Politics, government and public life for Southern California

3 steps to chairing a convention: Mayor Villaraigosa on being DNC chairman

Ashley Myers-Turner/KPCC

File photo of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in Los Angeles this past April.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was elected to chair the Democratic National Convention in February.

The chairman of the Democratic National Convention holds a lot of responsibility, but he said the job description is simple. The three steps, according to Villaraigosa:

1. Bang the gavel

2. Preside over the business of the convention

3. Oversee the nomination of the president and the vice president

Taking charge of the event and the people involved is one matter, but taming Mother Nature is another. Charlotte's been hit by a series of thunderstorms, with more rain and storms predicted for the rest of the week. That might affect President Obama's Thursday night speech at an outdoor stadium.

Villaraigosa said if it rains, the show must go on. "We’ll just have to make do," he said.


Maven's Morning Coffee: Trutanich receives donations, South LA loses trees, John Deasy gets profiled

Carmen Trutanich

Roberto (Bear) Guerra/KPCC

The Los Angeles Times looks at Live Nation Entertainment's donations to City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, which come as Nuch goes after illegal scalpers.

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.

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Today is Tuesday, Sept. 4, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:


Executives with Live Nation Entertainment have contributed $18,000 to City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, at a time when the city attorney is going after illegal scalpers, reports the Los Angeles Times. The donations date back to 2009.

About 400 trees will be chopped down in South Los Angeles so the Space Shuttle Endeavour can reach its new home at the California Science Center, according to the Los Angeles Times. "They are cutting down these really big, majestic trees. It will be beyond my lifetime before they will be tall like this again," said one Leimert Park resident.


Baseball and politics: Trash talking about Dodgers-Giants at the DNC

Dodger Stadium

Grant Slater/KPCC

The NL West pennant race is causing a playful rift in the California delegation at the DNC

There was lots of trash talking at Monday's California delegation meeting. Not just about the GOP, but about the Dodgers and Giants.

It might be cast as the usual SF/LA rivalry, but it's a bit more than that. Particularly since the woman who helped deliver the Dodgers to L.A. from Brooklyn is in the house.

Roz Wyman is a lifelong Democrat and party bigwig. Dianne Feinstein stays at her house when she's in LA. But back when she was a 20-something kid just out of college, Wyman won a seat on the L.A. City Council. She and Kenneth Hahn spearheaded the drive to bring the team west. Her good friend, former American Film Institute chief Jean Firstenberg, is also at the Democratic National Convention and is also a Dodger fan.

State party chairman John Burton is also a baseball fan — specifically a Giants fan. And the Dodgers are 4 1/2 games behind the Giants. Or, as L.A. Congressman Xavier Becerra put it: "The Giants are kicking some butt." He promised his beloved Dodgers were "going to make it a race." And one way or another, he predicted, "California's going to win the World Series."


Meet a pair of California DNC delegate brothers who want a more progressive party

Kitty Felde/KPCC

Dante, left, and David Atkins are brothers and progressive Democrats from Southern California who are delegates at the Democratic National Convention

They look alike, they talk alike, and though they're not twins, they are united in a mission: move the Democratic Party farther to the left.

Delegates David Atkins of Ventura and Dante Atkins of Los Angeles say they’ve always had political inclinations. David said they were “always excited to get our sample ballots from the time we were 12 years old. And we would go and mark them up. It was hilarious.”

The pair started writing their opinions online about a decade ago, then got involved with Howard Dean's presidential campaign. Since then, the duo has been working within the party itself, trying to embody what Dean described as the “Democratic wing of the Democratic Party.” David expresses frustration at what he calls “old school” local party structure that rarely champions progressive values.