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As a note, the filing deadline for the three April 3 special elections for vacant Assembly seats ended March 8 and the randomized alphabet drawing for ballot order has been conducted by the Secretary of State. The lists of candidates in ballot order are below.
FROM THE CAMPAIGN HYBERBOLE GONE AMUCK FILES: Today, my inbox received an email from John Chiang's campaign with the subject "NEW DIGITAL AD HIGHLIGHTS CHIANG’S RECORD AS ‘THE MOST ACCOMPLISHED MAN IN CALIFORNIA’."
Now, I get a lot of email, and the most hyperbolic subject lines are usually from the Red-to-Blue California PAC, my friend Pete Aguilar's committee, and Tim Donnelly. But, come on, "most accomplished man in California." I love John and have known him for a longtime and he of course didn't write that line. (I'm neutral in all races and don't contribute to any candidate for state office.)
No politician is the "most accomplished man" in California. Leave that to these members of the California Hall of Fame, who are living and still live in California: Steven Spielberg, Harrison Ford, George Takei, Francis Ford Coppola, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Andre "Dr. Dre" Young, Warren Beatty, Joe Montana, and Magic Johnson, to name a few. And those are just famous names that you would know. Obviously, we have Tim Cook, Larry Ellison, Elon Musk, Mark Benioff and dozens of academics who have made life-saving discoveries that will long outlast their human lives.
The above are true accomplishments and leaves a legacy that outlives a term in political office.
Again, nothing against John, but some mornings I have to get something off my chest. Thank you for listening.
INSURANCE COMMISH: Steve Poizner intends to run for a second stint as insurance commissioner, writes Dan Morain in the Bee. This time, however, he plans to run "no party preference." As of the last update from PDI, he was registered as a Republican.
Poizner made his money as a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, selling several companies including SnapTrack, which was acquired by Qualcomm stock then worth $1 billion. When you use your cell phone for mapping today, it's likely it's from a derivative of the SnapTrack IP.
Poizner served as Insurance Commissioner from 2006 to 2010, and ran in the then-closed GOP primary, but got clobbered by fellow Silicon Valley executive Meg Whitman, who received 67.4% of the vote as she was deemed by Republican primary voters as the best chance to hold on to the governor's office following Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Following his Silcon Valley days, he became a proponent of education reform, co-founding EdVoice and the California Charter Schools Association, but largely in political hibernation, working on education and technology issues in Silicon Valley and San Diego. After the loss in the gubernatorial race, he and his wife Carol bought a multi-million dollar condo on a cliff in La Jolla and many people didn't think we'd see him again. Nevertheless, his return has been rumored for awhile, particularly with few legislative Republicans stepping up for statewide races.
He enters a race that had been looked at as a walk for state Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens). That changed when Pakistani-born Los Angeles physician Asif Mahmood switched from running in the very competitive lieutenant governor race to insurance commissioner, and in doing so bringing $1 million along with him. That's over three times cash on hand that Lara had at the close of 2017. The one Republican in the race, Peter Kuo, had under $4,000 on hand.
Of Mahmood's nearly $1.3 million raised this cycle, only $100,000 is from his own pockets. He has tapped in to a broad national fundraising base of Arab-Americans and, in particular Muslim-Americans, as he sets his sites in being a first from both backgrounds. Of 1,251 contributors, 710 are from out of state. It's unclear whether that strength will continue in a run for insurance commissioner instead of the nominally higher profile race for lieutenant governor.
Lara's background is as a legislative staffer for Kevin de León and Fabian Núñez and his ballot label will likely be State Senator, Mahmood's will be Physician and Poizner's will be something like "Entrepreneur/Education Advocate," or whatever he can get away with on that last part.
Lara is the co-author of SB 562, the single-payer health care bill, and the California Nurses Association (CNA) undoubtedly will be providing money and campaign volunteers for him. That's an asset and liability for Lara, as CNA has built many detractors among usual allies by its tactics in trying to pass the bill. That will be highlighted again at the California Democratic Party convention in San Diego, which begins in ten days.
Mahmood supports "Medicare for All" and opposes changes to the Affordable Care Act ("ObamaCare"), but doesn't expressly support SB 562 (from what I have been able to find). Poizner will likely oppose SB 562, and it's unclear where he is on the Affordable Care Act. Health care is the biggest insurance issue on Californians' minds and while there are other siginificant issues for the office, it will be key in the race for insurance commissioner.
There hasn't been a statewide poll on ObamaCare for a while, but we saw in the Berkeley/IGS polls this month in three competitive races that majorities oppose repealing and replace. We didn't get crosstabs, but I would surmise that a majority of Republicans still would support repeal and replace.
Poizner has the money to communicate that he is the only candidate who wants to maintain a competitive private health care market for a majority of Californians who will draw most Republicans and a strong share of independents. That could very well get him to November against either Lara or Mahmood, and insurance commissioner could be among the most competitive statewides in November. Of course, since "top two" was enacted in 2010 opening the door to the general non-write-in independent candidates, no candidate expressing "no party preference" has made it passed the primary.
Poizner hopes to change that.
As an aside on Poizner's candidacy, the Elections Code needs to be cleaned up to clarify if it is allowable to run as "no party preference" under top two if a candidate is or has been registered with a qualified political party within the last twelve months, or three months in the case of a special election. The Elections Code section was really written for partisan primaries.
In the Capitol Morning Report, we learn that Morain, the editorial page director for The Sacramento Bee and longtime reporter for the Los Angeles Times, is joining CALmatters. He joins longtime Bee columnist Dan Walters and former Bee reporter Laurel Rosenhall at the the nonprofit news organization. #ColonyCollapse
Meanwhile, hedge fund-owned Digital First Media, is making cutbacks across its brands. In California, these include the San Jose Mercury-News, East Bay Times (which absorbed the Oakland Tribune), Orange County, Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Inland Valley Daily Tribune, Whittier News, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Riverside Press-Telegram, San Bernardino Sun and dozens of smaller daily and weekly papers in our state.
This is heartbreaking, not only for the employees who are losing their jobs or are expected to do more to cover for those who do, but for our communities. These smaller papers root out stinky stuff in local government and highlight the good work that happens locally. I've loved the Los Angeles Times since I was a kid (I used to diagram sentences from it for fun). However, the LAT can't cover every council meeting. Much of the content throughout the Southern California News Group and Bay Area News Groups--which encompass many of the above papers of Digital First--is replicated across the brands. So, the great Jeff Horseman at the Press-Enterprise is writing stories that also appeal to Orange county; similarly Martin Wisckol is doing so at the Register for the Jeff's paper and the LA Daily News.
Subscribers to The Nooner help me pay for more than a dozen state and national newspaper subscriptions. I encourage you to not only avoid "incognito browsing" and cache-clearing to access the work of great reporters for free, but to subscribe to your local paper.
The benefactors of CALmatters and the work of the journalists who have joined them need to be praised. But, we can't rely on hedge funds and billionaires to dig deeply in the local stories that are so important in politics and policy.
Finally on this topic, see The Post.
ISN'T THAT SPECIAL?
On April 3, special primary elections will be held in three Assembly races to fill vacancies. To the extent that no candidate surpasses 50% in April, a general will take place on June 5. The victor will take office immediately upon certification. In each of the districts, there will also be a regular primary on that day, with a November 3 general election, to take office December 3.
Here are the candidates, in ballot order, pursuant to the Secretary of State's random drawing for the April 3 special elections. They will continue to be displayed randomly on AroundTheCapitol.com, as it's quite complicated to manipulate in the database for the number of candidates on the ballot. The randomized alphabet moves through each letter of the last name to break "ties," and in the case of the same last name, moves through the first name.
AD39 (East San Fernando Valley - Bocanegra)
AD45 (West San Fernando Valley - Dababneh)
AD54 (Culver City - Ridley-Thomas)
* There is a rumor that Dunwoody had an invalid signature on nomination papers and thus insufficient signatures. I called LA County Registrar a couple of times, only to be transferred to voice mail and have an email in to them to confirm or deny if this is true.
HARASSMENT CLARIFICATION: On Friday I wrote that lobbyists didn't have "standing" to file complaints about those they encounter in the Capitol to file complaints with the Assembly Rules Committee. I have been corrected that the Assembly's policy on sexual harassment provides that lobbyists and people other than members and employees who are doing business in the Assembly do have the ability to file complaints, or to have complaints filed against, during the course of business with the Assembly.
An issue is how lobbyists can be disciplined for findings that they committed sexual harassment against a member or employee, which AB 2055 (Levine) seeks to fix by handing that authority to the Fair Political Practices Commission, which already disciplines lobbyist misbehavior with fines.
That needs to be made known, as I never knew that as a lobbyist (not covered in biennial lobbyist training), and it was unclear in the hearings that have taken place thus far.
Also, we need to clarify what official business with the Assembly is, as many allegations (public and whispered) occur outside of the Capitol building and after hours.
SIN AGUA: In the Times, a reporting team writes that the dry weather is hitting the cross-country ski areas, where mountain bikes have replaced skis as the trail negotiation method. Downhill resorts are open with manufactured snow.
The only significant snowstorm of the season was an "atmospheric river" event before Thanksgiving. But the skies haven't been kind since then, leaving statewide snowpack accumulations at 21% of average for this time of year.
There have been so many clear days with bright sun that the rays have melted snow off the south slopes, leaving them rocky and brown. Researchers at the Central Sierra Snow Lab in Soda Springs reported the lowest water equivalent yet recorded for a Feb. 11, below even the drought years of 2012 through 2015.
FROM THE WTF FILES? President Trump's budget proposal released yesterday is bad news for California's farmers on an unseen front--food stamps.
Specifically, the Trump budget proposal would gut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), better known as food stamps, by $17.2 billion in 2019 — equivalent to 22 percent of the program’s total cost last year — and implement a boxed food delivery program, a system that White House budget director Mick Mulvaney compared to Blue Apron.
The proposal would bring a fundamental change to a program that for the past 40 years has allowed recipients to use SNAP benefits at grocery stores as if they were cash. SNAP provides an average of $125 per month to 42.2 million Americans.
Under the full-scale redesign, the Agriculture Department would use a portion of those benefits to buy and deliver a package of U.S.-grown commodities — officially dubbed “America’s Harvest Box” — to recipients, using the government’s buying power to lower costs.
The deliveries of government-purchased foods would account for roughly half of the benefits for the vast majority of SNAP households.
The foods in the deliveries would include shelf-stable milk, juice, grains, cereals, pasta, peanut butter, beans, and canned meat, fruits and vegetables, according to USDA. The department estimates that it could supply these goods at roughly half the cost of retail, slashing the cost of SNAP while still feeding the hungry.
As you know, I'm a big proponent of farmers' markets--supporting local small farmers, many of whom are first generation. I'm trying of a month of 90% of my food coming from the Sacramento Central Farmers' Market on Sundays and hoping to continue. Lots of "food stamp" recipients buy fresh produce at the market using their CalFresh card (California's implementation of the SNAP program).
The proposal would move approximately half the program dollars into pre-packaged, mass produced food, and take away business from grocery stores, particularly mom-and-pop markets in economically depressed communities. Further, it would move fresh meat from California to the midwest and south, where large industrial operations and relaxed labor laws are more prevalent. Industrial carbs would be favored over fresh food grown locally.
Federal food assistance was created to help America's farms that had surpluses and unnourished Americans. No, they can't be used to buy alcohol and tobacco, and retailers have been punished for doing so. That was a debunked case of #FAKENEWS spread under the Obama Administration.
#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Gary Link!
DEPT OF CORRECTIONS: Of course, Darrell Issa's seat is CA49, not CA48 as my fingers decided to proceed with yesterday. Antonio Villaraigosa is remarried, but not to the news anchor.
Add your classified of up to 100 words by emailing email@example.com for $40/week.
TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
Ad Portrays Newsom As Trailblazer On Same-sex Marriage
Seema Mehta @ latimes.com
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom launched his first digital ad in the governor’s race on Monday, timed to the 14-year anniversary of when San Francisco issued the first marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Police Endorse Antonio Villaraigosa Over Gavin Newsom | The Sacramento Bee
Christopher Cadelago @ sacbee.com
The go-to source for news on California policy and politics
John Chiang Goes For The Funny Bone With New Ad That Closes With The Message: 'stay Woke.'
Phil Willon @ latimes.com
California state Treasurer John Chiang is riffing off the popular, kitschy Dos Equis beer ad “The Most Interesting Man in World” in a new digital spot for his campaign for governor.
California Rejects Immigration Census Question | The Sacramento Bee
Christopher Cadelago @ sacbee.com
The go-to source for news on California policy and politics
Senate Launches Immigration Debate â
SHERYL GAY STOLBERG @
On Monday afternoon, the Senate will begin a novel legislative adventure. Lawmakers will try to assemble immigration legislation that can garner 60 votes.
Trump's Budget Balloons Deficits, Cuts Social Safety Net | The Sacramento Bee
ANDREW TAYLOR and MARTIN CRUTSINGER @ sacbee.com
President Donald Trump unveiled a $4.4 trillion budget plan Monday that envisions steep cuts to America's social safety net but mounting spending on the military, formally retreating from last year's promises to balance the federal budget.
He Once Held The Job As A Republican, But Now Steve Poizner Is Making A No-party Bid For California Insurance Commissioner
John Myers @ latimes.com
This time, he won't run as a Republican.
Senate Begins The Shaky Search For An Immigration Deal - Politico
Senators on Monday kicked off an open-ended immigration debate that promises to test their rusty skills at bipartisan legislating, with no guarantee of success.
Voting Rights Battles In State Legislatures Could Dtermine November Results | The Sacramento Bee
Tony Pugh @ sacbee.com
By Tony Pugh
McConnell on immigration: 'The time for political posturing is behind us'
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Feb. 12 that a "fair debate" on immigration will give all senators an opportunity to submit proposals.
As Opioid Epidemic Rages, California Database Still Not Ready | The Sacramento Bee
Billy Kobin @ sacbee.com
The go-to source for news on California policy and politics
'never Been A More Discouraging Time' For Washington's Deficit Hawks - Politico
But after Republicans spent the Obama years decrying annual deficits, the tax cuts they championed and Trump signed into law last year could pile on more than $2 trillion to the $20 trillion national debt over the next decade, according to the Center for a Responsible Federal Budget. The budget deal that Congress struck last week is forecast to add hundreds of billions more.
Does Recalling The Judge Who Gave Brock Turner A Light Sentence For Sexual Assault Imperil Judicial Independence?
Robin Abcarian @ latimes.com
I wrote that concerns over judicial independence in the recall of Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky are "hogwash." Legal scholars, including UC Berkeley Law School Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, took me to task. I disagree with them.
Watchdog Group Says Trump's Interior Department Violates Law With Temp Agency Heads | The Sacramento Bee
Stuart Leavenworth @ sacbee.com
By Stuart Leavenworth
California Ag Pushes Back On Proposal To Ask Citizenship In Census - The San Diego Union-tribune
Kate Morrissey @ sandiegouniontribune.com
Sergii Pyvovarenko fled after he was kidnapped and tortured by the Right Sector, a far-right nationalist group.
L.A. Considers Cutting Through Red Tape To Get Homeless People Housed Faster
Emily Alpert Reyes, Doug Smith @ latimes.com
Two proposals would eliminate some hurdles for permanent supportive housing projects and make it easier to temporarily convert motels into homeless housing. But some critics say the supportive housing measure goes too far, depriving residents of a chance to voice concerns about projects.
Cal State Experiment Could Hurt Students | The Sacramento Bee
William G. Tierney And Michael Lanford @ sacbee.com
By William G. Tierney And Michael Lanford
Intelligence Officials Say Russia Intent On Disrupting Future U.S. Elections - Politico
President Donald Trump is facing sharp criticism for failing to act decisively to head off potential attempts by Russia to interfere in the upcoming U.S. midterm elections.