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Essential Politics: Vegas shooting shifts focus away from Puerto Rico fallout

It’s too early to know if the deadly mass shooting at a country music festival in Las Vegas that has left at least 50 dead and 200 others injured will spark new calls for gun control. But it's a safe bet as the West Coast wakes to the grim news.

President Trump tweeted his condolences Monday morning, and some of the reaction was negative, with people urging him to stay off Twitter in the wake of the tragedy.

"My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you!” the president wrote.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump has been briefed. "We are monitoring the situation closely and offer our full support to state and local officials," she said in a statement. "All of those affected are in our thoughts and prayers.”

Police reported that the suspect, a 64-year-old Nevada resident, is dead. Police said they believe it is a lone wolf attacker.

Follow our team of reporters and photographers here for the latest on this story and reaction as it comes in.

WHAT WOULD HAVE BEEN THE STORY OF THE DAY

Oh, to be a fly on the wall in the Blue Room on Monday night when Trump is joined by Republican members of Congress for dinner. The gathering comes just a few days after Tom Price, who gave up his seat — and chairmanship of the House Budget Committee to work for Trump — resigned from his post as secretary of Health and Human Services following revelations he had traveled excessively on private jets.

The White House announced the dinner is happening but did not release details on who, specifically, would attend or what is on the agenda. What we do know is that congressional Republicans are in search of a political win, and hope the sweeping tax reform proposal is the thing to deliver one.

More on that below, because the biggest story this weekend had been Trump’s attacks on San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz and those he dubbed "politically motivated ingrates" for criticizing the speed and scope of the federal recovery effort on Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.

Trump’s Twitter assault, which began early Saturday and lasted through Sunday, was set off by criticism from Cruz. In response, Trump blamed the mayor’s "poor leadership," suggested that Puerto Ricans officials were "not able to get their workers to help" and said islanders "want everything to be done for them."

The comments were not taken well. Cruz on Sunday declined to respond directly to Trump’s tirade on ABC’s "This Week," but that didn’t stop widespread reporting on the spat.

NATIONAL POLITICS LIGHTNING ROUND

Trump undercut his secretary of State on North Korea.

Price served 231 days in the Trump administration. See everyone else who has left on our nifty firings and resignations chart.

The Supreme Court opens its term Monday. Here’s a cheat sheet for what to expect.

The court could achieve backdoor repeal of workers' rights laws.

Get the latest about what’s happening in the nation’s capital on Essential Washington.

GOVERNOR SIGNS HOUSING PACKAGE

With the beautiful backdrop of a redeveloping housing complex on Friday morning, Gov. Jerry Brown signed 15 bills that aim to address the state’s soaring housing affordability crisis.

The measures, including one that tacks on a new fee for mortgage refinances and other on real estate transactions, could lead to nearly $1 billion in spending for low-income housing in the near term.

Liam Dillon has the scenes from the signing and lays out what all 15 bills will do.

A MARCH PRIMARY AND OTHER LAWS SIGNED BY BROWN

Brown continues to wade through hundreds of bills remaining on his desk before an Oct. 15 deadline, and in the process has agreed to shake up national politics come 2020.

The governor signed a bill last week that moves California’s primary to early March starting in 2020, an effort pushed by Democrats who want a bigger role in the next presidential contest.

But it’s still not a sure bet to make the state a player on the road to the White House.

Brown took action this weekend on a handful of minor issues, meaning some of the more consequential pieces of legislation are still sitting on his desk.

We’ll be covering all that in the moment on our Essential Politics news feed on California politics.

PRIMARY VOTE IN ASSEMBLY SPECIAL ELECTION ON TUESDAY

Los Angeles voters face another special election, this time for the Assembly seat vacated by newly elected Rep. Jimmy Gomez. The primary is Tuesday. If no one receives more than 50% of the vote -- likely, given the crowded field of 13 contenders -- the top two will advance to a runoff scheduled for Dec. 5.

CALIFORNIA HAS TOO MUCH POT

California produced at least 13.5 million pounds of marijuana last year — more than five times as much as the 2.5 million pounds consumed in the state. Where did all that extra pot go?

The answer, experts say, is much of the surplus pot not seized by authorities goes across state lines, often to states that have not legalized marijuana. As the Golden State prepares to allow cannabis sale for recreational use, that surplus has become a potential problem. Patrick McGreevy explains on today's front page.

Meanwhile, the state has launched a campaign highlighting the potential harms to minors and pregnant women.

TAX PLAN HITS HOME

The Republican tax plan released last week would mean a big financial hit for California, namely because it would eliminate a major tax break that benefits state residents more than those anywhere else in the U.S.

Sarah Wire has a look at how a deduction that would end under the GOP tax plan would have an outsize effect on the one in three Californians who use it, and whether members of the congressional delegation will support it.

POLL HAS MIXED RESULTS FOR FEINSTEIN

As Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein contemplates a 2018 reelection bid, a new poll found 50% of California’s likely voters think she shouldn’t run again. Just 43% of likely voters support Feinstein seeking a sixth term, according to a Public Policy Institute of California poll released Wednesday. The poll also found that more than half of likely voters approved of the job she’s doing. PPIC President Mark Baldassare said those mixed results are difficult to interpret and at the very least indicate that voters remain restless.

Former Sen. Barbara Boxer says if Feinstein runs for another term, she should expect a tough race.

LATINO LAWMAKERS BACK VILLARAIGOSA

The California Legislature’s Latino caucus endorsed former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for governor. While expected, the nod from the politically influential caucus provides a boon to Villaraigosa, a former Democratic Assembly speaker and the only major Latino candidate running for governor, who lags behind front-runner Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom in the polls and fundraising. What does the endorsement mean for Kevin de León?

In other 2018 news, Villaraigosa says he wants to bring back an urban renewal program that funded low-income housing.

JOHN CHIANG RELEASES TAX RETURNS

California treasurer and candidate for governor John Chiang has pretty much lived off his government paycheck during the last six years.

According to Chiang’s tax returns, his average income from 2011 through 2016 was just over $184,000 a year, including his salary as treasurer, his now-estranged wife’s earnings and some small investments. Chiang and Newsom are the only candidates for governor who have made their tax returns public. Villaraigosa promises to join them soon.

SKELTON TAKES ON TRUMP

George Skelton writes that even though he agrees with Trump that it’s disrespectful to kneel during the national anthem, the president said exactly the wrong thing.

And while that tax plan looks to hurt California, it might be the thing the state needs to finally reform taxes here, he writes in his Monday column.

POLITICAL ROAD MAP: SLOPPY BALLOT SIGNATURES

A growing majority of California voters now cast their ballots through the mail. It’s doubtful many of them think about whether their signature matches the one on file with elections officials.

In his Sunday Political Road Map column, John Myers writes that the migration of voters to absentee ballots might require a rethinking of state laws on how signatures should be compared. Right now, some elections officials say the rules are too vague.

TODAY’S ESSENTIALS

-- This week’s California Politics Podcast takes a look at what lawmakers hope they can do next when it comes to the state’s housing woes, plus the political parlor game that comes along with the poll on Feinstein’s future.

-- California Republican Party Vice Chair Kristin Olsen announced Sunday she is stepping down from her post, setting off a scramble for who will be the state GOP’s next leader, reports Seema Mehta.

-- What’s Eric Garcetti up to?

-- China, Britain and France have already announced they will eventually ban the sale of cars that run on gasoline or diesel engines. So what about California? The state already has ambitious goals for getting more zero-emission vehicles on the road, and now there’s talk of an outright ban. California Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols recently told Bloomberg that Brown is interested in the idea. Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) says he’ll introduce legislation for a ban to take effect in 2040.

-- Rep. Tony Cardenas is raffling "Hamilton" tickets as a fundraiser for his campaign.

-- Businesses in California will be required to tell customers exactly how much automatic renewals would cost.

-- The L.A. Times was featured in an election day documentary showing scenes across the country. Here's the trailer.

-- As part of our ongoing events series, I’ll be interviewing House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in Los Angeles on Oct. 18, and Myers will lead a panel about the view from California. Get your tickets now.

-- If you haven’t yet started reading (or listening to via podcast) our Dirty John series, stop what you’re doing and check it out.

LOGISTICS

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