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  • California Legislature
The Forum in Inglewood.
The Forum in Inglewood. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

More than $1 million was spent lobbying last year on failed legislation that would have fast-tracked construction of a new Clippers arena in Inglewood, according to state lobbying disclosures released this week.

The legislation, Senate Bill 789 from Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Gardena), would have carved out exemptions from the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA, for the arena and related projects in Inglewood. CEQA requires developers to disclose and reduce the environmental effects of their projects, and CEQA lawsuits often tie up or kill proposals. The bill originally included similar exemptions benefiting Los Angeles’ 2028 Olympics bid, but organizers balked and Bradford removed the language.

Madison Square Garden Co., which owns Inglewood's Forum and would compete with the new Clippers arena, spent more than $750,000 to lobby against the bill. Lobbyist Mercury Public Affairs and law firm Latham & Watkins were the largest recipients of the money. SB 789 stalled in an Assembly committee a week after it was introduced in September.

  • 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.

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  • 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. 

  • 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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A political nonprofit working to elect scientists to Congress announced Wednesday it has reserved just over $1 million in broadcast television air time in the Los Angeles in the two weeks leading up to June’s primary. 

314 Action, a 501(c)(4) social welfare group, has endorsed a trio of Democratic House candidates who are running in three different crowded and competitive Orange County races to win seats currently held by Republicans.

The group is planning on spending between $5 million and $7 million to support its endorsed candidates during the midterm election, said executive director Joshua Morrow.

Candidates Doug Applegate, Sara Jacobs, Stever Kerr, Mike Levin and Christina Prejean participate in a debate at San Juan Hills High School.
Candidates Doug Applegate, Sara Jacobs, Stever Kerr, Mike Levin and Christina Prejean participate in a debate at San Juan Hills High School. (Nick Argo / For the Times)

Five Democrats looking to replace retiring Republican Rep. Darrell Issa squared off at a debate in San Juan Capistrano on Tuesday night, struggling to differentiate themselves in a crowded and open race.

At least nine candidates are running in the primary and for most of the evening the five Democrats agreed on the issues, from opposing new toll lanes in the district to embracing the need for more gun control.

One touchy topic caused a rift: Would the candidates vote for Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to become Speaker if Democrats win control of the House?

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  • Congressional races
  • 2018 election
Rachel Payne is running in Orange County.
Rachel Payne is running in Orange County. (Rachel Payne for Congress)

Abortion-rights group Emily’s List has thrown its weight behind two more Democrats challenging GOP incumbents in California.

The group announced Wednesday that it’s endorsing Rachel Payne’s candidacy against Rep. Dana Rohrabacher in Orange County, and Virginia Madueño in the race to unseat Rep. Jeff Denham in the Central Valley.

In a statement announcing the endorsements, President Stephanie Schriock highlighted Madueño’s background as a small town mayor and business owner, and Payne’s leadership in the tech industry.

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