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458 posts
  • Governor's race

A new attack ad by state Treasurer John Chiang accuses one of his Democratic rivals in the governor’s race, Antonio Villaraigosa, of being a “failure” as mayor of Los Angeles and nearly driving the city into bankruptcy.

The attack comes with just weeks to go before the June 5 primary election. According to a Public Policy Institute of California poll released in April, Chiang was lagging in fifth place behind Villaraigosa, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Republicans John Cox and Travis Allen.

“He was called ‘a failure.’ An ‘embarrassment.’ As mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa drove L.A. to the brink of bankruptcy,” a narrator says in the ad. “Villaraigosa’s recklessness threatened jobs, the economy and left no funding to test 7,000 rape kits, putting public safety at risk.”

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Shant Damirdjian, left, assists customers at Cookies Los Angeles, which legally sells recreational marijuana under Proposition 64.
Shant Damirdjian, left, assists customers at Cookies Los Angeles, which legally sells recreational marijuana under Proposition 64. (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

Gov. Jerry Brown proposed Friday to create five teams in the state attorney general’s office to investigate California’s black market for marijuana after firms that received state licenses complained they are being undercut by the illicit growers and sellers.

Brown allocated $14 million to “target illegal cannabis activity with an emphasis on complex, large-scale financial and tax evasion investigations,” the governor’s office said in a statement.

The teams also will focus on “reducing environmental and other crimes associated with the illegal cannabis market.”

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  • Governor's race
  • 2018 election
California's gubernatorial candidates in a debate at the California Theater in San Jose on Tuesday.
California's gubernatorial candidates in a debate at the California Theater in San Jose on Tuesday. (Aric Crabb / Bay Area News Group)

Election day is less than a month away and California’s six major candidates for governor all have plans for tackling one of the state's biggest problems: the rising costs of housing.

On this episode of Gimme Shelter: The California Housing Crisis Pod, we talk about where the candidates’ housing plans differ. One area where there’s near unanimity? The candidates broadly agree that the biggest barrier to affordability is a lack of housing supply.

Our guests are Phil Willon from the Los Angeles Times and Laurel Rosenhall from CALmatters, both of whom have been covering the election. We discuss how housing has become an issue on the trail and the reaction from voters.

  • Congressional races
  • 2018 election
Harley Rouda is the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's choice to take on Dana Rohrabacher.
Harley Rouda is the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's choice to take on Dana Rohrabacher. (Harley Rouda for Congress)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is picking a horse in the race to unseat Rep. Dana Rohrabacher amid Democratic fears the party is in grave danger of being locked out of another crucial House battle in California.

The committee on Friday added Harley Rouda to its Red to Blue program, elevating him over seven other Democrats on the ballot in Rohrabacher’s 48th Congressional District.

California’s top-two primary allows the two candidates who receive the most votes to advance in the June 5 contest regardless of party, and Democrats are concerned that Rohrabacher and prominent Republican challenger Scott Baugh could both make it into the runoff if the Democratic vote is diluted by a large field.

Even in the wake of previous tax windfalls, Gov. Jerry Brown’s announcement on Friday was breathtaking: The state has collected an unexpected $8 billion in tax revenue in recent months, even more additional cash than reported in January.

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  • Congressional races
  • 2018 election
Democratic candidates appear at a 39th District forum in January. Two have since dropped out.
Democratic candidates appear at a 39th District forum in January. Two have since dropped out. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

Vexed for months over the prospect of getting boxed out of crucial House races after California’s primary, Democrats think they’ve found a way to fight back.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee this week began airing television ads that go after two Republicans running for retiring Rep. Ed Royce’s seat. The ads made no mention of a third, Young Kim, who has led polls, has the backing of Royce and is seen widely as the Democrats’ most formidable potential opponent in November.

By attacking two Republicans viewed as second tier, Democrats are hoping to suppress GOP votes for those candidates while ensuring that Kim gets far enough ahead to be the only Republican in the general election. They also hope to avoid explicitly backing or attacking one of their own in the increasingly nasty intra-party fights in some districts.

The Sacramento River in the San Joaquin-Sacramento Delta, near Courtland, Calif.
The Sacramento River in the San Joaquin-Sacramento Delta, near Courtland, Calif. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Gov. Jerry Brown warned local water agency officials throughout California on Thursday that unless the delta tunnels project gets needed state and federal permits soon and continues advancing, the major infrastructure project may not happen in their lifetime.

Brown issued the warning Thursday in a speech to more than 1,000 water experts and officials whom he urged to support the project at a conference of the Assn. of California Water Agencies.

The speech came a month after the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California agreed to commit nearly $11 billion to build two massive tunnels to convey water under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to the San Joaquin Valley and then on to the Southland. The project has been dubbed WaterFix by the Brown administration.

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  • State government
  • California Democrats
A house burns on Island View Drive in the central Ventura foothills during the Thomas fire in December.
A house burns on Island View Drive in the central Ventura foothills during the Thomas fire in December. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Gov. Jerry Brown plans to add $96 million to next year’s spending plan to address threats of wildfires and climate change. 

Brown made the announcement in an executive order issued Thursday. Among other changes, the state will double the land currently managed for vegetation thinning, controlled burns and reforestation from 250,000 acres to 500,000 acres, boost education programs for landowners on forest fires and expand grants to improve watersheds.

“I intend to mobilize the resources of the state to protect our forests and ensure they absorb carbon to the maximum degree,” Brown said in a statement.

  • 2018 election
  • California Republicans
(Los Angeles Times)

California’s electorate stands at 18.8 million voters — larger than the combined voter rolls from 2016 of almost two dozen U.S. states, according to a report issued on Thursday.

At the same time, the percentage of registered Republicans in the state fell to a new low, with the number now almost equal in size to the voters unaffiliated with any political party.

The report by Secretary of State Alex Padilla tallies an additional nearly 1.2 million voters compared with the same point before the 2014 statewide primary. The total represents 75% of Californians who are eligible to vote, an increase from recent years.