Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Freshman Calif. Congressmen settling in to life on Capitol Hill

Freshman Congress

Kitty Felde/KPCC

Freshman Republican Congressman Doug LaMalfa says voting was more clear in the California legislature where you knew "what you were voting on."

Freshman Congress

Kitty Felde/KPCC

Democrat Congresswoman Gloria Negrete-McLeod of Ontario says House votes come fast, "so you have to really be on your toes to know what you’re voting on."

California’s crop of freshmen lawmakers is adjusting to life in Congress. They're still the new kids on the Hill, but after a month in Washington, they've got a sense of how the House works ... and doesn't.

Republican Doug LaMalfa and Democrat Gloria Negrete McLeod aren't rookies in the classic sense: They bring to Washington a combined two decades of legislative experience in Sacramento. But both say lawmaking is different in D.C.

McLeod says the votes come fast, "so you have to really be on your toes to know what you’re voting on." She receives a short synopsis of bills from party leaders, but she makes it a point to go online and read the actual bill and background information. "I want to read what I'm doing," she says.

LaMalfa says "the rule thing" makes voting less than "user friendly" to anyone tuning in to C-SPAN — or for new members learning the ropes. For example, when members cast votes on a Motion to Recommit.


Can Marco Rubio's State of the Union rebuttal sway Latinos to the GOP?

Romney Accepts Party Nomination At The Republican National Convention

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (FL) will deliver the Republican response to President Obama's State of the Union speech on Tuesday.

Tuesday night, the President will deliver his State of the Union address. Delivering the Republican response will be Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. At least one Latino activist is not impressed.

Senator Rubio says he’ll talk about how limited government and free enterprise helped make his “family’s dream come true” in the U.S. The son of Cuban immigrants will offer his rebuttal to the President’s speech in both English and Spanish. Rubio is pushing a Senate immigration bill that includes a path to citizenship.

Hector Sanchez, chairman of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, says he’s seen Rubio evolve on immigration. But to win the hearts and minds of Latino voters, the rest of the GOP needs to drop what Sanchez calls its “anti immigrant messaging.” He says what they're doing has a "direct repercussion" on Latino communities and they need to "move away from that."

Sanchez cites a rise in hate crimes against Latinos. He says the Republicans know they can't take back the White House until it can win 30 percent of the Latino vote.


California Latinos on list of recommendations for Cabinet posts

Calif. Congressional member Linda Sanchez

California Congresswoman Linda Sanchez (D-Lakewood) has been recommended to the White House as a candidate for a Cabinet post.

There are still a few job openings at the White House: cabinet positions for the secretaries of Labor, Commerce, and Transportation have yet to be filled. A coalition of Latino civil rights groups is pushing the White House to fill the positions with Latinos. But time is running out.

The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda has had more than a half-dozen meetings with White House officials, delivering one message: put three Latinos in the Cabinet. The organization followed up with a long list of people they say are qualified for the job.

Hector Sanchez, chairman of the NHLA, had the opportunity to deliver the message to Barack Obama personally last week when the President visited Las Vegas to outline his immigration agenda. Sanchez says he was in the front row for the handshake line and when it was his turn, he didn't let go.


LA mayoral race 2013: New TV ads for frontrunners in mayor's race

Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti

Wendy Greuel Campaign/Eric Garcetti campaign

Leading LA mayoral candidates Controller Wendy Greuel and City Councilman Eric Garcetti have taken their campaigns to TV airwaves.

If Eric Garcetti had to use three words to describe himself for a job interview, they would be: "practical" and "problem solver." Also, he has proven results.

That’s according to the first television ad released by Garcetti’s mayoral campaign. The video shows Garcetti in Griffith Park, explaining his track record as councilman of the Thirteenth District.

“Identifying problems is easy," Garcetti says. "Solving them is hard.”

He then tells voters that his council district, which stretches from Echo Park to Hollywood, is number one in job growth, and that he’s led the way on pension reform and cutting taxes. 

Shortly after Garcetti's ad was released, a political action committee supporting Wendy Greuel released its own ad. The union that represents Department of Water and Power employees is partnering with entertainment executives to back Greuel.


LA Mayoral Race 2013: With 4 weeks 'til election, mayoral candidates debate, attack and raise money

Forum Mayor Debate

Grant Slater/KPCC

The five leading candidates for mayor debated every day this week. In the coming weeks? More debates.

Mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti rocked out with Moby Thursday night at the Fonda Theatre – all in the name of fundraising.

In addition to Moby, late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel was the emcee and comedic actor Will Ferrell made an appearance via video. And if pictures on Facebook are to be believed, Garcetti — a pianist and composer — showed off his skills on the keyboard and congas. The event took in $250,000, according to the campaign. The Garcetti campaign has raised $3.6 million through Jan. 19, according to finance reports posted to the Ethics Commission.

Meanwhile, on the campaign trail this week, Jan Perry made the move to go negative in the form of a mailer that knocks Controller Wendy Greuel for feigning surprise at the city’s Gold Card Desk, which helped Angelenos get out of parking tickets. The Gold Card Desk was also the subject of an attack ad from Kevin James.