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268 posts
  • Congressional races
  • 2018 election
Sara Jacobs, 28, worked in the State Department under President Obama.
Sara Jacobs, 28, worked in the State Department under President Obama. (Sara Jacobs for Congress)

Democrat Doug Applegate came within 1,621 votes of defeating Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) in last year's general election. Now, Applegate will have to battle at least three other Democrats for a shot at trying again. 

Sara Jacobs, 28, became the newest Democrat to challenge Issa on Thursday. Jacobs, granddaughter of Qualcomm founder Irwin Jacobs, grew up in Del Mar and worked in the State Department under President Obama. She also served as a policy advisor on Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and most recently as chief executive officer of Project Connect, a New York-based educational nonprofit organization founded in January.

In a statement announcing her run, Jacobs said that while "regular people are falling behind faster and faster," Issa and President Trump are "enriching themselves at the expense of everyone else."

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  • California in Congress

McClintock (R-Elk Grove) was undecided on Wednesday night, and Knight (R-Palmdale) had said he was leaning toward yes. Several other California Republicans remain undecided as the tax bill is expected to pass on Thursday.

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  • California in Congress
Rep. Tom McClintock of Elk Grove is urging fellow Republicans to revise the tax overhaul to “leave no taxpayer behind.”
Rep. Tom McClintock of Elk Grove is urging fellow Republicans to revise the tax overhaul to “leave no taxpayer behind.” (Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call)

Failure or success for the House GOP tax bill in Thursday’s expected vote could hinge on a handful of undecided California Republicans.

Eight of the state’s Republicans plan to vote for the bill, and one is leaning toward voting yes. Four others are undecided, and only Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) has said he will oppose the bill. About a dozen Republican lawmakers from across the country have expressed reservations, and about a dozen others plan to vote no, meaning the vote could be close.

The bill tightens state, local and mortgage interest tax breaks, which are popular with Californians, and the state delegation has been bombarded with pressure from all sides: fellow Republicans desperate for a legislative win, constituents, real estate lobbyists and Democratic officials in California, including Gov. Jerry Brown.

Gov. Jerry Brown unveils his 2017 state budget plan.
Gov. Jerry Brown unveils his 2017 state budget plan. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers could have a net budget windfall of some $7.5 billion by the summer of 2019 under a new analysis that attributes most of the cash to capital gains income earned by California's most wealthy taxpayers.

The analysis released Wednesday by the independent Legislative Analyst's Office also projects unexpected revenues will significantly boost public school spending over the next two academic years, some $3.2 billion above projections used in the most recent state budget.

But it's the broader windfall that, if it materializes, is likely to be the focus of intense debate next year in the state Capitol. While some may argue for boosting spending on state services, other will no doubt insist the money should be used to pay down existing debt or be placed into rainy-day reserves.

Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia)
Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

The director of a program that assigns fellows to work in the state Senate has been placed on indefinite leave just days after allegations of inappropriate behavior toward a young woman in the program were leveled against state Sen. Tony Mendoza by Capitol staffers. 

“David Pacheco, director of Sacramento State’s Senior Fellows Progam, has been placed on indefinite leave,” the university said in a statement. “Because this is a personnel issue, the university has no further comment.”

Former employees of Mendoza's office complained to Senate officials that Mendoza inappropriately invited a young woman in the program to his house after hours with an offer to help her work on her résumé. Mendoza, a Democrat from Artesia, said he offered to help the fellow find a job, but did not do anything inappropriate.

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Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Elk Grove) stood up at a closed-door meeting of House Republicans this week and urged colleagues to “leave no taxpayer behind” as they weigh the tax bill scheduled to come before them Thursday.

His concerns drew the attention of House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), who later spoke privately with him. McClintock remains unconvinced.

“I’m still awaiting a satisfactory assurance that the end product will not do harm to American families,” he said.

  • California in Congress
Rep. Mimi Walters (R-Irvine)
Rep. Mimi Walters (R-Irvine) (Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call)

California's 14 House Republicans are under intense pressure: Failure or success of the GOP tax bill in Thursday's scheduled vote may depend on them.

The bill tightens the mortgage interest and the state and local tax deductions, both of which are used widely in California and other high tax states. So far, eight of the California Republicans are solid yes votes. Only Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) has said he will oppose the bill, while four are still undecided and one is leaning toward voting yes.

Rep. Mimi Walters, whose Irvine district is considered vulnerable to flipping in next year's midterm election, said Wednesday that House leaders have assured her they will address concerns about the mortgage interest and state and local tax deductions when a final bill is negotiated between the House and Senate.

  • State government
California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra
California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra (Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles Police Department, L.A. County Sheriff’s Department and other large law enforcement agencies across California will soon begin collecting racial and other demographic data when they stop drivers and pedestrians. The new program will begin in July, as outlined by Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra's final regulations released Wednesday.

The data collection is an effort to identify and prevent police racial profiling, and Becerra said it would improve relations between peace officers and the people they serve.

"Trust is the glue that makes the relationship between law enforcement and the community work,” Becerra said in a statement. “This new data collection and reporting process is meant to strengthen, and in some cases repair, that trust."

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  • State government
The California Capitol in Sacramento.
The California Capitol in Sacramento. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

California's tax collection agency is plagued by widespread nepotism, with 835 employees, or 17.5% of the office’s workforce, related by blood, adoption, marriage or cohabitation, according to a state investigation released Wednesday.

The investigation by the state Personnel Board found that before its recent reorganization, the state Board of Equalization had 4,767 employees, several of whom were related and working in the same departments or divisions.

“There was no process for identifying and tracking employees who were related to each other by blood, adoption, marriage, and/or cohabitation,” personnel officials concluded.

  • California in Congress
(Olamikan Gbemiga / Associated Press)

Rep. Darrell Issa encouraged female members of Congress to “name names” of members who have sexually harassed Capitol Hill staff.

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Hillsborough) this week testified that staffers have told her of two sitting members of Congress who sexually harassed them. Speier has refused to name the members, saying she is protecting the victims.

“If she has an ethics complaint, then she has an obligation to take that ethics complaint to the appropriate committee of Congress, and if it’s ... necessary to go public, she should go fully public. And I don’t know why she hasn’t as of this moment. Perhaps she’s hoping they will become public on their own; I don’t know,” Issa (R-Vista) said.