Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Quieter TV commercials law goes into effect

Former FCC Chair Michael Powell, left, congratulates Rep. Anna Eshoo and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse on their bill, which regulates the volume of TV commercials.

Perhaps it’s appropriate in this season of silent nights that a new law has kicked in ensuring that overly-loud commercials won’t blast TV watchers away. Appropriately, the genesis of the law came on a not-so-silent night.

Democratic Congresswoman Anna Eshoo of Palo Alto had her family over for dinner one evening.  The TV was on in the next room. Eshoo says they were watching a sports event, "and then the blast of the commercial came on."

Eshoo says she shouted out to her brother-in-law: “Do something about that!” She says he shouted back: “You’re the Congresswoman, you do something about it!”

So she did.

Eshoo wasn’t the only who’s complained about screaming ads. A Harris Poll three years ago indicated that high commercial volume bothers nearly 9 of 10 TV viewers. Several members of Congress say that at town halls, complaints about blaring TV ads were as common as concerns about Social Security.


Recession factors into California’s modest population growth

Pool photo by Jeff Gritchen/Los Angeles Newspaper Group

A typically Californian crowd cheers the arrival of the Space Shuttle Endeavour at the Forum in Inglewood earlier this year. New figures from the state indicate that the economic recession and lower birth rates have kept the rate of population growth below one percent.

California’s population grew to 37.8 million—a quarter of a million more people than the year before. That’s based on official population projections out Thursday from the state’s Department of Finance. The gain of less than one percent gainrepresents modest growth for a  state that was growing at more than 1 percent a year—before the recession.

Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside were among the counties that gained the greatest number of people.

Los Angeles—home to more than a quarter of Californians—added another 50,000 people to top out at 9.9 million people. Orange added 24,0000 and Riverside gained 23,000. 

Most of the growth in the counties and throughout the state results from more people being born here than dying here.  That’s been the trend for the last decade.

The Department of Finance’s John Malson says the recession’s driven birth rates lower now than they were 5 years ago,  almost exclusively among Hispanics.  Malson says the sluggish economy  also deterred migration to the state.   In the last year, 14,000 more people left California than moved here.


Ethics Commission fines Jose Huizar $10K for campaign missteps (updated)

Councilman Huizar

Corey Bridwell/KPCC

Councilman Huizar speaks to senior citizens from the 14th district.

L.A. City Councilman José Huizar was fined $10,500 Thursday for ethics violations related to his 2011 re-election campaign. 

The Ethics Commission found the Fourteenth District councilman accepted four contributions that exceeded the $500 cap that was in place at the time of the campaign. In two cases, the contributions came from individuals and their businesses. The other two contributions were from companies that had majority shareholders in common.

The Huizar campaign also failed to file three, mass e-mail communications as required by the Ethics Commission.

The Councilman's attorney, Stephen Kaufman, told commissioners: “Councilman Huizar accepts full responsibility for the actions of his committee and ultimately the buck stops with him but as you have identified, as with many, many other campaigns, the candidate relies upon professional staff, campaign staff to deal with compliance issues. We strive for perfection, but can’t always get it.”


A holiday tradition: Loretta Sanchez's Christmas card

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It's that time of year again: Democratic Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez has sent out her annual holiday card.

Uptight Capitol Hill has had a conniption fit in years past over Sanchez's choice of pictures for her seasons greetings — the Congresswoman astride a motorcycle or posing with her beloved cat Gretzky on her lap.

This year's card features the Anaheim Congresswoman and husband Jack Einwechter and a message that's an optimistic riff on the current deficit reduction negotiations: "May you dance with joy this holiday season (just not too close to fiscal cliffs)." There's also a nod to the late Gretzky, now sporting a halo.

The card design and postage are paid for by campaign contributions, though most cards are sent out by e-mail.  

The card may be all that friends and family see of Sanchez this holiday. Congressional leaders are warning members they may be back at work the week between Christmas and New Year's, voting on budget cuts and/or tax increases to avoid that fiscal cliff.


Central City Association releases endorsements for LA City Council's 2013 races

Los Angeles City Hall

Alice Walton/KPCC

The Central City Association backs Councilmen Paul Koretz and Joe Buscaino for re-election.

A downtown pro-business group on Thursday endorsed two incumbents and five candidates for open seats in the Los Angeles City Council 2013 race. 

The Central City Association endorsed councilmen Paul Koretz and Joe Buscaino for re-election.

“The council members have proven to be effective leaders who have helped us to create jobs and housing throughout Los Angeles,” said Carol Schatz, president and CEO of the Central City Association. 

In races where there are open seats, CCA endorsed:

  • Gil Cedillo, First District
  • Bob Blumenfield, Third District
  • Felipe Fuentes, Seventh District
  • David Roberts, Ninth District (includes a portion of downtown)
  • Mike Bonin, Eleventh District

The primary for all of those seats is set for March 5, 2013. Most of downtown is in District 14, which is represented by José Huizar, who is not up for re-election.