Politics, government and public life for Southern California

VIDEO: Salma Hayek praises Eric Garcetti for...finding her wallet at the North Pole?!

Eric Garcetti

Eric Garcetti campaign

For the second time this week, actress Salma Hayek released a video in support of Councilman Eric Garcetti's mayoral campaign.

Earlier this week, actress Salma Hayek released a video singing the praises of mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti. On Thursday, the campaign released a second video in which the actress describes an encounter with Garcetti … at the North Pole.

About a decade ago, Garcetti and Hayek were part of a group that headed north to bring attention to global warming’s impact on the Inuits. What Hayek found most impressive about the councilman was his determination to find her lost wallet in the snow.

“He came back and he had found my small black dot wallet in the middle of the desert snow and the most impressive part is that all the money was in it,” Hayek says in the video.

So, how does that relate to Garcetti’s run for mayor of Los Angeles? Aside from the fact that he won’t steal your money if he finds your wallet?

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Maven's Morning Coffee: Jerry Brown gets high marks, money talks in mayor's race, a look at Villaraigosa's track record on transit

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A new survey finds 51 percent of California's adults approve of Jerry Brown's job as governor.

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.

The Maven's Morning Coffee is also available as a daily email. Click here to subscribe.

Today is Thursday, Jan. 31 and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:

Headlines

Gov. Jerry Brown's approval rating is at an all-time high, according to Capitol Alert. Fifty-one percent of the state's adults approve of his performance as governor.

KPCC looks at Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's qualifications to be the U.S. Transportation Secretary. "The mayor spearheaded the campaign for Measure R, even as many politicians predicted it would fail to obtain the necessary two-thirds support of voters to pass." Meanwhile, Politico reports that Sen. Barbara Boxer called up the mayor to ask if he wants the job.

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Will Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's transportation track record pass White House muster?

Mayor Villaraigosa talks public transportation

Alice Walton/KPCC

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa joined Sen. Barbara Boxer on top of the San Diego (405) Freeway to celebrate the passage of a federal bill for public transit projects that he lobbied for.

The idea may seem crazy to Southern California drivers who navigate some of the worst traffic in the nation, but L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is among those President Obama may be considering as his next Secretary of Transportation.

The current secretary – Ray LaHood – announced his resignation Tuesday, and President Obama is looking at a Cabinet that includes no Latinos, following the departures of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. Activist groups from throughout the country are calling on the President to make sure Latinos are included in his second-term Cabinet.

If Villaraigosa is considered for the transportation post, the vetting process will surely include a look at the mayor’s record on one of the most vexing issues that faces the region.

Anyone who runs for mayor of Los Angeles promises to improve traffic flow. In 2005, Villaraigosa was no different. But the mayor’s early transportation initiatives were like a compact car – kind of small, says LA StreetsBlog Editor Damien Newton.

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Garcetti campaign announces endorsements from entertainment industry

Eric Garcetti

Howard Pasamanick

Councilman Eric Garcetti has represented the Hollywood area for 12 years. Today, his mayoral campaign announced support from some of the industry's biggest CEOs.

Eric Garcetti has represented Hollywood since 2001 and on Wednesday his mayoral campaign released the names of 200 actors, producers and writers who are supporting him for the city’s top billing.

The list of endorsements follows the recent release of a video in which actress Salma Hayek sings Garcetti’s praises. The councilman’s supporters include former Disney CEO Michael Eisner, David Nevins, president of entertainment at Showtime, and Irving Azoff of Live Nation Entertainment. 

“I am proud to have earned support from so many Hollywood leaders,” Garcetti said in a statement. “More than a half-million jobs in our community are tied to our entertainment industry, and I will make sure we are always the entertainment capital of the world."

However, Hollywood's support for Garcetti has not coalesced into an independent political action committee as is the case with his main opponent, Wendy Greuel. A group called Working Californians, comprised of several Hollywood executives and the DWP employees' union, is raising money on behalf of Greuel. 

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LA Mayoral Race 2013: Firefighters' union endorses Wendy Greuel for mayor (updated)

Auto Shop Fire

Dan Steinberg/AP

The union that represents Los Angeles city firefighters is backing Wendy Greuel for mayor. In 2009, UFLAC spent almost $25,000 to support her race for city controller.

The union that represents Los Angeles’ firefighters endorsed Wendy Greuel for mayor Wednesday, saying she will make government more “accountable.” Unted Firefighters of Los Angeles City represents 3,600 firefighters and paramedics.

This is the second public safety union to back the Greuel campaign. Earlier this month, the Los Angeles Police Protective League endorsed her for mayor. 

“Wendy will work to create jobs and expand our middle class so families across the city can prosper," said UFLAC Local 112 President Frank Lima in a statement. "She’ll prioritize public safety so we can put an end to the dysfunctional Fire Department deployment plan that increases LAFD response times.” 

The endorsement could mean more money — and therefore more exposure — for Greuel. In Greuel’s 2009 race for city controller, UFLAC spent $24,982 on an independent expenditure in her favor. When Mayor Jim Hahn ran for reelection in 2005, the union spent more than $394,000 to support his candidacy, according to the Ethics Commission.

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