• California Legislature
  • 2018 election
  • Sexual harassment

Lawmakers returning to the state Capitol on Monday will find that one of their colleagues has taken a leave of absence after new sexual misconduct allegations.

And the case again raises important questions about how these investigations should proceed.

This week’s California Politics Podcast episode examines the accusations made against Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens), as well as the final action last week on a new law granting whistleblower protections to legislative employees.


President Donald Trump's vision for a "big, beautiful wall" along the U.S.-Mexico border faced its first substantial legal challenge in a San Diego federal courtroom Friday.

At the center of the case — three lawsuits that have been consolidated into a single matter — is whether the federal government had the authority to waive its compliance with a host of laws in order to rush border construction projects in San Diego and Calexico, including the eight border wall prototypes that have already been completed on Otay Mesa.


A Los Angeles-area assemblywoman has voluntarily taken leave of her seat Friday after facing allegations of sexual harassment, an unusual twist of the gender dynamics shaping the misconduct controversies engulfing California's state Capitol.

Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) denied allegations that she made inappropriate advances on two men: a then-legislative staffer and a lobbyist. In a statement, she said she would take an unpaid leave of absence from the Legislature while she faces an investigation into her conduct.

Californians wanting to carry concealed weapons such as these Glock handguns would face new requirements under legislation.
Californians wanting to carry concealed weapons such as these Glock handguns would face new requirements under legislation. (Robyn Beck / AFP/Getty Images)

Gun owners would have to undergo specific training and pass a live-fire shooting test on a firing range in order to get a permit to carry concealed weapons in California under legislation proposed Friday.

The bill was introduced by Democratic state Assembly members Todd Gloria and Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, both of San Diego, who said county sheriffs can currently issue concealed carry weapons permits without proof of proficiency, although some sheriffs have set standards.

“Under current law in California, a person who has never even fired a gun or received proper training on how to safely handle one can receive a permit and carry a loaded firearm in public,” Gloria said. “This jeopardizes public safety and has to be addressed.”

  • California Legislature
  • Sexual harassment
One, a former legislative staffer, said California Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia groped him during a legislative softball game in 2014. She confirmed that she attended the game, but said she has “zero recollection of engaging in inappropriate behavior.”

Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia on Friday denied accusations of sexual misconduct but said she would voluntarily take unpaid leave while an investigation takes place.

“Upon reflection of the details alleged, I am certain I did not engage in the behavior I am accused of,” Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) said in a statement. But she added that “any claims about sexual harassment must be taken seriously, and I believe elected officials should be held to a higher standard of accountability.”

Garcia said she would take an unpaid leave “so as not to serve as a distraction or in any way influence the process of this investigation.” She urged the Assembly to conduct a “thorough and expeditious investigation.”

  • California in Congress
  • Governor's race
  • 2018 election
  • California Democrats
Candidates Gavin Newsom, Delaine Eastin, Antonio Villaraigosa and John Chiang take questions from moderator Jane Wells during a forum.
Candidates Gavin Newsom, Delaine Eastin, Antonio Villaraigosa and John Chiang take questions from moderator Jane Wells during a forum. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

Days before one of California’s most powerful labor unions announces its endorsement in the race for governor, the four top Democratic candidates courted members of the group’s largest and most influential local chapter in Los Angeles on Thursday night.

The gubernatorial forum, which focused on the state’s long-term care needs for its growing senior population, lacked the disputes seen in recent debates between Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, state Treasurer John Chiang and former state schools chief Delaine Eastin.

The four candidates instead promised to fight for higher pay for in-home healthcare workers and stronger union protections for SEIU Local 2015, the largest chapter of the Service Employees International Union’s California organization. The state group is expected to announce its endorsement ahead of the California Democratic Party convention later this month.

  • Congressional races
  • 2018 election
Mike Cernovich may run for Congress in California. His residence is in Rep. Dana Rohrabacher’s district.

Far-right activist and blogger Mike Cernovich said Thursday he’s thinking about running for Congress in California this year. “It’s looking like a real possibility,” he tweeted to his more than 400,000 followers without revealing which district he might be considering. 

The prominent right-wing figure who was an early peddler of the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory has more recently been known for giving documents to Buzzfeed that led to its report about sexual harassment settlements by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.). 

Cernovich lives in Laguna Niguel, within the coastal Orange County district that belongs to Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, who has said he’s “unequivocally running” for reelection.