Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Medical marijuana initiative qualifies for Los Angeles ballot (correction)

Mercer 1586

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.

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Departing CA Congressman Brian Bilbray makes final pitch for E-verify

Mercer 2033

Kitty Felde

Congressman Brian Bilbray, Chair of House Immigration Reform Caucus, is leaving Capitol Hill after three terms and taking his surfboard with him.

A California Congressman devoted most of his last speech on the US House floor to a topic he’s promoted since he got to Congress: immigration. He also fired a parting shot about DC’s weather.

Republican Congressman Brian Bilbray of San Diego is a big fan of E-verify, the electronic data base companies can use to check the immigration status of prospective employees. In his final speech on the House floor, Bilbray said making E-verify mandatory could help solve the budget crisis. "When are we going to stop the practice of people who are committing a crime by employing illegal immigrants?" he asked. "Take the tax deduction away and require that if a business wants to claim a business deduction for employing somebody that we make sure those employees are legal."

Democrat Scott Peters defeated Bilbray in the November election. The three-term lawmaker has packed up his office, including the surfboard that graced his wall. He told his colleagues he was going to miss "a lot of faces" in Washington. "But as a San Diegan," he added, "let me assure you, I will not miss the weather."

Not to worry, there’s still a surfer on the Hill. Huntington Beach Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher keeps three boards in his DC office. 

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Maven's Morning Coffee: Jerry Brown adjusts school funding, a council race in the Valley, new laws for 2013

Jerry Brown Attends Rally In Support Of Proposition 30

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Gov. Jerry Brown wants to dramatically change how state government funds local public schools.

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

Headlines

Gov. Jerry Brown is working on a plan to dramatically change how state government funds public schools, reports the Los Angeles Times. "I want to align more closely the money schools receive with the problems that teachers encounter. When somebody's teaching in Compton, it's a much bigger challenge than teaching in Beverly Hills," the governor said.

The Daily News does a rundown on the race for the L.A. City Council's Seventh District. "The race is shaping up as a classic battle between a political insider with money and organization against three less-experienced challenges," according to the piece.

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New year, new gear for Los Angeles mayor’s race

GLAW

Walterrrrr/Flickr

Los Angeles City Hall

The pleas came fast and furious in the final days of the year.

“There are only 12 hours left in 2012,” wrote Rose Kapolczynski, who manages the mayoral campaign of City Controller Wendy Greuel.

“Don’t let this moment pass,” wrote City Councilwoman Jan Perry in her appeal for campaign cash.

The candidates wanted money for a strong fourth quarter of fundraising – one sign of viability in a race that will decide who leads Los Angeles for the next four years. Councilman Eric Garcetti elected to write a poem:

“If all the year-end appeals should tire you
Go for the one that will inspire you

I'll make this brief, concise and pretty
Please donate now and help our city.”

RELATED: LA candidates ask supporters to ring in new year with cash

The campaigns have been raising money for a year – and laying the groundwork for advertising, get-out-the-vote strategies, and debates.  But with the New Year comes greater energy.

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Busy week ahead for more than a dozen new California members of Congress

Congressman Dan Lungren

California Congressman Dan Lungren is leaving Capitol Hill, but taking a special memory with him.

California is sending 14 freshmen to Congress. It will be a busy week for the new kids on the Hill.

The official swearing in isn’t until Thursday. That’s when the phones get turned on, emails are assigned, websites are launched, and new members are officially allowed to start moving into their offices.  

Republican Congressman Jeff Denham of Fresno, who starts his sophomore term in 2013, says the best piece of advice old timers gave him was to document those first crazy days.

"Everything in that first couple of weeks happens so quick," he says. "If you don’t have things documented or pictures, you forget a lot of it."

Back in 1979, then-freshman member Dan Lungren took a picture of his kindergarten-age son sitting at his Congressional desk. He recreated the same shot last week.

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