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THE Nooner for November 21, 2017
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AD39 (East San Fernando Vly): Raul Bocanegra announced intention to resign on September 1, 2018, thus avoiding a special election, just as the Times was preparing a story on 6 women who alleged inappropriate sexual advances while he was a staffer, a candidate, and a legislator. Previous, the lone allegation was while he was a staffer.
Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Downey), who chairs the bipartisan Legislative Women's Caucus, called for him to resign immediately on Twitter. Los Angeles City Councilwoman Nury Martinez, whose husband is Bocanegra's district director has also called for him to resign immediately. Martinez is a likely candidate for an election to succeed him.
Assemblyman Matthew Harper (R-Huntington Beach), who is vice-chair of the Assembly Elections and Redistricting Committee, called for a guarantee from the state to reimburse Los Angeles County the cost of running a special election in Bocanegra's district, also on Twitter.
Meanwhile, the murmurs have begun about a move to expel Bocanegra when the Assembly reconvenes January 3--something that would be very uncomfortable for Assembly Democratic leadership. Anyone can make the motion, but it requires a two-thirds vote to actually expel the member. There is no burden of proof. The California Constitution simply provides that "[e]ach house of the Legislature shall judge the qualifications and elections of its Members."
There are 25 Assembly Republicans. Add the 14 Assembly Democratic women, and it would require just 15 of the 41 Democratic men to join to reach a two-thirds vote. With all Assemblymembers facing election next year, finding those 15 is unlikely to be too difficult. Additionally, a motion would be a test for Speaker Anthony Rendon in an already anxious caucus.
I'm not going to name names, but I can count at least 15. What is most likely, in my opinion, is that they communicate informally to Rendon about their intention and Rendon goes to Bocanegra to avoid the embarrassment to Bocanegra and the Democratic Caucus of an actual posted vote on an expulsion.
An additional factor is that, even with expulsion or resignation, Democrats would retain a 54-vote supermajority through the special election.
In 2016 following the disgraceful 2014 year in the State Senate, voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional suspension process that allowed for a member to be suspended with or without pay on a two-thirds vote, without going as far as expulsion before a conviction. That followed the situation of Ron Calderon (corruption/pay-for-play), Rod Wright (residency), Leland Yee (corruption and, well international gun running). Calderon's case took 2 years, during which he took a paid "leave of absence," and was termed out in 2016 anyway. Wright's case took 3.5 years from indictment to conviction, although it was clearly nothing . Yee's case was only a bit over a year because he pled guilty.
I don't see the suspension process being used in Bocanegra's case. There's no "pending trial" in these cases and too many people are just too angry and want to see a new representative from the district. It's possible that it would be used at this point in Senator Tony Mendoza's case, as the outrage in the State Senate has been more muted and the number of allegations are far fewer.
A special primary election would be April 3 and, if no candidate receives over 50% in the primary, a special general would be held on the same date as the regular June 5 statewide primary election. Of course, the 39th Assembly district wouldn't have a legislator to vote in the interim, although the Rules Committee would appoint or retain staff to provide constituent services until a member is elected.
(Note: I screwed up on the dates on Twitter earlier today. I always hate the way the special election statute is written.)
GOV: Unable to break into the high dollar fundraising being tapped by Chiang, Newsom, and Villaraigosa, but finding increasing support because of the momentum women are finding in the political environment, former Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin (D) added $100,000 of personal funds to her campaign yesterday.
GARCETTI: The NYT's Adam Nagourney looks at the possible long shot campaign for President of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. "[I]n the course of an hourlong interview in his office, Mr. Garcetti, 46, a Democrat, made clear that, as unlikely as it might sound, he is considering a run for president, after announcing he would not run for governor. “There are 23 states that have a population smaller than Los Angeles,” he said."
GASSY: Supporters of the Carl DeMaio gas tax repeal got the green light to begin collecting signatures yesterday, reports Patrick McGreevy in the Times. They blasted the title and summary, which is similar to one of the competing initiative backed by assemblyman and gubernatorial candidate Travis Allen, although the attorney general's title and summary was upheld by the Third District Court of Appeal.
SANCTUARY: A federal judge yesterday blocked President Trumps executive order to deny some funding to "sanctuary cities," reasoning that the criteria of funds was established by Congress and can't be subsequently changed by executive order, writes the Sudhin Thanawala. The judge, William Orrick, sits in the Northern District of California, meaning an appeal by the feds would go to the liberal Ninth Circuit, which would likely confirm the district court's decision. Then the decision would be whether to appeal it to the 5-4 conservative Supreme Court of the United States, but could result in an embarrasing result for the Trump Administration.
DEFINE "TRADE": Capitol Weekly's Chris Micheli looks at the practice of agreeing to vote for another member's bill with that member's support on your bill. "In other words, is the push-and-pull of lawmaking – along with the inevitable compromises that elected officials reach during negotiations — improper or illegal? Is there a quid-pro-quo here?"
LET THERE BE FLIGHT? The MercNews and East Bay Times editorial boards are calling for the UC Board of Regents to fire President Janet Napolitano following the independent report that found that Napolitano and aides interfered with the audit to create a more positive light.
140 CHARACTERS ABOUT THE CHARACTER: Tom Steyer will be running Twitter ads in Times Square until New Year's Day, reports Sarah D. Wire in the Times. "The ads, which will run for 10 minutes every hour, invite people to sign a petition at needtoimpeach.com that urges Congress to impeach Trump. The ads will include a tally of signatures. According to a news release, 2.5 million people have signed the petition."
#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Samantha Helton and Don Lowrie!
DEPT. OF CORRECTIONS: Of course, Alan Lowenthal is a current congressman and a former state senator.
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Raul Bocanegra said he learned from an "unfortunate" incident eight years ago when he was disciplined for inappropriately touching a fellow staffer. Six women told The Times that Bocanegra made unwanted sexual advances toward them as a candidate and as an assemblyman.
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L.A. City Councilwoman Nury Martinez Calls On Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra To Resign Immediately
Melanie Mason @ latimes.com
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California Prisons Failing Inmates Freed From Solitary, Advocates Charge - San Francisco Chronicle
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