Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Wendy Greuel on police plan: it's a goal, not a promise

Wendy Greuel

Wendy Greuel Campaign

Controller Wendy Greuel responded to critics Monday who say her police hiring plan is bunk. "This is a goal," she says.

Monday morning’s Los Angeles Times carried the headline, “Greuel’s budget plan draws ridicule,” and now mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel is defending her proposal to hire more cops and firefighters at a time when the city is facing a multimillion-dollar deficit.

It was just a week ago that the Greuel campaign announced a plan to set aside 20 percent of new revenues to hire 2,000 police officers and 1,000 firefighters and paramedics by 2020. That plan is based on 3 to 5 percent annual growth in revenue, though the city’s top budget official says the figure will be closer to 2.5 percent this spring.

Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky told The Times: “It's not doable. It's not real. It's an arithmetic problem, to quote Bill Clinton, and the arithmetic does not add up."

In a Monday interview with KPCC, Greuel hit back at her critics, though she clarified her stance,  saying she wasn’t making promises but instead setting a target if she is elected.


California Democrats invite victims of gun violence to State of the Union

Christopher McDonnell, the father of slain Newtown elementary student Grace McDonnell, will be a guest of Congresswoman Gloria Negrete-McLeod at Tuesday's State of the Union address.

It's become customary for the President to invite particular guests to the State of the Union address to highlight his agenda for the coming year. Now, two Californians in Congress are doing the same thing to highlight the push for measures to prevent gun violence.

Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein is author of the Senate bill that would ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines. She's invited Josh Stepakoff to attend Tuesday’s State of the Union address. In 1999, when Stepakoff was 6, he was one of five people shot at the North Valley Jewish Community Center in Granada Hills. The gunman was a white supremacist who was armed with a semi-automatic assault rifle.

Stepakoff is now a 20-year-old student at Cal State Northridge and  a member of the board of Women Against Gun Violence. Feinstein says it's "important for members of Congress to see the faces behind these tragedies of gun violence.” She says assault weapons "designed for the theater of war have no place in our society."


Villaraigosa backs Measure A on March ballot to increase sales tax

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck appeared at a press conference Monday in support of Measure A, which would increase the city's sales tax. Without it, the LAPD could lose 200 to 500 officers, according to the city's top budget official.

A proposed half-cent sales tax increase that city leaders say will generate $100 million in its first year was endorsed Monday by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. 

The mayor’s backing comes months after he said the Los Angeles City Council needed to do more to cut costs and raise revenues.

“We cut a third of the L.A. civilian General Fund budget,” said Villaraigosa at a Monday morning press conference. “We’ve had consolidations of departments, we found efficiencies. We’ve done everything that we can.

“The fact of the matter is, when you look at the kinds of tough decisions that we’ve made … I can now support a sales tax increase,” he said.

The tax increase, if approved on the March 5 ballot, would take effect in October. It would bring in an estimated $100 million in its first year and $200 million a year going forward. Without the tax increase, the size of the Los Angeles Police Department could drop by 200 to 500 officers, according to a report released last week by City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana.


JPL's 'Mohawk Guy' to sit with First Lady at State of Union

JPL's Bobak Fedowsi shows off his festive Mars-landing haircut

Sanden Totten/KPCC

JPL's Bobak Fedowsi shows off his festive Mars-landing haircut. He'll sit in the first lady's box Tuesday night during the president's State of the Union address.

President Obama will highlight immigration reform at Tuesday's State of the Union address. The White House has invited an Iranian-American flight director from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory to highlight the president's call for more visas for math, science and engineering experts.

When the Rover Curiosity made its safe landing on Mars last summer, President Obama called to crongratulate the science team at the Jet Propulsion Lab.  He mentioned "the mohawk guy," flight director Bobak Ferdowsi, saying he'd considered trying Ferdowsi's distinctive hairstyle.

Now, the "Mohawk Guy" is going to the State of the Union, sitting with Michelle Obama. The White House says the First Lady's box will include various guests whose lives would benefit from the president's proposals.

Those guests represent victims of gun violence, military families and people championing the cause of immigration reform. Ferdowsi will illustrate one element of the immigration debate: the need for more visas for highly trained immigrants in science, technology, engineering and math — so called STEM visas.


Maven's Morning Coffee: Villaraigosa supports sales tax increase, an endorsement for Ron Galperin, and the latest on the mayor's race

LA Mayor Villraigosa Discusses Immigration Reform In Washington

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will announce his support of Measure A at a morning news conference.

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 Monday, Feb. 11 and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:


Mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel's proposal to hire 2,000 more police officers and 1,000 more firefighters and paramedics by 2020 is drawing ridicule, according to the Los Angeles Times. "It's not doable. It's not real. It's an arithmetic problem, to quote Bill Clinton, and the arithmetic does not add up," said county Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, who has not endorsed in the mayor's race.

The Daily News looks at the mayoral campaign of a long shot -- Emanuel Pleitez. "It was a very difficult time to try to run without any endorsements, without any institutional support and all of the political folks saying you don't have a shot," he says of the work to reach the city's matching funds threshold.