Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Assembly Speaker John Perez says Democrats won't exploit 'supermajority'

Jerry Brown Delivers California State Of The State Address

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Assembly Speaker John Perez (left) and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (right) now have the power to override vetoes Governor Jerry Brown.

Now that Democrats officially control two-thirds of the California Legislature, Assembly Speaker John Perez is downplaying his party's power to raise taxes without Republican votes. 

“I’ve talked to a lot of the incoming members of the Assembly and I don’t see any of them moving forward on major tax proposals,” Perez said Thursday.

The Democrats' supermajority became official Wednesday when incumbent Republican Assemblyman Chris Norby conceded to Democratic challenger Sharon Quirk-Silva in a newly-drawn district in Orange County.

Democrats now officially wield a supermajority in both state legislative houses for the first time in 70 years. Aside from being able to unilaterally raise taxes, Democratic lawmakers also will be able to expedite bills and change legislative rules.

But the Assembly Speaker downplayed that new power Thursday:


Gen-X kids of Central American immigrants look to increase political clout

Raul Claros

Courtesy of Raul Claros

Raul Claros is president and founder of the Latino Coalition of Los Angeles PAC.

Despite its pan-Hispanic name, the Latino Coalition of Los Angeles PAC aims at increasing the local political power of Central American immigrants and their Generation X sons and daughters.

The group has endorsed Eric Garcetti for mayor; Garcetti's campaign sent out an e-mail blast announcing the endorsement last week. The coalition also endorses Ana E. Cubas, a naturalized Salvadoran immigrant, who is running for the City Council District 9 seat being vacated by Jan Perry. Cubas is a member of the group's advisory board.

The group coalesced in 2009 as Central American residents of the Pico-Union neighborhood tried to shrink boundaries that had been proposed for the expansion of Koreatown, coalition President Raul Claros said. The group then worked on the legislative redistricting, which re-drew political boundaries.

"That led us to form younger leadership," Claros said. "We have festivals, we have nonprofits, we have immigrant organizations, but we don't have anybody doing anything about politics."


Bail stays at $1 million for LA County Assessor John Noguez

Photo by John Noguez via Flickr Creative Commons

Los Angeles County Assessor John Noguez remains in jail, unable to post his $1.16 million bail.

Los Angeles County Assessor John Noguez is staying put in jail for now.

A judge Wednesday refused to lower the assessor’s bail below $1.16 million. A month ago, Noguez’s bail was lowered from $1.38 million to its current amount to reflect the loss that Los Angeles County taxpayers suffered when the assessor allegedly lowered the assessed property values for campaign contributors. An attorney for Noguez has repeatedly told the court that his client is unable to post bail.

"If he were released I'm not certain he would return, he has a lot more to lose,” Judge Shelly Torrealba said at the bail hearing, according to the Los Angeles Times. "That is not a chance this court is willing to take."

The assessor, who is on paid leave from his job, is charged with 24 counts of bribery, perjury, conspiracy and misappropriation by a public officer. He has pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors accuse Noguez of receiving $185,000 in bribes from tax consultant Ramin Salari in exchange for reducing the amount of property taxes paid by his clients. Also arrested in the case was Mark McNeil of the Major Appraisals Division. Both Salari and McNeil have posted bail.


Maven's Morning Coffee: LAFD response times, Democrats win a supermajority, mayoral candidates debate finances


Los Angeles Fire Department

A Los Angeles Times analysis found slower response times to the city's hillside communities.

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 Thursday, Nov. 15, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:


The hillside communities of Los Angeles often have longer wait times than densely populated areas when they call 911 for a medical emergency, according to the Los Angeles Times. "The findings reinforce the obvious risks of living in L.A.'s scenic and desirable canyon enclaves, where wildfires and mudslides are a perennial concern and narrow and winding roads can slow rescue vehicles," reports The Times.

The Democrats have won a supermajority in the state Assembly, reports The Sacramento Bee. "Democrats also are assured of a supermajority in the Senate, marking the first time since 1883 that the party has wielded such power in the Legislature," according to the newspaper.


Candidates for Los Angeles mayor discuss pension reform at Koreatown debate

Los Angeles City Hall

Alice Walton/KPCC

Los Angeles City Hall.

Just when you thought you’d had enough of politics, here comes the race to succeed Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.  Four candidates faced off Wednesday in a forum sponsored by the Korean American Coalition. 

Among the topics:  Former Mayor Richard Riordan’s proposed ballot initiative to dramatically overhaul city pensions and move new city workers into 401 (k) style plans.  The plan would likely reduce benefits for city workers.

“I oppose the proposed ballot initiative,” said Councilman Eric Garcetti.  He argued Riordan’s plan initially would cost more, and that the city would not realize any savings for 15 years.

City Controller Wendy Greuel warned the proposal  - staunchly opposed by powerful labor unions – might send police officers to surrounding cities with more generous benefits.