Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Battle of the PACs in Orange County Congressional race

Political ads are designed to attract attention. But a new ad by the candidate challenging an Orange County Congressman is shining a light on the political action committee that paid for the TV spot.  

The ad for Democrat Jay Chen looks like a 1960’s black-and-white horror movie, complete with monsters and a screaming blonde. The announcer says it's a "creature from Washington: Ed Royce. His votes are real, but we can stop him."

Royce, the ten-term Republican Congressman from Fullerton, objects to the political action committee that financed the ad: America Shining. Filings with the Federal Election Commission show the entire 565-thousand dollars in America Shining’s account come from one person: Shaw Chen, the candidate’s brother. 

Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, says it's unusual for a relative to organize a super PAC, but "not unheard of." She says it’s perfectly legal as long as there’s no coordination with the candidate, which Jay Chen has said is true in this case.


Former CA Lt. Gov. Mervyn Dymally remembered at service

Mervyn Dymally funeral

Sharon McNary/KPCC

Pallbearers escort the casket of former California Lt. Gov. Mervyn Dymally at his funeral at Holy Cross Mortuary, Oct. 17, 2012.

Funeral services were held Wednesday in Culver City for Mervyn M. Dymally, the "Godfather of African-American politics." He died last week at the age of 86.

California's only black lieutenant governor served during Gov. Jerry Brown's first term, and he was credited by many as helping to build an indpendent African-American power base in the state.

The Trinidad-born teacher advanced swiftly in American politics after he became a citizen in the 1950s. He first served as an Assemblyman, winning election in 1962.

Kenneth Orduna, Dymally's longtime chief political operative, recalled his friend as a simple man.

"Of all his accomplishments and positions he held, the chairman was a humble man and on the inside a country boy from Trinidad," Orduna said. "He had a burning desire to help people no matter what their station in life may have been. The chairman 's life was about doing the people's business."


That's My Issue: Accessibility

That's My Issue: Accessibility

Kim Bui/Amy Lieu/KPCC

Erika Toriz tells KPCC her concerns about accessibility of election information.

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 husband and I took a trip to Napa and we were reading the propositions one by one. And we were very confused. We are both educated, we both understand and we both can read and comprehend papers. But it took us five hours to go through them, and we still had confusion on more than a few of them.

My main concern is that we need to make [politics] more accessible for the regular citizen. This is something very important that I can't believe it's so difficult to comprehend.

People don't want to come to vote, especially for the Latino communities that are Spanish-speaking. I mean, if it's hard for us to understand what to educate people, I can't even imagine what it would be for the regular people.


Maven's Morning Coffee: Sheriff gets oversight, undocumented immigrants get ID cards, politicians play musical chairs

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will appoint a monitor to oversee the L.A. County jail system in light of abuse allegations against sheriff's deputies.

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 Wednesday, Oct. 17, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:


The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will hire a special monitor to oversee the jail system. Sheriff Lee Baca estimates it will cost $69 million to implement dozens of reforms at the jails. Los Angeles Times, KPCC.

A library card that would also act as an identification and pre-paid debit card for undocumented immigrants was approved by a Los Angeles City Council committee. Whether the card would be accepted by law enforcement agencies is unknown. The card would not be a driver's license and could not be used as a valid ID to board an airplane. Los Angeles Times, Daily News, KPCC.


KPCC launches MyBallot voter guide: Every Southern California 2012 election race, tailored to your ballot

Presidential Primary Panorama

Grant Slater/KPCC

Voters at a polling location yesterday.

Yesterday we launched our "MyBallot" voter guide. It includes coverage of every race, proposition and measure that will be on a ballot in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura Counties.

To access information, just enter your address, and the app will deliver a rundown of each race (from President to community college board), proposition and measure applicable to you, as well as links to KPCC and other coverage and candidates' answers to some of your questions.

(Rest assured, no information you enter will be collected or disseminated by KPCC or any third-party organization.)

You'll also be able to save your choices on your mobile device or print them out so you can bring them to the polls. If you're accessing the voter guide from your phone, the app has a streamlined mobile version as well.