Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Incoming state Republican lawmakers says there’s no ignoring the Democrats supermajority

Mercer 8150

Courtesy California State Assembly, Democratic Caucus

California Assembly Speaker John Perez promised newly sworn-in Republicans in Sacramento that he and fellow Democrats won't abuse their first dual-house supermajority in decades.

The Assembly swore in 38 new members to replace nearly half that legislative body.  Most of the newbies are Democrats who gave their party the two-thirds majority needed to pass taxes without Republican votes.

Directly after members took the oath of office, Assembly Speaker John Perez tried to reassure the minority party.

“For those Republican members that are new to the Assembly, I want to state clearly that your voice is welcome, your contributions are desired, and your act of service is needed.” Perez said.

But incoming Republican Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez of Riverside County says she harbors no illusions about the challenges ahead.

“Clearly there’s a bit of disparity between the numbers in each party. That’s the big white elephant in the room.   And that’s fine. But I think as Republicans our job is to stand up for our constituents and not betray our party policies but not be obstructionist, and come to it with an open mind.”

Melendez - a former mayor of Lake Elsinore, U. S. Navy veteran and mother of 5 - plans to look for common ground with Democrats.  She might find it around the goal of lowering her district’s 12 percent unemployment rate - one of the highest in the state. Democrats have said they’ll also focus this year on getting Californians back to work.

Read More...

San Diego's new mayor Bob Filner is a Capitol Hill veteran

San Diego’s new mayor takes the oath of office this morning in Balboa Park. He’s only the second Democrat in four decades to hold that job. The city’s new chief executive is a familiar face on Capitol Hill.

Bob Filner spent 20 years on Capitol Hill, leaving as the top Democrat on the House Veterans Affairs Committee. He says he retired because it’s difficult to get things done in Congress, particularly when you’re in the minority party. Filner says the chief executive of the nation’s 8th largest city has a better shot at accomplishing something.

He places job creation at the top of his “to do” list. And he wants the city to focus on its neighborhoods. He says the city's attention for the last two decades has been on downtown redevelopment, "and all the infrastructure of our neighborhoods has been neglected and people feel left out."

Read More...

Assessor John Noguez's friends ask for bail money in unusual email

Noguez mugshot

LA County Sheriff's Dept.

A committee called Friends of John Noguez is asking supporters to support the imprisoned assessor's birthday by raising money for his bail.

Imprisoned county Assessor John Noguez just had a birthday and his supporters say that the perfect gift this year would be bail money. 

An email from Friends of John Noguez asks supporters to send in $99 to go toward Noguez’s $1.16 million bail. He is being held on 24 counts of bribery, perjury, conspiracy and misappropriation by a public officer.

So, why give just $99? Because then supporters’ names won’t appear on public financial records, the committee says.

“Some of you have questions about donations given that there are certain reporters who are aggressively contacting anyone who is supportive of John. We all want to respect each other’s privacy, especially as private individuals who are not public officials,” according to the email. 

The group then goes on to bash journalists for covering the story. 

Read More...

Commission: CA renewable energy goals may be costly

solar plant

Photo credit: LADWP

Located about 65 miles north of L.A. near the community of Adelanto, Calif. The project produces 10 MW (AC) power, which is enough energy to meet the needs of 3,300 typical homes each year.

The Little Hoover Commission said California is trying to do too much, too fast, to go green.  California is committed to increase the use of alternative, renewable fuels,  reduce green house gas emissions and implement water quality rules. 

The bipartisan agency said just one of the those goals takes years of “careful planning” to implement.  

California is trying to do them all at once “without an overarching plan,” without an analysis of how much it will cost,  and without a central authority that prioritizes the work, according to the report. 

The Commission warns that in the rush to integrate renewable energy some of the investor-owned utilities purchased over-priced energy contracts. Those costs will get passed on to consumers.  

They also warn that any major events that upset state supplies—a prolonged heat wave, plant outages or wildfires  “could result in brownouts and blackouts in Southern California next year.”  The upshot: Californians could end up paying more for power that’s less reliable.  And that could cause a ratepayer revolt that would set state reforms back.

Read More...

Poll finds Garcetti, Greuel frontrunners in 2013 mayor's race; 2/3 undecided (updated)

Eric Garcetti

Eric Garcetti campaign

A poll by the Center for the Study of Los Angeles finds Councilman Eric Garcetti leads the 2013 mayoral primary amongst voters who have already decided who to vote for. Two-thirds of voters remain undecided.

For Angelenos who have already made up their minds about the 2013 mayoral primary, their top pick is Los Angeles City Councilman Eric Garcetti, a new poll released Monday concludes.

The Center for the Study of Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University surveyed 3,749 voters as they left the polls Nov. 6. The poll indicated that two-thirds of those voters have not yet decided whom to vote for in the March 5, 2013 primary. For the 1,152 voters who had made up their minds, Garcetti led with 36 percent. Controller Wendy Greuel polled at 32 percent, while Councilwoman Jan Perry trailed with 15 percent followed by attorney Kevin James at 8.7 percent.

“We’re very encouraged by that because we think it shows the broad outlines of the Garcetti coalition,” the campaign’s Bill Carrick told KPCC. “Is it the end all and be all of all polling? No, but it’s very interesting.”

Read More...