Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Redistricting has turned this election season upside down

LA City Councilmember Tony Cardenas on truancy

Tami Abdollah / KPCC

Los Angeles City Councilman Tony Cardenas is running virtually unopposed for Congress in the new 29th District in the San Fernando Valley.

You’ve probably heard about the contentious race between Congressmen Brad Sherman and Howard Berman. The two Democratic incumbents were pushed into a re-election contest because of redistricting. That’s just one of many examples of how new boundaries are affecting the 2012 election. 

In 2008, a voter-approved proposition removed responsibility for redistricting from politicians, who historically protected incumbents. About 30,000 people applied to be named to the 14-member Citizens Redistricting Commission. The 2012 election is the first result of its labor. 

Consequently, the San Fernando Valley is on the cusp of electing its first Latino member of Congress.

Los Angeles City Councilman Tony Cardenas finished the June primary with 64 percent of the vote. He will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot against perennial candidate David Hernandez.


Maven's Morning Coffee: ban on tax contributions, possible increase in Metro fares, a political dynasty in the state Assembly

jann_on/Flickr Creative Commons

The Board of Supervisors will consider a proposal that would prevent tax agents from donating to the county assessor's campaign.

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 Friday, Nov. 2, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:


Two Riverside natives are competing to become the first representative of the newly drawn 41st Congressional District, reports KPCC.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is getting ready to consider a plan that would ban tax agents from making campaign contributions to the county assessor, according to the Daily News. "There can be no pay-to-play," said Supervisor Don Knabe.

Foes of the Measure J transit tax believe the construction of so many new projects will force Metro to raise fares, according to the Los Angeles Times. "This is a pocketbook issue. And the … question is, are you really going to extend my taxes and then come back and increase my fare?" said county Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.


New Field Poll has Prop 32 trailing by 16 points

California Voters Head To The Polls For Midterm Elections

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

A voter places her ballot into a ballot box during California's midterm elections in Los Angeles, California on November 2, 2010.

Proposition 32, the controversial California ballot measure that deals with union and corporate campaign contributions, is trailing by a wide margin. 

A new Field Poll out Friday has the measure trailing by 16 points.

Prop 32 is far and away the most expensive fight on California’s November ballot – with more than $120 million spent by the two sides combined.  The measure would ban corporate and union campaign contributions and ban automatic paycheck deductions for political purposes.

Support for Prop 32 dropped four points from last month’s poll to just 34 percent.  Half of likely voters say they oppose it.


Arizona non-profit appeals ruling on $11 million donation, delays audit

The Arizona group that donated $11 million to a campaign involved with two propositions on California's ballot appealed a court order to comply with a state audit Thursday. 

The Fair Political Practices Commission, California’s elections watchdog, wants to know the source of the donation before election day. But the appeal makes that disclosure less likely.

Arizona-based Americans for Responsible Leadership donated the money to a campaign against Prop 30, Governor Brown’s tax initiative, and in support of Prop 32, a ban on union payroll deductions for political contributions.  

The Arizona non-profit didn’t disclose who made the $11 million donation. The FPPC thinks the group may have violated California campaign finance disclosure laws

The FPPC has demanded to see all documents about the gift to determine if donors knew the money was earmarked for a specific campaign. If they knew, California law requires the donors' names be disclosed.

A Sacramento Superior Court Judge ordered Americans for Responsible Leadership to comply with the audit by 5 pm Thursday. Instead, the group appealed the decision to the 3rd District Court in Sacramento.  


Congresswoman sends cease and desist letter to state Assembly candidate

Matthew Lin

Matthew Lin Campaign

Rep. Judy Chu sent a cease and desist letter Thursday to state Assembly candidate Matthew Lin. She believes he misled voters into thinking she endorsed him in the race.

A candidate for the state Assembly received a cease and desist letter Thursday from a Democratic congresswoman who accused the Republican of misleading voters into thinking he had received her endorsement.

Rep. Judy Chu’s letter identified three pieces of mail that she says incorrectly gave voters the impression that she endorsed Matthew Lin. In fact, Chu has endorsed fellow Democrat Edwin Chau in the race for the Assembly’s 49th District in the San Gabriel Valley.

“I demand that you immediately cease and desist from using my name, image and likeness, whatsoever, or even mentioning me or my elected Congressional Office in your campaign materials and demand that you issue an apology for the unauthorized use of my name and picture to be mailed out to every voter who has received this information from your campaign,” Chu wrote in her letter.