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Phyllis and Del had been together for over 50 YEARS but were never given the right to marry. One of the greatest moments...

Posted by Gavin Newsom on Monday, April 30, 2018

A new ad from Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom features Phyllis Lyon, who with her partner, Del Martin, received the first marriage license after Newsom vowed to allow same-sex couples to marry when he was mayor of San Francisco in 2004.

The current lieutenant governor’s push for marriage equality thrust him into the national spotlight and he has emphasized that effort to portray himself as a bold, progressive leader.

  • California Democrats
Gov. Jerry Brown
Gov. Jerry Brown (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Earlier this month, high-profile housing legislation that would have allowed for four- to five-story apartments and condominiums near transit stops failed to advance in the state Legislature. But had it reached his desk, would Gov. Jerry Brown have signed it? Maybe.

“I think that was not a bad idea,” Brown said of Senate Bill 827 at a meeting with business leaders from the Bay Area Council on Monday afternoon.

The bill, written by Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), attracted national attention and a maelstrom of opposition in part because it would have eliminated single-family zoning near transit stops in favor of apartments or condominiums. Brown said that a relative of his who lives in West Portal, a low-density neighborhood in San Francisco, told the governor he was “horrified” by the bill.

  • 2018 election
Gubernatorial candidate John Cox, left, and Assembly candidate Bill Essayli load boxes of signatures for the gas tax repeal initiative.
Gubernatorial candidate John Cox, left, and Assembly candidate Bill Essayli load boxes of signatures for the gas tax repeal initiative. (Francine Orr)

GOP gubernatorial candidate John Cox strolled up to the stack of 12 boxes in front of the Los Angeles County registrar-recorder’s offices in Norwalk on Monday and placed his hands on top of his party’s hope for success in 2018.

The boxes, stacked four across and three high, contained 211,000 signatures for an initiative to repeal recent increases in California’s gas tax and vehicle fees

Cox says the effort has gathered more than 940,000 signatures from registered voters to put the measure on the ballot — far more than the 585,407 signatures that are required.

  • 2018 election
Former state Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia).
Former state Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia). (Steve Yeater / Associated Press)

Political contributions to Tony Mendoza, who resigned from the state Senate under pressure amid sexual harassment allegations, have nearly dried up. New documents he filed with the state in his bid to reclaim the seat he once held show that his support has eroded.

As a result, five other candidates for the 32nd District senate seat in the June 5 election have raised more than Mendoza so far this year. With the June 5 election approaching, Mendoza has reported raising just $7,750 in cash from six supporters during the nearly four-month period from Jan. 1 to April 21.

Mendoza, a Democrat from Artesia, went on a leave of absence from the Senate Jan. 3 and resigned a month later under the threat of expulsion from colleagues. An investigation ordered by the Senate found a pattern of "unwanted flirtatious or sexually suggestive behavior” based on testimony from six women. Mendoza has denied wrongdoing.

Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens)
Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

State lawmakers on Monday introduced legislation that would allow all Californians to serve on state boards and commissions regardless of immigration status. 

Senate Bill 174,  by Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) and Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles), comes as the state is locked in a broader legal battle with the Trump administration over state immigration laws and his call for mass deportations. Lawmakers point to what they say is the state’s own discriminatory history as their basis for introducing the legislation.

The proposal would amend an 1872 provision that was first adopted to exclude Chinese immigrants and other “transient aliens” from holding appointed civil positions. At the time, antipathy toward the Chinese had been building in California, though, Chinese immigrants opened hundreds of businesses across the state and would play a critical role in building the transcontinental railroad.

  • Governor's race
  • Sexual harassment

An independent political committee backing Republican John Cox for governor released an ad blasting both Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for their past sexual affairs.

The “California Deserves Better” ad, which was first reported by Politico, criticizes Newsom for having an affair with a woman on his staff in 2005 while he served as mayor of San Francisco. It also goes after Villaraigosa for having an extramarital affair with a television reporter in 2007 while he was mayor of Los Angeles.

The ad, which begins airing on Fox stations in the state’s top media markets Monday, links Newsom and Villaraigosa to the men accused of sexual impropriety in the #MeToo movement, including movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and disgraced “Today” show veteran Matt Lauer.

Gil Cisneros speaks during a forum at Fullerton College in January.
Gil Cisneros speaks during a forum at Fullerton College in January. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

With less than five weeks to go before California’s primary, insults and accusations are flying with abandon in the most crowded races Democrats hope to ultimately win.

The latest example of this is in the 39th Congressional District, where a half dozen Democrats are vying for a chance to replace Rep. Ed Royce, who’s retiring.

It’s one of several California contests where Democratic leaders are already worried that divisions could ultimately split votes and shut Democrats out of key pickup opportunities.

With less than six weeks before election day, the cash raised in the California governor’s race mirrors the overall dynamics: one major front-runner and a heated race for second place.

This week’s podcast episode offers a glimpse into those cash reports and how the Republican field seems more settled in a new statewide poll than the battle between Democrats.

We also examine the reasons why a nationally talked-about housing bill in Sacramento was killed by the Democratic author’s own allies.


A woman sued an unnamed politician in Los Angeles County on Friday, alleging the man sexually assaulted her when she was a teenager after he gave her an unusual-tasting drink.

  • Governor's race

Democrat Antonio Villaraigosa released his first TV ad in the governor’s race Friday, touting his record and accomplishments as mayor of Los Angeles when up against the economic downturn during the recession.

The 30-second television spot opens with a sweeping shot of Los Angeles and cuts to Villaraigosa sitting on a bus.

“In kindergarten, my sister and I took three buses to get to school. As mayor, I remembered that,” Villaraigosa says into the camera. “And despite the recession, we built more new schools and rail lines than any city in America, added 200,000 living wage jobs, built 20,000 units of affordable housing and nearly doubled graduation rates.”