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Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger celebrates the passage of Proposition 14, the open primaries initiative, June 9, 2010. (Rich Pedroncelli / AP)
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger celebrates the passage of Proposition 14, the open primaries initiative, June 9, 2010. (Rich Pedroncelli / AP)

Is California’s top-two primary system a “sell job” or has a “better political culture” emerged because of it? 

In one corner we have Los Angeles’ Democratic Mayor Eric Garcetti, who has some harsh words for the system voters picked back in June 2010.

In the other we have Silicon Valley Rep. Ro Khanna and Arnold Schwarzenegger, California’s last Republican governor, defending the wide open primary.

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  • California Democrats
 California state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) speaks at a 2017 news conference in support of the Dream Act.
California state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) speaks at a 2017 news conference in support of the Dream Act. (Damian Dovarganes, Associated Press)

As outcry escalates over the Trump administration’s policy of separating families caught illegally crossing the border, state Sen. Kevin de León is pressing Gov. Jerry Brown to end the California National Guard’s cooperation with the federal government.

Since April, the state National Guard has been working with federal immigration authorities after President Trump called on governors across the country to help enforce security along the southern border. Brown mobilized 400 service members for help fighting transnational crime, not enforcing immigration law, as Trump envisioned.

De León (D-Los Angeles), in a new letter, said that in light of Trump’s “zero tolerance policy,” which has resulted in thousands of children being separated from their parents, “we can no longer tolerate using our state resources to support government entities that are inflicting inhuman trauma on people seeking refuge in accordance with national and international laws.”

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  • Governor's race
  • 2018 election
  • California Democrats
Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom speak at a press conference in front of Homegirl Cafe on June 19.
Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom speak at a press conference in front of Homegirl Cafe on June 19. (Kent Nishimura)

Antonio Villaraigosa and Gavin Newsom, Democrats who clashed bitterly in the California gubernatorial primary, said their differences were behind them Tuesday as they pledged to work together to get Newsom elected governor in November.

“This wasn’t personal. Both of us love this state,” Villaraigosa told reporters after having breakfast with Newsom at Homegirl Café in downtown Los Angeles. “We grew up here, we want the best for our state and we both thought we had special qualities that would help us lead the state.”

Villaraigosa, who endorsed Newsom on election night after placing third in the June 5 primary, said the two men agree on crucial issues facing the state, notably the need to tackle poverty and homelessness, and to increase educational opportunities.

  • Congressional races
  • 2018 election
Democrat Harley Rouda has a razor-thin lead over fellow Democrat Hans Keirstead in the battle for second place in the 48th District.
Democrat Harley Rouda has a razor-thin lead over fellow Democrat Hans Keirstead in the battle for second place in the 48th District. (Courtesy of Harley Rouda for Congress)

Real estate investor Harley Rouda has overtaken fellow Democrat Hans Keirstead with a razor-thin 40-vote lead in the fight to take on Rep. Dana Rohrabacher in November.

There’s been a tight race for second place in the 48th Congressional District since the June 5 primary as tens of thousands of provisional and late-arriving mail ballots have been tallied. The latest vote count released by Orange County elections officials Monday upended Keirstead’s nearly two-week lead since election night.

National Democrats had expected Rouda’s vote count to expand as election officials started counting provisional and late-arriving mail ballots. They spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in the closing days of the campaign to support Rouda. The ads run by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which has signaled it believes Rouda is a stronger match against Rohrabacher, were meant to hit voters who cast their votes at the last minute.

Assemblyman Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) votes on budget-related bills.
Assemblyman Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) votes on budget-related bills. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Lawmakers sparred over school funding plans and healthcare for the poor on Monday during floor debates in the California Legislature, sending nine budget-related bills to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk, but leaving a handful of other proposals in limbo for perhaps another week.

The main budget blueprint was approved by the state Senate and Assembly on Thursday. California government’s new fiscal year begins July 1.

Monday’s most intense debates came in the Senate, as Republicans railed over provisions tucked into some of the budget bills. And one prominent Democrat refused to support the healthcare funding bill because of its failure to offer services to a wider swath of adults in the U.S. illegally.

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John Cox, the Republican candidate for California governor, said Monday that he opposes the separation of immigrant parents from their children at the U.S.-Mexican border, calling the problem “horrendous” and in need of congressional attention.

Cox, who will face off in the November election against Democrat Gavin Newsom, was asked by reporters about the federal separation policy during a news conference to discuss his efforts to repeal California’s gas-tax increase.

“I’m against separating parents and children,” Cox said. “I’m a father. I have four daughters. That’s a congressional problem, and I hope that we get a congressional solution very soon.”

Proponents of net neutrality protest against Federal Communication Commission Chairman Ajit Pai in Washington on May 5.
Proponents of net neutrality protest against Federal Communication Commission Chairman Ajit Pai in Washington on May 5. (Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

As the fight to preserve net neutrality gears up in California, two state senators are melding their efforts to establish rules that would prevent internet service providers from manipulating or slowing access to online content.

Under new amendments unveiled Monday, Sens. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) have rewritten their dueling net neutrality bills to complement each other — and added conditions so that both must be signed by the governor for the other to take effect.

The move comes a week after net neutrality was officially repealed at the federal level, following a vote by the Federal Communications Commission in December to roll back the rules.

  • California Democrats
San Francisco Mayor-elect London Breed, center, greets students after a news conference on June 14 in San Francisco.
San Francisco Mayor-elect London Breed, center, greets students after a news conference on June 14 in San Francisco. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

After a hard-fought, history-making campaign, San Francisco’s Mayor-elect London Breed took a four-day vacation in Cabo San Lucas. Now ready to assume office, the city’s first African American woman mayor talked to The Times this week about how she’ll tackle some of the biggest challenges facing the Bay Area city. Breed, who was raised by her grandmother in public housing, said homelessness and affordable housing will be among her top priorities. (This interview was edited and condensed for clarity.)

Your campaign was sort of defined by the adversity you faced as a kid growing up in the city. How do you reconnect people who are natives of a city that in recent years has become a very different place?

I think so many people are not in the city anymore that I grew up with. I think what’s important is to make sure that people who are either natives of San Francisco, or live there now, especially those who are struggling, feel like they are part of our city — feel like it’s their city too and also feel like there are opportunities that exist in this city for them. Especially the future generations and kids who are growing up now in poverty. I also want to make sure we make better decisions and incorporate everyone into the prosperity that exists in our city.

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Kevin de León stresses that he isn’t naive about his chances of taking down Sen. Dianne Feinstein in November’s general election.