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SPORTS PAGE: Congratulations to the Los Angeles Rams, who move on to the NFC Championships. When the Rams played in Anaheim, they used to practice at Cal State Fullerton. As a kid, I went to Titan Youth Sports Camp. After camp was over, kids would go over to the practice field and carry the gear for players for them from the field to the locker room. It was a blast. I guess I'll forgive them for the St. Louis move and return to the "Always a Rams Fan" slogan that used to dominate Anaheim Stadium. As I write, the Chargers are facing the Patriots in Foxborough.
SUNDAY TEEVEE: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Face the Nation)
DAVIS UPDATE: In the fatal shooting of Davis police rookie officer Natalie Corona Thursday night, the 48-year-old suspect turned over an AR-15 to police in September following a misdemeanor assault plea after an altercation at Cache Creek Casino Resort, where he worked. It is unknown where he got the two handguns used in the police shooting. He claimed that the department was using "ultra sonic waves meant to keep dogs from barking" in a note lying on his bed when he was found with a fatal self-inflicted gunshot wound. The Davis Enterprise reports that he signed the note "Citizen Kevin Limbaugh."
The Enterprise reports that neither the 9mm or 45-caliber semi-automatic handguns used in the assault and recovered at the suspect's residence were registered to him.
So, three police officer deaths in 64 days with common denominators of handguns and mental health/addiction. What can and should be done? That will certainly be a major discussion yet again this legislative session.
LA-LA-LAND: The team at the Los Angeles Times reports that the federal investigation into Jose Huizar goes beyond the councilmember and to other City Hall figures. Zahniser, Alpert Reyes, and Rubin write:
"An ongoing FBI investigation into Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar is part of a broader corruption probe in which agents are seeking possible evidence involving Councilman Curren Price and a senior aide to Council President Herb Wesson, as well as several other city officials and business figures, according to a federal search warrant.
The warrant, which was filed in federal court in November but reviewed by The Times on Saturday, said agents were seeking evidence related to an investigation into an array of potential crimes, including bribery, kickbacks, extortion, and money laundering involving 13 people."
Price is a former state senator and Wesson served as Speaker of the State Assembly from 2002 to 2004. The LAT team continues:
Agents served the warrant on Google in July for information from a private email account for Ray Chan, the former head of the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety for Mayor Eric Garcetti, according to the warrant. Chan also served as a deputy mayor for economic development under Garcetti.
Along with Chan and Huizar, those named in the warrant included Price, who represents part of South L.A.; Deron Williams, chief of staff to Wesson; Joel Jacinto, a Garcetti appointee who serves on the city’s Board of Public Works; and other City Hall aides who have worked for Huizar.
No one has been arrested or charged in connection with the investigation.
But the court documents lay out a more expansive FBI investigation into City Hall than has previously been revealed.
First, the only elected official under investigation that we know about is Councilmember José Huizar. Beyond his office, his home was searched. His wife dropped her city council bid.
However, beyond Richelle Huizar's drop of her 2020 council run, there are broader implications. Former Senate President Pro Tem and senatorial candidate Kevin de León is considering running for that seat as a path to a run for mayor in 2022. It would require de León to move, but he already rents a place in Sacramento, so that is nothing new.
Also eyeing a 2022 mayoral bid is Councilmember Wesson, who is termed out as a councilmember in 2020. His stopover point on the way for a mayoral bid is the county supervisor seat held by Mark Ridey-Thomas (MRT), who is termed out in 2020. Sebastian Ridley-Thomas is no longer the heir apparent after resigning from the Assembly for health and, widely believed other reasons.
Are you following? I have to rely on my yellow legal pad to get through this.
As you know, Kevin de León has been weighing a bid to be chair of the California Democratic Party. That election is May 31-June 2. He can't practically serve in both offices (technically legal under the city charter), so the decisions he is making right now are whether he wants to be mayor in 2022 and, if so, whether the chance of him winning Huizar's seat in 2020 are sufficient to take a pass on the party chair gig. That gig keeps him in a larger fundraising loop than being councilmember and pays the same salary as he earned as Pro Tem.
Of course, de León has to wonder about that 2022 mayoral bid and whether the FBI investigation into Wesson's senior aide hurts either his chance at the MRT supe seat or possible mayoral bid. The mayoral primary election will be March 8, 2022, not in an odd year as in previous cycles. That means better than odd-year Latino turnout, although it can't be overlooked that Garcetti and predecessor Antonio Villaraigosa are both Latino.
It is a big choice for de León. Three California Democratic Party chairs that I know about have gone on to elected office--Nancy Pelosi, Phil Angelides, and Jerry Brown 2.0. However, each case is different than a run for Los Angeles mayor. Time on the council certainly gives a platform and a quick education on municipal issues, but it also means sharing the mic with 14 other councilmembers and a mayor.
For those asking what happens if Mayor Eric Garcetti jumps in and wins the presidential sweepstakes (either as prez or veep) in 2020, the City Council chooses his successor until 2022, with the Council President serving as Acting mayor until that interim choice by the council, like what we recently saw in San Francisco.
Of course, while he would love to run for President, he has two big steaming piles at his doorstep. We have no idea how deep this FBI investigation goes. More immediate, in what has become announcement month for Democratic candidates for President, Garcetti faces a teachers strike tomorrow in the nation's second-largest school district. Parents of 500,000 students are wondering what to do with their kids tomorrow and employers are wondering just how short-staffed they will be. Police are wondering how many teens are going to be on the streets in the middle of the day. It's a huge issue that goes far beyond classrooms.
Garcetti has no direct oversight of the school district, which is different from several large cities. He has been arm's length from the negotiations between Los Angeles Unified and United Teachers Los Angeles. However, facing a called strike for last Thursday, he stepped in and asked both parties to convene at City Hall where he was expected to bang heads together over the impact of a strike on the economy and public safety and emerge with a deal and a huge win that could be a launching pad for a presidential bid.
Instead, Garcetti flew to Sacramento for Gavin Newsom's inauguration. LA Unified and UTLA moved the negotiating session to the district office, and nothing materialized Monday and Friday's "last" negotiations led to no deal.
I have no personal knowledge of the decision by Garcetti, but apparently he chose to hop on the flight to Sacramento because he knew there was no way for the district and teachers to reach agreement at this point in a City Hall session. He would have been a wounded animal had he left that meeting with no deal, without the asset of a leader who can bring two parties together. A canceled hosted meeting and a flight is a short-term criticism but won't last as long as a failed deal.
If a strike happens tomorrow, the odds of a Garcetti presidential bid drop to odds like the Kings winning the NBA Championship. That said, keep him on your list as a very attractive candidate for Vice President. The Jewish-Latino mayor is a very attractive political figure, but as Antonio Villaraigosa knows well, timing is everything for a Los Angeles mayor's ambitions.
Meanwhile, to think about if de León decides to run for council with a plan to run for mayor in 2022, we must turn to Wesson. Will the FBI investigation into a staff member stick (or lead) to him and affect a supe bid? Running for mayor as supe is better than council as you represent more voters as 1/5 in LA County and can claim far more deliverables than of being 1/15 on the city council. That said, race politics do factor in and as I wrote above a city-wide election on March 3, 2018 election starts as more favorable for a Latino against an African-American candidate. That's all things being equal, and we know that they are not.
LA supe district 2 has 1,026,488 registered voters, although much of that is not in LA proper, but rather in the South LA cities like Inglewood, Compton, and Carson. Most importantly, he has to get there first. I don't have time this morning to run the exact counts for LA supe 2 and LA council 14, but you get the picture.
Apparently awaiting a decision by de Leoón is Rusty Hicks, president of the Los Angeles Federation of Labor. If he stays in his current role, he will be a major player in the above Los Angeles elections. If de León passes on a bid as Democratic Party chair, Hicks appears to be the establishment favorite for party chair and he can run while keeping his current role. If de León runs, the LA Fed will be a major player in the state party election.
We just came off a fascinating 2018 election (thrilling for some, devastating for others, but interesting for those who watch for a living). Between Los Angeles City Council, San Diego mayor and CA52 in 2020, and Los Angeles mayor in 2022, the fun has just begun.
Finally, go Chargers! A Los Angeles Super Bowl in Atlanta could be in the works. Turn The ATL into LA-LA Land on February 3. Change I-85 to "The 85" from Hartsfield to the stadium for a weekend and flood the Mercedes-Benz stadium with blue and yellow/gold. Garcetti was at the Rams game yesterday, and an all-LA Super Bowl would be a mini-Olympics. By the way, for those looking at becoming mayor in 2022, what is the golden ring? Of course, the 2028 Summer Olympics--the world stage.
One more note. In February Atlanta could be one of two campaign headquarters for Senator Kamala Harris's presidential bid. Ah, folks, it's only January!
As of 11:29am as the Nooner Premium edition gets its launch sequence, things don't look good for the underdog Chargers.
Have a Noonerific day!
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