Two of California’s most prominent politicians lost a noticeable slice of Twitter followers this week, as the social media platform began a crackdown on accounts it deemed to be suspicious.
Gov. Jerry Brown and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom both saw a slightly more than 10% reduction in followers of their accounts. In raw numbers, Brown lost 127,185 followers through early Friday. Newsom, one of two candidates seeking to replace Brown next year, had 152,997 followers erased from his account.
No other California politicians had as large a reduction in followers. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), whose sharp criticism of President Trump has led to a large Twitter following, lost about 1.4% of his followers. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Sen. Kamala Harris each lost less than a percentage point of their audience on the social media site.
Responding to a Times lawsuit seeking records of taxpayer-funded security for out-of-state trips, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Friday that he relies on the city’s police department to determine his security needs when he travels.
“I, like every mayor before me, defers to the Los Angeles Police Department when it comes to my security,” Garcetti said. “I won’t stop listening to police professionals in terms of what they recommend. They are the ones that make that decision.”
A judge has tentatively ruled against a lawsuit by a former candidate for state attorney general who alleged incumbent Xavier Becerra is ineligible to hold the post because he was not active in practicing law in the five years before becoming the state’s top cop.
Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Richard K. Sueyoshi issued the tentative decision before a hearing Friday in which former Republican candidate Eric Early argued Becerra, a Democrat, should not be on the ballot for the November election.
The ruling said state law “does not prohibit from serving as Attorney General a person who has voluntarily been placed on ‘inactive’ status with the State Bar at any point during the five-year period immediately preceding his or her election or appointment to the office.”
A quick note of thanks to our readers, who have been with us through countless debates and protests, critical elections, legislative wrangling and major changes in the political power centers in the nearly three years since we started Essential Politics. I’ve appreciated your calls, emails, story tips and letters, and have been grateful for the interaction as we worked to tell political stories in new ways and get people more engaged in California politics.
I’ll be tackling a new adventure as a professor leading the student newsroom at USC Annenberg. We’ll continue to work with The Times in lots of ways, so stay tuned. And if we do it right, you might just see Annenberg’s work as the students hold politicians accountable and cover the biggest stories in Los Angeles.
California’s largest public-employee pension fund saw an upturn in profits generated from its investments in the last year, officials reported Thursday, a record that offered some improvement to its long-term fiscal stability.
Leaders of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, CalPERS, reported preliminary numbers showing an 8.6% net return on investments for the 12-month period that ended in June. That is a higher rate of return than the pension fund expects to earn over the coming decades, but not necessarily reflective of a change in its long-term challenges.
“While it's important to note the portfolio's performance at the 12-month mark, I can't emphasize enough that we are long-term investors,” Ted Eliopoulos, CalPERS chief investment officer, said in a written statement. “We will pay pensions for decades, so we invest for a performance that will sustain the Fund for decades.”
Two weeks after lawmakers shelved a proposal to increase the number of electronic signs along California freeways, environmentalists have shifted their opposition to a bill that they say could also impact highways — even though its author says it would only allow replacement of existing billboards, not an expansion.
Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio (D-Baldwin Park) has introduced a measure that would permit existing billboards to be relocated near highways and converted from static signs to electronic billboards that are taller, while expanding the area near highways where they would be allowed.
“This is a dangerous bill that would negatively impact California’s visual character,” Mark Falzone, president of Scenic America, said in a statement Thursday. “It would open up whole new swaths of the state’s freeways to bright, blinking digital billboards and completely undermine Caltrans’ efforts to promote safe and attractive roads.”
Gun owner groups filed a lawsuit Wednesday against state Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra, alleging that state computer crashes prevented California owners of assault weapons from registering them by a June 30 deadline, after which they were required to dispose of the firearms.
During the week before the registration deadline, the state Department of Justice’s registration system “was largely inaccessible, and inoperable on a wide variety of ordinary web browsers across the state,” the lawsuit states.
The legal action was filed in Shasta County Superior Court on behalf of three gun owners and the Calguns Foundation, the Second Amendment Foundation, the Firearms Policy Foundation and the Firearms Policy Coalition.
A judge on Monday dismissed the federal government's claim that U.S. law trumps two California laws intended to protect immigrants who are in the country illegally, affirming his ruling last week that California was within its rights to pass two of its three so-called sanctuary laws.
U.S. District Judge John Mendez rejected the U.S. government's argument on two of the laws that the U.S. Constitution gives the federal government pre-eminent power over states to regulate immigration. The Trump administration argued that California is obstructing its immigration enforcement efforts.
As he did in last week's decision, Mendez ruled Monday that the federal government could proceed with its attempt to block part of a third California sanctuary law, which prohibits employers from allowing immigration officials on their property without warrants.
A prominent environmental group took legal action Monday to block Proposition 9, the proposal to split California into three states, from the fall ballot.
The challenge, filed with the California Supreme Court, asserts that the proposal is too sweeping in its nature to have been placed on the ballot under the same provisions used to enact traditional laws.
"In seeking to remove this initiative from the ballot, we are asking the court to protect the integrity of both the initiative process and our state constitution,” Carlyle Hall, an attorney representing the group, said in a written statement. “Proponents should not be able to evade the state constitution simply by qualifying a measure as one thing, when it is so clearly another."