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Last updateWed, 27 Sep 2017 1pm

Politics

26 Oct 2017
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As the youngest candidate running this year for the Palm Springs City Council, Christy Holstege says she has a lot to offer. When I met with her at her campaign headquarters, she said the city needed to move forward, and added that as a millennial, she can relate to the younger people trying to start businesses in Palm Springs. Holstege has extensive knowledge and experience in dealing with the local homeless community as an attorney. She’s served on the boards of Well in the Desert and the Coachella Valley Housing Coalition, and is a member of the City of Palm Springs Homelessness Task Force. “Homelessness is a crisis that’s affecting cities nationwide,” Holstege said. “Affordable housing is a crisis, especially in California, with (the state)…
11 Oct 2017
Inside the California Assembly chamber on the night of June 1, the presiding officer urged lawmakers to recognize former members in their midst, “the honorable Henry Perea and Felipe Fuentes.” In a familiar Capitol ritual, the former assemblymen waved from the balcony as applause rang out from their one-time colleagues. But the two weren’t just retired lawmakers—they were now lobbyists being paid by oil companies to kill a bill that would soon meet its fate on the Assembly floor below. That bill, by Democratic Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, would have forced industry to reduce air pollution that comes from their plants. Garcia knew the lobbyists in the balcony were pals of many of her Assembly colleagues. She knew oil and other industries were working hard to…
25 Sep 2017
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On Sept. 1, 2015, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 415 into law. SB 415 was definitely well-intentioned: It mandates that cities and other “political subdivisions” move their elections to the same dates as statewide elections—unless their elections have had a high-enough turnout percentage in recent years. Cities and other political subdivisions are required to have a plan in place by the start of 2018 to move their elections by 2022. The goal was to increase turnout—often quite low—in elections for seats on city councils, school districts, water boards and other local government bodies, in areas where elections were held on dates that did not match the dates of statewide and federal elections. Unfortunately… all SB 415 has really done so far is confuse…
11 Sep 2017
Shortly after last year’s presidential election, Democrats in the California Legislature drew headlines by introducing a flurry of bills attacking “fake news.” They called for more resources to teach media literacy, so public school students could better discern facts from the kind of bogus stories that proliferated online during the campaign. Yet in the months since, all three of those bills have quietly met their demise—victims of the Legislature’s appropriations committees. Officially, the committees—one in each house—are supposed to pull the Legislature’s purse strings, weighing how much a proposal is expected to cost, and comparing bills against one another to establish priorities for state tax dollars. Unofficially, the Appropriations Committee is where bills go to die—especially the ones the ruling party wants to bury with…
02 Sep 2017
Days after losing his position as leader of Assembly Republicans, Chad Mayes was entertaining lobbyists and lawmakers at a bar near the state Capitol, raising money for his re-election with a live video message from Arnold Schwarzenegger. “I think you are the future of the Republican Party,” Schwarzenegger said to Mayes from the big screen, as guests sipped cocktails and nibbled on ahi tuna hors d’oeuvres. The Republican former governor went on to praise Mayes—a Yucca Valley resident whose 42nd District includes much of the Coachella Valley, from La Quinta going west—for negotiating a bipartisan deal to extend California’s cap-and-trade program, an environmental policy Schwarzenegger helped create to curb global warming by forcing companies to pay for emitting greenhouse gases. Schwarzenegger called the deal “a…
10 Aug 2017
Tax reform may not be much more than a glimmer in the eye of Republicans in Washington D.C., but their promise of lower rates and closed loopholes appears to be already affecting state and local finances. Exhibit 1 comes in the form of a disappointing haul for California tax collectors this summer: In June, the most recent month for which figures were available, the state took in $361 million less than lawmakers planned for in the state budget. While there are plenty of reasons for revenues to miss their projected mark—an unexpected economic cold snap, perhaps, or a forecasting model miss—the fiscal sleuths at the Legislative Analyst's Office suggest that something else could be afoot. They wrote in a recent report that “high-income taxpayers may…
10 Jul 2017
After a man held a knife to her throat, forced her into her car and repeatedly raped her, Helena Lazaro underwent a painful and humiliating medical forensic examination. The 17-year-old wanted her attacker caught. She never imagined the evidence collected in what is known as a rape kit would sit untouched for years by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. By the time she finally discovered the identity of her attacker, prosecutors couldn’t charge him with the rape—because the statute of limitations had expired in California. “I think about that 17-year-old girl, the 25-year-old girl, the 30-year-old woman—all the versions of myself who have suffered,” Lazaro says. “That suffering could have ended much sooner.” Victims’ rights groups estimate that hundreds of thousands of rape kits…
07 Jul 2017
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In the early years of the Obama era, then-Sen. Jim DeMint embodied a series of contradictions in the American character. The hard-jawed and bitter-faced South Carolinian was simultaneously a theocrat, a cynic and a salesman. What he sold, as salvation, was hate and fear. He realized before the rest of us that it does not matter what politicians say or do, as long as they can demonize their enemies, turning them into villains that the American people can love to hate. DeMint came from the fundamentalist, mill-village town of Greenville, nestled in the piedmont at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, not far from the North Carolina border. BMW and Michelin have recently turned the town into a somewhat more cosmopolitan place. But 20…