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 Gubernatorial candidates debate at the USC campus in January.
Gubernatorial candidates debate at the USC campus in January. (Allen J. Schaben)

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom remains the clear front-runner in California’s race for governor, with businessman John Cox and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa vying for second place, according to a new poll from the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California.

The survey, released Wednesday, found that 26% of likely voters backed Newsom, a Democrat and former mayor of San Francisco.

Only the top two finishers in the June 5 primary will advance to the November election, regardless of their party affiliation.

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  • State government
A Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student pauses in front of the sidewalk memorial after a mass shooting in Parkland, Fla.
A Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student pauses in front of the sidewalk memorial after a mass shooting in Parkland, Fla. (Getty Images)

Two months after a gunman killed 17 people at a Florida high school, a new survey finds that most California parents are concerned about the threat of school shootings but that a large majority opposes allowing more teachers and school officials to carry guns on campus.

The statewide survey, released Wednesday, was conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California after a string of school shootings, including a Feb. 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

“In the wake of the Florida mass shooting tragedy, many California public school parents are concerned about school safety,” said Mark Baldassare, president and chief executive of PPIC. “Yet most oppose having more teachers carry guns.”

  • Governor's race
  • 2018 election
  • California Democrats
(Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg)

Reed Hastings, the chief executive of Netflix and a wealthy supporter of charter schools, donated $7 million on Wednesday to an independent expenditure group supporting Antonio Villaraigosa’s candidacy for governor. 

Villaraigosa is the most prominent Democrat in California to challenge the teachers unions, a fight he has continued since leaving the mayor's office in 2013. 

  • California Legislature
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks in Chicago in June.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks in Chicago in June. (Nam Y. Huh / Associated Press)

A representative for Facebook said Wednesday that the company would stop contributing funds to a campaign against a 2018 statewide ballot measure that would require companies to disclose what personal information from Californians they collect, buy or share.

The statement comes after Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg underwent a grilling by 44 lawmakers over the social media giant’s role in the 2016 election and its lax privacy protections.

“We took this step in order to focus our efforts on supporting reasonable privacy measures in California,” Facebook spokeswoman Rochelle Nadhiri said.

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(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Gov. Jerry Brown agreed on Wednesday to expand the California National Guard’s efforts on crime and drug issues that cross the state’s border with Mexico, but insisted troops would not be used to enforce immigration directives from President Trump.

“This will not be a mission to build a new wall. It will not be a mission to round up women and children or detain people escaping violence and seeking a better life,” Brown wrote in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Defense Secretary James N. Mattis. “And the California National Guard will not be enforcing federal immigration laws.”

The decision comes one week after the Trump administration asked governors in border states to provide Guard troops for assistance with the duties of Border Patrol agents. On Saturday, Mattis signed an order to send up to 4,000 Guard troops to the border, but barred them from interacting with migrants detained by the Border Patrol in most circumstances. The president later wrote on Twitter that “We are sealing up our Southern Border.”

  • California in Congress
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

A San Pedro man is expected to plead guilty Wednesday to threatening to kill Rep. Maxine Waters over her criticism of President Trump.

Anthony Scott Lloyd, 45, faces a single count of threatening a United States official, according to a plea agreement filed March 26. It is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

According to the plea, Lloyd left a voicemail at Waters’ Capitol Hill office Oct. 22 using a racial slur to refer to Waters and an anti-gay slur, and stating that “if you continue to make threats towards the president, you’re going to wind up dead, Maxine, ’cause we’ll kill you."

  • State government
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti speaks at an April 11 news conference lobbying for state homelessness funding.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti speaks at an April 11 news conference lobbying for state homelessness funding. (Liam Dillon / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday the city needs more money from the state to combat increasing homelessness, even though local voters recently approved ballot measures designed to bring in more than $1 billion in funding to help build new housing and provide supportive services.

Garcetti joined mayors from California’s other large cities at the Capitol to lobby for $1.5 billion in state homelessness funding, money that would come out of the more than $6 billion in a tax revenue windfall Gov. Jerry Brown is projecting in the coming year’s budget.

Although the city is working on using its new local dollars to build permanent homeless housing, state revenue could help with programs that could help people off the streets in the meantime, Garcetti said.

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  • California Democrats
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

In advance of a trip later this week to the early presidential caucus state of Iowa, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti wants Iowans to know that they’re not any different from Angelenos.

“We’re the same as Iowa,” Garcetti said before a news conference in Sacramento. “These divisions that there’s the heartland and the coast to me are B.S.”

He went on to lavish compliments on the state. “Los Angeles is the heartland, and Iowa is the cutting edge. They have 31.3% of their power generated by wind, by renewable, the highest in the country,” he said. “They are a manufacturing capital like we are. They’re a farm state; we’re a farm state. I think we struggle with the same things: Will politicians listen to us? Will we have a country that brings us together rather than rips us apart?

  • California Legislature
Orange County sheriff's Deputy Jeff Puckett checks a motorist's identification at a DUI checkpoint.
Orange County sheriff's Deputy Jeff Puckett checks a motorist's identification at a DUI checkpoint. (Al Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Faced with opposition from drug legalization advocates, California lawmakers backed away Tuesday from a proposal to adopt a “zero tolerance” policy on motorists under age 21 who drive after using marijuana.

A bill by state Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) originally proposed a one-year suspension of driver’s licenses for minors caught for the first time driving with measurable amounts of marijuana in their system. Hill had said the state should have the same “zero tolerance” policy for cannabis that it has for those under 21 who drive under the influence of alcohol.

But faced with opposition, Hill agreed on Tuesday that the first offense would result in a warning, and the second offense would add one penalty point to the driver’s record, removable if they take a drug-awareness class. Only the third and subsequent offenses would result in suspension of the driver’s license.