268 posts
  • Politics podcast
  • Sexual harassment

Leaders of the California Senate have taken the first big step in changing the way sexual misconduct investigations are handled, though few would argue the real work has yet to begin.

On this week’s California Politics Podcast episode, we discuss the decision to hire two outside law firms to handle all investigations involving staffers or members of the Senate — a decision that some of the women demanding change says still needs to lead to a single new policy embraced by both houses of the Legislature.

We also discuss the legacy of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, whose death last week marks the end of an important era in the city. It also means new statewide attention for the woman who’s now stepped into his role.

  • Ballot measures
  • 2018 election
A commercial property in San Bernardino County that could face higher property taxes under a proposed ballot measure
A commercial property in San Bernardino County that could face higher property taxes under a proposed ballot measure (Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)

Proponents of making a dramatic change to California’s landmark Proposition 13 property tax restrictions took their first step to getting a measure on the November 2018 statewide ballot Friday.

The change would allow the state to receive more tax dollars from commercial and industrial properties by assessing them at their current market value, an effort known as “split roll” because existing tax protections on homes would remain in place.

Advocates of the measure, including the League of Women Voters of California and community organizing nonprofits California Calls and PICO Network said the change could raise billions of dollars that could be spent on public schools and community colleges.

  • California Legislature
  • California Democrats
  • Sexual harassment
Assemblyman Matt Dababneh (D-Woodland Hills)
Assemblyman Matt Dababneh (D-Woodland Hills) (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

A Los Angeles woman has filed a police report alleging Democratic Assemblyman Matt Dababneh had sex with her without consent four years ago, adding new allegations of sexual misconduct to those that led the politician to announce his resignation last week. He says her claims are false.

Nancy Miret, 26, told The Times that when she was 22 and a recent college graduate, she spent time with Dababneh over two months in late 2013, primarily at his Encino apartment.

At the time, Dababneh was running for Assembly to represent the western San Fernando Valley. They had consensual sex on one occasion, but after that, Miret said she had multiple nonconsensual sexual encounters with Dababneh that left her traumatized. Miret, who now works in commercial real estate, is one of three women interviewed by The Times who have made new allegations concerning Dababneh’s behavior.

Marijuana for recreational use goes on sale Jan. 1 in California.
Marijuana for recreational use goes on sale Jan. 1 in California. (Los Angeles Times)

A San Diego medical marijuana business is the first firm to be issued a license by the state of California to sell marijuana for recreational use, officials said Thursday.

Torrey Holistics received two of the first 20 licenses granted by the state Bureau of Cannabis Control this week to sell or distribute marijuana, although the licenses do not take effect until Jan. 1, according to bureau chief Lori Ajax.

An additional 180 firms have applied for licenses but they are being processed.

  • State government
  • 2018 election
(Los Angeles Times)

A Washington-based conservative-leaning activist group filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday alleging Los Angeles County officials are “refusing to cancel the registrations” of voters who are ineligible to cast a ballot.

The legal action by Judicial Watch comes four months after the organization first accused elections officials across the state of maintaining registration lists that are larger than their voting-age population. The lawsuit also names Secretary of State Alex Padilla as a defendant and alleges the voter lists violate the National Voter Registration Act, or NVRA.

“They don’t care about removing ineligible registration,” said Robert Popper of Judicial Watch. “I think we have a very strong lawsuit.”

  • Congressional races
  • 2018 election
Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Turlock)
Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) (Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call)

Voters in four key Republican-held congressional districts could get a robocall starting Friday urging them to call and thank their member of Congress for supporting the tax bill.

It’s a last minute effort by American Action Network, a politically active nonprofit connected with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) that has spent millions to shore up Republican support for the bill. The robocalls include the member’s office number.

The four California members being targeted are Reps. Jeff Denham of Turlock, David Valadao of Hanford, Steve Knight of Palmdale and Mimi Walters of Irvine. All four represent districts that backed Hillary Clinton for president in 2016 and are Democratic targets in 2018.

  • Congressional races
  • 2018 election

As members of Congress try to pass a controversial tax bill and a measure to keep the federal government funded, the political arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus is hitting Republicans hard over another unresolved issue: the legal status of hundreds of thousands of people brought to the country illegally as children who could face deportation if lawmakers don’t act.

Amid negotiations over a long-term spending bill, Democratic leaders have been pushing their GOP colleagues to include a fix for those who were granted temporary protection under President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known as DACA. President Trump announced an end to the program earlier this year and gave Congress a March deadline to address it.

Funny or Die and BOLD PAC released a video Friday featuring comedians skewering GOP members, including two in California, for their inaction.

  • California Democrats
  • Sexual harassment
Craig Cheslog
Craig Cheslog (Photo courtesy the California Democratic Party)

A regional director with the California Democratic Party submitted his resignation on Thursday, nearly two weeks after a 23-year-old woman reported that he sexually assaulted her last year, spurring party leaders to seek his ouster.

Craig Cheslog served as Region 2 director spanning the East Bay, Napa, Sonoma and the Clearlake areas. In a statement, his lawyer, Mary P. Carey, said she and her client were “confident that a full and fair exploration of this matter, undertaken in an appropriate, fact-governed venue, would exonerate Mr. Cheslog.”

“We are prepared, if necessary, to put forward the facts of this matter in just such a venue,” she said.

  • California Legislature
State Sen. Bob Hertzberg works at his Senate Chambers desk. He faces an investigation into unwanted hugging
State Sen. Bob Hertzberg works at his Senate Chambers desk. He faces an investigation into unwanted hugging (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

State Sen. Bob Hertzberg (D-Los Angeles) said Thursday he will cooperate with a state investigation into complaints from a former legislator that she was uncomfortable with his repeated hugs after she asked him not to touch her.

Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León said Thursday that a team of outside attorneys will investigate a complaint by former Assemblywoman Linda Halderman that Hertzberg has made her uncomfortable with hugs that were too close and lasted too long.

Hertzberg, well-known for hugging other lawmakers, said he supports having any allegations investigated by the two outside law firms.

  • State government
California Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols
California Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

California climate regulators on Thursday approved a detailed plan for the state to meet its 2030 carbon reduction goals.

The effort, known formally as the “scoping plan,” details the state’s strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions 40% below 1990 levels over the next 13 years as a way to fight climate change.

Mary Nichols, chairwoman of the California Air Resources Board, called the plan “a visionary look at the longer term and deeper kinds of transformations that we’ll need to stabilize our climate.”