With few official duties to worry about during the summer recess, California politicians have turned their attention to the burgeoning border crisis caused by a surge of Central American children crossing illegally into the U.S.
Last week, a group of state lawmakers toured a temporary detention facility in Ventura County, demanding federal action; Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore, called for state intervention in the protest-riddled town of Murrieta; and Gov. Jerry Brown finally spoke about the situation, deeming it a “human tragedy.”
Now another team of California legislators, led by state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, is traveling to El Salvador, Guatemala and Panama for the next nine days to meet with leaders about the immigration dilemma, as well as trade and investment. Steinberg will be joined Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, and Assemblymen Jose Medina, D-Riverside, Henry T. Perea, D-Fresno, V. Manuel Peréz, D-Coachella, and Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville.
Guatemala and El Salvador, where the delegation will meet with President Salvador Sánchez Cerén among others, are two of the main countries from which the flow of immigrants is originating, driven by gang violence and other factors. In Panama, lawmakers will learn about expansion of the canal.
VIDEO: California hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer is using his considerable wealth to boost environmentally-friendly politicians. Too bad his money isn’t so green, Dan Walters says.
STEP BY STEP: The California primary election was more than a month ago, but we still don’t know yet who will be facing off with Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin in the state controller’s race this November. After a protracted vote count that saw Board of Equalization member Betty Yee squeeze into second place over Assemblyman John A. Peréz, D-Los Angeles, by 481 votes, a historic recount began on Friday in Kern and Imperial counties. That effort ramps up today as each county is adding three more “boards” to facilitate the counting, which could take weeks. The boards are comprised of four people: two election officials to count the votes, and observers from both campaigns. The recount is costing Peréz nearly $6,000 per day, though he won’t have to pay if the result is ultimately reversed.
CELEBRATIONS: A belated happy birthday to Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra, D-Los Angeles, who turned 43 yesterday.