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THE Nooner for January 1, 2018


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Well, Happy New Year everybody! 2018 is certain to be interesting politically so we'll have lots to talk about in this space. 

I was a homebody last night after ringing the bell at the Buddhist Church of Sacramento for good luck in 2018. Of course, jerks were lighting off illegal fireworks until 2:30 a.m. Super loud bangs through the night. 

My top races of 2018, in order:

Of course, we could have a recall election in SD29 (Fullerton - Newman).

2018 iN CA POLITICS: The LAT's Seema Mehta looks at the year ahead in California politics. Mehta looks at:

  • the fundraising race for governor
  • whether billionaire activist Tom Steyer jumps in to a race 
  • whether a prominent Republican runs for either governor or U.S. Senate
  • the relevance of the California Republican Party
  • the division between the establishment and progressive wings within the California Democratic Party

THE OC: The Register's Martin Wisckol looks at the political landscape in Orange County this year:

Orange County is at the heart of Democrats’ effort to take control of the House of Representatives. Twenty-four seats would need to be flipped and the county is home to four of the targeted districts, thanks to the county’s shifting demographics and to Hillary Clinton winning all four of those GOP-held congressional districts in 2016.

So far, there were 32 challengers for those four seats — including 25 Democrats who backed up their aspirations with several million dollars of early fundraising last year.

Several prominent handicappers have tagged the races of Reps. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, and Dana Rohrabacher, R-Costa Mesa, as tossups. Tougher for Democrats will be incumbent Reps. Ed Royce, R-Yorba Linda, and Mimi Walters, R-Laguna Beach, who won by broad margins in 2016, have largely steered clear of controversy and have identities distinct from President Donald Trump.

THEY'RE COMING BACK: Dan Walters writes for CALmatters that, when the Legislature returns on Wednesday, the ambience will be quite different as the sexual harassment scandal continues to play out:

We don’t know who else might be affected as women press legislative leaders for independent investigations of accusations and more transparency in their outcomes.

If nothing else, the scandal and the initial lack of supermajorities will dampen what many Democrats had hoped to be a year of major legislation, including, perhaps, big changes in the state tax system to counter the new federal tax overhaul.

Moreover, it is an election year, which colors everything that happens, or doesn’t happen, in the Capitol.

Assemblymember Matt Dababneh's resignation takes effect today. We'll see how quickly Governor Brown calls the special, but it's likely that the special primary election will be April 3, the same date as the special for Raul Bocanegra seat. The special for Assemblymember Sebastian Ridley-Thomas's seat will also likely be the same day. It's going to be a busy day in Los Angeles County.

POT: Recreational marijuana sales start in California today. The Bee's Bradran and Molly Sullivan report that 7 dispensaries had received the state and city permits by last night to begin selling today.

California has issued more than 300 licenses across the state, according to Alex Traverso, spokesman for the Bureau of Cannabis Control.

“There’s a lot more to do, but it’s been a really good start,” Traverso said.

Reportedly, medical users packed dispenseries yeterday to stock up before the new state tax of 15 percent took effect today. Recreational users camped out overnight to be the first in line when doors open at 6 a.m. at some dispensaries.

The LAT's Patrick McGreevy writes "The KindPeoples Collective in Santa Cruz plans to give out T-shirts to the first 420 people who show up to buy weed Monday."

PRESIDENT OF THE GOLDEN STATE: Joe Mathews writes for the MercNews that the most powerful governor in California history is likely whoever is elected this year after years of consolidation of power to the corner office. "For the past 40 years, the governor’s authority has grown as power was transferred from local governments to Sacramento, via state court decisions (notably equalizing school funding) and by ballot initiatives (like Prop. 13, which restricted local taxation)."

NO LOVE: The LAT's Brian Bennett reports "Trump is about to become the first president since Dwight D. Eisenhower 64 years ago to skip a visit to California during his first calendar year in office. And he doesn’t appear to have any plans to take Air Force One to the country’s most populous and economically powerful state before he marks his first full year in office Jan. 20."

The odd thing is that POTUS has a Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes...



Probolsky Research



#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Fabrizio Sasso!



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New Era To Open In California With First Sales Of Recreational Marijuana - Sfgate
Before sunrise on New Year's Day, cashiers were set to ring up the first legal sales of recreational marijuana in California, launching a new industry expected to bring in billions of dollars while accepting new regulations and taxes. The day has been long anticipated by cannabis advocates who pushed for voters to pass Proposition 64 in November 2016, largely decriminalizing marijuana and allowing - starting Monday - for the commercial sale of products to adults 21 or older. The handful of shops set to make recreational sales on Monday acquired both local and state licenses.

What To Expect When Recreational Marijuana Goes On Sale On Jan. 1
Gary Robbins @
Recreational marijuana is scheduled to go on sale at licensed stores in California on January 1st, or shortly thereafter, depending on the location.

Why East L.A. Educators Have Been Running The Troubled San Ysidro School District | Kpbs
Leo Castaneda @
When the San Ysidro school board hired Mary Willis as its interim superintendent in November, she became the seventh person to lead the troubled district since 2013. She was also the fourth to have ties to school districts in the East Los Angeles area.

California's Largest Ever Fire Was A Force That Could Not Be Stopped
Joe Mozingo @
The Thomas fire is the largest ever recorded by size in California at over 281,900 acres.

Tax Law Offers a Carrot to Gig Workers. But It May Have Costs.

A 20 percent tax deduction for setting oneself up as a business could reward severing formal employment relationships but erode benefits and security.

A 'Monumental Moment' For Fully Legal Marijuana In California
Patrick McGreevy @
Californians can now buy marijuana for recreational use in stores in some parts of the state.

Trump Starts 2018 With Tweets Criticizing Pakistan, Iran And Former U.S. Leaders
Steve Beynon @

His Iran tweet followed one from Sunday, where he wrote: "The people are finally getting wise as to how their money and wealth is being stolen and squandered on terrorism," the president wrote on Twitter. "Looks like they will not take it any longer."

2017 Marked A Year Of Tearing Down Consumer Protections 'brick By Brick'
David Lazarus @
The Trump administration has been single-mindedly focused on getting rid of rules and regulations that businesses say hindered competition, innovation and free markets.

Winners and losers from 2017, the year in politics

An unprecedented year. An unprecedented new political reality.

Woman killed early Monday in Oakland hit-and-run
A woman was killed in a hit-and-run on an Oakland street in the early morning hours of New Year’s Day, police said. The car struck the woman about 5 a.m. at 98th Avenue and Sunnyside Street, said Oakland Police Officer Alonzo Weatherly. Police did not release additional information on the incident. The victim’s name was withheld until her family is notified. Jenna Lyons is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: Twitter: @JennaJouno

Where We Can Agree on Iran

How Americans of both political parties can come together to support the Iranian people.

Spare the Air alert issued for New Yearâ
The first day of 2018 will be the 17th Spare the Air day of the Bay Area winter season. The alert for Monday, announced by the Bay Area Quality Management District, will remain in effect for 24 hours. People may not burn wood or other solid fuels, indoors or outdoors. During the winter season, which is from Nov. 1 to Feb. 28, wood smoke is the largest source of air pollution in the Bay Area, according to the district. This has been one of the driest Decembers for the region on record. The dry weather contributes to the hazy conditions that trigger air quality alerts.

No-name congressmen, mayors and wannabes gun for Trump in 2020

The rapidly proliferating group of would-be challengers is driven by one question: If Trump can do it, why not me?