Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Maven's Morning Coffee: Rick Caruso is out, Sherman, Berman tangle at debate, former mayor seeks pension measure

Rick Caruso

Caruso Affiliated

Developer RIck Caruso announced he will not run for mayor in 2013, saying it is not the right time to step away from his company, Caruso Affiliated.

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, Oct. 12, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:


Developer Rick Caruso ends the flirtation and declines to run for mayor of Los Angeles. KPCC, Los Angeles Times, Daily News

Rep. Brad Sherman took the November election to a new level when he put his arm around Rep. Howard Berman and challenged him to a fight. Here's the video on YouTube. The Sherman camp disputes what happened. "This is a fiction cooked up by Berman's campaign manager," according to the Sherman campaign. Here's are takes from the Jewish Journal and KPCC.


Video: Berman & Sherman get physical during congressional debate in San Fernando Valley

Physical Debate

YouTube/Howard Berman

Congressman Brad Sherman swings his arm around Congressman Howard Berman during a debate Thursday night in the San Fernando Valley.

The already bitter congressional race between two longtime Democrats nearly came to fisticuffs Thursday.  The video below shows two grown men in suits appearing ready for a schoolyard brawl.

Video from the debate at Pierce College begins with Congressman Howard Berman, 71, accusing Congressman Brad Sherman, 57, of being “delusional” about Berman’s record. Some in the crowd cheer loudly as Sherman stands to respond.

Then things get interesting:

To summarize, Sherman shouts into a microphone, points at Berman and the elder congressman takes a quick step toward his junior. The bespectacled lawmakers appear to be within a foot of each other, perhaps close enough to fog the other’s glasses.

“Don’t get in my face!” Sherman barks.

Sherman, who stands taller than Berman, then swings his arm around him. The force makes Berman wobble a bit.


Developer Rick Caruso out of Los Angeles mayor's race before ever getting in (updated)

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Frank Stoltze/KPCC

Developer Rick Caruso will not run for mayor of Los Angeles in 2013.

Developer Rick Caruso ended the speculation on his political future Thursday by announcing that he will not run for mayor of Los Angeles in the 2013 race. 

In a statement to reporters, Caruso said that this is not the appropriate time to leave his company, Caruso Affiliated, responsible for The Grove and the Americana at Brand retail and entertainment centers.

“As a lifelong Angeleno, I have dedicated my career to supporting Los Angeles through world class developments, creating jobs and economic benefits and in working with civic and community organizations throughout Los Angeles,” Caruso said.

Caruso declined to make any comment beyond his written statement.

The billionaire developer had the opportunity to shake up a race in which the frontrunners all have long lists of City Hall credentials. Caruso’s candidacy would have also shaken up the financial field. The latest campaign finance reports have Controller Wendy Greuel and Councilman Eric Garcetti virtually tied at $2.8 million each. Councilwoman Jan Perry has $1.3 million in her account, while former talk radio host Kevin James has raised $275,000. 


Proposition 34: Should California fix or nix its death penalty?

Rina Palta / KPCC

Bethany Webb holds a photo from her wedding of her and her sister, Laura. Laura Webb died in a massacre at a Seal Beach hair salon in 2011.

Bethany Webb’s Huntington Beach home is filled with family photos. Many of her little sister, Laura. Laura Webb was fatally shot just over a year ago, in the Seal Beach hair salon where she worked. Her mother was wounded too, but survived. Prosecutors say a man, angry at his ex-wife who worked there, donned a bulletproof vest, walked into the salon, and killed eight people. Witnesses said Webb begged for her life before the shooter turned on her.

“My sister died afraid," Webb says. "I wake up in the middle of the night, thinking how afraid she was. And that he will never be afraid."

"He" is Scott Evans Dekraai, the man prosecutors say committed the killings. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Dekraai. But history tells us that if Dekraii is convicted and sentenced to death, he’ll be transferred to a secure, sedate cell on California’s death row, far from the customary horrors of prison life, and with a team of lawyers devoted to his case.


That's My Issue: The Environment


Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

A woman stands amongst a grove of a Giant Sequoia trees in the Sequoia National Park in Central California on October 11, 2009.

This post is part of KPCC & WNYC's "That's My Issue" series, and represents the views of its author, not of either station. 

My name is Alex, I’m from Los Angeles, and the most important issue to me is the environment. 

And at this debate, I was a little disappointed. One, because it’s limited to the two big parties. We didn’t see Jill Stein and we didn’t see, is it Gary Johnson, is that the Libertarian? So, we didn’t get to see those alternative opinions, really.

The moderator didn’t ask any questions that dealt with the ecological health of the country, of the world, didn’t deal with climate change, anything like that, so that was disappointing for me.

There was a little bit of green jobs, green fuels, but it was more just like a ribbing point for Romney.

That's My Issue: It affects all of us at the level of our bodies by KPCC