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THE Nooner for May 26, 2017

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Someone in SacTown with the initials DB sent me a check for $21.95. Please email me (just reply) with your email address at which you receive The Nooner so I give you credit.



  • AD51 (East LA): added professor David Vela (D) 

Happy Per Diem Friday! Both houses will meet today to ensure that per diem checks continue through the three-day weekend. Legislative staff are thus dressed as if it's Monday-Thursday, and will be busting out those shorts as soon as the members board Southwest or hit the highway.

SB 562: The single-payer bill passed Senate Approps yesterday on a 5-2 party-line vote. Taryn Luna reports in the Bee: "A California Senate committee tasked with reviewing bills that spend state money passed a $400 billion universal health care proposal Thursday with no funding plan."

One of the leftovers from last weekend's Democratic convention wasn't from the main convention floor, but rather the African-American caucus meeting. During the Saturday night meeting, Congresswoman Maxine Waters was speaking and was told her time was running out. Then, a contract employee working the convention cut off her microphone. Assemblymember Mike Gipson and the African-American Caucus are demanding a formal apology from the party. This was very different than speakers that way over their time on the main stage who were eased with music, Oscars style.

DOLLARS AND SENSE: The LAT's John Myers reports that the governor has backed off his proposal to redefine the state's spending limit ("The Gann Limit") following concerns that the plan may be unconstitutional. The interplay between Gann (1978) and education's Prop. 98 (1988) has never been truly reconciled.

Yesterday's ElectionTrack highlights:

  • The CA Dem Party gave $100,000 to the committee to oppose the recall of Senator Josh Newman.
  • Kevin de León collected $25,600 for his "Lieutenant Governor" campaign, an office that nobody expects he will run for, including $10,000 from the owner of Hotline Bail. This is amidst the debate over bail reform that are opposed by bondsmen and recently brought "Dog The Bounty Hunter" to the capitol. 

Now that ElectionTrack is back and running, several readers asked about the current contribution limits.

  • Constitutional officers (Gov, LG, SOS, AG, TRE, CON, SPI, IC, BOE): $7,300 for each of the primary and general elections.
  • Senate and Assembly: $4,400 for each of the primary and general elections.

Speaking of dough, a couple of people last weekend asked me who "DART" is. The name was listed on the sponsorship projection in general sessions and is also a frequent appearance on campaign finance reports. Dart Container Corporation makes most of those styrofoam containers in which get your Chinese take-out and those famous Solo red cups that land on tables in Davis for beer pong every weekend.

Of course, it's all--just one word--about "plastics."

DART is playing in politics fearing that the single-use plastic bag law spreads to them. Speaking of Davis, the town west of Sacramento is considering an ordinance to prohibit restaurants from handing out straws (but would allow them to be provided upon request). This follows an ordinance that prohibits restaurants from doling out leftover food in Styrofoam containers. The ordinance does not apply to fast food and to-go orders.

DART is fighting for its livelihood before the Legislature acts as it did on plastic bags and push back local efforts like that in Davis. That includes lots of campaign contributions and support for the Democratic Party. We all likely have Dart products in our abode, but we also don't know about bringing non-styrofoam out to dinner. While I'm a regular member of the reuseable bag club when I go shopping, there is still something culturally odd about bringing Tupperware to a nice restaurant for dinner's leftovers.



CA34 (Los Angeles): Progressives decried Jimmy Gomez's 'coronation' in L.A.'s congressional primary. Now they're lining up behind him [Christine Mai-Duc @ LAT] - "After a bruising primary that saw [Jimmy] Gomez pegged as the candidate of the party establishment, he has since received support from 10 of his former opponents and some of the progressive groups they courted. That could be key in a district that supported Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton in last year’s presidential race."

ED: CALmatters's Laurel Rosenhall looks at the split within the Democratic party on education issues, as evident by the fight in the Los Angeles USD school board elections. "The Democrat vs. Democrat split that played out in the Los Angeles school board election also emerged in several legislative races last year. Now, as California looks toward the election of a new governor and a new school superintendent next year, the fight over public education is bound to get hotter."



PLAYERS GOTTA PAY: Dan Walters writes that Jerry Brown's much-criticized label of opponents of his gas tax for road repairs as "freeloaders" is appropriate. "Roadways should be maintained with taxes and fees on those who use them. The user-pays principle is long established and fair, and deviating from it, as we have done by floating bond issues repaid from general revenues, is bad public policy."

Joel Fox writes on Fox&Hounds that voters are unlikely to approve a split roll property tax anytime soon.

CVRA: Huntington Beach is inviting a lawsuit from attorneys that have requested that the city voluntarily change from at-large to district elections, reports Greg Mellen in the OC Register.  HB currently has an all-white seven-member council. While the city is still 63% white, the Latino population has been steadily increasing and now is at 18.6%. Concentrated near the 405, district elections for a seven-member council could very well could have a majority Latino district. 

I worked on this issue a lot when I was CEO of the Community College League. The law is clear, and we encouraged our districts to comply and worked out contracts to save them money in the transition. HB is being stupid. They will lose and end up spending lots of taxpayer and consultant money who draw the districts to comply with the law. 



#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Jeff Frietas, Heather Greven, and Andrew Sturmfels!



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Where Bills Go To Die: Lawmakers Begin Clearing The 'suspense File' With Hundreds Of Measures In Limbo
John Myers @
From a sales tax exemption on tampons to healthcare rules and marijuana regulation, a massive stack of proposed laws faces a major dead...

California Single-payer Health Care Proposal Moves To Senate Floor
Taryn Luna @
A California Senate committee tasked with reviewing bills that spend state money passed a $400 billion universal health care proposal Thursday with no funding plan.

Lawmakers Scrap Effort To Make It Easier To Pass Local Transportation Taxes
John Myers @
An effort to boost the chances of local ballot measures raising taxes for transportation needs was quietly killed Thursday in the state...

How To Solve CA Problems? Why Obligate/tax/regulate Business, Of Course!
Joel Fox @
With the revelation that the cost of a single payer health care system in California at $400 billion would dwarf the state budget, an analysis of the bill suggested some of the money could be captured with a 15% payroll tax. All of a sudden the Fight for 15 has a new meaning. Those minimum wage workers who do eventually earn $15 an hour after the successful Fight for 15 campaign in California will yield a lot of that new income if they have to pay the payroll tax.

Gov. Jerry Brown's Budget Team Drops Its Hotly Debated Plans To Redefine The State's Spending Limit
John Myers @
With questions mounting about the legal justification for omitting some $22 billion in expenses from California's long-standing spending cap, Gov. Jerry Brown's administration dropped the plan Thursday while promising to work on the issue again later this year.

All Eyes On Montana Special Election Results After Body Slam Incident - Politico
Election Day is almost over in Montana, where voters are casting the final ballots in their wild special House election less than 24 hours after Republican candidate Greg Gianforte was charged with assault for allegedly attacking a reporter covering his campaign.

Jerry Brown Is Right To Call Anti-tax Drivers Freeloaders
Dan Walters @
“Roads require money to fix,” Brown said. “Republicans say there’s a magic source of money (but) it doesn’t exist. “You want to borrow money and pay double? Or do nothing? Or take money from universities?”

Bay Area political events: immigration, Russia
Bay Area political events: immigration, Russia Political events A roundup of upcoming events: 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. Russia conversation: A public forum on the confrontation between Russia and the U.S., from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists, 1924 Cedar St. in Berkeley. 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. The discussion is part of an all-day event organized around opposition to President Trump. For National Gun Violence Awareness Day, activists are asking people to wear orange to stand against gun violence. Gun violence march: A march across the Golden Gate Bridge to mark National Gun Violence Awareness Day and to stand against gun violence. Marchers are demanding an independent investigation into Trump’s Russia connections in a “March for Truth.”

GOP Threatens To Subpoena Education Dept. Official Who Quit - Politico
GOP lawmakers on the panel said they were concerned that Runcie and Hurt continued to receive bonuses even as the improper payment rates for student aid programs increased in recent years.

Former Professor Arrested In Beating At Berkeley Trump Rally - San Francisco Chronicle
A 28-year-old former East Bay community college professor was arrested for a brutal bike-lock attack amid a clash between President Trump supporters and radical left demonstrators last month in Berkeley, officials said Thursday.

The University Of California Wins A Jury Verdict In Strawberry Case, Then Gets Blasted By The Judge
Michael Hiltzik @
UC prevails in strawberry case, but gets ripped by an angry judge

Pence Silent After GOP Candidate Allegedly Assaults Reporter - Politico
Vice President Mike Pence, once a self-proclaimed supporter of press-freedom legislation, has stayed quiet after a Montana congressional candidate he endorsed was issued a citation for allegedly body slamming a reporter Wednesday night.

Montana voters react to GOP candidateâ

As the polls close for Montana’s special election, voters respond to whether the incident with Republican congressional candidate Greg Gianforte and a Guardian reporter influenced their vote.

Senate Republicans Respond to Passage of Government-run Healthcare Proposal
This week, the

Westside San Franciscans Are None Too Happy About New Water Mix - San Francisco Chronicle
San Franciscans take pride in drinking pristine water from Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, which they treasure as among the purest in the nation.

Norovirus Forces Closure Of Two School Programs In Davis | The Sacramento Bee
Loretta Kalb @
By Loretta Kalb

Refugee arrivals to Bay Area, U.S. are plunging under Trump
Refugee arrivals to the Bay Area and communities across the nation are plunging under the Trump administration, even as courts block the president’s effort to halt refugee resettlement, researchers said Thursday. “It’s a shame because people who are eligible for refugee status are the most highly vetted (for security threats) to come into the U.S. compared to other ways of entry,” said Amy Weiss, director of the Jewish Family and Community Services East Bay, whose organization helps resettle refugees. Though courts have so far blocked Trump’s executive orders — which seek to temporarily bar refugees as well as restrict U.S. entry from a half-dozen majority-Muslim countries — the administration sent a clear signal that it planned to bring in less refugees, said Karen Ferguson, the executive director of the International Rescue Committee’s Northern California chapter. [...] she said, government agencies changed their operations and brought in individuals at a slower pace. Refugees became a key point of debate during the 2016 presidential campaign, with Trump at one point claiming that refugees from war-torn Syria represented a dangerous “Trojan horse.” On Thursday, the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., declined to reinstate the revised travel ban, saying it “drips with religious intolerance, animus and discrimination.” Despite the administration’s legal setbacks, “We are still seeing drastic cuts in refugee arrivals and a near-total shutdown in refugee interviews,” said Betsy Fisher, policy director of the International Refugee Assistance Project. The Departments of State and Homeland Security owe Congress and the American public an explanation of whether and how they are complying with a federal court order. The slowdown prompted a group of both Democratic and Republican senators to send a letter this month to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly asking how the administration will handle the resettlement process in light of the court opinions. Citing Homeland Security sources, the Washington Post reported that officials from the agency had ceased going abroad to do interviews of would-be refugees hoping to resettle in the U.S. The refugees must go through a comprehensive approval process — one that can take up to two years — that begins with being referred by the United Nations to the State Department for consideration.

No One Knows How Many Untested Rape Kits There Are In California. This Bill Aims To Fix That
Jazmine Ulloa @
Years of debate and more than $1 billion in federal funding have failed to address the national rape kit backlog. This bill seeks to capture the extent of the problem in California.

Facing Trump Cuts, Food Stamp Recipients Fret | The Sacramento Bee
Sammy Caiola @
By Sammy Caiola

Metro Board Drops Support For Controversial 710 Freeway Tunnel
Dan Weikel @
Motion calls for street-level improvements rather than a multibillion-dollar dig under South Pasadena to connect with the 210.

Trump's proposed budget does the opposite of what most U.S. taxpayers want

The 'Taxpayer First' budget doesn't listen to the taxpayers.

Brown's Top Aide Gets $300 Ethics Fine, Critics Say That's Low
Jeff McDonald @
The California Fair Political Practices Commission on Thursday approved a $300 penalty against Nancy McFadden, the former Pacific Gas & Electric executive who serves as Gov. Jerry Brown’s top adviser.