Morning Buzz

Morning Buzz: Tuesday 5.28.13

Politics and government

Thumbnail image for wendy-greuel-podium-signs.jpgPortrait emerges of Wendy Greuel campaign's downfall: a candidate who underestimated the strength of her opponents and the importance of maintaining her brand as a trusted public servant. Attempts to take down her opponents fell short, key staffers departed, the financial advantages of employee-union backing became liabilities and her "carefully cultivated reputation as a straight-shooting watchdog of the public purse suffered," say the Times' Seema Mehta and James Rainey. All those debates didn't help. LAT

As she ramped up her campaign last year, Greuel believed that, as controller, she had built the perfect platform to run for mayor in a city that seemed perpetually in financial crisis, aides said. She would hammer at the $160 million in "waste, fraud and abuse" that the controller's office calculated she had uncovered during more than 80 audits. She suggested she could use such savings to help balance the budget.

But Greuel's team failed to delve deeply into the numbers buttressing the central theme of her campaign. Aides were caught off guard by the intensity of reporters' challenges. The media wanted to know how much the candidate could recover for the city treasury, and her answers were vague.

Changing focus, Greuel rolled out an ambitious and costly plan to add 2,000 officers to the Los Angeles Police Department. Polls show strong voter support for public safety improvements, but prominent political and civic leaders attacked the idea, noting the city already had slashed services, including 911 medical response teams, to reach a 10,000-officer force.

Mona Ratliff's election to the LA school board despite being outspent more than 40 to 1 will be talked about by campaiogn pros for a long time. Was it her ballot designation: "fifth-grade teacher?" LAT

James Fallows writes in a profile of Jerry Brown that "In his reprise as governor, he's been as ruthlessly practical as he's been reflective, embracing his inner politician to restore the California dream." The Atlantic

Tutor Perini Corp. won the competition to build the first 29 miles of the California high-speed rail route on a low bid of $985 million, even though its design quality, safety plan and engineering, among other factors, ranked at the bottom of five teams seeking the work. LAT

The FBI is investigating whether members of the Los Angeles Police Department's elite SWAT and Special Investigations Section units violated the law by purchasing large numbers of custom-made handguns and reselling them for profit. LAT

After 12 years under a federal court consent decree, the LAPD is better off, says Jim Newton. LAT Op-ed column

LA-area law enforcement made 529 arreswts for DUI over the holiday weekend. LA Weekly

Lawyers leading the fight for gay marriage in California have been quietly preparing state officials for the possibility the U.S. Supreme Court might dismiss the case on a technicality next month without deciding the fate of Proposition 8. LAT

Media and books

Harry Birrell, a KNX news anchor and reporter for 31 years, died at age 85. CBS LA

Marty Baron, the editor of the Washington Post, is profiled. He is a former editor of the LA Times business section. National Journal

Anthea Raymond is out as editor of Echo Park-Silver Lake Patch. Fishbowl LA

The paparazzi at LAX who make their living stalking celebrities. Daily Breeze

Former CNN and CNBC anchor Nicole Lapin now runs Nothing But Gold Productions, hosts "Recessionista" for Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim’s Ora TV, and appears in commercials selling insurance. BuzzFeed Business

The USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism is taking applications for the 12th annual USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Program in Los Angeles. Info

The Beverly Hills Courier sued the rival Beverly Hills Weekly in Superior Court, alleging unfair business practices and violations of the law governing publication of legal notices. The Weekly said it will defend itself vigorously. BH Courier

More news, notes and observations

Why did the LA Archdiocese hold on to decades-old evidence of its priests' sins? The explanation lies in centuries of Catholic Church history and is a tale involving secret betrothals, scandal, even a murder or two. Since the time of the Enlightenment, the Catholic Church has maintained two sets of records: one for the mundane and a second "secret archive" for matters of a sensitive nature. LAT

The Delijani family plans to ask a city zoning administrator next week for liquor and other permits for nearly a dozen proposed bars, restaurants and lounges at four of its Broadway theaters: the Palace, Los Angeles, State and Tower. Downtown News

A proposal to guarantee USC most of the parking spaces in a state-owned garage during Trojan football games and other events could hurt the neighboring California Science Center by driving down attendance, some supporters of the Exposition Park museum say. LAT

When Arleta High holds its commencement ceremonies next week, its graduation rate of 92 percent will be the highest of any traditional high school in the Los Angeles Unified School District. DN

The best of Tumblr porn: Sex educators, writers and porn stars share their favorite adult Tumblrs. Salon

The Hollywood Fringe Festival announced its schedule of events for June. Info

Photo at Greuel headquarters: LA Observed

More by Kevin Roderick:
'In on merit' at USC
Read the memo: LA Times hires again
Read the memo: LA Times losing big on search traffic
Google taking over LA's deadest shopping mall
Gustavo Arellano, many others join LA Times staff
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Morning Buzz: Wednesday 4.16.14