675 posts
  • 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.”

  • California Legislature
The youth football team Watts Bears (in white) pursue a member of the Southern California Falcons. Players are 7 to 9 years old.
The youth football team Watts Bears (in white) pursue a member of the Southern California Falcons. Players are 7 to 9 years old. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Faced with a lobbying blitz by youth football fans, state lawmakers have sidelined a proposal that would have made California the first state to prohibit minors from playing organized tackle football before age 12, representatives said Friday.

The measure had been proposed after consultation with medical professionals who believe limiting tackle football would help prevent young athletes from sustaining long-term brain damage caused by repetitive tackling, hitting and blocking.

Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) confirmed Friday that he has cancelled a committee hearing scheduled for next week on the Safe Youth Football Act, signaling his decision that AB 2108 will not advance to a vote this year.

  • 2018 election
  • U.S. Senate race
(Tom Williams / CQ Roll Call)

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein will not participate in a proposed pre-primary debate because there are too many candidates in the race, her campaign spokesman said Thursday.

Political activists with the group Indivisible Los Angeles said they had a venue and date — May 5 — reserved for a debate with four of the Senate candidates. But they said if Feinstein does not participate, it will be canceled.

Feinstein faces 31 primary opponents in her bid for a fifth full term representing California in the Senate.

  • State government
  • Ballot measures
Olympian Kim Rhode is a plaintiff in a lawsuit filed by the NRA and its state affiliate against California.
Olympian Kim Rhode is a plaintiff in a lawsuit filed by the NRA and its state affiliate against California. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

The National Rifle Assn. and its state affiliate have filed a fourth lawsuit against California over its gun control laws, this time challenging new restrictions on the sale and transfer of ammunition.

The NRA and the California Rifle and Pistol Assn. filed a challenge in federal court to a requirement that ammunition sales and transfers be conducted “face to face” with California firearms dealers or licensed vendors, ending purchases made directly from out-of-state sellers on the internet. The lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California also challenged a requirement starting next year for background checks for people buying ammunition.

The lawsuit was filed in the name of Kim Rhode, a six-time Olympic medal-winning shooter, and others. It challenges California’s new ammunition sales restrictions as a violation of the 2nd Amendment and the commerce clause of the United States Constitution.