Capitol Alert: AM Alert: Another California special election takes shape

jwhite@sacbee.comOctober 18, 2013 

A leisurely Friday offers as good a chance as any to do a little prognosticating about California's newest special election.

With Assembly Democrats again knocking on the door of a two-thirds supermajority, the steady stream of specials takes on additional significance. We already know that Democrat Matt Dababneh and Republican Susan Shelley will be squaring off on Nov. 19 for the 45th Assembly District seat formerly held by Bob Blumenfield.

Now we have a sense of the field vying for the seat recently vacated by another Los Angeles Democrat. Holly J. Mitchell's move to the Senate has produced a candidate list of three Democratic men hoping to represent the 54th Assembly District. They are accountant and former Culver City mayor Christopher Armenta, real estate broker John Jake and Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, son of former chairman of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and formerly a policy adviser to former Sen. Curren Price. The special primary arrives Dec. 3, with a runoff on Feb. 4 if necessary.

VIDEO: Dan Walters reads some statistical tea leaves and finds a big change in how California consumers behave.

WINNING WOMEN: Two powerful California women will speak at an event laying out an economic agenda for women today. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, and Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Sacramento, will be talking during a 2 p.m. forum at Sacramento State.

SOLITARY SOLIDARITY: A few weeks after advocates for prisoners in solitary confinement listened to sympathetic lawmakers address the issue at a Sacramento hearing, a United Nations torture expert will be speaking on panels in both Los Angeles and Berkeley. Juan Mendez will be at the Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles this morning and UC Berkeley's Valley Life Sciences building this afternoon.

CELEBRATIONS: We have a few different birthdays this weekend: On Saturday, Assemblyman Ian Calderon, D-Whittier, arrives at the ripe old age of 28. The slightly more august Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles, turns 39 on the same day. On Sunday, Attorney General Kamala Harris celebrates her 49th.

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