Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Wins, losses in California Assembly races

No on Prop 32 Canvassing - 4

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

David Besbris, left, a member of SAG-AFTRA, Steve Flint, and Ellen McCrea, members of IATSA Local 600, canvass a Pasadena neighborhood during election day on Tuesday

In the San Fernando Valley, it looks like Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon’s political career may be over, at least for now. The longtime politician – who had stints on the city council, in the state Senate and very briefly in the state Assembly – lost the 39th Assembly District seat to Raul Bocanegra, who pulled ahead with 59 percent of the vote. It was a tough race for Alarcon, who is facing multiple felony counts of voter fraud and perjury for allegedly living outside of his city council district.

Last month, Alarcon told reporters that the case cast a dark shadow over his race.

“The issue is about residency and I think all the voters have the opportunity to consider my service versus a residency issue and let the courts decide,” he said.

The race was also an example of political musical chairs. Raul Bocanegra is the chief of staff to incumbent Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes. Fuentes is leaving the Assembly to run for Richard Alarcon’s seat on the city council.


Proposition 36: Three Strikes reform passes easily

Mercer 9526

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

L.A. District Attorney Steve Cooley endorsed Prop. 36.

California voters overwhelmingly passed Proposition 36, which amends the state's Three Strikes law to mandate that a third strike, which carries a life sentence, be a serious or violent crime.

Sixty-nine percent voted "yes" on the measure. California's Three Strikes law, once considered the toughest in the country, now looks more like dozens of other similar laws around the country.

California voters have rejected changes to the law, passed 18 years ago, in the past. In 2004, Proposition 66, which would have more drastically changed the law, failed despite polling well in the weeks before the election. Proposition 36, a considerably more modest reform, did not see the kind of coordinated opposition past reform efforts faced.

Nevertheless, district attorneys around the state opposed the change, which gives them less discretion over who should face the state's toughest punishments. But the L.A. and San Francisco D.A.'s, Steve Cooley and George Gascon, notably endorsed Proposition 36, saying the reform would help strengthen the law's legitimacy.


Maven's Morning Coffee: Election results

Polling Election Day 2012

Mae Ryan/KPCC

It's the morning after the big election. Take a look at the results.

Good morning, readers. Welcome to the Maven's Morning Coffee -- a listing of the important headlines, news conferences, public meetings and announcements you need to know to fuel up and tackle your day.

The Maven's Morning Coffee is also available as a daily email. Click here to subscribe.

Today is Wednesday, Nov. 7, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:


Did you hear? President Barack Obama won reelection. Los Angeles Times, New York Times

As expected, Rep. Brad Sherman beat Rep. Howard Berman in the San Fernando Valley, per KPCC.

An advisory measure that would have urged the Board of Supervisors to amend the charter and make the assessor an appointed rather than elected position failed, according to City News Service.

Measure J, which would extend L.A. County's half-penny sales tax for public transit, appeared to be falling short of the two-thirds needed for approval. The Los Angeles Times says it's too close to call.


Redistricting shakes up California's Congressional races; Bono Mack trailing

U.S. Capitol Building

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The flag waves in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

The story of this year’s California Congressional races is — surprise! — money: money from the parties, money from PACs (including one started by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg), money from siblings, and money from the candidates themselves.

36th Congressional District — Coachella Valley:

In an apparent upset, Republican incumbent Mary Bono Mack is losing to Democrat Raul Ruiz. Bono Mack was a prime target for Democrats. Ruiz is an emergency room doctor. Both parties poured in the money, flooding both the Palm Springs and LA TV market with political ads.  Bono Mack's husband Connie Mack gave up his House seat to run for the US Senate in Florida. He lost.

RUIZ: 51.4%; BONO MACK 48.6%

35th Congressional District — Chino

N.Y. Mayor Michael Bloomberg dropped $2.5 million of PAC money into Democratic State Senator Gloria Negrete McLeod’s campaign to defeat veteran Democratic Congressman Joe Baca. The Congressional baseball team loses its star pitcher. It was a bad night for the Baca family as well; the Congressman's son Joe, Jr. lost his race for the state assembly. 


Updated vote totals on California propositions, Measure J

Alice Walton / KPCC

Members of the L.A. Democratic Party and the County Federation of Labor at the Stadium Club in Dodger Stadium, celebrating President Barack Obama's re-election.

Good morning, folks. Let’s get back to where we were with the campaigns at Dodger Stadium. 

Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax measure, Proposition 30, passed with 54 percent of the vote. Proposition 32 was defeated, achieving just 44 percent of the vote. Both of those are victories for the L.A. County Federation of Labor, which spent months working to defeat Prop 32.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s transportation tax extension was defeated this morning. Measure J fell just short of the two-thirds vote needed. The measure would have extended L.A. County’s half-cent sales tax for public transit projects. Though the mayor was Measure J’s biggest cheerleader, he was MIA in Los Angeles last night. Villaraigosa flew to Chicago for President Barack Obama’s victory party.  

In response to the defeat, the Los Angeles County Democratic Party said in a statement Wednesday, "Once again, the special interests and conservative forces have managed to twist the truth and defeat our efforts to create hundreds of thousands of job here in Los Angeles County.  The Los Angeles County Democratic Party will continue to stand up for Angelenos and fight against the special interests from further impeding progress in Los Angeles County."