Represent! | Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Herb Wesson seeks second term as powerful president of LA City Council

L.A. City Council President Herb Wesson is expected to be reelected by his colleagues Tuesday.
Andres Aguila/KPCC

Eric Garcetti is in his first day as L.A.'s mayor, but at City Hall, there's another man whose power rivals that of the mayor — and on Tuesday Herb Wesson hopes to extend his sway when the City Council votes on whether to give him a second term as council president.

There's no question that when it comes to the council chamber at City Hall, Wesson is in charge. As council president, he is responsible for presiding over meetings, maintaining a quorum and listening to public comments. But, his power goes far beyond parliamentary rules. This is how Wesson addressed Richard Riordan last fall when the former mayor pushed the council about pension reform: "You know what Mr. Mayor — why didn't you fix it when you were mayor?" 

And when Riordan tried to respond, Wesson shot back: "No, there's no back and forth. I get the last word. This is our house."


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A mayoral bus tour: Antonio Villaraigosa's last hurrah

Outgoing Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa prepares to bowl at Pinz in Studio City. It was one of many stops along the way on his 24-hour "thank you" tour before leaving office.
Brian Frank/KPCC

By 8:30 p.m. Friday when outgoing Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's bus pulled up to the Hollywood and Vine Metro station, he had already visited longshoremen at the Port of Los Angeles; attended a police press conference; visited students on a field trip to Olvera Street; made sandwiches for customers at Philippe the Original downtown; ate a hot dog at Pink’s; stopped in Boyle Heights, where he grew up; and officiated the wedding of two of the lead plaintiffs in the Supreme Court case involving California’s ban on gay marriage.

And that is an abbreviated list.

“You know, I’m not even close to being tired, by the way,” said Villaraigosa, who is 60. "No, my kiddies will get tired before me." 

It was his last weekday as mayor. On Sunday night, Eric Garcetti officially took office as the new mayor after a ceremonial swearing-in party. 


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Eric Garcetti sworn in as LA's 42nd mayor

Eric Garceti's inauguration ceremony outside of Los Angeles City Hall on June 30th, 2013.
Mae Ryan/KPCC

Update 8:32 p.m.: Standing on the steps of City Hall Sunday, Eric Garcetti pledged to be a back to basics mayor who would revitalize the local economy while remaining a man of the people.

Though he was legally sworn in as mayor Friday in a private ceremony, Garcetti took the oath of office from Kenia Castillo, an eighth grader who met the new mayor a decade ago when he attended an event in support of janitors.

“My great-grandparents never would have dreamed that I’d be standing here today – soon to be the 42nd mayor of the great city of Los Angeles. What’s remarkable about my family’s story is that it’s yours, too,” Garcetti said.

During his inaugural address, some of the loudest cheers came when Garcetti said he would make every general manager reapply for their jobs – something he frequently said during the campaign. The new mayor pledged to make public goals for all of the general managers in an effort to be more transparent.


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Exclusion of pediatric dental care from health care plans could make it more expensive

State Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones is fighting a decision to exclude pediatric dental care from the insurance policies that will be sold through Covered California.
Rich Pedroncelli/AP

California’s Insurance Commissioner wants the state’s new health care exchange to include dental care for kids as a primary benefit in plans that will be sold to the public next year.   

The board of Covered California, the agency that is managing the health care exchange, recently decided to exclude that service from the plans, and offer it in a separate policy. People who purchase their health care insurance plan through Covered California will have to pay extra for a separate dental plan for their children.

Insurance commissioner Dave Jones warns that not including dental coverage as an essential benefit could cost consumers more.

In a June 27th letter to the board that runs Covered California, Jones wrote that he spoke with insurers who submitted bids to sell their products on the state’s exchange next year.  Those health plans included dental care for children in the package of benefits, but Covered California told them to strip it out. 


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Irvine Congressman John Campbell to retire

Republican Congressman John Campbell.
Kitty Felde/KPCC

Five-term Republican Congressman John Campbell of Irvine says he's stepping down next year. 

Campbell came to Congress in 2005 to replace Chris Cox, who left to chair the Securities and Exchange Commission. Campbell is a fiscal conservative from a primarily Republican district in Orange County.

In a statement released late Thursday, Campbell said he never intended "to be a career politician."

He told KRLA talk host Hugh Hewitt that twice a week flights between D.C. and California, along with long hours and constituent events every weekend, are exhausting. Campbell said he advised a West coast freshman lawmaker to try "Red Bull and Tylenol PM." He says it's "a very hard lifestyle when you're west of the Mississippi — when you're three time zones away." 

Campbell missed two weeks of votes in early June because of orthopedic issues. His staff says he'll be getting both hip and shoulder surgery in the near future.


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