Money pours into governor’s race as pro-Villaraigosa group hits the airwaves

Get ready, California voters: A deluge of political TV ads is headed your way as candidates scramble for position in a crowded primary election and deep-pocketed donors rush to prop them up.

Millions of dollars have poured into the campaign for governor in recent weeks, kicking the race into high gear with a month and a half until the June 5 primary. It’s a sign of the increasingly competitive fight for second place behind Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom — a struggle for political survival, as only the top two candidates will advance to the general election.

“It’s about to start raining down ads,” said Rob Stutzman, a GOP strategist in Sacramento. “I’m a little surprised it hasn’t begun earlier.”

The first drops fell Thursday, as a pro-charter school committee hit the airwaves with a new ad backing former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Several prominent charter school supporters — Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, Los Angeles philanthropist Eli Broad and former L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan — have funneled a combined $9.5 million into the committee over the last week and a half.

That’s more than Villaraigosa’s campaign raised in all of 2016 and 2017, and helps cut down the $13.6 million financial advantage Newsom held over Villaraigosa at the end of 2017. The committee is run by the California Charter Schools Association, a pro-charter group. It can accept unlimited donations but can’t coordinate with Villaraigosa’s campaign.

In a field of Democratic candidates who have only a handful of major disagreements on policy issues, the substantial funding could place more of a focus on charter school policy. Villaraigosa was a strong supporter of charters in Los Angeles. Newsom, the frontrunner in the race, has called for stricter transparency rules for charter schools and has been endorsed by the powerful and charter-skeptical California Teachers Association.

The new pro-Villaraigosa ad …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics


The Bay Area show that launched a movement: Why ‘Angels in America’ still matters

The first time Gabrielle Antolovich saw the play that became a lightning rod for the Bay Area’s gay community, she cried.

Jose Portillo’s first experience was so raw and personal that he wound up watching a televised version at home in private.

More than 25 years ago, Antolovich, Portillo and many others in the gay community found their rallying cry in “Angels in America,” a local legend that went on to Broadway fame. But the personal and political power of “Angels” has made it much more than an award-winning play that’s often hailed as one of the most important theater experiences of the 20th century.

Stephen Spinella as Roy Cohn in Angels in America (Kevin Berne/Berkeley Repertory Theatre.)

“‘Angels in America’ is iconic, a watershed moment for the gay community and a defining moment for the Bay Area theater,” says Amy Glazer, professor of film and theater at San Jose State University. “It was the first great American drama to so fearlessly encompass the AIDS epidemic. It spoke personally, nakedly, about the experience and yet also monumentally and poetically. It memorialized a crucial moment in San Francisco’s history, and in our country’s history.”

The two-part, seven-hour marathon production — which returns to the Bay Area at Berkeley Rep this month — lit a spark of activism amid the darkness of the AIDS epidemic. An operatic tale of love, loss and politics in the age of Reagan, the play remains a defining piece of gay history decades after its first production in San Francisco.

“Angels” sucks its audience into a densely-woven soap opera that entwines jilted lovers, the ghosts of the Rosenberg Trial, the teachings of the Book of Mormon and hallucinatory angels. At the heart of the sprawling epic is Prior Walter, a young gay man dying of AIDS, who is abandoned by his lover, …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle


Losing a pet: You don’t know how much you really had until it’s gone

New Pet Pal Logo

DEAR JOAN: We read your column on Monday, on the difficulties and inconveniences of owning pets, along with the good stuff they can bring. We, too, have shared your thoughts about how much easier life could be without our two dogs and cat to care for.

One of our dogs, Sassy, unexpectedly died on that same Monday, from a tumor we were not aware of. We are reeling and our tears have not stopped. You don’t realize how much a part of daily life these wonderful animals are, until they aren’t.

You miss her when you open the car door expecting her to hop in. You miss her when you don’t see her face staring out at you from the window when you walk away. When you no longer hear her gentle snores at night, when you only pick up one food bowl instead of two, and get out her favorite nightly treat that she no longer needs.

You expect to see her curled up in her bed or laying out on the back deck in the sun. You miss her trotting along with you every morning to pick up the newspaper. You miss her furiously wagging tail when it’s time to walk or go for a truck ride, whether it’s raining or not.

You miss her pleading eyes watching every movement as you prepare dinner, hoping for a quick snack. You miss seeing her nose-to-nose with the cat. You remember the great romps on the beach, chasing the ball, going for long hikes in the East Bay hills, going to the cabin in Yosemite, wishing there was time for even just one more.

Our other dog, Anna, is confused. She keeps looking for Sassy in all her beds throughout the house, and seems to feel insecure in the car without having to share the …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle


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