Around The Capitol

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THE Nooner for October 23, 2017


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GUBER CANDIDATES AND HEALTH CARE: Yesterday, the four leading Democratic candidates for governor met for a debate at the convention of the National Union of Healthcare Workers, of which the California Nurses Association makes up the largest membership, reports Phill Willon in the Times. [Video of the debate.]

Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom and former LA mayor Antonio Villaraigosa tangled over health care, with Newsom arguing for single-payer now and Villaraigosa calling for an incremental approach to universal health care. Delaine Eastin and Controller John Chiang generally stayed out of the fray, although both expressed universal health care if the financing could be worked out.

Within hours, the National Union of Healthcare Workers endorsed Gavin Newsom, which would be expected. He's been the most vocal statewide advocate for SB 562 (Lara and Atkins), the single-payer bill stalled in the Assembly.

SEIU-UHW West has not made an endorsement in the governor's race, but yesterday's debate showed the spit. SEIU's position on SB 562 is that it needs more time for development, particularly in the manner of financing, closest to to the positions of Chiang and Villaraigosa. (Eastin stated that she supports the bill, and suggest a gross receipts tax to pay for it.)

There has been organizing tension between CNA and SEIU-UHW for several years. Beyond the organizing tensions, SEIU represents over 95,000 state employees. If single-payer health care does not have a complete funding mechanism (which likely requires federal assistance), it could mean dramatic cuts to its state government members, who generally have good health care. The tension between CNA's red shirts and SEIU's purple shirts has been noticeable.

It will be interesting to see how SEIU plays its cards. Villaraigosa has his challenges with labor, as I wrote yesterday. Endorsements are often made in January and they likely wait to see if Chiang raises his numbers on the polls. If January arrives and Newsom still has a significant lead, they likely join the bandwagon and Newsom probably qualifies his rhetoric on SB 562 more. After all, Governor Brown is not going to sign the bill in its current form, and it would take a huge tax increase to move to single-payer. So one can advocate for single-payer nationally and back off of SB 562.

Also yesterday, supporters of single-payer healthcare rallied at the Capitol, reports Alexei Koseff in the Bee (because, Sundays in October are particularly effective for legislative rallies).

CALmatters's Laurel Rosenhall finds three surprising takeaways from the NAHW debate.

LOCKBOX: Senate candidate Kevin de León has lots of cash in state accounts that can not be used for his challenge to Senator Dianne Feinstein, reports Patrick McGreevy in the Times. 

When California Senate leader Kevin de León launched a run for the U.S. Senate last week, he had $3.8 million in campaign cash and a big problem: The money was raised for state contests and can’t just be rolled into his effort to replace Sen. Dianne Feinstein in 2018.

Federal law prohibits transferring funds raised for state committees into a campaign for U.S. Senate. 

CAGOP: After the big name speakers departed, divisions in strategy among the California Republican Party convention delegates were apparent, reports the LAT's Seema Mehta.

“I currently feel like a stranger in a place where I used to feel home,” said Francis Barraza, a top aide to San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, one of the state’s most prominent Republicans. “I feel like the leadership has emboldened people that are not working toward what we’ve been working toward: being a party that’s more inclusive, more forward thinking … I feel like we have reverted 10 years.”

...borrowing a page from the Democratic Party's playbook from May...

Some state lawmakers purposefully avoided it.

“There was just too much strife here to attend,” said an aide to a state legislator who asked for anonymity to freely discuss the matter. “I’ve been doing this for over 15 years, I’ve never seen it this bad, the infighting, the circular firing squad.”

. . .

State party Chairman Jim Brulte, who has been close with the Bush family, said that while he did not appreciate Bannon’s attack on the former president, he agreed with nearly everything else in his 40-minute speech, as did dozens of delegates across the GOP spectrum he surveyed afterward.

In the Chron, Joe Garafoli writes that the CRP moved yesterday to make it easier to endorse in the primaries amid frustration with failure to move a Republican to the general election in some districts in the top-two primary system.

#WESAIDENOUGH: I missed this story by Melody Gutierrez in yesterday's Chron. Melody shared responses from the legislative leaders' offices:

Anthony Reyes, a spokesman for state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, said the senator will announce in the coming days that he is appointing an outside investigator for sexual harassment complaints.  . . .

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Paramount (Los Angeles County), said, “We will take all complaints brought to us seriously, and we will ensure there is no retaliation of any kind.”

The leaders of the effort pledge to continue the effort until new processes are announced and are tested in practice. The big questions will be if the practices are effective and timely. 

For CALmatters, Laurel Rosenhall asks if the Legislature is prepared to make changes to the complaint process.

For four years in a row, the Democratic-controlled Legislature has quietly buried a bill—sponsored by a Republican assemblywoman—that would give legislative staff expanded whistleblower protections. Now legislative leaders have said they’re reviewing personnel procedures to see if they can be improved; the Senate is expected to announce in the coming days that it is appointing an independent investigator to look into complaints.

Already, both chambers have “zero tolerance” policies that prohibit harassment and retaliation, and require mandatory training for lawmakers and their staff. Administrators proudly point to cases where employees have complained of harassment and kept their jobs while their complaints were investigated.

But the women who are leading the bipartisan anti-harassment campaign known as We Said Enough say current policies are insufficient. They call for taking the responsibility for handling complaints out of the hands of the Legislature itself—instead advocating the creation of an independent entity to receive and investigate reports. They also want whistleblower protections enshrined in law to help ensure that people who file complaints won’t face retribution, although they haven’t publicly thrown support behind the whistleblower bill the Legislature has rejected.

For those with access to Daily Journal, our friend Macolm Maclachlan (formerly of Capitol Weekly) has a story about the previous legal efforts on harassment complaints.

Those of you who have been around here for awhile remember Kevin Shelley. When he was in the Assembly, there were allegations of both physical abuse and sexual harassment against him. Many people witnessed an event where he threw a staffer against a wall. 

However, people who knew the allegations well were quick to support in his election to Secretary of State. He finally resigned from that office two years in after accusations that he misused Help American Vote Act Funds, allegedly using them for politically purposes. He was replaced by one of the most genuine good guys I ever worked with in the Legislature, Republican Bruce McPherson.

When Shelley ran for Secretary of State, the Democratic establishment got behind him for political purposes and chose to disregard the broad knowledge of his mecurial behavior and abuse of staff. Running against him were March Fong Eu, seeking a return to the office after an eight year departure, and Michela Alioto, the granddaughter of former mayor Joe Alioto. Shelley was endorsed by Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, Planned Parenthood, and other advocates for women's rights, including most Democratic lawmakers, despite the widely known allegations. He won the primary by 4.8%. The allegations continued after he moved over to the SOS headquarters Q Street. 

My point is that an extension of the "men's club" is the protection of colleagues, which often supercedes the bad behavior of their colleagues for political/legislative advantage. (This happens in most industries, particularly academia.)

I've "held my nose" to vote for people who I liked on policy but not on personal characteristics. I voted for Paul Tsongas in the 1992 primary, but then Bill Clinton in the general. (I then became a Clinton fan boy, which was probably unethical. Although that seems trivial now.)

Fortunately, I haven't had to lately--I'm fortunate to be represented by Steve Hansen, Darrell Steinberg, Kevin McCarthy, Richard Pan, and Doris Matsui. And, not surprisingly, I wasn't a Trump voter, but neither were Bush I and II.


Just look at the departures under disgrace over the last few years that have drawn embarassment to the legislative institution and where known quantities should have prevented their re-election. While the gravity of the magnitude of Leland Yee's crimes were beyond belief, the rumors were there, but nobody spoke up. Sexual harassment (including legal rape) is among the worst, but illegal/unethical behavior in office demeans everyone around the Capitol.

FIRE RECOVERY: Veteran lobbyist Patrick McCallum reports that he and his wife, Sonoma State President Judy Sakaki, continue with the recovery from the loss of their Santa Rosa home. They are living in a Sonoma State dorm room and reports that the accommodations are not that bad, even though the dorm rooms don't have Wolf stoves.  

#CAKEDAY:  Happy birthday to Nathan Alonzo, Zulma Michaca, and former Assemblymember Mariko Yamada!

#GHOSTSOFCAKEDAYSPAST: Belated wishes to former Assemblymember Dario Frommer (yesterday)!



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Candidates For California Governor Debate Universal Health Care | The Sacramento Bee
Christopher Cadelago @
The go-to source for news on California policy and politics

Ally Of Milo Yiannopoulos Wins Control Of California College Republicans
Rosanna Xia, Teresa Watanabe @
In a closely divided election, a UC Irvine student who led an insurgency against establishment politics won a bitter battle Saturday for control of the California College Republicans, a triumph for provocative conservatism over a more moderate approach.

Democratic Governor Hopefuls Face Off In Anaheim, A Stone’s Throw From GOP Conventions –
Martin Wiskol @
California’s four Democratic candidates for governor confronted the state’s burgeoning cost of living and stark economic divide as they gathered for the race’s first forum in Anaheim on Sunday morning.

House To Vote Thursday On Senate Budget
Sarah Harris @
The House is slated to vote Thursday to formally back the Senate’s budget resolution, fast-tracking the GOP’s effort to advance a tax overhaul with a simple majority in the Senate.

California Republicans Embrace Donald Trump | The Sacramento Bee
Christopher Cadelago @
The go-to source for news on California policy and politics

Obama’s Army Enlists In Redistricting Fight - Politico
Then-President Barack Obama speaks during a Organizing for Action event, on Nov. 9, 2015. | Evan Vucci/AP Photo

Rocklin Pays $270,000 To Force Out Former City Attorney | The Sacramento Bee
Brad Branan @
By Brad Branan

Embattled Illinois Governor To Run For Second Term - Politico
"We can throw in the towel, walk away and leave our future to the same corrupt career politicians. Or we can fight. I choose to fight," Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner says in his new campaign video. | Getty

Trump joins House GOP call to rally support for Senate budget bill

Republican leaders are eager to pass a budget bill to expedite work on tax cuts.

Group Spends $1m Turning Out Democratic-leaning Groups In Virginia - Politico
Former President Barack Obama, right, gestures during a rally with Virginia's Democratic gubernatorial candidate Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, in Richmond, Va. on Oct. 19. | Steve Helber/AP Photo

California Fies: Little Twists Of Fate Decided Who Lived And Who Died | The Sacramento Bee
Marjie Lundstrom, Dale Kasler And Ryan Lillis @
By Marjie Lundstrom, Dale Kasler And Ryan Lillis

California GOP Identity Crisis On Display At State Convention -
Ben Adler @
Capital Public Radio, Inc.7055 Folsom BoulevardSacramento, CA 95826

McConnell Signals Willingness to Hold Vote on Health Deal if Trump Approves

The comments by Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, shifted attention to Mr. Trump, who has sent mixed signals about a bipartisan bill unveiled last week.

Melania Trump Takes On Anti-bullying Cause In Trip To Middle School
Kimberly Hefling and Benjamin Wermund @
First lady Melania Trump on Monday spotlighted prevention of school bullying, with a stop at a Michigan middle school where she chatted with students in a sixth-grade class working on an activity about social isolation and inclusion.

The Health 202: Obamacare may lose 1.1 million people because of advertising cuts

So says Obama's chief advertising officer for

Graham and Trump become buds after campaign of insults
The South Carolina senator morphs from chief presidential critic to one of Trump's closest allies in Congress.