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THE Nooner for November 5, 2017


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Happy Sunday! 

EARBUDS: On the California Politics Podcast, the LAT's John Myers and Melanie Mason are joined by KQED's Maria Lagos to talk the sexual harassment scandals affecting the Capitol and California politics communities, as well as the federal tax debate and last week's increase in the state's gas tax.

On Friday, Melanie shared a letter sent by Secretary of the Senate Daniel Alvarez that was sent to the signers of the letter bringing up the issue to encourage them to cooperate with the outside investigation.  Meanwhile, Dan Walters writes for CALmatters that the situation puts pressure on legislative leaders. "The heat will rightfully be on [Kevin] de León and other legislative leaders to clean up the mess they allowed to fester even as they professed fidelity to a progressive state’s politically correct values.

THE SDUT's Michael Smolens reports on the 1990s case of former Assemblyman Tom Connolly:

Most of Connolly’s transgressions are more extreme than what’s being discussed in the recent focus on the culture of sexual harassment in the Legislature. But not all of them.

The sexual harassment claims were made by Connolly staffers. Those claims were kept under wraps by the administration of then-Speaker Willie Brown and only surfaced later when the settlements became public. There’s a history in the Capitol of trying to keep such matters secret.

And, the Sacramento case is spreading to statehouses across the country, report Natasha Korecki, Carla Marinucci And Jimmy Vielkind for Politico.

THE LATINO VOTE: In the Bee, Marcos Bretón writes about the challenge facing Latinos at the polls for the marquee positions next year.

CLIMATE CHANGE: The Bee's Christopher Cadelago reports that Jerry Brown, at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences climate change conference at the Vatican yesterday, called on religious leaders to take the lead on the global environmental issues. “The problem … is us. It’s our whole way of life. It’s our comfort … It’s the greed. It’s the indulgence. It’s the pattern. And it’s the inertia.”

Politico's David Siders writes "Brown, addressing a somber gathering of scientists, politicians and religious leaders here, rebuked Trump’s rejection of mainstream climate science as a “lie within a lie,” urging religious establishments to help “awaken the world” to efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

Capitol Public Radio's Ben Bradford gets the governor's Latin phrase from the event.  “Since I’m here in the pontifical building, I should quote Thomas Aquinas: Omnis bonus diffusis est.  All good tends to diffuse itself,” Brown said. “And that’s true of California.”

He next speaks to the European Parliamen on Tuesday.



GAS TAX: The Chron's John Wildermuth looks at the competing measures to repeal the gas tax increase that went into effect last week.

MONEY MATTERS: The LAT's John Myers looks at the ongoing debate of where the state's two largest pension funds should invest their money. "The divestment decisions already made have shrunk CalPERS’ portfolio by about $8 billion, according to an analysis that staffers are scheduled to update next month. The single largest part of that cost was the decision to walk away from investments in tobacco companies. They may disagree on the merits, but supporters and critics of pension divestment efforts both believe that actions have consequences."

LEGISLATURE INITIATIVE: The initiative to increase the Legislature almost 100-fold to create neighborhood legislatures with assemblymembers serving 5,000 and senators representing 10,000 residents has submitted signatures to counties for verification. To qualify for next November's ballot, backers need 585,407 valid signatures. Supporters have submitted 627,633, although several counties have yet to report. The measure was bankrolled by Rancho Santa Fe businessman John Cox, who is also a candidate for governor as a Republican.

The Legislature would be governed by "working committees" reflecting the current 80 assemblymembers and 40 senators elected by the "neighborhood" legislators within existing Assembly and State Senate districts. Neighborhood legislators would be paid $1.00 per year and compensation for the working committees would be 120% of the state's annual median income. It would replace per diem with reimbursements for actual travel of living expenses, up to $200 per day, and reduce the Legislature's budget by $100 million.


Probolsky Research



HEALTHY DOUGH: The LAT's Chad Terhune and Anna Gorman report on the billions going to health insurers due to the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

Health Net, a unit of Centene Corp., the largest Medicaid insurer nationwide, raked in $1.1 billion in profit from 2014 to 2016, according to state data obtained by Kaiser Health News. Anthem, another industry giant, turned a profit of $549 million from California’s Medicaid program in the same period.

Overall, Medicaid insurers in the Golden State made $5.4 billion in profits from 2014 to 2016, in part because the state paid higher rates during the inaugural years of the nation’s Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. Last year, they made more money than all Medicaid insurers combined in 34 other states with managed care plans.

RECOVERY: The Press Democrat's Paul Payne writes that lawyers from across the country are converging on Sonoma County to seek plaintiffs for lawsuits against PG&E.

Cal Fire investigators have not yet announced what caused the fires and are examining several potential theories, including power equipment failures. PG&E has declined to speculate about the cause and said it is fully cooperating with investigators.

However, the prospect that PG&E power lines could be to blame has drawn lawyers from coast to coast in pursuit of the deep-pocketed defendant. They’re running marketing campaigns, renting office space and even houses with plans to stay through litigation that could stretch out for years.




#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Nick Anas and Senator Ricardo Lara!


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Political Road Map: Trump And Gun Investments Spark Debate For California Pension Funds
John Myers @
It's been more than three decades since lawmakers and activists first demanded California's large pension funds invest with an eye toward social issues. New efforts now want changes based on gun violence and President Trump's business empire.

Gov. Jerry Brown: Legislature Taking Seriously Sexual Harassment Allegations | The Sacramento Bee
Christopher Cadelago @
The go-to source for news on California policy and politics

Yes, Sen. Dianne Feinstein Said Trump Can Be A 'good President.' There's A Lot More To The Story
Seema Mehta @
That fateful day in August, Sen. Dianne Feinstein said two things about President Trump that lit a fire under liberals already frustrated by her measured approach.

Watergate Offers Parallels, But Doesn’t Predict What Will Happen To Trump – Daily News
As Special Counsel Robert Mueller continues to investigate possible Russian collusion in the 2016 presidential race, there are distinct echoes of the Watergate scandal that cost Richard Nixon his presidency.

Sacramento Police Sued For Excessive Force After Man Left Brain Damaged In March Incident | The Sacramento Bee
Anita Chabria @
Covering crime, police and courts in the Sacramento region

Jerry Brown's holy war on Donald Trump

At the Vatican, the California governor rips the president's climate policies as a 'lie within a lie.'

Anti- And Pro-trump Protesters Face Off In Downtown L.A. Rally – Daily News
A protest against President Donald Trump drew a group of counter-demonstrators to downtown Los Angeles on Saturday, Nov. 4, with the two groups kept apart by police.

Stadium Art Trend Continues With Sacramento Republic Fc Bid -
Bob Moffitt @
Capital Public Radio, Inc.7055 Folsom BoulevardSacramento, CA 95826

In A Rural Northern California Valley, A Development Battle Asks: Is A Helicopter A Tractor?
When county planners in Plumas County approved a heliport on the private property of a wealthy winery owner, it split this sparsely populated valley over fears of gentrification.

White House Fires Back At Bushes After New Trump Criticism - Politico

"If one presidential candidate can disassemble a political party, it speaks volumes about how strong a legacy its past two presidents really had," a White House official told CNN. | Carolyn Kaster/AP

Jerry Brown Talks Donald Trump At Vatican | The Sacramento Bee
Christopher Cadelago @
The go-to source for news on California policy and politics

As Renters Struggle To Pay The Bills, Landlords And Speculators Cash In
Steve Lopez @
Housing crisis has losers, but big winners, too

Disputed Alert System Gets Upgrade After Wine Country Fires - San Francisco Chronicle
A potentially lifesaving emergency alert system that Sonoma County officials decided against using during the deadly fires that swept through the area last month will finally get a long-planned upgrade, after nearly a yearlong delay by the Trump administration.

Peaceful anti-Trump protest aimed at shoppers in Union Square
About two hundred anti-Trump protesters — joined by scores of police officers — held a raucous rally in Union Square Saturday afternoon, right next to a giant Christmas tree and holiday ice skating rink, with confused tourists watching the show. “I don’t have any illusions that we’ll impeach the president,” said Dwight Ost, 65, of San Francisco’s Noe Valley. “But I want to bring light on this issue to people who are out here shopping.

Volunteers Collect Acorns To Restore Oak Groves Lost In Wine Country Fires - San Francisco Chronicle
Next to vineyards, Wine Country’s most treasured sight may be its oak trees, the stately green giants that brightened the hills and valleys of the grape-growing region, at least until last month’s devastating wildfires swept through.

Finally, A Place To Call Home. Refugee Who Fled Trail Of Fear In Middle East Earns Keys To New House | The Sacramento Bee
Stephen Magagnini @
By Stephen Magagnini

Warner: Papadopoulos 'had Been On Our Screen For A Long Time' - Politico

Sen. Mark Warner said Sunday that George Papadopoulos, the former Trump foreign policy adviser who pleaded guilty to lying to federal prosecutors during their probe on Russian election meddling, had long been on his radar as a part of the Senate panel's inquiry into the matter.