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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.

  • California Legislature
  • Sexual harassment
(Los Angeles Times)

Sexual harassment investigations by the Calfornia Legislature cost taxpayers $294,271 from early 2006 through the end of last year, according to a document provided Friday to the Los Angeles Times.

Most of the money was spent by the Assembly in 2017 in the wake of intense scrutiny of misconduct under the state Capitol dome. The document marks the first time legislative officials have revealed the cost of outside investigators in examining claims against lawmakers, staff members and others.

Of the total amount, almost $144,000 was spent by the Assembly last year to investigate eight allegations. The Senate, which reported hiring no outside help on investigations from 2006 to 2016, spent slightly more than $47,000 last year in examining seven allegations.

Eighteen alleged cases of sexual harassment, ranging from sharing of pornographic photos to a staff member accused of grabbing a woman’s buttocks and genitals, were publicly disclosed by the California Legislature on Friday, detailed through investigation records that had been shielded in some cases for more than a decade.

  • California in Congress
  • 2018 election
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Tulare) in October.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Tulare) in October. (Susan Walsh / Associated Press)

California’s Republican members of Congress are opening their wallets to help a financially strapped campaign to qualify an initiative that would repeal the state’s recent increases in gas taxes and vehicle fees.

If the effort works, it might drive a November turnout among voters who favor repealing the tax hikes — at a time when Republicans need a boost. 

Among the contributors is Rep. Devin Nunes of Tulare, who has been in the headlines for very different reasons. Nunes, who campaigns against the gas tax back home, contributed $50,000 to Give Voters a Voice, the group reported Thursday.

  • Congressional races
  • 2018 election
Rep. Scott Peters (D-San Diego) has nearly 10 times as much money in his campaign account as his nearest competitor.
Rep. Scott Peters (D-San Diego) has nearly 10 times as much money in his campaign account as his nearest competitor. (Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call)

There are four California Democrats whom Republicans are attempting to unseat in the midterms, and a year-end checkup of their finances shows they seem to be doing just fine.

Rep. Scott Peters of San Diego and Rep. Raul Ruiz of Palm Desert led their nearest challengers in cash on hand by seven figures. Peters raised $361,218 in the last quarter of 2017 and had $2.2 million in the bank. His closest competitor, Michael Allman, loaned himself $300,000 and still had only $267,419 in cash on hand.

Ruiz put the most distance between himself and his challengers, raising $493,951 last quarter and amassing a total of nearly $2.1 million. Kimberlin Brown Pelzer, a soap opera actress and avocado farmer, raised a respectable $175,832 in her first quarter as a candidate, but that left her with just $146,663 in cash on hand.

A new arrival has her handcuffs removed after arriving at a girls detention center in Santa Clarita.
A new arrival has her handcuffs removed after arriving at a girls detention center in Santa Clarita. (Los Angeles Times)

Dozens of people charged as adults for crimes they committed when they were under 18 will have a chance to move their cases to the juvenile justice system under a ruling issued Thursday by California’s highest court.

The state Supreme Court, affirming a lower-court ruling, found certain provisions of Proposition 57 could retroactively apply to some pending cases. The ballot measure, which was approved by voters in 2016 and has overhauled the state parole system, prohibits prosecutors from charging young defendants in adult court without a judge’s approval.

Under the state Supreme Court’s ruling, offenders charged as adults before Proposition 57 became law — and whose cases are not on final appeal — are now eligible for a hearing to request that their cases be moved to the juvenile justice system.

  • Congressional races
  • 2018 election
GOP Reps. Darrell Issa, Mimi Walters, Ed Royce and Dana Rohrabacher represent Orange County districts Democrats are targeting.
GOP Reps. Darrell Issa, Mimi Walters, Ed Royce and Dana Rohrabacher represent Orange County districts Democrats are targeting. (Los Angeles Times, Roll Call, Associated Press, Getty Images)

Democrats have a few problems to sweat over in this year’s midterm elections: winnowing their vast fields of candidates and navigating California’s top-two primary system, to name a couple. 

But in Orange County, a key battleground as they attempt to take back the House, money doesn’t seem to be one of them.

Incumbents in all four Orange County districts held by Republicans raised less money than some of their challengers in the last quarter of 2017. The reports cover fundraising through Dec. 31, before Reps. Ed Royce of Fullerton and Darrell Issa of Vista announced they were bowing out. Their seats are two of the likeliest to flip to Democrats in November.

Gov. Jerry Brown has earmarked $117 million in his new state budget to expand the number of treatment beds and mental health programs for more than 800 mentally ill inmates found incompetent to stand trial.