Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Asian-American community aims to demonstrate political power

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Nine Asian American organizations are partnering for a rally in downtown L.A. Saturday that is intended to demonstrate the community's growing political influence.

Clarissa Woo, Director of Policy Advocacy for the American Civil Liberties Union, says the purpose of the rally is “to highlight the importance of Asian American and Pacific Islanders to get out and vote.”  

Woo notes the AAPI community will play an important role this year's election.

“The AAPI community is the fastest growing community group in California," she says. "Asian-American voters have jumped over 33 percent since 2000, and APIs make up over 15 percent of the state’s population. The AAPI population, therefore, is a key voting bloc that remains largely untapped in terms of political power."

However, Woo also says that turnout rates among the AAPI community are lower than the average voting population. “I think that there is a strong need for bilingual cultural access for the community. Things are a bit daunting so it’s just overcoming all of that information,” Woo says. She adds that the ballot propositions may be difficult for those with language barriers to understand.


The fight for LA district attorney: 2 approaches to criminal justice

Los Angeles County District Attorney race, Jackie Lacey, Alan Jackson

Mae Ryan/KPCC; votealanjackson.com

Chief Deputy D.A. Jackie Lacey and Deputy D.A. Alan Jackson are competing to succeed Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley, who has elected not to run for another term.

More than half a century ago, tens of thousands of African-Americans fled places like Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas and poured into South Los Angeles.  Jackie Lacey’s parents were among them.

“My parents Addie and Louis came from the south," Lacey says. "They migrated here in the '50s to get away from racism.”

Her father cleaned vacant lots for the City of L.A.  Her mother was a seamstress. Raised in L.A.'s Crenshaw District, Lacey was the first in her family to attend college, and graduated from USC Law School.

In 28 years as a prosecutor, one case stands out for Lacey. And it reeked of the racism her parents sought to escape. Lacey prosecuted the first hate crime murder in L.A. County — against two Nazi Lowriders who beat a homeless black man to death in 1995.

“I remember just always feeling on guard, always on edge, never really wanting my back to them," Lacey recalls.  "Most criminals are foolish, or baffoonish. These men were evil."


Bloomberg's PAC spends $2.5 million against Democratic Congressman Joe Baca

Mayor Bloomberg And Islanders Owner Announce Plan For Team To Play In Brooklyn

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New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has launched a political action committee that is pouring big sums of cash into races around the country, including an Inland Empire Congressional contest.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is a busy man these days.  But before Hurricane Sandy hit, he launched a political action committee that has dropped $2.5 million on last minute ads and mailers in an Inland Empire Congressional race. 

Bloomberg’s political action committee, Independence USA, started spending money in Southern California a week ago, with $65 thousand on mailers supporting Democrat Gloria Negrete McLeod. She’s trying to unseat a fellow Democrat, incumbent Congressman Joe Baca in Ontario.

Day by day, more PAC money arrived. And then this week, more than $2.3 million for TV ads was reported by Bloomberg’s PAC to the Federal Election Commission.

The ad accuses Baca of siding with polluters and voting for a "dirty water bill." That bill was a GOP measure the League of Conservation Voters described as a “blatant assault” on the Clean Water Act. It passed the House, including a vote from Baca, but died in the Senate.


CA court: Arizona group doesn't have to reveal $11 million donation details [UPDATED]

California supreme court

Steve Rhodes/Flickr (by cc-nc-nd)

The California Supreme Court is the next stop for a battle over the release of information about an $11 million donation from an Arizona group to proposition 30 and proposition 32 on the November 2012 state ballot.

A California Appeals court in Sacramento refused Friday to compel an Arizona group that donated $11 million to two California ballot proposition campaigns to submit to an audit. 

UPDATE: The Fair Political Practices Commission has appealed the case to California’s Supreme Court, which has asked both sides to submit briefs this weekend. A decision could come Sunday or Monday.

It’s the latest twist in a legal battle over whether Arizona-based Americans for Responsible Leadership should have disclosed the names of donors who gave money to a campaign fighting Prop 30 — Gov. Brown’s tax initiative — and in support of Prop 32 — a ban on payroll deductions for political contributions.

California’s Fair Political Practices Commission wants to see documents about the donation to determine if donors knew that the money was earmarked for a specific campaign. If they knew, California law requires their names be disclosed.


Archived video: Ralph Nader moderates third-party presidential debate

Ralph Nader Announces His Running Mate Choice

Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

Ralph Nader listens from the hallway during a press conference at the National Press Club Feb. 28, 2008 in Washington, D.C.

A third party presidential debate that will be moderated by Ralph Nader is being held Sunday, Nov. 4, just two days before the election, at 4:30 p.m. Pacific, 7:30 p.m. Eastern.

You can submit your own questions for the debate via Nader’s Facebook page. The post says that Nader will choose two to ask during Sunday’s debate. Nader is also accepting questions via Twitter at @Ralph_Nader.

Watch video of the debate archived here:

Video streaming by Ustream

The candidates at this debate include the same four who faced off at a recent debate moderated by Larry King: Gary Johnson (Libertarian Party), Jill Stein (Green Party), Virgil Goode (Constitution Party) and Rock Anderson (Justice Party).

Only two of those candidates, Johnson and Stein, appear on California ballots. Goode and Anderson failed to qualify for ballots in this state. California ballots also include Peace and Freedom candidate Roseanne Barr and American Independent candidate Thomas Hoefling.