Axelrod warns Medicare-for-all, immigration proposals unpopular with voters

Former President Obama aide David Axelrod Tuesday warned that many of the proposals endorsed by Democratic presidential candidates disregard many polls that show these positions unpopular.

He noted that polls show large numbers of Americans oppose Medicare-for-all, decriminalizing illegal border crossings and giving free healthcare to illegal immigrants.

“It does seem if you’re running for president that you ought to take into consideration what the country wants,” Axelrod said during CNN’s post-debate analysis.

DETROIT DEBATE: LIBERAL 2020 DEMS FORCED ON DEFENSE OVER ‘MEDICARE-FOR-ALL,’ IMMIGRATION

A majority of the 20 candidates in the debates support some version of Medicare-for-all, which would eliminate private insurance. A majority of voters oppose single-payer, according to a new Marist poll. All 10 candidates raised their hands during the second night of debates last month when asked if they would provide health care for illegal immigrants.

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“Do we move forward with these idealized proposals that are going to beg opposition and make it easier for Donald Trump to make his case and win re-election when the stakes are so high?” Axelrod added. “This is what a lot of Democrats are worried about.”

Extremist materials found at home of Gilroy Garlic Festival shooter, source says

Authorities searching the Nevada home of Gilroy Garlic Festival shooter Santino William Legan found extremist materials, according to a law enforcement source.

The discovery came as detectives are trying to determine a motive in the Sunday attack at the famed food festival. The source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, did not provide details about the materials found or whether they provided clues as to a motive.

Detectives have been looking through his social media, electronic devices and computer hardware but are still struggling to understand why he opened fire, killing three and leaving 12 hurt Sunday night at the famed food festival, the sources said.

“Our preeminent and principal concern is motivation, ideological leanings and was he affiliated with anyone or any group,” said Craig Fair, FBI assistant special agent in charge of counterintelligence at the San Francisco office.

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At a news conference Tuesday, officials said the attack appears pre-planned but that the motive is still unclear.

“We have no reason to believe at this point he was targeting any protected characteristics or any class,” Fair said. “We continue to try and understand who the shooter is and what motivated him and if he was aligned with any particular ideology.”

During the attack, someone shouted a pivotal question as he unleashed round after round from his AK-47-style assault rifle: Why are you doing this?” He simply replied: “Because I am really angry!”

“Everyone wants to know the answer: Why?” Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee said. “If there’s any affiliation with other people, or groups of people, that could potentially pose a threat in the future, that all plays in.”

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That digital footprint in the case of the San Bernardino terror attacks that killed 14 and wounded 22 yielded a considerable history of aspiring to commit a holy war on America.

The killers in that case where so aware of their digital footprint they tossed away their laptop’s hard drive. But in the case of the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting that claimed 58 lives despite a year of investigation, Las Vegas police and the FBI were unable to ascribe a motive for Stephen Paddock’s rampage during the Route 91 Harvest music festival.

In letting Gilroy police be the lead agency, the FBI has already eliminated the prospect that Legan’s actions on their face were terrorist in nature as federal law requires for the bureau to lead such investigations.

Smithee, asked whether the victims were targeted, said Monday that it seemed “random.” But he cautioned that the motive remains unknown.

A study published by the Cal State San Bernardino’s Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism this month found that mass shooters frequently used sites such as 8chan, Telegram, GAB and Facebook around the time of their attacks. It is not clear whether Legan used any of these sites, authorities say.

“Over the last decade, many of the most notorious extremist mass killers have participated in, or were influenced by, bigoted content on social media before undertaking attacks in their home regions,” said Brian Levin, the center’s director.

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He cautioned that there are a lot of elements that can propel someone to carry out a violent act, not just one motivating factor. But young people who don’t belong to a specific hate group can self-radicalize through content from those groups easily found online, Levin said.

Michael Downing, a retired deputy chief with the Los Angeles Police Department’s counterterrorism unit, said digital footprints are a “critical tool” for law enforcement in shooting investigations where the gunman has died.

Downing, who is currently chief security officer with Oak View Group, said the individual’s online presence can be extremely telling for investigators who are tasked with piecing together the person’s motivations without being able to speak with them.

“A digital footprint shows what they are reading, who they are associating with and who they are influenced by,” he said.

If investigators can find a computer he regularly used, cyber forensic experts could quickly decipher his behavior and may be able to shed light on his motives, Downing said.

FBI spokeswoman Katherine Zackel said agents are also continuing to gather evidence at the crime scene, which is extensive. “It is a very large and complex scene,” she explained, noting that it could take several days. In the past, the bureau has flown evidence back to its Virginia lab for examination by a plethora of forensic experts.

Before the attack, he posted a photo on Instagram with the caption, “Ayyy garlic festival time come get wasted on overpriced …,” using an expletive.

He also posted a photo of a Smokey Bear sign warning about fire danger, with a caption instructing people to read an obscure novel glorified by white supremacists: “Might Is Right” published under the pseudonym Ragnar Redbeard. In his profile, which has since been deleted, Legan identified himself as being of Italian and Iranian descent.

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The book, published in 1890, includes discredited principles related to social Darwinism that have been used to justify racism, slavery and colonialism, Levin said.

“The notion that people of color are biologically inferior is a key tenet of this book, and that biological determinism, the Darwinian view of the world, justifies aggression against diverse people and vulnerable people,” he said.

The famed festival was winding down when authorities allege that Legan crept past a creek and cut through a fence, bypassing entrance security, while armed with an AK-47-style rifle.

Soon after, he began spraying attendees with gunfire, authorities said, claiming three lives and wounding a dozen people. Within a minute, Legan was shot and killed as three police officers arrived and fired at him with their handguns.

Opinion: Who won?

Tuesday’s Democratic debate highlighted how the left’s divide between socialism and pragmatism in 2016 is still alive and well in the 2020 presidential primary. This policy schism — as Valerie Jarrett and Rahm Emanuel have noted — empowers President Donald Trump, who enjoys the stability of a unified Republican Party and the power of incumbency.

Trump also benefits from most Americans’ staunch opposition to liberal policies like free health insurance for immigrants with no legal right to be here  and eliminating private health insurance. 

More practical candidates on the stage, like Gov. Steve Bullock, former Gov. John Hickenlooper and Rep. Tim Ryan tried to be voices of reason on issues like health care, immigration, student loans and the “Green New Deal,” but the aggressive pushback from Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren shows how the 2020 Democratic primary could easily become just as bruising as it was in 2016.   

Moderates like Rep. John Delaney called for consumer choice. He warned against pursuing an “anti-private sector strategy” in health care that could bankrupt rural providers and making “impossible promises that will turn off independent voters.” Yet he was knocked back by leftists onstage like Marianne Williamson who dismissed the more centrist candidates: “I almost wonder why you’re Democrats.”

Bureau of Labor Statistics data show the US economy has added over 500,000 manufacturing jobs since President Trump took office and wage gains on an annual basis have been above 3% for 16 of the past 18 months. Ryan correctly noted that the far left often bashes petro-and coal-based industries, yet workers in these fields are the backbone of America’s economy — which has added more than 47,000 auto manufacturing jobs since Trump was elected.

It’s no wonder that Middle America rejected liberal policies like those of Hillary Clinton, who declared, “We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.” While she — and others tonight — quickly tried to amend her statement by saying she would re-train those coal workers, the damage was already done. It’s no surprise that Clinton said that statement was the one she regretted the most in 2016. 

It appears the 2020 Democrats have learned nothing, allowing conservatives to step into this leadership void to offer market-based solutions for reducing emissions and lowering energy costs. 

In his remarks Tuesday, Hickenlooper called for “evolution, not revolution,” however, the Democratic base doesn’t seem to agree with him. They are likely in for a bitter surprise when America’s common-sense voters reject policies that would expand government at unsustainable levels. 

Carrie Sheffield, a conservative commentator, is the founder of Bold, a digital news network committed to bipartisan dialogue. She is also national editor for Accuracy in Media, a conservative media watchdog organization, and a visiting fellow at Independent Women’s Forum. 

Supervisors approve McFarland fire deal

The Kern County Board of Supervisors have approved an agreement with the city of McFarland that allows the Kern County Fire Department to provide fire services to the city.

In a 4-0 vote with Supervisor Leticia Perez absent, the supervisors approved the deal that does not require McFarland to pay the county hundreds of thousands of dollars for fire services under the old two-year contract.

The new contract, worth $647,544, will allow the county fire department to provide fire service to McFarland until the end of December.

However, McFarland will not have to pay $681,120 the county said was supposed to have been paid over 10 years for fire services provided from 2017 to mid-2019.

A grand jury report said the county did put the requirement in writing, giving McFarland room to negotiate away from paying full price for fire services.

Despite the approval, Supervisor Zack Scrivner said the county should not give up on trying to obtain the money it says it is owed.

“We need to come back and talk about this $681,000 that I believe was clearly articulated that that needed to be paid back,” Scrivner said. “I don’t think it is reasonable for us to leave that on the table.”

Teen killed at the Gilroy festival stayed behind to walk with relative with cane, family says

A 13-year-old girl who was killed by a gunman at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Northern California on Sunday may have inadvertently saved another relative’s life by staying behind amid the shooting to walk with a relative who uses a cane, the family said.

Keyla Salazar, 13, was identified late Monday by the Santa Clara County Coroner’s Office, as the third victim fatally shot by a 19-year-old gunman while attending the Gilroy Garlic Festival.

CALIFORNIA POLICE EXECUTE SEARCH WARRANTS AT GILROY GARLIC FESTIVAL SHOOTER’S HOME, CAR

A man in his 20s, a 6-year-old and Salazar were killed when Santino William Legan, 19, open-fired at the festival Sunday before turning his “AK-47-type assault rifle” at responding officers. Legan was fatally shot by police. At least 11 others were injured.

Keyla Salazar, 13, was one of three people killed when a gunman open-fired at an outdoor food festival in northern California over the weekend.

Keyla Salazar, 13, was one of three people killed when a gunman open-fired at an outdoor food festival in northern California over the weekend. (GoFundMe)

Salazar’s aunt, Katiuska Vargas, told the Associated Press Monday that her niece was eating ice cream with family members when they heard gunshots and began to flee. Salazar stayed behind to keep pace with a relative who uses a cane and was shot with a bullet that otherwise might have hit the woman she was waiting for, Vargas said.

A local car dealership in Gilroy started a GoFundMe page to raise money for Salazar’s parents after her death. Bob Mann, the page’s organizer, wrote that South County Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram staff support the festival every year.

“Together we can help with this heartbreaking loss,” Mann wrote. The page had raised over $22,000 as of Monday night, nearing the halfway point of its $50,000 goal. Family and friends shared the crowdsourcing page to Facebook Monday to ask for donations.

“Please donate. She is my friends daughter and unfortunately lost her life in a senseless act. Please keep her family in your prayers,” Jeannette Godinez also wrote on Facebook.

The Gilroy Police department announced Monday that officers have served two search warrants associated with the suspect as police work to investigate what may have led Legan to carry out the horrific assault.

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The man in his 20s who was killed had been identified as Trevor Irby, 25, a recent graduate of Keuka College in upstate New York. Steven Romero, 6, of San Jose was also killed in the incident, the coroner’s officer said. Authorities said it is too early in the investigation to determine if the victims killed in the shooting were targeted by the gunman.

Fox News’ Greg Norman, Edmund DeMarche, Talia Kaplan and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Mexico arrests suspect in killing of Jose Arredondo

SAN JOSE DEL CABO, Mexico — Authorities in Mexico say they have arrested a suspect in the murder of Jose Arredondo, a U.S. citizen who was found dead earlier this month in a condominium in Baja California Sur state.

The state’s Attorney General’s Office said Monday that a man it identified as 50-year-old Roberto “N” originally from Mexico’s Hidalgo state had been arrested for the killing of Arredondo, a prominent car dealer in Bakersfield. The suspect had been reported missing by his family.

Mexican authorities say Arredondo’s body showed signs of blunt force trauma.

Arredono would have turned 61 years old on Monday, when a celebration of life was held for him at New Life Church on Stine Road. The man’s generosity and charisma were evident to all those who knew him, speakers said.

The Californian contributed to this report.

A vacationing teacher finds a 2.12-carat diamond at an Arkansas state park

(CNN) — This Nebraska teacher will surely win show-and-tell once the school year begins.

Josh Lanik, 36, was vacationing with his family when he discovered a brandy-colored gem at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas.

“It was blatantly obvious there was something different about it,” Lanik said, according to a press release from the park issued Monday. “I saw the shine, and when I picked it up and rolled it in my hand, I noticed there weren’t any sharp edges.”

Arkansas State Parks

The teacher from Hebron, Nebraska, showed the stone to his wife and then put the treasure in a bag where he collected other finds. The family spent two hours looking through the park’s 37.5-acre diamond search area on July 24. Before leaving, they stopped by the Diamond Discovery Center in the park to see what kind of treasure they’d unearthed.

Unbeknownst to Lanik, he was carrying around the largest diamond found in the park so far this year. It weighed in at 2.12-carat.

More than 75,000 diamonds have been unearthed at the park since the first ones were discovered in 1906. So far this year, 296 diamonds have been registered at the park, weighing a total of 53.94 carats.

“Mr. Lanik’s gem is about the size of a jellybean and has a dark brown color, similar to brandy,” park interpreter Waymon Cox said in the news release. “It has a beautiful natural pear shape and smooth, curved facets that give the gem a metallic shine.”

The diamond is the size of a jellybean but the largest one found so far this year.

The diamond is the size of a jellybean but the largest one found so far this year.

Arkansas State Parks

Cox noted that the recent rainfall likely contributed to Lanik’s discovery.

“About 14 inches of rain fell at the park on July 16. In the days after the rainfall, park staff registered numerous diamonds found right on the surface of the search area, including two weighing over one carat,” he said.

The park has a “finders keepers” policy. When asked if he would sell his gem, which he dubbed the Lanik Family Diamond, he told the park he plans on keeping it for now.

Gilroy Garlic Festival gunman used a rifle banned in California, officials say

The gunman in the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting used a military-style semiautomatic rifle that is illegal to own in California, although authorities have not yet publicly identified the specific type of weapon, according to officials Monday.

Authorities initially said the weapon used was the WASR-10, a Romanian-built weapon that looks like an AK-47 and is considered an assault rifle under California law and therefore banned.

However, Monday evening, they corrected that statement and said the rifle the gunman used was an “AK-47 variant,” modeled after the original Russian weapon. A federal weapons expert was not familiar with the company that manufactured the rifle, said San Jose Fire Department spokesman Mitch Matlow.

Authorities say Santino William Legan, 19, bought the weapon earlier this year legally in Nevada.

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On Monday, Mineral County sheriff’s deputies helped FBI agents search a residence in Walker Lake, Nev., believed to be linked to Legan.

In 2014, then-Gov. Jerry Brown enacted a law requiring anyone who buys a firearm out of state and brings it into California after Jan. 1, 2015, to have it delivered to licensed California dealer and file a report with the state Department of Justice documenting the purchase.

It is the velocity of the round with the rifle that gives it the deadly power.

FULL COVERAGE: The Gilroy Garlic Festival Shooting

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AB 1609 requires a 10-day waiting period and a background check. Violations are a misdemeanor for long guns, and felonies for handguns.

The law exempts people who have obtained specified Justice Department permits to deliver weapons from the requirements imposed by this bill.

Former Assemblyman Luis A. Alejo (D-Salinas), who wrote the law, had said, “I support the 2nd Amendment, but I have seen too many families torn apart by criminal behavior involving firearms. I am not going to sit by idly and wait for more.”

Times staff writer Laura J. Nelson contributed to this report from Gilroy, Calif.

At least 3 dead, 16 injured in Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting

A shooting at the famed Gilroy Garlic Festival on Sunday evening left at least three dead and 16 injured, sending hundreds of terrified visitors running for their lives.

The popular food festival at the “Garlic Capital of the World” was about to close around 5:30 p.m. when gunfire broke out.

A law enforcement source told The Times a gunman, described as a white man, was dead, but it’s unclear whether he was among the three reported fatalities. A second source also confirmed that three were dead.

Authorities said the scene was still active late Sunday night, with dozens of law enforcement officers from agencies around the region swarming the scene.

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Witnesses reported hearing multiple rounds fired by a gunman armed with a rifle and dressed in some kind of vest and camouflage fatigues. Officials have not yet said whether there were fatalities, but witnesses said there appeared to be some.

Taylor Pellegrini, 25, said she was sitting on a bench near the food court with her boyfriend and two friends when she heard what sounded like firecrackers. When the pops continued and people started running, she realized they were in danger.

“People were yelling ‘active shooter, active shooter,’ and some people tripped and stayed on the ground so bullets didn’t hit them,” she said. “People were under tables and dropping their phones and whatever they had in their hands.”

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Pellegrini, who lives in Hollister, was able to get out quickly because she and her friends were close to the exit. As they walked to the nearby home of a friend, where they’d parked, they saw police officers racing through the streets.

Pellegrini said security seemed weak at the popular three-day festival, which was set to end Sunday. Her bag was checked at the entrance, she said, but one of her friend’s was not.

“I feel really scared,” said Pellegrini, who favors the festival for its rich food and music. “It makes me not want to go anywhere anymore.”

Vivian Zhang, 24, said she was walking toward the exit with two friends when she heard pops and crackles, and then saw abrupt flashes of light. A truck they were standing next to was struck four times; bullets ricocheted off the ground.

That’s when they started running as fast as they could.

“They started putting all of us on the parking shuttles,” said Zhang, an Oakland resident. “To their credit, the volunteers running it were very responsive, they weren’t panicking.”

Everyone seemed disoriented, Zhang said. Parents grabbed their children as police ran into the crowd. “It’s a whole entire group feeling of sheer terror,” said Emily Gifford, Zhang’s 23-year-old friend.

As Zhang was running, she said, she remembered thinking, “I am surviving a mass shooting right now, but I’m not even sure if that will be true in a moment.”

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One of Zhang’s friends was at the 2017 Las Vegas music festival where a gunman killed 58 people. She remembers seeing Snapchat posts from the scene. Still, she never thought this could be her reality, especially at a community event in rural California.

“It was getting closer and closer to home,” she said. “And now it happened to us.”

Videos from the scene showed people running and screaming across the festival grounds.

“Please pray everyone. Random shooters started shooting everywhere,” one person tweeted. “One boy is dead so far and others injured. We’re still waiting while they find them.”

There were also several reports on social media about multiple injuries.

“Scariest moments of my life at the Gilroy garlic festival,” one person tweeted. “I hope everyone made it out okay.”

Another witness, Julissa Contreras, told NBC Bay Area that she saw a white man in his early to mid-30s firing a rifle that was “able to shoot three to four shots a second.”

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“It was just rapid firing,” she said. “I could see him shooting in just every direction. He wasn’t aiming at anyone specifically. It was just left to right, right to left…. He definitely was prepared for what he was doing.”

Vielka Garrido, 48, was sitting with her friend and 19-year-old daughter, enjoying the band as it played its last song at the festival.

She was filming a live video on Facebook showing everyone how much fun they were having. They were eating seafood and spaghetti, and dancing.

“And then we hear boom, boom, boom,” Garrido said. “We thought it was fireworks, and then when we see the people running — oh, my God, it was terrible.”

The shots felt close to where they were sitting at the front of the stage. Her group started running too, finding refuge in a shipping container where many other festival-goers were hiding.

As she was running, she saw someone performing CPR on a small child and many other people injured.

As of 8:30 p.m., there were no reports of an arrest in the shooting. Police had also not released any information about the shooter.

Founded in 1979, the Gilroy Garlic Festival bills itself as “the world’s greatest summer food festival.” The three-day event, held at Christmas Hill Park in the town southeast of San Jose, is hosted by community volunteers and raises money for local schools, charities and nonprofit organizations.

The festival attracts tens of thousands of people every year to the Santa Clara County town of 58,000.

Gilroy police said on Twitter: “The hearts of Gilroy PD and entire community go out to the victims of today’s shooting at the Garlic Festival. The scene is still active. If you are looking for a loved one, please go to the reunification center at Gavilan College at parking lot B.”

Police set up a witness and family reunification line at (408) 846-0583.

Times staff writers Gale Holland and Rong-Gong Lin II contributed to this report.

Marianne Williamson wants to be taken seriously at next debate

Marianne Williamson, a 2020 Democratic hopeful, said she hopes to be taken more seriously as a candidate on this week’s debate stage after her first debate left her on the receiving end of online jokes and memes.

In an interview published Sunday, Williamson, a  best-selling author and Oprah Winfrey’s spiritual adviser, admitted she wasn’t thrilled with the public’s response to her performance last month.

MARIANNE WILLIAMSON HITS BACK AT LATE-NIGHT STAR FOR URGING HER TO DROP OUT OF RACE

“I hope that this time my delivery will be more aligned with my substance,” she told USA Today. “I don’t regret the substance of anything I said, but I understand that my delivery made me vulnerable to mockery.”

Williamson, who vowed to beat President Trump with a politics of “love,” said she plans to “just be myself” during Tuesday’s debate in Detroit.

MARIANNE WILLIAMSON SAYS SHE WANTS A ‘DEPARTMENT OF PEACE’ AS POTUS

This time around she plans to avoid traditional debate preparation, she said, and will instead rely on her experience thus far on the campaign trail.

“I did a lot of that last time. This time I’m seeing things a little bit differently,” Williamson said.

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“Every day on the campaign trail is preparation. Every day you’re thinking about issues, writing about issues, talking about issues, learning about issues,” she added. “It’s a continuous process. To me, that’s the best preparation.”