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  • Politics podcast

California voters have a lot of choices in front of them come election day — perhaps none larger than whether they see the state’s political choices as part of a national referendum on President Trump.

On this week’s podcast, we take a close look at the candidates in the races for governor and U.S. Senate. We also dive deep into the congressional battleground of Orange County — home to four closely watched contests. And we examine the potential impact if the polls are right and two major California ballot measures are rejected.

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  • California Democrats
Gov. Jerry Brown, shown in a picture from June, on Friday blasted Proposition 6 as a "scheme and a scam."
Gov. Jerry Brown, shown in a picture from June, on Friday blasted Proposition 6 as a "scheme and a scam." (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

In his last campaign as governor, Jerry Brown rallied Friday against Proposition 6, tying the initiative to supporters of President Trump and warning it will hinder California’s efforts to repair roads and bridges.

“Prop. 6 is a scheme and a scam put on the ballot by some partisans,” Brown said at a campaign rally in Palo Alto. “Actually they are acolytes of Donald Trump. They don't have the best interest of California in mind."

The measure, which would repeal an increase in the state’s gas tax and vehicle fees, was qualified for Tuesday’s ballot by a committee funded by the GOP leaders including House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin and Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox. Republican leaders hope the measure will drive conservative voters to the polls on Tuesday to boost the chances of their party’s candidates.

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  • State government
  • California Legislature
State Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) on the Senate floor in 2016.
State Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) on the Senate floor in 2016. (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

A man accused of mailing bombs to top Democratic officials and public figures researched a state legislator from Southern California as a potential target, according to the lawmaker’s office.

A spokesman for Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) said the FBI notified the lawmaker of his connection with the case on Tuesday. Lara, a candidate for California insurance commissioner, has not received any suspicious packages. 

“The FBI notified Sen. Lara that the suspect researched him as a possible target,” said Michael Soller, Lara’s spokesman. “He had a conversation with the FBI and the investigation is ongoing.”

Supporters of rent control march past the Capitol in Sacramento in April.
Supporters of rent control march past the Capitol in Sacramento in April. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Proposals to address the state’s housing-affordability problems fill the November statewide ballot.

On this episode of Gimme Shelter: The California Housing Crisis Podcast, we talk about all of them.

Gubernatorial candidates Gavin Newsom and John Cox have made housing affordability central to their platforms, and we detail what they both want to do. And we break down the four housing ballot measures voters will decide on:

  1. Proposition 1: A $4-billion bond to help finance new low-income housing and provide home loans for veterans.
  2. Proposition 2: A $2-billion bond to subsidize housing for homeless residents with severe mental illness.
  3. Proposition 5: An expansion of property tax breaks for homeowners 55 or older.
  4. Proposition 10: An expansion of cities’ and counties’ ability to implement rent control. 

Less than a week before the election, the California Democratic Party headquarters in Sacramento was evacuated for two hours Wednesday after the police bomb squad was called in to investigate a suspicious package received in the mail.

The evacuation ended around 2 pm after a team of FBI and Sacramento Police Department officials determined the large envelope was not dangerous.

State Party Chairman Eric Bauman said the package arrived at party headquarters just days after a Florida man was arrested for allegedly sending pipe bombs to Democratic leaders including former President Obama and the Sacramento office of U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California.

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Gov. Jerry Brown calls Proposition 6 “dangerous” in a new digital ad that warns the initiative that would repeal an increase in the gas tax jeopardizes $5 billion annually in road repairs and transportation projects.

A week before the statewide election, the “No on 6” campaign put the ad up on social media. It will also run this week in select markets on broadcast and cable television. It features footage of Brown in a suit and tie interspersed with scenes of road and bridge construction projects.

“We are finally making progress,” Brown says in the ad. “Thousands of road repairs are under way, fixing bridges and overpasses to meet earthquake standards and improving the safety of our roads. But Proposition 6 would stop these critical repairs.”

Gavin Newsom speaks during a bus tour kickoff outside San Francisco City Hall on Tuesday.
Gavin Newsom speaks during a bus tour kickoff outside San Francisco City Hall on Tuesday. (Eric Risberg/Associated Press)

Kicking off a week-long bus tour in the run-up to election day, Gavin Newsom cast the stakes of the upcoming election in national — even international — terms.

“It’s not an exaggeration to say not just the country but the world is looking to all of you at this moment, the next seven days, to step up and to step in and to send a message and repudiate this moment,” Newsom told a crowd of supporters at San Francisco City Hall on Tuesday. “Because we are better than Washington, D.C. We’re better than Trump and Trumpism. We’re better than the rhetoric and the reality of the last 72 hours.”

The Democratic lieutenant governor spent less time touting his own candidacy for governor than taking jabs at President Trump and urging get-out-the-vote efforts for Democratic congressional candidates.

Carl DeMaio, the chairman of the Proposition 6 campaign, left, and Republican attorney general candidate Steven Bailey.
Carl DeMaio, the chairman of the Proposition 6 campaign, left, and Republican attorney general candidate Steven Bailey. (Patrick McGreevy /Los Angeles Times)

Proposition 6 campaign leader Carl DeMaio on Monday threatened a recall campaign against state Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra for providing what he said was a misleading ballot title for the measure that would repeal increases in the gas tax and vehicle fees.

DeMaio said he filed papers Monday with the Secretary of State’s Office to form a campaign committee for a possible Becerra recall effort. He estimated that it would cost about $1 million to collect the 856,335 signatures needed to put a recall on the ballot.

“These politicians have stolen our gas tax money and now they are trying to steal our ‘yes’ vote on Prop. 6 and turn it into a ‘no’ vote, and for that there must be a punishment that is extracted,” DeMaio said during a press conference on the steps of the state Capitol building. “We intend to recall the attorney general, Xavier Becerra, over his attempt to defraud the voters of their ‘yes’ vote on Prop. 6.”

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If making it to the polls on Nov. 6 will be a challenge — or if you’re eager to cast your vote — you can go to a number of of early voting locations around Southern California.