Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Race for LA mayor: Watch archived video of Thursday night's debate

First L.A. mayoral debate of 2013

Frank Stoltze/KPCC

Five candidates for mayor of Los Angeles debated at Beth Jacob Temple in Beverly Hills on Thursday.

In advance of the L.A. mayoral primary scheduled for March 5, CivicCare — an organization serving to engage and educate Jewish voters in the Greater Los Angeles community — hosted a mayoral debate Thursday moderated by David Suissa, President of the Los Angeles Jewish Journal.  

WATCH THE DEBATE

CivicCare's L.A. Mayoral Jewish Community Debate 
Beth Jacob Congregation (Beverly Hills)
January 3, 2013 | 7:30-9:30 p.m.

MAYORAL CANDIDATES

  • Eric Garcetti (Councilmember)
  • Wendy Greuel (City Controller)
  • Kevin James (Former Assistant US Attorney)
  • Jan Perry (Councilmember)
  • Emanuel Pleitez (Businessman)

ABOUT CIVICARE

CivicCare is focused on improving voter turnout, engagement and education primarily in the Jewish Community. The mission of CivicCare is to be a voice for all corners of the Jewish Community in the Greater Los Angeles Area.

CiviCare was founded to make sure that all members of the Jewish Community, regardless of affiliation level, have the opportunity and feel comfortable to fully engage in the political process at all levels of local government.

In addition to encouraging Jewish voters to be educated, the initiatives also focus on the importance of developing relationships with local elected officials at the State, County, and City level and in engaging students at the high school and college level to understand the impact they can make at the local level. 

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Los Angeles mayoral candidates talk transportation at Westside forum

LA Mayoral Candidates

Frank Stotlze/KPCC

L.A. mayoral candidates Eric Garcetti, Wendy Greuel, Kevin James, Emanuel Pleitez and Jan Perry met for their first debate of the year.

First L.A. mayoral debate of 2013

Frank Stoltze/KPCC

Five candidates for mayor of Los Angeles debated at Beth Jacob Temple in Beverly Hills on Thursday.


When it came time for L.A. mayoral candidates to discuss transportation issues Thursday night at Beth Jacob Temple, moderator David Suissa was clear.

“Many of us have heard over the years politicians who promise us solutions to the traffic mess,” said Suissa, president of the Los Angeles Jewish Journal. “But we’d like to hear some new and fresh ideas.”

Beth Jacob sits in Beverly Hills, but many in attendance live on L.A.’s Westside, where drivers regularly describe traffic as horrendous.

RELATED: Watch the archived video of the LA mayoral debate

City Councilman Eric Garcetti was the most specific in his response.  He promised to start or complete 10 new rail lines, and suggested that one might be a tunnel underneath the Sepulveda Pass.

“That would allow us to get from Sherman Oaks to UCLA in 10 minutes,” Garcetti said.

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Maven's Morning Coffee: LAPD officers accused of attacking women, what sequestration means for LA

Los Angeles Police Department

Eric E Johnson/Flickr/Creative Commons

Two Los Angeles police officers are under investigation for luring women into cars and demanding they perform sexual acts, reports the Los Angeles Times.

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 Friday, Jan. 4, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:

Headlines

Two Los Angeles police officers are accused of luring women into unmarked cars and forcing them to perform sex acts, according to the Los Angeles Times. The men allegedly preyed on women who were informants or who had been previously arrested.

An audit of the Assessor's Office determined that John Noguez frequently promoted his friends within the department, even when they were unqualified for the job, according to the Daily News. "Employees indicated there is widespread belief that favoritism played a significant role in promotions when the current assessor was elected," the auditor-controller wrote in the report.

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California lawmaker proposes a 'Bill of Rights' to protect homeless from discrimination

Homeless Belongings4

Central City East Association

A homeless person's belongings are seen blocking a pedestrian walkway in Downtown Los Angeles.

A San Francisco lawmaker has presented a bill to the California legislature to protect the homeless from discrimination.

Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano says state law already protects residents from discrimination based on sex, race, religion and sexual orientation and he says homelessness should be added to the list.

The Sacramento Bee reports that Ammiano's "Homeless Bill of Rights" is aimed at communities that try to drive out homeless people who have nowhere to turn.

Sacramento, for instance, has battled homeless tent encampments for years. And San Francisco voters passed an ordinance banning sitting or lying on sidewalks. Los Angeles has also been struggling to address the issue for years.

Ammiano's proposal would give legal protection to people engaging in life-sustaining activities on public property. That includes sleeping, congregating, panhandling and urinating. 

The proposed measure, if approved, would give homeless residents the right to sleep in cars that are legally parked, to receive funds through public welfare programs, to receive legal counsel when cited – even for infractions – and to possess personal property on public lands.

Local officials could not force the homeless into shelters or social service programs.

If the bill passes and is signed into law, courts would be left to sort out the extent to which communities could limit the legal rights it conveys – for example, whether local ordinances could close parks during late-night hours for public safety reasons.

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Freshman Democrat Alan Lowenthal wants bipartisan honeymoon to last

California Pensions

Rich Pedroncelli/AP

State Sen. Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, gives a thumbs up to Sen. Gloria Negrete McLeod, D-Chino Hills, as the Senate approved a pension reform bill that she carried, at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, Aug. 31, 2012.

On Capitol Hill it feels more like a party than the first meeting of the 113th Congress.

Democrat Alan Lowenthal has taken the oath of office to represent Long Beach – He’s one of 14 California freshmen. Lowenthal, who brought his niece and grandson to the House floor, says he hopes the day’s bipartisan spirit prevails beyond today. He insists all the new members, Republicans and Democrats alike, are committed to each other to try to work together. "That’s why we were elected," he says.

He says everyone told him once you’re here, that’s gonna end. "You’ll get caught up in the way it operates and that will be the end of that." 

But Lowenthal says he remembers former US Senator Alan Simpson saying, "the only way you’re going to keep that feeling is if you all keep meeting together."

That bipartisan spirit faced its first test this afternoon with a vote on House rules that contains a provision supporting the federal Defense of Marriage Act. That law prevents same-sex spouses from receiving federal benefits; it faces a challenge in the US Supreme Court. The vote was 228-196, split mostly along party lines.

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