California Assembly

A quiet race for the 18th Assembly District seat translated into a polite - if predictably partisan - debate Tuesday during a League of Women Voters forum.

Challenger David Erlich, who has never held public office, admitted that he decided to run because incumbent Rob Bonta, D-Alameda, had no challengers. Erlich said that to his knowledge, the last Republican to challenge the seat didn’t show up to debates. The district - which includes Alameda, San Leandro and Oakland - is dominated by Democrats, with about eight percent of voters registered as Republicans.

Bills that would revamp the community college accreditation process and permit worker cooperatives are among the nearly two dozen proposed so far by Alameda Assemblyman Rob Bonta during the second half of the 2013-14 legislative session.

The 22 pieces of legislation that Bonta, who has announced he plans to run for re-election this fall, has introduced since February include bills that seeks to boost the amount of produce available to people living in "food deserts," grant the Oakland Unified School District more time to sell surplus property to help pay off a $100 million loan from the state and grant union-friendly changes to bargaining rules.

Updated at 8:57 a.m. Thursday, October 24

Assemblyman Rob Bonta closed his first session in the statehouse with new laws that benefit public unions facing contract impasses, allow green card holders to work the polls and ensure Californians do more to learn about and honor Filipino Americans. But other efforts, including a bill to require the state’s prisons to provide condoms to inmates, were dealt a gubernatorial veto.

Governor Jerry Brown signed eight of the 21 bills that Alameda’s former vice mayor put forward during his first session in the state Assembly, and vetoed three. Others were pulled by Bonta or stalled in legislative committees.

The state Senate is set to consider a bill sponsored by Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, that would allow non-citizens to serve as poll workers during elections, which its supporters say will increase voter access for non-English speakers.

If passed by the Senate, Bonta's AB 817 would allow green card holders to work at the polls and provide language assistance services on Election Day. Current law bars nonvoters from working the polls on election days; legal permanent residents lack the right to vote.