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Gov. Jerry Brown, at his Colusa County home on Saturday, said a ballot measure to raise commercial property taxes could struggle in 2020.
Gov. Jerry Brown, at his Colusa County home on Saturday, said a ballot measure to raise commercial property taxes could struggle in 2020. (Randall Benton/For The Times)

An effort to remove commercial property in California from the tax limits imposed by the landmark Proposition 13 could be felled by an economic slowdown, Gov. Jerry Brown said.

In a Saturday interview with The Times at his Northern California ranch, Brown said liberal activist groups that have successfully placed the proposal on the November 2020 statewide ballot shouldn’t read too much into early poll numbers showing support for the plan.

“That isn’t as easy as you think,” Brown said. “Because you’re going to be in a downturn of the business cycle. And you’re talking many kinds of business. And the cost of doing business in California is already high.”

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Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts
Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts (Maria Alejandra Cardona / Los Angeles Times)

The city of Inglewood has authorized the shredding of more than 100 police shooting and other internal investigation records weeks before a new state law could allow the public to access them for the first time.

The decision, made at a City Council meeting earlier this month, has troubled civil liberties advocates who were behind the state legislation, Senate Bill 1421, which takes effect Jan. 1. The law opens to the public internal investigations of officer shootings and other major uses of force, along with confirmed cases of sexual assault and lying while on duty.

“The legislature passed SB 1421 because communities demanded an end to the secrecy cloaking police misconduct and use of force,” Marcus Benigno, a spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, said in a statement. “Inglewood PD’s decision to purge records undermines police accountability and transparency against the will of Californians.”

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  • State government
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has notified the California Department of Motor Vehicles that its process for providing residents with federally recognized identification cards is not adequate.

DMV spokesman Armando Botello said Friday that 2.3 million residents who received Real IDs under the current process will have to submit additional documentation when their cards are renewed in five years but will be able to use them in the meantime.

The DMV is developing a way for residents to submit more documentation online or via email to comply with the stricter federal requirement, he said.

Keely Bosler, the director of the California Department of Finance, will continue in that role under Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom.
Keely Bosler, the director of the California Department of Finance, will continue in that role under Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom. (California Department of Finance)

Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom on Friday appointed Keely Martin Bosler as director of the California Department of Finance, continuing the role she has served under Gov. Jerry Brown since August.

Bosler will become Newsom’s chief fiscal advisor, and will play a pivotal role in shaping Newsom’s spending plan for the state that will lay the foundation for his top policy priorities. Newsom must roll out his first budget plan within days of taking office on Jan. 7.

“California’s brighter future depends on a strong, stable fiscal foundation,” Newsom said in a statement released Friday afternoon. “Keely is an accomplished public servant of sound fiscal judgment. She understands that state budgets are more than numbers on a page – they are value statements affecting the fate and future of millions of families reaching for the California Dream.  We are fortunate to have her on our team.”  

Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor, who has led the state research unit since 2008, will retire on Dec. 31.
Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor, who has led the state research unit since 2008, will retire on Dec. 31. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Only five people have led the independent research office of the California Legislature since its creation in 1941. And each of them has had a pretty simple mantra to live by in reviewing public policy proposals and government programs: Call it like you see it.

“The job of any analyst, to me, is you maintain that nonpartisanship,” Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor said.

Taylor, 65, will retire from the post at the end of December after a four-decade career with the research team that began, as he likes to tell it, just after the passage of the landmark property tax rollback, Proposition 13, in 1978. He became the leader of the office, with the title of legislative analyst, in October 2008.

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  • State government
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Outgoing Gov. Jerry Brown sued Thursday to protect one of his signature actions in office, a voter-approved measure that allows most prison inmates to seek earlier release and participate in rehabilitation programs.

His administration filed a lawsuit challenging a pending 2020 initiative that seeks to toughen criminal penalties as part of an effort to roll back reforms adopted by voters within the last decade.

Brown’s lawsuit in Sacramento County Superior Court contends the measure lacked enough valid signatures to overturn a previously approved constitutional amendment.

Former state Sen. Roderick Wright
Former state Sen. Roderick Wright (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

The California Supreme Court has granted a request to unseal court records involving Gov. Jerry Brown’s decision last month to pardon former state Sen. Roderick Wright for felony convictions involving lying about living in his legislative district, officials said Thursday.

The court order was in response to a request by the nonpartisan First Amendment Coalition, which argued that the public has a right to know what information went into the governor’s decision to grant clemency to Wright.

“This is an important victory for public access to court files involving the exercise of executive clemency,” said coalition spokesman Glen A. Smith. “We are gratified the court has recognized that these decisions should be subject to the same public access rules that apply to other judicial records under California law.”

A Bay Area Rapid Transit train leaves the station in Oakland in this 2013 file photo.
A Bay Area Rapid Transit train leaves the station in Oakland in this 2013 file photo. (Ben Margot / AP)

California’s state political watchdog agency on Thursday imposed a $7,500 fine against the Bay Area Rapid Transit District and called for a possible criminal or civil prosecution over allegations the district used public resources to campaign for a 2016 bond measure.

The state Fair Political Practices Commission levied an administrative fine against BART for its failure to disclose spending on YouTube videos, social media posts and text messages to promote Measure RR, which authorized $3.5 billion in general obligation bonds.

Though the panel lacks authority to seek criminal charges over the misuse of public funds, it also urged county district attorneys in the BART service area and the state attorney general to pursue possible criminal or civil charges over the spending of taxpayer dollars for campaign purposes, Commission Chairwoman Alice Germond said. 

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Kimberly Ellis speaks to supporters in downtown Sacramento in 2017, after her loss to Eric Bauman for California Democratic Party chairman.
Kimberly Ellis speaks to supporters in downtown Sacramento in 2017, after her loss to Eric Bauman for California Democratic Party chairman. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Bay Area progressive activist Kimberly Ellis is making another run at leading the state’s Democratic Party, she announced Thursday.

Ellis burst onto the state political scene in 2017 when she narrowly lost the chairmanship to then-Los Angeles Democratic Party Chairman Eric Bauman.

Last month, Bauman was forced to resign after he was accused of misconduct, throwing the party into turmoil over its leadership. In an investigation by The Times, 10 party staffers and political activists alleged that Bauman made inappropriate sexual comments in professional settings and engaged in unwanted touching.

Los Angeles Police Department officers.
Los Angeles Police Department officers. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

A police union is asking the California Supreme Court to block the release of internal officer investigations before a new state law takes effect next year.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Employees’ Benefit Assn. filed a petition Tuesday asking justices to rule that only investigations of incidents that occur after Jan. 1 would be available under the law — and not those the department has on file from years prior.

The litigation comes after this year’s passage of Senate Bill 1421, which opens to the public for the first time internal investigations of officer shootings and other major uses of force, along with confirmed cases of sexual assault and lying while on duty. The law goes into effect Jan. 1, and the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department has told the union it intends to make available in response to public records requests all the information it has.