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ALERT: PPIC poll coming out--I can't share it as it is embargoed until 9pm PST. Let's just say that it is very interesting. Nooner Nightcap coming out at 9pm for Nooner Premium subscribers. Then it will be in tomorrow's Nooner. As a reminder, if you don't want to commit for a year, you can get Nooner Premium either monthly ($4.99/month ongoing) or one-time for one or more months ($5/month).
I thought today was going to be relatively quiet. However, I picked the wrong day to wake up at 6am. This may be a good day to print The Nooner either from email or the online version (at around 12:15pm after the hamsters have sent out all the email).
Happy humpday! Here at The Nooner Global Headquarters, it's going to be another good day, and that's in the forecast for the next ten days. Great for the lunchtime walks, but not so much for skiers or the water situation. The pattern of feast (2017) or famine (2018) on that front continues.
It's likely a happy day for most employees in the Los Angeles Times and San Diego Union-Tribune, as overnight the deal was closed with Los Angeles billionaire Patrick Soon-Shong purchasing the papers (through his venture capital firm) from Chicago-based Tronc for $500 million and assumption of $90 million in pension liabilities, reports Meg James in the Times. This ends the Chicago relationship since the Chandler family sold it to the Chicago Tribune in 2000.
The Tribune Company split in 2014, spinning off the papers from most other entities. Strangely, the LA Times building and its operations were split among the two different companies. The newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, LAT, and others fell under Tronc. Tronc stands for Tribune Online Content, something that was a knife in the heart to longtime journalists who dreamt of and lived the life told in the popular movie The Post and, of course before that, All the Presidents Men.
They longed for an above the fold story that would be seen in the newspaper stands.
The South African-born Chinese descendent Soon-Shiong already owned 27% of Tronc and had been having contentious and often public battles with the parent company's chairman, Michael Ferro. Soon-Shiong, a former UCLA surgeon (still an adjunct professor) who created and sold two very successful pharmaceutical companies, is also a minority owner of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Soon-Shiong is certainly wealthy--he sold his biotech firms for $9.1 billion and has another one now--but he's no Jeff Bezos. Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com, now owns The Washington Post and is reportedly worth ten times Soon-Shiong. Nevertheless, for LAT and SDUT employees, being owned by pockets and not subject to daily stock price scrutiny allows them to exhale, for now. The papers still have major ongoing cost structure and management problems and great recent organizational tumult, but the panic among employees likely is reduced today.
It is unclear if new editor in chief Jim Kirk, sent to LA by Tronc in January, will stay in the position. On the news, Tronc is trading up 22% as I write this (07:35 PST).
POLL POSITION: Berkeley IGS is continues to roll out polling results on likely voter attitudes:
Ami Bera (D-CA07)
Re-elect Congressman Ami Bera in CA07 (Santa Clarita-Antelope)?
Bera job approval:
[n=1,056; January 11-21, 2018; email; English/Spanish; +/- 3.3%]
That's three congressional races for which we have seen this level of polling (yesterday we had CA25 and CA48). While all relatively close on inclination to re-elect in all three, the issues strongly favor the Democrats in all three cases.
Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA48) voted against the tax bill (along with retiring CA congressman Darrell Issa), while Steve Knight (R-CA25) voted in favor of it, with the justification that he and Mimi Walters (R-CA45) had worked behind the scenes to retain up to $10,000 in state and local income tax deductions and a larger mortgage interest deduction.
On the tax bill the only issue polled that has been "settled," no House Democrat voted in favor of it. Given the polling we're seeing, it is unlikely that challengers to Bera will be able to use it against him.
There's going to be plenty of money among candidates and independent spenders on both sides in CA07 and the seven other uber-targeted congressional races (1 D, 7 R). Liberal optimists would throw in two more--Devin Nunes in CA22 and Duncan Hunter in CA50, while Republican optimists would throw in Scott Peters (CA52).
I don't know if IGS will trickle out a few more districts, but let's talk about an issue that I've already heard. Some would question their methodology (email addresses from the voter registration file of likely voters as determined by nonpartisan PDI). In this modern environment of multiple communication channels, there is no perfect methodology. If you're a geek like me who refreshes Real Clear Politics each day to look at polling results, you see the wide variation and it's all about methodology.
Today, President Trump's job approval is either Disapprove +15, Disapprove +3, or Disapprove +8. That's because of methodology. In order, they are from Quinnipiac (registered voters, live interview, home and cell phones, n=1,333, +/- 3.3%), Rasmussen Reports (likely voter, home phones, not available) and the Economist/YouGov (n=1,320 RVs, web-based interviews, +/- 3.3%). And, nobody knows where the very polarized electorate and unusually Democratic fields will increase or suppress "likely voters."
In evaluating the sample of email-based congressional polling by IGS, I look at the sample's 2016 self-declared presidential votes versus the actual results from that district. Ideally, the sample would be a bit more conservative than 2016, given that it's a midterm election. Here is what we have (numbers rounded):
More polling tomorrow, including the PPIC poll and, likely more from IGS. There are still five more districts won by Clinton and held by a member of the House GOP (Denham-CA10, Valadao-CA21, and Walters-CA45), although two are moot with the retirements of Issa and Royce.
GOV: There were dueling forums last night, with the three leading GOP candidates (Travis Allen, John Cox, and Doug Ose) meeting in San Francisco and Democrats John Chiang, Delaine Eastin, and Antonio Villaraigosa showing up for a forum hosted by the League of Conservation Voters and other groups in Huntington Park. [video]
Ben Christopher covered the GOP event for CALmatters, and the Bee's Christopher Cadelago writes that the candidates used the opportunity to attack Democrats Gavin Newsom and Villaraigosa, who both have acknowledged they participated in affairs. Newsom was separated and going through a divorce when he had a relationship with a married staffer, while Villaraigosa was still married during his affair with a local news anchor.
Honestly, with what we saw nationally (albeit not in California) in 2016, I doubt this will close the gap for the GOP in a governor's race as a significant issue.
Also seen in the Twitterverse was that Allen arrived late to the GOP forum, blaming it on traffic, and pivoting to his goal of repealing the gas tax. Reportedly, he did not address the failure of his gas tax proposal while he embraced that backed by former San Diego councilman and radio talk show host Carl DeMaio.
SD32 (Whittier): Assemblymembers Ian Calderon (D) and Cristina Garcia (D) have both endorsed Rio Hondo trustee Vicky Santana, whether or not Senator Tony Mendoza runs for re-election. Filing deadling is March 9 if Mendoza files, and March 14 if he does not. Combined, Calderon and Garcia represent nearly all of SD32, with the exception of a slivers represented by Sharon Quirk-Silva (Buena Park) and Anthony Rendon (Hawaiian Gardens).
The Daily News's Kevin Modesti reports on the challenger(s) to Mendoza.
PELOSI: In Politico, Heather Caygle and John Bresnahan look at the fight likely in the House Democratic Caucus whenever Nancy Pelosi steps down or loses control of the caucus. Of course, she may be the hero after November 3 and be around for awhile. The one other Democrat mentioned in the article is Linda Sanchez (D-CA38), "who is currently Democratic Caucus vice chairwoman and would want to move up to the No. 3 post of assistant leader."
HARASSMENT: Assemblymember Marc Levine (D-Greenbrae) yesterday introduced AB 2005, which would allow the complaints against lobbyists of sexual harassment to be made to the Fair Political Practices Commission, and to allow the commission to ban the accused of lobbying for up to four years.
I was a registered lobbyist advocating for community colleges for eleven years until I became President/CEO of the League. I totally support the bill, with one very important caveat. It must be a two-way street. Currently, lobbyists don't have an avenue to file complaints against members and staff, although several of the high profile cases that gave #metoo legs were by lobbyists.
People like to think that lobbyists are these powerful people representing special interests. But--particularly among younger lobbyists and mostly women--they are very vulnerable. I've heard plenty of stories over the years as (mostly) men want a "closed door discussion" with a female lobbyist, although his intentions had nothing to do with amendments.
I am told by activists in the #metoo movement are already working on this issue with legislators working on the policy reforms. AB 2005 needs to be tied to, and conditioned upon, these efforts.
For CALmatters, Dan Walters joins the chorus of activists who say that Friday's document dump of records of sexual harassment actions and settlements wasn't enough:
The Legislature should repeal the very weak, four-decade-old law that provides very limited access to its records and place itself under the Open Records Act that other state agencies and local governments must obey, with limited exceptions for legal and personnel issues.
It should also repeal the Legislature’s exemption from civil service laws. There’s absolutely no reason why rank-and-file legislative employees should not have civil service status, limiting at-will employment to a few top staffers, just as occurs in the rest of state government.
Nor is there any reason why those legislative employees should not be able to unionize, as Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, a San Diego Democrat, has proposed.
It’s hypocritical for the Legislature to exempt itself from the laws and procedures it imposes on others, as the firestorm over sexual harassment underscores. If would-be miscreants know that their behavior can be reported and revealed to the public, they’ll be much less likely to do it. It’s as simple as that.
PROP 13: In the Bee, Alexei Koseff writes about the returning battle over Proposition 13's provisions that provide commercial properties the same protections on valuation increases in property tax calculations as residential properties. Koseff writes:
A coalition of civil rights and community organizations is expected to begin collecting signatures later this month for a measure to tax commercial properties at market value while leaving in place the Proposition 13 protections for homeowners, a concept known as “split roll.”
The proposal does exempt commercial property zoned for residential use and commercial agriculture production. This addresses a problem that often was found in previous proposals that didn't have the exemptions, sweeping in "commercial" property that is actually apartments.
That said, this would be a colossal battle as large companies with improved properties assessed a long time ago envision the hit. The state's largest oil refineries in Carson, Benecia, El Segundo, Martinez, Richmond, Torrance and Wilmington would be among the hardest hit and they are not exactly relocatable to another state. Oil companies would spend big time against a split roll ballot measure, and that's just one industry.
Advocates for split roll correctly state that Prop 13 was sold has providing reassessment of property upon change in ownership and that the ownership of international publicly traded companies that own properties like those refineries is constantly changing, in contrast to a residential property that is usually transferred all at one time from one owner to another.
Title and summary are due fo the proposed initiative on 2/20, and the Attorney General's office usually releases it on the deadline to avoid accusations of political bias. That's when signatures can start being collected--a late start for the November 3, 2018 election.
As I noted above, media have received an embargoed copy of a new Public Policy Institute of California poll this morning, and there is a question on split roll. I can't release the results until 9pm, when Nooner Premium subscribers will get it, and then it'll be in tomorrow's Nooner.
STIFFED? For Capitol Public Radio, Bob Moffitt reports on a joint statement that Congressmen John Garamendi (D) and Doug LaMalfa (R) issued yesterday saying that the Federal Emergency Management Agency may be balking at paying its entire $650 million share of the repairs to the Oroville Dam.
The statement alleges that FEMA has informed Congress that it will pay its share to restore to the dam to its condition before the failure of the main spillway earlier last year, but not the upgrades to avoid future failures. FEMA alleges that California's Department of Water Resources, which operates the dam, has failed to provide adequate maintenance and upgrades.
Lots of stories out there, as it's a very busy week. For a more comprehensive list of stories, check out my friend Jack Kavanaugh at Rough & Tumble.
#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Eddie Bernacchi, Natalie Daniel, and Johannes Escadero!
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TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
Republican John Cox's Effort To Create 12,000 'neighborhood' Lawmakers In California Fails To Make The Ballot
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House Passes Speier Bill To Crack Down On Sexual Harassment In Congress - San Francisco Chronicle
WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to crack down on sexual harassment in Congress with legislation so strict that the Peninsula congresswoman who instigated the effort declared that the problem is fixed.
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Trump Calls For Shutdown As Senate Negotiates Big Budget Deal, Immigration - Politico
Ballot Measure Would Ban Vacation Rentals In Much Of South Lake Tahoe | The Sacramento Bee
Ed Fletcher @ sacbee.com
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The Nunes Memo Made This Congressman A National Name. But His California District Cares About Water, Not Russia
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In his hometown of Tulare, residents contend Rep. Devin Nunes can deliver on jobs and water.
Flake Calls Trump 'destructive' After Comments On 'treasonous' Democrats - Politico
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Fundraising At USC Tumbles Amid Medical School Scandals
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Fundraising at USC tumbled in the second half of 2017 as scandals roiled the university's medical school.
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