Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Long Beach Democrat Laura Richardson's campaign awash in red ink

Congresswoman Laura Richardson is in trouble.

The publication “Roll Call” already lists her as the lawmaker most likely to lose her seat. Internal polling numbers from her opponent Janice Hahn show Richardson trailing by 16 points, with 30 percent undecided.

And according to the latest report filed with the Federal Election Commission, she owes more than $500,000 to her campaign treasurer, graphic designer, pollster, fundraising consultant, a couple of restaurants, the phone company, and lawyers.

The Long Beach Democrat only has about $68,000 dollars in campaign cash on hand.

During the last quarter, Richardson had to lend her campaign more money than she’d raised in campaign donations. She raised under $7000; she lent the campaign $9000. So far, she’s committed $19,000 of her own money to her reelection bid. 

Among those who contributed to the Richardson campaign last quarter was her mentor, the late Congressman and Lt. Governor Mervyn Dymally. She credits him with encouraging her to run for Congress.

Richardson is running against fellow Democrat, freshman Congresswoman Janice Hahn, in a newly drawn district.

Hahn is also in the red; she owes more than $60,000 than she has on hand. Hahn owes money for polling, printing, advertising, legal fees, and consulting. 

One consultant is longtime Democratic advisor Joe Trippi, who worked on campaigns for Tom Bradley and Alan Cranston and on the presidential runs of Ted Kennedy, Walter Mondale, Gary Hart, Richard Gephardt, Howard Dean and, most recently, John Edwards.

Hahn also owes money to a baseball club that is not the Dodgers.

Her father, the late L.A. County Supervisor Kenneth Hahn, was instrumental in bringing the Dodgers west from Brooklyn. Janice Hahn had a fundraising event in Washington, DC at Nationals Park, where the Washington Nationals play.

It's doubtful the money owed to the baseball team in DC cost her poltically: the Nats were playing the Dodgers that night.

But Hahn's fundraising prospects are better than Richardson's. Last quarter, Hahn raised nearly $180,000. That’s more than 25 times the amount raised by Laura Richardson. 



That's My Issue: Public Education

That's My Issue: Public Education

Kim Bui/Amy Lieu/KPCC

Peter Walts speaks to KPCC about his views on public education.

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

Everyone has budget concerns. That's probably one of the first things you talk about when you talk about education.

I just really want it to work for everybody — public education.  We've got to find a way to fund it, we have to stop demonizing teachers. However, we do have to qualify what makes a good teacher and understand that more.

We have stop making them be police officers and social workers as well.

Parents need to do their jobs too, so we need to get more and more parents involved with their local schools.

But I suppose principally, funding would be the biggest concern right now, so very concerned about that.  

Let us know how a particular experience has affected your political opinions. Record it online, or drop us a note. Your piece could appear on WNYC and KPCC's websites, as well as on our air. 


Future of Los Angeles' digital billboards remains in limbo

Steven Cuevas/KPCC

Los Angeles city staff was asked to meet with billboard executives and neighborhood groups in the next 30 days to develop a new set of regulations for digital signs.

The future of digital billboards in the city of Los Angeles remained uncertain Tuesday as the city council asked planning staffers to meet with billboard companies and neighborhood groups to work out a new set of regulations for the signs. 

The staff report is due back in 30 days; however, an ongoing legal dispute between two major billboard companies, CBS Outdoor and Clear Channel Outdoor, and the city of Los Angeles is expected to be heard in court later this month. Councilman Paul Krekorian told his colleagues that the upcoming court date provides a sense of urgency that could push the two sides to find some common ground.

“My hope is that this will be the beginning of a discussion,” Krekorian said. 

His goals for the staff report are to:

  1. Reduce the number of static and digital billboards in the city
  2. Increase revenue to the city
  3. Resolve ongoing legal fights over billboards


Online registration option popular with young voters

Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

A polling place inside a luxury car dealer in Beverly Hills during the 2010 midterm elections. This year, California voters can skip the paperwork on their way to the ballot box and register completely online.

Monday is the deadline to sign up to vote in the November 6 election.  This year, for the first time, California voters can register completely online.

544-thousand Californians registered online in the first month, and the number’s expected to grow.

Political Data Inc. – a non-partisan company that analyzes election stats — profiled the first 50,000 Californians to sign up and found that about a third were younger than 26. That group of voters is twice as likely to register as Democrats than as Republicans.

Los Angeles County’s reported online registration is contributing to a record-setting pace in voter registrations. About 150,000 people registered last month. That represents a jump of 30,000 from the September before the last presidential election.

Voters may register at the California Secretary of State’s website until midnight Oct. 22.


Los Angeles' library cards could double as identification, debit cards

Los Angeles City Hall

Alice Walton/KPCC

A plan to provide library cards that are also ID and pre-paid debit cards was unanimously approved by a Los Angeles City Council committee.

Undocumented residents living in the city of Los Angeles could soon have a library card that also acts as identification and a pre-paid debit card.

A Los Angeles City Council committee unanimously approved the proposal from Councilman Richard Alarcon. The ID card would include a resident’s photograph, full name, address, date of birth and details on height, weight, and hair and eye color. The card would not be a driver’s license and could not be used as an ID to board a plane. The card could also be a pre-paid debit card that allows residents to build credit. 

“[It] gives them to access to banks in a way they can trust,” Alarcon said. 

Whether law enforcement agencies would accept the ID remains unknown.

The card is intended to help the 200,000 Los Angeles households that do not have access to banking services. Those families are vulnerable to theft and financial emergencies, according to the Mayor’s Office. A financial institution would back the proposed ID card, and the funds would be FDIC insured.