The Senate Rules Committee voted Monday to strip state Sen. Tony Mendoza of his leadership positions, including chairmanship of the banking committee, pending the outcome of an investigation into sexual harassment allegations by three women against the Democratic lawmaker from Artesia.
Holding an emergency meeting before the Senate resumes regular session in January, the bipartisan, five-member Rules Committee voted without comment to suspend Mendoza as chairman of the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee and as a member of the state Commission for Economic Development and the California Workforce Development Fund.
Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles), who chairs the Rules Committee, said recently that the suspension, and plans to hire an independent, outside law firm to investigate complaints of sexual harassment, are necessary to increase the safety of employees and protect whistleblowers.
Assemblyman Travis Allen and businessman John Cox will face off on Jan. 4 at a gathering of the Redlands Tea Party Patriots, said John Berry, a spokesman for the group.
The 90-minute debate will take place at the Mill Creek Cattle Company restaurant in Mentone and is open to the public. The candidates will make opening statements and field questions from local activists and audience members about issues such as the recent gas-tax increase and the state’s top-two primary system, Berry said.
California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra and almost a dozen of his counterparts have denounced a National Parks Service proposal to increase entrance fees at 17 popular parks, including some in the state.
“We cannot let the most popular and awe-inspiring national parks become places only for the wealthy,” the attorneys wrote in a letter on Wednesday to the acting director of the National Parks Service. “As Americans, we are all public landowners.”
Federal parks officials announced the proposed fee hikes in late October as part of a proposal to raise money to fix roads, bridges, campgrounds and bathrooms. But in their letter, Becerra and fellow attorneys say facility and infrastructure improvements should not come at the expense of parkgoers.
The California Legislature has refused to release additional information on sexual harassment complaints requested by the Los Angeles Times in the wake of widespread scrutiny on how the Capitol handles such matters.
Officials representing the Senate and Assembly each said late Tuesday that they were denying a request by The Times, submitted on Nov. 3, for data beginning in 2006 for “all cases involving current and former employees of the [Legislature], current or former members, or any other person who was the subject of an inquiry by the [Legislature] where the charges were found to be true, discipline was imposed or the complaints were judged to be well-founded.”
Daniel Alvarez, the secretary of the Senate, and Debra Gravert, the chief administrative officer of the Assembly, cited the Legislative Open Records Act in denying the request. The act says certain records are exempt from mandatory disclosure, including personnel files and records of complaints to or investigations conducted by the Legislature.
Since leaving the Los Angeles mayor’s office in 2013, Antonio Villaraigosa has made more than $4 million by advising companies such as Herbalife, Banc of California and natural resources company Cadiz, teaching at the University of Southern California and earning speaking fees, according to tax returns his gubernatorial campaign released on Tuesday.
In addition, Villaraigosa earns an annual pension payment worth around $100,000 from his years serving in local government.
Villaraigosa is the final Democratic candidate running for governor to release his tax returns. He allowed reporters to review six years of returns Tuesday morning at the San Francisco office of his campaign consultants.
U.S. Rep. Tony Cardenas said Tuesday that allegations of sexual harassment made against Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra “describe behavior that's unacceptable under any circumstance” and called for holding people “accountable.”
Cardenas and Bocanegra are both Democrats hailing from the northeast San Fernando Valley and have long been political allies.
Bocanegra announced Monday he would not be seeking reelection and instead would resign on Sept. 1, 2018. The announcement came shortly before The Times reported that six women have accused Bocanegra of unwanted sexual advances.
The regular auctions are a key feature of the program, which requires companies to buy permits to release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Cap and trade is one of the state’s main strategies to combat climate change.
In November’s auction, every permit offered by the state was sold, and prices reached their highest-level in the program’s five-year history.