Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Californian wins the lottery...for a Congressional office

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Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Before they get to sit here, freshman members of Congress have to figure out where they'll work the rest of the time. That's where the office lottery comes in.

On Capitol Hill, this is the day the new crop of freshmen enters a lottery that determines where they’ll work. A Californian got the top opportunity to choose offices.

There's a superstition about dancing when it comes to influencing the luck of the draw in the office lottery. Redding Freshman Republican Doug LaMalfa threw caution to the wind and danced a Michael Jackson moonwalk for luck as he picked his number:  34 out of 70. Democrat Eric Swalwell of Dublin brought his own soundtrack: Journey's "Don't Stop Believing." He drew number 61.

Ventura Democrat Julia Brownley was the first to try dancing - a reluctant swaying to and fro. She won the office lotter and became the first Congressional freshman to choose an office. She wants one in the oldest and grandest House office building. "I seem to like the Cannon building just because of its historical features, I guess."

Brownley says that when she was in the California legislature, the Assembly speaker assigned offices. She says the Congressional process is more fair.

Did Brownley buy a Powerball ticket the other day, too? "I wish I had," she laughed.

One freshman who drew one of the lowest numbers put the best face on it, saying, “there are no bad offices when you’re lucky enough to be here in Congress.”



Maven's Morning Coffee: City Hall regulates elephants, Hall of Administration has conflict of interest, regulations for pot shops


Photo by Simczuk / Kasia via Flickr Creative Commons

KPCC's AirTalk talks to Councilman Paul Koretz about his motion to protect elephants from performing in the circus.

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, Nov. 30, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:


SoCal Connected looks at the relationship between Supervisor Don Knabe and his son, who is a lobbyist. "Special interest groups and companies, large and small, pay Englander-Knabe hundreds of thousands of dollars to lobby the county. Many of those same groups and companies also donate to Supervisor Knabe's campaign coffers and to his charities, events, and other causes," according to the program.

The Los Angeles Times and Daily News don't exactly paint the president of the Board of Public Works as mother of the year. Andrea Alarcon announced last week she would seek treatment after police officers found her 11-year-old daughter left alone at City Hall around midnight. The newspapers now report that Alarcon had left City Hall all together to get a drink at a downtown hotel. "Once on the phone with police, Alarcon had trouble understanding what the officer was telling her, the sources said. She arrived at the police station about 2 a.m.," according to The Times.


Barbara Boxer endorses Wendy Greuel for mayor of Los Angeles

Wendy Greuel

Wendy Greuel Campaign

Controller Wendy Greuel's campaign for mayor was endorsed Thursday by U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer.

The mayoral campaign of Controller Wendy Greuel landed a high-profile endorsment Thursday from U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer.

The California Democrat noted that Greuel’s election would give the city of Los Angeles its first female mayor. (A second candidate, Councilwoman Jan Perry, would also be the city’s first woman mayor if elected.)

“I’ve known Wendy Greuel for two decades. Wendy is a proven leader who will focus on revitalizing our economy and creating jobs. I look forward to working with Wendy on priorities such as continuing to build a world class transportation system for the people of Los Angeles,” Boxer said in a statement from the campaign. 

Boxer is Greuel’s most prominent endorsement so far. Earlier this week, Greuel announced endorsements from Latino politicians including Congressman-elect Tony Cardenas, state Sen. Alex Padilla and Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar. 


Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom claims victory in close Assembly race

Richard Bloom Betsy Butler

Richard Bloom campaign/Betsy Butler campaign

Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom claims victory over Assemblywoman Betsy Butler in the close 50th Assembly District race.

Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom has declared himself the victor over Assemblywoman Betsy Butler in the race to represent a Westside district in the state Assembly more than three weeks after the polls closed.

Butler was out of state and had not yet made a public statement about the race or its outcome, said her spokesman Andrew DeBlock. Her campaign consultant Parke Skelton told the Los Angeles Times that it appears she has lost the race.

Bloom could not be reached immediately for comment.

More than 75,000 ballots from precincts across Los Angeles County remained to be processed and counted after Wednesday's latest resuts showed Bloom leading by 1,246 votes. The county Registrar-Recorder's office plans to finish counting those ballots Friday afternoon, with a final count set for Sunday, if necessary, to meet the state's Dec. 4 deadline to turn in results.


Another Californian rises in House leadership

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Kitty Felde/KPCC

Congressman Xavier Becerra in front of Capitol. His fellow Democrats have chosen him to serve as their Caucus Chairman, moving him to the #4 power position in the House of Representatives.

LA Congressman Xavier Becerra took a step up in Capitol Hill leadership this morning.

His fellow House Democrats elected him as their new Caucus Chairman.

Becerra says the job is similar to that of a member of Congress. "Just as I have to represent 700 thousand people in my Congressional district," he says, "I now have to represent 200 Democrats in the House and do everything possible to make sure that they do well."

The move means Becerra becomes the number four Democrat in the House.

California also claims the top Democrat in the House, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and the number three Republican, Congressman Kevin McCarthy, the GOP House Whip.