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50th CD candidates react to Duncan Hunter guilty plea

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Anti-LGBTQ Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter Jr. acted as if he was contrite after formally pleading guilty Dec. 3 to one count of conspiracy to misuse campaign funds for personal expenses, including extramarital affairs, totaling more than $200,000.

“I made mistakes and that’s what today was all about,” Hunter told reporters after uttering “guilty” before  U.S. District Court Judge Thomas J. Whelan, in San Diego. Hunter was joined by his even more anti-LGBTQ father, Rep. Duncan L. Hunter, who served for nearly three decades, before his son assumed his seat for nine years. Three prominent Republicans and the Democrat who also beat him in 2018 have been vying for that seat.

Hunter campaigned despite the political soap opera swirling around him. Last June, Margaret Hunter pleaded guilty to conspiring with her husband, father of their three children, to “knowingly and willingly” using campaign funds for personal use. She agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors and both were indicted in August 2018.

Hunter subsequently blamed his wife for the misuse of funds, “She was also the campaign manager, so whatever she did that’ll be looked at too, I’m sure,” Hunter told Fox News in August 2018. The indictment forced him from his congressional committee assignments but he squeaked out re-election in 2018.

The guilty plea, for which he could be sentenced up to five years, is expected to lead to a resignation from Congress soon. In a Dec. 2 interview with San Diego station KUSI, Hunter sounded as if he had been the victim of prosecutorial overreach and was seeking a pardon from President Trump, to whom he has been obsequiously loyal.

In fact, the Hunter used the Trump playbook in August 2018 when he claimed the federal investigation was a “witch hunt” instigated by Hunter’s early support of Trump. He called news reports that led to the investigation “fake news.”

Portions of the agreement were read in court, the San Diego Union reported, revealing that “Hunter began using campaign funds improperly ‘no later than 2010,’ meaning barely a year after he arrived in Congress. The criminality continued to at least 2016, it adds.”

Despite his indictment and loss of power, Hunter was running for re-election to what would be his seventh term. His ratings, however, recently dropped to fourth behind his rivals for that 50th Congressional District seat,  including prominent Republicans – gay former San Diego Councilmember and radio talk show host Carl DeMaio, former Rep. Darrell Issa, and State Sen. Brian Jones. The Democratic contender, businessman and former Obama administration staffer, Ammar Campa-Najjar, came very close to defeating Hunter in 2018.

Campa-Najjar was gracious on Twitter, writing: “My thoughts are with Major Hunter and his family, I want to thank him for serving our country.”

Campa-Najjar told KUSI that while he thought Hunter was guilty all along, he “wanted to let the courts decide.” Campa-Najjar added, “honestly, I think it’s a good thing that he’s kind of taken responsibility, but it’s also a sad day. I mean, no constituent expects, and hopes, for their congressman to be guilty of a crime and go to prison.”

DeMaio issued a statement then immediately sent out a fundraising appeal.

“While this must have been a tough decision for him, Congressman Hunter’s decision to plead guilty is the right one for his family and his constituents and shows that no one should be above the law — especially members of Congress,” DeMaio said. “My thoughts and prayers are with the Hunter family as they go through this difficult process.”

In an email to supporters, DeMaio said:

“This bombshell news comes a mere 90 days before the election (March 3) and just 60 days before voting begins – so we MUST ACT NOW to save the 50th Congressional District.

 

Here is what we know so far:

 

–The polling shows I will pick up what was left of Hunter’s support base and it will add to our current lead to save the seat.

 

–The Democrats are maneuvering to trigger a Special Election so they can get the Democrat candidate into office before the November election. Because the Democrat has a funding advantage right now, they think they have a shot at winning in a Special Election.

 

We MUST make up ground in funding versus our Democrat opponent ASAP so we are prepared to compete in a Special Election.

 

Can you contribute anything RIGHT NOW so we can achieve equal funding status against our Democrat opponent?”

Issa also issued a statement. “As a friend and a colleague, I thank Duncan Hunter for his service to our country in the Marine Corps and in Congress, where he has always been a strong conservative voice on behalf of his constituents. Though his misuse of campaign funds was clearly wrong, I wish him and his family the best as they address the matters ahead of them,” Issa said.

The 50th CD was the only targeted SoCal red seat the Democrats were unable to flip blue during the mid-terms. With a crippled GOP, Democrats are hoping to win in 2020.

 

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Los Angeles

Los Angeles Mayor: Supreme Court decision “fundamentally un-American”

Mayor Eric Garcetti spoke to the Los Angeles Blade reflecting on Friday’s U.S. Supreme Court reversal of Roe v. Wade

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Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (Blade photo from video by Troy Masters)

LOS ANGELES – During the Los Angeles Mayor’s Pride Garden Party held at The Getty House, the official residence of the mayor Saturday afternoon, Mayor Eric Garcetti spoke to the Los Angeles Blade reflecting on Friday’s U.S. Supreme Court reversal of Roe v. Wade.

Garcetti noted that “here in LA we defend those rights” after taking aim at the actions of the high court Friday in the ruling on the Mississippi case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health clinic. “Make no mistake, we have to be active,” Garcetti added.

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Los Angeles

Reminder: 101 closed through DTLA until 10pm Sunday

The closure began at 10 p.m. Saturday and will be completed by 10 p.m. Sunday, the Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering announced

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Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – (KTLA) Motorists are being reminded that the stretch of 101 through the downtown area of Los Angeles is shut down for road restoration and reconstruction work.

KTLA reported the closure began at 10 p.m. Saturday and will be completed by 10 p.m. Sunday, the Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering announced.

The 24-hour closure between State Route 60 and the 10 Freeway interchange is needed for the Sixth Street Viaduct Replacement Project, which aims to replace the original, seismically-deficient structure built in 1932, authorities said.

During the closure, the California Department of Transportation will also be doing slab replacement work along the same stretch of the 101 Freeway.

The closure will center around the east side of the viaduct construction site in Boyle Heights. While the stretch is closed, drivers headed west on State Route 60 from the Pomona area will not be able to access the 101, officials said.

Off-ramps and on-ramps in the area will also be closed during as road work gets underway.

Drivers who reach the closure will see signs directing them to a detour.

(The City of Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering)

The new $588 million viaduct is expected to be completed in Summer of 2022, stretching between Boyle Heights and the Arts District.

Officials say it is the largest bridge project in the history of Los Angeles.

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Los Angeles

LA-DWP & Mayor Garcetti announce new outdoor watering restrictions

Sprinkler watering will be allowed Monday & Friday at odd-numbered addresses in the city, and even-numbered addresses on Thursday & Sunday

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City of Los Angeles (Blade file photo)

LOS ANGELES – In a press conference Tuesday Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and officials from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) announced that outdoor watering in the city will be restricted to two days a week starting June 1.

The announcement comes as the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California declared an unprecedented water shortage emergency two weeks ago, imposing restrictions after MWD’s board voted to adopt the emergency measures to “reduce non-essential water use” in certain areas. Cities and smaller water suppliers that get water from MWD are required to start restricting outdoor watering to one day a week, or to find other ways to cut usage to a new monthly allocation limit.

LADWP

In Tuesday’s press conference Mayor Garcetti said L.A.’s two-day limit was still more lenient than the one imposed by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which has ordered many of its member agencies to restrict outdoor watering to once a week.

Sprinkler watering will be allowed on Monday and Friday at odd-numbered addresses in the city, and even-numbered addresses on Thursday and Sunday.

For more information visit the LADWP webpage here.

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