Politics, government and public life for Southern California

'Chasing the Hill' follows campaign of mythical California congresswoman

Courtesy "Chasing the HIll"

A screenshot from an episode of "Chasing the Hill," a Web-only show tracking the fictional political campaign of California Congresswoman Kristine Ryan.

California Congresswoman Kristine Ryan is getting hammered with some rough stuff on the Internet. The opposition in her re-election campaign has targeted her with a barrage of negative ads. 

One ad accuses Ryan of having the worst attendance record of any member of Congress. "63 percent of the time this year, she didn’t bother to show up to work," the ad says. "If you or I did that, we’d be out of a job in a second. Well, that’s what we should do in June. Fire Kristy Ryan!"

Never heard of Ryan? That’s because she’s the candidate at the heart of a new, web-only drama series called “Chasing the Hill.” 

Brent Roske is the creator, writer, and director of the series. He says the series is about "the challenge of mixing personal life and professional life." Roske was a marketing guy with NBC for many years. He wrote and produced specials and indie films, but wanted a project over which he had almost complete control without network interference.
The series takes advantage of ever-changing technology that makes quality production possible with relatively inexpensive equipment. "We use audio sometimes on iPhones," Roske says. "I love that sort of grit."


LA's business tax holiday extended to 2015

City Councilman Paul Krekorian

Andres Aguila/KPCC

The Los Angeles City Council voted 10-2 to extend a policy that exempts new businesses from paying a gross receipts tax for their first three years of operation. Councilman Paul Krekorian, chair of Budget and Finance, voted against the extension, saying there needs to be more study of the economic impact.

New businesses will continue to get a tax break from the City of Los Angeles.

The City Council on Tuesday voted to extend its policy of exempting new businesses from paying a gross receipts tax for their first three years of operation. The exemption will apply to businesses that begin operating before the end of 2015.

In an effort to attract new businesses to Los Angeles, the City Council agreed three years ago to waive the tax through 2012, without a cap on how much a company earns. Prior to that ordinance, it was the city’s policy to waive the gross receipts tax for two years for companies making less than $500,000. 

Councilman Mitch Englander said the extension is a step toward eliminating the gross receipts tax, which generates more than $400 million a year for the city. The tax is frequently cited as a sign that Los Angeles is not business-friendly. The theory is that, by eliminating the tax, more new businesses will flock here. 


Maven's Morning Coffee: public transit in LA, pot shop referendum, trees down in South Los Angeles

Public Transportation Gains Popularity Amid High Gas Prices

David McNew/Getty Images

Slate examines the city of Los Angeles' growing public transportation system.

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 Tuesday, Sept. 18, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:


Slate looks at public transportation in Los Angeles. "It’s chosen instead to embrace the goal of growing even greater, which will necessarily mean denser and less auto-focused. While the Bay Area and many Northeastern cities stagnate under the weight of oppressive zoning codes, L.A. is changing—by design—into something even bigger and better than it already is," according to the piece.

Medical marijuana advocates collected enough valid signatures to qualify a referendum on the city's pot shop ban, reports KPCC. The L.A. City Council will take up the issue in the next 20 days.


Romney courts Latino business leaders in LA

Mitt Romney addresses USHCC in Los Angeles - 1

Anibal Ortiz / KPCC

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s 33rd annual national convention at the JW Marriott Hotel in Los Angeles.

Seeking to gain traction with Latino voters, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney traveled to Los Angeles Monday to deliver his pitch to the annual meeting of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

“I’m convinced the Republican Party is the rightful home for Hispanic Americans,” Romney told more than 1,000 people during a noontime lunch at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in downtown L.A.

The GOP may be Latinos’ “rightful home,” but an NBC News-Wall Street Journal-Telemundo poll last month found them still preferring Democrats. The survey found President Obama leads Romney 63 to 28 percent among Latinos.

Romney sought to close that gap by touting his commitment to lower taxes and fewer regulations. He told the group of business leaders that Latinos have more reason than most to dump Obama: “While national unemployment is at 8.1 percent, Hispanic unemployment is at over ten percent.”


Campaign 2012 apps: Top 9 (nearly) free election apps to make you smarter than your phone

Yes We Camera


A screenshot of the "Yes We Camera" app for iPhone. The app is just one of many to choose from this election year.

Tired of Angry Birds?  Looking for a smartphone app that’s more – well, political?

Type in “election” into your smartphone app search and you’ll find plenty of helpful sites… and several fun ones. Here are a few of our faves:

1. The Yes We Camera app turns any photo taken with your iPhone camera or synced with your photo gallery into the Obama-style campaign poster created by Shepard Fairey.  It’s free. (iPhone, free)

2. Republicans may like the free Obama Clock app.  It ticks down the remainder of Barack Obama’s term in office.  It also keeps track of the national debt, the housing index, and gas prices to give you talking points to argue with your Democratic friends and relations. (Android & iPhone, free) 

3. If you want to know when Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan are coming to your hometown, try the free “Mitt Events” app. It allows you to check their schedule and RSVP to events. (iPhone & Android, free)