The new state Legislative session will see a change in the upper house’s top executive position, with Capitol veteran Erika Contreras nominated Friday to become secretary of the state Senate.
Contreras has been the chief of staff for Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) since 2010 and fills a post being vacated at the end of December by Daniel Alvarez, who is retiring after more than 32 years in state government.
“Erika is deeply familiar with the inner workings of the Senate and has a profound appreciation for our traditions,” said Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), who introduced a resolution expected to be approved next week by the Senate. “I’m confident she has the skills and temperament to guide this chamber into the future.”
In the past few years, homeless populations across California have risen dramatically and nowhere more so than in the state’s largest cities.
On this episode of “Gimme Shelter: The California Housing Crisis Podcast,” we play excerpts from a forum held earlier this month with big city mayors talking about how they’re addressing the issue and what else needs to be done. On the panel, which was moderated by CALMatters’ Laurel Rosenhall, was Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg.
We also talk to former Houston Mayor Annise Parker about her widely praised efforts to reduce homelessness in her city during her tenure and how Houston’s different laws for home building — the city has no zoning rules — affects housing affordability there.
The group behind the failed gas-tax repeal effort was given state approval Thursday to begin collecting signatures for a new initiative to cancel the high-speed rail project and revamp state transportation funding.
The initiative was proposed by former San Diego City Council member and radio host Carl DeMaio before the November election as an answer to opponents of Proposition 6, which would have repealed an increase in the state gas tax but was rejected by voters.
The new initiative would shift about $10 billion in state revenues from state and local non-transportation programs to local transportation funds, resulting in potential deep cuts to general fund revenue used for other state services, according to an analysis released Thursday by state Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor.
Six California legislators proposed Thursday to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products — including those used in electronic cigarettes — in retail stores and vending machines in the state, citing concern over a steep increase in nicotine use among youths.
The lawmakers said they would introduce such a measure when the Legislature convenes next week, and that it would also impose age verification requirements for online sales of tobacco products.
“We must stop the appalling epidemic of e-cigarette use by youths,” said Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo), who is co-authoring the bill with others including Democratic Sens. Anthony Portantino of La Cañada Flintridge and Connie Leyva of Chino.
“Sexual harassment shouldn’t be tolerated — no person or party, no matter how powerful, is above accountability,” Nathan Click, a spokesman for Newsom, said on Thursday. “The governor-elect believes the investigation should move forward and the victims should be heard. But given the numerous detailed, severe and corroborated allegations reported by The Times, he believes the best course of action for the party is for the chair to resign.”
When the House voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Kevin McCarthy trooped with other Republican lawmakers to a splashy Rose Garden celebration, smiling alongside President Trump as they celebrated the moment.
Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) was “overly familiar” with a state employee during a 2014 legislative softball game, in violation of the Assembly’s sexual harassment policy, according to an investigative report made public Wednesday.
Other allegations made by Assembly aide Daniel Fierro, including accusations that Garcia touched his genitals and that she retaliated against him after he sought a consultant contract with a school district, were not substantiated by the investigation.
Investigators found “the preponderance of the evidence supported a finding that Assemblymember Cristina Garcia, while in a state of inebriation, encountered Mr. Fierro in the dugout of the 2014 legislative softball game, grabbed his arm for support, put her hand on his back, and was overly familiar with him in a way that she would not have been had she been sober,” said a letter from John T. Kennedy, a private attorney whose law firm represented the Assembly during the investigation.
Levine cited the Thousand Oaks shooting this month and another last month that killed 11 people at aPittsburgh synagogue as recent examples of gun violence that require more action, but said he had been trying to reduce shootings for years.
The utility giant, under pressure to stop its power lines from sparking wildfires, adopted a plan this fall to turn off power during high-risk weather conditions. Days before the Camp fire killed at least 88 people, PG&E warned customers that it might cut electricity in Paradise and other fire-prone areas of the Sierra foothills on Nov. 8. But the company ultimately canceled plans for the shut-off.
“The forecasted conditions didn’t meet the criteria to initiate a public safety power shutoff,” said James Noonan, a spokesman for PG&E.
Gov. Jerry Brown has asked the California Supreme Court to keep records sealed that involve his pardon of former state Sen. Roderick Wright, arguing confidentiality is consistent with historic practice and is supported by state law.
A court filing was submitted late Monday by Peter A. Krause, the governor’s legal secretary, after the nonpartisan First Amendment Coalition last week petitioned the court to unseal records filed by the governor’s office, including a review of the pardon application and letters that supported clemency for Wright.
"Courts have repeatedly recognized an executive privilege that protects the governor's decision-making process from public scrutiny," the filing says.