Reform CA Files Ethics Complaint Against Lorena Gonzalez Over ‘Employment Negotiations’ as Next Labor Leader

Watchdog group demands immediate resignation of Assemblywoman Gonzalez

The California Labor Federation, one of the largest and most influential union groups in California, voted to recommend Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) as their next leader on Tuesday in a non-binding vote, the Globe just reported Wednesday.

Politico ran a story late Tuesday night confirming “employment negotiations” have been occurring between Gonzalez and the powerful California Labor Federation.

However, many saw the articles and asked how a sitting elected Legislator can legally negotiate a future job with a labor group that regularly lobbies her on labor legislation?

Reform California announced Wednesday it has filed an ethics complaint with the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) demanding an immediate investigation, as well as enforcement actions, against Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez after news reports confirmed “employment negotiations” have been occurring between Gonzalez and the California Labor Federation.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

“I am filing this complaint and requesting an immediate investigation be initiated by the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) into possible violations of the California Political Reform Act (CPRA) by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez,” Carl DeMaio, Chairman of Reform California, said in the complaint.

“Late last night, the news outlet Politico confirmed ’employment negotiations’ have been occurring between Gonzalez and the powerful California Labor Federation.”

“Gonzalez quickly took to Twitter after the story broke to claim she has not yet accepted the job – but provisions in the California Political Reform Act (CPRA) make that immaterial to whether she has run afoul of state ethics laws,” Reform California noted.

Reform California explains the legalities:

“In fact, a state official who simply negotiates employment with a potential employer is covered under the law. Under subdivision (c) of Regulation 18747 of the CPRA, ‘a public official is ‘negotiating’ employment when he or she interviews or discusses an offer of employment with an employer or his or her agent.’”“Once it is established that a state official has engaged in conduct that triggers subdivision (c), Section 87407 of the CPRA applies: ‘No public official, shall make, participate in making, or use his or her official position to influence, any governmental decision directly relating to any person with whom he or she is negotiating, or has any arrangement concerning, prospective employment.’”

It is no secret to anyone involved in state politics that Gonzalez, who was CEO and Secretary-Treasurer of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, AFL-CIO for five years prior to being elected to the Assembly in 2013, has been one of the most reliable legislative advocates for the California Labor Federation. She is on record sponsoring and voting for their legislation and utilizing her office to influence state agency activities, DeMaio said.

Click here to read the full article at the California Globe

California GOP Calls For Resignation of Assembly Minority Leader Chad Mayes

Chad Mayes2In an unusual move for the California Republican Party — which has long staked its comeback on moving toward the center — the state board of the party voted to call for the resignation of one of it’s own, who was presumably sticking to the establishment script, Assembly GOP Minority leader Chad Mayes.

The results of the vote of the 20-member board, which took place Friday evening, was posted on the FaceBook Page of Harmeet Dhillon, who is former Vice Chair of the party, becoming National Committeewoman in 2016.

The vote was 13 in favor, 7 opposed with one abstaining.

Dhillon, who made the motion calling for Mayes to resign, included the text and results in her post:

“Given the uproar over recent decisions and actions by Assembly Republican leader Chad Mayes and the fact that those decisions and actions have acted to divide the California Republican Party, the Board of Directors of the CAGOP urges Leader Mayes to resign his leadership position immediately, and if he fails to do so, urges the members of the Republican Assembly Caucus to select a new leader at the earliest opportunity.”

The vote was 13 for, 7 against, one abstention (Team Cal, the donor representative). The seven against were mainly regional vice chairs, which is interesting. McCully, Caro, Wilder, Willmon, Guerra, Mayes, and Olsen voted NO. The rest of the board voted yes.

Tony Kravaric, a board member and Chair of the powerful San Diego County GOP also posted the results on his Facebook, offering a glimpse into the internal conflict confronting the California Republican Party:

It is done. The California Republican Party (CRP) board voted to ask Assemblyman Chad Mayes to step down as Leader, and if he doesn’t, for the Assembly Caucus to force new leadership. It saddens me that it had to come to this but it had to be done. I pray that Chad does the right thing and steps down…

[having earlier posted]

(…”I take no pleasure in casting this vote but dangit I volunteer over 1000 hrs per year for our Party and expect more from our leaders.)”

The Los Angeles Times reports that:

Mayes said he has no intention of stepping down, and he believes he has enough support to remain in his position.

“I am not going to capitulate,” he said. “I’m going to continue to keep pushing forward.”

What the Times did not report is that both Assembly Minority Leader Chad Mayes and current CRP Vice Chair Kristin Olsen, who are rumored to be having an affair, both voted “No” on the motion calling for Mayes to resign.

The first opportunity for an actual vote to “vacate the chair” — which is necessary for anyone to put their name forth to replace Mayes — will take place Monday when the Republican Assembly Caucus reconvenes after their summer recess.

So far two candidates have expressed interest in the leadership position: Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore), who announced her interest on Thursday and was promptly endorsed by the Riverside County GOP, and Assemblyman Jay Obernolte (R-Big Bear Lake), who has been quietly building support behind the scenes.

Tim Donnelly is a former California State Assemblyman and Author, currently on a book tour for his new book: Patriot Not Politician: Win or Go Homeless.  He also ran for governor in 2014.


Twitter:  @PatriotNotPol

This article was originally published by

CA GOP strategy already looking past 2016 election

Chad Mayes2Facing a presidential election that’s guaranteed to overshadow them and numbering so few that passing even a simple resolution requires an act of God, Assembly Republicans are hoping to simply hold their 28 seats in 2016 while building the foundation for a resurgence beginning after the November election.

While critics say they lack a definitive agenda, Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes, who was elected in 2014 and chosen as leader just 10 months later, has been working behind the scenes to unite his caucus and build relationships on the other side of the aisle to fortify for the future.

There’s little room for error. They can only lose one seat and remain above super minority status — the difference between having the power to block tax increases on their own or not. Their troubles are compounded by the fact that voter turnout in presidential years typically leans Democrat. And presidential campaigns have a way of framing the narrative and stealing attention away from down-ticket races like state Legislature.

It’s not an easy spot for Chad Mayes, the Assembly Republican leader from Yucca Valley.

“We’re at the point now we’re thinking a lot more of that messaging is going to have to take place probably after November, to be able to tell folks what our agenda is and to begin rebuilding the brand,” Mayes told CalWatchdog on Thursday. “2016 is tough.”

It’s not that Mayes and his colleagues won’t be selling their ideas to the public — they’re going to have to if they expect to win elections. Instead, Mayes believes that most voters will chose based on the “strength of the candidates” as opposed to an automatic party preference, meaning they’ll rely on individual campaigns and not the Republican brand.

“Our work outside the building is to continue to advance our principles, to be able to tell the folks that live here in California that our ideas are the ideas that are going to move California forward,” Mayes said. Mayes is confident Republicans will hold their seats, but was iffy about picking up many seats.

Mayes often speaks of the need to address poverty. The son of a preacher, having grown up in a Yucca Valley community of modest means, he points to exorbitant housing costs, gas prices and the fact that 40 percent of Californians live near or below the poverty line as a need for a new direction.

“Obviously, we’re not doing something correctly,” Mayes said of the overall direction of state policies.

While Mayes has generally spoken in broad strokes about poverty, a few members of his caucus (including him) have introduced specific proposals. One provides additional funding for homeless youth centers, one expands the child tax credit and another funds grants to help underprivileged children do “normal” activities like buy prom dresses, attend summer camp and receive test preparation. And last year, the caucus introduced an entire education package.

But is it enough?

The bunkered approach to 2016 and the behind-the-scenes maneuvering for 2017 leaves the strategy open to criticism.

“If the Assembly Republicans have a distinct agenda, they have been quiet about it,” said John J. Pitney, Jr., a professor of American politics at Claremont McKenna College.

Pitney noted the difficulties Republicans face in the Legislature dominated by Democrats, being handicapped by less resources than the majority party. Even if they labored over an exhaustive agenda, it’s possible no one would notice, said Pitney — a reflection of his own struggles in the mid 1980s as a House Republican staffer.

Pitney likened Mayes to Jack Kemp, the former New York Republican congressman and vice presidential candidate, known for inclusivity and “bleeding-heart conservatism.”

“But as Kemp learned, it is very hard to make political headway with a conservative war on poverty,” Pitney added. “Many rank-and-file Republicans just are not interested.”

On the other side of the rotunda

Life is no less difficult for Republicans in the Senate, who have even less of a margin of error in 2016, with no room to lose any seats. The Senate unveiled a package of bills earlier this week aimed at making life in California more affordable, with Leader Jean Fuller of Bakersfield making a similar pitch to Mayes.

On Tuesday, Fuller cited damning stats: CNBC ranked California the 5th most expensive state to live in the country in 2015, average monthly rent is 50 percent higher here than in the rest of the country40 percent of Californians are living at or near the poverty line and Californians have one of the highest tax burdens in the country.


According to Bill Whalen, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, Republicans in the Legislature face three legislative options. The first is to have an idea embraced by Democrats, which carries the bill to the governor’s desk. The other two are that the bill is dead on arrival or gets a hearing and then fizzles out.

“There’s three outcomes, two of which are negative,” said Whalen, who served as chief speechwriter and director of public affairs for former Republican Gov. Pete Wilson.

Whalen pointed to a constitutional amendment in 2010 that reduced the two-thirds majority approval of a budget to just simple majority, stripping Republicans of an annual leverage point.

“For a few weeks anyway, Republicans had a lot of relevance in the process,” Whalen said.

Whalen suggested Republicans focus on greater ethics rules as a way to engage in a value debate with Democrats, adding that Republicans should be holding press conferences pressuring Roger Hernández to take a leave of absence at least while under a court order to stay away from the West Covina Democrat’s wife amid domestic violence allegations, similar to the approach used by former Republican Congressman Newt Gingrich in the early 1090s.

Gingrich used both the policy-driven Contract with America and a focus on ethics issues — like Jim Wright’s book deal, the House banking scandal and the Barney Frank/male prostitute scandal — to make the argument that Democrats had become corrupted during decades of power and engineered the first Republican majority in 40 years. However, Whalen added, the numbers for Republicans in the Legislature are much further from a majority than what Gingrich had.

“They made it a value debate against Republicans and Democrats,” Whalen said. “And I think Republicans need to introduce that conversation into Sacramento.”

Whalen also suggested luring undecided voters with a greater focus on the University of California system — where one chancellor is mired in salary and spending troubles while a recent audit showed preferential treatment to out-of state admissions in an effort to bring in higher tuitions — including audits, hearings where chancellors explain their budgets and “completely turn the UC upside down.”

Mayes told CalWatchdog that individual Assembly Republicans had already adopted the UC issue, and added that it was Democrats’ responsibility to hold their members, like Hernández accountable.


In general, the governor and the legislative caucuses are the main messaging arm of the state parties, making the Legislature that much more important when not occupying the Governor’s Mansion. But California Republican Party and legislative leaders shy away from a top down approach.

“Messaging in campaigns is important, but that messaging has to be delivered by the candidate or the elected officials of that party,” said Jim Brulte, chairman of the California Republican Party. “And that’s because voters vote for candidates not political parties. Political parties can be helpful with technical and financial support.”

Modern campaigns, particularly in a large, diverse state like California, need to be tailored to the district — voters in Torrance have different needs from voters in south Orange County.

“One-size-fits-all messaging may have worked 30 or 40 years ago, but with the technology advances in the ability to micro target, this approach is stale and outdated,” Brulte said.

Brulte added that the Contract with America was pushed from members of Congress and not the Republican National Committee. Brulte said timing was crucial, noting it was unveiled merely six weeks before the midterm elections, when voters were paying the most attention to Congress.

“Other than specific messaging by individuals in the district they represent, a global messaging strategy during a hotly contested presidential election between the five remaining candidates is bound to get lost,” Brulte said.

GOP Convention: Trump’s foes clash with backers outside gathering

As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle:

Presidential candidate Donald Trump was forced to abandon his motorcade on the side of a freeway, scramble up a hillside and slip into a side entrance of the hotel hosting the California GOP convention Friday as hundreds of angry protesters surrounded the building and did their best to disrupt the Republican frontrunner’s speech.



Trump joked about his roundabout entrance to the convention, saying it felt like he was “crossing the border” — but the rambunctious demonstrators outside saw no humor in it all as they scuffled with police, threw eggs and blocked roads around the Hyatt Regency in Burlingame.

Antoinette Chen See, 34, one of several protesters who formed a human chain on Old Bayshore Road outside the hotel, said she came out to try to deny Trump a platform in the Bay Area for what she called his racist rhetoric.

“We have a failed system in which someone who is so antiblack, so anti-Muslim and so anti-immigrant is allowed to be a viable candidate for president,” she said. About the chains linking her to her fellow protesters, she said: “They are not comfortable, but it’s worth it.”

Some Trump backers

Presidential candidates Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Gov. John Kasich of Ohio were also scheduled to speak at the convention, but it was Trump who drew the most ire from demonstrators Friday before, during and after his noontime speech. Coming just one day after protests at one of the billionaire’s campaign stops in Southern California turned violent, police were on high alert. …

Click here to read the full story

GOP Convention marks epic battle for CA’s Republican delegates

As reported by the Fresno Bee:

It is now all but certain that California’s June 7 primary will be Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump’s coronation – or the day it becomes clear that the GOP will head to its national convention in Cleveland this summer without a clear nominee.

The campaign for that election starts in earnest this weekend in Burlingame, where the Republican rank-and-file will gather for the state party’s annual spring convention. It is expected to be an intense and high-energy gathering because it’s been a long time since California has played a pivotal role in selecting a presidential nominee, and also because there will be plenty of political star power.

“This weekend’s state GOP convention will be the best-attended and most-watched since Reagan ran for president – if that,” said Republican political strategist Jon Fleischman, publisher of the FlashReport, a widely read conservative blog. …

High-Profile Republicans Flee Golden State

CA GOP cartoonWith an underperforming field of gubernatorial candidates and no dominant figures leading the party, California Republicans have found themselves hard up for statewide leadership.

Many high-profile California Republicans have shown a strong inclination to leave the state altogether to pursue their political fortunes in the wake of a major defeat. As the San Francisco Chronicle noted, recent departures have taken their toll on the party’s ability to field prominent candidates across the range of statewide offices, with former Orange County Assemblyman Chuck DeVore relocating to Texas, onetime gubernatorial hopeful Neel Kashkari shifting gears to run the Minneapolis Federal Reserve, and current presidential candidate Carly Fiorina moving her home base to Virginia.

In a painful indication of how limited GOP ambitions can be on the west coast, all three have won praise and a higher profile outside the Golden State than within it. MayKao Hang, the incoming chairwoman of the Minneapolis Fed’s board of directors, underscored the impression that California is often little more than a proving ground for political talent to the right of center, calling Kashkari “an influential leader whose combined experience in the public and private sectors makes him the ideal candidate to head the Minneapolis Fed,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

Meanwhile, some who stay behind have left the bounds of party orthodoxy entirely. Perhaps the state GOP’s most famous resident Californian, former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, has accompanied Gov. Jerry Brown to the United Nations climate talks in Paris, posting an open letter on Facebook that declared, “I don’t give a [expletive] if we agree about climate change.”

The lack of leadership has exacerbated the party’s recent tendency toward disunity. In an effort to soften the language of its stance on unlawful immigration, the state GOP changed its platform to indicate that members “hold diverse views” on “what to do with the millions of people who are currently here illegally” — phraseology that has been criticized as fodder for Democrats without marking out a principled position.

Business trouble

At the same time, the state GOP has been unable to effectively pivot away from social issues that divide it and toward economic issues that have traditionally reaped reliable dividends. Recent trends suggest that big business has come to view Republican candidates as risks not worth taking where electable corporate-friendly Democrats are to be found.

Cathleen Galgiani

“At a time when GOP power in Sacramento has been on the wane, many business interests — which have traditionally skewed Republican and wield considerable clout in the party — are throwing their weight behind centrist Democrats,” the Times reported separately, such as state Sen. Cathleen Galgiani, D-Stockton, whom GOP favorite Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen, R-Modesto, wants to defeat. “A year from election day, groups such as the California Assn. of Realtors and Chevron have told the candidates and other political players that they’re for Galgiani,” the Times added, “a show of support from entities that routinely spend big to back their choices.” The state GOP has refused to support Olsen, preferring to sit the race out entirely.

Outside energy

In a strange irony, presidential politics has offered California Republicans a glimmer of hope for better organization, inspiration and leadership. While they have often been looked upon by barnstorming candidates as little more than a source of campaign cash, the unusually fluid and uncertain presidential primary season has led some White House hopefuls to pursue the kind of ground game in California that can be the lifeblood of state and local parties.

“If the nominee is not obvious by the June 7 primary, which is unlikely, Republican candidates would need to compete in San Francisco, Berkeley and Democrat-dominated downtown Sacramento, as well as in Reps. Tom McClintock, Doug LaMalfa and Dana Rohrabacher’s red districts,” the Sacramento Bee noted. Ron Nehring, the former nominee for lieutenant governor, has found a fresh mission in-state as Ted Cruz’s California campaign chairman. “We are preparing for California to matter,” he told the Bee.

This piece was originally published by

CA GOP looks ahead to broaden base

Analysts expected it, but it hurt all the same. The gains in the California Legislature were welcome. But in state-level races, California Republicans did not enjoy the same tidal-wave election results as their fellow party faithful across the country.

For decades at the national level, moderate, centrist and liberal Republicans have urged the GOP to pivot leftward on social issues in order to broaden the size of the party’s base. But in California, that strategy has long been baked into the cake of the political establishment’s culture — and it hasn’t turned back the Democratic tide.

That’s why California Republicans have begun to look even more closely at social issues amid this year’s disappointing — but not crushing — elections. To begin with, the limits of liberalizing have become apparent even among Democrats.

Nationwide, Democrats were widely judged to have badly miscalculated that identity politics would suffice to drive voter enthusiasm and win close contests. Party elites and opinion-makers have begun to argue that Democrats must focus on an economic message over a culture one.

For California Republicans, two takeaways have emerged. First, a further turn to the left on social issues may not translate into more votes. Second, a tilt back to the right probably won’t do much either.

Importantly, while the substance of identity politics failed Democrats, the symbolism also foundered. Wendy Davis’s strongly gendered campaign for Texas governor was a painful flop even by the low standards of this year’s elections. She lost to Republican Greg Abbott, 59-39. That was even worse than Republican Neel Kashkari’s 59-41 loss to Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown here in California.

A Washington Post post-mortem was headlined, “Wendy Davis’ campaign was even worse than you thought.” It reported on an internal campaign memo which warned way back in January of a “lurch to the left. … There is not a model where a candidate who appears this liberal and culturally out of touch gets elected statewide anywhere in the south — much less in Texas.”

Unsuccessful candidacies

In one notable instance, a California Republican whose identity implicated social issues lost — but not for that reason. After a high-profile and costly race, Carl DeMaio had to concede defeat to incumbent Rep. Scott Peters in their fight for the state’s 52 Congressional District.

As U-T San Diego reported, “DeMaio positioned himself as a ‘new generation Republican,’ potentially breaking new ground as a gay Republican in Congress. Peters ran on his bipartisan record and had substantial support from the business community.”

Two years ago, DeMaio, a former San Diego councilman who helped push pension reform, lost another close election for mayor to Democrat Bob Filner, who later was forced to resign due to personal scandals.

Although it has never been easy to unseat an incumbent in a state where the dominant party has a strong advantage, DeMaio’s experience paralleled that of a second gay Republican candidate. Richard Tisei, running for the 6th District in Massachusetts, lost out to Seth Moulton, a Marine veteran of the Iraq War who had defeated incumbent Democrat Rep. John Tierney during the district’s primary race.

In Tisei’s case as well as DeMaio’s, voters in a deep-blue state didn’t jump at the chance to vote for a credible, competent and openly gay Republican.

But in DeMaio’s case, importantly, the margin of defeat was very narrow, indicating that few Republican voters were deterred by the political implications of DeMaio’s sexual orientiation.

Although allegations of sexual misconduct by DeMaio toward staffers did cloud the campaign waters in the home stretch, Gregory Angelo, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, told the Atlantic magazine that he didn’t believe anti-gay attitudes caused DeMaio to fall short.

Pot issue

At the same time, at least one social issue — the legal status of marijuana — continued its movement toward the mainstream in a way that Republicans could capitalize on.

In recent remarks before members of the press, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., said his view from the Golden State counseled a liberalized, and pro-liberty, attitude toward pot. For more than two decades representing coastal Orange County, one of America’s most conservative areas, he just won-reelection, 64-36.

“The members of the Republican Party just should become more practical if nothing else,” he said. “The American people are shifting on this issue.” He warned the change would “make a difference in the election of some very close races.”

This article was originally published by