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  • Governor's race
  • 2018 election
  • California Republicans
California gubernatorial candidate John Cox reported raising $518,446 in 2017.
California gubernatorial candidate John Cox reported raising $518,446 in 2017. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox has nearly $2 million on hand as he tries to win one of the top two spots in the June primary, according to a fundraising disclosure report he filed with the California secretary of state’s office on Wednesday.

He reported raising $518,446 in 2017, on top of the $3 million the Rancho Santa Fe businessman donated to his campaign.

Cox’s cash on hand puts him far ahead of GOP rival Travis Allen, who entered 2018 more than $200,000 in debt. The other top Republican in the race, former Rep. Doug Ose, won’t have to disclose finances until the spring because he entered the contest only this month.

Orange County sheriff's Deputy Jeff Puckett checks a motorist's identification at a DUI checkpoint.
Orange County sheriff's Deputy Jeff Puckett checks a motorist's identification at a DUI checkpoint. (Al Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

California motorists under the age of 21 would lose their driver’s license for a year if caught driving with marijuana in their system under new legislation, though the state still is developing methods of measuring the drug in the body and determining a standard for impairment.

State Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) said he proposed the law so that the state would have the same “zero tolerance” policy for pot that it has for those under 21 who drive under the influence of alcohol.

“This bill will save lives by making it illegal for drivers under age 21 to drive under the influence of marijuana, just like current law for alcohol,” Hill said in a statement.

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  • Governor's race
  • 2018 election
  • California Democrats
(Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press)

Amanda Renteria, the former Hillary Clinton aide who has been silent since filing paperwork to run for governor last week, released a minute-long video Tuesday morning.

It sheds little light on who she is or why she is running.

The online video features scenes of cities, the coast and farmland, and firefighters, a soldier, a gay couple, a construction worker, a professor and others that a voiceover describes as “warriors.”

  • Governor's race
  • 2018 election

GOP gubernatorial candidate John Cox plans to launch an online ad Tuesday attacking Democrat Antonio Villaraigosa over his support for a political ally’s son who was sentenced for his part in the stabbing death of a young man.

The ad focuses on Villaraigosa’s words on behalf of former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez’s son, Esteban, as he was charged for his role in a 2008 street fight in San Diego that resulted in the death of 22-year-old Luis Santos.

The two-and-a-half-minute digital ad notes that when the younger Nuñez’s bail was set at $2 million, Villaraigosa was among the state political leaders who spoke out his behalf.

  • California Legislature
A solar installation in Van Nuys
A solar installation in Van Nuys (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

A new bill from a Bay Area lawmaker aims to increase rooftop solar production throughout the state.

Senate Bill 1399 from Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) would create a new system in which owners of existing buildings that have high energy use but little roof space could contract with owners of other local buildings that have lots of roof space, but little need for energy.

The idea, Wiener said in a statement, is to create more incentives for rooftop solar installations by matching those who could supply it with those who would use it.

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Labor rights icon Dolores Huerta won't be on the ballot in California's 21st Congressional District, but she has influenced the Central Valley race Democrats view as one of their biggest pickup opportunities in the midterm elections.

Elected officials, local activists and other congressional sources said Huerta is having pointed conversations to try to make sure her son, Emilio Huerta, is the only Democrat challenging Republican Rep. David Valadao. A local lawyer, he lost badly to Valadao in 2016.

Candidates for statewide office in California.
Candidates for statewide office in California. (Associated Press / Getty Images / Los Angeles Times)

Thousands of California Democrats will gather this week in San Diego for their annual convention, featuring several potential presidential contenders as well as candidates battling for endorsements from the party faithful in advance of the June primary.

Potential 2020 candidates speaking at the convention include Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Sen. Kamala Harris and billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer.

One notable California Democrat who repeatedly ran for president is not scheduled to appear: Gov. Jerry Brown, in his final year leading the state. He has previously faced protests and heckling from critics who did not agree with his stance on fracking.

  • California Legislature
  • Sexual harassment
Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens)
Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

A former staffer to Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) said the lawmaker discussed vulgar topics in the office and once encouraged her aides to play spin the bottle, according to a filing submitted to the state.

David Kernick alleged in a complaint to the state’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing that he was terminated from his position in Garcia’s district office in 2014, shortly after he raised concerns about Garcia urging staffers to play “spin the bottle” in her hotel room after a fundraiser. The complaint was first reported by Politico.

Kernick is one of four staffers who accused Garcia of fostering an improper work environment, including allegations that she discussed sex and used alcohol at work, in a letter to the Assembly last week. The remaining staffers remain anonymous.

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  • Governor's race
  • California Democrats
State Sen. Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), the incoming Senate leader.
State Sen. Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), the incoming Senate leader. (Rich Pedroncelli / AP)

Democrat Toni Atkins of San Diego, who in March will become the first woman to lead the California Senate, has endorsed Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom for governor.

Atkins praised Newsom’s record on addressing homelessness and affordable housing during his two terms as San Francisco mayor, saying he has been a politician who has not hesitated to “take chances to do the right thing.”

“He shares my passion for ensuring that every California family can afford a safe roof over their head and can live in a community near where they work, play, attend school and pursue their dreams,” Atkins said in a statement released by the Newsom campaign.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom. (Jeff Chiu / AP)
  • Governor's race
  • 2018 election
  • California Democrats

California gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom pushed back forcefully on Friday against a suggestion that his camp had anything to do with the surprise candidacy of Democrat Amanda Renteria for governor. An advisor to Antonio Villaraigosa’s campaign speculated that Newsom’s team wants Renteria in the governor’s race in an effort to split the Latino vote.

“It’s absurd. And sad at the same time,” Newsom told reporters after receiving U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris’ endorsement at USC. “To somehow suggest we’re part of it — I read that with bemusement. It is factually unequivocally, absolutely untrue.”

Newsom, currently California’s lieutenant governor, was responding to Mike Madrid, a Villaraigosa advisor, telling KQED that “something just doesn’t smell right” with the hasty, last-minute rollout of Renteria’s campaign. Madrid said he believes “the dots are there” to connect Renteria, a former Hillary Clinton aide who also worked for California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra, with Newsom’s campaign.

Students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida are released from lockdown after Wednesday's mass shooting.
Students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida are released from lockdown after Wednesday's mass shooting. (John McCall / South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

Two days after a mass shooting in Florida, a California lawmaker is seeking to revive a measure that would allow school staffs and coworkers to seek a court order to remove guns from people they believe are a danger to the public.

Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) wants to expand the current law that allows family members and law enforcement officials to seek an emergency restraining order from judges based on rulings that the person owns guns and poses a public risk.

The current law, enacted after the 2014 mass shooting in Isla Vista, Calif., allows judges to order the confiscation of guns for up to 21 days.

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