Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Pelosi mum on leadership role; introduces Democratic freshmen

There are still two undecided Congressional races in California. But even without those, there are nearly a dozen new members of Congress from the Golden State. The top Democrat in the House, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, introduced her party’s new crop Tuesday in Washington D.C.

Pelosi filled the stage with new Democrats...and they kept spilling out of the green room. Pelosi welcomed several by name, including Ventura Congresswoman-elect Julia Brownley. 

Californians make up a quarter of the freshman class of Democrats. Pelosi had hoped to win a few more seats in California to retake the House, and the Speakership, but the GOP still outnumbers Democrats by about 18 members. She told reporters, "we may not have the majority, we may not have the gavel.  But we have unity."

Two Republicans from California were elected to the House.

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LA politics: Trutanich, Feuer to hold first debate; where’s Greg Smith?

Mercer 5516

City of Los Angeles

Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich faces challenges from State Assemblyman Mike Feuer and attorney Greg Smith in the March Primary Election.

Carmen Trutanich, the incumbent L.A. City Attorney, faces challenger Assemblyman Mike Feuer in their first debate at Notre Dame High School Wednesday.  

They could hardly be more different.

“Carmen Trutanich is a very strong, opinionated, rough and tumble guy,” said Richard Close, the longtime president of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association.

Mike Feuer “is more of an academic person,” said Close, who knows both candidates from their many visits to court voters in the San Fernando Valley. “Its like day and night.”

Trutanich, 61, the incumbent L.A. City Attorney, faces challenger Assemblyman Mike Feuer in their first debate at Notre Dame High School Wednesday at 7:15p.m. Close’s association is the sponsor.

Trutanich is fresh off his shocking defeat in the race for L.A. County District Attorney. He didn’t even finish in the top two.  Now, he’s struggling to keep his current job. The outspoken Trutanich is low on campaign cash, and even filed a lawsuit against his former campaign consultant John Shallman over how Shallman spent money in the D.A.’s race.  It is a bit of a mess.

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Assembly race remains close in Santa Monica

Richard Bloom Betsy Butler

Richard Bloom campaign/Betsy Butler campaign

The race for the Assembly's 50th District remains up in the air with Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom maintaining a slight lead over Assemblywoman Betsy Butler.

The race for the 50th Assembly District in the Santa Monica area continues to be close, with  Richard Bloom widening his slim lead  over Betsy Butler as the latest batch of vote-by-mail ballots were counted Tuesday.

Bloom, the mayor of Santa Monica, led incumbent Butler on election night by just over 200 votes, and his lead dropped to about 100 when the first batch of mail-in votes was counted late last week.

The margin separating the two Democrats was at 218 after Tuesday's count, the second in which vote-by-mail ballots were fed into counting machines at the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder's office in Norwalk. The next update is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 16.

Santa Monica Mayor Bloom was pulling in more votes in his hometown and in the cities of Agoura Hills and Malibu. Butler was drawing more votes in the Beverly Hills and West Hollywood parts of the district, according to the Los Angeles Registrar-Recorder's updated count.

Because so many people vote by mail, or drop off mail-in ballots at polling places, close elections are often not fully decided on election night because those ballots must first be validated by election officials.

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Sales tax increase could appear on Los Angeles' March 2013 ballot

General Election - Grant

Grant Slater/KPCC

A proposal to increase the city of Los Angeles' sales tax could appear on the March 2013 ballot. The Los Angeles City Council gave preliminary approval Tuesday, and a second vote is expected next week.

A proposal to increase the City of Los Angeles’ sales tax by a half-cent was preliminarily approved for the March 2013 ballot Tuesday in a 10-4 vote of the Los Angeles City Council.

The sales tax proposal will need a second approval next week – with at least 10 votes – to appear on the March 5th ballot. Because voters approved Proposition 30, the sales tax is already increasing to 9 percent on Jan. 1. If the city's measure gets on the ballot and passes, the sales tax would increase to 9.5 percent. 

Two of the dissenting council members — Jan Perry and Eric Garcetti — are also mayoral hopefuls whose names could appear alongside the proposed tax in March.  Also voting against the tax were councilmen Dennis Zine and Mitch Englander.

“We’ve got to be able to demonstrate that we’ve exhausted all of our resources,  that we’ve turned over every stone," Englander said. "That we’ve gone down and cut not only the fat and the bone and muscle as some people are suggesting but we’ve actually gotten rid of all of the other additional things we shouldn’t be doing — all of the other additional layers." 

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Maven's Morning Coffee: Development in John Noguez scandal, tax plans at City Hall, Villaraigosa writes election post-mortem

Noguez mugshot

LA County Sheriff's Dept.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Assessor John Noguez's money problems started before he was ever elected to the position.

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Today is Tuesday, Nov. 13, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:

Headlines

The Los Angeles Times found that downtown property owners who gave money to then-Huntington Park Councilman John Noguez's account had $36 million knocked off of their assessed property values, once he became the assessor. "Unlike Noguez's official campaign accounts for county assessor, the Huntington Park fund had no contribution limits, no restrictions on how the money could be spent, and its records were never posted online for public scrutiny," according to the newspaper.

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