<![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 Fri, 21 Nov 2014 11:26:35 -0800 Fri, 21 Nov 2014 11:26:35 -0800 NBC Owned Television Stations <![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.

<![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.

<![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.

<![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.

<![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. 

<![CDATA[Connecticut's Last Dry Town No More: Vote Reverses Alcohol Ban]]> Tue, 04 Nov 2014 19:18:31 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/beer+bottles+generic+edit.jpg

Voters in the Connecticut town of Bridgewater made the historic decision Tuesday to end prohibition and reverse an alcohol ban in the state's last dry town.

Some residents have bars in their garages but the affluent town, which is home to actress Mia Farrow and a large weekend population of people from New York City, currently does not have a restaurant aside from a village store with a delicatessen.

The question arose last winter when Bridgewater faced the prospect of losing its only school and began searching for a way to breathe life back into the community.

Today, Bridgewater residents passsed the measure allowing alcohol sales at restaurants by a vote of 608 to 226, according to First Selectman Curtis Read.  Absentee ballots still needed to be counted Tuesday night.

The question on the ballot read:

"Shall the Town of Bridgewater adopt the following ordinance: The town of Bridgewater shall allow the sale of alcoholic liquor in all establishments operating under restaurant or café permits only between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday; between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 midnight on Friday and Saturday; between the hours of 12:00 noon and 10:00 p.m. on Sunday; and between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 a.m. on New Year's Eve?"

Businesses with restaurant or café permits will now be allowed to sell liquor between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m., Monday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday and between noon and 10 p.m. on Sunday, as well as 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. on New Year's Eve.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Runoff to Decide Race for LA County Sheriff]]> Tue, 04 Nov 2014 18:56:22 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/210*120/tanaka+mcdonnell+la+county+sheriff+twoshot.png

Voters will choose between Long Beach's police chief and Gardena's mayor Tuesday in the race to elect Los Angeles County's next sheriff.

Long Beach police Chief Jim McDonnell faces a run-off against retired Undersheriff and Gardena Mayor Paul Tanaka. Tanaka's name is on Tuesday's ballot, but his campaign has been largely inactive following a June primary in which McDonnell garnered 49 percent of the vote, nearly winning the majority needed to avoid the run-off.

Tanaka picked up 15 percent in the seven-way primary race. He raised just $27,000 in campaign donations from July 1 to Oct. 18, according to campaign finance filings. He dismissed campaign staffers and has declined requests for debates since the primary. Most of Tanaka's efforts to garner votes have been restricted to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

McDonnell has raised $620,000 in the same time period and has been active on the campaign trail, telling reporters he is taking nothing for granted. Heading into the June primary, McDonnell was the only outsider vying for the post vacated by four-term sheriff Baca, who retired in January amid federal investigations into deputy-on-inmate violence and corruption.

Tanaka retired from the Sheriff's Department in 2013 after serving more than 30 years. He had been accused by a civilian review commission of promoting a culture in which sheriff's deputies went undisciplined for violence against jail inmates.

Tanaka said he had never condoned excessive force and maintained that he was scapegoated by those who did not want to see him succeed Baca as sheriff. While testifying in the federal trial of another deputy, however, Tanaka acknowledged that he was under investigation as part of a continuing federal probe into the county jails.

McDonnell, a 29-year Los Angeles Police Department veteran who served as second-in-command to then-Chief Bill Bratton, seeks big changes for the embattled department.

"I look forward to ushering in a new era at LASD, continuing to move the department beyond past problems and restoring the trust of the community," McDonnell said.

McDonnell told civil rights advocates he would support a citizens' commission to oversee the department, but has not yet decided whether he would back subpoena power for such a group.

Tanaka has stressed his commitment to public safety. A Twitter account maintained by Tanaka's campaign posted a YouTube video Sunday with the hashtag .VoteNov4.

"Every citizen from the Antelope Valley to the South Bay has a fundamental right to live in a neighborhood where you feel safe and secure," Tanaka says in the campaign ad. "It is the responsibility of law enforcement to provide you with that environment. I have a proven track record for fighting crime."

McDonnell is endorsed by all five members of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, District Attorney Jackie Lacey, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck. Interim Sheriff John Scott added his endorsement Wednesday.

"He is the right person, at the right time, to take the leadership role and re-build this department," Scott said.

Since the primary, Tanaka's only newly published endorsement is from former sheriff's candidate and retired Lt. Patrick Gomez. The Oct. 8 announcement, on Tanaka's website, notes that Gomez joins current and retired LASD captains, police chiefs and Roy Burns, the former president of the union that represents the department's rank and file, in backing the former undersheriff.

<![CDATA[Duplicate Ballots Sent to LA County Voters]]> Mon, 03 Nov 2014 21:13:55 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/11-03-2014-ballot-la-county-election.jpg

Tens of thousands of Los Angeles County voters could be registered to vote more than once in Tuesday's election, opening up the possibility in this low-turnout election that double voting could potentially swing a race.

An NBC4 I-Team investigation has found that at least 442 Los Angeles County voters are registered to vote twice, but the number could be as high as 52,000. Some of those voters received two vote-by-mail ballots.

The problem persists five months after the I-Team first alerted the Los Angeles County Registrar of Voters to the problem. When asked by NBC4 if he knew how many voters are getting two ballots in the mail for Tuesday's election, Registrar-Recorder Dean Logan said, "No, no I don’t."

Logan couldn't explain why voters like Mary Johnson of Palmdale got two absentee ballots in the mail last month.

"I'm still amazed that I got two," Johnson told the I-Team. "If you found out I had two, how come they (LA County) couldn't have found out I have two?"

The I-Team obtained the list of all voters registered in the election and discovered numerous mistakes and inaccuracies on the voter rolls. For example, many voter registrations list "00/00/0000" as the date of birth. Providing an accurate date of birth is required to register to vote.

And, many names and addresses show up twice on the voter rolls. Registrar Logan said he has a six-person team that has been working full-time to clean up errors in the database of voter registrations.

"I can tell you that we have updated 96,000 records" since the I-Team first discovered problems in a June investigation, Logan said.

In June, the I-Team discovered that 95-year-old Mira Sonderling, of Sherman Oaks, received two vote-by-mail ballots for the June primary. But when NBC4 checked the November rolls, she was still listed as receiving two ballots.

When told of the I-Team's findings, LA County Supervisor Mike Antonovich's office expressed concern. In a statement to NBC4, the Supervisor’s spokesman, Tony Bell said, "The Supervisor will ask Dean Logan to explain the issues (raised by the I-Team) at Wednesday's board meeting."

Of deep concern is the fact that some LA County voters could potentially cast two ballots Tuesday in what could be some tight races.

"We might not catch it, unless somebody brings it to our attention," Logan said.

This article was corrected to clarify the number of people who were determined to be registered to vote twice.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Photoshopped Campaign Mailer Draws Criticism, Apology]]> Tue, 04 Nov 2014 06:52:19 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/226*120/11-3-14-photoshop+ballot.JPG

A State Assembly candidate says his opponent broke the law when he Photoshopped a gun into his hand and a hoodie onto his head for a campaign mailer whose message has come under fire from other politicians and community leaders.

"He took a hood, put it on my face, and put a gun in a fake hand, and he pushed it off as me," candidate Prophet Walker said of his opponent Mike Gipson. "Campaign laws forbid this type of thing."

The image of Walker's face was taken from a photo of him with a friend, and the mailer with it was sent to residents in the 64th Assembly District, which includes the cities of Carson and Compton, last week. Walker's campaign said it should have come with a disclaimer saying the image was altered.

On the mailer, the words "convicted felon" are stamped above Walker's head, while Gipson, a former police officer, is shown in uniform. The mailer asks which candidate will better protect voters.

"My daughter, who's nine years old, will live with this for the rest of her life," Walker said. "Her dad's never worn a hood with a gun in his hand ever, never held a gun to point or hurt anyone, period."

Walker admits he was convicted of assault and robbery at the age of 16 but says he has "paid every single debt" to society and wants to use what he's learned to serve his community. Walker turned his life around to counsel young people and work in construction.

"This is the same imagery that has been etched in our minds, that got Trayvon Martin killed, that sparked so much in Ferguson," Walker said.

Gipson has apologized for the imagery on the mailer in a statement, blaming the "over-the-top visuals" on a campaign volunteer and his own judgment.

He said in a statement posted to his website Friday that he let his emotions get the better of him and that his team didn't appropriately vet the ad, which he approved and which he said went to a "small" number of voters.

"In retrospect I realize that the volunteer’s graphic design elements went too far," Gipson said in the statement.

The district's congresswoman, Karen Bass, called the image "appalling" in a statement Friday.

Politicians and faith leaders renounced the mailer as an example of racial profiling at a press conference scheduled for 11 a.m. in downtown LA.

"We call on Mike Gipson and all those who support him to denounce this repugnant behavior," Pastor Xavier Thompson, of the Southern Missionary Baptist Church, said at the rally.

Gipson spoke with NBC4 Monday afternoon. He pointed to mailers from those supporting Walker, that accused Gipson of not making child support payments, and that called him a deadbeat dad.

"I have apologized even in that statement in terms of this particular mailer, but I will also say this. I've been attacked repeated, over 31 times in this election, by my opponent and outside interests," Gipson said.

Hawthorne Mayor Chris Brown doesn't think his mailer disqualifies him for the seat.

"I don't agree with the mailpieces all in all but at the day Mike Gipson is the one that can step in the job and do it today," Brown said.

The 64th Assembly District seat is open, with current holder Isadore Hall moving to the Senate next session.

Gipson and Walker's campaign to replace him was already negative before the mailer was sent out, according to the Sacramento Bee.

Voters will vote Tuesday to determine the winner of the race.

Ted Chen contributed to this report.

<![CDATA[Free Valet Parking, Pastries for Swank Sunset Blvd. Voters]]> Tue, 04 Nov 2014 11:34:48 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/208*120/LuxeHotelvote.jpg

Polling places run the gamut, and slightly outside of the gamut, as any voter can attest. Sometimes you're choosing your representatives in a mattress store or a classroom or a private living room, and sometimes you're in a posh hotel where a harpist is playing in the background.

Such will be the case on Tuesday, Nov. 4 when voters in a pair of precincts -- 9001354A and 9001364A -- head into the Luxe Hotel Sunset Boulevard to weigh in on state measures and judicial candidates. For sure, those oh-so-pride-worthy "I Voted" stickers shall be handed out, lest any lapel depart the Luxe unstickered, but other surprising additions await.

Like? Well, the solo harpist has been mentioned, so, yes, voters will punch those cards to the lilting strains of peaceful string music. Orange juice, tea, and coffee shall be there for the sipping -- not too unusual for a polling place to set out -- but so shall Chinese chicken salad, "delectable pastries," and brownies.

We won't say "only in LA!" to this, as there are several big cities in the world with their own posh polling places, but we shall say you can't get more quintessentially swanky SoCal than voting to harp music and munching on pastry.

One other unusual perk? Free valet parking for voters. That will be a conversation point at the office later in the day, we're fairly sure. (Plus the fact that the voting is all going down in the hotel's ballroom, which is sure to make the proceedings a mite fancier.)

And while we'll all visit a host of polling places over the course of our lifetimes, only a few tend to stick with us, memory-wise. The ones where we made a new friend in the queue, the ones where we voted quickly and efficiently, and the ones where we made our electoral choices backed by a harp soundtrack.

Photo Credit: Luxe Sunset]]>
<![CDATA[Conn. Gov., GOP Challenger Debate]]> Mon, 03 Nov 2014 13:09:17 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/malloy+foley+chaz+and+aj+debate.jpg

While Connecticut's Democratic Gov. Dan Malloy and Republican challenger Tom Foley may have hugged it out before their last debate at the request of radio hosts Chaz and AJ, their battle for the governor's seat remains fierce a day before the election.

The debate started in Milford at 8:30 a.m. and aired live on "Chaz and AJ In The Morning" on rock radio station 99.1 PLR.

Just a day after unaffiliated gubernatorial candidate Joe Visconti announced that he is suspending his campaign, Foley said he welcomed the unaffiliated candidate's support.

"This is about guns," Malloy said in response Visconti's endorsement of Foley, referencing Foley's opposition to new gun control legislation in the state.

Answering the opening question about jobs in Connecticut, Malloy touted his job creation record but admitted the state workforce has been reduced by about 1,000 people since he took office.

Malloy said he has "no plans to eliminate future workers," but added that there is "always the possibility that the use of technology will allow us to do things more effectively."

Foley promised not to cut state workers' jobs and vowed to lower car and property taxes.

"People are feeling the big squeeze," he said. "I'm not happy and most people I'm talking to aren't."

After Foley criticized Malloy for tax hikes and spending increases, the incumbent defended his administration's decisions, saying he and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman have budgeted responsibly. Malloy explained that he didn't cut the budget because it would have led to job losses, hospital closures and police and fire layoffs.

The governor also said he plans to reinstitute tax cuts on prescription drugs if re-elected.

"We've weathered tough storms and human tragedies. I'm asking for your vote," Malloy said.

With a day to go before the polls open, a new Quinnipiac University poll shows Malloy pulling support from 47 percent of likely voters to Foley’s 44 percent. Seven percent remain undecided. The results were released soon after Visconti suspended his campaign and endorsed Foley.

“Contrary to conventional wisdom, independent candidate Joe Visconti’s last minute exit from the governor’s race doesn’t look like it will help Republican Tom Foley,” said Douglas Schwartz, director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, in a statement.  

This is the second time the two candidates are in a battle for the governor's seat. In 2010, Malloy defeated Foley in the general election after a heated race.

Chaz and AJ closed the debate by having Malloy and Foley participate in a more light-hearted battle – Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots.

Malloy's blue robot quickly defeated Foley's red one. The radio personalities quipped that when they asked the candidates to play four years ago, the winner of the game ended up also winning the election.

Monday's gubernatorial debate was the last before the polls open Tuesday.

National party leaders are maintaining a presence in the state in the hours leading up to one of the closest governor's races in the country.

President Barack Obama rallied support for Malloy in Bridgeport on Sunday, while New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will appear in Windsor Locks alongside Foley this evening.

More Decision 2014 coverage is available here.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Padilla Wants to Be Secretary of State]]> Mon, 03 Nov 2014 11:24:36 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/tlancxtraalexpadillasun1102_1200x675_350788675569.jpg The Democratic Candidate for Ca. Secretary of State.. State Senator Alex Padilla... tells NBC4's Conan Nolan why people should vote for him.]]> <![CDATA[Sheila Kuehl: It's a Matter of Experience]]> Mon, 03 Nov 2014 11:31:23 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NCSEG1KUEHL110214_1200x675_350787651597.jpg It's the most powerful body of its kind in the nation. The L-A County Board of Supervisors with a 26 billion dollar budget and 100-thousand employees...each of the five members represent over 2-million people. NBC4's Conan Nolan talks with both candidates who want to replace Zev Yaroslavsky of District 3. First up...former State Senator and State Assemblywoman Sheila Kuehl.]]> <![CDATA[Bobby Shriver Makes His Case]]> Mon, 03 Nov 2014 11:26:22 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NCSEG3SHRIVER110214_1200x675_350782531717.jpg Former Santa Monica Mayor and Councilman Bobby Shriver wants to be the next Los Angeles County Supervisor representing District 3. He tells NBC4's Conan Nolan why he is running for office.]]> <![CDATA[Shriver: County Goverment Must Go Out to the People]]> Mon, 03 Nov 2014 11:27:29 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/198*120/shriverkuehldebate1.JPG Bobby Shriver is running against Sheila Kuehl for Los Angeles Board of Supervisors, District 3. If elected, he wants the board to have meetings outside the board room.]]> <![CDATA[Anaheim Election To Determine City's Political Future]]> Fri, 31 Oct 2014 17:01:26 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Decision+2014+generic.jpg

The Anaheim city elections are less than a week away, but don’t expect to see a glossy campaign flyer from Donna Acevedo in your mailbox.

Her budget to get elected to one of the City Council’s six seats is just $1,000, and she spent most of that on a PennySaver ad.

Acevedo is from Anna Drive, the neighborhood that became the flashpoint in July 2012 when police shot and killed two suspected gang members, one of them Acevedo’s son Joel.

"People need to not be afraid, and step up and know they can represent their community and where they're from," Acevedo said.

The shootings led to a summer of near riots and a lawsuit demanding the city change its electoral process to districts based on location, rather than the current system of "at large" candidates. The "at large" system allows candidates to be elected to represent an entire area, rather than within specific districts.

Jose Moreno, who was part of the lawsuit, is now a city council candidate — not to be confused with another council candidate also named Jose Moreno. He said creating districts would encourage more council members to mirror the majority, which is 53 percent Latino.

"Latino voters will feel their vote matters whether they vote for an Anglo or an Asian, if it's someone they believe in who has an interest in their community," Moreno said.

Councilwoman Lucille Kring disagrees. She's running for mayor, and believes dividing the city into districts would leave voters too few options.

"When you have an at-large system you move the budget forward," she said. "Everybody gets something because we believe all of us are responsible to the whole entire city."

The issue is not new.

Advocates of change have been making their case for years, especially following the shooting in 2012, which sparked national protests.

Before the 2012 city council election, the American Civil Liberties Union contended that electing all council members in Anaheim "at large" had effectively deprived predominantly Latino neighborhoods of representation.

ACLU representatives said the city should instead divide the city into districts from which council members would be elected, as is done in most California cities.

In January of this year, the ACLU settled Moreno’s lawsuit against the city in an agreement to let voters decide — and they'll get the chance on Tuesday with Measure L.

Voters will also choose whether to add two seats to the council. If the measures pass they would go into effect in November 2016.

The mayor however, will still be elected at large.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Election Mailers and Pamphlets 2014]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 21:06:45 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/198*120/2014+pro+Sheila+Kuehl+supervisor7.png Some of the many mailers and pamphlets sent to a mailbox near you this election season. ]]> <![CDATA[Prop 47 Aims for a Softer Criminal Justice]]> Tue, 28 Oct 2014 18:01:15 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/1028-2014-jailshoe.jpg

In a past life, Richard Martin was a rock musician. His bands were among the more popular of the 1990s San Francisco -- a promo photo shows he and his band mates in matching white jump suits posing in the middle of Montgomery Street. But in the backstage of Martin’s own life, he’d turned down a dark corridor of drug addiction.

"A lot of drugs around then," reminisced Martin. "I think almost everybody in the band got strung out."

Martin’s battle with drugs landed him in jail over the years for shoplifting and drug possession - possession of a hypodermic needle.

"I stole a lot of things," Martin said. "But I mostly stole things you can immediately turn around for money, so cigarettes."

Eventually his life of addiction-fueled crimes turned him into a convicted felon. Even 15 years after getting clean, his past still lives with him.

"I always have to click that box that says ‘yes I’ve been convicted of a felony,’” Martin said. "I’ve never been able to get a job in the private sector."

In fact, Martin’s record as a convicted felon prevented he and his wife from adopting a child. And despite a master’s degree in English, his teaching credential was revoked once the authorities learned of his record.

"What they call the collateral consequences of being a felon have haunted me my adult life," said Martin, who now helps run a non-profit organization in Oakland that helps former convicted felons turn their lives around.

The kind of small-time crimes Martin committed in servitude to a drug addiction are the sort of crimes that would be redesigned as misdemeanors under Proposition 47, which will appear on the November ballot.

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon co-authored the proposition as an attempt to reduce jail and prison populations, and to give drug addicts a chance to avoid hard prison time in favor of treatment.

"We need to deal with addiction," Gascon said. "And addiction cannot be cured by incarceration."

Prop 47 would re-designate crimes like shoplifting, drug possession for personal use, check fraud and petty theft under $950 as misdemeanors rather than felonies. Offenders could still serve up to a year in jail for convictions. Gascon said the proposition would not help felons with serious crimes on their records.

"If you have prior convictions for murder, sexual assault, rape, child assault," Gascon said. "Prop 47 will not give you any relief."

Gascon estimates 10,000 inmates serving time would be eligible to file for a reduction of their charges under the new law. While he admitted that could put a temporary strain on the state’s justice system, he said Prop 47 could eventually save the state up to $250 million a year in prison costs.

"We’re going to take the savings from our prison system and we’re going to put it into treatment for mental health, substance abuse," Gascon said.

Morgan Hill Police Chief David Swing, who heads the legal arm of the California Police Chiefs Association, said the passage of Prop 47 would be dangerous for the state. He said career criminals could exploit the law’s leniency to get away with habitual crimes.

"One of the things that 47 does that has some negative impacts is it removes prosecutorial discretion in the charging of crimes," Swing said.

Swing also doubts the proposition’s ability to steer addicts into treatment, saying the milder threat of a misdemeanor charge wouldn’t serve as big an incentive for criminals to opt for treatment. Ultimately, he said sentencing guidelines shouldn’t be left to a public vote.

"Is there an opportunity to have a robust and meaningful discussion around the topic of sentencing reform? Absolutely," Swing said. "But that discussion is best held in Sacramento."

Gascon said the state needs the thoughtful application of Prop 47 because the War On Drugs has proven a failure - resulting in prisons full of addicts scaling a slope of prison-schooled criminality.

"There’s a lot of signs that tell us incarcerating people that have mental health problems, have substance abuse problems doesn’t work," Gascon said.

Martin grinned at another publicity photo showing he and his band mates baring the serious expressions of rock stars. His gaze wandered to another photo - his own mugshot in the San Francisco Jail. He searched his thoughts for the words to describe Prop 47.

"Every voter who put this across would have a stake in the recovery of the people that they were sending to treatment," Martin said.

Photo Credit: Joe Rosato Jr.]]>
<![CDATA[Gov. Jerry Brown Pushes Water Bond During SoCal Visit]]> Tue, 28 Oct 2014 20:33:13 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/10-28-14-gov+jerry+brown+socal.JPG

Gov. Jerry Brown made a rare campaign appearance in Southern California Tuesday just one week from a possible re-election to an unprecedented fourth term.

Brown had three events in the Los Angeles area during which he defended his decision to appear a court ruling over teacher tenure and promote a drought-prevention plan.

"I would say it is pretty clear what our challenges are up ahead, particularly just dealing with our water and drought crisis," Brown said. "That will be enough to keep me busy if the people send me back."

Polls have Brown with such a comfortable lead that most of his time has been spent on behalf of Proposition 1, a water bond for conservation and water storage to prepare for future droughts, and Proposition 2, somewhat of a rainy day fund.

"Save water, save money, vote (Prop) 1 and 2," Brown said.

Republican opponent Neel Kashkari said he plans to vote for Prop 1 and 2, but will challenge Brown's other moves.

Kashkari is slated to release a new campaign ad focusing attention on Brown's effort in support of the California Teachers Associations.

Brown is appealing an LA County judge's decision in the so called Vergara case which invalidated lifetime teacher tenure and the seniority system, saying both robbed students of a right to an education.

"Brown had a choice: fight for the unions or fight for the kids," Kashkari said. "He betrayed the kids and is fighting for those unions."

Brown countered and said schools cannot "fire their way to excellence."

"If you just go find lots of teachers here and fire them, all of a sudden all the other teachers work harder and everybody gets a better teacher," Brown said. "We have a big problem that 10 percent of the teachers don't come back."

Photo Credit: Tommy Bravo]]>
<![CDATA[Differences Show in Gov. Debate]]> Tue, 28 Oct 2014 09:01:36 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/Baker+Coakley+Debate.jpg

On Monday, Republican Charlie Baker and Democrat Martha Coakley showcased their differences in the Massachusetts gubernatorial debate moderated by NECN's Latoyia Edwards at Worcester's Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts.

Coakley addressed reports that she is behind in some polls in a state that has favored Democrats historically; however, earlier Monday, the New York Times placed Coakley with 45 percent in favor of the Democrat and 41 percent in favor of the Republican.

"I believe this race is pretty close right now," Coakley said. "I'm confident we're going to win on Nov. 4."

It didn't take long for the candidates to begin disputing the hot topic of the Massachusetts economy. Baker said that the difference between him and Coakley is he will not raise taxes for the citizens of the Bay State.

"He has a typical Republican playbook of cut taxes for big businesses," Coakley said, adding that she will invest in the people, rather than give breaks to corporations.

Another topic that has the state divided is the question of Boston hosting the 2024 Olympics. Baker said he believes it's a great planning exercise, while Coakley supported the plan fully.

"I say go for the gold," Coakley said.

Health care and the problems that Harvard Pilgrim have faced was another point of disagreement. Coakley told Baker that the turnaround resulted in layoffs and lost care, as he made choices Coakley said she would not have made.

"You look at the bottom line and don't see people," Coakley explained.

"So, you don't have any suggestions about how you would have dealt with the problems at Harvard Pilgrim?" Baker asked Coakley, prompting an applause from his supporters.

"That's not the point," Coakley said. "You are always looking at the bottom line, and so that's one example of it."

The candidates soon segued into Baker's quest to seek 100 percent support of Massachusetts voters, specifically the support of women.

"I don't have a group called 'Men for Martha," Coakley shot back. "I look at the people who haven't had a seat at the table."

There were a few questions that Baker and Coakley agreed on in the lightning round, including support of the casino law and the freezing of coalition rates. In addition, both candidates said they will stop running for public office if they lose the 2014 gubernatorial race.

NECN, the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, Telegram & Gazette and Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts hosted Monday's debate.

Photo Credit: NECN
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<![CDATA[Jeb Bush Still Hasn't Made Decision on 2016]]> Mon, 27 Oct 2014 06:19:41 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/474646291.jpg

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush still "has not made a decision" about whether he'll run for president in 2016, a spokesperson said after the GOP politician's son seemed to suggest over the weekend that a bid is likely.

"Governor Bush has not yet made a decision on whether or not he will run in 2016. He will thoughtfully consider it following the mid-term elections, and make a decision late this year or in the early part of next year," Bush's spokesperson, Kristy Campbell, told NBC News.

But in an interview with ABC News' John Karl, son George P. Bush said his father is " still assessing it."

"I think it's -- it's more than likely that he's giving this a serious thought and moving -- and moving forward," George P. Bush said.

"More than likely that he'll run?" Karl asked.

"That he'll run. If you had asked me a few years back, I -- I would have said it was less likely," the younger Bush responded.

In an interview with Fox earlier this month, former President George W. Bush said he thinks his brother "wants to be president."

"Yes, I think he wants to be president," he said. "I think he'd be a great president. He understands what it's like to be president -- for not only the person running or serving, plus family," he said.

Jeb Bush, 61, was Florida's governor from 1999 to 2007. He has been popping up in recent ads supporting current Florida Gov. Rick Scott in his re-election bid.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[NewsConference: Torlakson v. Tuck for Education Chief ]]> Sun, 26 Oct 2014 07:03:40 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Ncseg1torlakson1019_1200x675_344416835615.jpg State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson is running for re-election. He is a former state senator, assemblyman and teacher. He tells NBC4's Conan Nolan why he deserves another term.]]> <![CDATA[NewsConference: About Pete Peterson, Lt. Gov. Candidate]]> Sun, 26 Oct 2014 07:03:07 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Ncseg2peterson102514_1200x675_347633219824.jpg The race for California Secretary of State is one of the few the state GOP believes they may have a change at winning. Pete Peterson who is running as a Republican talks with NBC4's Conan Nolan why he wants the office.]]> <![CDATA[NewsConference: Why Run for Lieutenant Governor]]> Sun, 26 Oct 2014 06:58:52 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NCseg3ltgovrace102514_1200x675_347634243557.jpg NBC'4 Conan Nolan speaks with both candidates for California Lt. Governor. Dem Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom tells Nolan why he wants to keep his job. GOP Candidate Ron Nehring explains what changes he do to the office if he were to be elected.]]> <![CDATA[NewsConference: California Ready for Ebola]]> Sun, 26 Oct 2014 06:55:27 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Ncseg1Dauner102614_1200x675_347636291826.jpg California nurses association tell Governor Jerry Brown that not ONE hospital in the state is ready deal with Ebola. NBC4's Conan Nolan talks with the Pres. and CEO of the California Hospital Association Duane Dauner to get the other side. Dauner says this week five University of California medical centers throught the state were approved to deal with the deadly disease and more hospitals will be approve next week.]]>