California Today: California Today: Division Among Democrats

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The California Democratic Party narrowly elected Eric Bauman as its new chairman, setting up a leadership dispute. Credit Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press

Good morning. Today’s item comes from the Los Angeles bureau chief, Adam Nagourney.

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LOS ANGELES — The Democratic Party is so dominant in California that there are barely enough Republicans around for even the most rudimentary political brawl. So state Democrats are turning to the next best thing: Democrats.

The state party here has been enmeshed in what seems to be an unending battle over who is its new leader. Eric Bauman, the Los Angeles County Democratic leader, appears to have won — in the actual vote May 20 and in a recount — but the challenger, Kimberly Ellis, has not conceded, contending that there were voting irregularities.

She is facing growing calls to accept the results; so far she has said she will not. Mr. Bauman and his supporters have rejected her call for an independent audit of the vote by the California Democratic Party, or C.D.P.

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“The party cannot go back in time and alleviate the storm of suspicion that surrounded last year’s presidential primary campaign,” the Ellis campaign said in a letter disputing the outcome. “But, in this instance, the C.D.P. has the ability to do the right thing and subject our chair’s election to independent scrutiny.”

California would seem to be the last place where there should be trouble in the Democratic family. The party controls all the major statewide offices and has overwhelming majorities in the Legislature. President Trump lost by more than four million votes here.

But the battle suggests the challenges Democrats face here and across the country as the party seeks to unify and rebuild after November. Ms. Ellis enjoyed considerable support from voters who supported Bernie Sanders against Hillary Clinton.

This is a fight with national implications: Democrats are looking to capture seven Congressional seats held by Republicans next year.

“If there’s a path to the Democratic Party regaining control of the House it starts in California,” Mr. Bauman said. “Division is never helpful. But moving forward is critically important. Letting people be assured that their opinions and their requests and desires are considered is critical.”

John Burton, the outgoing party leader, said that Democrats were hardly strangers to intramural battles and that he was optimistic this would pass. “We’ve been through this before,” he said. “We went through it during the war in Vietnam. We always come out stronger.”

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California Online

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Travis Kalanick, Uber’s chief executive, has been under pressure for his aggressive management style. Credit Wang Zhao/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

• Uber’s co-founder, Travis Kalanick, said he would take a leave of absence as chief executive as the company announced a sweeping reorganization. [The New York Times]

• David Bonderman resigned from Uber’s board after he made a disparaging remark about women at a company meeting on Tuesday. [The New York Times]

• To encourage a better Uber, it’s time to play the only card you’ve got: If it fails to live up to the promises it’s making now, stop using Uber. [Farhad Manjoo | The New York Times]


Senator Kamala Harris Questions Jeff Sessions

Senator Kamala Harris and Attorney General Jeff Sessions had a contentious back and forth during Tuesday’s hearing, in which Chairman Richard Burr had to weigh in.

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. Photo by Stephen Crowley/The New York Times. Watch in Times Video »

Senator Kamala Harris, Democrat of California, was cut off by Republican senators for the second time in a week as she questioned Attorney General Jeff Sessions. [The New York Times]

• New data released by state regulators provide a detailed snapshot of California’s battle against global warming. [Los Angeles Times]

• Over the next 20 years, Treasure Island in the San Francisco Bay will be transformed by the construction of 8,000 residential units, housing an estimated 20,000 people. [San Francisco Chronicle]

• State water agencies have set a September goal to decide whether they’re going to pay for the biggest water project California has undertaken since the 1960s. [The Sacramento Bee]

• Investigators say that the owners and managers of an East Bay buffet committed $4.5 million in wage theft from 2009 to 2013, while forcing workers to live in racially segregated dorms. [East Bay Times]


Charles P. Thacker at Microsoft’s research center in Mountain View, Calif., in 2006. Credit Noah Berger for The New York Times

Charles P. Thacker, an electrical engineer who played a central role in some of the most important ideas in personal computing, died Monday at his home in Palo Alto. [The New York Times]

• After reports surfaced that the Golden State Warriors would not be visiting the White House, the team clarified that it had yet to be invited. [The New York Times]

• The Warriors’ Andre Iguodala assembled one of the finest games of his career to help close out the Cavaliers. [The New York Times]

And Finally …


Male coqui frogs issue a high-pitched shriek when vying for females. Credit Cory Lum for The New York Times

The coqui frog is only about an inch or two long. But its mating call is so loud — and so irritating — that some Californians have called the police after mistaking it for a car alarm.

Reports of the frogs, which are native to Puerto Rico, have been cropping up in the state over the last several years, causing concern among scientists. A recent article in Scientific American urged authorities to eradicate the animals “immediately.” (In Hawaii, where the frogs have gained a firm foothold, they are considered such a nuisance that their presence has to be disclosed when a house is sold.)

Andrew Hughan, a spokesman for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, said on Tuesday that the department was “aware of the potential for the coqui to become a problem.” Members of the public could help limit the frog’s spread, he added, by reporting any sightings, and by purchasing native, drought-tolerant plants for their yards.

Not everyone is so averse to the frogs. In a 2001 interview with The Times, Kenneth McClintock, then the minority leader of the Puerto Rican Senate, expressed appreciation for their calls.

“Obviously, it’s something that requires getting used to,” he said. “But after some time, it becomes music to your ears.”

— Nicholas Bakalar

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California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from U.C. Berkeley.

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