Politics, government and public life for Southern California

The sharp knives come out in Bono Mack/Ruiz Congressional race

Raul Ruiz and Mary Bono-Mack

KPCC and Stephen Shugerman/Getty Images

Emergency room physician Dr. Raul Ruiz is running against Republican incumbent Mary Bono-Mack in a Coachella Valley district.

The accusations are flying in the Coachella Valley race between Republican incumbent Mary Bono Mack and Democratic challenger Raul Ruiz.

Friends of Democracy, a Democratic political action committee, has filed a formal complaint with the Federal Elections Commission, accusing Mack's campaign of illegally steering a donor to a PAC that has raised money on her behalf.

Meanwhile, the Bono Mack side is painting her rival as a leftist revolutionary. The campaign has released a recording from 1999, where at a Plymouth Rock protest, Ruiz reads a letter from Mexico's Zapatista Army for National Liberation in support of Leonard Peltier. 

Peltier is a Native American activist who went to prison more than three decades ago for the murder of FBI agents.

Ruiz — who was a student at Harvard Medical School at the time — objected to the tactic, saying there’s a “difference between disagreeing and character assassination.”


Live from Carolyn's Cafe in Redlands: What's your issue?

Kim Bui/KPCC

The interior of Carol's Cafe in Redlands, California.

Carol's Cafe

Kim Bui/KPCC

Carolyn's Cafe

Kim Bui/KPCC

Carolyn's son and cafe worker Brad Strickland at work at Carolyn's Cafe

Update 12:00 pm Lunch time

The morning crowd is dying down and lunch is settling in. Now that we've talked with a good many Redlanders about the issues they care about, we're going in to have ourselve a bite. Hope you enjoyed it.

We'll be setting up at the Serving Spoon in Inglewood on Tuesday, Oct. 22nd from 7 am to 12 pm. Come on by!

Update 11:10 am: Good, paying jobs

Ed Halsell talked to us about his daughters, both of whom graduated college not long ago and struggled to find decent jobs. 

"Everyone I know whose children have graduated college are either unemployed or underemployed," he told us.

Ed works as the Chief of Maintenance at Patton State Hospital, a hospital for the criminally insane.

Update 10:51 am: How taxes are spent

We're hearing a lot for Redlands-ers concerned about taxes. Don Wallace from Redlands joined us to discuss the issue that inspired him to run for Redlands City Council: government spending. Don say she feels the government at both the local and national levels has spent far too much. He told us he hopes to get it under control


Maven's Morning Coffee: Eric Garcetti says no to a pension proposal, Laura Chick backs Wendy Greuel, Daily News looks at Measure A and B

Eric Garcetti

Eric Garcetti campaign

Los Angeles City Councilman Eric Garcetti opposes a proposal that would switch L.A. city employees to a 401 (k)-style retirement plan.

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 Friday, Oct. 19, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:


It was a busy day at the downtown criminal courthouse as Councilman Richard Alarcon and county Assessor John Noguez each pleaded not guilty in two separate cases. Alarcon: KPCC, Daily News. Noguez: KPCC, Los Angeles Times, ABC 7.

Meanwhile the Daily News editorial page looks at what the assessor's arrest means for Measure A on the November ballot. "(John) Noguez is on paid leave and under pressure to resign. It's fairly certain his name, whatever it is, will never appear on a ballot again. More and more, it seems that no county assessor's name should," according to the newspaper.


That's My Issue: Reproductive rights

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Anti-abortion and pro-choice demonstrators argue in front of the Supreme Court during the March for Life January 24, 2011 in Washington, DC. The annual march marks the anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision by the court that made abortion legal in the United States.

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 Rhianon, and I pay attention to a lot of the issues, but I would say that one that is an absolute deal-breaker for me as a woman is women’s rights and reproductive rights. 

Just having been lucky enough to grow up in a family where it was always really supported that I was absolutely equal, that I have sovereign rights over my body the same way any other person should.

It affected the way that I feel about these things. 

I have friends who have had difficult situations who maybe something came up. I’ve had friends who couldn’t get birth control because they grew up in really religious or conservative families and groups like Planned Parenthood were there for them.


Michael Bloomberg's PAC could boost challenger in Ontario Congressional race

Mercer 20515

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, second from left, is behind Independence USA, a political action committee that will support candidates willing to crack down on illegal weapons.

Seems like everybody’s creating a political action committee this year — from Stephen Colbert to the brother of a Fullerton Congressional candidate.  Now, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is getting into the Super PAC act. And his support could help a Democratic challenger unseat a Democratic Congressional incumbent in the Inland Empire.

Bloomberg made the announcement on his website. He’ll spend at least $10 million supporting gay marriage ballot propositions, as well as moderate local and Congressional candidates on both sides of the aisle who work in a bipartisan manner.

The New York Times identified one of those candidates as California State Senator Gloria Negrete McLeod, who's running for Congress. She first heard the news after returning to her office from a funeral. She says there were "tons of e-mails" telling her about an article in the Times.  "And I said, 'About what?'”

Because of California’s “top two” election system, McLeod is running against another Democrat, incumbent Ontario Congressman Joe Baca. He was both shocked and surprised by the news and asked, “Why am I being attacked from the East Coast and Bloomberg?”

The issue is guns. Bloomberg says he’ll support candidates who will crack down on illegal weapons. When Baca first ran for Congress in 1999, the National Rifle Association named him one of its “Defenders of Freedom.” On this year's NRA report card, the group gives Baca a “B+” grade — described as “generally a pro-gun candidate.”

Baca says he believes in protecting the Second Amendment of the Constitution — the right to bear arms. He says it’s important to uphold that right, "But I also believe that we need to focus on firearms that fall into the wrong hands."

Most California Democrats in Congress rate an “F” from the NRA. Baca points out McLeod got a “D,” which the NRA gives to "anti-gun" candidates who usually support restrictive gun control legislation.

But McLeod's position on guns sounds similar to Baca’s. She says she also believes in the Second Amendment: "My husband is a former police officer so we, in fact, do have guns.  They’re put away in a safe. I don’t have a problem with legitimate people having guns as long as they’re registered and they know how to use them."

Baca — who won the primary by nine percentage points — has raised $900,000 for his campaign, with nearly $300,000 in cash to spend in the last few weeks before the election. McLeod has raised less than a third of that amount, with less than $100,000 in cash on hand.

An infusion from Bloomberg could make a difference to McLeod’s campaign, but she notes it would be an independent expenditure. "I have absolutely no control" of that kind of contribution, she says.  "I can’t even see it. I don’t know anything about it, they can’t coordinate with me."

McLeod says this isn’t the first time the promise of campaign PAC money has been rumored.  In the primary, there was talk of money for candidates challenging incumbents. It never materialized for her.

Attempts to get a response from Mayor Bloomberg and his Independence USA PAC were unsuccessful.