Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Two medical marijuana measures inch closer to May ballot

People smoke a joint during a demonstrat


Two measures that would regulate medical marijuana clinics will likely appear on the May ballot thanks to a vote of the Los Angeles City Council.

In a preliminary votes Tuesday, a majority of the Los Angeles City Council backed a measure to place competing medical marijuana initiatives on the May ballot.

A third proposal from Councilman Paul Koretz could also be placed on the May ballot when the city council revisits the issue next week. Because the two measures were approved 8-4 Tuesday, they will require second votes next week. The four dissenting votes were from Council members Mitch Englander, Jose Huizar, Bernard Parks and Jan Perry. (Councilmen Joe Buscaino and Eric Garcetti were absent from meeting.)

The first measure would limit medical marijuana permits to only those dispensaries that have been in operation and compliance since September 2007.  The second measure would allow an unlimited number of clinics to operate, while also increasing the city’s tax on them. Clinic owners now pay $50 per $1,000 of gross receipts. This measure would increase that to $60.


President unlikely to get support from Congress on climate change

Mercer 440

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U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) doesn't expect Congress to move ahead with climate change legislation in the second Obama administration.

In his second inaugural address, President Obama promised to “respond” to the threat of climate change, saying the failure to do so would betray future generations.

"Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science," said the president, "but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and more powerful storms." 

But President Obama shouldn’t expect any comprehensive legislation from Capitol Hill.

During his first two years on office, the then-Democratically-led House passed a cap and trade bill to reduce greenhouse gasses. The measure died in the Senate.

California Democrat Barbara Boxer doesn’t doubt the President will use his bully pulpit to push for action on climate change. But the chair of the Senate Public Works and Environment committee says don’t look for sweeping legislation to reduce greenhouse gases.


Boxer says Villaraigosa would make "fine" Transportation Secretary

Democratic National Convention: Day 1

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Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa gets a thumbs-up from Senator Barbara Boxer to be the next Secretary of Transportation - if there's a vacancy.

He's not officially announced he's leaving. But the possibility that Transportion Secretary Ray LaHood may step down is fueling speculation about who might replace him.

This morning, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer of California told a room full of reporters she  thinks L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa "would be terrific" at the job.

Boxer heads the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which championed Villaraigosa's idea of expanding transportation loans to communities willing to put up their own tax money to pay them back. Congress approved a billion dollars a year to fund the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act - or TIFIA program.

Boxer likes the idea so much, she wants to create a similar program to help landlords and developers make buildings energy efficient, suggesting it should be called the BIFIA program.


Maven's Morning Coffee: Californians at inauguration, audit at Hall of Administration, Carmen Trutanich as an outsider



Which California politicians got the best seats at President Obama's inauguration? CapitolAlert takes a look.

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 Tuesday, Jan. 22, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:


In Rick Orlov's Tipoff column, Rep. Brad Sherman feels the sting of former Rep. Howard Berman's friends, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa pushes for an Economic Development Department, and Catherine Mulholland gives her great-grandfather's thoughts on running for mayor.

CapitolAlert checks out where California's politicians sat at the inauguration. "If proximity to power is a gauge of clout in Washington, only a few California politicians made it to the inner circle. That would be the rarefied space on stage, close to the president as he delivered his inauguration address," according to the piece.


LA mayoral race 2013: Candidates on best behavior in Empowerment Congress debate

LA Mayoral Candidates

Frank Stotlze/KPCC

LA mayoral candidates (from left): Eric Garcetti, Wendy Greuel, Kevin James, Emanuel Pleitez, and Jan Perry

The five leading candidates in the L.A. mayoral race were on their best behavior in this morning’s debate sponsored by the Empowerment Congress.

The hour-long forum stood in sharp contrast to a debate three days ago, which was marked by pointed attacks against L.A. City Controller Wendy Greuel by her three top opponents. In today’s debate, held at USC’s Bovard Auditorium, the candidates refrained from going after each other.

Members of the Empowerment Congress were selected to ask questions of the candidates. The organization was founded by L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas to improve life for south Los Angeles communities, and the questions reflected those communities’ priorities.

The candidates were asked how they would use the arts to revitalize the area’s most neglected communities; whether they back “supportive housing” for the mentally ill and homeless; how they would try to get a Metro stop at Leimert Park; how they would reduce the number of gun deaths; how they would engage with neighborhood councils; and how they would add “economic justice” to the economic development agenda.