Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Maven's Morning Coffee: DA declines Andrea Alarcon case, the meaning of Henry's Tacos, and it's the end of the world

Exterior view of Los Angeles City Hall

California Historical Society/USC Digital Archives

The District Attorney's Office will not prosecute Andrea Alarcon, president of the Board of Public Works, on child endangerment charges.

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 Friday, Dec. 21, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:

Headlines

The Los Angeles Times looks at what's made Henry's Tacos a San Fernando Valley landmark, at least for its customers. "Food stands like Henry's Tacos began popping up around Los Angeles in the 1940s and became popular quick-lunch destinations in a city with a mild climate. Many have closed in this era of the drive-through," according to the piece.

The District Attorney's Office says it will not prosecute Andrea Alarcon, president of the Board of Public Works, in a child endangerment case, according to the Daily News. The case was referred to the City Attorney's Office for review.

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California Congress members learn their committee assignments

Office of Rep. Karen Bass

Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) has landed a seat on the House Judiciary Committee.

Santa came early for several members of Congress: House leaders on Thursday announced committee assignments for both veterans and newcomers.

Republican Congressman Gary Miller will now be the number two Republican on the House Financial Services Committee. Miller, who just won reelection in a new district in San Bernadino, has served on that committee for more than a decade and has been active on housing and mortgage issues.

Irvine Congressman John Campbell also serves on Financial Services and has landed the top spot on the Domestic and International Monetary Policy Subcommittee.

On the Democratic side, a trio of California Congresswomen are taking on new committees. L.A.'s Karen Bass adds the Judiciary Committee to her "things to do" list. Oakland Congresswoman Barbara Lee, who's served for a decade and a half in Washington, will now serve on the House Budget Committee.

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Congressional gun owner Mike Thompson tapped for House gun control leadership

Northern California Democratic Congressman Mike Thompson has been asked by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to coordinate the party's gun control legislation.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has asked California Congressman and longtime gun advocate Mike Thompson to head a Democratic task force to coordinate House legislative efforts in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy. 

Thompson, who represents the Northern California wine country, is working the halls of Congress — on both sides of the aisle.

Thompson says he’s been meeting with colleagues, trying to find consensus on what Congress should do to respond to the elementary school shooting. He hints that some of those conversations have been with Republican members, but declined to name any GOP Congressmen he's met with.

"I don’t think we need to do that right now," Thompson said Thursday. "We’re working on this thing and I don’t want to jeopardize it. If I find allies, I want to keep working with them."

House Republicans have been mum on any of the gun control proposals suggested by Democrats —  at least so far. That could change after the National Rifle Association holds a very public press conference Friday.

This year, Thompson was named one of eight "surprisingly pro-gun Democrats” by Guns and Ammo magazine.

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Sen. Dianne Feinstein turns thumbs down to Bin Laden movie 'Zero Dark Thirty'

Zero Dark Thirty

Still from the film "Zero Dark Thirty" starring Jessica Chastain.

Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

Senator Dianne Feinstein joins other elected officials in criticizing the film "Zero Dark Thirty." File: Feinstein (D-CA) questions witnesses at a hearing on Capitol Hill on March 30, 2011 in Washington, D.C.


The movie "Zero Dark Thirty" has been getting rave reviews and has been named movie of the year by the New York Film Critics Circle. But a trio of U.S. senators, including California Democrat Dianne Feinstein, calls it a "dangerous combination" of fact and fiction.

Feinstein, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, joined Republican colleague John McCain of Arizona and fellow Democrat Carl Levin of Michigan in putting their complaints in a letter to Sony Pictures, which released the movie. ("Zero Dark Thirty" is now playing in Los Angeles area theaters.)

The three call the film "grossly inaccurate and misleading in its suggestion that torture resulted in information" that led to finding Osama bin Laden. They acknowledge the film is fiction, but note that it opens with the words "based on first-hand accounts of actual events."

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Maven's Morning Coffee: Herb Wesson's pick for Ethics Commission, Mike Feuer writes about gun violence, LA's mayoral field is wide open

City Councilman Herb J. Wesson Jr.

Andres Aguila/KPCC

L.A. City Councilman Herb Wesson's selection for the Ethics Commission is the wife of a City Hall fundraiser.

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 Thursday, Dec. 20, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:

Headlines

L.A. City Council President Herb Wesson is getting criticism for appointing the wife of a campaign fundraiser to the Ethics Commission, reports the Los Angeles Times. Erin Pak's husband has raised money for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, District Attorney Jackie Lacey and Councilman Eric Garcetti.

The Los Angeles Times looks at how mayoral candidates are building coalitions to make it to the May runoff. "In a sense, political observers say, it's the up-for-grabs election," according to the newspaper.

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