Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Maven's Morning Coffee: county assessor arrested, LA Chamber lobbys City Hall, LA Times says no to Measure B

jann_on/Flickr Creative Commons

County Assessor John Noguez was arrested on 24 felony counts for allegedly accepting bribes from a tax consultant in exchange for lowering the assessed values on properties owned by the consultant's clients.

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, Oct. 18, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:


Los Angeles County Assessor John Noguez was arrested on charges of bribery, conspiracy and perjury for allegedly accepting $185,000 in bribes in exchange for lowering the assessed values on Westside properties. Los Angeles Times, Daily News, KPCC, LA Weekly.

Which Way, L.A.? looks at Silicon Beach and follows up on the John Noguez arrest.

The director of a Los Angeles recreation center was arrested on charges of embezzlement and misappropriation of public funds for allegedly stealing $15,000, including funds that were intended for children's lunches, reports the Los Angeles Times. The case was referred to the district attorney by the controller's office.


VIDEO: Sing along to 'The Proposition Song' as you mark your California ballot

It's that time of year again — when the folks at the California Voter Foundation puts out its latest version of "The Proposition Song."  It's designed to help voters navigate the eleven ballot measures on the November ballot.

Kim Alexander, founder of the non-partisan organization, calls it a "labor of love" with a "short shelf life." She wrote the lyrics, which are set to a traditional folk melody, and recruited five musician friends to perform the ditty. They've performed it at several Sacramento establishments.



What 3 Obama/Romney debate topics made social media users say '@*$#'?

Barack Obama And Mitt Romney Participate In Second Presidential Debate

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney (L) and U.S. President Barack Obama talk to each other during a town hall style debate at Hofstra University October 16, 2012 in Hempstead, New York.

Tuesday night's presidential debate was more contentious than round one, with Barack Obama and Mitt Romney both hitting hard at their opponent. Also hitting hard? Twitter commenters.

Along with the usual Twitter jokes, according to social media security firm Impermium, three topics made social media users lose it. (The following tweets have been censored for your perusal.)

Gas prices:

The economy:


Parking, housing tax measures could be headed to LA's March ballot

Presidential Primary Election

Grant Slater/KPCC

Two tax measures that impact parking rates and home prices could appear on the City of Los Angeles ballot next March.

Two proposed tax increases are likely to appear on the City of Los Angeles March 2013 ballot — and they would impact anyone who buys a house or parks a car in the city.

One proposal would increase the city’s documentary transfer tax, which homeowners pay when they sell a residence in Los Angeles. The current tax is $4.50 per $1,000 of the sales price, which pencils out to about $1,643 on average for each seller.

A proposal from City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana would create a progressive scale of tax rates. For homes that sell for $255,000 or less, the tax would drop to $2.25 per $1,000. Properties in the median range of $255,000 to $365,000 would not see a change in the tax rate. More expensive homes would see an increase — $6.75 per $1,000 for properties between $365,000 and $585,000, and $9 per $1,000 for houses that sell for more than $585,000.


Battle of the PACs in Orange County Congressional race

Political ads are designed to attract attention. But a new ad by the candidate challenging an Orange County Congressman is shining a light on the political action committee that paid for the TV spot.  

The ad for Democrat Jay Chen looks like a 1960’s black-and-white horror movie, complete with monsters and a screaming blonde. The announcer says it's a "creature from Washington: Ed Royce. His votes are real, but we can stop him."

Royce, the ten-term Republican Congressman from Fullerton, objects to the political action committee that financed the ad: America Shining. Filings with the Federal Election Commission show the entire 565-thousand dollars in America Shining’s account come from one person: Shaw Chen, the candidate’s brother. 

Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, says it's unusual for a relative to organize a super PAC, but "not unheard of." She says it’s perfectly legal as long as there’s no coordination with the candidate, which Jay Chen has said is true in this case.