Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Maven's Morning Coffee: Reforming LA County's fundraising rules, seismic safety grades for LA, mapping the region's bike crashes

Ken Scarboro/ KPCC

Candidate Bobby Shriver says Los Angeles County's campaign finance laws unfairly punish candidates who self-fund their races.

Good morning, readers. Welcome to the Maven's Morning Coffee -- a listing of the important headlines, news conferences, votes 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 Monday, April 14, and here is what's happening in Southern California politics:

Headlines

In Rick Orlov's Tipoff column, reaction to the 2020 Commission and the Los Angeles City Council enjoys 41 days of vacation.

Supervisorial candidate Bobby Shriver wants an overhaul of Los Angeles County's campaign finance laws, reports the Los Angeles Times. Shriver says the current rules punish candidates who self-fund their campaigns. "New leadership could usher in changes on a number of policy fronts in the county, including how political spending is regulated," per the Times.

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Garcetti and 2020 Commission: At odds over state of the city?

Frank Stoltze/KPCC

Mayor Eric Garcetti didn't have anything to say about the 2020 Commission's report in his State of the City speech.

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti gave his State of the City address Thursday night, but he conspicuously left out any mention of the blue ribbon commission that released a set of recommendations just one day prior on how to address some of the city's problems. 

The 2020 Commission was formed last year, just before Garcetti was elected mayor. He didn't mention the group's report during his speech at the California Science Center. Unless you count this: "The challenges we face are not new. We don't need a new diagnosis."

It was hard to ignore the timing of the commission's report, on the eve of the mayor's first State of the City address. One of the group's co-chairs, Austin Beutner, said the timing was a coincidence, and that he wasn't surprised by the mayor's inattention.

"Well, it's early," said Beutner, the city's jobs czar under former mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. "[The report's] a little superficial ... 20 pages. Some of the ideas take a little time to digest." 

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LA taxpayers to finance councilman's defense against sexual harassment lawsuit (updated)

City Council Los Angeles

Mae Ryan/KPCC

Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar's legal defense in a sexual harassment lawsuit will be paid for by taxpayers.

Ten members of the Los Angeles City Council agreed Friday to use public money to pay the legal bills of a colleague facing a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit from a former employee. 

The city council voted in closed session to pay Councilman Jose Huizar's legal bills, which so far have totaled more than $40,000. The council agreed to pay his bills up to $200,000. 

The City Attorney's office cannot defend Huizar in this case because its attorneys are also defending the city of Los Angeles, which was named in the lawsuit. 

The councilman is being sued by his former deputy chief of staff, Francine Godoy, for allegedly making sexual advances toward her and then retaliating when she rejected him. Huizar denies the allegations, though he admits the two had an affair. 

The city could seek repayment of the legal fees if the councilman is "found liable for actions occurring outside of the course and scope of his duties as a member of the Los Angeles City Council," according to a statement provided by council President Herb Wesson. 

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Maven's Morning Coffee: Profile of Paul Tanaka, mayor's State of the City address, who is leading in race for secretary of state?

Paul Tanaka Hearing

Bear Guerra/KPCC

KPCC profiles Paul Tanaka, the former undersheriff and now a candidate running for sheriff.

Good morning, readers. Welcome to the Maven's Morning Coffee -- a listing of the important headlines, news conferences, votes 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 Friday, April 11, and here is what's happening in Southern California politics:

Headlines

KPCC profiles the many faces of former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka, now a candidate for sheriff. "He faces more criticism for the department’s problems than just about anyone. The chorus of critics is only growing as he competes with six other candidates for one of the most powerful law enforcement jobs in California," according to the station.

In his State of the City address, Mayor Eric Garcetti said he would not allow the Department of Water and Power to raise rates this year. He also said an additional lane of the San Diego (405) Freeway will open next month, about five months ahead of schedule. KPCC, Los Angeles Times, Daily News

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LA Sheriff's race: The many faces of Paul Tanaka

Paul Tanaka Hearing

Bear Guerra/KPCC

Paul Tanaka, seen here as he prepared to testify in front of the Citizens Commission on Jail Violence in 2012, is a leading candidate in the race for L.A. County Sheriff.

Stuart Palley/ KPCC

Dozens of Paul Tanaka supporters attended a recent Sheriff's candidates debate in Van Nuys.


There are two things voters need to know about Paul Tanaka.

First, he knows more about the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department than just about anyone. He joined the department in 1982 and climbed through the ranks to undersheriff — the second most powerful position in the sprawling agency that employs 18,000 people.

Second, he faces more criticism for the department’s problems than just about anyone. The chorus of critics is only growing as he competes with six other candidates for one of the most powerful law enforcement jobs in California.

Tanaka left the department last year. His relationship with then-Sheriff Lee Baca had soured, especially after they were both excoriated for their leadership — or lack thereof — by the blue ribbon Citizens Commission on Jail Violence.

But as Tanaka seeks to replace the man who was responsible for his rise at the Sheriff''s Department, can he overcome the negative perceptions and convince voters that he should be the face of law enforcement for Los Angeles County?

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