Around The Capitol

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THE NOONER for April 3, 2016

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Good glorious Sunday morning from California's capital city. Today is opening day of baseball, making Rick Battson a very happy guy. The Angels face off against the Cubs today. Giants play in Milwaukee against the Brewers tomorrow. Giants vs. Dodgers next weekend!

David Brooks on Meet the Press this Morning: "It will all come down to California," on the presidential race.

I'm writing this morning on my balcony, enjoying the beautiful spring bright green leaves, interrupted by bring yellow Meyer lemons.  It doesn't get much better than this. I might be a bit late for the Early Bird subscribers as I literally took time to smell the roses walking back from Buddhist Church and farmers market. The beautiful camellias have given way to roses, marking the progress of spring. Farmers market was packed, as people (like me) loaded on some of the last asparagus and snow peas. Tomatoes and peppers will be here before you know it.

On my way back, I passed by Sacramento's largest Spanish-language church, Our Lady of Guadalupe, which is a block and a half from me. On Sundays, the Southside neighborhood is literally transformed throughout the entire day (they have five services) as Latinos from throughout Sacramento come to church. After (or before service), they buy street tacos sold by the church patrons or tamales, bacon wrapped hot dogs, churros, and various other wonderful food sold be vendors on the adjacent street corners. If the weather is good, you'll find them eating in the park across the street, where the kids run around and enjoy the day. That was the picture this morning.

Before church, I ate breakfast at Waffle Square on 10th Street. Nearly every worker is Latino. As I sat at the breakfast bar, I watched through the server window at the cooks preparing food. They were working frenetically to serve a full house. As Anthony Bourdain has said, Mexicans are the best and hardest-working cooks in the world, regardless of the cuisine. Sure, you have your Bobby Flays, but he's not exactly cooking every night in Vegas or his 21 other restaurants.

Following a great church service on kindness to our fellow humans, I couldn't avoid thinking about the presidential race and a certain vociferous person. 

First, I'm sure most of the kids running around the park are citizens, having been born here. That's in the Constitution, and won't be changed without an insurmountable concurrence of 38 states. However, many of the God-fearing and peaceful (and likely hard-working adults) that bring their kids to church may be undocumented. They may on other days be making breakfast at Waffle Square (or operating those damn leaf blowers).

Trump promises to use a "very human deportation force" to identify and deport 11 million undocumented residents. Kids would be orphaned. Businesses would crumble. This issue is not getting enough attention, largely because Trump finds a different enemy each week, this week being over one-half of voters, those with two X chromosomes.

Now that I've pissed off some of my Republican readers, let me piss off some of my Democratic readers. I see my 9,071 readers plummeting.

Tomorrow, Governor Jerry Brown plans to sign the bill phasing in an increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022. Small businesses (under 25 employees) would have an extra year to reach $15. 

I neither disagree with $15/hour nor the political necessity to preempt dueling ballot measures on the November ballot, which would increase the wage much quicker. New York is following a similar plan, albeit a bit slower.

However, as I was walking through farmers market after church this morning, I was thinking about our small family farms. I love the Capay Valley, got married on an olive farm up there, and have subscribed to a couple of farms for organic, local produce and buy most of my produce from small farms. I don't care about the big corporate farms, but I would hate to lose this farm-to-table culture as labor costs rise by 50%. I fear that this will move more agriculture south of the border (sometimes far south, such as Peru and Argentina), at the cost of our amazing local culture, where we know the farmers and dirt in which our produce is grown.

I want Walmart workers to be paid $15/hour. The driving force behind this hike is In-Home Supportive Services, which is a complicated issue. IHSS workers are a blend of private service providers and family members who care for severely disabled individuals. The argument in favor is that, through state support, disable individuals are kept at home rather than in state-funded institutions. That makes a lot of sense. However, would a parent not otherwise care for the disabled child despite the state support (assuming there is another parent earning income).

Anyway, I just don't want to lose my local, family-owned, organic farms. We need to monitor this carefully and correct it if needed.

And, these issues are connected. The Mexican minimum wage is $4.30/hour. The presidential candidate wants to deport 11 million residents. Would the agricultural jobs/production follow? This is a financial, humane, and environmental issue. Do you want your organic kale from south of the border? 

A NEW NOONER READER: Congratulations to Dr. Dana and Dave Jacobson, who welcome Maya Jacobson into the world!

DEPT OF CORRECTIONS: The minimum delegate allocation by California delegates is 4, to CA21 (Kings), oddly the most Democratic seat held by a Republican. The district is just plagued with miserable voter turnout.




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Many Central Valley Farmers Face Severe Water Shortages Despite Easing Drought | The Sacramento Bee
Ryan Sabalow and Dale Kasler @
North state growers to receive 100 percent of federal allocation

California Water Allocation Has Winners, Losers
Heavy rains in March boosted the amount of water in Northern California's large reservoirs such as Shasta and Folsom, allowing farmers in the Sacramento Valley and wildlife refuges to receive 100 percent of their contracted amounts, while the Contra Costa Water District also will receive 100 percent, up from 25 percent a year ago.

More Rent-controlled Buildings Are Being Demolished To Make Way For Pricier Housing
Looking to cash in on a booming real estate market, Los Angeles property owners are demolishing an increasing number of rent-controlled buildings to build pricey McMansions, condos and new rentals, leading to hundreds of evictions across the city. More than 1,000 rent-controlled apartments were...

Doctor Fighting S.F. Diabetes Epidemic Backs Soda Tax - San Francisco Chronicle
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Republican Loyalists Skeptical Of Donald Trump In Milwaukee
Essential Politics

Donald Trump Is A Stranger In San Diego |
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Homophobia, Drugs And Mental Illness May Have Led To Gay Man's Killing And Father's Arrest
The house in North Hills is on a street with beautiful rosebushes and bad sidewalks, one in a row of single-story homes with iron security gates. Like his neighbors, Shehada "Joe" Issa had ringed his modest property with a strong fence and slapped a sign in the window to warn off trespassers. But...

Bernie Billboards Prove It: This Year, California Matters - San Francisco Chronicle
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Secret Service Deflates Marijuana Protest Outside White House - Politico
The group is unhappy with Obama's inaction on marijuana legalization.

What It's Like To Live In A City With A $14 Minimum Wage
Security guard Kenneth Lofton was among the workers who benefited last year when this East Bay city hiked its hourly minimum wage to nearly $15 for employees at large companies. The jump was almost 50% more than what he used to make in nearby Oakland when he was paid $10 an hour. But it's not enough...

Airbnb To Purge Illegal Hotels From San Francisco Listings - San Francisco Chronicle
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Trump Warns Woodward Of ‘very Massive Recession’; Would Ask Top Staffers To Sign Nondisclosures – Map Mayhem: Trump Could Turn Utah Blue – B’day: Alex Burns Is 3-0, Jonathan Martin - Politico
Reducing salt consumption has long been part of the administration's push to get Americans to eat healthier.

A Libertarian Take On The Streets Of San Francisco - Sfgate
City Hall means well and does help a lot of people, but this approach often fails the chronically homeless. As Theroux noted, the progressive view is to let self-destructive people do whatever they want, and that approach helps no one.

State Officials Blast Monterey County Cps Handling Of Abuse Case Leading To Two Child Deaths
Despite high-profile child abuse and neglect cases, including many in the Bay Area, authorities have been slow to make substantive changes to the often underfunded and undermanned agencies, experts said.

Bay Area Building Boom May Not End Housing Shortage - San Francisco Chronicle
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Sanders: 'my Wife Does Our Tax Returns' - Politico
The 2016 Democratic hopeful doesn't use H&R Block.

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Six fasting monks, draped in orange robes and wearing knit hats, lined a large decorative rug Saturday morning in Oakland’s Peralta Hacienda Historical Park, chanting prayers to community members to open the sixth annual Cambodian New Year Festival. Elaborately costumed dancers, musicians and artists entertained the crowds at the festival, which gave visitors a chance to taste and celebrate the country’s culture and past. “We wanted a celebration for the entire community,” said Kethia Chheng, a festival volunteer and San Leandro resident. Most of the time we fund raise with what we sell,” Pal said, “such as for the nearby temple that recently burned down, and for other community events. [...] beneath the smiles and abundance of celebratory art, the festival had a darker mood, because it also commemorated the country’s deadly post-Vietnam-era history, when Communist dictator Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge revolutionaries killed an estimated 2 million Cambodians, including many dancers and other artists. Anyone with specialized skills, such as singers, painters or even doctors, were systematically executed, he added. For this reason, the festival also included modern art forms, such as live graffiti-painting representations of some of the famous Cambodian artists who were killed in the country’s genocide, as well as an East Bay youth hip-hop dance group, Prophesea. Darien Saeteurn, one of the dancers, said that bringing his group into the event was a way to provide a youthful perspective to the cultural celebration. Local Cambodian American hip-hop artist RJ Sin also made an appearance at the festival.

Air Quality District Votes To Allow Exxon Mobil To Restore Torrance Refinery
The South Coast Air Quality Management District voted late Saturday to allow Exxon Mobil to fully restore its refinery in Torrance after an explosion at the facility last year. After nearly 12 hours of public comment and expert testimony at Torrance City Hall, the district's board voted 3 to 2...

Democrats angle for power in Clinton administration
Lawmakers are raising money and campaigning with the hopes of landing jobs or amassing clout if she wins.