Politics, government and public life for Southern California

House Democrats look for answers to prevent gun violence

Grace Napolitano (D-Los Angeles), foreground, serves on the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force.

House Democrats heard a long list of suggestions Wednesday afternoon from law enforcement and health experts about how to prevent gun violence. Gun owners also weighed in on possible legislation.

Democratic Congressman Mike Thompson of Napa County repeated the line he uses every time he introduces himself as head of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force: "I’m a hunter," he said. "I’m a gun owner and I believe that law-abiding citizens have a Second Amendment right to own firearms."

Thompson invited a pair of fellow gun owners to testify, including James Cummings, a hunter and member of the National Rifle Association. Cummings warned that any gun laws must be both practical and enforceable. He pointed out that since the original assault weapons ban expired, the number of those weapons in America has tripled.

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LA City Council to review airport's public education contracts

LAX Thanksgiving

Ben Bergman

Councilman Dennis Zine, a candidate for city controller, wants to review contracts awarded by LAX to educate the public on delays caused by ongoing construction.

The Los Angeles City council is looking into nearly $4 million in contracts to educate travelers on construction at LAX. 

The Board of Airport Commissioners approved three contracts totaling $3.8 million last week:

  • The Phelps Group, $1. 6 million
  • AdEase, Inc., $1.55 million
  • Nothing Films, Inc., $690,000

Los Angeles World Airport’s Mark Adams told the city council that their purpose is to explain to passengers why the terminals and nearby roadways are under construction and how it'll affect their travel plans. 

“What this is to do is to inform the traveling public, inform locals, inform anybody who would be coming to LAX about the nature of the impacts that they would see at LAX and what is coming to LAX after that construction period,” Adams said.

Councilman Dennis Zine, a candidate for city controller, introduced a motion to review the decision. The board's seven members are appointed by the mayor. The councilman, who represents the third district, said he was particularly concerned that two of the contracts were given to companies based outside the city. (The Phelps Group is Santa Monica-based; AdEase is out of San Diego.)

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Maven's Morning Coffee: DWP's solar program, governor talks community colleges, Beverly Hills publishes employees' salaries

solar plant

LADWP

The Department of Water and Power's solar buyback program is starting up as planned, despite some concerns from the Los Angeles City Council.

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, Jan. 23, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:

Headlines

The Department of Water and Power's solar buyback program will move forward, reports KPCC, despite concerns from the Los Angeles City Council.

Which Way, LA? discusses Gov. Jerry Brown's plans for community colleges.

A Daily News editorial explores why politicians label themselves as outsiders when election season rolls around. "Their implied message: Hey, blame the insiders, not those of us who just happen to have held public office for four or eight or 12 years!"

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Experts tell congress more mentally ill are victims than perpetrators of gun violence

Democratic U.S. Rep. Grace Napolitano held a hearing Tuesday on gun violence and the mentally ill.

West Covina Democrat Grace Napolitano held briefing on mental illness and gun violence Tuesday, one of a series of hearings expeced on gun violence.

Dr. Thomas Insel, Director of the National Institute of Mental Health, said the mentally ill are 11 times more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators of it. He said researchers are working on better tools to detect mental illness sooner.

"Just as in cardiology, where most cardiologists spend their time preventing heart attacks, you’ll see a point where most people who invest in mental health are investing their energy in preventing psychosis, so that you actually catch somebody long before they reach that crisis point where there is the highest likelihood of very bad outcomes."

Napolitano is sponsoring a bill to pay for on-site mental health services in schools.  Minnesota Senator Al Franken is sponsoring the Senate bill.

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Two medical marijuana measures inch closer to May ballot

People smoke a joint during a demonstrat

FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images

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.

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