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Civil engineer Praj White assesses a site in Humboldt County’s Eel River watershed that is home to a marijuana farm.
Civil engineer Praj White assesses a site in Humboldt County’s Eel River watershed that is home to a marijuana farm. (Humboldt County)

California’s new rules allowing marijuana cultivation favor large corporate farms despite a promise in Proposition 64 that small growers would be protected, according to a group of state lawmakers and marijuana industry leaders who called Monday for the policy to be changed.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture issued emergency rules last month that allow for small and medium-sized farms of up to a quarter acre and one acre, respectively, to get licenses for the first five years. That five-year head start for small farms was promised in Proposition 64, the initiative approved last year by voters that legalized growing and selling marijuana for recreational use.

Individuals and businesses can get only one license for a medium-sized farm, but the new rules do not set a limit on how many small-farm licenses can be obtained by one person or business.

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  • California in Congress
(Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Grace Napolitano’s husband, Frank Napolitano, died Friday at their home in Norwalk after a battle with cancer.

“The congresswoman loved Frank dearly and is immensely saddened by his passing. He was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather,” her office said in a statement.

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  • Congressional races
  • 2018 election

Last-minute changes to the Republican-led tax overhaul seem to be tailor-made to entice support from California GOP lawmakers, several of whom voted against a previous version passed in the House last month.

The House version, passed with the support of all but three California Republicans, had proposed capping the mortgage interest deduction at loans of $500,000 or less. Republicans in high-tax, expensive states had voiced concerns the bill would have major effects in their districts.

But the final version of the bill dramatically slashed the percentage of new mortgages that would be affected if the package becomes law.

Changes to GOP tax bill make it more palatable for California Republicans

District Representative Vote on House bill % new mortgages >$500,000
(House version)
% new mortgages >$750,000
(Final version)
District48 RepresentativeDana Rohrabacher Vote on House billNo % new mortgages >$500,000
(House version)
52%
% new mortgages >$750,000
(Final version)
24%
District49 RepresentativeDarrell Issa Vote on House billNo % new mortgages >$500,000
(House version)
44%
% new mortgages >$750,000
(Final version)
18%
District45 RepresentativeMimi Walters Vote on House billYes % new mortgages >$500,000
(House version)
48%
% new mortgages >$750,000
(Final version)
14%
District39 RepresentativeEd Royce Vote on House billYes % new mortgages >$500,000
(House version)
31%
% new mortgages >$750,000
(Final version)
6%
District4 RepresentativeTom McClintock Vote on House billNo % new mortgages >$500,000
(House version)
8%
% new mortgages >$750,000
(Final version)
3%
District50 RepresentativeDuncan Hunter Vote on House billYes % new mortgages >$500,000
(House version)
20%
% new mortgages >$750,000
(Final version)
3%
District25 RepresentativeSteve Knight Vote on House billYes % new mortgages >$500,000
(House version)
17%
% new mortgages >$750,000
(Final version)
2%
District22 RepresentativeDevin Nunes Vote on House billYes % new mortgages >$500,000
(House version)
2%
% new mortgages >$750,000
(Final version)
1%
District10 RepresentativeJeff Denham Vote on House billYes % new mortgages >$500,000
(House version)
2%
% new mortgages >$750,000
(Final version)
1%
District21 RepresentativeDavid Valadao Vote on House billYes % mortgages >$500,000
(House version)
1%
% new mortgages >$750,000
(Final version)
0%
  • Politics podcast
  • Sexual harassment

Leaders of the California Senate have taken the first big step in changing the way sexual misconduct investigations are handled, though few would argue the real work has yet to begin.

On this week’s California Politics Podcast episode, we discuss the decision to hire two outside law firms to handle all investigations involving staffers or members of the Senate — a decision that some of the women demanding change says still needs to lead to a single new policy embraced by both houses of the Legislature.

We also discuss the legacy of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, whose death last week marks the end of an important era in the city. It also means new statewide attention for the woman who’s now stepped into his role.

  • Ballot measures
  • 2018 election
A commercial property in San Bernardino County that could face higher property taxes under a proposed ballot measure
A commercial property in San Bernardino County that could face higher property taxes under a proposed ballot measure (Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)

Proponents of making a dramatic change to California’s landmark Proposition 13 property tax restrictions took their first step to getting a measure on the November 2018 statewide ballot Friday.

The change would allow the state to receive more tax dollars from commercial and industrial properties by assessing them at their current market value, an effort known as “split roll” because existing tax protections on homes would remain in place.

Advocates of the measure, including the League of Women Voters of California and community organizing nonprofits California Calls and PICO Network said the change could raise billions of dollars that could be spent on public schools and community colleges.

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If there's a clear mantra for Consumer Watchdog, one of California's most visible and vocal advocacy groups, it's that hidden financial relationships shouldn't shape politics and public policy.

The Santa Monica-based nonprofit has spent more than three decades reprimanding politicians and interest groups for doing the bidding of those who give them money. Its official motto is "expose, confront, change."

  • California Legislature
  • California Democrats
  • Sexual harassment
Assemblyman Matt Dababneh (D-Woodland Hills)
Assemblyman Matt Dababneh (D-Woodland Hills) (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

A Los Angeles woman has filed a police report alleging Democratic Assemblyman Matt Dababneh had sex with her without consent four years ago, adding new allegations of sexual misconduct to those that led the politician to announce his resignation last week. He says her claims are false.

Nancy Miret, 26, told The Times that when she was 22 and a recent college graduate, she spent time with Dababneh over two months in late 2013, primarily at his Encino apartment.

At the time, Dababneh was running for Assembly to represent the western San Fernando Valley. They had consensual sex on one occasion, but after that, Miret said she had multiple nonconsensual sexual encounters with Dababneh that left her traumatized. Miret, who now works in commercial real estate, is one of three women interviewed by The Times who have made new allegations concerning Dababneh’s behavior.

Marijuana for recreational use goes on sale Jan. 1 in California.
Marijuana for recreational use goes on sale Jan. 1 in California. (Los Angeles Times)

A San Diego medical marijuana business is the first firm to be issued a license by the state of California to sell marijuana for recreational use, officials said Thursday.

Torrey Holistics received two of the first 20 licenses granted by the state Bureau of Cannabis Control this week to sell or distribute marijuana, although the licenses do not take effect until Jan. 1, according to bureau chief Lori Ajax.

An additional 180 firms have applied for licenses but they are being processed.

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  • Congressional races
  • 2018 election

As members of Congress try to pass a controversial tax bill and a measure to keep the federal government funded, the political arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus is hitting Republicans hard over another unresolved issue: the legal status of hundreds of thousands of people brought to the country illegally as children who could face deportation if lawmakers don’t act.

Amid negotiations over a long-term spending bill, Democratic leaders have been pushing their GOP colleagues to include a fix for those who were granted temporary protection under President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known as DACA. President Trump announced an end to the program earlier this year and gave Congress a March deadline to address it.

Funny or Die and BOLD PAC released a video Friday featuring comedians skewering GOP members, including two in California, for their inaction.

  • Congressional races
  • 2018 election
Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Turlock)
Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) (Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call)

Voters in four key Republican-held congressional districts could get a robocall starting Friday urging them to call and thank their member of Congress for supporting the tax bill.

It’s a last minute effort by American Action Network, a politically active nonprofit connected with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) that has spent millions to shore up Republican support for the bill. The robocalls include the member’s office number.

The four California members being targeted are Reps. Jeff Denham of Turlock, David Valadao of Hanford, Steve Knight of Palmdale and Mimi Walters of Irvine. All four represent districts that backed Hillary Clinton for president in 2016 and are Democratic targets in 2018.