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Protesters call on L.A. County Sheriff Jim McDonnell to support the so-called sanctuary state bill.
Protesters call on L.A. County Sheriff Jim McDonnell to support the so-called sanctuary state bill. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Pushing back against the Trump administration, the California Senate and more than 20 cities and counties have come out in support of the state’s “sanctuary” law, which limits law enforcement agencies from cooperating with federal immigration agencies.

In two friend-of-the court briefs filed Friday, former U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. and Santa Clara County sided with California in a federal lawsuit brought forth by U.S. Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions over its immigration policies. Holder’s brief was filed on behalf of the state Senate, and Santa Clara was joined by 22 other California cities and counties.

Holder argued that entangling state and local agencies with federal immigration enforcement usurps limited resources, blurs lines of accountability and distorts trust between officers and the community. In their own brief, city and county lawyers said the federal government should not dictate how local or state resources are used.

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Craig Coley is shown when he was booked on suspicion of murder, left, and recently, after he was informed he'd been cleared.
Craig Coley is shown when he was booked on suspicion of murder, left, and recently, after he was informed he'd been cleared. (Simi Valley Police Department)

Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday approved a $1.95-million payment to compensate a man wrongly sent to prison for more than 38 years for a double murder in Simi Valley that is now being investigated to determine whether it was actually the work of the Golden State Killer.

The payment was approved to Craig Richard Coley, 70, who recently was determined by a court to be “factually innocent,” decades after his arrest for the murders of Ronda Wicht, 24, and her 4-year old son, Donald.

Brown did not comment Thursday in approving the settlement, but in his pardon of Coley in November, the governor said subsequent investigations ordered by his office and prosecutors determined the man was wrongly convicted.

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  • Ballot measures
  • 2018 election
(Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

A plan to allow homeowners 55 and older to take a portion of their Proposition 13 property tax benefits with them when they move to a new California home is eligible for the statewide ballot in November, Secretary of State Alex Padilla said in a release Thursday.

The measure, sponsored by the California Assn. of Realtors, has exceeded the 585,407 valid petition signatures it needed to qualify, Padilla said.

The initiative will appear on the ballot unless proponents withdraw it prior to June 28.

  • California Legislature
California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye warned Monday that the rule of law in the state is under threat.
California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye warned Monday that the rule of law in the state is under threat. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

One day after President Trump and a group of like-minded Californians blasted the state’s immigration laws, Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday signed another one: a law that prevents lawyers from revealing the immigration status of crime victims and witnesses in open court unless a judge rules the information relevant to the case.

Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) introduced the proposal after the state’s top judge voiced concerns over reports of immigration agents following immigrants in California courthouses. The efforts were seen as part of Trump’s call for mass deportations and increased immigration enforcement.

“Our courthouses should be places of justice, not places where immigrants are threatened with deportation,” Wiener said in a statement after the law was approved. “This law makes everyone in our community safer by ensuring that witnesses and victims of crime are not afraid to report crimes, go to court and hold criminals accountable.”

Asked recently whether she would push Rep. Tony Cárdenas of California to resign over allegations in a lawsuit that he molested a teenager in 2007, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi shrugged.

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  • Congressional races
(Olivier Douliery / TNS)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Democrats in the state’s congressional delegation are going to put their thumbs on the scale in some key House primary races to make sure strong Democratic candidates are among the top two facing voters in the fall.

“They may be subjected to criticism for that, but I’d rather be criticized for winning than criticized for losing,” Pelosi (D-San Francisco) said.

Under the state’s top-two primary system, the two candidates receiving the highest number of votes advance to the general election in November, regardless of party. Democrats fear that high numbers of primary hopefuls could split the vote and leave the party without candidates in high-stakes congressional races in November.

On paper, California’s “top two” open primary made sense: When one political party dominated an election, the weaker party could support a consolation moderate.

Former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
Former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (Los Angeles Times)

Law enforcement supporters of Antonio Villaraigosa called on gubernatorial race rival John Chiang to apologize for an attack ad and take it down, as an independent fact-checking organization said it contained falsehoods about Villaraigosa’s tenure as mayor of Los Angeles.

The move comes as the union representing LAPD rank-and-file officers donated $250,000 to a new independent expenditure committee supporting Villaraigosa’s bid for governor.

The ad dispute is over the testing of rape kits while Villaraigosa was mayor.

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  • California Legislature
Democratic state senators and housing advocates hold a news conference on their budget proposal at the Capitol on Wednesday.
Democratic state senators and housing advocates hold a news conference on their budget proposal at the Capitol on Wednesday. (Liam Dillon / Los Angeles Times)

A group of California’s Democratic state senators wants to nearly triple Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed spending for low-income and homeless housing.

The plan would put $1 billion of the state’s projected $8.8-billion tax windfall toward financing low-income housing projects, supporting local efforts to provide rental assistance and shelters for homeless residents, and funding other programs. By comparison, Brown proposed $359 million for homelessness programs in his revised budget unveiled last week.

“We cannot hold our heads up high as we walk down the streets in our communities and in effect step over folks that are sleeping in doorways or that are living in tent encampments,” said Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), one of the plan’s authors. “We can do better. We will do better.”

  • Governor's race
Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas at a meeting in 2013.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas at a meeting in 2013. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas on Wednesday endorsed Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom for governor, lauding his fellow Democrat’s work on municipal passage of universal healthcare and fighting homelessness as mayor of San Francisco.

The new backing means three of the five supervisors have endorsed Newsom in a key county ahead of the June 5 primary.

“He is a rather rare leader who not only can rally people behind a bold vision for change, but also has the commitment and determination to see those changes through,” Ridley-Thomas said in a statement provided to The Times by the Newsom campaign. “Gavin has stuck his neck out for all of our communities, and he has set an example for other municipal leaders throughout the state.”