268 posts
Marijuana for recreational use goes on sale Jan. 1 in California.
Marijuana for recreational use goes on sale Jan. 1 in California. (Los Angeles Times)

A San Diego medical marijuana business is the first firm to be issued a license by the state of California to sell marijuana for recreational use, officials said Thursday.

Torrey Holistics received two of the first 20 licenses granted by the state Bureau of Cannabis Control this week to sell or distribute marijuana, although the licenses do not take effect until Jan. 1, according to bureau chief Lori Ajax.

An additional 180 firms have applied for licenses but they are being processed.

  • State government
  • 2018 election
(Los Angeles Times)

A Washington-based conservative-leaning activist group filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday alleging Los Angeles County officials are “refusing to cancel the registrations” of voters who are ineligible to cast a ballot.

The legal action by Judicial Watch comes four months after the organization first accused elections officials across the state of maintaining registration lists that are larger than their voting-age population. The lawsuit also names Secretary of State Alex Padilla as a defendant and alleges the voter lists violate the National Voter Registration Act, or NVRA.

“They don’t care about removing ineligible registration,” said Robert Popper of Judicial Watch. “I think we have a very strong lawsuit.”

  • Congressional races
  • 2018 election
Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Turlock)
Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) (Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call)

Voters in four key Republican-held congressional districts could get a robocall starting Friday urging them to call and thank their member of Congress for supporting the tax bill.

It’s a last minute effort by American Action Network, a politically active nonprofit connected with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) that has spent millions to shore up Republican support for the bill. The robocalls include the member’s office number.

The four California members being targeted are Reps. Jeff Denham of Turlock, David Valadao of Hanford, Steve Knight of Palmdale and Mimi Walters of Irvine. All four represent districts that backed Hillary Clinton for president in 2016 and are Democratic targets in 2018.

  • Congressional races
  • 2018 election

As members of Congress try to pass a controversial tax bill and a measure to keep the federal government funded, the political arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus is hitting Republicans hard over another unresolved issue: the legal status of hundreds of thousands of people brought to the country illegally as children who could face deportation if lawmakers don’t act.

Amid negotiations over a long-term spending bill, Democratic leaders have been pushing their GOP colleagues to include a fix for those who were granted temporary protection under President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known as DACA. President Trump announced an end to the program earlier this year and gave Congress a March deadline to address it.

Funny or Die and BOLD PAC released a video Friday featuring comedians skewering GOP members, including two in California, for their inaction.

  • California Democrats
  • Sexual harassment
Craig Cheslog
Craig Cheslog (Photo courtesy the California Democratic Party)

A regional director with the California Democratic Party submitted his resignation on Thursday, nearly two weeks after a 23-year-old woman reported that he sexually assaulted her last year, spurring party leaders to seek his ouster.

Craig Cheslog served as Region 2 director spanning the East Bay, Napa, Sonoma and the Clearlake areas. In a statement, his lawyer, Mary P. Carey, said she and her client were “confident that a full and fair exploration of this matter, undertaken in an appropriate, fact-governed venue, would exonerate Mr. Cheslog.”

“We are prepared, if necessary, to put forward the facts of this matter in just such a venue,” she said.

  • California Legislature
State Sen. Bob Hertzberg works at his Senate Chambers desk. He faces an investigation into unwanted hugging
State Sen. Bob Hertzberg works at his Senate Chambers desk. He faces an investigation into unwanted hugging (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

State Sen. Bob Hertzberg (D-Los Angeles) said Thursday he will cooperate with a state investigation into complaints from a former legislator that she was uncomfortable with his repeated hugs after she asked him not to touch her.

Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León said Thursday that a team of outside attorneys will investigate a complaint by former Assemblywoman Linda Halderman that Hertzberg has made her uncomfortable with hugs that were too close and lasted too long.

Hertzberg, well-known for hugging other lawmakers, said he supports having any allegations investigated by the two outside law firms.

  • State government
California Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols
California Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

California climate regulators on Thursday approved a detailed plan for the state to meet its 2030 carbon reduction goals.

The effort, known formally as the “scoping plan,” details the state’s strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions 40% below 1990 levels over the next 13 years as a way to fight climate change.

Mary Nichols, chairwoman of the California Air Resources Board, called the plan “a visionary look at the longer term and deeper kinds of transformations that we’ll need to stabilize our climate.”

  • California in Congress
  • 2018 election
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Rep. Maxine Waters is asking the Justice Department to look into a fake letter posted to Twitter by her Republican challenger that falsely indicated the congresswoman wants to resettle tens of thousand of refugees in her Los Angeles district.

The GOP candidate, Omar Navarro, posted the letter on what looks like official House of Representatives letterhead to Twitter on Monday. The letter, which purports to be from the congresswoman, says the congresswoman wants to bring refugees to her congressional district after the 2018 election “and perhaps even once I have secured the Speaker of the House position.”

Navarro accompanied the tweeted letter with a message: “According to this document, Maxine Waters wants more terrorists, like the one who bombed NYC, in California’s 43rd District. As Congressman of CA’s 43rd District, I will oppose such policies.”

  • California Legislature
Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia), left, talks earlier this year about a pending bill with Sen. Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado Hills).
Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia), left, talks earlier this year about a pending bill with Sen. Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado Hills). (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Defying pressure from legislative leadership, state Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) refused Thursday to take a leave of absence until an investigation into sexual harassment allegations against him is concluded early next year.

Mendoza has denied allegations by former employees that he treated three female aides inappropriately, inviting them to hotel stays and asking one to visit his home to work on her resume.

“I am very disappointed that certain Senate Rules Committee members are apparently asking me to take a leave of absence or resign before any investigation has even begun and without giving me an opportunity to defend myself,” Mendoza said in a statement. “This is contrary to the very concept of due process, which is a pillar of our American system of fairness and judicial prudence. These actions bypass any process in a rush to judgment.”

(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

State Senate leader Kevin de León said Thursday he has “strongly suggested” that Sen. Tony Mendoza take a leave of absence until the completion of an investigation by outside attorneys into allegations that Mendoza sexually harassed three former aides.

“Given the severity of the allegations against Senator Mendoza I do not believe he can perform the duties in Sacramento right now while the investigation is being conducted,” De León told a packed news conference in his Capitol office. “I believe It’s the right thing to do, it’s the fair thing to do,” to take a leave, he said.

The Senate leader also said the outside attorneys have been asked to investigate complaints by former Assemblywoman Linda Halderman that Sen. Bob Hertzberg (D-Los Angeles) inappropriately hugged her on multiple occasions in a way that made her uncomfortable, even after she asked him to stop.