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  • California in Congress
  • 2018 election

President Trump on Thursday criticized California officials for how they are dealing with gangs and threatened to pull immigration and border agents out of the state to show just how bad things would be without federal help. California’s Democratic politicians weren’t happy, and swiftly responded.

“This administration has continually put a target on California’s back and we won’t be bullied,” Sen. Kamala Harris said in a statement. “Instead of targeting immigrant communities, this administration should focus their energy and resources on violent criminals and transnational gangs.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein called it “not only mean spirited but patently false.”

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Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Since 2011, California lawmakers have lamented the demise of redevelopment, a state urban renewal program that provided billions of dollars for low-income housing development. There’s a new proposal in the Legislature now to bring a version of it back.

On this episode of “Gimme Shelter: The California Housing Crisis Pod” we talk about why the program died in the first place — in part because in addition to housing, taxpayer dollars were financing things such as the construction of a downtown Sacramento bar featuring women dressed as mermaids swimming in an aquarium.

Our guest is Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, who oversaw redevelopment’s dissolution as leader of the state Senate. Steinberg tells us what he’d like to see in a revived program, why homelessness is the most important issue facing California cities and how Sacramento is benefitting from an influx of Bay Area transplants.

Tony Mendoza, a former East Los Angeles elementary school teacher who moved swiftly from local to state government elected offices, resigned from the California Senate on Thursday as his colleagues moved to formally expel him after a series of sexual misconduct accusations.

The resignation was the culmination of an almost three-month saga that saw the Democrat stridently deny any improper conduct, all while accusing his fellow legislators of unfair treatment. He becomes the third state legislator to resign in the wake of allegations that have shaken the state Capitol community.

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Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, is suggesting to the national media that questionable expenses of his campaign funds took place in California while he was in Washington, D.C., doing the people's business.

But a review of campaign records and social media by The San Diego Union-Tribune shows that Hunter was regularly present, with his family, when improper campaign spending happened.

  • California Legislature
  • Sexual harassment
Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia).
Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia). (Steve Yeater / Associated Press)

State Sen. Tony Mendoza, who faces increasing scrutiny over allegations of inappropriate contact with female staffers, could face a formal expulsion vote on Thursday under a resolution introduced late Wednesday night.

The resolution was authored by Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles). Last week, Senate leaders acknowledged an expulsion of Mendoza was a possibility.

No member of the California Legislature has been expelled since four senators were removed from office in 1905. Senators met in private caucus meetings on Wednesday to consider the fate of Mendoza, an Artesia Democrat who faces accusations of inappropriate behavior with six women during an eight-year period ending in 2017.

  • California Legislature
Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia)
Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) (Steve Yeater)

Formal discipline against state Sen. Tony Mendoza could come on Thursday, after lawmakers privately discussed the findings of a sexual misconduct investigation and Mendoza lobbied colleagues with a last-minute letter defending his actions.

The investigation this week found that Mendoza “more likely than not” behaved in a flirtatious or sexually suggestive manner toward staffers.

Members of the Senate Democratic caucus met Wednesday behind closed doors for about three hours to hear the full report on the independent investigation and discuss recommendations from the Rules Committee on what disciplinary steps the chamber could take. State Senate leader Kevin de León and Sen. Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), the incoming Senate leader, declined to comment after the meeting. 

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  • Congressional races
  • 2018 election

This week, we've all been focused on the tragedy in Vegas -- and we should be. But meanwhile, the House passed HR 36 - a...

Posted by Katie Hill for Congress on Friday, October 6, 2017

Abortion rights organization NARAL is endorsing Democrat Katie Hill’s bid to represent the Antelope Valley’s 25th Congressional  District, citing her willingness to discuss her own experience with an unplanned pregnancy as a teenager.

“She will not just be [a] Congresswoman women and families can rely on,  she will be a passionate and dedicated champion for our rights,” the organization said in a statement.

Hill has openly talked about what it was like to weigh getting an abortion at the age of 18. Hill spoke about the experience, which ended in a miscarriage, in a video posted to her campaign's Facebook page in October after the House approved a bill that bans abortions after 20 weeks.

  • California budget
Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), center, joins mayors from across California to announce legislation for homelessness funding.
Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), center, joins mayors from across California to announce legislation for homelessness funding. (Liam Dillon / Los Angeles Times)

The mayors of California’s 11 largest cities are pushing for $1.5 billion in state money to address homelessness.

“Homelessness is the single biggest quality of life challenge we face in our cities,” said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, who is leading the group of big-city mayors. “Cities cannot do it alone.”

The pitch comes in new state legislation, Assembly Bill 3171, which would require local governments to match the state dollars, resulting in $3 billion to fund homeless shelters, rental assistance, permanent housing and other efforts.

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