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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.

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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.

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  • State government
Gov. Jerry Brown at the National Press Club in April.
Gov. Jerry Brown at the National Press Club in April. (Alex Wong / Getty Images)

Gov. Jerry Brown warned Republicans on Tuesday that repeal of the Affordable Care Act would devastate the party’s political chances in the 2020 election.

Brown, speaking at a Sacramento Press Club event moderated by Los Angeles Times columnist George Skelton and Brown family historian Miriam Pawel, said a federal judge’s ruling last week to strike down the 2010 law — if upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court — “will build such a backlash that the Democrats will not only take over the Senate, they’ll win the presidency and will win with the kind of momentum, particularly on the issue of healthcare, that [the law] will be replaced probably with something even better.”

The governor, who leaves office in less than three weeks, said he did not believe the ruling by a Texas judge would ultimately prevail.

  • California Legislature
A bar in Sherman Oaks
A bar in Sherman Oaks (acuna-hansen)

For the third year in a row, a California lawmaker is trying to keep bars open until 4 a.m.

State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) is reintroducing legislation that would allow Los Angeles, San Francisco and seven other cities to extend the sales of alcohol in bars, clubs and restaurants by an additional two hours.

“Nightlife brings people together, fosters creativity and innovation, supports small businesses, and creates middle-class jobs,” Wiener said in a statement. “It’s time to embrace our nighttime economy and give our cities the tools they need to foster the best nightlife possible.”

  • California Legislature
A bar in Sherman Oaks.
A bar in Sherman Oaks. (Acuna-Hansen)

For the third year in a row, a California lawmaker is trying to keep bars open until 4 a.m.

State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) is reintroducing legislation that would allow Los Angeles, San Francisco and seven other cities to extend the sales of alcohol in bars, clubs and restaurants by an additional two hours.

“Nightlife brings people together, fosters creativity and innovation, supports small businesses and creates middle-class jobs,” Wiener said in a statement. “It’s time to embrace our nighttime economy and give our cities the tools they need to foster the best nightlife possible.”

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  • State government
A sign advertises a touch-screen voter registration process at the Department of Motor Vehicles in Santa Ana.
A sign advertises a touch-screen voter registration process at the Department of Motor Vehicles in Santa Ana. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Less than eight months after California’s new voter registration system went online at the Department of Motor Vehicle offices, a leading Republican lawmaker said the beleaguered project should be canceled.

"Enough is enough,” state Senate Minority Leader Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) said in a statement on Monday. “I've been deeply troubled reading the media reports highlighting the failed motor voter program.”

Bates introduced Senate Bill 57, which would return voter registration at DMV offices to a voluntary, “opt-in” process. In April, state officials formally launched the system designed to automatically register those eligible to vote unless they specifically declined.

  • State government
(Kent Nishamura/Los Angeles Times)

The director of the California Department of Motor Vehicles will retire at year’s end with a number of questions unanswered about the implementation of a major voter registration system and long wait times experienced by customers for much of the past summer.

Jean Shiomoto will not continue in her current role as Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom takes office, and “announced to staff several weeks ago her intent to retire at the end of the year after 38 years in state service,” spokesman Armando Botello said in an email to The Times on Friday.

Newsom’s transition team did not immediately respond to a request for comment on who might lead the department in 2019.

For more than a decade, developers have tried to build new housing on the site of an all-but-empty mall in Cupertino, a city in the heart of Silicon Valley and home to Apple headquarters. A well-organized group of neighbors, upset about traffic, building heights and the potential loss of the community’s suburban lifestyle, turned away every plan.

Now, for the first time, the stalemate might be broken — thanks to a decision made in the state Capitol.

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There’s no shortage of watery metaphors to describe the disaster that befell California Republicans this midterm election.

  • California Democrats
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Mark your calendars: Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom has a full slate of events planned around his inauguration, according to save-the-date announcements sent to California politicos this week.

The festivities include a “leadership circle” luncheon and “family celebration” at the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento on Jan. 6 in addition to a previously announced concert called California Rises that Sunday evening to benefit those affected by recent wildfires.

The swearing-in ceremony itself will be the next day, Jan. 7, at 11 a.m.