California officials reacted with defiance Friday to a threat by federal officials to withhold some $20 million in criminal justice grants from the state and its counties as part of the dispute over so-called sanctuary city policies.
“It has become abundantly clear that Atty. Gen. [Jeff] Sessions and the Trump administration are basing their law enforcement policies on principles of white supremacy — not American values,” Senate leader Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) said in a statement. “Their constant and systematic targeting of diverse cities and states goes beyond constitutional norms and will be challenged at every level.”
De León’s statement on “white supremacy” drew an immediate rebuke from Republican Assemblyman James Gallagher of Yuba City.
Nearly half of the money spent by all congressional candidates in the primary election to replace Xavier Becerra was unleashed in the final weeks of the campaign.
From March 16 to March 31, the 24 candidates in the 34th Congressional District race spent $1,285,800, or 44% of the total spent overall in the race so far. The final three days before the April 4 election are not covered in the most recent campaign finance reports.
Robert Lee Ahn and Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez, two Democrats who beat the crowded field to advance to a June runoff, spent a large share of that.
In the fast and furious primary campaign in Los Angeles' 34th Congressional District, the crowded field of 24 candidates spent about $2.9 million trying to sway voters, according to campaign financial reports.
In the end, 42,914 voters cast ballots in the race, bringing the average amount spent per vote to $67.97.
Earlier this month, a White House official floated the possibility of negotiations with California to resolve a brewing dispute over vehicle emission rules. The federal government has started the process of rolling them back, while state regulators here are pushing forward with tough pollution-reduction requirements, raising the possibility that automakers would need to meet different standards in different places.
However, California hasn't heard from the Trump administration about beginning talks.
"We haven’t been asked," Mary Nichols, chair of the Air Resources Board, told reporters during a conference on climate change in San Francisco.
The executive director of the state Board of Equalization told legislators Thursday that some board members have acted to reassign staff and resources without following proper approval procedures involving the board's executive staff.
“It has been a pervasive problem,” David Gau said during a hearing of a state Senate budget subcommittee.
He said the agency is in "a crisis mode" since a state audit was released that found tax officials unable to explain decisions that allocated money to the wrong funds and transferred staff to unauthorized jobs.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who came in second in the race for the GOP presidential nomination last year, is raising money and courting prominent Republicans in Orange County on Thursday as he prepares for a reelection campaign in 2018.
A fundraiser for Cruz will be hosted Thursday evening by Palmer Luckey, a Long Beach native who became one of the nation’s wealthiest young entrepreneurs by creating a virtual-reality headset. Attendees are being asked to contribute up to $2,700 to Cruz’s reelection bid to attend a reception at an undisclosed location.
Earlier in the day, Cruz mingled with a few dozen prominent Republicans and supporters of his unsuccessful 2016 presidential bid. The event took place at the Newport Beach law firm of Michael McClellan, Cruz’s Orange County finance chairman and one of his top dozen bundlers in the nation.
Elected state officials in California ask special interests to donate millions of dollars annually to their favorite charities. Now residents can get a clearer picture of who is asking, who is giving and who is getting the money.
The state Fair Political Practices Commission launched a new database search site on its website Thursday that makes it easier to see who the players are and compare them to determine who is raising the most money.
“This is yet another tool to provide the public information about their elected officials," Commission Chairwoman Jodi Remke said. "It shows who is asking for money and from whom, how much, and where it’s going. An informed public is vital to maintain government accountability.”
California's Sen. Dianne Feinstein faced a largely friendly Los Angeles crowd at town hall Thursday, though the crowd came with a resounding, and sometimes loud, question: How are you resisting President Trump's agenda?
The 1,000 ticket holders at South Los Angeles' First AME Church quizzed the Democrat on whether the U.S. should be more heavily involved in Syria ("I think the time has come" ) and whether she'd support expanding Medicare everyone is eligible (“Not at this stage").