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548 posts
  • Congressional races
  • 2018 election
Rep. Mimi Walters thanks all of her supporters as she watches election results in Irvine, Calif., Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018.
Rep. Mimi Walters thanks all of her supporters as she watches election results in Irvine, Calif., Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018. (Alex Gallardo / AP Photo)

Democrat Katie Porter opened a 3,797-vote lead Wednesday over Republican Rep. Mimi Walters in Orange County’s 45th Congressional District.

In the neighboring 39th, Democrat Gil Cisneros has nearly tied the race against Republican Young Kim. Cisneros now trails Kim by a razor-thin margin of 122 votes.

The 39th District straddles Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties; Wednesday’s updated ballot counts came from the latter two.

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  • State government
(Mathew Sumner / Associated Press)

The amount of money collected by the state from taxes on cannabis grown and sold legally in California continues to increase but is still falling short of budget estimates, according to figures released Wednesday.

Tax revenue reported from the cannabis industry totaled $93.1 million for the three months ending Sept. 30, according to the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration. That is an increase from the $80.2 million collected during the second quarter of the year.

If revenue continues to grow by the same 16% per quarter, pot taxes will bring in $471 million during the fiscal year that began July 1, while the budget approved by the governor and Legislature estimates the taxes would bring in $630 million during the fiscal year.

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(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

California’s six-year run of growing tax revenue to pay for government services is expected to continue through at least the summer of 2020, according to an analysis released Wednesday, with enough cash to fund a budget reserve of $29.5 billion.

The report by the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office is perhaps the most emphatic sign so far of how much the state’s near-term financial condition has improved since the end of the last recession. Where there were once repeated predictions of operating deficits, analysts now expect a $14.8-billion surplus over the next 20 months — on top of a $14.5-billion rainy-day fund and a $200-million contingency fund for social services programs.

“It is difficult to overstate how good the budget’s condition is today,” analysts wrote in Wednesday’s annual fiscal outlook. “By historical standards, this surplus is extraordinary.”

Gov. Jerry Brown, left, and Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom talk with reporters after their meeting at the state Capitol on Tuesday.
Gov. Jerry Brown, left, and Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom talk with reporters after their meeting at the state Capitol on Tuesday. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

With all eyes on California’s next leader, Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom took a moment Tuesday to remind everyone that Gov. Jerry Brown is still calling the shots.

“There’s only one governor at a time and I think that’s important to reinforce particularly at this moment with so much anxiety around these fires,” Newsom said, standing next to Brown outside the governor’s office. “I want to reinforce that and I want to be respectful of the governor.” 

The two men spoke to reporters about wildfires ravaging the state and the transition to a new administration after meeting privately at the state Capitol.

California Democrats cemented supermajorities in both houses of the Legislature on Monday, giving Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom more partisan allies in the state Senate and Assembly when he takes office in January.

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  • Governor's race
  • 2018 election
  • California Democrats
Antonio Villaraigosa attends service at Agape International Spiritual Center in Culver City in June.
Antonio Villaraigosa attends service at Agape International Spiritual Center in Culver City in June. (Kent Nishimura)

Former Los Angeles mayor and California gubernatorial candidate Antonio Villaraigosa is joining the firm Mercury, an influential national public affairs firm.

Villaraigosa said he will be based in the firm’s Los Angeles office but will be traveling the country and the globe advising companies and other Mercury clients. He will not work as a lobbyist, he said.

“It’s an opportunity to stay involved in public policy but also an opportunity for me to grow,” Villaraigosa told The Times on Monday.

  • California in Congress
  • 2018 election
Harley Rouda
Harley Rouda (Mario Tama / Getty Images)

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher has lost the congressional seat he held for 30 years, a stunning defeat for Republicans in what had long been the deepest red parts of the county.

Real estate entrepreneur Harley Rouda's win comes after two decades of erosion in the Republican base and at a time when Rohrabacher’s friendliness to people with links to Russia has become more controversial.

Rohrabacher, 71, has represented the region since 1988, when he left a job in the Reagan White House to run for Congress. Rouda, 56, a former Republican, said he left the party as it became stridently partisan in the mid-1990s.

An eager nation waits breathlessly as California counts its election ballots.

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Journalists wait outside the home of shooter Ian David Long in Thousand Oaks.
Journalists wait outside the home of shooter Ian David Long in Thousand Oaks. (APU GOMES / AFP/Getty Images)

Alarmed by the troubled history of a gunman who killed 12 people in Thousand Oaks this week, state Assemblyman Phil Ting said Friday he will reintroduce a bill that would make it easier to confiscate firearms from people deemed a public danger.

Ian David Long, who police say is behind the mass shooting at the Borderline Bar and Grill on Wednesday night, had been evaluated in April by mental health specialists who were called out by the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department after a disturbance call.

Law enforcement officials determined Long did not qualify for an involuntary psychiatric hold and did not pursue a court order allowed by state law that would temporarily remove guns from a person considered dangerous.

  • California Legislature
  • California Republicans
Assemblywoman Marie Waldron, right, talks to Assemblywoman Laura Friedman.
Assemblywoman Marie Waldron, right, talks to Assemblywoman Laura Friedman. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

California Assembly Republicans on Thursday elected a new leader, Assemblywoman Marie Waldron of Escondido, who said the minority party needs to take action to end its decline.

Waldron takes over as Assembly Republican leader from Assemblyman Brian Dahle of Bieber, who is stepping down from the role to run for a state Senate seat being vacated by incumbent Ted Gaines, who was elected to the state Board of Equalization on Tuesday.

The share of registered Republican voters in California has declined steadily from 35.5% in 1998 to 24% this year, and the party appears to have lost seats in the Legislature after Tuesday’s election, although votes are still being counted.