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Underdog John Chiang attacks

Did gubernatorial candidate cross the line with negative ad about Villaraigosa?

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John Chiang at a Pride event (Photo courtesy John Chiang’s campaign)

Optics. That’s what struck the LGBT community in July 2008 when California State Controller John Chiang seemingly emerged out of nowhere to defy Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger during an ugly state budget battle.

Most LGBT politicos knew Chiang as the Board of Equalization numbers nerd who defeated anti-gay Assembly member Tony Strickland for Controller the year before. And while Schwarzenegger told Log Cabin Republicans in April that he opposed a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage, most LGBT people only remembered that the Republican governor had twice vetoed marriage equality bills.

So in what looked like a fiscal showdown between David vs. Goliath, LGBT people pulled for the underdog. Schwarzenegger backed off and Chiang won on behalf of state employees whose paychecks the governor wanted to temporarily roll back to minimum wage. 

Chiang was known to Westside Democrats but few noticed in 1997 when he was appointed to replace Brad Sherman on the Board of Equalization after Sherman was elected to Congress. Sherman taught the LGBT community how important the BOE could be when he challenged the tax-exempt status of rabidly anti-gay Rev. Lou Sheldon’s Traditional Values Coalition.

Chiang was not that confrontational on BOE or as Controller. Rather, he did important nerdy stuff like traveling throughout the state giving seminars explaining tax laws to registered domestic partners—and how to appeal discriminatory cases—and led the rewriting of joint tenancy rules to include domestic partners.

But Chiang made some real dents in curtailing esoteric but significant and largely invisible discrimination as State Treasurer. In 2015, with the backing of the California LGBT Legislative Caucus and Equality California, Chiang pressured the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS)— which represents the largest public pension fund in America—to expand the definition of “diversity” on corporate boards to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

“CalPERS’ Global Governance Principles provide factors that its internal and external managers are expected to take into account when investing its more than $300 billion in assets,” the Paul Hastings law firm wrote in a report to investors. Chiang also pressured the California State Teachers’ Retirement Fund (“CalSTRS”) to update its Corporate Governance Principles, as well. 

As with Schwarzenegger, Chiang’s pressure worked and substantive change was made, even if it didn’t make flashy headlines. As his gubernatorial ad “Underdog” illustrates, Chiang has worked to turn terror into triumph.

“I don’t remember the first time it happened. But I’ll never forget how painful it was for my family. They threw rocks at our windows. Spray painted our garage and started fights with us on the playground,” Chiang says in the voiceover. “My dad came over from Taiwan in the 1950s with little money to his name. We were the first Asian-American family on our block. We were taunted, ridiculed, but I remember my mom saying we just need to show them that we are good people. I think that’s why I’ve always rooted for the underdog.”

“It was painful to be excluded” as a child, Chiang tells the Los Angeles Blade. “I really like people. I like being around people and to have people just look at you and not give you an opportunity. To have people look at you to engage in action that’s harmful to you. To have people look at you and not view you as a person having value really impacts me to my core.

“So my whole life has been about making sure that we make this world a better place,” Chiang continues. “That we’ve come together to try to understand that everybody is entitled to dignity, respect and has value. We still have extraordinary hostility. We have a president that has taken action inconsistent with those values. But there are so many people today that are passionate, whether it’s about the Muslim ban, whether it’s about standing up to President Trump. So I’m hopeful. This is a tall climb up the proverbial mountain but at the end of the day, I believe we get there for equality.”

But Chiang has an optical problem with his latest campaign ad targeting Antonio Villaraigosa: many view it as a desperate Republican-style attack to get the second spot behind frontrunner Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom in the June 5 primary. 

“I have great respect for Antonio and I don’t view [the ad] as mean-spirited but I do believe that all elected officials—we all have to stand up for our actions. We all have to be straight-forward.”

Chiang says there were “fiscal issues during [Villaraigosa’s] service” as mayor of Los Angeles. “There were issues on priorities so he has to address those priorities, as all the candidates do.”

But the “Leadership” ad is misleading. “He was called ‘a failure.’ An ‘embarrassment.’ As mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa drove L.A. to the brink of bankruptcy,” the ad says, at one point citing Los Angeles Magazine. “Villaraigosa’s recklessness threatened jobs, the economy, and left no funding to test 7,000 rape kits, putting public safety at risk.”

The LA Magazine citation refers to a very long “open letter” to Villaraigosa by freelance journalist Ed Leibowitz published June 1, 2009.  In it, the author expresses extreme disappointment with the first-term mayor for failing to deliver on campaign promises. It is not an editorial by the magazine’s staff. In fact, Villaraigosa served a second term as mayor, where a number of mistakes were dealt with, according to the LA Times, which endorsed Villaraigosa on May 10. 

Optics. Chiang has been perceived as a man of integrity with a record of fiscal responsibility. But will that now be clouded with this new appearance of negativity?

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Los Angeles County

Heat Advisory issued as temps expected to be in triple digits

LA County will see hot & breezy conditions Monday. High temperatures will reach 90 degrees. Temperatures at night will fall to 64 degrees

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Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – The National Weather Service issued a heat advisory warning for most of Southern California on Monday. Temperatures while remaining lower in the 80s and 70s in the coastal areas are expected to exceed triple-digits for most of the inland areas in the region.

Los Angeles and Orange counties will see hot and breezy conditions Monday. High temperatures will reach 90 degrees. Temperatures at night will fall to 64 degrees.

The valleys and Inland Empire will be very hot and windy Monday as temperatures soar to 105 degrees. Evening temperatures will drop to 72 degrees.

Beaches will see temperatures rising to 78 degrees amid breezy conditions on Monday. Overnight lows will dip to 64 degrees.

Look for a 20% chance of thunderstorms in the mountain communities on Monday, with temperatures reaching a high of 89 degrees. Temperatures will fall to 55 degrees at night.

Desert conditions will be sunny and windy on Monday, with temperatures expected to rise to 104 degrees. Nighttime temperatures will drop to 69 degrees.

Detailed Forecast

Today

Sunny and hot, with a high near 106. East northeast wind 10 to 15 mph becoming north northwest in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 20 mph.

Tonight

Clear, with a low around 69. Northwest wind 5 to 15 mph becoming east northeast after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 20 mph.

Tuesday

Sunny and hot, with a high near 104. Southeast wind around 10 mph becoming northwest in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 15 mph.

Tuesday Night

Clear, with a low around 68. West northwest wind 5 to 15 mph becoming east southeast after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 20 mph.

Wednesday

Sunny and hot, with a high near 98. East southeast wind 5 to 10 mph becoming west 10 to 15 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 20 mph.

Wednesday Night

Clear, with a low around 62. Breezy.

Thursday

Sunny, with a high near 94.

Thursday Night

Clear, with a low around 58.

Friday

Sunny, with a high near 92.

Friday Night

Clear, with a low around 57.

Saturday

Sunny, with a high near 90.

Saturday Night

Clear, with a low around 56.

Sunday

Sunny, with a high near 89.

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Orange County

Right-wing news anchor delivers obscenity-laden homophobic rant

“Guess what I came home to be greeted with? This fucking bullshit. [points to Rainbow Pride flag] What the hell is that?”

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Alison Steinberg (Screenshot/Twitter-Ron Filipkowski)

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Ca. – Alison Steinberg, an anchor and contributor for right-wing extremist media outlet One America News, launched into an obscenity-laden rant captured in a now viral video over an LGBTQ+ Pride flag flying in the beachfront business district of Huntington Beach commemorating Pride Month.

Steinberg had originally posted her video to her Instagram account but it was later removed.

In the rant Steinberg is heard saying: “And guess what I came home to be greeted with? This fucking bullshit. [points to Rainbow Pride flag] What the hell is that? Huntington Beach is the town of good old-fashioned hard-working American people, much less human. People who worked all through the COVID lockdown. Yes, that’s right. Huntington Beach never shut down through any of the COVID nonsense fuckery. And now we’re peddling this garbage?”

“What the hell is this? The only flag that should be up there is that American flag. This is a disgrace to our city and it should be taken down immediately. Whoever the hell is running this town needs to be fired. Make America great again. Make Huntington Beach great.”

Ron Filipkowski, a defense lawyer and former Assistant United States Attorney had captured the video and uploaded it to his Twitter account where many of his 402.9K followers retweeted it:

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Southern California

Triple A: Gas Prices Drop on Increased Production, Economic Worries

The average price for self-serve regular gasoline in California is $6.38, which is six cents lower than last week

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Screenshot/YouTube

LOS ANGELES – Gas prices dropped as local refineries reported their second-highest California-blend gasoline production levels of 2022 and economic concerns pushed down oil prices, according to the Auto Club’s Weekend Gas Watch. The average price for self-serve regular gasoline in California is $6.38, which is six cents lower than last week.

The average national price is $4.94, which is seven cents lower than a week ago.

The average price of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area is $6.40 per gallon, which is six cents lower than last week, 30 cents higher than last month, and $2.14 higher than last year. In San Diego, the average price is $6.32, which is five cents lower than last week, 30 cents higher than last month, and $2.09 higher than last year.

On the Central Coast, the average price is $6.32, which is three cents lower than last week, 29 cents higher than last month and is $2.10 higher than last year. In Riverside, the average per-gallon price is $6.29, which is four cents lower than last week, 30 cents higher than last month and $2.11 higher than a year ago. In Bakersfield, the $6.36 average price is the same as last Thursday, 36 cents higher than last month and $2.22 higher than a year ago today.

“The state’s refineries produced more California-blend gasoline last week than in any other week since January of this year, according to the California Energy Commission,” said Auto Club spokesman Doug Shupe. “At the same time, Oil Price Information Service says concerns about the U.S. economy are pushing down oil and wholesale gasoline prices.”

The Auto Club reminds drivers they can save money on gasoline by shopping around virtually using a tool like the AAA Mobile app, which shows users the cheapest gas prices near them. AAA members can also take advantage of discounted gas prices at participating Shell gas stations by joining the Shell Fuel Rewards® program.

The Weekend Gas Watch monitors the average price of gasoline. As of 9 a.m. on June 23, averages are:

June 23
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