Obama begins Southland visit

By STEVEN HERBERT, City News Service
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President Barack Obama salutes as he exits Marine One and is greeted by Rep. Mike Honda, D-Calif., left, as the president arrives in Los Altos Hills, Calif., July 23, 2014, during his three-day West Coast trip to Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles. (AP Photo)

President Barack Obama salutes as he exits Marine One and is greeted by Rep. Mike Honda, D-Calif., left, as the president arrives in Los Altos Hills, Calif., July 23, 2014, during his three-day West Coast trip to Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles. (AP Photo)

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – President Barack Obama arrived aboard Air Force One at Los Angeles International Airport today, beginning a roughly 24-hour visit during which he will conduct two political fundraisers and speak at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College.

Air Force One landed at LAX shortly before 3 p.m. Obama emerged from the plane and waved before walking into the awaiting Marine One helicopter.

Los Angeles is the final stop on Obama’s three-day, three-city West Coast fundraising trip, which began Tuesday in Seattle, where he spoke at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser.

Obama began his day in San Francisco, where he attended a morning fundraiser benefiting the House Majority Political Action Committee. He also spoke and answered questions at an early afternoon Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fundraiser in Los Altos Hills.

Obama’s first stop during his Los Angeles visit will be at the Hancock Park home of television producer Shonda Rhimes for a late-afternoon DNC fundraising reception and dinner.

Tickets for the event begin at $1,000, according to an invitation posted on the website, PoliticalPartyTime.org, which tracks political fundraisers.

The price is $10,000 to attend the reception and for the opportunity to have a photo taken with Obama, and $32,400 — the maximum allowable contribution to a national party committee in a calendar year — to be a co- host of the event, which also allows the donor to attend a dinner with Obama in addition to the reception and the photo opportunity.

The event’s co-chairs include Kerry Washington, the star of the Rhimes- produced ABC drama “Scandal.” Rhimes is also a producer of two other ABC dramas, the long-running “Grey’s Anatomy” and “How to Get Away with Murder,” which is set to premiere Sept. 25.

“The overwhelming majority” of tickets for the fundraiser were priced at $1,000 “because most of the people I know cannot afford” a $32,400 ticket, Rhimes told City News Service.

On Thursday, Obama is scheduled to participate in a roundtable discussion with about 30 people at the Los Angeles home of Michael Rapino, CEO of the concert promotion firm Live Nation, with tickets costing $32,400 each, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Proceeds benefit the Democratic National Committee.

The lone planned non-fundraising event of Obama’s visit to California will be Thursday at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College, where he is expected to speak on the “importance of job-driven skills training, particularly for fast-growing sectors such as health care,” according to the White House.

Various groups describing themselves as pro-immigration and pro- Palestinian plan to protest outside Trade-Technical College, calling for an end to deportations of immigrants in the country without legal permission, for the United States to demand Israel end its attacks on Palestinians and for the creation of a Palestinian state.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, who will become House majority leader on Aug. 1, criticized Obama on Tuesday for not addressing California’s drought during his visit to the state, calling him “clueless to the fact that Californians care more for solving our problems than they care for high-dollar presidential fundraisers.”

Obama spoke about the drought at a farm in Los Banos in the San Joaquin Valley in February.

The Obama administration has provided assistance to the state’s farmers and ranchers in a variety of programs, sought to increase coordination and flexibility in water allocations; and improve drought monitoring, research and tools.

The Los Angeles Police Department advised drivers to avoid an area near Los Angeles’ border with Beverly Hills and portions of Hancock Park today and northern parts of Brentwood and an area south of downtown Los Angeles Thursday because of Obama’s visit.

The trip is Obama’s 19th to Los Angeles or Orange counties since taking office in 2009 and the third in three months. All but three of his trips have included political fundraisers.

Obama is scheduled to depart from LAX at about 3:10 p.m. Thursday to return to Washington.

 

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