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Happy Tuesday! Oh, what will people talk about in the Capitol this week?
MENDOZA: Christopher Cadelago reports in the Bee that the Senate Rules Committee will decide today what to recommend to the full Senate as to what to do with the results of the independent investigation into harassment and retaliation allegations against Senator Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia). Mendoza is currently on a paid leave of absence and sued the Senate last week to seek full reinstatement.
On Thursday, a day before Democrats gather in San Diego for their annual convention, the Senate could take action on Mendoza if the punishment is serious enough to require a floor vote. Possible repercussions for him include censure, suspension, expulsion, or no discipline at all.
Officials say Mendoza would be given the opportunity to tell his side of the story, a scenario that would draw considerable attention given the heightened tensions between the disgraced official and his colleagues, some of whom have grown impatient with him.
Speaking of Cadelago, he tweets this morning: "Some personal news: Very excited to be joining @POLITICO’s White House team in a few weeks. Many thanks to @sacbee_news and the Bureau for four incredible years."
Congratulations to Christopher, who we are going to miss. Another loss to Bee readers.
Meanwhile, from the Politico California Playbook on Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia:
-- THE LATEST...Tim Reardon, Garcia's ex-chief of staff in 2014, challenged Kernick's statements about work conditions in Garcia's office, and told the Sacramento Bee on Saturday following publication of the POLITICO story that "If Mr. Kernick wants to talk about his time working there, then he ought to open up his own personnel records and let people see what was written in there."
-- On Monday, a letter from Kernick's personnel file on Garcia's Assembly letterhead - signed by Reardon - was leaked around the Capitol, and was also obtained by POLITICO. That prompted a scathing response from Kernick's attorney, Dan Gilleon, who told us: "Mr. Reardon and any of his co-conspirators just bought themselves a lawsuit. He made it clear yesterday to the SacBee that he wanted the letter released but he also acknowledged that it was illegal to do so. This morning, he chose to break the law and release a private government file. He did so to punish Mr. Kernick for speaking out."
-- Reardon strongly denied releasing the papers: "As a retired employee of the Assembly I have no employee records in my possession and subsequently have no documents to release to the public,'' he said in an email statement.
-- BIG QUESTION NOW -- Will Garcia continue to seek the California Democratic Party endorsement this weekend at the state party convention in San Diego? If so, she puts her party in a potentially hugely embarrassing spot; she'll be getting pressure to stand down heading into this weekend's events.
Speaking the confab in San Diego, the LAT's Seema Mehta previews the weekend's events. I'm not attending this year as it's a lot of $$$ to watch the fights. I'll be watching online. Email me tips at firstname.lastname@example.org, and tag me in your tweets @scottlay.
MONEY MATTERS: The Department of Finance has released its monthly finance report, and the news is generally very good:
That's a remarkable $7.258 billion increase year-over-year from the amount forecasted for the current year in the budget adopted last June. This is almost all in personal income tax revenues and likely reflect large payments of capital gains taxes of individual quarterly taxpayers. That also means that a significant portion of the revenues could be of a one-time nature, which is why the governor proposes to fill the "rainy day fund" to 100% of the constitutional requirement ahead of schedule. The governor proposes a "supplemental payment" of $3.5 billion to reach that constitutional requirement of 10% of state general fund revenues.
The good news about the January revenues if they hold for the five months remaining in the fiscal year is that the reserve can be fully funded and additional investments can be made as the Legislature works with the governor to build a final budget. The initial governor's proposed budget was met with public praise, but there was private grumbling among Democrats and the spending lobby that too much money was being saved when there are significant needs in areas of need. Republicans want tax cuts, but I just don't see that happen.
With the ability to both meet the governor's goal of filling the "rainy day" fund, the Legislature will be able to also make additional investments, something that they are delighted to do in an election year.
It's important to note that this increase in revenue has nothing to do with last year's increase in the excise tax on gasoline and diesel and hike in vehicle license fees. Those revenues are not in the general fund, but rather in a special fund that can only be used for transportation purposes.
OFF MESSAGE: Speaking of the gas tax hike, Joel Fox writes that President Trump's hopes of big spending on infrastructure may hurt California Republicans hoping to repeal the gas tax as means to increase turnout in what otherwise doesn't look good for November. President Trump recently suggested a 25 cent per gallon increase in the federal excise tax on gasoline. The state excise gas tax increase in SB 1 sought to be repealed was 12 cents.
GOV: Gavin Newsom gets an assist from GOP candidate John Cox, with a new online ad focused on Antonio Villaraigosa's support for reduced bail for former Assembly speaker Fabian Núñez's son, Esteban, reports Seema Mehta in the Times. Esteban was convicted for his role in a 2008 street fight that led to the death of 22-year-old Luis Santos.
On Arnold Schwarzenegger's last night in office in 2011, he provided clemency to Esteban who had pleaded guilty and received 16 years in the case, reducing Esteban's prison term to seven years. Fabian, who's a partner at Mercury Public Affairs had argued publicly that Estaban thought he had a plea deal for 7-11 years and wouldn't had pleaded guilty had he known the judge would impose the longer term.
Speaking of Fabian, he still has a committee ostensibly for state treasurer this year, but obviously is not running. That committee (and a previous one for 2014) has carried forward money and dolled it out to candidates for state legislative races, local candidates, and ballot measures. It started with around $4.9 million, including $4 million from the Democratic State Central Committee.
Fabian's status as a mover and shaker has long outlived his role as Assembly Speaker. While he's a partner at Mercury, he is not a lobbyist. That said, he can advise his clients and work with the firm's lobbyists on strategy, and the allies he supports financially know darn well that he's at Mercury. Mercury pulled in $4,390,497 from 39 clients in 2017 for lobbying and currently has three registered lobbyists. Work ranges from tackling a single bill, such as Internet poker for Las Vegas Sands to general representation for corporations and organizations.
In 2017, he made the following contributions from his committee, which had $3.1 million left at the end of the year.
A deep dive by The Sacramento Bee into Morse’s background and America’s foreign relations bureaucracy found that Morse, the front-runner among three Democrats bidding to unseat Republican Rep. Tom McClintock, built a serious and successful career within the military, State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
But some of her claims about her experience are misleading or stretch the truth. They leave the impression that she was a senior official making sweeping U.S. foreign policy decisions. She wasn’t.
Labor rights icon Dolores Huerta won't be on the ballot in California's 21st Congressional District, but she has influenced the Central Valley race Democrats view as one of their biggest pickup opportunities in the midterm elections.
Elected officials, local activists and other congressional sources said Huerta is having pointed conversations to try to make sure her son, Emilio Huerta, is the only Democrat challenging Republican Rep. David Valadao. A local lawyer, he lost badly to Valadao in 2016.
These voting Democrats honor the legacy of Dolores Huerta, as do I. However, when they turn out to vote, they are thinking with their economic interests for their local representatives. They are not persuaded by arguments to vote for the candidate because he or she is supported by UFW. In looking at many cycles here, that's all I can surmise.
The Democratic Party has flooded the State Senate and congressional districts here with labor volunteers. They can often sell the top of the ticket, but have been unsuccessful with the local representatives.
There's a reason Amanda Renteria (D) is making a long-shot late bid for governor and not running again for CA21. She gets it. She ran for the district in 2014, when Dem turnout was lower in a mid-term election. When you adjust for that, Huerta likely gets less than he did in 2018 than he did in 2016.
That's what I'm hearing is going on as many folks try to find an alternative to Emilio Huerta for 2018. Of course, there are only 17 days left to recruit a candidate and complete the filing.
As a side note, Rudy Salas (D) represents the southern part of CA21 in AD32 and wins re-election narrowly, which doesn't include the conservative towns of Coalinga and Mendota.
BLUE STATE SNUB: In the Times, Rong-Gong Lin II reports:
Mexico City got a substantial warning before the shaking from a distant earthquake arrived Friday — some 30 to 60 seconds broadcast over loudspeakers from an earthquake early warning system.
It was another success for Mexico City’s earthquake warning system — one which California, Oregon and Washington state still lack, and one that is an ongoing target for elimination by President Trump.
The Trump administration’s budget proposal released last week again zeroed out funding for the earthquake early warning program administered by the U.S. Geological Survey.
Yeah, who cares if people in states that voted overwhelmingly for Clinton don't get a 30-60 second warning to save their lives. Meanwhile, we still have air raid sirens that are regularly tested in downtown Sac.
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TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
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Labor rights icon Dolores Huerta is working to ensure the only Democrat on the ballot challenging Republican Rep. David Valadao will be her son, Emilio Huerta.
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Kamala Harris: Congress Should Have The Same 'courage And Compassion' As Students At Florida High School | Thehill
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San Onofre Settlement Would Put Millions In Customers' Pockets But Leave Key Questions Unanswered - The San Diego Union-tribune
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