On politics in the Golden State

Category: Lieutenant Governor

Gavin Newsom comes 'out of the closet' for pot legalization


Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom said he supports the legalization of marijuana in California.

In a New York Times article about the fading stigma of the drug in the Golden State, Newsom told the New York Times' Adam Nagourney, "These laws just don't make sense anymore. It's time for politicians to come out of the closet on this."

Newsom, a former mayor of San Francisco who challenged Jerry Brown for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 2010, is the highest-ranking state official to endorse legalization of marijuana.

Under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the state passed laws lowering penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana, making possession of less than an ounce similar to a routine traffic violation.

In 1996, California voters passed Proposition 215, which authorized the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. But state voters narrowly rejected a measure in 2010 an initiative to decriminalize the drug.


Brown wants assurances on healthcare law

Another round for California Internet gambling bill

Solitary-confinement inmates threaten new hunger strike

-- Anthony York in Sacramento

Photo: Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, shown in a file photo, says marijuana should be legal in California. Credit: Getty Images.

Services set for political trailblazer Mervyn Dymally

Obit Dymally JPEG-0c89e
Services will be held Oct. 17 for former state lieutenant governor and lawmaker Mervyn M. Dymally.

Dymally, who blazed trails for generations of African American officeholders, died Sunday at age 86.

A viewing will be held from 9 a.m. to noon at Holy Cross Mortuary, 5835 W. Slauson Ave., Culver City.  The funeral will begin at the same location at 12:30 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to a  newly established Mervyn M. Dymally Memorial Fund to honor his life and career and carry on his legacy, particularly in health and education matters.

The fund is being administered by Dymally's widow, Alice, and former chief of staff Kenneth Orduna.


Molly Munger pushes Proposition 38 despite blow-back

Skelton: Proposition 31 unrealistic medicine for California

Proposition 30 campaign takes aim at Molly and Charles Munger

--Jean Merl

Photo: Mervyn M. Dymally  Credit: Nick Ut/Associated Press


Former Lt. Gov. Mervyn Dymally remembered by California leaders

Former Lt. Gov. Mervyn Dymally

The death of former Lt. Gov. Mervyn Dymally on Sunday continued to reverberate a day later as California leaders praised him for his long career of public service.

Many noted the Trinidad-born Dymally was the state’s first black lieutenant governor during a long career that also included service in both houses of the state Legislature, as well as in the House of Representatives.

"Rep. Dymally was a true role model for generations of Californians, not least because of his barrier-breaking legacy as one of the first persons of color to serve at the state and federal levels of our great nation," said state Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris, the first African American to serve in her post. "His lifelong commitment to justice during his time in Congress, the state Legislature and the lieutenant governorship of California will continue to inspire us as we work to further the vision of equality that he championed for more than five decades."

Current Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom called Dymally "a trailblazer."

"Merv served many firsts in his 50-year political career, establishing a path for future generations of African Americans to follow," Newsom said. "A true civil rights leader, he was also instrumental in passing one of the nation’s first gay rights bills in 1975."

Assembly Speaker John Pérez (D-Los Angeles) said Dymally, who died as the age of 86, will be greatly missed.

"He was an iconic figure in California politics, whose public service spanned nearly six decades in the Legislature, House of Representatives and as lieutenant governor of California," Pérez said in a statement. "Throughout his time in office, he commanded respect on both sides of the aisle, and was a thoughtful and passionate advocate for the men and women he represented and for the poorest and most vulnerable Californians."


Gov. Brown vetoes bill restricting how motorists pass bicyclists

California budget stumbles as redevelopment funds prove scarce

Jerry Brown signs restrictions on Buy Here Pay Here used-car lots

-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

Photo:  Former Lt. Gov., state legislator and congressman Mervyn Dymally is shown during his service in the state Assembly. Credit: Robert Durell / Los Angeles Times

Cost of protecting state officials down, but up for lt. governor

California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom

California taxpayers are paying less to protect most elected state officials, including the governor, since Jerry Brown replaced Arnold Schwarzenegger, but the cost has gone up to safeguard the lieutenant governor.

The state spent $93,379 through May in the just-completed fiscal year on CHP protection for Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who took office at the start of 2011. The amount is up from the $65,954 spent in the previous fiscal year, the first half protecting Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, and the second half protecting Newsom.

Newsom’s office declined comment on the expense, including whether a CHP officer  accompanies Newsom to the taping of his weekly hour-long talk show, the "The Gavin Newsom Show," on Current TV.

"For security reasons we do not comment on the lieutenant governor's protective detail at the request of the CHP," said Deirdre Hussey, a spokeswoman for the lieutenant governor. She did say the office goes with whatever level of security staffing is recommended by the CHP.

The CHP does not break out the cost for protecting the governor, citing security precautions, but it is included in its Protective Services Division Budget, which also includes some security for the Capitol building. Eleven months into last fiscal year, the division had spent $27.5 million, which means it was on track to spend less than the $33.9 million paid out in the fiscal year that began July 1, 2010, when Schwarzenegger was in office.

Other elected state officials and the amounts spent on their protection through May include; Controller John Chiang, $178,109; Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, $141,932; and Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, $85,949.


Officials say only one park will close

California athletic commission resigns over insolvency

Hollywood tax credit extension moves forward in Legislature

— Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

Photo: Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom addresses a California Democratic Party gathering. The cost of providing CHP protective services to the lieutenant governor has gone up. Credit:   Tony Avelar / AP.



California lawmakers remain highest paid, so raises unlikely


Gov. Jerry Brown’s $173,987 salary is slightly lower than the pay of his counterpart in Pennsylvania, but California legislators still have much higher salaries than lawmakers in other states, according to a survey released Wednesday.

The state survey will be used by the voter-approved Citizens Compensation Commission to determine in the coming weeks whether to grant pay raises to elected state officials, but a couple of panel members said it is unlikely they would vote to hike salaries given the state’s current budget woes.

"I don’t think the state is ready to give any pay raises -- definitely not," said Commissioner Kathy Sands, a former mayor of Auburn.

The commission is scheduled to hold its annual meeting March 29. The survey conducted by the California Department of Personnel Administration said the Pennsylvania governor’s salary is $177,888, the highest in the country and nearly $4,000 more than the pay of Brown, who has the second biggest paycheck. New York's governor is legally entitled to a salary of $179,000, but voluntarily takes a 5% pay cut.

Brown's salary is higher than the pay of governors in Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Minnesota, North Dakota and Ohio, the survey found.

Commissioner Charles Murray said it is "most unlikely" that he would vote to give Brown or legislators a pay raise. "If he (Brown) can bring his salary down close to what Gov. [Arnold] Schwarzenegger received I’d be happy,’’ Murray said of the former chief executive who did not accept a salary.

The survey found that the $95,291 base salary for California legislators remains higher than in Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, North Dakota and Ohio. The salary is $60,584 in the latter state. The survey does not include the state with the second highest pay for lawmakers, New York, where the base salary is $79,500, but where several legislators get premiums for serving in leadership jobs.

The survey also found the California secretary of state is the highest paid of eight states surveyed, but the lieutenant governor, controller and treasurer are also paid less than their counterparts in Pennsylvania.


Transitional kindergarten could be spared budget cuts

Gov. Jerry Brown faulted for taking down transparency website

California lawmaker drops bid to oust Fish and Game commissioner 

-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

Photograph: Gov. Jerry Brown is the second highest paid governor in the country, according to a survey to be used to determine whether he should get a raise. Photographer: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Fish and Game president blasts critics, says he ate mountain lion

The head of the California Fish and Game Commission, under fire for killing a mountain lion during a hunting trip in Idaho, blasted his critics Thursday as “environmental terrorists" and dismissed demands by Democratic state lawmakers for him to resign.

Commission President Daniel W. Richards of Upland, appearing on KFI’s John and Ken Show, focused the brunt of his criticism on the Humane Society of the United States and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who have called for his ouster.

Richards accused the Humane Society of having an agenda to outlaw hunting and fishing nationwide, and also of trying to infiltrate the Department of Fish and Game to in order to influence “the direction of the department without conflict or without debate."

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Fish and Game commissioner draws flak for killing mountain lion


The chairman of the California Fish and Game Commission is facing calls for his ouster after he hunted and killed a mountain lion in Idaho and posed for a picture holding the dead animal.

Chairman Daniel W. Richards of Upland declined to comment on the controversy when reached by telephone at his real estate office, but a letter to him signed by 40 Democratic members of the state Assembly is calling for him to resign.

"Your actions have raised serious questions about whether you respect the laws of the people of California and whether you  are fit to adequately enforce those laws,'' said the letter, written by Assemblyman Ben Hueso (D-Logan Heights).

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom noted that California voters banned the sports hunting of mountain lions in 1990 when they approved Proposition 117. "Unfortunately, recent events make it clear that you cannot continue in any capacity on the commission," Newsom wrote this week to Richards, a member of the National Rifle Assn.

The photo of Richards smiling and holding the dead mountain lion he shot appeared on the website of Western Outdoor News, which quoted him as saying he shot the animal on Flying B Ranch in Northern Idaho. "I’m glad its legal in Idaho," the website quoted Richards as saying.

The ranch charges customers $6,800 to go on a seven-day guided hunt for a mountain lion assisted by tracking dogs, according to its brochure.

The Western Outdoor News website and the California Outdoor Heritage Alliance have stepped up to defend Richards, who was appointed by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. "Mr. Richards' legal hunting activities, while in Idaho, have no bearing on the execution of his duties in the protection of California's wildlife,'' the alliance said in a statement.


Tejon Ranch to pay fine for killing mountain lions

Gun owners hope to win right to carry concealed weapons

Tejon Ranch halts hunting after state probe of cougar killings 

 -- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

Photo: A  mountain lion photographed in the Santa Monica Mountains. Credit:  Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area

Gavin Newsom stumps for the Latino vote -- and gets a surprise visit from Abel Maldonado

The first candidate to show up at Gavin Newsom's campaign rally Monday was not Gavin Newsom. It was Abel Maldonado, Newsom's Republican opponent in the hard-fought lieutenant governor's race.

At about 11:30 a.m. Monday, Maldonado strolled into Café de Camacho, a coffee shop near Olvera Street where Newsom was set to speak alongside a group of influential Latino leaders, including civil rights activist Dolores Huerta and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. 

The cafe was packed with Newsom supporters holding blue Newsom campaign signs. They looked on in confusion as Lt. Gov. Maldonado, dressed in a gray suit and alligator boots, ordered a cup of coffee and settled down with several advisors at a table near the back of the restaurant.

When asked what they were doing there, an aide for Maldonado said: “Just getting coffee. We were a little thirsty.”

In a race that has seen scathing attack ads and debates that seem like shouting matches, Maldonado’s surprise appearance Monday was a bold move. And although the candidates avoided any direct confrontation, there were plenty of awkward moments.

Take Villaraigosa’s introduction of Newsom, who had been greeted by a cheering crowd when he arrived about 11:50 a.m. (and who  had studiously avoided eye contact with Maldonado).  

“We welcome the lieutenant governor!” Villaraigosa began -- before correcting himself. “The next lieutenant governor of the great state of California.”

Maldonado, munching on a banana muffin, grinned.

The event Monday came one day after Newsom picked up a critical endorsement from La Opinion, the state’s largest Spanish-language newspaper, and four days after the Los Angeles Times published an article that cited a history of safety violations at Maldonado’s family farm in Santa Maria.

Speaking sometimes in Spanish, the speakers Monday called on Latinos to support the San Francisco mayor.

“What do we want?" asked Maria Elena Durazo of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. “Do we want someone with a Latino last name? Or do we want someone who delivers for the Latino community?”

She praised Newsom for supporting the Dream Act, declaring San Francisco a “sanctuary city,” and implementing universal healthcare in his city.

Maldonado listened but at one point leaned in to talk to his advisors. At that point a young union organizers strode over to the group, put her finger to her lips and whispered, "Shhh!"

When Newsom took the microphone, he derided Maldonado’s record on immigration issues, saying Maldonado supported Proposition 187, a 1994 ballot measure that would have prohibited illegal immigrants from using health care, public education and other social services. Maldonado has denied that he supported that initiative.

Newsom never spoke directly to Maldondo. After a 10-minute stump speech, he bade farewell to the crowd.

“Thank you again, all of you, for taking the time out of your busy day to be here," Newsom said.

Maldonado smiled and took another sip of coffee.

-- Kate Linthicum

Newsom warming up for lieutenant governor's gig?

Gavin Newsom seems to have this lieutenant governor stuff down. The Democratic nominee for the job, who is now the mayor of San Francisco, issued a news release Monday declaring it "Soda-Free Summer" in San Francisco.

Newsom is running for a job that has become a punch line of sorts because of its relative lack of power. The lieutenant governor serves on a number of state boards and commissions, but the powers of the office are weak compared with the state's other constitutional offices. Newsom will face off against Republican incumbent Abel Maldonado in November.

One thing holders of the office have learned is that it can be used to advance pet causes. Promoting healthy drinks appears to be one of Newsom's.

“San Francisco has some of the best water in the world,” Newsom said in a statement from the mayor's office Monday. “Grab a reusable bottle, and fill it up. You’re being good to your body, your pocketbook and the environment all at once.”

-- Anthony York

Abel Maldonado wins GOP nomination for lieutenant governor

Abel Maldonado Credit: Associated Press Newly appointed Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado has won the right to seek a full four-year term after besting Sen. Sam Aanestad (R-Grass Valley) in the Republican primary.

Maldonado was appointed lieutenant governor by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and has held the post since April.

-- Anthony York in Los Angeles

Photo: Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado. Credit: Associated Press


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