Around The Capitol

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THE Nooner for December 27, 2017


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Well, hello folks. For those who are working this week is going well. For those of you still vacationing, enjoy! Surely not a quiet week at the Nooner Global Headquarters.

ONE WEEK: The Legislature returns one week from today (Assembly @ 1pm and Senate @ 2pm).

The biggest question that day will be whether any action is taken against Senator Tony Mendoza, D-SD32) who has rebuffed his former housemate and Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León's request that the Senator take a leave of absence during the investigation of sexual harassment allegations by his former Senate Fellow. Mendoza is up for re-election next year. The Senate can effectively put him on a leave of absence by suspending him--with or without pay--without removing him from office.

Under 2006's Proposition following the Calderon, Wright, and Yee criminal prosecutions, it takes a two-thirds vote "by motion or resolution." Thus, a suspension motion could happen on the first day back and doesn't require a resolution to be introduced, which would cause a delay. What a way to start 2018. Obviously, there are 20 members up for election--11 Democrats and 9 Republicans--in what could be a "year of the woman." Pat Bates and Andy Vidak, both Republicans up for re-election.

Five Senators are termed-out in 2018.

AD54 (Culver City): Not appearing next week will be Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, who resigned this morning effective the end of this week from the Assembly citing "persistent health issues." That seat will thus be vacant until April 3 or June 5 along with AD39 and AD45, dropping Democrats to 52 votes.

We really nead to have a system for gubernatorial appointments for vacancies.

IN REMEMBRANCE: Yesterday, Secretary of State Alex Padilla called for renaming the Secretary of State complex after March Fong Eu, who passed away last week.

MONEY MATTERS: For CALmatters, Dan Wallters asks how the state will handle its budget surplus in the 2018-19 state budget. Jerry Brown will offer his first salvo in the debate by January 10. Legislative Democrats will want more spending, while Republicans will argue that the money should be set aside for transportation infrastructure, believing that it will be evidence the gas tax increase was not needed.

With the dynamics of the gas tax repeal and a surplus in existing taxes, nearly all personal income tax (PIT) will make it a contentious year. Democrats will argue that the gas tax will weather a recession when PIT revenue inevitably falls. Add in the effects of the federal tax bill including the actual effects and changing personal behavior engaged by taxpayers, we have a very interesting situation.

Of course, Republicans can sit on the sidelines with a majority vote budget, but there will be lots of political posturing on both sides in an election year. That said, in California, there aren't that many competitive Assembly and Senate races, with the biggest fights instead in congressional year.

DOUBLE-X FACTOR: To expand on yesterday's comments on college-aged women, here is the share with a bachelor's degree or higher and the rank in such attainment among districts. 

  • CA25 (Santa Clarita-Antelope Valley): 27.0% #26 
  • CA39 (Fullerton - Royce): 41.1% #16
  • CA45 (Irvine - Walters): 54.7% #6
  • CA48 (Huntington Beach - Rohrabacher): 44% #10
  • CA49 (Carlsbad - Issa): 43.5% #12

State high: CA33 (LA Coast - Lieu): 62.4%
State low: CA21 (Kings - Valadao): 9.1%

Obviously, lower attainment is found in agricultural areas, while higher attainment is in coastal areas, particularly around Los Angeles and the Bay Area. Mimi Walters's CA45 is likely overstated for likely voters as it includes UC Irvine, which has lots of people that may be registered outside of the district or are not citizens. Census Bureau's job is to account adults after all, but its still interesting to look at. 

Sources: Census Bureau American Community Survey (2015) (all adults, men and women); Tableau visualization by Overflow Solutions

PRESIDENT STEYER? The last time California elected a President was 37 years ago when "The Gipper" was elected, then it moved to Texas, Arkansas, Texas, Illinois and now New York. Three years ahead of the next presidential, three Californians are seriously considering it. These include Senator Kamala Harris and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

However, the impeachment-in-chief candidate is billionaire Tom Steyer, and he is gaining ground with the grass roots. For Politico, Carla Marinucci and David Siders report for Politico that his television and Times Square campaigns have garnered four million signatures--and email addresses.

When billionaire Democratic donor Tom Steyer launched a digital petition drive to impeach President Donald Trump two months ago, some Democratic Party leaders dismissed it as an unhelpful vanity project — and even Steyer thought he’d top out at a million signatures.

But nearly four million digital signatures later, the philanthropist and environmental activist’s unlikely campaign has seized on an issue — impeaching Trump — that could become part of the Democratic mainstream in 2018. It's placed at his fingertips a potentially powerful tool: an email list of millions of motivated activists who he can reach instantly for organizing and fundraising and that could become the hottest trove of data in Democratic politics since the email list that Bernie Sanders’ insurgent campaign against Hillary Clinton collected in 2016.

Steyer's digital success is fueling intense curiosity about what he’ll do with that tool in the future — and whether he’ll use it beyond his California base, for a White House bid of his own.

But, the Trump factor could be an impediment for Steyer, as voters look warily at a billionaire candidate who hasn't previously held elective office. Thus, the question is how much he wants it or would he prefer to be a kingmaker in 2020. He'll be 63 in 2020, which doesn't mean it's his last shot at the presidency (Trump was 70 last year and Clinton was 69.

2018 LAWS: The Bee's Alexei Koseff previews the new laws facing/helping Californians beginning January 1.

HARASSMENT: Sex misconduct cases spur rethinking of statute of limitations, reports Danny Cevalos for NBC News.

HOUSING: In the Times, Liam Dillon looks at the major housing issues to be addressed by the Legislature in 2018:

  1. A rent control battle
  2. The future of Proposition 13
  3. How lawmakers will follow up on this year's housing efforts

HOUSING AND HEALTH: The LAT's Tony Barboza and David Zahniser writes that the state's Air Resources Board has shifted its position on building housing near freeways

[E]arlier this year, the air board shifted its stance. It issued a new advisory that emphasizes design rather than distance, recommending anti-pollution features such as air filters, sound walls and thick vegetation as “promising strategies” to reduce the health risks from freeways. With those measures, communities can build “while simultaneously reducing exposure to traffic-related pollution,” the air board said.

SOMETHING'S FISHY: The Bee's Ryan Sabalow reports on the consquences of the state's effort to save salmon population born in hatcheries during the drought. The state trucked the fingerlings out to the ocean, and now the adult fish don't know where to return to spawn. In other bad seafood news, the Dungeness crab season delay for Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte and most of Oregon has been extended until January 15. Any crab found in stores is safe to eat comes from counties further south.

BULLET TRAIN: When High Speed Rail was before voters in November 2008 it was "simple," as it was just about partial funding to get the project rolling. However, the stickiness is the actual build out and land use, eminent domain, and battles between local governments take center stage. In the initial stage, the biggest challenge is in Bakersfield, reports Dorothy Mills-Gregg for Capitol Weekly:

The core issue is where the track will go from Poplar Avenue north of Shafter to one of two proposed locations in Bakersfield – to the original Truxtun Avenue station, also served now by Amtrak,  or to a new location on F Street. The issue remains under review because of lawsuits by local governments three years ago.

TECH/ED CAMPUS IN SAC? UC Davis and Sacramento are exploring building an "Aggie Square" technology campus of business and education  in Sacramento based on a similar program of partnership between Georgia Tech and Atlanta, reports Ryan Lillis in the Bee. New UC Davis chancellor Gary May was previously was previously the dean of the College of Engineering at Georgia Tech. "The task force has been asked to issue recommendations on the site and financing for the tech center – tentatively called Aggie Square – by April 1." Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg has toured the Atlanta campus and is a proponent of the project.

TRY AGAIN: The link to the California State Archives photography exhibit was wrong. Here is the correct one.


Probolsky Research

CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Allan Acevedo and Mitchell Oster, and former Governor Gray Davis who turned 75 yesterday!



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Santa Can't Fix These Problems With California's State Government
George Skelton @
Here's a list of political Christmas presents that Californians deserve, and won't get.

Ballot Measure Adds Twist To Sf Race For District 2 Supervisor - San Francisco Chronicle
A candidate in a tightly contested race to represent San Francisco’s Marina district is financing a June ballot measure to set lifetime term limits at the Board of Supervisors, which would disqualify his main challenger.

Lines Form In Sacramento To Pay Property Tax Bills Early To Deduct From 2017 Taxes | The Sacramento Bee
Hudson Sangree @
By Hudson Sangree

White College Grads' Distaste For Trump Hurt GOP In 2017. Will It Flip Control Of Congress To Democrats In 2018?
Michael Finnegan @
The Republican Party, encumbered by President Trump's often racially charged appeals to blue-collar whites, is repelling college-educated suburban white voters, a potential long-term threat to the GOP. In Nevada, this conflict is playing out in Summerlin and other suburbs of Las Vegas.

Years of Attack Leave Obamacare a More Government-Focused Health Law

Efforts by Republicans to chip away at the Affordable Care Act, culminating in the repeal of the individual mandate, have left behind a more government-focused health program.

Californians line up to pay property taxes before 2018
Under the new tax law signed by President Donald Trump, many homeowners will no longer be able to claim their local property taxes as a deduction starting in 2018 -- hence, the push to prepay by Dec. 31 to claim the taxes in 2017.

More Americans Want To See Donald Trump Impeached Than Would Vote For Him In 2020, Poll Finds | The Independent
The majority of Americans now say they'd rather vote for a Democrat

Spacex Rocket Launch Causes Three-car Collision On Highway, Video Shows | The Sacramento Bee
Jared Gilmour @
By Jared Gilmour

Former Supervisor Alioto-pier Might Jump Back In As District Two Candidate - San Francisco Chronicle
The race to succeed San Francisco District Two Supervisor Mark Farrell next year is getting crowded.

Asylum Seekers Overwhelming Us Processing In San Diego Ports - The San Diego Union-tribune
Kate Morrissey @
In November 2017, the number of people deemed inadmissible was 2,824, more than double the low of 1,313 reached in March of this year.

Starfish Making Comeback After Syndrome Killed Millions | The Sacramento Bee
Starfish are making a comeback on the West Coast, four years after a mysterious syndrome killed millions of them.

Black To Hand Off Budget Gavel, Remain In Congress - Politico

The first woman to lead the budget panel, Rep. Diane Black is also one of few women at the helm of a House committee this year. | John Shinkle/POLITICO

California Increasing Family Leave Benefits In 2018 -
Ben Adler @
Capital Public Radio, Inc.7055 Folsom BoulevardSacramento, CA 95826

Do L.A. Unified's Daily Random Searches Keep Students Safe, Or Do They Go Too Far?
Sonali Kohli @
Activists found that L.A. Unified schools confiscate more markers than weapons during random searches.

Tahoe's Squaw Valley Picked As 1 Of 5 Olympic Training Sites -
Capital Public Radio, Inc.7055 Folsom BoulevardSacramento, CA 95826

Orrin Hatch, Jeff Flake and the no-win scenario GOP senators face with Trump

The senators' very different political realities underscore that Republicans on the Hill still have no winning formula in dealing with the president.

Pot Bust In Mendocino County Pits Legit Industry Against Law Enforcement

California New Laws For 2018 | The Sacramento Bee
Alexei Koseff @
The go-to source for news on California policy and politics

Judge Grants Project Veritas A Victory Over Michigan Teachers Union - Politico

A federal judge in Detroit on Wednesday lifted the temporary restraining order a major teachers union won against the conservative group Project Veritas and denied a request for a preliminary injunction.

Poachers Shoot Down Anti-poaching Drone In The Gulf Of California
Laura Tillman @
Tensions between poachers and conservationists in the Gulf of California have escalated since a fisherman shot down a drone being used by to monitor illegal activities in the area.

Impeachment - Latest News, Breaking Stories And Comment - The Independent
The majority of Americans now say they'd rather vote for a Democrat

Tesla: Still Waiting For The Model 3 - San Francisco Chronicle
This year upstart automaker Tesla faced its biggest test yet, introducing the Model 3, CEO Elon Musk’s long-promised electric car for the masses.

Dashcam Video Shows Three-car Crash As Freeway Drivers Brake For Spacex Rocket Launch
Joseph Serna @
The bright images in the sky that stopped traffic across the Southland came from the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base on Friday. The rocket was carrying 10 satellites to low-Earth orbit, all which successfully deployed.