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With less than six weeks before election day, the cash raised in the California governor’s race mirrors the overall dynamics: one major front-runner and a heated race for second place.

This week’s podcast episode offers a glimpse into those cash reports and how the Republican field seems more settled in a new statewide poll than the battle between Democrats.

We also examine the reasons why a nationally talked-about housing bill in Sacramento was killed by the Democratic author’s own allies.

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A woman sued an unnamed politician in Los Angeles County on Friday, alleging the man sexually assaulted her when she was a teenager after he gave her an unusual-tasting drink.

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  • Governor's race

Democrat Antonio Villaraigosa released his first TV ad in the governor’s race Friday, touting his record and accomplishments as mayor of Los Angeles when up against the economic downturn during the recession.

The 30-second television spot opens with a sweeping shot of Los Angeles and cuts to Villaraigosa sitting on a bus.

“In kindergarten, my sister and I took three buses to get to school. As mayor, I remembered that,” Villaraigosa says into the camera. “And despite the recession, we built more new schools and rail lines than any city in America, added 200,000 living wage jobs, built 20,000 units of affordable housing and nearly doubled graduation rates.”

  • California Legislature
The youth football team Watts Bears (in white) pursue a member of the Southern California Falcons. Players are 7 to 9 years old.
The youth football team Watts Bears (in white) pursue a member of the Southern California Falcons. Players are 7 to 9 years old. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Faced with a lobbying blitz by youth football fans, state lawmakers have sidelined a proposal that would have made California the first state to prohibit minors from playing organized tackle football before age 12, representatives said Friday.

The measure had been proposed after consultation with medical professionals who believe limiting tackle football would help prevent young athletes from sustaining long-term brain damage caused by repetitive tackling, hitting and blocking.

Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) confirmed Friday that he has cancelled a committee hearing scheduled for next week on the Safe Youth Football Act, signaling his decision that AB 2108 will not advance to a vote this year.

  • 2018 election
  • U.S. Senate race
(Tom Williams / CQ Roll Call)

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein will not participate in a proposed pre-primary debate because there are too many candidates in the race, her campaign spokesman said Thursday.

Political activists with the group Indivisible Los Angeles said they had a venue and date — May 5 — reserved for a debate with four of the Senate candidates. But they said if Feinstein does not participate, it will be canceled.

Feinstein faces 31 primary opponents in her bid for a fifth full term representing California in the Senate.

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  • State government
  • Ballot measures
Olympian Kim Rhode is a plaintiff in a lawsuit filed by the NRA and its state affiliate against California.
Olympian Kim Rhode is a plaintiff in a lawsuit filed by the NRA and its state affiliate against California. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

The National Rifle Assn. and its state affiliate have filed a fourth lawsuit against California over its gun control laws, this time challenging new restrictions on the sale and transfer of ammunition.

The NRA and the California Rifle and Pistol Assn. filed a challenge in federal court to a requirement that ammunition sales and transfers be conducted “face to face” with California firearms dealers or licensed vendors, ending purchases made directly from out-of-state sellers on the internet. The lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California also challenged a requirement starting next year for background checks for people buying ammunition.

The lawsuit was filed in the name of Kim Rhode, a six-time Olympic medal-winning shooter, and others. It challenges California’s new ammunition sales restrictions as a violation of the 2nd Amendment and the commerce clause of the United States Constitution. 

Rep. Devin Nunes.
Rep. Devin Nunes. (Susan Walsh / Associated Press)

Reps. Devin Nunes (R-Tulare) and Tom McClintock (R-Elk Grove) fell behind in one election handicapper’s ratings on Thursday, giving more optimism to Democrats who hope to regain control of the House in November. 

Nunes’ and McClintock’s districts were downgraded to “likely Republican” from “safe Republican” by analysts at Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics on Thursday.

Nunes has made a name for himself as a Trump defender and as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, a newfound notoriety that the analysts said could both hurt and help him. He raised more than $1 million in the first quarter of 2018, but so did his Democratic opponent, Andrew Janz, a Fresno County deputy district attorney.

In a Central Valley barn decked out in red, white and blue, dairyman and state Senate candidate Johnny Tacherra drew cheers from a crowd of fellow farmers when he said he opposes the California Legislature’s hike on gas taxes and vehicle fees.

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  • State government
  • Governor's race
  • 2018 election
  • California Democrats

In his first television ad in the governor’s race, state Treasurer John Chiang touts his record on fiscal issues as California faced the recession.

“Some thought we were done,” Chiang says in a voiceover in the 30-second spot he released Thursday, with images of him standing seriously at a lectern and complimentary headlines about his work as controller and treasurer. “But I knew better. I made the tough calls. And brought California back from the brink of financial disaster because you trusted me to manage our economy.”

Chiang’s campaign is spending about $500,000 to air the ad in Los Angeles and San Diego in coming days.

On a recent trip to Iowa, Eric Garcetti — the mayor of Los Angeles and a possible 2020 White House contestant — raised eyebrows with a bit of exuberant outreach.