Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Democrats refuse to endorse a candidate in Los Angeles mayor’s race

LA County Democratic Party Central Committee Endorsement Meeting

Frank Stolze

A box holding the votes of members of the LA County Democratic Party Central Committee as they vote at a meeting on January 8, 2013 on who the party will endorse in the upcoming election.

In a hot and crowded meeting room on Wilshire Boulevard Tuesday night, Democrats declined to enter the early fray of the race for Los Angeles mayor.

To win the official stamp of the L.A. County Democratic Party, a candidate must garner the support of 60 percent of the voting members of the Central Committee.

During the first ballot, City Councilman Eric Garcetti won 84 votes, City Controller Wendy Greuel received 76, and City Councilwoman Jan Perry picked up 15. 

After Perry was eliminated, the vote was Garcetti 83, Greuel 75. The primary election is March 5. The party can still endorse someone in the May general election.

Candidate Kevin James, a Republican, did not seek the Democratic endorsement. Emanuel Pleitez was not present.

After weeks of courting fellow Democrats by phone and by mail, Garcetti and Greuel moved throughout the room shaking hands and patting backs – even as the air conditioning struggled and the temperature soared. Neither took their coats off, as they delivered impassioned pleas for support.

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Major women's group backs Eric Garcetti for mayor

Eric Garcetti

Howard Pasamanick

Eric Garcetti was endorsed Tuesday by the California National Organization for Women PAC.

The California chapter of the National Organization for Women endorsed Eric Garcetti Tuesday in his bid to become Los Angeles’ next mayor.

NOW declined to endorse either of the leading female candidates – Jan Perry and Wendy Greuel. Los Angeles has never had a female mayor. 

The NOW chapter’s president, Patricia Bellasalma, pointed to Garcetti’s work on domestic violence and gender equality as the basis of the endorsement.

“We asked which candidate has the vision needed to move Los Angeles forward and who would be most willing to create a more equal playing field for the city’s almost 2 million women and girls. The answer to that question – without hesitation – was Eric Garcetti,” she said.

RELATED: Los Angeles 2013 Mayoral Race Endorsements

Last May, Greuel's campaign announced the formation of "Women for Wendy," a committee that the candidate said would help "get one step closer to breaking that glass ceiling and electing our city’s first woman mayor.” 

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Maven's Morning Coffee: a fix for broken parking meters, a Cudahy official gets sentenced, Wendy Greuel's campaign does a "tightrope act"

Mercer 3868

Corey Moore/KPCC

A state Assemblyman wants to prevent Los Angeles from ticketing drivers who leave their vehicles at broken parking meters.

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

Headlines

California icon Huell Howser died Monday. LAObserved, KPCC

A state Assemblyman has introduced a bill that would prevent the city of Los Angeles from ticketing drivers who park at broken parking meters, reports City News Service. "People should not have to pay for the government's mistakes or inefficiencies, especially when the people already paid to install and maintain the meters in the first place," said Assemblyman Mike Gatto.

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California to propose new student achievement testing system

Military Kids Feature - 1

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Elementary school children point out which states they've previously lived in.

California's top education official is expected to unveil a new system of student achievement testing on Tuesday.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson was tasked by the state Legislature last year to revamp the state's bank of standardized tests that measure student progress in English language arts and math and qualify high school students for graduation.

The proposed new testing comes as the state starts phasing in new national curriculum standards known as Common Core State Standards.

RELATED: On 11th anniversary, No Child Left Behind law in tatters

The emphasis of the new testing will be on critical thinking and problem solving skills that will be aligned with Common Core's focus.

The proposal is the result of six months of meetings by a statewide taskforce that has held meetings around California gathering input from educators.

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Gov. Brown schedules special election for 2 vacant SoCal state Senate seats

Schwarzenegger Holds Press Conference On Passing Of California Budget

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A view of the California State Capitol February 19, 2009 in Sacramento, California.

Gov. Jerry Brown’s scheduled a special election for May 14 to fill a couple of vacant California state Senate seats.

San Bernardino Democrat Gloria Negrete McLeod and San Diego Democrat Juan Vargas both won elections in November for seats in Congress.  They resigned their state Senate seats mid-term to take up their new posts. The governor scheduled a primary election on March 12, with a final vote set for May 14.

If one candidate gets a majority of votes in the primary — that’s the end of the story.  Otherwise, the top two vote-getters progress to the general election.

So far two candidates — both Democrats — are running for the 32nd District Senate seat in San Bernardino: Assemblywoman Norma Torres of Pomona and San Bernardino County Auditor-Controller Larry Walker. 

Torres has the advantage of being a sitting assemblywoman, but the disadvantage of having supported the incumbent Rep. Joe Baca, who Negrete McLeod's defeated. Rep. Negrete McLeod supports Larry Walker as her replacement.

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