With California's face-off against Washington, D.C., getting widespread attention, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon has turned to a veteran of national politics to help shape his public image: White House veteran Bill Burton.
Burton, who once worked as deputy press secretary in the Obama administration, was hired this month by Rendon, a Democrat from Paramount, for communications strategy.
Now a managing partner in the Los Angeles office for SKDKnickerbocker, a prominent liberal public affairs firm, Burton said he relished being involved in California politics, which he said sets a model for liberals nationwide.
The state Senate on Monday voted 26-9 in favor of final confirmation of Rep. Xavier Becerra as California’s attorney general, putting on watch a veteran politician who has promised to block efforts by President Trump to roll back state policies on immigration, civil rights and the environment.
Becerra, a Los Angeles Democrat and 12-term congressman, is set to take the oath of office on Tuesday before Gov. Jerry Brown’s State of the State address.
"As Attorney General, Xavier will be a champion for all Californians," Brown said in a statement after the party-line vote.
In two weeks of confirmation hearings, state attorney general nominee Xavier Becerra has been asked for his position on many issues, including new gun control laws, the state's death penalty policy and the recent voter approval of an initiative that legalized recreational marijuana use.
The 12-term congressman is up for a possible final confirmation vote Monday in the state Senate.
With Xavier Becerra facing a final confirmation vote Monday for state attorney general, two former high-level officials in the office are warning against drowning President Trump in lawsuits.
The pressure to sue Trump early and often is "a trap," according to Michael Troncos, former chief counsel in the California attorney general’s office, and Debbie Mesloh, a former senior advisor to the California attorney general, writing in an op-ed piece published by the Los Angeles Times.
“In this right-wing political moment, a major legal case on our climate change laws or our policies benefiting (young immigrant) Dreamers may well lead to a Trump White House victory, establishing precedents that far outlast this presidency,” the two write. “In fact, the cases Becerra chooses not to bring may be among his most important achievements. Courts can’t rule on what’s not before them.”
California cities that are falling behind on housing production goals set by the state would be forced to remove some of their development restrictions under legislation from a Bay Area state senator.
State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) released new details in his bill, SB 35, Monday morning that would require cities to approve new housing in areas already zoned for high-density development provided developers set aside some units for low-income residents. The bill’s provisions would only apply in cities where growth isn’t keeping pace with housing production targets developed by the state every eight years that are designed to ensure California has enough homes for its growing population to live affordably.
Right now, that’s not happening. The state’s median home price of $485,800 is more than 2 1/2 times the national average, with the state’s poorest residents the hardest hit. And in the most recent eight-year housing cycle ending in 2014, production was less than half of the state target.
The bill by Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton) would allow defendants without any prior violent offenses or convictions within five years of their arrest to enroll in a drug treatment program for six months to a year before entering a guilty plea.
Courts would have to wipe defendants' charges from their records should they successfully complete the pretrial diversion program. But judges would be required to terminate the treatment and reinstate the criminal proceedings for those offenders who do not perform well.
California's leading Democrats have been talking for two months about what the new president will mean for the state. But an equally important question may be: What will it mean for them?
On this week's California Politics Podcast, we discuss not just the effect of President Trump on state policies but also on how the national debate might influence the early jockeying in the 2018 race for governor.
We also take a closer look at the most significant policy question for California under the Trump administration: The repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
Kevin de León didn't say much during Friday's inauguration ceremony, and neither did most of the staff and supporters gathered to watch it in his Echo Park office Friday.
"A stunned silence," De León said with a half-smile, as Donald Trump took the stage to be sworn in as the nation's 45th president.
Just yesterday, De León, who has quickly placed himself at the front of California's resistance to the Trump administration, had plenty to say. He accused Trump of trying to "seed confusion and chaos," and said the new president's plans for an immigration crackdown were sowing fears among his constituents of "raping and pillaging."