“I hope that by making this announcement now, we can end the continued attention on internal (caucus) deliberations that have distracted time and effort from the issues that are more directly relevant to our constituents.” Erica Werner of Associated Press contributed to the story firstname.lastname@example.org (562)698-0955, Ext. 3022160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Rep. Linda Sanchez announced Thursday that she is suspending her membership in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, with complaints about its male leadership. Sanchez, D-Lakewood, joins her sister, Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Garden Grove, who quit the caucus in January and accused the group’s leader of calling her a “whore.” The chairman, Rep. Joe Baca, also a Democrat from Southern California, has denied saying that. But other women also have complained about his leadership. When Baca was elected chairman in November, he was supported by only one of the six women in the caucus. Since January, the 21-member, all-Democratic group has been meeting to try to resolve the dispute but has not announced any changes. Baca survived a confidence vote in March. “I believe that the current leadership has not made needed structural reforms to ensure that the caucus is more equitable and inclusive of all its members,” stated Sanchez in a statement she released. Jim Dau, spokeswoman for Sanchez, said she would like more of a power-sharing structure, similar to that of other caucuses. For example, the Blue Dog Caucus has a person in charge of its caucus, but also someone in charge of communication and another who heads up policy debates, Dau said. Sanchez said she would continue to serve on the Board of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, a non-profit organization that plays an important role in training the next generation of Hispanic leaders through its scholarship, fellowship and internship programs. Sanchez said she hopes to resume full membership in the caucus in the future.
Ecologists have long wondered how two coral reefs—sitting right next to each other in the ocean—can be drastically different shades of color. The answer, according to a new study, has to do with some intriguing genetics. By sequencing three colonies of Acropora millepora, a branching stony coral obtained from the waters of Fiji, scientists have discovered that instead of having one gene that controls pigment production, these corals harbor multiple copies of the same gene. The more genes the corals activate, the greater their strength of color, researchers report online this month in Molecular Ecology. The same pigments that are essential for the corals’ color are also important for protecting the algae that live inside the corals, the team reports. Algae require some sunlight to survive, but too much light kills them. To protect the algae, which provide them with essential nutrients, the corals that are exposed to the most sunlight invest the sun’s energy into producing more pigment and thus appear brighter; this prevents too much sunlight from reaching the algae.