Politics, government and public life for Southern California

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.

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


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.


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



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.


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.


On list of the nation's 'most interesting' laws for 2013, California has 27

Schwarzenegger Holds Press Conference On Passing Of California Budget

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

California lawmakers passed 27 of the 81 "most interesting" state laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures

Of the 81 state laws highlighted on its annual list of the nation's most interesting laws that take effect on New Year's Day, the National Conference of State Legislatures included 27 passed by the California state legislature.

The 27 laws listed by the NCSL and highlighted below represent just a small portion of the more than 900 bills signed into law in 2012 by Gov. Jerry Brown and those new in 2013.

Use of dogs to pursue bears and bobcatsAnimals, Agriculture and Wildlife

  • California SB 1221 prohibits use of a dog pursue a bear or bobcat.
  • California SB 935 prohibits use of a vehicle or watercraft if aquatic plants or animals are attached to the exterior.

Amends Labor Code relating to employmentChildren and Families

  • California AB 2396 requires film producers to obtain permission from a board-certified pediatrician before filming a child under the age of one month.
  • California SB 1140 states clergy members whom object do not have to perform same-sex marriages.


House Ethics Committee had a busy year

It was a busy year for the House Ethics Committee.

In its end-of-the-year report, the House Ethics Committee says it met 35 times in 2012. That's more than twice the number of meetings in the year before.

A great part of the committee's time is spent training Congressional staffers about the rules and regulations. It also answers questions - a lot of them, apparently. Over the past two years, the committee fielded 40 thousand requests for "guidance" from staffers via phone, email or personal visits to the Ethics office.

The other side to the House Ethics Committee is its investigative work.

Over the past two years, it looked into nearly 100 different matters. The committee publicly addressed 27 of its investigations - just under a third of the total cases.

Several of those cases involved Californians.