The first meeting of the 113th Congress was full of pomp and ceremony. Fourteen California freshmen gathered their friends and families and raised their right hands to become the newest members of the U.S. House of Representatives. Their biggest challenge at the moment is staffing their offices.
Six-year-old Madeline Valadao witnessed history on the House floor as the new Congress began its work. "The worst part was having to stand up," she says, "and the good part was when my dad got sworn in."
Her dad is freshman Congressman David Valadao, a Republican from the Central Valley. Valadao landed a prized spot on the House Appropriations Committee. He brought what he calls his “team members” from the two years he served in the California legislature. He’s also hired “two or three” D.C. locals. "As long as they’re open minded and willing to work, and willing to think for themselves," he says, "that’s what I need on my team. I don’t need any ‘yes’ people around me."
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
The city of Los Angeles could take a $115 million hit if the federal government moves ahead with severe spending cuts in March.
The city of Los Angeles could experience a $115 million financial hit if Congress fails to reach a financial agreement that would avert sequestration this spring.
About $92 million of that would come from housing and housing assistance programs. Another $23 million would disappear from community development and public safety programs. This week’s Congressional action pushed sequestration – automatic spending cuts – to March 1.
“The impacts of sequestration to the city are very much a possibility if Congress fails to act on a plan to reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion over 10 years by March 1, 2013,” City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana wrote in a report to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the Los Angeles City Council.
The specific programs he listed in the report include:
- Section 8 Housing
- Community Development Block Grants
- Community Oriented Policing Services
- Byrne Justice Assistance Grants
A report from the controller found the Department of Water and Power awarded four contracts that bypassed the utility's competitive bidding process.
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Today is Thursday, Jan. 3, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:
The Department of Water and Power bypassed competitive bidding processes when it awarded four lobbying contracts, according to the Los Angeles Times. Controller Wendy Greuel determined the contracts with Mercury Public Affairs should have been terminated.
A fifth mayoral candidate, Emanuel Pleitez, has qualified for matching funds, reports KPCC. The 30-year-old candidate will also participate in his first mayoral debate this evening.
Emanuel Pleitez is a candidate for Los Angeles mayor.
Los Angeles mayoral candidate Emanuel Pleitez is on a roll. He announced Wednesday that on New Year's Eve he crossed the $150,000 threshold in fundraising and now qualifies for city matching funds. Thursday night, he’ll participate in his first debate with the major mayoral candidates.
Pleitez, 30, will take the stage with City Controller Wendy Greuel, City Council Members Eric Garcetti and Jan Perry, and former federal prosecutor and one-time conservative radio host Kevin James.
Pleitez said he’s raised $210,000, and that about $160,000 of it is eligible for matching funds. That means the city will write him a check for about $320,000.
Under L.A.’s matching fund rules, the city doubles every dollar candidates raise from individuals, up to $500 from any one person.
Pleitez was born and raised in East L.A., and says the city needs a mayor who knows the struggles of the working poor: “There are a lot of people hurting right now, and there are a lot of people who want a mayor who can understand their pain and their frustrations.”
Caveman 92223 via Flickr
Neon sign at a medical marijuana clinic
The city clerk in Los Angeles Wednesday said a medical marijuana initiative had gathered the necessary 41,138 signatures to qualify for the May ballot.
The initiative would permit only the medical marijuana dispensaries that existed before the city’s 2007 moratorium – or about 100 pot shops. Many in the organized medical marijuana community, including the Greater Los Angeles Collective Alliance and Americans for Safe Access, back this measure.
“The Los Angeles City Council can put politics and bickering aside and adopt an ordinance instead, like this initiative," said Yami Bolanos, president of the GLACA. "It’s time to finally do the right thing for the patients of Los Angeles.”
Significantly, this measure also has the support of the powerful United Food and Commercial Workers Union, which wants to organize pot shop workers.