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Los Angeles mayor wins re-election in landslide

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Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti clinched re-election on Tuesday in a landslide victory that handed him a second four-year term in charge of America’s second-largest city.

Garcetti won 81 percent of the vote, according to a tally of all ballots early on Wednesday.

The nearest of his 10 challengers Mitchell Schwartz, who was California state director of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2007 and 2008, trailed with just 8 percent of the vote.

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Garcetti, a 46-year-old Democrat, was “deeply honored” to serve a second term, he said on Twitter early on Wednesday.

During his campaign, the mayor highlighted his support for a measure to raise the city’s minimum wage, and employment gains in the aftermath of a nationwide recession. He also enjoyed a significant funding advantage over his rivals, reporting raising more than $3.8 million as of March 1.

Schwartz, the only other candidate to have raised substantial funds, is expected to have spent $790,000, a spokesman said.

Schwartz, 55, made the city’s rising crime rate and soaring housing costs focal points of his campaign, also warning of a looming pension fund crisis.

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Garcetti, who defeated then-city Controller Wendy Greuel in a run-off four years ago, is the son of former prosecutor Gil Garcetti, whose office tried O.J. Simpson for murder and lost.

Drawing almost as much attention in Tuesday’s municipal elections was ballot Measure S, aimed at limiting urban development by halting “spot zoning” amendments to the city’s General Plan for two years.

Supporters of the plan, which was defeated with 69 percent of voters against, said spot zoning permits granted to wealthy real estate interests had spurred runaway construction, increasing congestion and driving up housing costs.

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Opponents said it would have undermined the city’s efforts to create more affordable housing.

(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; editing by John Stonestreet)


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DOJ shifts blame for intel chief’s refusal to share whistleblower complaint with Congress

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The Office of Legal Counsel advised the acting director of national intelligence not to share a whistleblower complaint with Congress, according to a new report.

Joseph Maguire, who Trump nominated Aug. 8 as acting DNI after Dan Coats resigned, has refused to turn over the complaint to the House Intelligence Committee despite a recommendation by the intelligence committee's inspector general.

New: A DOJ official says it was the Office of Legal Counsel that advised DNI not to disclose the whistleblower complaint to Congress. No word yet whether Barr was directly involved.

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Betsy DeVos visits school that bans transgender students from tour promoting taxpayer-funded private education

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Education Secretary Betsy DeVos Thursday morning visited a Pennsylvania school whose policies ban both transgender students and teachers in her annual "back to school" tour promoting taxpayer-funded private education, which she calls "education freedom."

DeVos once again chose to visit a religious school, the Harrisburg Catholic Elementary School, after which she held a roundtable (video below). For decades DeVos has devoted her professional life to finding ways to make taxpayers pay for private education. Since becoming Education Secretary DeVos has heightened her focus, politicizing her agency to promote private and charter schools over public schools, and working to further marginalize minority students, especially LGBTQ, Black, and disabled children.

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‘A very grave situation’: Rep. Jackie Speier hints at ‘violation of law’ as she leaves whistleblower hearing

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California Democrat Rep. Jackie Speier blasted the Trump administration on Thursday after it refused to turn over information about a whistleblower.

In a five-hour closed-door hearing on Thursday, the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community reportedly refused to hand over information about a whistleblower, who allegedly felt a duty to report on President Donald Trump's connections with a foreign leader.

"We've got a very grave situation on our hands," Speier was quoted as saying. "He is answering some questions not on the specific subject matter but it’s deeply troubling."

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