<![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, 04 May 2015 07:09:35 -0700 Mon, 04 May 2015 07:09:35 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Sen. Sanders Announces White House Bid]]> Thu, 30 Apr 2015 09:21:58 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/sanders-announce.jpg U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders discusses his plans to run for the White House in 2016.]]> <![CDATA[Sen. Marco Rubio Speaks in Downtown LA ]]> Tue, 28 Apr 2015 17:02:52 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/176*120/469613970_594_screen.jpg

Presidential hopeful Sen. Marco Rubio delivered a speech and answered questions from Southern Californians at a nonpartisan town hall Tuesday afternoon.

Angelenos heard the Florida senator speak for about an hour with Town Hall Los Angeles at the City Club Los Angeles downtown.

"If we become globally competitive again, if we equip our people with the skills they need for the 21st century, if we exercise American leadership on a global stage, the 21st century won't be just as good as the 20th Century but it will be better," Rubio said.

Though he took no questions from reporters, the audience asked the politician several, ranging from regulatory reform to improving roads and bridges.

"I was impressed but I'm a Democrat," said Hilary Norton, executive director of a transportation nonprofit. "But I'm glad we are adding new ideas into the conversation."

The junior senator also had the chance to reiterate his opposition to lifting the embargo on Cuba.
"We should not cozy up to a government that sells arms to North Korea or denies basic human rights to its citizens," Rubio said.

Rubio announced his candidacy for president April 13 in Miami and has traveled throughout the country to raise money and support.

Rubio has the challenge of setting himself apart from the two Republican candidates who are officially running, Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky, along with a pool of other potential contenders.

He's the youngest candidate in the race at 43 years old.

Rubio will also hold private fundraisers in LA and San Francisco on his first trip to the Golden State since he announced his run for higher office, The Associated Press reported.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Obama Jokes at Correspondents' Dinner]]> Sun, 26 Apr 2015 02:09:02 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Obama-White-House-Correspondents-Dinner-1.jpg President Obama poked fun at politicians, government officials and himself at this year's White House Correspondents' Dinner.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Terry Tornek Voted Pasadena's New Mayor]]> Wed, 22 Apr 2015 01:09:34 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/215*120/150421-pasadena-generic.JPG

Terry Tornek has been voted the city of Pasadena's first new mayor in nearly two decades. 

He beat fellow City Council member Jacque Robinson after winning 55.5 per cent of votes in a runoff election on Tuesday. He took a total of 7,652 of the counted votes. 

According to City Clerk Mark Jomsky, there remains approximately 1,300 mail in ballots to be counted, plus whatever additional vote-by-mail ballots are received by Friday.

Tornek will serve as the city's first new mayor in 16 years. Current Mayor Bill Bogaard announced his retirement last fall, after serving as Pasadena's mayor for four terms.  

While both mayoral candidates have been involved in Pasadena politics for years, the two had different visions of how to shape Pasadena's future.

Candidate Tornek, a real estate developer and former city planning director, believes building upon local health care institutions bodes well for Pasadena. 

"We've got all kinds of proposals to build additional health care stuff and that's great for the city in terms of employment opportunity, in terms of the quality of care that is offered. That's the reason that Pasadena plays big," Tornek said. 

Tornek hopes to create more opportunities at locations like Pasadena Community College and the California Institute of Technology, which he believes "really impact Southern California and the world." 

Robinson is a Pasadena native. If she had been elected she would have been the first city-wide elected African American and female mayor. She told NBC4 that she, in part, supports an increase in the city's minimum wage to $15 per hour. 

Twenty percent of registered voters turned out during the city's March primary. 

The city of Pasadena, located in Los Angeles County, is home to the annual Rose Bowl football game and Tournament of Roses Parade. 



Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Clinton Has Qualms on Trade Deal]]> Tue, 21 Apr 2015 15:16:10 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/l_apclintonburritox1200.jpg

The second day of her first 2016 campaign visit to New Hampshire found Hillary Clinton at another roundtable, this one at New Hampshire Technical Institute in Concord.

Clinton says community colleges need to reinvent themselves and better market what they offer.

"It's one of the reasons why I really support President Obama's efforts to try to raise the visibility of Community Colleges and make it even more affordable for even more people to go," said Clinton.

Obama's proposal calls for community college to be free.

In contrast, Clinton expressed qualms over the trade deal the Obama administration is negotiating with Pacific nations.

Clinton's campaign previously said she would be closely watching efforts by the administration to complete the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Her comments Tuesday were her first on the subject on the campaign trail.

"We need to build things, too," she said. "We have to do our part in making sure we have the capabilities and skills to be competitive," while getting back to "a much more focused effort, in my opinion, to try to produce those capacities here at home."

Even so, she stopped short of rejecting the Trans-Pacific Partnership - an agreement opposed by many manufacturing unions.

The next stop for Clinton is the Concord home of 94-year-old Mary Louise Hancock, a New Hampshire Democratic Party stalwart who has hosted dozens of Presidential candidates in her living room over the years.

In keeping with Clinton's no media strategy, reporters were held at bay. And it's not just reporters frustrated by the lack of access.

"She is being insulated to the degree that she should not be as a candidate," said independent voter Brian Blackden. "We don't run campaigns in New Hampshire, never have, with one candidate from the party, and it's wrong."

The Clinton campaign doesn't disclose most of her stops - but Hillary Clinton is not difficult to find. Just look for the crowd of people, motorcade of cars and secret service.

Another stop, not on the public schedule, a visit with Democrats at party headquarters where Clinton is warmly supported - though the progressive wing of the party is listening closely and Clinton is responding.

Political analyst Dean Spiliotes says, "She's sounding much more populist, much more progressive. Wall Street supporters for now seem to be kind of okay with that . They see it as a strategic choice that she has to make."

Besides free community college, Clinton now supports same sex marriage as a constitutional right and she is talking about limiting "unaccountable money" in politics.

 

Content from the Associated Press was used in this report.



Photo Credit: AP | Charlie Neibergall]]>
<![CDATA[2016 NH Primary Candidate Tracker]]> Fri, 10 Apr 2015 06:28:47 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/candidate-tracker-NH.jpg

The candidates included in the tracker are individuals identified by necn as potential 2016 presidential contenders. The list will change as the race develops. Information about candidate stops was collected from media reports, candidate schedules and plans confirmed by necn.

For more coverage of the 2016 New Hampshire Primary and politics throughout New England, check out necn.com's "Politics First" section.


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<![CDATA[Former RI Gov. Lincoln Chafee Exploring Presidential Bid]]> Thu, 09 Apr 2015 07:59:55 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/183*120/72123949.jpg

Lincoln Chafee, the former governor and U.S. senator from Rhode Island, announced Thursday that he has formed an exploratory committee to consider a run as the Democratic nominee for president in 2016.

His launch was made on his website, Chafee2016.com.

Chafee will spend the next few months in New Hampshire, Iowa and other key battleground states, according to a statement issued Thursday morning. 

"Throughout my career, I exercised good judgment on a wide range of high-pressure decisions, decisions that require level-headedness and careful foresight," Chafee said. "Often these decisions came in the face of political adversity. During the next weeks and months I look forward to sharing with you my thoughts about the future of our great country."

Chafee served in the U.S. Senate as a Republican from 1999 until 2007. That same year, he left the Republican Party and became an independent. He switched his affiliation to Democratic in 2013.

He served as governor until 2014. He did not seek re-election.



Photo Credit: FILE - Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Analysis: Rahm Emanuel Wins Again]]> Tue, 07 Apr 2015 21:31:55 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/rahm-463880456.jpg

It always seemed inevitable that he’d win. That was the point.

Rahm Emanuel won his re-election contest Tuesday night and bested challenger Jesus “Chuy” Garcia to remain in charge of Chicago for another four years, the Associated Press projects.

“I have had the good fortune to serve two presidents, being elected to congress, but being mayor of the city of Chicago is the greatest job I’ve ever had," Emanuel told supporters. "I’m humbled at the opportunity to serve you, the greatest city, for the next 4 years."

The acerbic mayor overcame questions about his personal style and fended off opposition from the Chicago Teachers Union and the Service Employees International Union who backed his opponent, to win back the job of running city hall.

It wasn’t easy for a mayor who’s used to getting his way. Emanuel expected to cruise to victory in a February primary where he took on a weak field of challengers. But the self-confident political operative, who’s served in Congress and in two White House administrations, ran into trouble.

Garcia, the handpicked candidate of the Chicago Teachers Union, shocked the political system and thrilled progressives when he forced Emanuel into the city’s first ever runoff election for mayor.

Emanuel was left vulnerable after a tenure that saw him clash with teachers over a contract dispute that led to a strike, close 50 schools in mostly black neighborhoods, preside over a wave of violent crime on the south and west sides, and install a series of questionable red light cameras around the city, among other autocratic decisions.

But his opponent, who turned in an impressive result on primary night, was not able to turn Emanuel’s weaknesses into an electoral victory. Garcia often punted on opportunities to outline a specific plan for helping the city through its myriad fiscal woes and ran a campaign whose central theme was “I’m not Rahm.”

Emanuel, who relied on a nearly $30 million war chest to run advertisements during the campaign, may not have offered many more fiscal specifics than Garcia. But his attack ads painted the challenger as completely unprepared for the job of managing a multi-billion dollar budget. The image stuck and Chuy’s reliance wait-and-see-ideas (he said he’d form a commission to look at the city’s finances after the election) didn’t help define him as a candidate that could cross the hurdle of preparedness.

It turns out voters favored the bully who talked the talk instead of the good guy who didn’t say much.

"We are the city that works, and that means it has to work for everyone in every neighborhood. The decisions we make in four years will determine what Chicago will look like in the next 40 years," Emanuel said in his victory speech.

But Emanuel’s victory brings with it some questions and some challenges because the man who earned the nickname Rahmbo continues to have an image problem.

And while a majority of voters cast their ballot for Emanuel, the may have held their nose voting. Emanuel remains a deeply disliked individual. He even acknowledged his testy personality in an on-air advertisement that saw him own up to his reputation as a hard-charging jerk.

Will he try to hang on to the softer side of Rahm? Can the mayor swallow his pride when dealing with a cadre of individuals and organizations that endorsed his challenger or will he stick it to them, dead fish style? Put another way: Will Rahm play nice in his second go around?

That’s not so inevitable.



Photo Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jeb Bush ID'd Himself as "Hispanic" on Voter Form]]> Tue, 07 Apr 2015 07:15:58 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP632245416248.jpg

Likely Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush said Monday that a 2009 voter registration form that identified him as Hispanic was a "mistake."

"My mistake! Don’t think I’ve fooled anyone!" the former Florida governor tweeted in response to a post by one of his sons.

The existence of the form was first reported Monday by the New York Times, which obtained information from the Miami-Dade County Elections Department.

Bush, who was born in Texas and is the brother of the former President George W. Bush. He speaks fluent Spanish, according to the Times, and lived in Venezuela for two years in his 20s.

His wife Columba is from Mexico and is also fluent in Spanish. Bush has drawn on his background and experience to build support among Latino voters.

A spokeswoman for Bush could not explain the characterization to the Times.



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[How to Achieve Mandated Water Cuts]]> Sun, 05 Apr 2015 08:39:16 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/TLA_NC_EXTRA_KIGHTLINGER_2_040515_1200x675_423025731796.jpg Nineteen million people rely on what this man and his board does: Jeffrey Kightlinger, general manager for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, is in charge of the largest water district in the nation, which distributes the water to 26 different districts throughout the region, like LA DWP and San Diego County. NBC4’s Conan Nolan talks with Kightlinger about how MWD is going to achieve Governor Jerry Brown's call for a 25 percent reduction in water use in the state and what it means for you.]]> <![CDATA[Lease Signed for Hillary Clinton Campaign HQ]]> Sat, 04 Apr 2015 08:44:17 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/clinton-emails-USE-THIS-ONE-465797002.jpg

A lease has been signed for an office in Brooklyn that is expected to be the headquarters for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, sources familiar with the deal told MSNBC on Friday.

The space takes up two floors of a building on Pierrepont street in Brooklyn Heights that also houses offices for Morgan Stanley and the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. 

MSNBC reports that it's not clear when Clinton or her team signed the lease. Under federal election rules, candidates have 15 days from the day they engage in campaign activities, like renting office space, to officially declare a run.

During the 2008 campaign, Clinton made her headquarters outside Washington.



Photo Credit: Yana Paskova/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Indiana Gov: We Intend to Fix "Perception" Problem of Law]]> Tue, 31 Mar 2015 11:55:30 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/pence-presser-468206814.jpg

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence on Tuesday said a bill he signed into law last week has been "grossly mischaracterized" and subjected to "shoddy reporting," but said he and legislators have been working around the clock to draft new legislation to clarify its intent.

"We've got a perception problem here ... and we intend to correct that," Pence told reporters during a morning press conference from Indianapolis.

The Republican reiterated earlier comments that the intent of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act was not to discriminate but to protect religious freedom. The measure prohibits state laws that "substantially burden" a person's ability to follow his or her religious beliefs. The definition of "person" includes religious institutions, businesses and associations.

Gays and lesbians are not a protected class under Indiana’s civil rights laws, and critics of the law alleged it could provide some businesses the opportunity to refuse providing services or selling goods to some people based on religious grounds.

Pence said he found that claim "offensive," and called upon the state's General Assembly to address the issue.

"This law does not give businesses a right to deny services to anyone," he said. "The intent of the law was to give the courts in our state the highest level of scrutiny in cases where people feel that their religious liberty is being infringed upon by government action."

His comments Tuesday were a follow-up to an op-ed piece he penned for the Wall Street Journal that the law was not a "license to discriminate."

"I abhor discrimination," he wrote. "I believe in the Golden Rule that you should ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

The law sparked outrage from many in Indiana's business community and others with ties -- established and planned -- to the Hoosier state. The public-employee union known as AFSCME announced Monday it was canceling a planned women's conference in Indianapolis this year because of the law. The band Wilco said it was canceling a May performance. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe issued an open letter to Indiana corporations saying Virginia is a business-friendly state that does "not discriminate against our friends and neighbors," while Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel sent letters to more than a dozen Indiana businesses, urging them to relocate to a "welcoming place to people of all races, faiths and countries of origin."

In a separate editorial with a clear message, Indiana's largest newspaper, the Indianapolis Star, stressed urgency: "Fix this now."



Photo Credit: Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Indiana Gov. Addresses Law Controversy]]> Tue, 31 Mar 2015 07:56:48 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Mike-Pence-Indiana-Gov.jpg

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence said in a Tuesday op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that a controversial bill he signed into law last week is not a "license to discriminate."

"I abhor discrimination," he wrote. "I believe in the Golden Rule that you should ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ If I saw a restaurant owner refuse to serve a gay couple, I wouldn’t eat there anymore."

"As governor of Indiana, if I were presented a bill that legalized discrimination against any person or group, I would veto it," he continued.

His published remarks are an attempt to quell the firestorm that's brewed since he affixed his signature to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act last Thursday. The measure prohibits state laws that "substantially burden" a person's ability to follow his or her religious beliefs. The definition of "person" includes religious institutions, businesses and associations.

Gays and lesbians are not a protected class under Indiana’s civil rights laws, and critics of the law maintain it could allow some businesses to refuse providing service or selling goods to some people based on religious grounds.

That's sparked outrage from many in Indiana's business community and others with ties -- established and planned -- to the Hoosier state. The public-employee union known as AFSCME announced Monday it was canceling a planned women's conference in Indianapolis this year because of the law. The band Wilco said it was canceling a May performance. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe issued an open letter to Indiana corporations saying Virginia is a business-friendly state that does "not discriminate against our friends and neighbors," while Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel sent letters to more than a dozen Indiana businesses, urging them to relocate to a "welcoming place to people of all races, faiths and countries of origin."

Republican legislative leaders said they are working on adding language to the law to make it clear it does not allow discrimination against gays and lesbians.

In a separate editorial with a clear message, Indiana's largest newspaper, the Indianapolis Star, stressed urgency: "Fix this now."



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA["I'm Not Running": Warren Shuts Down 2016 Buzz Again]]> Tue, 31 Mar 2015 06:36:50 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP868875334282.jpg

Sorry, "Elizabeth Warren for President" holdouts.

The U.S. senator from Massachusetts on Tuesday dealt another blow to supporters — and rivals on the right — hoping she'll enter the 2016 race, repeating her intention to stay on the sidelines. 

"No, I am not running and I’m not going to run," she told NBC's Savannah Guthrie in an interview.

"I'm not running. I'm not running," she repeated when asked again whether there was any room to hedge.

Warren, who has gained a national profile as a vocal critic of Wall Street, has insisted for months that she does not plan to run against likely candidate and frontrunner Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic primary. On Tuesday, as she appeared on the "Today" show to promote her new memoir, she said serving in the U.S. Senate is the best platform for fighting for changes on financial regulation, student loans and more.

“I’m in Washington and I’ve got this really great job and a chance to try to make a difference on things that really matter," she said.

The senator's own words haven't stopped supporters on the left from continuing a draft-Warren effort to lay groundwork and generate support for a run. Republicans have also used the buzz surrounding a possible Warren bid to rally their base — citing the progressive Democrat in fundraising emails and other appeals for support.

Even as she rejected the speculation surrounding her own plans, Warren sidestepped a question about whether Clinton is the best messenger on issues embraced by the party's liberal wing.

“I think we need to give her a chance to decide if she’s going to run and declare and to lay out what she wants to run on," she said. "I think that's her opportunity to do that.”



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Apple's Tim Cook: "Religious Objection" Laws Are "Very Dangerous"]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 10:22:16 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/tim-cook-apple-fortuna.jpg

Apple CEO Tim Cook slammed Indiana's new "religious objection" legislation over the weekend, penning a Washington Post piece warning that “there’s something very dangerous happening in America.”

The piece, which was posted late Sunday night, said the openly gay executive, who was raised in a Baptist home in the South, was "deeply disappointed" in the recently passed "Religious Freedom Restoration" law in Indiana that shields business owners who turn away customers for religious reasons.

"This isn’t a political issue," he wrote. "It isn’t a religious issue. This is about how we treat each other as human beings. Opposing discrimination takes courage. With the lives and dignity of so many people at stake, it’s time for all of us to be courageous."

Cook called this new wave of legislation "very dangerous," noting there are about 100 similar bills under consideration in two dozen states. And he added that they "go against the very principles our nation was founded on" and "have the potential to undo decades of progress toward greater equality."

“America's business community recognized a long time ago that discrimination, in all its forms, is bad for business,” he wrote. “At Apple, we are in business to empower and enrich our customers' lives. We strive to do business in a way that is just and fair. That's why, on behalf of Apple, I'm standing up to oppose this new wave of legislation — wherever it emerges. I'm writing in the hopes that many more will join this movement.”

Cook, who was baptized in a Baptist church and grew up in the South in the 1960s and 1970s.  He publicly disclosed that he is gay in October. Last week, Cook announced that he will give his fortune away.



Photo Credit: NBC NEWS]]>
<![CDATA[Iraq War Vet Tammy Duckworth Launches Senate Bid in Illinois]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 16:24:28 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Tammy-Duckworth3.jpg

In a video to supporters, Rep. Tammy Duckworth on Monday made official a 2016 challenge to Sen. Mark Kirk. 

"I’m running for the United States Senate in 2016 because it’s time for Washington to be held accountable and to put Illinois’ families and communities first," the Hoffman Estates Democrat said her video message.

Duckworth, an Iraqi war vet who lost her legs in a helicopter crash, recently had her first baby at the age of 46. 

Well known in her district, her message was a sort of introduction to a statewide audience. She said she was a Marine, a wife, a new mom and a combat veteran. She recalled the financial struggles she faced with her family while growing up and as she put herself through college.

"If you elect me as Illinois’s Senator, I will fight my heart out to represent you with honor and integrity," she said. 

Kirk, who suffered a stroke in 2012, plans to run for re-election.

Illinois Republicans quickly tied Duckworth to former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who is currently serving time in a Denver-area prison on a corruption conviction.

"Rod Blagojevich protégé Tammy Duckworth is not the kind of partisan politician Illinois families want to represent them in the United States Senate," said Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider. "Duckworth represents the extreme wing of the Democrat party — voting with Nancy Pelosi 92 percent of the time. I have no doubt that next November, Illinois voters will re-elect Mark Kirk who has been a strong & independent voice for our state in Washington."



Photo Credit: YouTube / Tammy Duckworth
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<![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]]>