Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Fans and foes debate California's high speed rail on Capitol Hill

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told a Congressional committee Thursday that California's proposed high speed rail line is attracting private investors.

California’s high speed rail project was under the microscope at a Capitol Hill hearing Thursday. Both the federal and state governments have committed start-up money for the project, but the prospect of additional funds from Washington remains uncertain.

Plans call for the first segment of California’s high speed rail to end in Bakersfield, the district of Republican House Whip Kevin McCarthy. He told the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee that Congress wants to invest in infrastructure, but he has doubts about this venture.

"What you want, you also need a plan for," McCarthy said "A plan that works, a plan that is tested, a plan that is audited, and a plan that has a review. And I have real doubt of the viability, the cost, and if and when this will ever be built."

McCarthy and other California House members have asked the Government Accountability Office to review the state's high speed rail project. That review is expected to be completed by February.

Read More...

House Transportation chief to LA: Build light rail to LAX... or else

Hearings On BP Oil Spill Continue On Capitol Hill

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Rep. John Mica (R-FL) is calling on Mayor Villaraigosa to find a way to bring lightrail all the way to LAX.

Angelenos aren’t the only ones griping about how difficult it is to get to and from L.A. International Airport on public transportation. On Thursday, the outgoing chairman of the powerful House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee made it clear that he’s not happy either.

At a hearing on high speed rail, Republican Congressman John Mica of Florida wanted to get something off his chest about a slower version of rail.  He asked El Segundo Democrat Janice Hahn to deliver a message to L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa: get light rail all the way to the airport – or else.

Hahn agreed, saying "the thought that people stop a mile short, try to get on a shuttle and get to the airport is the reason people aren’t taking public transportation."

Mica brought it up again later in the hearing, saying as outgoing Chairman, "I no longer will be able to stop all the projects until he gets that done. I‘ll just torpedo a few." 

Read More...

Maven's Morning Coffee: Kevin James profiled, Sheriff Baca changes course on immigration, controller audits Department of Aging

Mayoral Candidates

Photos courtesy of candidates' campaigns

Candidate Kevin James, second from the left, gets his own profile in the Los Angeles Times.

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

Headlines

The Los Angeles Times looks at the mayoral campaign of attorney Kevin James. "In the past couple of months he's gone from being an afterthought to a long shot to a plausible outsider candidate," said Dan Schnur of USC's Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics.

Andrea Alarcon's "rise and fall" is detailed by the LA Weekly ."As good as 2011 was for Alarcon, however, it also marked the beginning of a public fall from grace that ended last month, when her social life bested her political life," according to the piece.

Read More...

Maven's Morning Coffee: LAFD wants money, Supervisors look into car contract, strike ends at Port of LA

Larry Cummings VPP LACOFD

Fire Chief Brian Cummings told the Los Angeles City Council that more money in the LAFD budget would lead to better service.

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, Dec. 5, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:

Headlines

Fire Chief Brian Cummings testified before the Los Angeles City Council Tuesday. He suggested that more money would improve LAFD's response times and service. KPCC, Los Angeles Times, Daily News

Following KCET's report on the relationship between county Supervisor Don Knabe and his son, who is a lobbyist, Supervisor Mike Antonovich has asked for a review of one of the contracts highlighted in the piece, according to the station. Antonovich wants the county auditor to look at a $2 million contract awarded to Enterprise Rent-A-Car, which is a client of Englander, Knabe & Allen.

Read More...

LA Democrat Maxine Waters snags key committee post

Mercer 20547

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters has served on the House Financial Services Committee for more than two decades.

Los Angeles Congresswoman Maxine Waters has been unanimously elected top Democrat on the powerful House Financial Services Committee.

It's the job Waters has been waiting for. The L.A. Democrat has served on the committee for more than two decades and is known for her advocacy for community and minority banks. In a statement after her election to the post, Waters said: "I believe we need a financial system that facilitates economic opportunity and wealth creation for all."

Waters thanked the outgoing ranking member, Barney Frank of Massachusetts. And she vowed to "protect, defend and implement" the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, better known as Dodd-Frank, which was passed after the financial crisis:

"I understand that regulatory certainty is an important aspect of growing our economy, and remain committed to ensuring clear and transparent regulation which creates the space for innovation, safety and soundness."

Read More...