On politics in the Golden State

Category: Tablet

L.A. Council gives Tony Cardenas emotional send-off

L.A. Councilman Tony Cardenas reacts to a video made for his send-off from City Hall as his wife, Norma, watches.
Los Angeles Councilman Tony Cardenas, who was elected to Congress last month, got an emotional send-off at City Hall on Friday, his last day on the council.

Members of Cardenas' large family looked on as community members, state and local officials, city staffers and members of the City Council paid tribute to Cardenas in videos and speeches that made references to  his devotion to his East San Fernando Valley constituents, his work to steer youths away from gangs, and his efforts to create jobs and stick up for animals.

Much was made of Cardenas' tendency to tear up when talking about issues important to him -- Council President Herb Wesson playfully threatened to shut off Cardenas' microphone if he started to cry during his final remarks as a councilman.

Cardenas had been considered an underdog when he won an Assembly seat in 1996. But he was heavily favored when he launched his successful campaign for a new congressional seat drawn to reflect the area's surging Latino population. He will be sworn in to the 29th congressional district seat Jan. 3.


Court decision a boost for California's budget

Sanchez dances close to 'fiscal cliff' on holiday card

More valuable gifts, contributions allowed to politicians in 2013

-- Jean Merl

Photo: Councilman Tony Cardenas reacts to a video made for his send-off from City Hall as his wife, Norma, watches. Credit: Arkasha Stevenson / Los Angeles Times



Sanchez dances close to "fiscal cliff" on holiday card


The holiday cards sent by Rep. Loretta Sanchez have a way of getting attention for the Garden Grove Democrat.

Most years her playful greetings have featured the congresswoman with Gretzky, the

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Berman-Sherman House race sets spending record

WASHINGTON --To no surprise to San Fernando Valley voters who were inundated with campaign ads, robo calls and political mail, Reps. Brad Sherman and Howard Berman set a record for spending by candidates in a California congressional race, shelling out  more than $11.7 million between them, according to new campaign finance reports.

     When spending by outside groups is added, the total outlay in the bitter contest won by Sherman was $16.3 million, making it one of the most expensive congressional races in the country, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks money in politics. 

    Although the Berman-Sherman race set a Golden State record for spending by the candidates, the San Diego congressional race won by Democrat Scott Peters over Republican incumbent Brian Bilbray was the costliest in California – $16.8 million – because of the more than $8.7 million spent by outside groups, including the political parties.

    Spending on the Berman-Sherman race surpassed the $11.5-million record for a California House race, set in 2000 when Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank) ousted Republican incumbent James E. Rogan. But there was more outside spending -– an estimated $7.5 million -- by the political parties and interest groups in the 2000 race.  The race between Berman and Sherman, both Democrats, drew $4.5 million in outside spending.

   Sherman outspent Berman, $6 million to $5.7 million.

   Bill Bloomfield, a Manhattan Beach businessman running as an independent who lost a bid to replace Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Beverly Hills), spent the most of any California House candidate, more than $7.9 million, much of it his own money. The Waxman campaign spent $2.6 million.


Lawmakers want to change Proposition 13

Rural counties seek bigger share of prison money

New Assembly members already eyeing seats in Senate

--Richard Simon in Washington

Photo: Reps. Howard Berman, left, and Brad Sherman at a candidates forum in January. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times



Pelosi to host memorial service for Mervyn Dymally in Washington

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The late Mervyn M. Dymally, a pioneering Los Angeles-based lawmaker for decades, will be honored at a Dec. 12 memorial service in Washington, it was announced Tuesday.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) will host the event, scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. at the House  Visitors Center, Room 215.

Among those slated to speak are Democratic Reps. Maxine Waters and Karen Bass of Los Angeles and Janice Hahn of San Pedro. 

Dymally, who served in Congress and in the state Legislature, was the first African American to be elected California lieutenant governor.  He helped foster the political careers of many others in the Los Angeles area, earning him the nickname "Godfather of African American politics"  in California.

He died Oct. 7 at 86.

Born in Trinidad, Dymally was the first foreign-born, naturalized citizen elected to Congress, where he served Los Angeles' 31st District from 1981 to 1993.

Anyone wishing to attend the event may call (202) 256-0499 or email tkarim@teclawgroup.com.


Healthcare cuts questioned by lawmakers

Senate leader questions plan for childrens' healthcare

Republicans aim to save children's healthcare program

--Jean Merl

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




Bloom declares victory in tight Westside Assembly race

The latest ballot count prompted one of the contenders in a close Assembly contest to declare himself the winner.

The Wednesday afternoon update by Los Angeles County election officials led Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom to declare victory in an email thanking supporters after his lead over Assemblywoman Betsy Butler grew to 1,246 votes.  Both candidates are Democrats.

The Butler campaign could not be reached for immediate comment Wednesday.

[Updated at 7:32 p.m. Butler campaign manager Parke Skelton said Wednesday evening that he did not expect Butler to be able to make up the difference. "It's over," Skelton said.]

County officials plan another update Friday as they work to finish counting ballots from the Nov. 6 election.  Counties must finish and report results to the secretary of state's office by Dec. 4; legislators are to be sworn in Dec. 3.

Countywide, fewer than 100,000 ballots remain to be counted, according to some unofficial rough estimates.

In another close Assembly race, Lancaster City Councilman and former Sheriff's Deputy Ron Smith, a Republican, held a 969-vote lead over Demoratic attorney Steve Fox. The 36th Assembly District tends to vote Republican, although the registration is nearly evenly divided.


Proposition 30 win gives Brown a major boost

California sees strong October for tax revenue

Proposition 30 win no guarantee of fiscal safety for California

-- Jean Merl

Photos: Betsy Butler and Richard Bloom. Credits: Butler campaign and, for Bloom, Danny Moloshok/Associated Press


Butler slips farther behind Bloom in latest vote update


Betsy Butler slips farther behind Richard Bloom in latest vote update.
Assemblywoman Betsy Butler has slipped 888 votes behind Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom in their close race for an Assembly seat on the Westside.

The most recent ballot tally by Los Angeles County election officials, released Monday afternoon, showed Bloom with 89,705 votes to Butler's 88,817. This is the widest margin to date in the race as counties continue to process ballots they were unable to count on election night.

Counties have until Dec. 4 to finish counting those ballots, which consist of some mail-in ballots; some so-called "provisionals," which have to be checked against voter registration rosters and verified as valid; and some too damaged to be read by tabulating machines.

Both candidates are Democrats who competed in the Nov. 6 general election because of the state's new "top two" primary system. Incumbent Butler had substantial backing from Assembly Speaker John A. Perez (D-Los Angeles) and the California Democratic Party.

County officials, who have been processing ballots daily and posting updated tallies every few days, could not say how many ballots remain to be counted in this race.


Gov. Jerry Brown appoints legal aide to appeals court

 Supreme Court lets providers continue suing to stop Medi-Cal cuts

James Humes, Brown's executive secretary, described as affable and decisive 

-- Jean Merl

Photos: Assembly candidates Betsy Butler and Richard Bloom. Credits: Butler campaign and Danny Moloshok / Associated Press




Bloom lead over Butler narrows in Assembly race

Santa Monica Mayor Richard's Bloom lead over Assemblywoman Betsy Butler in a tight Westside race has slipped to just 79 votes, the latest tally showed.

An updated ballot count Tuesday by the Los Angeles County registrar-recorder's office put Bloom's vote total to date at 85,508, or 50.02%, while Butler has 85,429, or 49.98%.

The next update will be Friday afternoon, elections officials said.

Countywide, nearly 216,000 ballots remain to be counted, officials said. They could not provide an estimate for the still-to-be-counted number in this contest, for the 50th Assembly District.

Both candidates are Democrats so the outcome will not affect the balance on power in the Assembly but could reflect on Assembly Speaker John A. Perez (D-Los Angeles), who strongly backed the incumbent Butler, as did the California Democratic Party.


Proposition 30 win gives Brown a major boost

California sees strong October for tax revenue

Proposition 30 win no guarantee of fiscal safety for California

 --Jean Merl

Photos: Assembly candidates Betsy Butler and Richard Bloom. Credits: Butler campaign and, for Bloom, Danny Moloshok/Associated Press




Gap shrinks in close Assembly race

Voters mark their ballots at an Alhambra fire station during the Nov. 6 election. The 50th Assembly District contest between two Democrats is getting tighter.
A close Westside Assembly race got even tighter when Los Angeles County elections officials released an updated vote tally Friday afternoon.

Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom's 212-vote election night lead over Assemblywoman Betsy Butler dropped to 103 votes. 

Both candidates for the 50th Assembly District are Democrats and their Nov. 6 competition was made possible by the state's new primary system, which sends the top two vote-getters to the general election, regardless of party.

The Registrar-Recorder's office announced it had counted an additional 98,896 ballots countywide, mostly mail votes, since election night. More than 693,000 remain. 

Officials could not say how many ballots are yet to be tallied in specific contests. The next update is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.

Statewide, some 3 million have yet to be processed. The uncounted are mostly vote-by-mail ballots submitted on election day and provisional ballots that include those turned in by people whose names were not on the lists at polling places but who believe they are registered to vote.

Counties have until Dec. 4 to finish tabulating the eligible ballots.


Jerry Brown confident of Proposition 30 victory

Assembly speaker confident he has a two-thirds majority

Brown found path to Prop 30. victory in a divided California

-- Jean Merl

Photo: Voting at an Alhambra fire station during the Nov. 6 general election. Credit: AFP / Getty Images







Women's group supports both candidates in Valley congressional race

Voters who haven't yet made up their minds between the two liberal Democrats vying for a San Fernando Valley congressional district seat shouldn't expect much help from the California chapter of the National Organization for Women.

That group announced Monday it is supporting both Reps. Brad Sherman and Howard Berman, praising each man's  record on issues important to women, including choice and job discrimination.

The two are locked in an increasingly contentious, high-spending race for the 30th Congressional District.  Redrawn political maps put their homes in the same district and the state's new "top two" primary system sent them both to Tuesday's general election.

"With redistricting. we find ourselves in the inevitable  position of losing one of these pro-women voices in Congress, " California NOW President Patty Bellasalma said in a written statement.

"The truth is," Bellasalma continued, "when one of these legislators loses the election tomorrow, women in California -- and across the nation -- also lose."

The San Fernando Valley chapter of NOW  announced last month that it was endorsing Sherman, calling him “a real champion for women.”


California sets new record for voter registration

Gov. Jerry Brown has no patience for "dystopians and declinists"

California Supreme Court orders Arizona nonprofit to turn over records

--Jean Merl

Photo: Reps. Howard Berman, left, and Brad Sherman at a candidates forum earlier this year. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times




Slate mailer misidentifies Laura Richardson as a Republican

Deceptive paid slate mailers inevitably pop up in the final days before an election, implying an endorsement where there is none or offering a recommendation on a ballot measure that is  counter to  the position of a  voter’s political party.

But the one sent out  over the weekend by former L.A. Councilman Nate Holden, labeling Democratic Rep. Laura Richardson a Republican, is just plain false.

Richardson is running against fellow Democratic Rep. Janice Hahn in a newly configured district that runs from San Pedro north to South Gate and Lynwood and includes many minority, working-class Democrats.

Richardson  spokeswoman Jasmyne Cannick said both the campaign and congressional offices have been swamped with voters calling to  complain about the mailer, which she called “just wrong and misleading.” 

The mailer lists several offices, ballot style, with recommendations.  Under “United States Representative, 44th District,”  it lists Hahn as a Democrat and Richardson as a Republican and has a check next to Hahn’s name, recommending her to voters.

“This is the kind of dirty politics that illustrates desperation and frustration coming out of the Hahn camp just days before the election,”  Cannick said.

Hahn spokesman Dave Jacobson said the campaign had nothing to do with  the false party label.  It had paid for a place on the mailer but “that was it,” Jacobson said.  “Laura needs to take this up with Nate Holden because our campaign had nothing to do with how she was listed.”

Holden said the error was  unintended and he regretted it.

He said he has remained neutral in the race, even though he once worked for Hahn’s father, the late county Supervisor Kenneth Hahn.

Dozens of campaign consultants, former and current officeholders and others sell space on “slates” sent to voters in the weeks and days leading up to an election.  Most are targeted for specific groups of voters, such as  union households or women; it is not unusual, for example, for a Democrat to pay to be on a slate mailer aimed at Republicans in hopes of getting support from opposite-party voters.

Holden said this slate mailer was sent only to Democrats.


California sets new record for voter registration

Gov. Jerry Brown has no patience for "dystopians and declinists"

California Supreme Court orders Arizona nonprofit to turn over records

--Jean Merl

Photos: Rep. Laura Richardson, left. Credit: Lawrence Jackson / Associated Press

Rep. Janice Hahn, right. Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times




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