Essential Politics: Clinton’s California crisscross


I’m Christina Bellantoni, the Essential Politics host today. Let’s get started.

With one election night in the rear view mirror, there are several things brewing that we’re keeping an eye on for the next election.

Christine Mai-Duc rounded up the most interesting races in a primer Tuesday. You can catch up on what happened on our politics page this morning.

First, Peter Jamison gets inside how the fractious internal politics of one of California’s most powerful unions spilled into the movement to raise the statewide minimum wage.

One wing of the Service Employees International Union announced a proposed ballot initiative that would compete with a measure backed by another branch of the labor group.

Both are aiming for the November ballot, but the new proposal, led by the SEIU State Council, would be broader in its scope than a separate wage initiative proposed by SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West. Both measures would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, but the State Council’s proposal would also double the amount of mandated paid sick leave for Californians and extend sick-leave rights to workers not currently covered under state law.


Melanie Mason reports that the presidential campaign trail winds through California’s capital Wednesday morning, as Hillary Rodham Clinton stumps for cash as part of a Western fundraising swing.

Clinton’s Sacramento event is being hosted by Eleni Tsakopoulos Kounalakis, who served as ambassador to Hungary under President Obama, and whose father Angelo Tsakopoulos is a longtime Clinton family friend and fundraiser.

Expect a who’s who of Sacramento political players at the $2,700-per-plate luncheon, including former state Senate leader (and brand-new candidate for mayor of the city) Darrell Steinberg.

From Sacramento, Clinton travels to Los Angeles for an event at the home of singer Christina Aguilera. The candidate’s team has hyped the event for days, even sending an email to supporters a few days ago, ostensibly "from" Aguilera. The subject line: "Will you come to a party at my house?"

Clinton will overnight in the Los Angeles area, and then will tape an appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live." She will attend Thursday fundraisers with director Rob Reiner and later jet northward again for a fundraiser at Hall Wines in St. Helena.


Connie Perez lasted 25 days. The Tulare County native announced her candidacy last month in a snazzy two-minute video blending English and Spanish as she introduced herself to Central Valley voters in the 21st congressional district.

Javier Panzar reports Perez pulled the plug Tuesday, saying in a statement that after considering "family, business, and public service commitments" she decided to not to run for office "at this time."

The accountant had a great American Dream story and enough cash to hire big-time Los Angeles consulting firm SKDKnickerbocker in the hopes of defeating Republican Rep. David Valadao (Hanford). But it wasn’t enough to make it more than a month.

Even before she entered the race, Perez, a partner with Bakersfield-based Brown Armstrong Accountancy Corp., faced criticism from a local Democratic official because she was once a registered Republican and was registered to vote in Pasadena in 2013.

Fowler City Councilman Daniel T. Parra remains in the race but continues to struggle to raise the funds necessary to challenge the incumbent. Parra reported having just $9,485 cash on hand at the end of the third quarter.

Valadao has trounced his previous two challengers despite the Democratic Party’s registration edge and the fact that Obama won the district by an 11-point margin in 2012.


While Californians were at the polls Tuesday, several Democrats in the state’s congressional delegation were pushing a Voting Rights Act renewal on Capitol Hill.

The issue has been a priority for Democrats since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2013 Shelby County v. Holder decision, but Sarah Wire reports how it a rewrite could affect the Golden State.

Attending along with other House Democrats were House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (San Francisco), House Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra (Los Angeles), Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairwoman Linda Sanchez (Whittier), Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Chairwoman Judy Chu (Monterey Park) and Senior Democratic Whip Barbara Lee (Oakland).

The Voting Rights Advancement Act, sponsored by Sanchez, Chu and Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Ala.), has been in the House Judiciary Committee since it was first proposed this summer. It would create a new formula to determine which states would be subject to Justice Department or court "preclearance" of changes to their voting rules and procedures. The 2013 decision found "preclearance" is acceptable, but the original 1960s formula for whether a state put up undue barriers to vote was outdated. Congress hasn’t acted to update it, and several states that were previously subject to preclearance have moved to change voting requirements, such as requiring photo identification to vote, without a Justice Department review of whether the new requirement is a barrier to voting.

Sewell said the proposed formula would affect 13 states, including California. Before the Shelby decision, Kings, Monterey and Yuba counties were subject to preclearance.

The country’s growing Latino population is "apparently very threatening to some people because they are intent upon trying to suppress their right to vote," Sanchez said. "The only way that we’re going to stop those attacks on our community is to raise our voices, and to participate, and to vote."

Chu said the Voting Rights Act helped Asian and Pacific Islanders who had been disenfranchised by legislation passed by Congress like the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.

"The recent assault on voting rights is shameful," she said. "The Voting Rights Act was one of our best tools to ensure that communities of all backgrounds had a voice in our Democracy."

Here’s a photo from the press conference.

A photo posted by Sarahdwire (@sarahdwire) on


Former State Sen. Lou Correa continues to rack up endorsements from Southern California’s congressional delegation as he seeks the seat Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove) is vacating to run for U.S. Senate.

The latest is Rep. Xavier Becerra. The congresswoman’s sister, Rep. Linda T. Sanchez, and five other House members already have endorsed Correa.

Five Democrats are in the running for the 46th congressional district seat, including former state Sen. Joe Dunn. Correa, with almost $174,000 in cash on hand, and Dunn, with just more than $131,000 in the bank, are the top fundraisers so far.


-- Proposition F, the contentious San Francisco ballot measure that would impose tighter restrictions on short-term housing rental services such as Airbnb, lost by a sizable margin.

-- Patrick McGreevy tees up the 20 state lawmakers who have signed up to attend an annual conference in Maui, and how organizers will voluntarily comply with a new disclosure measure related to junkets like this one. Lawmakers headed to the Aloha State starting Nov. 15 will have the opportunity to spend some time alone with representatives of special interest groups at poolside and on the golf course at the swanky resort.

-- The California high-speed rail authority bowed to pressure from a dozen members of Congress and four members of the California Assembly and released a copy of a 2013 report showing a large projected budget increase in the bullet train project. It follows a Los Angeles Times story detailing delays and cost overruns.

-- A Los Angeles Times investigation into how a county fair official earned nearly $1 million has prompted an audit by Los Angeles County.

-- A state ethics agency has told Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris that it may launch an inquiry into a anonymous tipster’s allegation that she received gifts from a company owned by a San Francisco interior designer that exceed legal limits.

-- Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders may oppose the Keystone XL pipeline, but that doesn't mean either potential Democratic presidential nominee wants to be talking about it once their primary is settled. Evan Halper explains.

-- Clinton has only gone up in the polls since the Benghazi hearing.


Miss yesterday’s newsletter? Here you go. Did someone forward you this? Sign up here to get Essential Politics in your inbox daily. And keep an eye on our new politics page throughout the day for the latest and greatest. And are you following us on Twitter at @latimespolitics?

Please send thoughts, concerns and news tips to