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Larry Thomas, a San Diego native who parlayed a newspaper job writing about politics into a career as a press spokesman and strategist for a mayor, a governor, a vice president, and one of the largest real estate development companies in California, died Monday night at his home in Newport Beach from complications of cancer.

He was 70.

The son of a newspaper editor, Mr. Thomas graduated from San Diego State with a degree in journalism. He worked for United Press International, KPBS and the Copley News Service before joining the San Diego Union, where he became, in his early 20s, one of the youngest politics writers working for a major newspaper in the nation.

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A bank has seized a Tulare County dairy farm owned by Rep. David Valadao and his family to resolve more than $8 million in loans that have not been repaid, according to court documents.

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  • 2018 election
Assemblywoman Former Assembly Republican leader Kristin Olsen, shown when she was still in office, warned Monday of voter fatigue.
Assemblywoman Former Assembly Republican leader Kristin Olsen, shown when she was still in office, warned Monday of voter fatigue. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Californians are suffering from “voter fatigue,” so candidates who survived the June 5 primary will have to hone their message to better address specific issues and provide solutions for problems if they want to connect with the electorate in November, members of a panel of political experts said Monday.

Campaign workers found stacks of unread campaign mail on porches and in mailboxes and volunteers had trouble getting voters to open their doors and respond to canvassers, according to Bill Wong, a political consultant for Assembly Democrats.

“The voters are very disengaged. They weren’t answering phones,” Wong said during a forum on the election sponsored by California Target Book. “Clearly we are not connecting with voters and if we don’t do that in November we’re going to be in deep trouble.”

  • Ballot measures
Guests line up to place bets at the sports book at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino in March.
Guests line up to place bets at the sports book at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino in March. (Ethan Miller / Getty Images)

An initiative to legalize sports betting in the state was proposed Monday for the November 2020 ballot by a political consultant working with California card clubs, online and out-of-state gambling firms and sports leagues.

Russell Lowery said he approached the gaming industry and received interest in a ballot measure from half a dozen firms, so he submitted a formal request Monday to the state attorney general’s office to prepare a title and summary for a possible initiative.

“I think the biggest reason for this is consumer protection. It’s going on now,” Lowery said of betting on sports. “Because of the revenue the state could generate from legal activity plus the consumer protections that could be afforded the gambling public, it ought to be regulated.”

  • Governor's race
  • 2018 election
  • California Republicans
Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox.
Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox said Monday that President Trump would travel to California to campaign for him in his bid to defeat Democrat Gavin Newsom in the November general election.

“Gavin Newsom is going to make this race all about President Trump. Well, you know what, I welcome it,” Cox told GOP supporters at a hotel in San Diego. “President Trump is going to come here and campaign for me and for you!”

The Rancho Santa Fe businessman, who snagged the second spot in last week’s primary to move on to the general election, was speaking to a San Diego GOP monthly gathering at the Town and Country Resort alongside other Republican statewide candidates who made it past Tuesday’s election, including Secretary of State candidate Mark Meuser.

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  • California Legislature
  • California Democrats
Sen. Josh Newman (D-Fullerton), shown last year, spoke angrily Monday about being recalled on June 5.
Sen. Josh Newman (D-Fullerton), shown last year, spoke angrily Monday about being recalled on June 5. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Just days after voters acted to recall him from office, state Sen. Josh Newman (D-Fullerton) on Monday condemned Republican members of the Senate in an angry floor speech for what he said was their failure to stand up against a deceptive campaign by GOP operatives to oust him from office.

Newman said the campaign got voters to sign the recall petitions by saying it would repeal a gas-tax increase and they unfairly blamed him for the tax, even though many others, including a Republican senator, voted for the measure.

“It saddens me colleagues, Republican colleagues, that despite all your nice sotto voce words, not a single one of you had the integrity, the decency or the courage  to say this is wrong… this is an abuse of the recall process,” Newman said in a speech toward the close of the day’s session.

  • California Legislature
Luz Rivas, center, was sworn into the state Assembly on Monday.
Luz Rivas, center, was sworn into the state Assembly on Monday. (Jazmine Ulloa / Los Angeles Times)

The state Assembly on Monday welcomed Democrats Luz Rivas and Jesse Gabriel, who were sworn in after winning special elections last week to replace two former San Fernando Valley members accused of sexual misconduct.

Rivas, a science educator and Los Angeles Public Works commissioner, will fill the remaining term of former Democratic Assemblymen Raul Bocanegra in the 39th district. Gabriel, an Encino attorney with degrees from UC Berkeley and Harvard, will take over for former state Assemblyman Matt Dababneh, a Democrat, in the 45th district.

Nearly 150 women last year came forward to denounce what they called a culture of sexual harassment within the state Capitol community. The movement led to an overhaul of policies within the California Legislature and to the resignations of Bocanegra and Dababneh after multiple women reported allegations of harassment and misconduct.

  • State government
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

A dispute between the governor and lawmakers over how to pay for a crackdown on the illicit marijuana market in California has resulted in the $14 million for the effort being left out of a proposed budget, officials said.

Last month, Gov. Jerry Brown proposed the funding to create five teams in the state attorney general’s office to investigate California’s black market for marijuana. The proposal was made after businesses with state licenses warned that they are at a competitive disadvantage against illicit growers and sellers.

However, a budget plan negotiated between legislators and the governor did not include the funding. The Legislature will vote on the plan this week.

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  • State government
The dome of the California Capitol in Sacramento is lighted up.
The dome of the California Capitol in Sacramento is lighted up. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

For the second time in a month, a member of the state’s campaign finance watchdog agency has resigned, officials said Monday.

Commissioner Maria Audero, a Los Angeles attorney, said in a letter submitted to the governor on Friday that she was quitting the state Fair Political Practices Commission before her term ends to accept an appointment as a U.S. magistrate judge.

“Though it saddens me that this appointment precludes me from completing my term as commissioner, I look forward to this new path of public service,” Audero said in a letter three years after her appointment.

  • U.S. Senate race