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Maven's Morning Coffee: LA's money woes, Californians head to DC, city attorney candidates debate
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 Wednesday, Nov. 14, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:
Los Angeles Times writer Steve Lopez looks at California's financial woes. "In Los Angeles, we've now got a snapshot of the dilemma elected officials are facing. Do you raise taxes and fees to cover the deficits, try to rein in retirement plans, or both?"
A Daily News editorial says it will take a major campaign to convince Angelenos to increase the city's sales tax. "As they look to taxpayers to pull L.A. out of a budget deficit projected to be $216 million next year, officials may find themselves in a hole when it comes to public opinion," according to the newspaper.
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.
LA politics: Trutanich, Feuer to hold first debate; where’s Greg Smith?
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.
Assembly race remains close in Santa Monica
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.
Sales tax increase could appear on Los Angeles' March 2013 ballot
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."