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A contaminated pond is left behind in an illegal marijuana grow area in Northern California.
A contaminated pond is left behind in an illegal marijuana grow area in Northern California. (Humboldt County Sheriff's Department)

Top federal and state prosecutors in California raised alarms Tuesday over the growing problem of illegal marijuana farms — including many tied to Mexico-based drug cartels — in remote public forests and parks.

They promised a stepped-up effort to shut them down.

“We are going to do everything in our power to get after this problem as vigorously and as strongly as we possibly can,” U.S. Atty. McGregor W. Scott told gathered law enforcement officials and reporters at the federal courthouse in Sacramento on Tuesday.

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  • State government

One week before the election, Jodi Remke on Tuesday submitted her resignation as chairwoman of California’s state campaign watchdog agency amid turmoil as other members of its governing panel were moving to reduce her powers.

The resignation, which takes effect Friday, comes after a majority of the state Fair Political Practices Commission supported the creation of two subcommittees to provide input on key decisions that previously have been made largely by Remke, who is the only member of the panel who has a full-time role.

Remke said she is “extremely proud” of accomplishments that include a crackdown on serious campaign finance violations and making it easier for the public to get information on lobbyists and personal finances of elected officials. 

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  • Congressional races
  • 2018 election
Mai Khanh Tran, left, is running against fellow Democrats Sam Jammal and Andy Thorburn in the 39th Congressional District.
Mai Khanh Tran, left, is running against fellow Democrats Sam Jammal and Andy Thorburn in the 39th Congressional District. (Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call)

Comedian-turned-activist Chelsea Handler made a prediction a few months ago.

“They had the ‘Year of the Woman’ in 1992,” Handler told a crowd, almost all women, who had gathered in a Los Angeles hotel ballroom over avocado toast and roasted tomatoes at a brunch for Emily's List, the group dedicated to electing pro-choice Democratic women.

"This is obviously going to be a bigger year for women.… Hopefully we'll win so much we'll be so sick and tired of winning."

  • California Legislature
A tenant rally is held in Glendale.
A tenant rally is held in Glendale. (Jeff Landa / Glendale News-Press)

The big fight in California this year over tenant issues will be in November, when voters are likely to weigh in on an initiative that would expand rent control across the state.

But there are still a number of bills aimed at helping renters pending in the Legislature, including making evictions more difficult and making it harder to convert rent-controlled apartments to condominiums.  

On this episode of Gimme Shelter: The California Housing Crisis Pod, we talk about the bills’ chances and why tenant legislation often fails to advance. Our guest is Fernando Nadal, a Sacramento organizer with Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, who tells us his eviction story.

  • Congressional races
  • Governor's race
  • 2018 election
  • California Republicans

President Trump reiterated his support for gubernatorial candidate John Cox on Monday as the GOP hopeful plans to launch a television ad touting the endorsement in a bid to consolidate the Republican vote.

“California has a rare opportunity to turn things around and solve its high crime, high tax, problems - along with so many others. On June 5th., vote for GOP Gubernatorial Candidate JOHN COX, a really good and highly competent man. He’ll Make California Great Again!” Trump tweeted.

Trump first tweeted his endorsement on May 18, and his campaign last week put out a video about the nod that was widely shared on social media.

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  • Governor's race
  • 2018 election
  • California Republicans
  • California Democrats
Top, from left: Gavin Newsom, Antonio Villaraigosa, John Chiang. Bottom, from left: Delaine Eastin, Travis Allen, John Cox.
Top, from left: Gavin Newsom, Antonio Villaraigosa, John Chiang. Bottom, from left: Delaine Eastin, Travis Allen, John Cox.

Three Democratic candidates for governor have millions of dollars to spend in the closing days of the California primary, according to campaign finance reports filed with the secretary of state’s office. Their rivals are badly lagging, though the top Republican candidate in the race has the ability to pour more of his personal wealth into his campaign.

The reports, filed Thursday with the state, insure that Californians will continue to see a barrage of advertisements and mailers up until the June 5 primary.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, the long-time polling and fundraising front-runner, once again leads the pack with nearly $9.8 million cash on hand. That’s roughly the amount he spent between April 22 and May 19, the period covered by the fundraising reports. About 85% was spent on television ads.

State Treasurer John Chiang is taking his two main Democratic rivals in the governor’s race to task in a new ad, hitting Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom for boosting a Republican and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for his wealthy backers.

“I call it like I see it. The race for governor has turned into a scam,” Chiang says in the new spot.

He singles out Newsom, the front-runner in the race who has been running campaign ads against leading Republican John Cox, calling him too conservative. The attacks may actually serve to help Cox in the June election by consolidating Republicans behind him. Newsom has said he’d prefer to face a GOP contender than a fellow Democrat in November.

(Daily Pilot)

Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (Costa Mesa) told a group of California Realtors this month that it should be OK for homeowners to refuse to sell their homes to gays and lesbians, prompting the National Association of Realtors to withdraw its endorsement.

“Every homeowner should be able to make a decision not to sell their home to someone (if) they don’t agree with their lifestyle,” the congressman said, according to the Orange County Register.

Rohrabacher, who is prone to off-the-wall statements and positions, told the paper in an interview, “We’ve drawn a line on racism, but I don’t think we should extend that line. … A homeowner should not be required to be in business with someone they think is doing something that is immoral.”

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  • Congressional races
  • Governor's race
  • 2018 election
  • California Republicans

President Trump’s reelection campaign released a video on Thursday touting his endorsement of GOP businessman John Cox for governor of California.

The video, which has been viewed more than 272,000 times and shared more than 2,500 times in less than 24 hours, could be a boon to Cox’s effort to consolidate the Republican vote and come in second in the June 5 primary.

“President Trump endorsed businessman John Cox in his campaign for governor because John Cox is the one person in this race who will cut taxes, secure the border and fight crime,” Lara Trump, the wife of the president’s son Eric, says in the 48-second video. “As a successful businessman, John Cox can reform California’s government by cutting taxes, including the regressive state gas tax, and reduce state spending.”

  • State government
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

California lawmakers on Friday shelved a proposal to reduce pot tax rates in an effort to help licensed businesses compete with the black market.

The sidelining of the proposal came a week after a report found pot tax revenue is far below projections.

The bill, AB 3157, would have reduced the state excise tax on cannabis from 15% to 11% and suspended a cultivation tax that charges $148 per pound.