Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Maven's Morning Coffee: City librarian profiled, endorsements for Measure J, space shuttle lands at California Science Center

Simon Shek / Flickr

Both the Los Angeles Times and Daily News endorsed Measure J, which would extend a half-penny sales tax for transportation projects.

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 Monday, Oct. 15, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:


The Space Shuttle Endeavour lands at the California Science Center, per KPCC.

In Rick Orlov's Tipoff column, politics get physical, neighborhood councils want a GM for the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, and Councilman Bill Rosendahl decides what to do with his campaign cash.

The Los Angeles Times looks at the new city librarian, John Szabo. "My father would drop me at the library while he played in a bowling league. I loved this space where I could explore every subject under the sun. But I was also fascinated by what went on behind the circulation desk," he tells the newspaper.


That's My Issue: Health care

Healthcare Stock

Mae Ryan/KPCC

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

I think the issue for the longest time has always been health care. It was really behind Clinton when he tried to get the healthcare bill passed and I was just so thrilled to see that Obama was able to get ObamaCare going. I really agree with him that healthcare is a right, not a privilege.

I’m a teacher, so I have pretty good healthcare. But I have friends who have no healthcare and they worry that if they break their leg or if — God-forbid — they get sick with cancer or whatever, they are going to go bankrupt. They’re not going to be able to take care of themselves. It’s just incomprehensible.

That's My Issue: Health Care by KPCC

I used live in Europe, too, and I had really good coverage. I don’t care if I have to pay a little more in taxes if it means it’s going to be for the greater good. I’m obviously a democrat.


Latino voters less likely to turn out for November election

California Voters Participate In The State's Pivotal Primary

David McNew/Getty Images

Voters go to the polls for Super Tuesday primaries in the predominantly Latino neighborhood of Boyle Heights on February 5, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. An opinion survey indicates that Latino voters prefer the Democratic presidential ticket over the Republican candidates by a 3-to-1 margin this year, but it also indicates that many of poll respondents may sit out this November's election.

Latino voters say they like President Obama better than Mitt Romney by a three-to-one margin. That number has remained stable throughout the election cycle. It demonstrates a larger preference than four years ago when Latino voters picked Barack Obama over John McCain by more than two to one. 

But a new survey raises the question: will Latinos turn out to vote?

One in four registered Latino voters in California told the Pew Hispanic Center they may sit out this election, despite efforts by Democrats and Republicans to snag more Latino support. Both parties are investing in Spanish-language media and sending Latino surrogates onto the campaign trail.

Mark Lopez, associate director of the Pew Hispanic Center, said Latinos "are not quite paying as much attention to the election or are not as certain they're going to vote as the general public."

Among all registered voters, nine of 10 say they’re “absolutely certain” they’ll vote this November. 

But saying that doesn’t make it so. In the presidential election four years ago, somebody stayed home: about eight of 10 California voters cast ballots. 

Lopez says surveys rely on self-reporting. "It could be that folks are not necessarily telling us the truth," he said.  "They’re telling us what is socially desirable."

California has the largest Latino voting population in the country.  One in four Latino voters in the United States lives in California. 


Redistricting gives incumbent state senator tough reelection campaign in San Fernando Valley

Fran Pavley Todd Zink

Pavley Campaign; Zink Campaign

State Sen. Fran Pavley is facing a tough reelection against Republican challenger Todd Zink.

In the western part of the San Fernando Valley, state Sen. Fran Pavley faces a tough reelection campaign as a result of the recent redistricting process that left her with a more conservative district.

Pavley, a Democrat, was elected to the 23rd District in 2008. She is running for reelection in the 27th District, which now includes parts of Ventura County. With Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks in the district, Pavley has to court voters who are not used to being represented by a Democrat.

“I thought it would be just sort of a victory lap around my old district for my last time that I’m running for office,” Pavley said. “Instead these redistricting lines caused a dramatic shift in my original plans.”

The senator finished second in the primary behind Republican Todd Zink, a prosecutor with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Pavley easily won over voters in Los Angeles County, but she lost Ventura County by 11,000 votes – even though the entire district has more registered Democrats than Republicans.


California term limits revolving door often leads to Los Angeles city council

Mercer 20755

Rich Pedroncelli/AP

Assemblyman Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, left, talks with Assembly member Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, at the Capitol last year.

There's just something about serving on the Los Angeles City Council that termed-out and current state legislators covet. The money's pretty good -- it pays about $80,000 more per year than a state Assembly post. And candidates who win and get reelected can stay 12 years.

So it's perhaps no great surprise that Assembly members Bob Blumenfield, Felipe Fuentes, Mike Davis, Warren Furutani, Gil Cedillo and state Senator Curren Price have all announced they are running for city council seats.

The council is already loaded with former state legislators: Richard Alarcon, Paul Koretz, Paul Krekorian, Tony Cardenas and Herb Wesson. That's one-third of the 15-member council with Sacramento pedigrees.

This candidate boomerang effect is an unintended consequence of the 1990 voter-approved state term limits law. It imposed a lifetime limit of six years in the Assembly and eight years in the Senate. In June, voters tweaked the law when they approved Proposition 28. It gives legislators fewer total years in the statehouse - 12 rather than 14 - but they can spend them all in the Assembly or Senate, or a combination.