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POLITICS (National): 2018 elections, Republicans? Democrats? Trump problem?: Analysis (Cathleen Decker), "Republicans face a Trump problem as they look to 2018 elections"  

***2018 elections:  Republicans? Democrats? Trump problem?

* Los Angeles Times (Cathleen Decker):  "Republicans face a Trump problem as they look to 2018 elections" - From the LAT:

With the first two elections over in a series of off-season special House races, the Republican party’s biggest challenge is obvious: President Trump.

Republicans had hoped the protests that marked Trump’s inauguration and early presidency would peter out over time. So far, that’s not happened. Instead, the fervor of opposition to the president has powered stronger-than-expected results for Democrats at the ballot box. Unless that changes, that opposition could torment the GOP through the 2018 elections. How to manage Trump — to appeal to the voters he attracts and the voters he offends — now ranks as the premier challenge for Republican candidates, party strategists say.

Democrats face their own challenges this year and next. In the first two contests of the year, in Kansas and Georgia, they’ve come close, but haven’t yet won a GOP-controlled seat. They’ll have to do that in significant numbers if they are to regain control of the House in the 2018 midterm elections. Moreover, for now, they have been able to focus money and volunteer activity on a limited number of special elections. By next year, the targeted seats will balloon in number, diluting their focus.

At this point, however, it’s the Republicans’ challenge that appears to loom largest .................


SACRAMENTO: 2018 gubernatorial election: Commentary (Joe Mathews), "Why His Opponents Are Worried About John Chiang" ....

***2018 gubernatorial election, John Chiang....

* Fox & Hounds (Joe Mathews):  "Why His Opponents Are Worried About John Chiang" - From F&H:

Gavin Newsom may be the frontrunner for governor. Antonio Villaraigosa may have the benefits of experience and a strong record as Assembly speaker and mayor of Los Angeles. And John Cox, as the lone Republican in the race, may have a good shot at getting into the top two.

But don’t count out John Chiang. His opponents aren’t. And if I were forced to put money on the race now, I’d bet on Chiang. Why? He has advantages that his opponents can’t replicate. For one thing, he’s ................


POLITICS/EDUCATION: California State University system, state audit: "California State University cannot justify administrative growth, manager raises, audit says"; "Cal State hires too many managers, needs better budget oversight, state audit finds"; "Cal State's Growth in Hiring of Managers Exceeds Other Staff, Audit Finds" ....


L.A. CITY HALL: Los Angeles City Council, District 1, runoff election, Joe Bray-Ali vs. Gil Cedillo: Editorial (endorsement), "A change is needed in Council District 1. The Times endorses Joe Bray-Ali" ....

***Los Angeles City Council, District 1, runoff election, Los Angeles Times endorsement....

* Los Angeles Times (editorial):  "A change is needed in Council District 1. The Times endorses Joe Bray-Ali" - From the LAT:

In the final weeks before the runoff election, the Los Angeles City Council District 1 race has taken an unfortunate dark turn as incumbent Councilman Gil Cedillo fights off a surprise challenge by community activist Joe Bray-Ali. Harsh campaign mailers are arriving in the mail, racist comments have been made, supporters can be found screaming at each other at events, and accusations of unethical behavior have been leveled. That sort of thing. It’s in stark contrast to the relatively mild race that led to the March primary election, in which the biggest drama that occurred was when someone was caught on video tearing down a Bray-Ali campaign sign.

Though council members almost always win outright, with more than 50% of the vote, in the primary, Cedillo has found himself fighting for re-election in a runoff race against an opponent with a fraction of his campaign cash, political support or name recognition. That’s because District 1, which stretches from upscale parts of Highland Park to the dense, low-income neighborhoods around MacArthur Park, is in need of a responsive, respectful steward as it experiences transformative growth.

The council member must balance the needs of the district’s constituents with the formidable pressure from developers to build more housing. Many community leaders say the councilman is not succeeding at that. They say he is unresponsive to and dismissive of constituents. Some say he’s . . . . . . . .

Bray-Ali offers a credible, appealing alternative to Cedillo. He earned the recommendation of The Times editorial board in the March primary and is still the best candidate . . . . . . . .

Regrettably, this campaign has been characterized by mudslinging rather than a deep examination of the issues. Why did . . . . . . . .

If voters look beyond the campaign distractions and identity politics on the surface of this race, they will see that Cedillo is an old-school politician whose policies and actions have helped bring about some of the very gentrification he now decries, and that Bray-Ali offers the kind of energetic, visionary and community-focused leadership that this district, and city, deserves.


SACRAMENTO: State Board of Equalization, continuing controversy: "Embattled tax board director: My job was threatened"; also, "Board of Equalization director says California's imperiled tax collection agency is in 'crisis mode'" ....

* Sacramento Bee ("The State Worker"):  "Embattled tax board director: My job was threatened" - From the Bee:

The executive director of a troubled tax board told a Senate hearing Thursday that the agency is “at a tipping point” and acknowledged that he has been threatened with his dismissal. David Gau stopped short of saying that a specific elected member of the Board of Equalization threatened him. He reports to five elected officials. “I presently have been subject to that threat recently,” he said at a budget subcommittee led by Sen. Richard Roth, D-Riverside.

Gau disclosed his status with the board when Roth asked about employees who told auditors that they feared retaliation from elected board members. In one instance, an employee was told by an unnamed official, “one more vote and you’re gone,” according to the audit ................


* Los Angeles Times:  "Board of Equalization director says California's imperiled tax collection agency is in 'crisis mode'"