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  • California Legislature
A state lawmaker wants to allow marijuana products to be sold and consumed at temporary special events including festivals.
A state lawmaker wants to allow marijuana products to be sold and consumed at temporary special events including festivals. (Los Angeles Times)

A state lawmaker wants the state to relax its policies prohibiting organizers of festivals and other special events in California from allowing marijuana sales and use unless the event is at a county fairground.

Assemblyman Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) said Monday he introduced a bill on behalf of the city of Oakland, which wants marijuana sales to be allowed at its annual Art and Soul Festival this summer.

“These events support local economies and small businesses,” Quirk said in a statement.

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Paul Gann, left, and Howard Jarvis, the author of Proposition 13, hold up their hands.
Paul Gann, left, and Howard Jarvis, the author of Proposition 13, hold up their hands. (Associated Press)

A proposed November 2018 ballot initiative to increase property taxes on commercial land could add $6 billion to $10 billion to state coffers annually, according to a report by the state’s nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office.

The proposal would make a dramatic change to rules implemented by California’s landmark Proposition 13 ballot measure that capped how much property tax bills could increase. Under the new measure, the state would 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. The new revenue would go to local governments and public schools.

While the amount of tax dollars raised by the proposal would be significant, the report from the legislative analyst included warnings. The revenue would depend heavily on the health of the state’s real estate market and could therefore be volatile. Similarly, raising property taxes on businesses could cause firms to leave or choose not to relocate to California, the report said.

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  • California in Congress

As the highest ranking Democrat on the House Select Intelligence Committee, Burbank’s Rep. Adam Schiff has been the face of the Democratic opposition in the Russia investigation for months.

Schiff is front and center once again thanks to a Monday morning tweet in which the president accused him of leaking classified information and calling him “desperate to run for higher office.” 

The tweet could be a response to the congressman’s appearance Sunday on ABC’s This Week. Schiff called the Nunes memo, which criticizes the FBI investigation into Trump’s associates and their possible ties to Russian meddling in the 2016 election, a “political hit job on the FBI."

There is something worse than seeing your political party lose — yet again — the race for one of California’s most prominent offices.

  • Politics podcast

Even after last week’s disclosure of dozens of records of sexual harassment investigations from the past decade, the most important questions about workplace harassment at the state Capitol may still lie ahead.

On this week’s California Politics Podcast, we discuss the broader implications of lawmakers releasing new details about sexual harassment investigations since 2006 — namely, whether advocates for new rules and additional oversight now have a better sense of what’s likely to work.

We also review the newly filed campaign cash reports from major candidates in the races for governor and U.S. Senate. While it’s still early in both races, the tallies show one candidate in each race with a sizable advantage.

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  • California Legislature
  • Sexual harassment
Sen Rod Wright resigned in September 2016 in a voter fraud case.
Sen Rod Wright resigned in September 2016 in a voter fraud case. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Former state Sen. Roderick Wright (D-Inglewood) was given a “stern admonishment” in 2010 by the Senate Rules Committee for repeatedly using coarse and vulgar language that offended a female staffer, according to a newly released letter from Darrell Steinberg, then leader of the Senate.

Wright said Friday that spoken-word poetry got him in trouble.

The Senate paid $120,000 in 2010 to settle a claim by Fahizah Alim, who alleged she was sexually harassed by Wright  in 2010. At the time, The Times reported that Alim’s attorney, John Poswall, said Wright’s actions included inappropriate comments to Alim “over some period leading up to her ultimately leaving that office.”

State Sen. Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado Hills)
State Sen. Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado Hills) (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Two years ago, state Sen. Ted Gaines (R-Rocklin) asked his chief of staff to resign after hearing that the man had been accused of sexual harassment, but later put the aide on the payroll of his political campaign.

Steve Davey left Gaines’ legislative staff in 2015 after a complaint was made that a female subordinate felt uncomfortable with his treatment of her, which included unwanted physical contact, according to documents released Friday by the Senate. The complaint filed said that on two occasions, Davey put his arm around the staff member when they were at public events. Davey also yelled at her in front of others, according to the complaint.

Gaines issued a statement Friday that said he took the accusations seriously when he heard about them in December 2015 from personnel officials.

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

State Sen. Tony Mendoza has been under investigation for allegations of sexual harassment, but new documents released Friday show he was warned in 2010 by a personnel manager that his habit of hugging staff members “comes with peril,” and he should stop.

Mendoza is currently under investigation for inappropriate behavior with three former staffers, including former aide Haley Myers, who complained in 2010 about the same behavior described in the documents released Friday. The name of the complainant is redacted from the documents, which were part of a decade’s worth of complaints involving the Legislature.

Mendoza was a member of the Assembly when the staffer told Assembly Compliance Officer Lynda Roper that she felt “uncomfortable about Mendoza’s behavior” around her, including “flirtatious” text messages, hugging and one-on-one dinners. She said she feared for her job if she refused the invitations.

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(Los Angeles Times)

Three months after a state Senate staffer was terminated over allegations of sexual harassment, he was appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown to a top position in the state Department of Veterans Affairs, according to state records released Friday.

Brown officials said the governor did not know about the accusations against Eric Worthen when the governor appointed him in September 2011 as assistant deputy secretary for administrative affairs at the California Department of Veterans Affairs.

Documents released Friday by the Senate show that Worthen had been previously accused of harassment while he worked as a legislative director for former state Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco). Worthen was terminated from his job in July 2011 after a Senate investigation.

  • State government
  • California Legislature
  • Governor's race
  • 2018 election
  • California Republicans
(Sylvia Flores / For The Times)

Gubernatorial candidate Travis Allen is among the state lawmakers who were accused of sexual harassment in the last several years, according to documents publicly disclosed Friday by the California Legislature.

Allen, a state assemblyman from Huntington Beach, was accused of repeated physical contact that made a staff member “uncomfortable” in early 2013. The woman alleged that Allen made it “a practice of being unnecessarily close to her,” such as touching her foot with his underneath a table during a meeting and approaching her from behind in a cafeteria and squeezing her shoulders, according to the documents.

Jon Waldie, then chief administrator to the Assembly, responded to the complaint by telling Allen to be “very conscious of his conduct,” according to the documents. Allen responded by saying he could not recall being “too familiar” with any staff members, but did recall two women being overly friendly with him outside of work.