters from San Diego says sitting on the House floor is different than it looks on C-Span. "When you watch it on TV, it seems like there’s a lot more activity," he says. But sitting "in the middle of the sea of people, there’s a lot of down time."

Peters says he resisted the temptation to turn on his phone and tweet during the President’s speech. He says he wanted to pay attention to how fellow members reacted to what the President was saying.

The speech itself reminded Long Beach Democratic freshman Alan  Lowenthal of the existentialist writer Albert Camus. The former California State University professor said the President's message echoed Camus' phrase, "in the midst of winter, I found within me an invincible summer."

Last night’s State of the Union address was unusual in one respect: Several rookie California congressional members chose to sit with someone from the other party. Republican Valadao sat with Democrats Eric Swalwell and Juan Vargas; Democrat Janice Hahn sat with Republican Congressman Michael Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania; Democrat Ami Bera of Sacramento sat with Republican Ed Royce of Fullerton. Bera said it was great.

"It’s a spirit of bipartisanship," said Bera.

He said the President touched on bipartisanship in his speech.

"The challenges that we face are not Democrat vs. Republican," Bera said. "We have to approach these challenges as Americans."

Bera, Hahn and freshman Democrat Jared Huffman are members of the No Labels group, which is trying to foster a spirit of Congressional bipartisanship.

Bera noted there were times during the President’s speech when both Democrats and Republicans actually stood up together to applaud.


LA Area Chamber of Commerce endorses Wendy Greuel for mayor

Wendy Greuel

Wendy Greuel Campaign

City Controller Wendy Greuel has added another significant endorsement to the growing list of backers for her mayoral bid.

The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce endorsed Wendy Greuel for mayor Tuesday, putting the pro-business group on the same side as some of the city’s most powerful unions.

The Chamber joins the Los Angeles Police Protective League, United Firefighters of Los Angeles City and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in backing the city controller for the mayor's office.

“Wendy has a long record of working with the Chamber to champion job creation and build a stronger economy in Los Angeles,” said Gary Toebben, president and CEO of the L.A. Area Chamber.

“She brings a unique combination of political leadership and knowing what it takes to run a successful family-owned business.”

Greuel is running against Council members Eric Garcetti and Jan Perry, attorney Kevin James and tech executive Emanuel Pleitez in the March 5 primary.


City Hall union backs Measure A, declines to endorse in mayor's race

Bob Schoonover, president of SEIU Local 721, says “the upcoming city elections are critical to the future of Los Angeles."

The union that represents more than 10,000 city workers endorsed a proposed half-cent sales tax increase Tuesday, though the group declined to back a candidate in the mayor’s race.

Members of SEIU Local 721 voted to support Measure A, though a committee for the union urged opposition to the tax when it was proposed last fall. The Los Angeles Times reported that council President Herb Wesson, the architect of the tax, spoke to union members two weeks ago. A spokesman for Wesson was not available to confirm that, while representatives for the union said they decided to back Measure A after studying the impact of the tax. The measure appears on the March 5 ballot. 

“The upcoming city elections are critical to the future of Los Angeles," said Bob Schoonover, president of SEIU Local 721. "We need champions of working families at City Hall who have a clear vision to move our city forward. Our members believe that these candidates have the energy and ideas to do it.”