<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Politics]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/politics http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California http://www.nbclosangeles.com en-us Sun, 21 Dec 2014 13:39:11 -0800 Sun, 21 Dec 2014 13:39:11 -0800 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[NewsConference: LA Council Pres. on Paying to Vote]]> Sun, 21 Dec 2014 07:54:42 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NCSEG3WESSON122114_1200x675_375324739817.jpg Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson runs the second largest city in the nation. Nothing gets done without his approval. He talks with NBC4's Conan Nolan about digital billboards, the upcoming election and his support for fellow council people and how we can get more people to vote!]]> <![CDATA[Herb Wesson: "It's All About Balance"]]> Sun, 21 Dec 2014 07:53:10 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NCSEG2WESSON122114_1200x675_375323203817.jpg Former California Assembly Speaker and now Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson talks with NBC4's Conan Nolan about the minimum wage and poverty.]]> <![CDATA[NewsConference: U.S.-Cuba Relations]]> Sun, 21 Dec 2014 07:50:01 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/TLANCXTRACUBA122114_1200x675_375323715586.jpg Charles Barclay is a former member of the US. Dept. of State. He was the Deputy Chief of Mission,U-S interests section in Havana, Cuba. Unbeknownst to the majority of people, the US has had a diplomatic relationship with Cuba since the Mid 70 s during the Carter Administration. Barclay talks about his job there and what we should look forward to and not in this upcoming year.]]> <![CDATA[NewsConference: Herb Wesson Runs LA]]> Sun, 21 Dec 2014 07:45:58 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NCSEG1WESSON122114_1200x675_375320643950.jpg Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson runs the second largest city in the nation. He talks with NBC4's Conan Nolan about major issues facing the city in 2015: paying for police body cameras and the shared economy.]]> <![CDATA[Garcetti: Eartquake Report to Make City Resilient]]> Sun, 14 Dec 2014 09:51:58 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NCSEG3GARCETTIJONES121414_1200x675_371586115524.jpg Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and USGS Seismologist Dr. Lucy Jones talk about the historic report released this week "Resilience by Design". Mayor Garcetti says he hopes other cities also adopt this report. "Earthquakes don't stop at borders," he says. Dr.Jones talks about funding for the Early Warning System...and her one-year assignment with the city.]]> <![CDATA[NewsConference: Mayor Garcetti's Earthquake Plan]]> Thu, 18 Dec 2014 12:22:48 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/198*120/Capture34.JPG "Resilience by Design" is a historic earthquake report, the brainchild of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and USGS seismologist Dr. Lucy Jones, on loan from the federal government for a year. An ambitious and costly plan. See Mayor Garcetti's full report here.

Photo Credit: Scott Spiro]]>
<![CDATA[NewsConference: UCLA Anderson Forecast's Good Economic News for Southern California]]> Thu, 18 Dec 2014 12:24:53 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/206*120/12-18-2014-newsconference.jpg Jerry Nickelsburg is a Senior Economist at UCLA Anderson Forecast. Anderson Forecast just released their economic outlook for Southern California .and things are looking up. He tells NBC4's Conan Nolan the unemployment rate is expected to be in low 5s by the end of 2016.]]> <![CDATA[NewsConference: LAPD's Hit-and-Run Campaign]]> Sun, 07 Dec 2014 11:00:24 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NCseg4LADPSAS12714_1200x675_367989315851.jpg LA is known as the hit-and-run capital of America. Now, three new PSA's created by LAPD and funded by the Police Foundation to help bring attention to the problem. High profile actors involved.]]> <![CDATA[NewsConference: Joe Hicks on Race]]> Sun, 07 Dec 2014 11:00:44 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/TLA_NXTRA_JOE_HICKS_1207_1200x675_368127555600.jpg Joe Hicks is the Vice President of Community Advocates, Inc., a political think tank based in Southern California. He expresses his concerns to NBC4's Conan Nolan about race relations in America. This in light of the numerous shootings of young black men by white police officers and the rejections of grand juries to indict.]]> <![CDATA[Calif. Senate Leader Defends Controversial Swearing-In Ceremony]]> Sat, 06 Dec 2014 18:18:07 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/215*120/12-6-14-conan-deleon.JPG

The new leader of the California Senate says he does not harbor regrets about his controversial swearing-in ceremony at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

“I was proud of the event and I would do it again,” said Kevin de Leon, Senate President Pro Tem.

The Los Angeles Democrat broke with tradition and held his swearing-in ceremony at the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles on October 15.

The event attracted public officials and business leaders, with tickets also distributed to community groups, activists and others.

The event cost an estimated $50,000, and was paid for by corporate and union donations through the Legislative Hispanic Caucus. Many of the donors have matters sitting before the Legislature.

While the October ceremony was criticized for being overly costly and elaborate, de Leon contends that most of the 2,000 attendees were from working class families.

“I think it sends a negative message that if you live in Boyle Heights, or East LA or South LA that you are not welcome to come to a public building, owned by the public, like the Walt Disney Concert Hall,” he said on NBC4’s “News Conference” program, which is scheduled to broadcast Sunday at 9 a.m. following NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

The unprecedented event, which included a Korean drum circle, mariachis and a color guard, received national attention -- most of it negative.

Political columnists for the state’s largest newspapers criticized the event in light of last year’s bribery and corruption scandals involving three members of the California State Senate. The conservative National Review called it a “Kim Jong Un-style coronation.”

De Leon, the first Latino to lead the state Senate in more than a century, said he was the victim of a double standard.

“A prominent elected official a few weeks ago had his event at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. (There was) not a peep,” he said in the interview.

Last month, former LA County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky held his retirement gala at the venue. Yaroslavsky spent 39 years in LA city and county government and played a role in construction of the concert hall.

On other matters, de Leon promoted his proposal to spend more state money on higher education in California without the 5 percent tuition hike approved recently by the University of California Board of Regents. The proposal would increase nonresident supplemental tuition by 17 percent and eliminate funding for the Middle Class Scholarship program in order to keep in-state tuition flat.

He said he hopes to take on the issue of tax reform during the next legislative session and would oppose an anticipated 2016 ballot measure that would legalize marijuana for recreational use in California.

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<![CDATA[Politician's Ex-Staffer Pleads Guilty to Accepting $7,500 Christmas Card Bribe]]> Thu, 04 Dec 2014 10:37:26 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/generic+bribe+bribery+generic+money+changing+hands.jpg

The former chief of staff for a Chicago alderman pleaded guilty Thursday to accepting a $7,500 cash bribe in exchange for obtaining the alderman's letters of support for a license to sell alcohol in their ward.

Curtis V. Thompson, Jr., former chief of staff for Ald. Howard Brookins (21st), accepted 75 $100 bills in a Christmas card from an individual he believed wanted to open a convenience store. The individual was actually a witness in an FBI undercover investigation.

Thompson, 63, faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Thompson was arrested in February after a complaint was filed in a federal investigation that began in 2012. On Oct. 9, 2013, the FBI informant handed Thompson a note offering the $7,500 bribe in return for a letter of support for his liquor license form the alderman, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. After seeing the note, Thompson nodded his head and said, "Okay. I understand."

Two more meetings followed in October and November 2013, during which the informant offered a $12,000 bribe, officials said. After the third meeting, Thompson prepared two letters of support on the alderman's letterhead and signed the alderman's name.

After the informant agreed to pay the bribes, he was handed a letter from the alderman which read, "Please allow this letter to serve as my full support for a 7-Eleven convenience store ... This store will be a welcomed addition to [my] community and those that patronize the area for shopping and convenience needs. As well as wine and spirits (alcohol)."



Photo Credit: Ronen Boidek, Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Group Works to Repeal CA Plastic Bags Ban]]> Mon, 01 Dec 2014 19:13:41 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/CA-PLASTIC-BAG-BAN-VO---00002727.jpg A move is underway to overturn a state law before it even takes effect. Larry Gerston reports.]]> <![CDATA[NewsConference: Hutchinson, "Many See the Brown and Ford Shootings the Same"]]> Sun, 30 Nov 2014 13:08:46 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NCSEG3HUTCHINSON_1200x675_365120579974.jpg Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an often critic of the LAPD. He is President of the LA Urban Policy Roundtable an host of the Hutchinson Report on KPFK radio. He tells NBC4's Conan how Mayor Garcetti and Police Chief Beck don't want another Ferguson here is Los Angles in dealing with the Ezell Ford shooting investigation. Coincidentally, the Ford shooting happened 7 days after to the Brown shooting.]]> <![CDATA[NewsConference: Compelling Case for Feds to Step in to Investigate Ferguson Incident]]> Sun, 30 Nov 2014 13:08:10 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NCSEG2HUTCHINSON1130_1200x675_365110339800.jpg Earl Ofari Hutchinson is President of the LA Urban Policy Roundtable and host of the "Hutchinson Report" on KPFK radio. He is also an often critic of the LAPD. He tells NBC4's Conan Nolan why he is calling for the Dept. of Justice to investigate the Ferguson incindent after the Grand Jury there rejected the indictment of officer Wilson.]]> <![CDATA[NewsConference: Police Commission Pres. "Ferguson Needs a Consent Decree"]]> Sun, 30 Nov 2014 13:06:22 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NCseg1soboroff1130_1200x675_365122627849.jpg Steve Soboroff is the President of the Los Angeles Police Commission..the civilian body that oversees the LAPD. He assesses the police department's response to this past week's protests over the Ferguson decision not to indict the officer in the Micheal Brown shooting.]]> <![CDATA[NewsConference: Yaroslavsky, "It's About the People You Never See"]]> Sun, 23 Nov 2014 10:16:18 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NCSeg2zev1123_1200x675_362058819894.jpg LA County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky is termed-out Dec. 1. At 12 noon he leave office for the last time. NBC4's Conan Nolan talks with the supervisor about the very powerful position Yaroslavsky has held for nearly 20 years.]]> <![CDATA[NewsConference EXTRA: CHIRLA, Stepping Out of the Shadows]]> Sun, 23 Nov 2014 10:15:08 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/TLANCXTRACHIRLA1123_1200x675_362067523732.jpg NBC4'S Conan Nolan talks with Polo Morales, the political director of CHIRLA---Coalition for Human Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles. Morales says though it s good news what the president said, there are still a great deal of questions that need to be answered: When does the program kick-in? More details on how people are going to qualify are need.]]> <![CDATA[NewsConference: Zev Yaroslavsky Reflects on His Political Life After 40 years in Office]]> Sun, 23 Nov 2014 10:14:18 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NCseg1zev1123_1200x675_362072643697.jpg Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky has been part of L-A City and County government for four decades. On Dec, 1, his political career ends and his new life begins. NBC4's Conan Nolan looks back at supervisor' polical career.]]> <![CDATA[NewsConference: Yaroslavsky "Never Had Burning Ambition to be an Elected Official"]]> Sun, 23 Nov 2014 10:12:50 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NC_Seg_3_Zev_1123_1200x675_362196547798.jpg Los Angeles County Board of Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky gets personal. He talks with NBC4's Conan Nolan about his childhood, his mother and why he never followed his sister to Israel. He thanks his constituents.]]> <![CDATA[Obama Immigration Speech Draws Eager Eyes in SoCal]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 13:43:09 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Immigration_CHIRLA_chen_noon_1200x675_361905219771.jpg

A group of Southern California immigration reform advocates gathered at LA City Hall Friday to watch a landmark speech from President Barack Obama.

The speech was streamed to a meeting room from Las Vegas for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, where Obama outlined the details of his recent executive order to give nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants protection from deportation.

The Coalition has advocated for the rights of undocumented immigrants and some members of the group went to Las Vegas to see the speech live.

The immmigant community has mostly -- though not entirely -- cheered the news that Obama won't pursue deportations for the undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and legal residents if the parents have resided in the U.S. for at least five years.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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<![CDATA[City Council Race Ends in Tie]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 09:25:46 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Padilla-McCann-Chula-Vista2.jpg

The razor-thin race for a Chula Vista City Council seat has ended in a tie, two weeks after Election Day, San Diego County officials say.

John McCann and Steve Padilla each won 18,450 votes for the District 1 seat, according to Wednesday's last tally from the San Diego County Registrar of Voters. The registrar reports there aren't any other provisional ballots left to be counted that could break that tie.

Ultimately, it will be up to the city of Chula Vista to determine who takes the seat.

Padilla said his campaign is pleased with the results from the provisional ballots.

“We’re just focused on making sure every vote is counted,” Padilla said.

However, McCann told NBC 7 on Wednesday he believes what he called "dirty politics" played a role.

“We had over 900-point lead and every day it seems to continuously vanish. Obviously it raises some questions,” McCann told NBC 7.

The registrar's office will begin making sure all the votes are accurately counted ahead of the Dec. 2 deadline for certifying results.

While Chula Vista is be the second-largest city in San Diego County, the city council race came down to the narrowest of margins as the final 1,000 county-wide provisional ballots were counted Wednesday.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

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<![CDATA[NewsConference: Billion Dollar Savings]]> Sun, 16 Nov 2014 09:17:47 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NCSEG41116_1200x675_358669379885.jpg It all deals with a century old legal conflict between Los Angeles, Inyo, Mono and Alpine Counties and the dried-up Owens Lake]]> <![CDATA[NewsConference: Janet Napolitano, A Cap for Out-of-State Students?]]> Sun, 16 Nov 2014 09:10:41 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NCSEG3NAPOLITANO1116V2_1200x675_358675523665.jpg The president of the UC system, Janet Napolitano on out- of- state students. NBC4's Conan Nolan asks, "Should there be a cap?" Other question: The pay increase for the chancellors and a 3-year degree?]]> <![CDATA[NewsConference EXTRA: After 100 years...A Historic Pack between Los Angeles and Owens Lake]]> Sun, 16 Nov 2014 09:09:25 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/TLANCXTRAFEUER1116_1200x675_358690883609.jpg Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer on the history pack made this week that will save millions of dollars for Angelenos. NBC4's Conan Nolan gets the details from the city attorney.]]> <![CDATA[Janet Napolitano Discusses UC Tuition Hike]]> Sun, 16 Nov 2014 21:20:34 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/lafile-janet-napolitano.jpg

The president of the University of California says nobody within the UC administration can remember any "deal" with Gov. Jerry Brown not to raise tuition for the next two years.

"I wasn't here then, so I asked," said UC chief Janet Napolitano. "Nobody can find it, the regents who were here at the time can't find it. The real question is, what kind of university do we want?"

Napolitano made the comments during a taping at NBC4 Los Angeles. The interview aired Sunday morning at 9 a.m. on the station's "News Conference" program.

The proposed 5 percent hike in tuition for each of the next five years will be taken up at the UC Regents meeting on Wednesday in San Francisco. Napolitano says the increase can be less if the UC receives more general fund revenue than has been promised by the Brown administration.

Brown's office says there was an agreement with the UC not to hike tuition for five years in exchange for a 4 percent increase from the state for each of the next two years. Napolitano says the UC system needs more than that as part of an effort to provide "stability in the budget" and to help the it recover from years of budget cutbacks during the recession.

"The investment per student by the state to the University of California is much lower than it has been in decades," she told the program.

Brown, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Democratic leadership of the state legislature all oppose the proposed tuition hike.

The dispute represents the most difficult political challenge for Napolitano in her brief tenure as head of the 10-campus system. She took the position in September 2013. Napolitano previously served as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security during President Barack Obama's first term in office and prior to that held the office of Governor of Arizona.

Napolitano also discusses concerns over the number of out-of-state students admissions, the new "yes means yes" sexual assault code on campuses and the controversy over HBO talk show host Bill Maher's selection as commencement speaker at UC Berkeley.

NBC4's "News Conference" program, which first started in 1966, airs Sunday morning at 9 a.m. following "Meet the Press."

Correction: A previous version of this report incorrectly stated the date when Janet Napolitano took the position as UC president.

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<![CDATA[Officials Tout Huge Water, Money Savings In Dust Deal]]> Sun, 16 Nov 2014 10:44:15 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/198*120/Capture34.JPG

LA and Owens Valley reached a deal to control dust more efficiently in what's considered the nation's biggest source of dust pollution, they announced Friday.

The once-lush Owens Valley, which borders Nevada in central California, is now dry and often dangerously dusty. The dust is a costly problem caused 100 years ago when water was diverted to the LA Aqueduct, and one the LA Department of Water and Power is responsible to mitigate.

Two months-worth of each customer's DWP bills, $1.3 billion in all, are spent flooding the dry plain to tamp down the dust that erupts on the former lake bed, according to LA Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Now LA and Owens Valley officials have come to a "historic" agreement that the utility can use cheaper, much more water-efficient methods to prevent dust storms, they said Friday.

"This solution, now tested and approved by both sides, will save millions of ratepayer dollars and billions of gallons of water," Garcetti said.

The DWP may till the soil into mounds on the former lake bed, a process that uses no water, according to the deal struck between LA and the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District.

It's enough to save nearly 3 billion gallons of water in 2015, about as much as 43,000 people use, Garcetti said.

The Owens Valley dust problem causes unhealthy air quality that the EPA calls the worst particulate air pollution problem in the U.S.

Since 2001, DWP has diverted 25 billion gallons of water a year to Owens Lake to control the dust -- some years enough to supply the city of San Francisco -- using up water that could have gone to Los Angeles, according to Garcetti.

The mayor pointed out that the wasted water was even more glaring during the drought, while Garcetti has asked Angelenos to cut their water use by 20 percent by 2017.

Last year, the city celebrating the 100th anniversary of the LA Aqueduct, the water conduit that more or less created modern Los Angeles, built after a series of notorious water-rights battles.

"The old saying out west that whiskey is for drinking, water's for fighting, was probably best embodied right here in Southern California," Garcetti siad.

LA and Owens Valley authorities reached an agreement in 1999 to control the air pollution caused by the water diversion earlier in the century, according to the EPA. The agreement announced Friday further defines Los Angeles's responsibilities for that agreement, officials said.

Inyo County Supervisor Linda Arcularius called the negotiating process difficult but worth it, calling the agreement "a new way forward."

"In the future we'll be able to look at that lake and be proud...of the methods that are being used there," she said.



Photo Credit: Scott Spiro]]>
<![CDATA[NewsConference EXTRA: Fmr Rep. Dreier sends a Caution Message to fellow Republicans]]> Mon, 10 Nov 2014 08:23:14 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NCXTRADREIER1109_1200x675_355343427831.jpg Former Congressman David Dreier, a member of the House of Representatives for 32 years and a member of the Republican leadership...tells NBC4's Conan Nolan this past election is not what some Republicans think.]]> <![CDATA[NewsConference: The President, Immigration and the GOP]]> Sat, 08 Nov 2014 12:13:31 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Ncseg2dreier_110914_1200x675_355327555952.jpg David Dreier, Former Chair of the House Rules Committee, has now established the Dreier Roundtable at Claremont McKenna College. This week, a political who's who got together to talk about what President Obama should be doing about immigration in ligh of this past week's Republican blowout election.]]> <![CDATA[NewsConference: A Historic Re-Election of California Governor Jerry Brown]]> Mon, 10 Nov 2014 08:12:52 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NCseg4brown_110914_1200x675_355317827562.jpg Jerry Brown, the 76-year-old California Governor, gets re-lected...40 years after he was first elected to the job. NBC4's Conan Nolan talks with the governor about his California roots going back to 1852.]]> <![CDATA[NewsConference: California Still a Blue State]]> Mon, 10 Nov 2014 08:11:05 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NECseg1levinsonsonenshein_110914_1200x675_355335235524.jpg NBC4's Conan Nolan gets a post-election assessment from Raphael Sonenshein of the Pat Brown Institute at Cal State LA and Jessica Levinson of Loyola Law School.]]> <![CDATA[How Bad is Voter Turnout in California?]]> Thu, 06 Nov 2014 09:10:18 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/ca-vs-us-embed.png

After California's dismal showing over the summer's primary elections, a lot of people predicted a terrible turnout for the midterm elections. A Field poll forecasted record low turnouts this year.

Right now, the Secretary of State's website is recording a voter turnout of 29.9 percent. No doubt about it, that's a devastatingly low number. But here's why it's not quite as bad as it looks.

First of all, these results are preliminary and there are a few absentee ballots that need to be counted. Second, there's lots of ways to count voter turnout. A lot of people compare the number of ballots received to the voting-age population. That's called a "VAP" number. Right now, the Secretary of State's website is simply dividing the number of ballots from each county from the number of registered voters in that county.

A much beter way to think about voter turnout is to compare the number of ballots with the Voting Eligible Population, or VEP. That excludes our rising felon population, along with others that for one reason or another might be of age, but are not eligible to vote.

The United States Election Project thinks that bad accounting is responsible for a lot of the rhetoric around voter turnout. If you use the VEP number, voter turnout in the US is actually better than it was in, say, the mid 1990s:

Using these numbers, California's historical voter turnout is roughly on par with the national average:

It's widely known that turnout in midterm elections is bad in general. So far, California's kept up with the ups and downs of the national trends.

Yet, the state could certainly do better. This year was certainly a down year and current estimates show California's 2014 turnout at 34.8 percent. That's less than 2 points below the national average of 36.6 percent, but it's more than 10 points below the last midterm election when the California netted a turnout of 45.8 percent.

So who's to blame? US News and World Report points out that the young aren't carrying their weight: exit polls showed that only 13 percent of voters were under 30. Also, non-whites make up a disproportionately large amount of the non-voters, according to these Pew statistics.

For perhaps these reasons, voter turnout tends to be lower in denser, more urban counties. In the map below check out the small dark circles in the northern counties where population is low but turnout is high. Those big pale circles around the Bay Area and Los Angeles County are showing some of the lowest turnouts, some well under 30 percent.



Photo Credit: Scott Pham
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<![CDATA[Weary Rivals in SoCal Race Hopeful]]> Thu, 06 Nov 2014 08:15:14 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/DeMaio-Peters-June-Primary.jpg

The long, divisive road to the 52nd Congressional District seat stretches on for its two weary candidates, incumbent U.S. Rep. Scott Peters and former San Diego city councilman Carl DeMaio, as officials prepare Thursday to start counting around 46,000 still-uncounted ballots.

Exhausted by a late election night that left DeMaio leading by just 752 votes, both candidates are trying to put a positive spin on the numbers.

“This is a historically bad night for Democrats, turnout historically low, and the fact that we're even close is a miracle. I think we're going to win this thing," Peters said at a news conference Wednesday evening.

The initial surge of results had DeMaio in the lead, but as the late ballots came in Tuesday night, the trend was in favor of Peters.

But DeMaio was just as confident that his campaign will come out on top.

“I believe when all votes are counted, we will prevail, and I will have the honor of being San Diego’s voice in the U.S. Congress,” he said at a Wednesday morning news conference.

The San Diego County Registrar of Voters says there were 36,000 mail-in ballots and 10,000 provisional ballots from the 52nd District to be counted, and all were sorted Wednesday.

On Thursday, the counting starts on those 46,000 ballots. Both candidates are sending representatives to make sure each vote is counted correctly.

The registrar is expected to release more numbers Thursday evening, and a final winner should be announced Monday.

But even after the ballots were cast, the biting comments remained.

When asked if he is prepared for a recount in the event of a very close final tally, DeMaio replied, “After what Mr. Peters has done in this campaign, I wouldn’t be surprised by anything.”

Peters’ response later in the day: “I think the campaign's over now. We can get past the hard feelings, stop whining. You know, let's just count the votes."

With nothing to do but wait, both candidates had time to reflect on their contentious campaigns and their plans for the future.

DeMaio will be hopping a plane to Washington, D.C., next week to attend the Congressional freshman orientation.

“What I emphasized last night was that my candidacy hopefully is the beginning of the Republican Party becoming more inclusive, of us getting past labels and putting people in boxes,” the gay candidate said.

While DeMaio zeroed in on reforming his own party, Peters said his focus will be reaching across the aisle in the now Republican-led Congress.

"Well the middle is my territory. I don't think there's enough of us who want to be in the middle,” he said. “I think one of the problems with Congress is it's so polarized and what I offer is a promise that I will always work with anybody."

Voters will continue to watch the results of the race closely, but the end of election season brings one thing both sides can be thankful for: no more political ads.

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<![CDATA[Sheriff-Elect McDonnell Moving Forward With Transition]]> Wed, 05 Nov 2014 20:36:25 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/lafile-los-angeles-county-sheriff-jim-mcdonnell.jpg

Newly-elected Sheriff Jim McDonnell has his work cut out for him.

"The main goal is to restore public trust in the LA County Sheriff's Department," said McDonnell Wednesday over coffee at a Long Beach restaurant not far from the police department he currently serves as chief.

McDonnell is the first to be elected Sheriff from outside the department in more than a century.

He will be sworn in on the first of December to succeed Interim Sheriff John Scott, appointed last January after Lee Baca chose to step down after 15 years.

McDonnell said he's eager to move forward with the transition, and has already met twice with Scott.

It is an enormous department, with more than 17,000 sworn and civilian employees, responsible not only for patrolling more than 40 cities and county areas, but also for running the county jail system and providing bailiff and other law enforcement duties in Superior Court.

The department faces continued scrutiny over the handling of the jail system, and patrol practices in the Antelope Valley.  Baca also faced criticism for allegedly affording special treatment to friends and supporters.

McDonnell served on the civilian commission that investigated the jails, and found "a persistent pattern of unreasonable force."  The commission's final report contained dozens of recommendations.

"Reason I'm here is because of what I saw on the jail commission," McDonnell said.

Prior to being chosen chief in Long Beach, McDonnell served 29 years with the Los Angeles Police Department, finishing as top deputy to then-Chief William Bratton.  McDonnell was in the running for LAPD chief in 2009 when Charlie Beck was selected.  McDonnell has worked closely with the Sheriff's Department, but never directly for it.

"He's sort of an outsider-insider, because of serving on that jail violence commission. So my expectations are very high," said Don Knabe, member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors from the Fourth District.  McDonnell was Knabe's appointment to the commission.

Targeting sex trafficking has been a priority of Long Beach police under McDonnell, participating in a county task force that has emphasized rescuing under-age victims.

McDonnell has long been an advocate of community policing, both in Los Angeles and Long Beach, and believes it can be more fully implemented by the Sheriff's Department in certain areas.

"Parts of the county are operating extremely well, and other parts not so well," McDonnell said. Early on he plans to do an assessment, "to be able to get kind of a wellness check on the whole county relative to our treatment of people and the focus on community policing."

In Tuesday's general election, McDonnell defeated former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka.

The term of office for sheriff is four years.  During the past century, LA's elected sheriffs have tended to remain in office for multiple terms.  Prior to the interim appointment of Scott and the election of McDonnell, the previous four sheriffs -- Baca, Sherman Block, Peter Pitchess and Eugene Biscailuz -- had served a combined 82 years.  The last time an incumbent sheriff failed in a re-election bid occurred in in 1998, when only days before the election, Block died.

Having yet to be sworn in, McDonell brushes off questions how long he would like to remain sheriff.

"I wouldn't want to speculate on what the future looks like other than I will work as hard as I can, do the best job, and we'll see what the future holds," said the sheriff-elect.

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<![CDATA[WATCH: Tot Wants to Vote ]]> Wed, 05 Nov 2014 05:35:20 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/195*120/Xavier+cries+p1.jpg

Xavier is only 3 years old.

He cannot legally vote for another 15 years. 

But Xavier is passionate about the democratic process. 

The tyke went with his mom, Erica Hallman Nagy to vote this morning near Grande Reserve Elementary in Yorkville, Illinois, and was visibly upset over the fact that he can't cast a ballot -- or get one of those stickers.

Just when it seems like Xavier is coming to grips with his lack of a role in choosing his elected officials, his mom drops a bombshell. 

"Did you know there's people out there who can vote that just don't?" she says.

Information about derelict voters is too much for Xavier to handle, and the kid loses it. 

The moral of this story: Go vote -- it's important and you get stickers. 

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