Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Howard Berman and Brad Sherman launch scathing TV ads in congressional campaign

The congressional battle between two Democrats in the Western San Fernando Valley that some call “the ugliest race in America” is now playing out on TV with new attack ads.

One from Congressman Howard Berman focuses on his physical confrontation with Congressman Brad Sherman during last week’s debate at Pierce College. The ad shows Sherman swinging his arm around Berman.  It also cites a Washington Magazine article that said Sherman was one of the meanest members of Congress.

“Ineffective. Mean. And Too Angry,” proclaims the ad.  “Brad Sherman is just not fit to represent us.”

Sherman has expressed regret for the debate outburst. “This was not wise.”

The Sherman attack ad features cardboard cutouts of Berman in a Hawaiian shirt traveling the world.  It accuses him of taking 146 trips “paid for by taxpayers, corporations, and special interests” during his 40 years in elected office in Sacramento and Washington D.C.


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.

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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.