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THE Nooner for May 20, 2017

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AURAL PLEASURE: On this week's California Politics Podcast, John Myers, Melanie Mason, and Marisa Lagos talk about--what else--the California Democratic Party Convention.

Good Saturday morning to all of you. From the looks of things last night, many of the CDP delegates are reaching for the Advil and, hopefully, lots of water this morning. Upon leaving Phantom last night it appeared the bedlam was just beginning. I remember those more! should see the line for coffee... 



DE LEÓN? One of the buzz items is whether Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León will jump into the gubernatorial race. He was one of the people I alluded to yesterday, although I didn't name him. However, Steve Maviglio did on Calbuzz, so we might as well talk about it here. First, on the first day of convention, there were no overt signs that he was escalating his political operation. He doesn't have a booth and isn't hosting any hospitality events. 

He is termed out next year and has been strengthening his voice beyond the leader of the senate into major issues like climate change, environmental justice, health care, and services for the poor and immigrants. He's clearly not ready to step off the stage, but where does he go? He is sitting on millions of campaign money in three different accounts, much of which could be transferred to a statewide race.

He lives in CA34, which is the subject of a runoff next month to fill the seat vacated by now-Attorney General Xavier Becerra. The favorite in that runoff is Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez. At 42, Gomez is likely to be in the seat for a long time. 

As for other statewide offices, he's in a tough spot. Two of his senate Latino colleagues are favorites in open seats--Ed Hernandez for lieutenant governor and Ricardo Lara for insurance commissioner. The third open seat is treasurer, which John Chiang is leaving to run for governor. Board of Equalization member Fiona Ma is considered the favorite, although de León has been rumored for the race. Ma has built a strong operation and has a significant presence at convention. Further, 16 of 27 senate Democrats have already endorsed Ma.

I think that the treasurer rumor doesn't have to be taken too seriously.

So, what happens if de León does jump in to the governor's race? He has the money to provide an instant launch and six-12 months of leading the senate, providing a solid fundraising platform. Of course, that has brought criticism and accelerated leadership changes in the past. Caucus members want fundraising to be done for their benefit, not for a leader's future office.

Geographically, of the four major candidates, two are from Northern California (Eastin, Newsom) and two are from Southern California (Chiang, Villaraigosa). Politically, while each has areas of focus, they're all left-of-center Democrats, the same space de León would occupy should he join the race. Much of labor is not excited about the current field, and could be energized by a de León candidacy. While Villaraigosa was once a darling of labor and had been got his start as a field organizer for the LA teachers' union, he was mayor of Los Angeles at a difficult time and gained some bruises during his tenure. The other candidates aren't disliked by labor, but haven't been in a position to deliver for unions in the manner available to de León. 

With the number of candidates on the Democratic side and the likelihood of only one Republican carrying the party flag in 2018 (DeMaio?, assuming neither Kevin Faulconer nor Ashley Swearingen run), it's very likely the race will be decided in June, with one Dem and one Rep advancing to November, when the Dem will win easily.

de León speaks in the middle of the line-up today, likely in the early afternoon. Lots of folks will be parsing every word. 

Also up today is Tom Steyer, whose nonprofit is hosting a "breakfast on the go" station for delegates this morning. I think it's the one place in this convention center where the line is longer than that of Starbucks. Will he send a signal that he's running for governor today, or is he waiting to see if Dianne Feinstein follows through on her bid for reelection, something de León may also be doing? Feinstein is on Meet the Press tomorrow, although it's unclear whether she'll get that question (again).



Meanwhile, it's not one big happy family. There is a clear divide between the "establishment" and the more progressive "Berniecrats." It is apparent in the hallways as volunteers try to persuade for their candidates of choice, primarily for state party offices. Further, as Christopher Cadelago and Angela Hart report in the Bee, the California Nurses Association (CNA) held a rally last night to challenge the Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez, who spoke at the Chairman's Reception over health care reform. Further, CNA threatened to fund campaigns to unseat any Democrats that don't vote in favor of universal, single-payer health care.

Of course, outgoing chair John Burton greeted the protestors with a series of F-bombs, writes the LAT's Phil Willon. That didn't take long.

This morning's session started with a speech by Nancy Pelosi, which transitioned into the honoring of outgoing chair John Burton. Following a lengthy video, six women leaders spoke on behalf of Burton. Of course, the first words in accepting the honor was "Oh. Holy shit."

And, after the lengthy tribute, he closed by extending a middle finger and saying "Fuck Donald Trump," which prompted a sea of birds throughout the convention hall.

One of the hot items yesterday was a measure proposed to require all state party officers to disclose any political consulting contracts they have, writes Willon. This follows reporting that vice-chair and chair candidate Eric Bauman's political consulting firm that he owns with his husband received $100,000 from pharmaceutical interests to oppose Proposition 61, which would have imposed price limits on drugs. The party opposed the measure.

Today is the moment of truth for many delegates. The vote for state party officers takes place in the late afternoon following a day of eighteen speakers and we should have results tonight. To the extent that a candidate does not receive 50%+1, the runoff vote will be tomorrow morning. There are only three races with more than two candidates and the chair's race likely will be decided today, as it's really only between Eric Bauman and Kimberly Ellis.

Have you wondered what the "persist" meme is all about? The LAT's Melanie Mason reports on the effort:

It’s not a guerrilla marketing campaign for a politician or a product. It’s the brainchild of a crew of top Democratic strategists — all women — who were seeking a cathartic way to channel their grief over the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

What started as an internal support group has become a multi-pronged effort to promote female empowerment, capped off by a 5-foot-8, 400-pound bronze figure of a defiant young girl perched on the roof of the Democratic Party headquarters in downtown Sacramento — the West Coast’s own version of the Wall Street “Fearless” statue.

For those unfamiliar with the effort, stenciled "persist" logos began appearing on downtown sidewalks over the last month and then the bronze statute appeared on the roof of the John L. Burton Democratic Headquarters at 9th and S.

TOUGH SPOT: Gavin Newsom is in a tough spot as a champion of environmental issues but also as a member of the State Lands Commission, reports Michael Finnegan in the Times. The commission is suing to block a measure approved in San Francisco to limit the height of waterfront building. The Sierra Club, the backers of the measure, has taken umbrage. Newsom, the chair of the three-person commission, says that state law prohibits local voters from having a direct say in use of public waterfront. 

THE OC: A new Democratic poll of voters in Orange County finds that independent voters in the districts held by Republicans that are targeted by Democrats are leaning strongly toward a Democratic challenger, reports Martin Wisckol in the Register:

Of independent and third-party voters in the county’s four GOP congressional districts, 46 percent favor a Democratic candidate in next year’s election and 21 percent prefer a Republican.

Overall, voters in those districts prefer a Republican, 44 percent to 41 percent. But unaffiliated voters’ strong preference for a Democrat could spell trouble, especially since all four districts voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton last year and two key policies of President Donald Trump are viewed unfavorably by voters there.


Anyway...more likely later.




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Gavin Newsom Faces Backlash As State Fights Sierra Club And San Francisco Over Waterfront
Michael Finnegan @
Gavin Newsom's support of a state Lands Commission lawsuit to nullify a San Francisco ballot measure limiting waterfront development is causing trouble in his campaign for California governor.

California Democrats Collide Over Control Of State Party - Politico
Bill Whalen, a Republican former advisor to ex-Governor Pete Wilson, says that the current chair-election angst reflects a party still dominated by a phalanx of aging politicians who have held on to power for decades -- Burton among them. He also notes that Gov. Jerry Brown, 79, now in his fourth term, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, 77, and U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, 83, now the oldest member of the Senate, have had their stamp on the party for years as ambitious younger Democrats chafed in the wings, waiting for openings.

Measuring The Gas Tax Increase Backlash :: Fox&hounds
How hot is the anger over the gas tax increase?

L.A. Teachers Union Faces Tough Questions In Wake Of Charter Election Wins
Howard Blume, Anna M. Phillips @
The local teachers union confronts questions about its future after costly loss in L.A. school board races.

Is Jerry Brown 'diverting' 30 Percent Of California's New Gas Tax Money? | Politifact California
subject @

Borenstein: Gov. Brown's Pension Plan Omits Risky Details
Gov. Jerry Brown and state Treasurer John Chiang have a plan to help cover the state’s soaring pension payments: Borrow money at low interest rates and invest it to make a profit. What could go wrong?

California's Unemployment Rate Fell To A Near-record Low Of 4.8 Percent In April | The Sacramento Bee
Mark Glover @
By Mark Glover

L.A. City Attorney Says New Limits On Assisting Immigration Agents Don't Violate Federal Rules
Emily Alpert Reyes @
New restrictions that limit how Los Angeles city workers can assist with immigration enforcement do not violate federal rules, City Atty. Mike Feuer said in a report for city lawmakers this week.

California Democratic Party Convention Guide | The Sacramento Bee
Christopher Cadelago @
The go-to source for news on California policy and politics

Bay Area political events: Free speech, North Korea
Bay Area political events: Ben Stein, a 95-year-old Holocaust survivor and Berkeley resident, will discuss his documentary, “Near Normal Man,” and free speech versus hate speech. Trump opposition panel: A discussion on the first 100 days of President Trump’s administration and strategies for Trump opponents. Speakers include staffers from House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi’s office and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. The panel is from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the San Francisco LGBT Community Center, Rainbow Room, 1800 Market St. The event is free but has limited seating. North Korea talk: A conversation with Conn Hallinan, a foreign policy analyst, on North Korea, China and the U.S. Free, 7 to 9 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalists of San Mateo, 300 E. Santa Inez Ave. For information: Policing talk: A conversation on policing reform, led by Ronald Davis, former director of the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. Fake news discussion: A conversation with Joaquin Alvarado, CEO of the Center for Investigative Reporting, on the obligation of the government and media to filter fake news. Peace vigil: A stand against confrontational actions that promote war, hosted by Fremont’s Tri-City Interfaith Council. The Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity will host a discussion on immigration, followed by postcard writing to support social justice. The event is from 10 a.m. to noon at the Northern Police Station Community Room, 1125 Fillmore St. in San Francisco. Elizabeth Warren event: A conversation with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and MSNBC host Joy-Ann Reid at the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre, 3301 Lyon St. in San Francisco.

Veterans Pac Endorses Robert Lee Ahn In 34th Congressional District Race
Update on 'California politics updates: California Democrats gather in Sacramento for state party's convention'

Trump Budget Reflects White House Internal Divisions - Politico
The budget is expected to go much further than the $54 billion in spending cuts Trump called for in his preliminary "skinny budget." | AP Photo

Trump campaign seeks to raise money off the 'witch hunt' the president faces

The president is seeking money from his loyal supporters to counter the media and "unelected bureaucrats."

More Than $17 Million In Illegally Harvested Sea Cucumbers Traded Out Of San Diego, Indictment Says
Joshua Emerson Smith @
Blessings Seafood of Arizona is accused of violating laws that restrict the taking of sea cucumbers.

Downtown Sacramento Homeless Have Few Bathroom Options | The Sacramento Bee
Anita Chabria @
By Anita Chabria


The Post obtained President Trump's proposed education budget. Here are some key takeaways.

Mycapture | The Union Democrat

White House Does Not Dispute That FBI Probe Now Includes At Least One Trump Aide
Noah Bierman, Lisa Mascaro @
White House does not dispute reports that FBI investigation now includes at least one Trump aide

Trump To Nominate Callista Gingrich For Vatican Ambassadorship - Politico
Callista Gingrich had been in consideration for the position of ambassador to the Holy See since January. | Getty

Rallies, F-bombs And A Raucous Start To The California Democratic Party Convention
Phil Willon @
The California Democratic Party convention started with a bang Friday night, with protesters disrupting speeches at the official kickof...