Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Some surprises among rating of CA lawmakers by Human Rights Campaign

Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack, who represents Palm Springs, was one of only two House Republicans who joined Defense of Marriage Act opponents on some legislation

The Human Rights Campaign has issued its annual Congressional scorecard on issues important to the gay, lesbian, and transgender community. A look at how California lawmakers fared shows some interesting results.

As expected, nearly all House Democrats from the Golden State agreed to co-sponsor every piece of legislation backed by the HRC, and voted up or down in ways the campaign approved; most California Republicans did not.

But there were exceptions.

The HRC didn’t like the House version of the Violence Against Women reauthorization because, unlike the Senate version, it doesn’t expand protections to partners in same-sex couples.  Democrats, by and large, voted against it, but so did GOP Congressmen Dana Rohrabacher of Huntington Beach and Tom McClintock of Lake Tahoe.

McClintock voted against it for reasons other than its exclusion of same-sex couple protection. On his website, McClintock blasts the legislation as "a feel-good measure that uses 'Violence Against Women' as an excuse to vastly expand a dizzying array of government grant programs, hamstring judges who are attempting to resolve and reconcile highly volatile relationships, add $1.8 billion to the nation’s debt and generally insinuate the federal government into matters the Constitution clearly reserves to the states."


The challenges of debate moderating have grown along with partisan differences



US President Barack Obama and Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney debate on October 16, 2012 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. Undecided voters asked questions during a town hall format.

There continue to be questions about how moderators approach Presidential debates and about whether the extra time President Obama has received in the first two debates indicates moderator bias in his favor. 

I had chalked up the concerns to Republican hyper-partisanship, such as we saw with many Democrats criticizing Jim Lehrer for his moderating — as though Obama would’ve won the first debate if only Lehrer had asserted himself more.   However, even CNN has been doing significant follow-up on its own Candy Crowley’s performance in debate number two. 

Maybe it’s not just hardcore GOP loyalists who are questioning Crowley’s decision-making on when to cut in and when to allow the candidates to take more time. I thought she did pretty well, but there are plenty of critics.

As someone who has moderated hundreds of debates, I thought I’d share my thoughts on what we’ve seen so far in this election. Though I’ve never moderated a Presidential debate, with its incredible level of attention, concern about rules, and demands by campaigns, there are certain fundamentals regardless of the office or issue at stake.


MAP: Where you can register today to cast a ballot in November's election

Deepa Fernandes/KPCC

Parishioner of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church fills out his voter registration form after Sunday mass.

Deepa Fernandes/KPCC

Jesus Cervantes (L) and two volunteer registrars from St Joseph’s Catholic Church. The table is set up outside the church to encourage all Sunday mass goers to register to vote.

If you’re eligible to vote in next month’s presidential election and you haven’t registered, it’s the 11th hour. TODAY is the last day to register to be eligible to vote in the Nov. 6 presidential election. While California's Secretary of State and county registrars of voters have actively encouraged people to register online, many traditional voter mobilization efforts are also in play through Monday night.

Outside St. Joseph’s Catholic church in Hawthorne, some parishioners set up a table after Sunday mass with American flags and paper registration forms.

Volunteer registrar Jesus Cervantes said the economy is fueling interest in next month's election.

"We desperately need to create more jobs in this community. There's a lot of young adults who are ready to work, but there’s no jobs," Cervantes said. "Besides that, there’s young people that are just ready to start joining the workforce, but same problem: no jobs."


Maven's Morning Coffee: 2013 mayor's race, Richard Alarcon's Assembly race, Villaraigosa for president?

Mayoral Candidates

Photos courtesy of candidates' campaigns

Los Angeles Times writer Jim Newton looks at the field of mayoral candidates now that Zev Yaroslavsky, Rick Caruso and Austin Beutner are out of it.

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.

The Maven's Morning Coffee is also available as a daily email. Click here to subscribe.

Today is Monday, Oct. 22, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:


Los Angeles Times writer Jim Newton looks at a 2013 mayor's race that doesn't include Zev Yaroslavsky, Rick Caruso or Austin Beutner. "Had any one of the three departed candidates stuck it out, there would have been a credible candidate with an outside message and the means to bring it to the electorate," Newton writes.

In Rick Orlov's Tipoff column, labor focuses on Prop 32, Councilman Herb Wesson plays mayor, and the city clerk prepares for a special election.


Republicans Gary Miller and Bob Dutton square off in Inland Empire race for Congress


Steven Cuevas / KPCC

Rancho Cucamonga and other Inland cities are awash with campaign sings for 31st Congressional candidates Bob Dutton and Gary Miller.


Steven Cuevas / KPCC

31st Congressional candidate Bob Dutton celebrates his birthday with supporters while on the campaign trail in Grand Terrace.


Gary Miller for Congress

31st Congressional candidate Gary Miller.

Two veteran politicians are battling for control of a newly drawn Congressional district in the Inland Empire.

Both candidates are Republicans — pushed into an all-GOP fight by California’s “top two” primary system that sends the two leading vote-getters into the general election regardless of party. But even though both are Republicans, there are key differences between the two.

The 31st Congressional District swings west from Redlands, up through San Bernardino and out to Rancho Cucamonga — home base for Republican Congressman Gary Miller.

“This is my fourth event today,” said Miller outside his campaign office before joining supporters for a hamburger lunch on a recent Saturday.

For nearly 15 years, Miller represented the 42nd District — an Orange County Republican stronghold that included a small ribbon of the Inland Empire.