Represent! | Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Eric Garcetti's quest for Los Angeles mayor: He's smart enough, but is he tough enough? (Photos)

Eric Garcetti walks through the Chinese New Years celebration on February 16th, 2013. Garcetti has played a key role in revitalizing his district in Hollywood.
Mae Ryan/KPCC
05:17

In Los Angeles, political candidates sometimes try to build their street credibility by talking about witnessing gang violence firsthand . Eric Garcetti tells of coming under fire in 1993 – at an airport in northern Cambodia.

“As the plane was about to land, Khmer Rouge rebels came out of the jungle and shelled the airport,” Garcetti recalls. “Luckily, it didn’t hit the terminal, but it did hit some soldiers and killed one of them close by.”

RELATED:  KPCC's coverage of the 2013 LA mayoral race

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

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

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.

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

Republican Congressman Buck McKeon of Santa Clarita chairs the House Armed Services Committee.
Kitty Felde/KPCC
00:58

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.

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

La Opinion endorses City Councilman Eric Garcetti for mayor.
Eric Garcetti campaign
00:55

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.

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

A view of the California State Capitol Feb. 19, 2009 in Sacramento.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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.

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