Politics, government and public life for Southern California

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.

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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.”

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Maven's Morning Coffee: LAFD to report to City Hall, Measure J fails, Sacramento lawmakers sworn in

Brian Watt/KPCC

Fire Chief Brian Cummings has been instructed to report to the L.A. City Council on Tuesday to answer questions about the Los Angeles Fire Department.

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 Monday, Dec. 3, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:

Headlines

Fire Chief Brian Cummings will appear before the Los Angeles City Council tomorrow to explain why the department is "unwilling or unable to develop a plan to reduce response times and improve public safety," reports the Los Angeles Times. LAFD has been plagued by old technologies and slow response times.

Measure J, an extension of the half-penny sales tax for public transportation projects, failed to meet the necessary two-thirds threshold -- by .056 percent, per LAObserved.

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California loses nearly 300 years of Congressional seniority with retirements, defeats

RepJerryLewis/Flickr.com

Retiring Republican Congressman Jerry Lewis (right) has served in the House since 1979.

You might call it musical chairs, that time in the political calendar when members of Congress make their move up the leadership ladder. But the turnover of more than a dozen California seats in the House means going to the back of the seniority line.

In some ways, nothing’s changed for California. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer still chair key Senate committees. But the real power shift is in the House, where citizen-drawn district lines led to competitive races. California lost 14 incumbents and with them, astoundingly, nearly 300 years of service on the Hill.

Norm Ornstein, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, says losing seniority means losing members in strong leadership positions, "often chairmanships or ranking positions in committees that matter." He says, normally, you'd see some reduction in the clout of a state. "But in a state like California, which has more members than anybody else, which is going to get members on every single panel so that they can effectively argue the case, it’s not as dramatic as it might sound."

California can still claim both the House Majority Whip, Kevin McCarthy, and the Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi. Buck McKeon of Santa Clarita still chairs the House Armed Services Committee; Darrell Issa of Temecula heads Oversight and Government Reform. 

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Judge may suspend California’s ban on gay conversion therapy for minors

A federal judge in Sacramento is expected to decide this week whether to suspend a new state law that bans gay conversion therapy for minors.

The new law, set to take effect Jan. 1, prohibits licensed therapists from counseling gay youths to change their sexual orientation.

Counselors and parents sued to overturn the law. The parents have said the therapy helped their teenage sons.  In a 50-minute hearing  Friday, their attorney asked U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller to stop the ban conversion therapy from taking effect while they pursue a court challenge.

Deputy State Attorney General Alexandra Gordon argued the ban protects young people from a practice that mainstream mental health organizations reject.

Judge Mueller said she plans to issue a written ruling sometime this week.

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