(Mark Z. Barabak / Los Angeles Times)
The last time Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Elk Grove) held a town hall meeting, earlier this month in the Sacramento suburbs, he left under police escort.
His session Tuesday night in Mariposa, a small tourist way station on the road to Yosemite, drew plenty of barbed questions, criticizing the five-term GOP congressman and attacking President Trump.
But the more than half-dozen California Highway Patrol officers arrayed around the auditorium at the fairground hardly seemed necessary.
McClintock ceded no ground on his deeply conservative beliefs and staunchly and repeatedly defended the president — often to jeers and catcalls.
But even some of the harshest questions McClintock faced were prefaced with thanks for his willingness to show up early and stay late. Many of his GOP colleagues have ducked such confrontations, refusing their constituents’ requests to meet with them.
"God bless all of you for being here," he said at one point, after a woman in the audience said the huge turnout — about 900 people — was a show of resistance to Trump. (In fact, about a third or so of the crowd appeared strongly supportive of the president.)
It is highly doubtful if any minds were changed during the session, which went more than an hour over schedule.
But in the end, McClintock managed to outlast many of his inquisitors. By the time he took his last question, after more than two hours and 20 minutes, the hall was close to half empty.
(Kurtis Lee / Los Angeles Times)
They arrived with soggy jackets, hats and umbrellas.
The topic was supposed to be the Affordable Care Act. But many who attended Democratic Rep. Tony Cárdenas’ town hall meeting Tuesday night in a crammed auditorium at the Cesar E. Chavez Learning Academies came with a question: What can we — as Democrats — do to help you?
“Show up and vote,” said Cárdenas, who represents a slice of the staunchly liberal San Fernando Valley. (Hillary Clinton defeated Donald Trump in this district by nearly 60 percentage points in the fall election.)
“Sign people up, get people involved,” he said.
At times the meeting had the feel of a therapy session for Democrats, wondering aloud how to function under a Trump administration.
“Where is the anger among Democrats?” asked one man. “I want to see more anger.”
Cárdenas, standing at a lectern on an elevated stage, offered a stern look and nodded in agreement as rain could be heard splattering on the roof above.
The complaints included Republicans’ efforts to repeal Obamacare and Trump’s new immigration mandates.
“Trust me, I’m pissed. I’m upset,” Cárdenas said. “But we have to act constructively. We have to be responsible.”
Last month, Trump signed executive orders directing the Department of Homeland Security to prioritize the removal of people in the U.S. illegally who have criminal convictions.
In addition to speeding up the deportation of convicts, Trump’s orders also call for quick removal of people in the country illegally who are charged with crimes and waiting for adjudication.
And in recent days, a handful of people who have received protection under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy have been arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents nationwide.
Cárdenas said that for him, the issue is personal. His parents were immigrants from Mexico who lived in the San Fernando Valley for decades, raising 11 children, he said. Today, his district is nearly 70% Latino.
“I’m going to fight for you,” he said. “I’m going to fight for the people who are my immigrant father.”
When a young man, a DACA recipient, asked him, via Twitter, if he’ll be safe in the weeks ahead, Cárdenas seemed at a loss.
“I pray that [Trump] doesn’t go after you,” he said.
Inside Los Angeles County Men’s Central Jail.
Retailers and law enforcement officials want lawmakers to amend parts of a 2014 voter initiative that reduced drug possession and some theft crimes to misdemeanors in order to increase penalties for repeated theft on businesses.
Assemblyman Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove) says the measure, Proposition 47, has spurred organized crime rings to target retailers and hurt consumers.
His legislation would make it a felony to steal $950 worth of property in a year. Currently, under Proposition 47, a theft crime would have to involve $950 worth of property in a single incident to rise to the level of a felony.
The bill is sponsored by the California Grocers Assn., the California Police Chiefs Assn. and Crime Victims United California. If approved by the Legislature, it would have to head to the ballot for approval by voters as it seeks to amend the state Constitution.
The reduction in theft crimes "has emboldened and encouraged a culture among career criminals to participate in coordinated and deliberate acts of repeated theft," Cooper said in a news conference Tuesday. "To put it another way, a repeated offender could steal $950 [worth of] property in one day and come back the next day, and do it again, again and again."
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-California), left, listens as Nael Zaino, center, describes how he was barred from traveling to the United States to reunite with his family because of Trump’s ban.