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A mixed-use project on Wilshire Boulevard.
A mixed-use project on Wilshire Boulevard. (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

California is failing to meet its goals to reduce vehicle travel, imperiling efforts to achieve ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets, according to a state report released Monday.

The report by the California Air Resources Board, the state’s climate change regulator, found that carbon emissions per capita from vehicle travel in California were increasing. That’s despite a decade-old law that required regions across the state to plan for housing growth so that people could live closer to where they work or public transit and reduce their time on the state’s roadways.

“California — at the state, regional and local levels — has not yet gone far enough in making the systemic and structural changes to how we build and invest in communities that are needed to meet state climate goals,” the report said.

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California Democratic Party Chairman Eric Bauman.
California Democratic Party Chairman Eric Bauman. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

The California Democratic Party announced on Monday that its chairman, Eric Bauman, would take a leave of absence while he is investigated for unspecified allegations of sexual misconduct.

The leave begins immediately and will continue until the conclusion of an inquiry by an outside counsel, party spokesman Mike Roth said in a statement released Monday evening.

“Chair Bauman believes this decision is the best way to ensure the independence and integrity of the process,” Roth said of the party’s leader, who is from Los Angeles. “The party is confident that the procedures in place will allow for all parties to come forward freely and provide for a thorough and complete review.” 

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  • California Legislature
A wave of car break-ins in California has one lawmaker wanting to crack down.
A wave of car break-ins in California has one lawmaker wanting to crack down. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Following reports of increased car break-ins in California, Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) said Monday that he will seek to close a loophole in state law that hinders prosecution.

Wiener said car burglaries have reached an “epidemic” level in his hometown. He will introduce a measure, modeled on another, unsuccessful bill he carried earlier this year, that would eliminate a requirement that prosecutors prove that a car’s doors were locked to get a conviction for automobile burglary.

He cited a 26% increase in thefts from vehicles last year in San Francisco, and said thieves are avoiding convictions in cases where they unlock the car, or the car owner leaves the car unlocked.

  • California Democrats
California Democratic Party Chairman Eric Bauman.
California Democratic Party Chairman Eric Bauman. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

The California Democratic Party has launched an investigation into unspecified allegations of sexual misconduct against Chairman Eric Bauman involving party staff members.

In a statement released Saturday evening, Bauman confirmed an investigation was underway but did not address the allegations against him. He said that independent counsel has been hired to investigate the matter.

“I look forward to putting these allegations behind us and moving forward as unified Democrats,” Bauman said in the statement.

It was Gavin’s big moment. But first it was Jennifer’s.

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A coalition of bail bond industry groups took a major step Tuesday toward blocking California’s historic overhaul of the bail system, submitting more than enough signatures required for a statewide referendum on the law in 2020.

  • California Legislature
California state Sen. Roderick Wright in court in 2014 while on trial on charges he lied about living in his district.
California state Sen. Roderick Wright in court in 2014 while on trial on charges he lied about living in his district. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

The California Supreme Court on Tuesday paved the way for Gov. Jerry Brown to consider a pardon for former state Sen. Roderick Wright, who resigned after he was convicted in 2014 on felony charges of lying about living in his district.

The court recommended that the governor grant a pardon, according to Jorge E. Navarrete, the clerk of the court. Brown’s office has signaled he is likely to grant clemency in the case before he leaves office in January.

“As the Board of Parole Hearings has found, Sen. Wright's application presents a favorable case for a pardon,” Peter A. Krause, the governor’s legal affairs secretary, said in a letter to the court last month.

  • State government
Los Angeles County fire Capt. Victor Correa helps put out a Woolsey fire hotspot in Malibu.
Los Angeles County fire Capt. Victor Correa helps put out a Woolsey fire hotspot in Malibu. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

California’s costs to fight two deadly wildfires that ignited less than two weeks ago have already topped $118 million — a sizable financial hit to a program that needed an unexpected cash infusion just two months ago.

Cal Fire officials said Tuesday that $589.7 million has been paid out by the state’s fire emergency, or “e-fund,” account since July 1. Officials are poised to free up additional dollars before lawmakers consider a new state budget early next year.

Cal Fire officials said battling the Camp fire, which has killed 79 people and burned more than 151,000 acres across Butte County, has cost more than $68 million. The state’s response to the Woolsey fire, which has burned almost 97,000 acres in Ventura and Los Angeles counties and killed at least three people, has cost more than $50 million.

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California must significantly increase the money it spends on child care, food assistance and other social services — by as much as $1.6 billion in the first year alone — to narrow an income divide that has left almost 2 million children living below the poverty line, a new state task force said Monday.

 Three prisoners in the north segregation unit of death row at San Quentin State Prison.
Three prisoners in the north segregation unit of death row at San Quentin State Prison. (Eric Risberg/AP)

Members of Catholic organizations and other anti-death penalty groups on Monday urged Gov. Jerry Brown to place a moratorium on the death penalty or commute the sentences of all California death row inmates, saying he should take a moral stand on a practice that costs the state money without making people safer.

Their request was echoed in more than 6,000 letters and petitions collected from residents and wheeled to the state Capitol in plain, white cardboard boxes. It comes more than a year after the California Supreme Court kept in place a 2016 measure passed by voters to speed up executions.

Standing outside the governor’s office, Marciano Avilla said Brown had a bold chance to move the state into the future, as he had on so many other issues, before leaving his post in January.