A New Generation of Elected Leadership…and Dogs

Those standing around the water cooler are fascinated with Los Angeles’ new city-wide leaders, none of whom had previously worked for the city.  32-year-old Kenneth Mejia, the new City Controller, included one of his dogs on much of his campaign literature.  It’s not unusual to see candidates pictured with their dogs, but now Mejia’s corgi, named Killa the Corgi, is appearing on official city reports.  The Controller’s 2022 Annual Report on the Fraud, Waste, and Abuse Unit features Killa the Corgi on the cover.  Killa is superimposed over a picture of city hall.  There is no picture of Mejia, but Killa is dressed like Sherlock Holmes with a plaid hat, pipe, and magnifying glass.  Calpeek thinks governments should have some fun.  We just hope that more time and effort was spent on producing the report about the city’s waste, fraud, and abuse than was spent on producing a picture of a dog looking like a 1940’s private investigator.  The report, covering all of 2022, is 10 pages long and contains very few specifics.  


Dodgers: Don’t Mess with the Sisters

The Los Angeles Dodgers learned one thing this week: don’t mess with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.  Less than a week after uninviting the Sisters to the Dodgers’ June 16 Pride Night, the invitation was reinstated due to an uproar from LGBTQ+ and civil rights groups as well as elected officials and Dodgers employees.  And rightfully so.  One might expect this from Florida Governor and now Presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis, but the Los Angeles Dodgers??  Whoever thought dismissing the Sisters was a good idea, or in the best interest of the Dodgers, must be a recent Boca Raton transplant.  As reported in the Los Angeles Times, when the Dodgers announced that the Sisters would be honored with the Community Hero Award at a pregame ceremony, the conservative Catholic League and CatholicVote.org protested, stating that the Sisters’ history of going against the traditions of the church amounted to bigotry.  Catholic priest R.M. Vierling posted on social media his objection and listed MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred’s email.  Senator Marco Rubio also sent a letter to the MLB.  Needless to say, haters lit up the Dodgers and Manfred’s office with emails and calls pressuring them to kick the Sisters to the curb.  Those of us around the water cooler would think the Catholic Church has more to worry about than the Sisters.  However, we hope that the recent coverage, including yesterday’s profile piece by the Los Angeles Times, only raises awareness of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and all of the great work they do to better the lives of others.  


Balancing the Budget on the Dead?

No, this has nothing to do with taxing Grateful Dead fans.  As reported by The Mercury News, part of the Governor’s balanced budget utilizes $200 million that had been promised last year for “Middle Class Tax Refunds.”  So why didn’t those refunds get cashed?  According to the Department of Finances spokesman H.D. Palmer, the state didn’t consider turnover due to migration and deaths.  That’s right, those who left the state left their refunds behind.  And just as those who expired before the check was in the mail, so did their refund. All of which is now helping to bridge that $31.5 billion deficit.


Jan 6 Insurrectionist Applies to Fill Empty Council Seat

When it comes to the job qualifications required to fill an empty San Clemente City Council seat, will being an Insurrectionist give 71-year-old North Beach resident Lois McNicoll a leg up?  We’ll find out as the current council interviews the 22 residents who have applied to fill the seat left vacant by former Councilmember Gene James, who resigned in April to move to Wyoming.  While applicants have a variety of experience with some having served on city committees and commissions and others having run for office, McNicoll appears to be the only insurrectionist and the only applicant currently serving a two-year probation for participating in the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol.  According to the Orange County Register, McNicoll attended the then-President Donadl Trump’s speech on January 6, 2021 and joined supporters who marched to the Capitol building.  When crowds pushed inside (resulting in some being killed), she said she walked around for about 30 minutes and left when told by police to exit the building.  McNicoll said she was planning to run in 2024 for the open Council seat.  According to McNicoll, her goals, if appointed, are to restore safety at North Beach and across town by making sure “vagrants who commit crimes” are held accountable.


Updates from the Campaign Trail

In the race to replace term limited Assemblymember Anthony Rendon, Huntington Park Councilmember Karina Macias has dropped out and is throwing her support to Lynwood Councilmember Jose Luis Solace.  

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg has announced he will not run for re-election next year.  He is considering running for another office, possibly state Attorney General in 2026, if the seat is open.

Big name endorsement for 2026 – former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has endorsed Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis’ campaign for Governor.  The Clintons have been allies with the Kounalakis for decades.   The L.A. Times has details on the 30-year relationship here.

Democratic party activists are meeting in Los Angeles this weekend for the California Democratic Party’s convention dubbed “CADEM 2023 Re-Organizing State Convention: Don’t Agonize, Organize!” The agenda is focused on party business including electing party officers.  Party on.  


Welcome Kristen!

Next week, CalMatters will have a new editor in chiefKristen Go.  The current editor in chief, Dave Lesher, who helped establish CalMatters, is moving over to run the Accountability Desk which will build “…the future of investigative journalism that holds government officials accountable.”  A California native, Go has a long, impressive resume in local and national journalism, most recently working for USA Today as the Vice President and Executive Editor for News and Initiatives.  Everyone standing around the water cooler wishes Go the best of luck.  Not to put too much pressure on someone starting a new job, but a free press and quality journalism is essential to our democracy.  If you do not read CalMatters, “a nonpartisan and nonprofit news organization bringing Californians stories that probe, explain and explore solutions to quality of life issues while holding our leaders accountable”, you should.


Calpeek Correction   

A big thank you to our readers who noticed an error in last week’s newsletterCalpeek discussed the race to replace termed out Senator Steve Bradford, but incorrectly listed his district.  Bradford represents Senate District 35.

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