Essential Politics: 5 things we’d ask in Simi Valley

Welcome to Essential Politics, a new newsletter from the Los Angeles Times. I’m Christina Bellantoni, assistant managing editor for politics and your host today.

The political universe is orbiting around the Ronald Reagan Presidential Museum and Library in Simi Valley, where on Wednesday the Republican men — and one woman — who want to be the nation’s 45th president will attempt to shine.

Our team will be covering every angle of both the early and prime-time debates from multiple locations all day. (Here’s a primer for how you can follow along.)

The candidates, who usually use California as a political ATM, are on our turf. Frontrunner Donald Trump’s Southern California rally aboard the battleship Iowa Tuesday night provided an interesting setup for the debate as protesters frustrated with his rhetoric gave him a piece of their mind.

The premise for our new project here at the Los Angeles Times is that California is one of the drivers of the national debate. One in 10 Americans lives here. The state is reflective of the changing nation.

So here are some things we think Californians might ask if they had the chance:

-- Given the drought here, what should the government’s role be in water conservation? Should residents be mandated to take shorter showers?

-- How should we treat our prisoners? What are your views on solitary confinement?

-- Gov. Jerry Brown intends to sign an equal pay measure being called the most aggressive in the nation. Please outline your views on this topic.

-- The USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll found California voters sharply divided on whether people without legal status should be able to receive low-cost health care. What do you think?

-- Were the staffers from the gynecologist office who reported an undocumented woman’s false ID to local authorities in Houston in the right? Should doctors be on the lookout for people breaking immigration laws?

Do you have suggestions for good questions? Tweet them to @latimespolitics. We’ll highlight the best ones at our debate watch party at the Regent in downtown Los Angeles.


Reporter Chris Megerian noticed Gov. Brown has shifted back to criticizing Republicans over climate change after Democrats handed him a defeat last week in Sacramento.

Surprise! Republican presidential candidates are pulling more money from the San Francisco Bay Area than from Orange County, thanks to some tech billionaires. Michael Finnegan and Melanie Mason worked with our data team to crunch the numbers and explain who is giving in the Golden State. See the data and read the story.

Here’s why you shouldn’t expect to see Nancy Reagan in the crowd at the debate.

Reporter Javier Panzar hung out in Simi Valley, and has nine fun facts about the city playing host to the big show.


Did you miss our explainer about this newsletter Monday? You can go read it here.

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