<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Politics]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/politics http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California http://www.nbclosangeles.com en-us Mon, 30 Mar 2015 02:35:11 -0700 Mon, 30 Mar 2015 02:35:11 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Presidential Candidate Ted Cruz Speaks in NH]]> Fri, 27 Mar 2015 13:22:38 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/cruz-AP938170470053.jpg

Just days after making his presidential candidacy official, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is in New Hampshire for a two-day swing.

Cruz was the first major candidate to announce a run for president. He made the announcement on Monday at Liberty University in Virginia.

On Friday, he attended a rally in Merrimack, New Hampshire, at 3 p.m.

He's also scheduled to speak later in the day at the "New England Freedom Conference" in Nashua, being held by the Young Americas Foundation. On Saturday, he is scheduled to speak at a brunch being hosted by the Rockingham County Republican Committee and the Seacoast Republican Women.

Cruz has made four previous visits to the Granite State with more than a dozen individual stops dating back to 2014. See those visits and more in NECN's New Hampshire Candidate Tracker. 



Photo Credit: FILE - AP Photo/Andrew Harnik]]>
<![CDATA[CA Attorney General Moves to End Anti-Gay Initiative]]> Thu, 26 Mar 2015 07:44:47 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/file-kamala-harris-ca-ag.jpg

California Attorney General Kamala Harris asked a state court on Wednesday for permission to reject a proposed ballot initiative stipulating that anyone who engages in gay sex be killed.

Harris issued a statement saying she was making the unusual request to stop the measure filed by a Southern California lawyer late last month. The initiative seeks to amend the California penal code to make sex with a person of the same gender an offense punishable by "bullets to the head or by any other convenient method." The distribution of gay "propaganda" would be punishable by a $1 million fine or banishment from the state.

"This proposal not only threatens public safety, it is patently unconstitutional, utterly reprehensible, and has no place in a civil society," Harris said.

Matthew McLaughlin, the Orange County lawyer who paid $200 to submit the initiative, did not respond to a telephone call seeking comment. A Democratic state senator, Ricardo Lara, has asked the California bar to investigate whether McLaughlin's actions make him unfit to practice law.

The measure puts Harris in a difficult position. Although the bill has no discernible momentum or likely chance of success, she said unless a judge rules otherwise, she will have no choice but to give McLaughlin the go-ahead to seek the nearly 366,000 votes needed to qualify the measure for the November 2016 ballot.

California is one of 21 states where citizens can petition to have laws put on the ballot through the gathering of voter signatures. Under California's initiative process, state officials do not have authority to refuse to administer initiatives they find objectionable, the California Supreme Court has ruled. Although few of the dozens submitted to the attorney general each year make it on the ballot, the ease with which a resident with a pet peeve can gain clearance to circulate their proposals while seeking signatures has prompted calls for reform.

University of California, Davis law professor Floyd Feeney, an expert on California's initiative process, said Harris alone cannot impede the proposed law. And despite the numerous legal problems with McLaughlin's proposal, Feeney said he was not convinced a court would agree to halt it at this stage.

"The courts, rightly or wrongly, treat the initiative as sort of the citizen right and they are reluctant to get involved in trying to get rid of it, at least in advance, by using the law to keep something from being presented to the electorate," he said.

On Wednesday, a Southern California real estate agent, Charlotte Laws, countered the so-called "Sodomite Suppression Act" with an initiative of her own. Titled the Intolerant Jackass Act, it would require anyone who proposes an initiative calling for the killing of gays and lesbians to attend sensitivity training and make a $5,000 donation to a pro-LGBT group.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images for Variety]]>
<![CDATA[Gov. Brown: Climate Change Skeptic Cruz Unfit for President]]> Sun, 22 Mar 2015 12:02:06 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/brown-cruz.jpg

Calfiornia Gov. Jerry Brown tore into climate change skeptics on Sunday, saying one major presidential hopeful's position on climate change should disqualify him from the highest office in the nation.

Brown warned that climate change would be a major issue for America's next president in an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press," days after announcing a roughly $1 billion plan to combat California's drought.

"That man has rendered himself absolutely unfit to be running for office," Brown said, when asked about Texas Senator Ted Cruz's claim that there isn't a scientific consensus that climate change is caused by human activity.

Cruz made his remarks on "Late Night With Seth Meyers" this week, saying that "climate alarmists" have a problem because scientific data doesn't back up their claims.

"My view actually is simple. Debates on this should follow science and should follow data," Cruz said.

The Associated Press reported Sunday that Cruz was preparing to formally announce on Monday that he will run for president in 2016.

Brown, who has sought the White House three times, said more than 90 percent of climate scientists "are absolutely convinced" that human and industrial activity are leading to heat-trapping greenhouse gasses that caused both California's drought and severe cold and storms on the Eastern seaboard.

According to NASA, 97 percent of climate scientists agree that warming trends in the last 100 years are "very likely due to human activities."

When pressed by NBC's Chuck Todd, Brown didn't directly link his state's drought crisis to climate change, but said more droughts are inevitable in the coming decades. Two-thirds of California are in an extreme drought after more than three years of low water levels, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Brown also called the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) letter to convince states to block or ignore the EPA's proposed carbon pollution regulations "a disgrace."

"Here's the point, that the buildup of carbon coming from coal and petroleum and other sources, that this is going to create these droughts and much, much worse. And that's why to have the leader of the Senate, Mr. McConnell representing his coal constituents, are putting it at risk, the health and well being of America, is a disgrace," Brown said.

Calling the drought California's new normal, Brown wants a presidential campaign "almost at the level of a crusade" to make the public aware that man-made carbon dioxide emissions can have an affect on the climate. He implied that politicians who dismiss the scientific consensus on climate change are doing the bidding of profit-hungry constituents and corporate donors.

"The coal companies are not as important as the people of America and the people of the world," Brown said.

Climate change, balancing the country's budget and investing in science and technology are the three issues presidential candidates should be talking about, Brown said.

Asked if he would consider running if he was 10 years younger, the 76-year-old Brown said, "Yes, I would."

"If I could go back in a time machine and be 66, I might jump in. But that's a counterfactual, so you don't need to speculate on that," he added.



Photo Credit: Getty Images/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Lewinsky Talks Cyberbullying, Affair on TED Stage]]> Fri, 20 Mar 2015 10:39:01 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/TED2015_031915_2DD7163.jpg

Monica Lewinsky spoke bluntly about cyberbullying and her own experience in the public spotlight Thursday, as the she took the stage for one of her most prominent appearances since her affair with President Bill Clinton as a White House intern.

Lewinsky, now 41, said during a TED talk that her own scandal was “brought to you by the digital revolution," according to TED.com. When the news of the tryst broke online, she told the audience that she transformed from being a “completely private figure to a publicly humiliated one worldwide.”

“At the age of 22, I fell in love with my boss,” the website cited her saying. “At the age of 24, I learned the devastating consequences."

The Internet, she said, had created a culture where people enjoy viewing others' downfall online, a dynamic that made her situation worse at the time it was made public in the 1990s.

“It was one of the first time that the traditional news was usurped by the Internet, a click that reverberated around the whole world,” she added. “When this happened to me, 17 years ago, there was no name for it. Now we call it cyberbullying.”

She later referenced cyberbullying cases in recent years that have made national headlines, including that of an 18-year-old student at Rutgers University in New Jersey who jumped off the George Washington Bridge after his roommate secretly watched him having a sexual encounter with a man using a webcam and posted about it online. 

In her 18-minute talk, Lewinsky urged people to be more compassionate and mindful when communicating online.

"Showing empathy to others benefits us. Imagine walking a mile in someone else's headline," she said. 



Photo Credit: James Duncan Davidson/TED]]>
<![CDATA[Feds Probe Ex-Rep. Schock: AP]]> Fri, 20 Mar 2015 16:13:00 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP326057663792_RepSchock.jpg

Friday was the day things went from bad to worse for Congressman Aaron Schock.

The Congressman, already under fire for globe-trotting vacations, documented on Instagram and often billed at taxpayer or campaign expense, abruptly resigned on Tuesday. And on Friday, federal subpoenas began going out, in what would appear to be a wide-ranging investigation of the Peoria Republican’s finances.

NBC 5 Investigates has learned that even former Schock staffers began receiving subpoenas to appear before a Federal Grand Jury in Springfield in April. And separately, the Federal Election Commission confirms it has received a complaint, asking for an investigation of the congressman’s campaign accounts.

Schock’s resignation blunted a pending inquiry by the House Ethics Committee, but his upcoming departure does not quell a potential criminal investigation. And a spokesman for the F.E.C. confirmed that enforcement matters there can continue even if a candidate or officeholder is no longer active, since political committees often continue in existence long after an official has left office.

Neither the congressman’s spokesman or his attorneys returned calls seeking comment.

Investigators are reportedly focusing on Schock’s House office expenditures and expenses, his campaign, and personal investments. The FBI would not formally comment on the investsigation. But the agency’s Springfield chief made clear that a probe is underway.

“Public corruption is one of the FBI’s top criminal priorities,” said Special Agent in Charge Sean Cox. “When there are allegations of public corruption, it is our responsibility to look into those allegations.”

In resigning Tuesday, Schock cited a “heavy heart”, but that the constant questions about his spending and business dealings had become too much of a distraction. His departure was so sudden, the congressman did not even give the customary (and expected) notice to House leadership. Speaker John Boehner made no effort to rise to his defense.

“If somebody’s going to violate the rules, they’re going to violate the rules,” Boehner said. “And in almost every case, sooner or later, it catches up with you.”



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Launches 2016 Exploratory Committee Ahead of NH Visit]]> Thu, 19 Mar 2015 09:29:28 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP333051909036.jpg

Business mogul Donald Trump is considering throwing his hat in the 2016 ring, announcing the formation of a presidential exploratory committee.

"We have lost the respect of the entire world," Trump said in a message from the committee. "Americans deserve better than what they get from their politicians, who are all talk and no action!"

Trump went on to tout his success as a businessman and added he will push to control the nation's borders, education system and military.

Trump will also head to New Hampshire Thursday night, bringing his total number of trips to the home of the nation's first primary to at least five since early 2014, according to NECN's 2016 New Hampshire Primary Candidate Tracker.

He is expected to address the media following a reception at the home of State Rep. Steve Stepanek. Trump was invited back in January when Stepanek was at the Iowa Freedom Summit.

"It sounds like he's serious," Stepanek said of Trump. "He's gonna get a taste for what it's like to campaign in New Hampshire. We're going to have him wade into the crowd, doing what you have to do to be a candidate in New Hampshire."

Stepanek, who said he's hosted similar events for Rudy Giuliani and others in the past, is expecting about 200 people on Thursday. It's the first in a series of house parties featuring GOP presidential candidates being hosted by the House Republican Caucus. Ted Cruz is expected to speak in April, and Ben Carson in May.

Trump recently wrapped up hosting the seventh season of reality show "Celebrity Apprentice," in which television personality Leeza Gibbons won $250,000 for a charity of her choice.

Trump, whose presidential aspirations have generated buzz for years, recently said he would not renew his contract for the show, according to the Associated Press, a sign that he could be more serious this time around. The show airs on NBC, which is owned by the same parent company as this site.



Photo Credit: File - AP]]>
<![CDATA[Ill. Rep. Aaron Schock Resigns]]> Tue, 17 Mar 2015 17:18:06 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Aaron-Schock-blurb1.jpg

Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock announced his resignation from Congress Tuesday following questions surrounding misuse of funds in his campaign and congressional spending accounts, including reports that he redecorated his office with lavish decor inspired by "Downton Abbey."

"Today, I am announcing my resignation as a Member of the United States House of Representatives effective March 31st," Schock said in a statement. "I do this with a heavy heart. Serving the people of the 18th District is the highest and greatest honor I have had in my life. I thank them for their faith in electing me and letting me represent their interests in Washington.

The Republican congressman said he has given the people of his Peoria-area district his all since his election in 2008, "but the constant questions over the last six weeks have proven a great distraction that has made it too difficult for me to serve the people of the 18th District with the high standards that they deserve and which I have set for myself."

The move, first reported by Politico, comes after numerous reports alleging questionable expenses by the congressman. Sen. Dick Durbin said the resignation "came as a surprise."

"With this decision, Rep. Schock has put the best interests of his constituents and the House first," U.S. House Speaker John Boehner said in a statement. "I appreciate Aaron's years of service, and I wish him well in the future." 

Last week, NBC5 Investigates reported that Schock had billed his office account and leadership PAC for over $16,000 in mileage for his personal car, last year alone. On Tuesday, POLITICO reported that Schock had billed various entities for over 170,000 miles over for years, for a personal car he sold with only about 80,000 miles on the odometer.

“It’s a sad day for the people of the 18th District,” said Kankakee Congressman Adam Kinzinger. “He was a friend of mine, and I just wish him luck in the future.”

In Chicago, the chief of the Illinois Republican Party seemed to put some distance between the party and a congressman.

“Honesty and integrity are of utmost importance when serving the public,” said Chairman Tim Schneider. “Today is an unfortunate day for the people of the 18th Congressional District, the State of Illinois, and the Illinois Republican Party.

A special election will be held to replace Schock, a four-term congressman who was the Congress’ youngest member when he was elected at age 27. The election must be held within 120 days of the seat becoming vacant.

Among those considered contenders for the job, State Senator Darin LaHood, whose father Ray LaHood preceded Schock, before leaving Congress to become Secretary of Transportation.

“It is clear to me Congressman Schock believes he is doing what is best for the people of the 18th District at this time,” LaHood said Tuesday. “I will be evaluating the full impact of this decision in the next few days.”

In a separate report Monday, the website Buzzfeed reported that Schock spent more than $5,000 from his House account for a portable podium that looks a lot like a presidential podium used by President Barack Obama. A public watchdog group has filed a federal ethics complaint against the lawmaker for using congressional money to redesign his office in the style of the TV show "Downton Abbey" and for billing taxpayers or his campaigns tens of thousands of dollars in private air travel on donor-owned planes.

“This is a sad day for the people of Illinois and the 18th District," Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner said in a statement.

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<![CDATA[Photos of Rep. Aaron Schock's "Downton Abbey" Office]]> Tue, 17 Mar 2015 11:38:59 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/schock-th-462707536.jpg Photos of Rep. Aaron Schock's (R-IL) new office in the Rayburn Office Building, which was designed to resemble the dining room of the PBS show 'Downton Abbey,' on January 30, 2015 in Washington, DC. The interior decorator owns a company called Euro Trash LLC.

Photo Credit: The Washington Post/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[NewsConference EXTRA: LA Municipal Election Analysis]]> Mon, 09 Mar 2015 10:02:15 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NCEXTRA2ELEXANALYSIS030815_1200x675_409633859517.jpg Time to talk politics. NBC4's Conan Nolan is joined by, Jessica Levinson of Loyola Law School and Robert Stern, formerly with the Center for Governmental Studies, to take a look at this week s municipal election. Still up for grabs: three seats at LAUSD. And how about the Barbara Boxer seat: Some say, "Hold on, Kamala Harris."]]> <![CDATA[LA City Election: Winners and Losers]]> Mon, 09 Mar 2015 10:00:19 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NCEXTRA1ELEXANALYSIS0308151_1200x675_409629251658.jpg Analysis of the 2015 Los Angeles City election with Jessica Levinson, of Loyola Law School, and Robert Stern, former president of the Center for Governmental Studies. NBC4's Conan Nolan asks who won and lost, and about possible big changes at the board of education.]]> <![CDATA[Dismal Voter Turnout for LA City Elections]]> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 00:45:29 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/ELECTION_FOLO-_NOLAN_WEB_1200x675_408558147848.jpg Voter turnout was dismally low for the LA city elections, as incumbents easily kept their seats. Conan Nolan reports for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on March 4, 2015.]]> <![CDATA[Best Political Mustaches]]> Wed, 04 Mar 2015 08:46:59 -0700 since he was age 14 and a sophomore at St. Rita High School.]]> since he was age 14 and a sophomore at St. Rita High School.]]> http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/215*120/tlmd-jesus-chuy-garcia.jpg Chicago mayoral candidate Jesus "Chuy" Garcia isn't the only politician sporting the 'stache. ]]> <![CDATA[Angelenos Head to the Polls]]> Wed, 04 Mar 2015 00:36:34 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/web_conan_election_5p_1200x675_407879235743.jpg With a small turnout expected, Angelenos headed to the polls as several key city council seats are up for grabs. Conan Nolan reports for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on March 3, 2015.]]> <![CDATA[TX Pol Backs Legal Pot, Citing God]]> Tue, 03 Mar 2015 14:15:23 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/marijuana-plants-generic.jpg

A state lawmaker from East Texas says God didn't create marijuana by mistake and is pushing to remove all offenses related to the plant from Texas statutes.

Texas State Rep. David Simpson (R-Longview) filed a bill Monday that would repeal the state's ban on growing, possessing and selling marijuana.

"I don't believe that when God made marijuana he made a mistake that government needs to fix," Simpson wrote in an editorial on Trib Talk. "Civil government should value everything God made and leave people alone unless they meddle with their neighbor."

Under Simpson's bill, the government would not regulate the drug and all penalties currently in place would be removed beginning Sept. 1.

In addition to religion, Simpson said the "well-intended" war on drugs has only created a culture of "no-knock warrants," "stop-and-frisk" and "billionaire drug lords" and that existing drug laws are as big a failure as prohibition.

"You would think that our country's history with alcohol prohibition — an era marked by bootlegging, organized crime, government corruption and a rise in crime in general — would have prevented us from making the same mistake again," Simpson wrote. "The time has come for a thoughtful discussion on the prudence of the prohibition approach to drug abuse."

Four states have legalized marijuana for recreational use, Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington; 23 states and the District of Columbia have laws legalizing marijuana in some form, medical or otherwise.

Full House Bill No. 2165:



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[NJ Officer Meets President Obama]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 11:39:24 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/216*120/Officer+Obama+Camden.jpg

Although cops are used to being called to important gatherings, a New Jersey officer was shocked to discover who she would be meeting at an upcoming event.

Officer Virginia Matias of the Camden County Police was told by Chief Scott Thompson that she would be meeting President Barack Obama.

“He called me and told me I would have the honor of meeting the president,” the 28-year-old said. “It was unreal, I thought ‘is this a joke?’”

Matias went to the White House and met Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in at the White House on Feb. 24 along with five other officers across the U.S. who were nominated by the heads of their respective departments.

“As soon as they opened the door to the Oval Office he was right there with a smile on his face,” Matias said. “He was very welcoming, I felt like I was at home.”

Obama met with the officers to thank them for their service and discuss how law enforcement can work with communities to ensure public safety.

“We’re a model of community policing, so he wanted to get our feedback on what’s working,” Matias said.

Matias was motivated by a tragic event in her teens to become an officer.

“When I was around 17, I had an uncle who was murdered in North Camden while he was operating his bodega in 2003,” Matias said. "At that moment, I knew I wanted to be a part of a change in my city."


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<![CDATA[Runoff for Rahm: Mayor Falls Short]]> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 05:22:19 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/rahm+and+chuy.jpg

Rahm Emanuel failed to clinch another term as Chicago's mayor on Tuesday, setting the stage for an unprecedented runoff election against challenger Jesus "Chuy" Garcia.

Results showed the incumbent mayor with about 46 percent of the vote, short of the 50 percent-plus-one support he needs to win another term outright. Garcia, a Cook County commissioner, came in second place with 34 percent. 

The results mean the two will face off April 7, a potentially embarrassing result for a high-profile politician who has already spent millions in his re-election bid. It is the first time since the city changed its election system in the 1990s that an incumbent mayor is forced into a runoff. 

"We have come a long way and we have a little bit farther to go," Emanuel told supporters. "This is the first step in a real important journey for our city. To those who voted for me in this election, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. For those who voted for someone else, I hope to earn your confidence and your support in the weeks to come." 

A boisterous Garcia celebrated the outcome as a win over moneyed interests and other powerful forces supporting the incumbent, saying the results show "the people have spoken."

"Nobody thought we’d be here tonight," Garcia said. "They wrote us off; they said we didn’t have a chance. They said we didn’t have any money while they spent millions attacking us. Well, we’re still standing! We’re still running! And we’re gonna win!" 

Emanuel, a former White House chief of staff, struggled to rise above 50 support throughout the campaign, even as he outpolled his four lesser-funded and known challengers. A late campaign blitz that blanketed the airwaves and a public appearance last week with President Barack Obama — a move seen as an effort to appeal to undecided African-American voters — couldn’t propel the 55-year-old mayor to victory.

The 55-year-old Democrat anchored his re-election bid on first-term efforts to better the lives of Chicagoans, highlighting pushes to expand access to early childhood education, raise the minimum wage and improve the city’s business climate and infrastructure. But he faced criticism for other major policies pursued during his first term, including his decision to close dozens of schools.

The school closures fueled a tumultuous relationship with the Chicago’s Teachers Union, which went on strike in 2012. The union, which also clashed with Emanuel over other changes to the city’s education system, endorsed Garcia after a brain cancer diagnosis sidelined its own president, Karen Lewis.

Political expert John P. Frendreis said while Garcia is “funny, he’s got a good speaking presence, he’s been around long enough, he’s got this colorful nickname so people kind of know him,” it was the support of the teachers that made the race competitive. 

“It’s really the school controversy, the closure of schools, the continued opening of charter schools and then the ... battle with the CTU and Rahm that has generated any kind of heat in this and has made him even remotely vulnerable,” the political science professor at Loyola University in Chicago, said ahead of Tuesday’s race.

Emanuel's “bare-knuckles” approach to running the city, despite yielding results in some areas, also hurt his standing with some voters, analysts say.

“He’s reasonably good at his job,” Freindreis said. “Now where he has stumbled is that he is a tough guy and he is a bully and sometimes he is just too smart for his own good and so he’s rubbed people the wrong way because he’s not nice.”

Emanuel’s challengers criticized him throughout the campaign for not doing enough to help bring jobs, safer streets and other opportunities to all Chicagoans. Garcia told NBC Chicago he would, to hire a thousand more police officers, reduce class sizes and standardized tests and “invest in neighborhoods to attract manufacturing or industrial-creation jobs.” In addition to the backing from the teachers, he also gained headlines for winning the endorsement of the liberal political group MoveOn.org. The group applauded Tuesday's results as a "huge win for progressives and working families across Chicago." 

Even if Emanuel succeeds in winning a second term in April, some observers say the education initiatives he pushed in his first four years could take a hit in Chicago and beyond.

“Over the next few years you could have mayors, some Democrats and some Republicans, in cities across the nation saying I’m going to pick the kids over the unions,” said Keith Koeneman, author of “First Son: The Biography of Richard M. Daly.”

Check back with NBCChicago.com for more on this developing story. For complete election night coverage, visit the Ward Room blog. 

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<![CDATA[Senator Speaks Out About Hate Mail]]> Fri, 20 Feb 2015 21:54:41 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/web_mekahlo_lara_6p_1200x675_402255427779.jpg California Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) speaks out about hate mail that has been coming in since he proposed legislation legalizing driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants. Mekahlo Medina reports for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m., Feb. 20, 2015.]]> <![CDATA[State Department Changing Export Rules on Drones]]> Wed, 18 Feb 2015 12:50:27 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/drone-casa-blanca.jpg

The State Department said on Feb. 17 that it is changing its export rules covering unmanned aircraft.

The Associated Press interpreted the announcement as a loosening of rules covering the export of unmanned aircraft able to carry weapons, when the export is to countries friendly to the United States.

There is a good chance the change would affect San Diego businesses that supply aircraft to the U.S. military and close allies such as those in NATO.

The new State Department policy states, among other things, that armed and other advanced unmanned aircraft are to be used in military operations “only when there is a lawful basis for use of force under international law, such as national self-defense.”

The department guidelines also prohibit unlawful surveillance of populations.

 



Photo Credit: bhphotovideo.com
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[NewsConference: "Tom Bradley's Impossible Dream"]]> Sun, 15 Feb 2015 11:12:34 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NCseg3bradley021515_1200x675_399336003613.jpg In celebration of Black History Month, NBC4's Conan Nolan looks at Tom Bradley, the first African-American mayor of America's second largest city, through the eyes of his daughter, Lorraine Bradley. She is featured in the documentary, "Tom Bradley's Impossible Dream."]]> <![CDATA[Ca. Assembly Speaker Atkins' $52 Car Tax Proposal]]> Sun, 15 Feb 2015 11:08:46 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NCseg2speakeratkins021515_1200x675_399336003713.jpg California Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) wants to levy a $52 car tax to improve the state infrastructure. She tells NBC4's Conan Nolan why.]]> <![CDATA[NewsConference: Combining Elections A Good Idea?]]> Sun, 15 Feb 2015 11:07:08 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NCseg1charteramend1021515_1200x675_399338051771.jpg A debate on Charter Amendment 1 & 2, on whether or not to put city and LAUSD elections on the even-number year ballot with state and federal elections. NBC4's Conan Nolan talks with both sides. Representing the "Yes" side: Fernando Guerra, Ph.D., co-chair Citizens for Increased Voter Participation. Representing the "No" side: Hans Johnson, spokesperson for Save Our City Elections.]]> <![CDATA[NewsConference EXTRA: A Better State Park System?]]> Sun, 15 Feb 2015 09:01:59 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/TLANCXTRAWOO021515_1200x675_399338051821.jpg Michael Woo, former Los Angeles City Councilman and the current Dean of Environmental Design at Cal Poly Pomona, is a member of the state's Parks Forward Commission. He tells NBC4's Conan Nolan about a new report that looks at how to solve the problems with the state's parks -- all 279 of them.]]> <![CDATA[Group Takes Issue With Lawmaker's "Islamic" Tweet]]> Fri, 13 Feb 2015 23:00:26 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/223*120/2-13-15_Tweet_Controversy.JPG

Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore, was under fire Friday from a Los Angeles-based Muslim advocacy group that called her use of the phrase "Islamic savages" in a tweet "hate rhetoric."

"Statements like these cause mistrust and fear of Islam and Muslims," said Haroon Manjlai, with the Council on American-Islamic Relations of Greater Los Angeles, or CAIR-LA. "It is unbecoming of a public elected official to issue such bigoted statements."

On Tuesday, Melendez posted a tweet saying "Gut wrenching news today. American Kayla Mueller murdered by Islamic savages. There MUST be consequences. MM."

She ended the Twitter post with the hashtag #standupagainstIslam.

Mueller, of Prescott, Ariz., was captured by the terror group Islamic State while working on behalf of a Middle East-based relief organization in Syria. The 26-year-old Mueller apparently was killed last week in a Jordanian air strike against an IS stronghold. Manjlai criticized Melendez for seeming to associate all Muslims with terrorism.

"Hate rhetoric can and does lead to hate crimes against people," the CAIR-LA spokesman said. "We call on Assembly member Melendez to retract and apologize for her anti-Muslim comment and for smearing the faith of more than 1.6 billion people."

The lawmaker released a statement Thursday insisting she never had any "intention to offend peaceful Muslims.

"However, I've had enough of Islamic extremists and terrorists who oppress women and burn people alive in the modern world," Melendez said. "This isn't about hash tags; it's about America standing up with our allies and putting an end to the barbaric behavior we are witnessing around the world."

Melendez is a U.S. Navy veteran in her second term as a member of the state Assembly.

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<![CDATA[Philly Chosen as 2016 DNC Host]]> Thu, 12 Feb 2015 17:51:07 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/philly+skyline+generic+camden+waterfront+sunset+comcast+liberty+place.jpg

The 2016 Democratic National Convention will be held in Philadelphia, party leaders announced Thursday.

Philadelphia beat out two rival cities for the chance to host the party’s nominating convention in July 2016. Both Brooklyn and Columbus, Ohio, were in the running through the final round of the bidding process.

Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz said the city’s “deep rooted place in American history provides a perfect setting for this special gathering.”

“I cannot wait to join Democrats across the country to celebrate our shared values, lay out a Democratic vision for the future, and support our nominee,” she said.

Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter said the city's "proven track record of hosting big events safely and efficiently with a dynamic team of top-tier professionals to organize and manage a conference of this magnitude, paired with our City's tremendous amenities, its accessible location and historical significance" made it an ideal pick.

"We're all delighted to make history again, here in the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection," he said.

The final contract between the DNC and Philadelphia was signed Thursday, Wasserman Schultz said. The convention will take place the week of July 25, 2016. The decision was made following a meeting between Wasserman Schultz and President Barack Obama Wednesday night in the Oval Office, a source involved in the selection process confirmed to NBC10.

"The president enthusiastically signed off," said the source.

The meeting of Democratic politicians and delegates will be the second major event for the city in less than a year's time. In September, millions are expected to flock to Philadelphia to see Pope Francis during the 2015 World Meeting of Families.

Philadelphia last hosted a national convention in 2000, when Republicans gathered there. Republicans have already announced plans to hold their 2016 nominating convention in Cleveland.


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