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268 posts
  • California Legislature
  • California Democrats
Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia)
Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

California Democratic Party delegates are circulating a petition to seek the resignations of two state lawmakers who have been accused of sexual misconduct in recent weeks.

“When we remain silent in the face of sexual assault or harassment, we contribute to a culture of impunity for those that use their power to oppress, we send a message to survivors that they do not matter, and we normalize abhorrent behavior, allowing perpetrators to believe that they can act without consequences,” the petition reads. “We must now speak out in support of survivors.”

The petition asks for the resignation of Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima) and Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia). Bocanegra was disciplined eight years ago after a female Capitol staffer accused him of “inappropriate and unwelcome physical contact” while he was also a staffer. Three women have accused Mendoza of inappropriate behavior in recent weeks, something he’s denied.

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  • California Legislature
State Sen. President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles)
State Sen. President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) (Liam Dillon / Los Angeles Times)

California Senate Leader Kevin de León said he knew nothing about sexual harassment allegations against a Senate colleague until earlier this month. 

“I’m as shocked as everybody else is because I never witnessed it,” De León said in an interview with The Times during California Democratic Party’s Executive Board meeting in Millbrae. 

De León (D-Los Angeles) shared a home in Sacramento with Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia), who in recent weeks has been accused of inappropriate behavior toward women, including an allegation that he invited a young female legislative fellow to review her résumé at his home after hours earlier this year. 

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  • California Legislature
  • California Democrats
  • 2018 U.S. Senate race
Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) speaks Saturday at the state Democratic Party’s Executive Board meeting.
Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) speaks Saturday at the state Democratic Party’s Executive Board meeting. (Liam Dillon / Los Angeles Times)

As weeks of sexual harassment allegations have engulfed the state Capitol, California Senate leader Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) used his speech Saturday at the state Democratic Party’s Executive Board meeting to pledge that the state Senate would be a leader in protecting victims.

“If we fail the women who work in government, then government itself has failed to serve the public trust,” De León said.

De León, who is running to unseat longtime Democratic U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, said he originally planned to use his speech to extol the Legislature, which he called the most progressive and productive in the nation. But the outpouring of women who have called the culture of sexual harassment at the Capitol “pervasive” convinced him to instead lay out the steps the Senate has taken to change, he said.

  • California Democrats
  • 2018 U.S. Senate race
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) speaks to the Women’s Caucus at the California Democratic Party Executive Board meeting in Millbrae.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) speaks to the Women’s Caucus at the California Democratic Party Executive Board meeting in Millbrae. (Liam Dillon / Los Angeles Times)

Democratic U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein told party officials Saturday morning that the sexual harassment allegations that have rocked the federal government and state legislatures across the country could lead to a wave of new women lawmakers not seen in decades.

“I predict based on what I see out there that we are going to have another Year of the Woman,” Feinstein said, referencing the year she was first elected to Congress alongside many other women in 1992.

Feinstein, who seldom appears at state party functions, spoke Saturday morning to the Women’s Caucus at the California Democratic Party Executive Board meeting in Millbrae. She’s facing an intra-party fight for reelection next year against state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León of Los Angeles.

  • California Legislature
  • Sexual harassment
Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia)
Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

California's Senate leader on Friday expanded an effort to transfer sexual harassment investigations to outside experts, while taking action to remove a Los Angeles lawmaker accused of inappropriate behavior from an influential committee chairmanship.

The decision by Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) comes less than one day after the latest accusation against Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia). Mendoza would be suspended from his chairmanship of the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee, as well as other "boards and commissions" pending the outcome of an investigation, according to a statement from De León's office.

The Senate Rules Committee would be asked to formally approve that action later this month.

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  • Congressional races
  • 2018 election
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher in 2014
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher in 2014 (Tom Williams / CQ Roll Call)

The Washington Post crunched campaign numbers on the top spenders at President Trump’s properties and, surprise, two of his biggest fans from California are on the list.

GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a big Trump supporter who has been trying to bend the president’s ear on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, has spent $12,545 at Trump International Hotel this year, most of it for a June fundraiser in the hotel’s Franklin Study.

Rohrabacher’s campaign was fourth in spending at Trump companies nationwide, according to the Post. Topping the list was the president himself, whose campaign spent $534,864 at his company’s properties.

  • Congressional races
  • 2018 election

There’s a new billboard outside a bar named Jimbo’s in Clovis, Calif.

It depicts Russian President Vladimir Putin holding leashes attached to children’s bodies with the faces of local GOP Rep. Devin Nunes and President Trump.

The Nunes child is holding an ice cream cone.

“You have been a good boy Devin,” the billboard says.

Chris Keena feels obliged to explain: He really is a Republican — honest! — before launching his critique of the Republican tax bill that just passed the House.

“I don’t believe in trickle-down theory,” said the 70-year-old retired attorney from Irvine. “The money they save — I’ve seen it in business — the money they save at the top, they keep at the top. It doesn’t trickle down.

“I hate to sound like a radical,” he went on, “and I guess it doesn’t go with being a Republican, but it’s a reality. There are a lot of people struggling here. The image is everyone is fat and happy. They’re not. They’re not.”

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House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield, left, and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan in a celebratory mood after GOP tax plan passed.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield, left, and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan in a celebratory mood after GOP tax plan passed. (Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press)

California’s House Republicans took another tough vote Thursday, with most opting to approve a tax overhaul expected to cost many Californians more in taxes. Several of the Republicans said they supported the bill because they think a compromise with the Senate will make it better.

“I don’t know if they’re going to make it better, but we’ll see,” said Rep. Steve Knight (R-Palmdale), who is among the Republicans considered vulnerable in next year’s election and voted in favor of the House bill. “There are some things in the Senate bill I like, there are some things in there that I don’t like.”

Supporting a bill in hopes that the Senate will improve it is similar to the tactic the Republicans tried in the spring when they attempted to push through a controversial effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. But the Senate never mustered enough support to pass a healthcare bill, leaving all 14 California Republicans with a “yes” vote on their record and nothing to show for it.

  • California Legislature
Sen. Tony Mendoza
Sen. Tony Mendoza (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Facing an investigation into allegations of inappropriate behavior with women who worked in his legislative office, state Sen. Tony Mendoza on Thursday criticized the current system of review as “opaque and unjust” and said he supports reforms.

The Democratic lawmaker from Artesia also acknowledged in a statement that in 2010 he faced concerns about his behavior from a female aide. He did not provide details about those concerns.

The Sacramento Bee later reported that a former aide named Haley Myers brought forward concerns that year about what she considered sexual harassment, including late-night text messages and invitations to one-on-one dinners.