Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's announcement earlier this week that he will not run next year for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by the retiring Barbara Boxer came as something of a surprise, at least at this early date.
For the first time since the first George Bush was president, California Democrats are having a competition for a seat in the U.S. Senate. And the early leader is the only candidate on the 2010 statewide Democratic ticket who nearly didn't win.
As mayor and Assembly speaker, Villaraigosa had considerable success forging compromises in the midst of controversies. So far, however, he's been invisible on this issue.
In a rather quiet year, some of the more significant races in California are coming into greater focus.
Taking a job at a multi-level marketing firm would be a tacky signpost of any first-tier politician's professional trajectory. It's especially unsightly when that politician is Antonio Villaraigosa.
Antonio Villaraigosa wasn't just a charismatic and effective mayor of Los Angeles. He established himself as a national leader -- one whose personal story and effective advocacy on critical issues such as education, immigration, and civil rights have had a positive impact on our community and our nation.
California, known for its seemingly endless beautiful coastline, is also a source of endless ingenuity and passion for protecting our natural resources from plastic waste. Way to go, Californians!
It's not all that hard to incite a Republican race to the hard right on immigration. Once undertaken, that race ends up in the same place: one of fences, exclusion and super-heated rhetoric that utterly turns off most people of color and younger voters.
Many Americans know that Barack Obama spent three years as a community organizer in Chicago, but hardly any Americans know about Fred Ross Sr., perhaps the most influential community organizer in American history.
Around the country, Americans are not only lobbying their Congressmembers to support legislation to reduce gun violence, they are also voting with their dollars -- through pension funds, government purchasing policies, and university endowments.
The nation's second-largest school district is at the center of a broader battle over the future over education reform. Since 2010, Superintendent John Deasy has run the district, implementing policies consistent with the national "education reform" movement, which pushes things such as test-based teacher evaluations and charter schools. But if the composition of the school board changes significantly, Deasy could be fired.