• 2018 election
(Los Angeles Times)

A state court judge has ruled the process by which California elections officials refuse to count an absentee ballot because of mismatched voter signatures is unconstitutional, a ruling with particular importance in a state where millions of ballots are being cast away from traditional polling places.

The case centers around a Sonoma County voter whose November 2016 ballot was rejected when elections officials decided the man’s signature that was in their records system didn’t match the one on the back of the vote-by-mail envelope. That voter, Peter La Follette, along with the ACLU of Northern California, sued local and state elections officers last summer.

On Monday, San Francisco County Superior Court Judge Richard Ulmer ruled in favor of the plaintiffs.

A single-family rental is seen in Canoga Park.
A single-family rental is seen in Canoga Park. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Homeowners in California received nearly $6 billion in state tax subsidies last year, according to a new report that also revealed a wide gap between state support for homeowners and renters.

The report from the California Housing Partnership, a nonprofit low-income housing advocate, found that homeowners in the state received billions in subsidies through being able to deduct interest on their mortgages and their property taxes from their state tax bills. The report determined that the single largest housing subsidy in 2017 was $3.9 billion for the mortgage interest deduction, which is the state’s version of a benefit that also applies to homeowners’ federal taxes.

State support for renters, however, was limited to a couple hundred million dollars for a $60 annual tax credit for low-income renters and state tax credits for developers to help finance low-income rental projects.

Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions is pushing to crack down on cities that won't cooperate with immigration enforcement.
Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions is pushing to crack down on cities that won't cooperate with immigration enforcement. (Alex Wong / Getty Images)

U.S. Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions is expected to make a major announcement in Sacramento on Wednesday about “sanctuary jurisdictions,” a label used to describe cities or states where leaders have limited collaboration between law enforcement and federal immigration agencies.

The nation’s top law enforcement officer is scheduled to speak at the 26th Annual Law Enforcement Legislative Day hosted by the California Peace Officers' Assn. Sessions will make his announcement at the event, the Justice Department said in a news release.

A longtime advocate for reduced immigration — both legal and illegal — Sessions has led the Trump administration's effort to increase deportations and has been in an ongoing battle with so-called “sanctuary cities” to force them to cooperate with federal immigration officials. Cities and counties across the country have been fighting the crackdown, winning federal court rulings against executive orders that block "sanctuary" policies from taking effect. 


Two of California's leading candidates for governor say they're going to end the housing shortage, a driver of the state's affordability crisis.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa both have said they want developers in California to build a half million homes in a year — something that's never happened, at least in modern history. And they want builders to do it for seven straight years, resulting in 3.5 million new homes from the time the next governor takes office through 2025.