Politics, government and public life for Southern California

California representatives split on Obama gun control proposals

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John Moore/Getty Images

Congressman Adam Schiff of the Burbank/Glendale area is introducing a pair of bills - one to help victims of gun violence hold gun makers and sellers accountable for negligence, and one to crack down on straw purchasers of guns.

Congressional Democrats are lining up to keep gun control on the front burner following the Newtown school shootings. Just hours after President Barack Obama outlined his proposals, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California announced she’ll introduce her assault weapons ban bill next Thursday.

Congressman Adam Schiff of Burbank introduced a pair of bills — one to ensure that victims of gun violence have the same rights to hold gun makers and gun sellers accountable for negligence, and one to crack down on straw purchasers of guns. And nearly a dozen of California's congressional Democrats joined other Democrats at a special hearing on the impact of gun violence.

Contra Costa County Congressman Mike Thompson  said no set of laws will end these senseless acts of violence. "But that’s no excuse for sitting around and doing nothin’," he said. Thompson heads a House gun violence task force. He called the challenge complex, but said every idea "and everyone needs to be at that table in order for us to be successful."

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Playing the Villaraigosa-Cabinet speculation game (UPDATED)

LA Mayor Villraigosa Discusses Immigration Reform In Washington

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa remains the subject of speculation over a Cabinet post in the Obama administration.

UPDATE: Ken Salazar's decision to leave as Secretary of the Interior, announced Wednesday, puts more pressure on the Obama Administration to name Latinos to his Cabinet. 

ORIGINAL STORY: Everyone in Washington considers themselves smarter than anyone else in the room and therefore entitled to prognosticate on everything under the sun. Here's my punditry on the matter of where L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa might land in a second Obama admistration cabinet, should his personal life survive the vetting process:

There are currently two cabinet posts vacant at the moment: Labor and head of the Environmental Protection Agency. Neither is a good fit for Villaraigosa.

The mayor might argue he's been a leader in the green cities movement — meeting Kyoto targets on greenhouse gas, planting thousands of trees, reducing water consumption, reducing emissions at the ports. But there are others with more scientific backgrounds — outgoing Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire for one — who have a deeper environmental resume. Gregoire headed the state’s Department of Ecology and negotiated a nuclear waste cleanup agreement.

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Sherman/Berman election tiff continues post-Berman

The Democrat on Democrat Congressional race that pitted longtime member Howard Berman against incumbent Brad Sherman was expensive. And nasty. And the fallout continues on Capitol Hill.

Blame it all on Citizens United. An independent expenditure by a political action committee bought mailers designed to encourage Republicans to vote for Sherman. The mailer angered fellow Democrats.

And it cost Sherman the top Democratic job on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Now, it's cost him a plumb role on a subcommittee.

Sherman reportedly had hoped to step into the top Democratic spot on the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee on Foreign Affairs. But a member with less seniority, Ted Deutch of Florida, jumped into the race, collecting the votes to make it happen. According to Politico.

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CA Congressman's new post another roadblock for high speed rail?

Courtesy California High Speed Rail Authority

A rendering of a station for high-speed rail in California.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was on Capitol Hill today to reassure Californians that high speed rail is one of President Obama's highest priorities. It's not necessarily the top priority on Capitol Hill.

Republican Congressman Jeff Denham of Fresno has been one of the most vocal critics of California's high speed rail project. In 2012, he introduced an amendment to the transportation bill that would have forbidden a dime to be spent on the project.

Denham says the lack of promised private investors in a project that's more than doubled its budget means California taxpayers and the federal government are left holding the bag.

Denham was just named chairman of the railroads subcommittee on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Denham says rail transportation is "the backbone of America's economy" and he's looking for "more cost-effective and innovative approaches" to passenger and freight rail service.

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Maven's Morning Coffee: city attorney debate, delay on storm water fee, economic impact of Farmers Field

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Roberto (Bear) Guerra/KPCC

City Attorney Carmen Trutanich and the men running against him in the spring primary debated earlier this week. The Los Angeles Times has the video.

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 Wednesday, Jan. 16, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:

Headlines

Los Angeles Times writer Jim Newton recaps a recent debate among candidates for city attorney. "Although devoted in part to questions of faith, morality and responsibility, the discussion also featured a number of sharp exchanges over the effectiveness of the incumbent, Carmen Trutanich, and the credentials and ideas of his challengers," according to the post, which includes video.

A vote on whether to place a storm water pollution fee on the ballot was deferred by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors, reports the Los Angeles Times. The protest period will remain open for another 60 days.

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