Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Bloom's lead over Butler widens in close Westside Assembly race

Richard Bloom Betsy Butler

Richard Bloom campaign/Betsy Butler campaign

Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom leads Assemblywoman Betsy Butler in the close 50th Assembly District race.

Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom's narrow lead has widened to 888 votes over Assemblywoman Betsy Bloom in the still-undecided race to represent the 50th Assembly District. More than 178,000 votes have been counted in the district, which includes Santa Monica, Malibu, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Agoura Hills.

The count was updated Monday as the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder's office carried out its sixth tally of votes that were mailed in, dropped off at polling places or cast as provisional ballots on Nov. 6.

Bloom has led after each of the updated counts, often by a few hundred, but that lead has been as narrow as 79 votes just last week. The next updated count is scheduled for Wednesday, with a possible final update on Monday, if necessary. The county must report results of the Nov. 6 elections to the Secretary of State by Dec. 4, said Registrar spokeswoman Talyssa Gonzales.


Maven's Morning Coffee: Richard Riordan drops pension plan, Kinde Durkee faces eight years, Wendy Greuel picks up Latino support

Richard Riordan


Former Mayor Richard Riordan dropped plans to place a pension reform measure on the May 2013 ballot. Instead, he says he will try to work with the city unions.

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, Nov. 27, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:


Former Mayor Richard Riordan dropped his campaign to place a pension reform measure on the May 2013 ballot, reports KPCC. Instead of going to voters, Riordan says he will try to work with union leadership. "I think this has to be worked through the unions, because in L.A. the unions control the city council," he told the station.

Also, Richard Riordan talked about his pension plan over at Which Way, LA? A Los Angeles Times editorial encourages the mayoral candidates to keep talking about retirement costs.


Segregation on Capitol Hill: Democrats and Republicans kept apart from the start

Newly-elected Democratic Congressman Raul Ruiz has made a few Republican friends during orientation in D.C., but he won't name them because cross-party fraternization is frowned upon.

This week, California’s 14 freshman members of Congress are back in Washington for a second week of orientation. But much of the training is segregated, with Democrats on one side of Capitol Hill and Republicans on another.

During morning sessions, the newbies all learn about setting up a website, how to send constituent mail, how to staff an office. But from lunchtime until late into the evening, Democrats and Republicans are separated. 

Republican Congressman Doug LaMalfa of Redding says, during afternoons with his GOP colleagues, he's witnessed the "hot debate" about conference rules and amendments. "They didn’t take very long to get the verbosity up here," he observed.

Even the meals are segregated.  Speaker John Boehner’s fancy dinner for newcomers in Statuary Hall was GOP only; Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi held her own party for Democratic freshmen.


What's next for Riordan's pension plans?

Richard Riordan


Former L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan has dropped his effort to place pension reform for city employees on next Spring's municipal ballot.

Now that he’s dropped his effort to place his pension plan on the May municipal ballot, former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan says he’ll go directly to union leaders to seek their support.

“I think this has to be worked through the unions, because in L.A. the unions control the city council,” Riordan said.  Most members of the council had expressed opposition to his plan.

It was a quick turn of events Monday for the wealthy businessman.  After campaigning for weeks to place his pension reform plan on the ballot, he announced that his paid signature gatherers simply did not have enough time to collect the 265,000 signatures needed by a December 28th  deadline.  They had collected more than 100,000 so far, according to a spokesman.

But Riordan also conceded city labor unions helped foil his campaign by loudly denouncing it and sending members to grocery stores to discourage people from signing his petition. Riordan, 83, says he will not give up.


Latino leaders endorse Wendy Greuel for mayor of Los Angeles

Wendy Greuel

Greuel Campaign

Mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel announced a long list of endorsements from Latino leaders Monday, including many local politicians she would have to count on if elected.

To become the next mayor of Los Angeles, candidates must build coalitions and, to that end, Wendy Greuel announced Monday a slate of Latino leaders who back her run for the city's top job. 

The list is similar to a move made by Councilman Eric Garcetti, who is the only Latino in the mayor’s race. (He is of Mexican ancestry on his father’s side.) Several months ago, Garcetti released his own list of Latino supporters.

However, Greuel’s supporters include politicians whose votes she would likely need if elected. They include: current L.A. City Councilman Jose Huizar; Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes, who is running for city council; and LAUSD board member Nury Martinez, who will likely run for a council seat.

Also endorsing Greuel are: L.A. City Councilman Tony Cardenas, who is headed to Congress; State Sen. Alex Padilla, a former member of the city council; and Assemblyman-elect Raul Bocanegra.