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LA Mayoral Race 2013: Mayoral candidates face questions on city employees' benefits at KPCC debate

Larry Mantle (far left) moderates a debate between mayoral canidates (from right) Emanuel Pleitez, Jan Perry, Kevin James, Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti at KPCC's Crawford Family Forum on February 5, 2013.
Grant Slater/KPCC

In their third meeting this week, the five leading candidates for mayor of Los Angeles faced tough questions Wednesday night on how much public employees should pay toward their health care and retirement costs.

AirTalk’s Larry Mantle hosted the debate in the Crawford Family Forum at KPCC. During the live broadcast, he pressed candidates Eric Garcetti, Wendy Greuel, Kevin James, Jan Perry and Emanuel Pleitez on how they might restructure benefits for city workers.

Pleitez, who had a stint at Goldman Sachs, pushed for a plan that would allow workers to cash out their pension benefits now, thus relieving the city of future obligations. He also pushed for a one-to-one match on pension benefits and health care.

Mantle noted a recent Kaiser Family Foundation report that says private sector employees pay, on average, one-fourth of their healthcare costs.     

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LA mayor debate 2013: KPCC reporters' archived Twitter stream from the Crawford Family Forum

The top five candidates for Los Angeles mayor participate in their first televised debate, aired on NBC LA, on January 28, 2013 at UCLA.
NBC LA

Wednesday night's debate among the five front-running candidates for Los Angeles mayor will take place starting at 7 p.m. Wednesday in KPCC's Crawford Family Forum. It'll stream via live video here on KPCC.org, but you can also follow along with KPCC reporters Frank Stoltze and Alice Walton, who will tweet the event live below.

Hosted by AirTalk's Larry Mantle, the debate will take place among City Council members Eric Garcetti and Jan Perry, City Controller Wendy Greuel, former Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin James and former technology executive Emanuel Pleitez.

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CA engineering trade group one source of late donation to proposition campaigns

California Gov. Jerry Brown's Proposition 30 was one target of an $11 million donation that the Fair Political Practices Commission is investigating.
Sharon McNary/KPCC

Remember the $11 million mystery donation that ignited a legal skirmish in California just days before the November election?  

An Arizona group called Americans For Responsible Leadership (ARL) donated the money to the Small Business Action Committee’s campaign to defeat Prop 30 — Governor Brown’s tax hike — and pass Prop 32 — a measure that would have undermined the political influence of  unions in California.

The states' campaign finance watchdog, the Fair Political Practices Commission, asked for more information about the donors. ARL refused.

Just one day before the election, under orders from California’s Supreme Court, the Small Business Action Committee revealed the money orginated with a group in Virginia called Americans for Job Security,  which sent it to the Center to Protect Patients' Rights in Arizona, which transferred it to ARL.

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Maven's Morning Coffee: city attorney candidates debate, Universal Studios expands, Wendy Greuel seeks more public safety

City attorney candidates, including incumbent Carmen Trutanich, left, appeared on KPCC's AirTalk to debate the major issues in their race.
Roberto (Bear) Guerra

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 Wednesday, Feb. 6 and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:

Headlines

KPCC's AirTalk hosted a debate with three of the candidates for city attorney. "Political observers say (Carmen) Trutanich is vulnerable in this election because of his unexpected defeat last year in the race for L.A. County district attorney," according to the station.

What does Gov. Jerry Brown make of Texas' efforts to lure California businesses to the Lone Star State? "It's not a serious story, guys. It's not a burp. It's barely a fart," per Capitol Alert.

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PHOTOS, AUDIO: LA city attorney candidates get feisty in KPCC debate

Candidates for Los Angeles City attorney, (from left) Carmen Trutanich, Mike Feuer and Greg Smith, face off in a debate in the AirTalk studios at the Mohn Broadcast Center on February 5.
Rebecca Hill/KPCC

The three leading candidates for Los Angeles City Attorney clashed in a heated debate Tuesday afternoon on KPCC’s AirTalk.

Incumbent Carmen Trutanich endured the most fire.

“Horrible morale, the deputies are constantly complaining,” private attorney Greg Smith said of Trutanich’s office. “They do not have the equipment to fulfill their duties. They don’t have a color copy machine – they haven’t had it for a year.”

“Sure, we have issues,” Trutanich said.  But he blamed budget cuts imposed by the city council and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

“Our lawyers are furloughed 36 days a year – not by me, but by the mayor,” Trutanich said.  The number of lawyers in his office has plummeted from 647 to 475, he said.

“But at the end of the day, they realize they have a real prosecutor as city attorney,” said Trutanich, who is a former deputy district attorney.

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