Newsletter: Essential Politics: Lawsuit says at Trump’s L.A. golf club, it paid to be pretty


I’m Christina Bellantoni. Welcome to Essential Politics.

Unattractive women who worked at Donald Trump’s golf resort in Rancho Palos Verdes might have had a hint as to when they’d get a day off — when the owner came to town, according to some employees.

A newly uncovered lawsuit alleges that managers would ensure the fit, good-looking staff were on hand when Trump planned to visit, Matt Pearce reports on today’s front page.

“I had witnessed Donald Trump tell managers many times while he was visiting the club that restaurant hostesses were ‘not pretty enough’ and that they should be fired and replaced with more attractive women,” one said in a legal declaration.


“The hostesses that were the youngest and the prettiest always got the best shifts,” said another.

A lawyer for the Trump Organization called the allegations “meritless.”

The news comes as Trump continued to criticize a former Miss Universe for gaining weight after her victory, and as fresh polling found Hillary Clinton was viewed in a much better light by female debate watchers.



Intentionally or not, Trump’s open criticism of minority groups and willingness to tap into racial resentment have energized pro-white fringe groups to join the political mainstream, Lisa Mascaro reports. “I am winning,” David Duke says.

Get the latest from the campaign trail on Trail Guide and follow @latimespolitics. Check our daily USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times tracking poll at the top of the politics page.


In California, to the endorsed party candidate go the spoils. The California Democratic Party has spent more than $500,000 supporting Democratic state Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris for U.S. Senate, and forked out another $100,000 on campaign material promoting her bid for Washington. Phil Willon reports that her rival, Orange County Rep. Loretta Sanchez, is getting nothing from the state party given it is “all in” for Harris, says one party official. The help could tip the balance in a race where both candidates have had a hard time raising money for their campaigns.

And it could be especially important, considering the Senate Democrats’ campaign arm is sitting the race out. That means no extra cash, no extra staff and no help fundraising.

Sarah Wire reports that this is the first Democrat-on-Democrat Senate race in the United States in more than 100 years, and while the national party is officially staying out of it, nearly half of Harris’ potential Senate colleagues have donated to her campaign.

For the latest on the Senate race, keep an eye on our Essential Politics news feed.



Clinton will come back to Los Angeles for what her fundraising team is billing as “one last event” on Oct. 13 — a solo concert with Elton John and a $33,400-per-ticket “final Los Angeles dinner.” Donors who give $100,000 are given “co-chair” designations and can attend a reception with Clinton and get premium dinner seating, according to an invitation obtained by The Times.

Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Tim Kaine also will raise money with a Corinne Bailey Rae concert at the home of Ellen Bronfman Hauptman and Andrew Hauptman on Oct. 8.

The co-hosts are Joe Calabrese, Charles Hirschhorn and Daniel Weiss. Tickets start at $2,700. A $5,000 donation includes a photo with Kaine, and donors who give $33,400 per couple are dubbed a “Changemaker” and get photo and dinner with the Virginia senator.

“This is the lowest price for a photo with Tim period,” Clinton National Finance Committee member Dixon Slingerland of Studio City wrote in an email soliciting attendees and obtained by The Times.


George Skelton thinks Clinton cleaned Trump’s clock during the debate. Clinton kept her cool — and her sense of humor — as she played the matador to Trump’s bull in a china shop, he writes in his Thursday column.



The supporters of Proposition 61, the November drug pricing ballot measure, are challenging their opponents to a political duel of sorts: They want drug company CEOs to agree to a televised debate of the measure’s merits on Oct. 29.

Christine Mai-Duc reports the Yes on 61 campaign took out a full-page ad in the San Francisco Chronicle, presenting an “open debate challenge to Big Pharma.” The ad named eight pharmaceutical company chief executives and called them “overpaid, heartless big shots” who they said should “defend their price-gouging.” A consultant for the measure’s proponents says they’ve already bought 30-minute blocks of airtime in media markets across the state.


Congress made history by overriding one of President Obama’s vetoes for the first time. The move means families of victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks can sue the Saudi Arabian government for damages.

It also appears there might not be a government shutdown after all. Lawmakers are aiming to get out of town for a long stretch to campaign for the November election.


With just two more days to go before he hits a deadline to act on legislation, Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday issued several major updates.

The most prominent was Brown’s signature on a measure that will allow thousands of felons in California’s county jails to vote as part of an effort to speed their transition back into society.

The others included:

— Uber, Lyft and other ride-hailing drivers will have stricter background checks and DUI rules, among other changes to the industry.

— Developers will be able to get incentives more easily to build low-income housing.

— Despite opposition from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, Brown approved a bill that will create a citizens redistricting commission to redraw the panel’s district lines after the next U.S. Census.

— The governor agreed to a law that will give felons convicted of drug or property crimes longer to ask for their records to be changed to misdemeanors. The proposal modifies Proposition 47, the 2014 ballot measure that makes fewer nonviolent crimes a felony.

— Brown vetoed a bill that would have banned smoking in California’s 270 parks and beaches, saying it was too broad and punishing.


The hits keep coming and the money keeps flowing in the expensive race to replace outgoing Rep. Lois Capps (D-Santa Barbara). And the attacks are getting personal, reports Javier Panzar.

The National Republican Congressional Committee started this week’s action with a spot skewering Democratic Santa Barbara County Supervisor Salud Carbajal for having had three federal tax liens placed against him during the 1990s.

Carbajal’s campaign and the Democratic Super PAC House Majority PAC in turn hit his GOP rival Justin Fareed with two TV spots noting Fareed’s support of Trump and Fareed’s opposition to federal funding for abortions.

To the east, Democratic lawyer Bryan Caforio nabbed endorsements from California’s powerful nurses union and its national affiliate as he joined striking nurses on a picket line outside Antelope Valley Hospital.

To the south, the Daily Breeze, the newspaper that covers the South Bay cities of Los Angeles County, endorsed former Hermosa Beach City Councilwoman Nanette Barragán over state Sen. Isadore Hall III (D-Compton) in the race to replace Rep. Janice Hahn. The money quote: Barragán “strikes us as a principled candidate with a consistent agenda.”


— Six-time Olympic shooting medalist Kim Rhode is featured in a second wave of video ads by the campaign against Proposition 63 that argue the gun-control initiative will hurt competitive and sports shooters and women. The three 35-second web ads are by the Coalition for Civil Liberties, a campaign committee formed by the California Rifle and Pistol Assn., which is the official state affiliate of the National Rifle Assn.

Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer and Rep. Xavier Becerra want Congress to recognize the voice of the Dodgers. The trio introduced a resolution Wednesday to have Congress honor Vin Scully.

— Gubernatorial candidate and California Treasurer John Chiang inserted himself into the Wells Fargo dispute, saying the state would sever some relationships with the beleaguered bank.

— Body shaming goes both ways: A Democratic senator cheekily suggested Trump undergo daily public weigh-ins.

— “Saturday Night Live” previews its upcoming presidential debate sketch, with Alec Baldwin playing The Donald.

— Trump raised $18 million immediately after the debate.

President Obama told black voters that if they stay home on Nov. 8, that equates to a vote for Trump.

— Clinton picked up some less traditional endorsements, including a former GOP senator from Virginia and the Arizona Republic’s editorial board.

— She also was serenaded by Mary J. Blige.

Colin Kaepernick had his say on the presidential race.

— Who will win the November election? Give our Electoral College map a spin.


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