LOCAL GOVERNMENT (Orange County): Santa Ana City Hall: "Report Reveals Toxic Atmosphere Inside Santa Ana City Hall" ....

* Voice of OC:  "Report Reveals Toxic Atmosphere Inside Santa Ana City Hall" - From Voice of OC:

It all started when Santa Ana City Manager David Cavazos accused Councilwoman Michele Martinez of overtly sexual advances.

According to Cavazos’ side of the story, Martinez had at various times invited him to a hotel room, to “non-professional related happy hours” and, during a holiday party in 2013, invited herself to his apartment. Cavazos would have none of it and, when it became clear he had rejected her, she embarked on a campaign of revenge – questioning his housing pay and bonus, and challenging the glowing performance evaluation he received from other council members.

It’s a salacious story, if it were true. But an outside investigation found Cavazos’ story had no merit and that Martinez had no romantic interest in the city manager -- witnesses said she never even mentioned him being attractive.

That is one of several findings of an investigation that commenced after Martinez and Mayor Miguel Pulido wrote a Sept. 27 email to the city attorney outlining charges of possibly improper conduct and harassment levied against both themselves and Cavazos. Their email requested an independent probe of the allegations and to explore whether Cavazos’ conduct left the city liable.

The email included charges that Cavazos had ordered a staffer to. . . . . . . .

Following that email, City Attorney Sonia Carvalho’s office hired the Cerritos-based law firm Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo to look into the claims.

In a June 21 report obtained by Voice of OC, the firm wrote that . . . . . . . .

In addition to those findings, the report found that . . . . . . . .

Finally, the report found that . . . . . . . .

(Click here to read the full report.)

If nothing else, the report . . . . provides a window into the toxic politics that has developed between Cavazos and the two council members -- with the sexual harassment claim being the most bizarre example .......................


AFTERNOON MEMOS: San Francisco, "Angela Alioto back in politics after nearly 18 years"; politics/transportation, commentary (Dan Walters), "Fixing California's bad highways ensnarled in political gridlock"; 44th Cong. Dist. election, "Why was a state senator served with legal papers at his election party?"; also, "PG&E monthly gas bills set to jump 11 percent" ....

***Various items this afternoon from across the spectrum of politics and/or public policy....

* Sacramento Bee (Dan Walters):  "Fixing California's bad highways ensnarled in political gridlock"

* Los Angeles Times:  "Why was a state senator served legal papers at his election party?"

* San Francisco Chronicle (C.W. Nevius):  "Angela Alioto back in politics after nearly 18 years"


* Mercury News:  "PG&E monthly gas bills set to jump 11 percent"


POLITICS (National): Pew Research Center, new survey/study: "Immoral, lazy, closed-minded: How Democrats and Republicans feel about each other" ....  

* Los Angeles Times (David Lauter):  "Immoral, lazy, closed-minded: How Democrats and Republicans feel about each other" - From the LAT:

Nearly half of Republicans regard Democrats as more “immoral,” “lazy” and “dishonest” than other Americans; seven in 10 Democrats view Republicans as “more closed-minded.” And altogether, about half of respondents in a new poll said the other side makes them “angry” or “afraid.”

While Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton suffer from unfavorable images that are worse – in Trump’s case, much worse – than previous presidential hopefuls, it’s not simply because of their own words and deeds. Their unpopularity exists in a political environment increasingly defined by voters’ negative views of the other side.

The extent of the negativity is central to a detailed survey of the electorate from the Pew Research Center, which found that anger and fear of the opposing political party increasingly drive how American voters think about politics. Indeed, the survey found, negative perceptions about the other side have emerged as a key motivator for voters, often outranking even how much they believe in what their own party stands for.

This is not politics as usual. Although partisans have long harbored some dislike of the opposition, voters’ views of the other party are now more negative than at any time in the nearly quarter of a century Pew has asked about them, the new study found .....................


POLITICS/TRANSPORTATION (National, State/New Jersey): New Jersey, road and bridge repairs, state transportation trust fund?: "Higher Gax Tax in New Jersey: After Years of No, It May Be Time for Yes" ....  

* New York Times:  "Higher Gas Tax in New Jersey: After Years of No, It May Be Time for Yes" - From the NYT:

Amid mounting alarm over how to pay for repairs to New Jersey’s roads and bridges, state lawmakers are lining up behind a potential solution once considered politically unthinkable: raising the state’s famously low gas tax.

A new proposal from leading Democrats is forcing a showdown with Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican who has resisted calls to increase prices at the pump even as the state’s transportation trust fund is set to run out of money at the end of the month. Under the proposal, the tax could rise by about 23 cents a gallon, bringing it closer to what neighboring states collect.

The fate of New Jersey’s dwindling transportation funding has been entangled in recent years with Mr. Christie’s political ambitions. Even as the state’s bridges and roads are falling apart and New Jersey Transit is struggling with a series of financial problems, he has avoided tackling the issue. But state lawmakers now face a confluence of factors that could make an increase possible: a pressing deadline, gas prices hovering near $2 a gallon and growing contempt in New Jersey for Mr. Christie, whose office recently denied a report that the governor had become a McDonald’s-fetching “manservant” for Donald J. Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.


The transportation funding proposal announced in New Jersey this month included a sweetener meant to attract Republican votes: the repeal of the state’s estate tax, which kicks in at a lower amount than in many other states. Even with that concession, Mr. Christie, who has about a year and a half left in office, said he opposed the proposal. He described part of the plan that would increase transportation aid to counties and municipalities as a “payoff” by Democrats to local officials. But despite his characteristically blunt rhetoric, the governor appeared open to negotiation ...................


POLITICS (National): 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton: "Who does Donald Trump listen to? Other Trumps"; commentary (Catherine Rampell0, "Why voters like She's Not Trump"; commentary (George Will), "Republicans: Save your party, don't give to Trump" ....

***2016 presidential election, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton....

* Washington Post:  "Who does Donald Trump listen to? Other Trumps."

* Washington Post (Catherine Rampell):  "Why voters like She's Not Trump"

* Washington Post (George F. Will):  "Republicans: Save your party, don't give to Trump"