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268 posts
  • State government
A protected bike lane on Reseda Boulevard in Northridge.
A protected bike lane on Reseda Boulevard in Northridge. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

Bike lanes, mixed-use residential and commercial construction near transit and other development projects might get easier to build in California after regulators on Monday released a long-awaited overhaul of the state’s environmental law.

Regulators say the proposed changes, which modify rules under the California Environmental Quality Act or CEQA, will help the state meet its ambitious goals to combat climate change. That law requires developers to disclose and minimize a project’s impact on the environment.

One key section of the proposal modifies how developers analyze traffic

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  • California Legislature

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon said the decision by his Democratic colleague, Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra, to resign Monday “underscores the seriousness of the allegations against him.”

Bocanegra (D-Pacoima) announced Monday morning he would resign effective immediately after multiple women accused him of sexual harassment.

Rendon said in a statement the resignation would not end the focus on misconduct that was sparked six weeks ago by an open letter signed by more than 140 women alleging a culture of widespread harassment in California politics.

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  • California Legislature
  • California Democrats

Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra announced Monday he will resign “immediately,” one week after multiple women alleged he sexually harassed them.

Hours before The Times published a report last week in which six women accused him of making unwanted sexual advances, Bocanegra (D-Pacoima) announced he would resign on Sept. 1, 2018.

In a statement Monday, he said he decided to accelerate his resignation, which he said was his “original intention.”

  • California Legislature
Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) was suspended Monday from leadership positions pending an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment.
Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) was suspended Monday from leadership positions pending an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

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.

  • 2018 election
  • California Republicans
  • 2018 governor's race
Assemblyman Travis Allen, left, and businessman John Cox.
Assemblyman Travis Allen, left, and businessman John Cox. (Genaro Molina / Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

The two top GOP candidates for governor will meet for their first debate in the Inland Empire just after New Year’s Day.

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.

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  • California Legislature
Yosemite National Park visitors gather at a viewing spot for Half Dome, shrouded by smoke from nearby fires, in July.
Yosemite National Park visitors gather at a viewing spot for Half Dome, shrouded by smoke from nearby fires, in July. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

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.

Read the letter.
Read the letter.
  • California Legislature
The California Assembly in session.
The California Assembly in session. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

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.

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  • 2018 election
  • California Democrats
  • 2018 governor's race
Former LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa with Banc of California Chief Executive Steven Sugarman, left.
Former LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa with Banc of California Chief Executive Steven Sugarman, left. (Robert Gauthier)

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.