Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Tropical Storm Isaac threatens Category 2 winds after Republican National Convention postponement

Tampa Prepares For Republican National Convention And Potential Hurricane

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Two workers hang a sign ahead of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 26, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. The RNC is scheduled to convene on August 27 and will hold its first session on August 28 as Tropical Storm Isaac threatens disruptions due to its proximity to the Florida peninsula.

Tropical Storm Isaac started pelting the Florida Keys with rain and strong winds on Sunday, and it could strengthen into a dangerous hurricane by the time it starts hitting the northern Gulf Coast in the coming days.

Forecasters warn it could become a Category 2 hurricane, capable of top sustained winds of 96 to 110 mph (154 to 177 kph).

Republican National Convention officials said they would convene briefly on Monday, then immediately recess until Tuesday afternoon, when the storm is expected to have passed. Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, declared a state of emergency and canceled his plans to attend convention events on Sunday and Monday.

Isaac isn't likely to hit Tampa head-on, but it could still lash the city with rain and strong winds just as the convention ramps up. A tropical storm warning is in effect for parts of Florida's west coast, including Tampa Bay. Scott asked residents to "hunker down" during the storm and be extremely cautious.


California Republicans party on the beach as tropical storm approaches in Florida

Despite the threat of Tropical Storm Isaac, visitors poured in to Tampa Saturday for the Republican National Convention.

TAMPA—The party must go on. And indeed it did Saturday night on the white sands of St. Pete Beach where the California delegation to the Republican National Convention is staying this week. Music from the '60s and '70s played as fireworks lit the sky and former Governor Pete Wilson, who heads the delegation, chatted with folks, according to one attendee.

It was balmy. A half moon sat above. And Tropical Storm-soon-to-be-Hurricane Isaac loomed a few hundred miles away. Passengers flying into nearby Tampa earlier could see giant marshmellow-y clouds marking the southern horizon.

The convention was supposed to start Monday at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. The party postponed it a day, fearing Isaac would cause travel delays and possible safety problems for the 4,400 delegates and some 50,000 dignitaries, journalists, and political protestors in town.


Off to Tampa for the GOP convention

Tampa Prepares For Republican National Convention And Potential Hurricane

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Workers hang a banner on the parking garage next to the Tampa Bay Times Forum where the Republican National Convention will be held on August 24, 2012 in Tampa, Florida.

The news is now about Tropical Storm Isaac and its threat to the Republican National Convention. The GOP has officially canceled Monday's proceedings. However, from network news, you'd never know it mattered much if the storm damaged other countries or American cities outside Tampa. Isaac coverage is a wonderful example of how we as journalists care so much about something when we'll personally be affected.

Monday morning at 10 we begin our live coverage from the convention. Patt Morrison will follow at 11 with an hour of regular talk programming. I'll be back at 1 p.m. for another hour from Tampa, followed by Patt at 2.  We'll follow this schedule for the days of the convention, Monday through Thursday.

Patt will make her way to Charlotte, North Carolina for the Democratic Convention the following week. It will be fun to compare the cultures of the two conventions, aside from the platforms and PR spin we'll be exposed to for two straight weeks.


Sherman camp uses Zev's words to diss his buddy Berman

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The campaign of Rep. Brad Sherman (right) is turning Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky's comments against his ally Rep. Howard Berman (left).

Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky’s comments on his own retirement from politics are now being used in the campaign between Congressmen Howard Berman and Brad Sherman—thanks to a passive-aggressive statement from the Sherman camp

Yaroslavsky has backed Berman in the election to represent the west San Fernando Valley. Berman and Sherman are locked in a tight race thanks to redistricting, which pushed the two Democrats into the same district. In the June primary, Sherman finished with 42 percent of the vote, while Berman came in second with 32 percent.

Berman was elected to the state Assembly in 1972. He served there until 1983 when he joined the U.S. House of Representatives. That’s 40 years in public office.

Back to Yaroslavsky: he told reporters Thursday that he would not run for mayor of Los Angeles because, “I do believe that four decades is long enough for any citizen to hold elective office, especially in an executive capacity.”


Today at City Hall: 'There’s a man eating a pig head in the chamber'

Los Angeles City Hall

Alice Walton/KPCC

Democracy at work: today's L.A. City Council meeting included a shoutout to London, a performance by mariachis, and apparently contraband carnitas.

The Los Angeles City Council meets three days a week, but on Fridays the political business tends to take a backseat to pomp and circumstance—and occasional silliness—which is why at today’s two-and-a-half-hour meeting, the council celebrated Londoners and mariachis. And the meeting had a Mexican food motif.

During the time for public comment. Council President Herb Wesson cut off two women who wanted to talk about the Long Beach (710) Freeway project and told them it would be more appropriate to speak later on in the agenda.

One of the women decided to give a general comment.

“There’s a man eating a pig head in the chamber," she said. "There’s a stench of carnitas, which is making me extremely hungry and I don’t know that he will share. I think this is violating the decorum of your honorable chamber.” (You can watch her in the video here at about the 51-minute mark.)