Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Maven's Morning Coffee: Jerry Brown gets high marks, money talks in mayor's race, a look at Villaraigosa's track record on transit

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A new survey finds 51 percent of California's adults approve of Jerry Brown's job as governor.

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 Thursday, Jan. 31 and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:


Gov. Jerry Brown's approval rating is at an all-time high, according to Capitol Alert. Fifty-one percent of the state's adults approve of his performance as governor.

KPCC looks at Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's qualifications to be the U.S. Transportation Secretary. "The mayor spearheaded the campaign for Measure R, even as many politicians predicted it would fail to obtain the necessary two-thirds support of voters to pass." Meanwhile, Politico reports that Sen. Barbara Boxer called up the mayor to ask if he wants the job.


Will Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's transportation track record pass White House muster?

Mayor Villaraigosa talks public transportation

Alice Walton/KPCC

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa joined Sen. Barbara Boxer on top of the San Diego (405) Freeway to celebrate the passage of a federal bill for public transit projects that he lobbied for.

The idea may seem crazy to Southern California drivers who navigate some of the worst traffic in the nation, but L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is among those President Obama may be considering as his next Secretary of Transportation.

The current secretary – Ray LaHood – announced his resignation Tuesday, and President Obama is looking at a Cabinet that includes no Latinos, following the departures of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. Activist groups from throughout the country are calling on the President to make sure Latinos are included in his second-term Cabinet.

If Villaraigosa is considered for the transportation post, the vetting process will surely include a look at the mayor’s record on one of the most vexing issues that faces the region.

Anyone who runs for mayor of Los Angeles promises to improve traffic flow. In 2005, Villaraigosa was no different. But the mayor’s early transportation initiatives were like a compact car – kind of small, says LA StreetsBlog Editor Damien Newton.


Garcetti campaign announces endorsements from entertainment industry

Eric Garcetti

Howard Pasamanick

Councilman Eric Garcetti has represented the Hollywood area for 12 years. Today, his mayoral campaign announced support from some of the industry's biggest CEOs.

Eric Garcetti has represented Hollywood since 2001 and on Wednesday his mayoral campaign released the names of 200 actors, producers and writers who are supporting him for the city’s top billing.

The list of endorsements follows the recent release of a video in which actress Salma Hayek sings Garcetti’s praises. The councilman’s supporters include former Disney CEO Michael Eisner, David Nevins, president of entertainment at Showtime, and Irving Azoff of Live Nation Entertainment. 

“I am proud to have earned support from so many Hollywood leaders,” Garcetti said in a statement. “More than a half-million jobs in our community are tied to our entertainment industry, and I will make sure we are always the entertainment capital of the world."

However, Hollywood's support for Garcetti has not coalesced into an independent political action committee as is the case with his main opponent, Wendy Greuel. A group called Working Californians, comprised of several Hollywood executives and the DWP employees' union, is raising money on behalf of Greuel. 


LA Mayoral Race 2013: Firefighters' union endorses Wendy Greuel for mayor (updated)

Auto Shop Fire

Dan Steinberg/AP

The union that represents Los Angeles city firefighters is backing Wendy Greuel for mayor. In 2009, UFLAC spent almost $25,000 to support her race for city controller.

The union that represents Los Angeles’ firefighters endorsed Wendy Greuel for mayor Wednesday, saying she will make government more “accountable.” Unted Firefighters of Los Angeles City represents 3,600 firefighters and paramedics.

This is the second public safety union to back the Greuel campaign. Earlier this month, the Los Angeles Police Protective League endorsed her for mayor. 

“Wendy will work to create jobs and expand our middle class so families across the city can prosper," said UFLAC Local 112 President Frank Lima in a statement. "She’ll prioritize public safety so we can put an end to the dysfunctional Fire Department deployment plan that increases LAFD response times.” 

The endorsement could mean more money — and therefore more exposure — for Greuel. In Greuel’s 2009 race for city controller, UFLAC spent $24,982 on an independent expenditure in her favor. When Mayor Jim Hahn ran for reelection in 2005, the union spent more than $394,000 to support his candidacy, according to the Ethics Commission.


Law regulating LA's group homes sent back to working group

Mitch Englander

via cd12.lacity.org

L.A. City Councilman Mitch Englander is pushing an ordinance to regulate group homes. After a lengthy city council meeting, the proposal was sent to a working group for further review.

The L.A. City Council sent a proposal to regulate group homes in the city of Los Angeles back to a working group Wednesday after neighborhood groups and some city council members voiced concerns that the ordinance might harm veterans and domestic violence. 

A working group that includes representatives from the city's Housing, Planning, and Building and Safety Departments will review the Community Care Facilities Ordinance. Councilmen Mitch Englander, Ed Reyes and Richard Alarcon, who chair the Public Safety, Planning and Housing committees respectively, will also join the working group.

Englander told a packed council chamber that he is going after housing situations with “horrible, deplorable, unsafe and unsanitary conditions.”

“When you shove 30 people into a garage with no running water and no bathroom facilities, that’s not solving a problem. They’re all over the city, in every community,” Englander said.