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Political News: Cisneros leads Kim in 39th District, Gold Line to pause at La Verne until new funding is found

Fri, November 16, 2018 10:47 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Los Angeles Times: Democrat Gil Cisneros pulls ahead of Republican Young Kim as more votes are tallied

Democrat Gil Cisneros pulled ahead of Republican Young Kim in one of California’s undecided congressional races Thursday, an ominous sign for a GOP already reeling from its loss of four House seats in the state.

In updated vote counts released by the registrars for Orange and San Bernardino counties, Kim fell 941 votes behind Cisneros in the contest to succeed Republican Rep. Ed Royce in California’s 39th Congressional District. The 39th straddles Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Orange counties.

The Nov. 6 midterm election has been devastating to Republicans in California. If Cisneros and Porter win, the party will have lost six of its 14 House seats in the state, essentially a wipeout in every contest that both parties spent heavily to win. The three Republicans already bounced from Congress are Reps. Dana Rohrabacher of Costa Mesa, Steve Knight of Palmdale and Jeff Denham of Turlock in the San Joaquin Valley. Democrat Mike Levin won the seat of retiring GOP Rep. Darrell Issa of Vista in the fourth district flipped so far.

Los Angeles Times: Republicans lose a fifth House seat as Democrat Katie Porter ousts Rep. Mimi Walters

In another blow to California Republicans reeling from defeats in the Nov. 6 election, Democrat Katie Porter has ousted GOP Rep. Mimi Walters in an upscale Orange County congressional district that was a longtime conservative bastion.

At the same time, the updated vote count Thursday by the Orange County registrar of voters had Democratic House candidate Gil Cisneros pulling 941 votes ahead of Republican Young Kim in an adjacent congressional district.

The Associated Press projected Porter’s unseating of Walters in the 45th Congressional District contest after Orange County’s tally found that the two-term incumbent had dropped 6,203 votes behind her challenger.

It is the fifth House seat in California that Republicans lost in last week’s election. Democrats will control at least 44 of the state’s 53 seats in the House. It’s a new low point for a state GOP sorely damaged over the last two decades by the kind of hard-line immigration politics championed by President Trump.

In an essay Thursday in the Washington Examiner, former California GOP Chairman Shawn Steel bemoaned the party’s near-collapse, saying Republicans were “completely outmatched” in fundraising and grass-roots organizing.

“California Republicans, long in the wilderness, have now reached the point of desperation,” he wrote.

San Gabriel Valley Tribune: Gold Line extension delayed due to steel tariffs, runaway construction costs, authority says

Citing tariffs on imported steel, tighter immigration policies and rising wages, the Gold Line Construction Authority board Tuesday voted to build only half the Glendora-to-Montclair extension, saying runaway construction costs could prevent building out to Montclair.

By a 5-0 unanimous vote, the board authorized the surprise staff recommendation that the 12.3-mile extension needs to be built in two phases due to costs rising 38 percent, from $1.5 billion to $2.1 billion.

The Authority, which had scraped together $1.5 billion and had broken ground on utility replacement work, was about to award a design-build contract and make history as the first light-rail train extending from Los Angeles County to the Inland Empire when all four bidders said their costs would be way above the Authority’s estimated price tag.

In order not to derail the entire project, the Authority will use the money to build the first eight miles and new stations in Glendora, San Dimas and La Verne two years earlier than planned, by 2024.

The project from La Verne to Claremont, Pomona and Montclair becomes an iffy phase two, dependent on the economy, market forces and the agency finding the extra funding within the next two years.

“We have high probability we will be able to build from Glendora to La Verne with the funds we have now. To go beyond that, we need the $570 million,” said Habib Balian, CEO of the Construction Authority at the special board meeting in Monrovia.

CALMatters: Dan Morain: A landslide victory, supermajorities, and a fat budget surplus: It's good to be Gavin right now

The good news just keeps coming for California Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom.

Not only did he win a resounding 60 percent-plus landslide, but he will be greeted by a two-thirds supermajority of fellow Democrats in both houses—more than sufficient to approve a tax increase. Not that he’ll need it any time soon.

That’s because he’ll also inherit a $200-billion plus budget that, as it turns out, is in “remarkably good shape” heading into the coming year, with nearly $30 billion in combined reserves and unexpected tax revenue, the Legislative Analyst’s Office reported Wednesday.

“By historical standards, this surplus is extraordinary,” the analyst wrote in its annual fiscal outlook for the 2019-20 budget year.

So is Newsom’s luck, says Hoover Institution research fellow Bill Whalen, who worked in Gov. Pete Wilson’s administration. “This,” Whalen said Wednesday, “is living under a fortunate star.”

One reason for the analyst’s projected surplus is that spending increases will be “very low” for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that under Gov. Jerry Brown, lawmakers have sought to limit increases in ongoing spending.

San Gabriel Valley Tribune: LA Metro committee approves $500 million in 710 freeway gap dollars for local SGV road improvements

For the first time since LA Metro killed the extension of the 710 Freeway, the agency on Wednesday approved 34 alternative projects, saying improvements to roads and major thoroughfares affected by traffic from the freeway’s northern terminus represents a new, cities-driven approach that flies in the face of Caltrans’ more-than-60-year desire to complete the 4.1-mile gap between El Sereno, South Pasadena and Pasadena.

The Metro Ad Hoc Congestion, Highway and Roads Committee unanimously approved the first set of projects worth a total of $514.4 million. The list must be approved by the LA Metro Board of Directors at their meeting in December.

“A year ago, I would not have believed we could’ve put a project list like this together,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor and Metro committee member Kathryn Barger, who has led an effort to bring cities on opposite sides of the freeway fight together. “This is a bottoms-up approach. These projects are recommended by those cities impacted.”

The cities of Pasadena and Alhambra — who have opposed and supported the freeway extension, respectively — are the big winners.

Washington Post: Henry Olsen: How the GOP might win in 2020

Tuesday’s midterm elections were important for the country’s future. They were also crucial for the Republican Party’s future. The GOP’s massive losses in traditionally Republican suburbs have set it irretrievably on a new path. Either it re-creates a William McKinley-style coalition based on the working-class voter or it dies.

The party’s devastation in traditional, high-income suburban bastions is unmistakable. Nearly every House seat it lost was in these areas. Districts in suburban Atlanta, Houston and Dallas that voted for Mitt Romney in 2012 by between 15 and 24 points went Democratic. Districts that Republicans had held for decades outside Chicago, Los Angeles and Philadelphia fell. The blue tide even swept away a GOP seat in Oklahoma City. This trend was more than a coastal fad.

Republicans are used to being the party of the upper middle class, and their natural reaction will be to prioritize regaining these lost ancestral homes. But they should resist that urge, at least insofar as it would conflict with efforts to serve another, crucial part of the evolving GOP coalition: working-class, Obama-Trump voters.

Those voters turned out in droves Tuesday, and their unexpected loyalty to their new party saved the GOP’s bacon. Their support captured two Minnesota House seats and rescued a number of other Republican candidates. They also propelled North Dakota’s Kevin Cramer, Indiana’s Mike Braun, Missouri’s Josh Hawley and probably Florida’s Rick Scott to victory in the Senate; had they not voted Republican, at least two of these seats would have stayed Democratic, and the post-election story line would be much different.

Their votes also secured key governorships — in Ohio and Florida (pending a recount), specifically — for the party, preserving its control over redistricting there after the 2020 Census.

Nonetheless, their importance remains drastically underappreciated by the GOP leadership. On Tuesday, in most states Obama-Trump voters’ support was high but still below 2016 levels. Had the party been willing to embrace them rather than ignore them, that support could have increased further, perhaps allowing Matt Rosendale to prevail in Montana’s Senate race. At least five House seats with large numbers of these voters also narrowly went Democratic. Overlooking these places was a mistake.

Tuesday’s results should force the GOP to court these crucial voters more aggressively. That will mean looking at what they value and making a concerted effort to meet their concerns.

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