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268 posts
  • State government

After a big year in 2017, California’s housing affordability crisis is going to be another major topic in state politics. 

On the 2018 docket, lawmakers will tackle rent control and voters statewide could see many housing-related ballot measures, including a $4-billion bond primarily to fund new low-income developments and potential major changes to Proposition 13’s property tax restrictions.

On this week’s Gimme Shelter: The California Housing Crisis Podcast, we debate all those topics, highlight the effects of the GOP federal tax plan on California housing and interview Amy Thoma Tan, who works in public affairs, about what it’s like to purchase a new home in Sacramento’s hot real estate market.

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Former state Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer
Former state Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer (Robert Durell)

Former California Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer is going from enforcing laws against marijuana to legally distributing the drug under the state’s new rules that allow the sale and possession of pot for recreational use.

With state-licensed sales of marijuana starting Jan. 1, Lockyer has co-founded a firm, C4 Distro, that will distribute packaged marijuana concentrates and edibles to stores in Los Angeles.

He says California’s new regulated system has a chance to be a model for the rest of the country.

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  • California in Congress
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Eighteen of California’s 53 House members voted no on an $81-billion disaster aid package Thursday, which includes funds for California’s recent wildfires.

The 17 Democrats and one Republican voted no on the bill, which passed the House by a 251 to 169 vote.

The Senate is not expected to take up the bill until January, when Congress returns from its holiday break.

  • California in Congress
Democratic Rep. Jim Costa of Fresno
Democratic Rep. Jim Costa of Fresno (Bill Clark / CQ-Roll Call)

Three California House members crossed party lines Thursday on a vote to pass a spending bill that will keep the government open until mid-January.

Democratic Reps. Jim Costa of Fresno and Raul Ruiz of Palm Desert joined the majority of Republicans to vote for the bill. Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter of Alpine joined Democrats to vote against it.

The bill, which funds the government through Jan. 19, passed the House 231 to 188, right before representatives left for the holidays.

  • 2018 governor's race
  • 2018 U.S. Senate race
Top row, from left: Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Treasurer John Chiang, former schools chief Delaine Eastin. Bottom row, from left: Assemblyman Travis Allen; attorney John Cox; Sen. Dianne Feinstein; state Senate leader Kevin de León.
Top row, from left: Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Treasurer John Chiang, former schools chief Delaine Eastin. Bottom row, from left: Assemblyman Travis Allen; attorney John Cox; Sen. Dianne Feinstein; state Senate leader Kevin de León. (Associated Press; Getty Images; Los Angeles Times)

Californians could see two Democrat-on-Democrat contests in the state’s premier races in 2018, according to a new poll released Thursday.

In the gubernatorial race, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom remains the front-runner with the support of 26% of likely voters in a Berkeley IGS poll. Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa came in second with the backing of 17%.

The poll found notable demographic differences in the two men’s bases of support. Newsom had strong leads in the Bay Area, where he once served as the mayor of San Francisco, as well as among white voters, liberals and the wealthy. Villaraigosa saw strong backing in Los Angeles County, among Latino voters and among those who earned less than $40,000.

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  • California in Congress
  • 2018 U.S. Senate race
(Tom Williams / CQ-Roll Call)

In a surprising reversal, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein announced Thursday that she will not vote for an end-of-year spending bill that does not include protections for people brought to the country illegally as children as well as funding for a children’s health insurance program. 

“It’s absolutely unconscionable that Republicans are leaving these items out of their bill to fund the government,” she said in a statement Thursday.

Earlier this week, the Democrat said she would vote for the bill, which must be passed in order to keep the government open past Friday. 

  • California Legislature
  • Sexual harassment
Fashion models show off the BCBG MAX AZRIA Spring 2016 collection during New York Fashion Week.
Fashion models show off the BCBG MAX AZRIA Spring 2016 collection during New York Fashion Week. (Richard Drew / AP)

A new proposal by a California assemblyman is taking aim at two of the more criticized phenomena in the entertainment industry: sexual harassment and unhealthy body standards for fashion models.

The legislation, by Assemblyman Marc Levine (D-San Rafael), would require the state’s Occupational Safety and Health Standards to adopt guidelines for fashion models in an attempt to combat the prevalence of eating disorders and excessive thinness in the industry.

This is the second time Levine has tried to take on the fashion industry. His similar bill to impose standards on models sputtered in 2016.

  • Congressional races
  • 2018 election
Ammar Campa-Najjar, 28, is running against Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine).
Ammar Campa-Najjar, 28, is running against Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine). (Hayne Palmour IV / San Diego Union-Tribune)

With an already crowded field of contenders hoping to unseat Rep. Duncan Hunter and months to go before the candidate filing deadline, one local activist group has made an early endorsement in the race.

Indivisible CA50, made up of activists mostly in San Diego County, announced Thursday that it’s endorsing Ammar Campa-Najjar, a Democrat and public affairs consultant who’s challenging Hunter.

The endorsement comes as liberal activists and interest groups all over the state are grappling with whether — and how — to winnow down the dozens of candidates vying for 10 GOP-held seats in California.

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San Francisco is the city everyone loves, even if they hate it.

The stately Victorians, like a gingerbread dream come to life. The majestic Golden Gate Bridge, standing like heaven’s portal above the fog. The plucky cable cars, scrabbling up its impossible hillsides.

It can almost make you forget the bands of ravaged homeless, the paralyzing traffic, the scent of human waste wafting from sidewalks outside the city’s posh eateries and palatial tech headquarters.

  • Congressional races
  • 2018 election
(Sara Jacobs for Congress)

National abortion rights behemoth Emily’s List has made its next choice among California’s vast array of Democratic congressional challengers. 

The group announced Thursday it’s endorsing Democrat Sara Jacobs, a former policy advisor for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign who most recently served as CEO of a New York nonprofit.

Jacobs, 28, is also the granddaughter of Qualcomm founder Irwin Jacobs and is the only woman so far to enter the race for Rep. Darrell Issa’s seat.