Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Romney’s top policy advisor is a rising star from the San Gabriel Valley

Lanhee Chen, 34, was born in Taiwan and grew up in Rowland Heights. He holds a law degree and PhD from Harvard.

Have you read Mitt Romney’s 59-point position paper on the economy? 

As Romney's campaign policy director, Lanhee Chen is largely responsible for the 172-page document. He also likely played a role in crafting Romney's speech at the Republican National Convention here in Tampa.

Chen, 34, was born in Taiwan and grew up in Rowland Heights. Like many Taiwanese-Americans in the San Gabriel Valley, his family is Republican. Many in the community consider the GOP, more so than the Democratic Party, to be strong supporters of Taiwan.

That doesn’t mean Chen's family talked American politics all the time in their Rowland Heights home.

“As with many Asian-American parents, they were much more interested in home country politics than U.S. politics,” Chen says. “Although that’s probably changed since I’ve gotten more involved in politics here in America.”


California Republicans love Paul Ryan, even if some were shut out of his speech

Michael Saragosa, a delegate from Northern California, was blocked from getting to his seat during Paul Ryan's speech.

Michael Saragosa was thirsty. He wanted to grab a quick soda prior to settling in for Wednesday night’s big speech by Wisconsin Congressman and vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan at the Republican National Convention.

So, Saragosa — a delegate from the Northern California town of Placerville — climbed the stairs from where the Golden State delegation is seated on the floor of the Tampa Bay Times Forum, tucked "stage right" just in front of a VIP section where Mitt Romney sat the day before.

“But I got stuck off the floor,” he said later. The Tampa Fire Marshal said too many people were crowding the area. Indeed, from the press box above, every aisle looked jammed. “Even though we were delegates, and had the right to be on the floor. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it back in time.” 

Saragosa, Republican to the core, was forced to watch the party’s fastest rising star on a TV in the hallway.


On AirTalk today: Fact-checking Paul Ryan's speech, views from the RNC frontlines

Paul Ryan Speech Republican

Gina Delvac/KPCC

View from inside the Republican National Convention as VP candidate Paul Ryan delivered his speech on Aug. 29, 2012.

We’re busy prepping for this morning’s program, re-confirming and making last minute contact with guests for our first hour at 10 a.m. 

I just finished highlighting the audio clips of the Ryan and Rice speeches from last night. 

I thought both were beautifully crafted speeches and well-delivered. However, we’ll start out by looking at Ryan’s claims and checking their accuracy. We’ll also follow up on the theme of “American Exceptionalism” in Rice’s speech. It’s a huge issue for Republicans and a potential emphasis for the Presidential campaign, moving forward.

Later in the 10 a.m. hour, we’ll look at the Romney/Ryan tax plan and debate its impact on government spending and the deficit. 

I’ll also share with you the odd vibe last night in the Ybor City restaurant/nightclub district. 


Maven's Morning Coffee: Bernard Parks responds to LA Weekly, LAPD commanding officer demoted, criticism over LAFD's billing

Mercer 14442

via www.bernardparks.com

Councilman Bernard Parks had harsh criticism for an LA Weekly story on his role in the Coliseum Commission scandal.

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 Thursday, Aug. 30, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:


L.A. City Councilman Bernard Parks responds to the LA Weekly's recent story on the Coliseum Commission. "The only thing this story 'decoded' was what some commission members and staff have been adolescently gossiping about for months. I don't know whether it was Sleepy, Bashful, Grumpy or Dopey who spoon-fed him all of the half truths, but at least (reporter Gene) Maddaus was courageous enough to attach his name to his countless misguided thoughts instead of cowering in secrecy," the councilman wrote in a letter to the editor.


That's My Issue: Choice

I Voted

David McNew/Getty Images

A sheet of voter stickers is seen inside Fire Station 38, as people go to the polls for a special election called by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and lawmakers to decide on statewide budget-balancing ballot propositions on May 19, 2009 in Pasadena, California.

This post is part of KPCC & WNYC's "That's My Issue" series, and represents the views of its author, not of either station. 

When I was 15, I attended a NOW (National Organization for Women) rally with my aunt. I remember thinking, "I don't know what I would do, but I would at least want the choice."

When I became pregnant with my first child at 28, happiness tuned into shock, then into elation at 16 weeks when we found out we were having twins.

Well, between 16 and 22 weeks, elation turned into a roller coaster of emotions when I found out my twins had twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. We were faced with the agonizing decision of bringing two lives into this world that were very likely to have profound disabilities.

We did hours upon hours of research. My husband and I made what I call the easiest/hardest decision of my life: I terminated my pregnancy at 22 weeks gestation.