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Cray-cray morning. I'm sure I am missing a lot. But, a half-hour of writing time was watching the White House Press Briefing and hearing Sarah Huckabee Sanders say to three different reporters that she didn't know what President Trump's tweet about the "breeding concept" in California meant, other than that it's a "huge problem" here. Mmmmkay...
RED ALERT: Today marks two weeks before the beginning of the mailing of vote-by-mail ballots. I currently predict that 75-80% of June 5 ballots will be VBM (it was 69.4% in June 2014). Several counties, including Sacramento, are mailing ballots to every registered voter and allowing in-person voting at limited locations. Those ballots will be treated as provisional to ensure that a VBM does not also arrive. Basically, almost all elections will be decided well before election day.
This is the crunch time for persuasion and GOTV starts May 7. Very different than the world most of us grew up in. Absentees used to be considered reliable and often already decided voters. That game has completely changed. Of course, smart campaigns use services like PDI to know the voting history of each voter, which is really the only way to know who is a historic absentee versus an auto-absentee.
CONGRATS: El Camino Real Charter High School in Woodland Hills won the 2018 U.S. Academic Decathalon. [Carlos Lozano @ LAT] - "The winner was announced early Saturday at a ceremony in Frisco, Texas. More than 600 students from the U.S., Canada, China and the United Kingdom gathered there over the last three days to compete in the 37th annual U.S. Academic Decathlon."
Hello, there. What a beautiful weekend all around. The weather was amazing, tributes to Barbara Bush on Saturday were beautiful, and great baseball yesterday. Farmer's market is at one of the wonderful "shoulder seasons," with asparagus, snow peas, artichokes, and so much more before the summer produce arrives.
The Earth Day festival across the street was blah as usual--a bunch of white people with little discussion on environmental justice. I skipped the fried food there, but rather grabbed street tacos at Our Lady of Guadalupe for lunch and tamales for dinner from the vendors at 8th/T. I bring this us, because I had a long discussion with the tamale vendors about Senator Ricardo Lara's SB 946, which provides a statewide framework for sidewalk vendors.
The vendors there (who appear each Sunday during the six masses--five in Spanish--throughout the day) appreciate Senator Lara's work. They were "raided" in 2017 by Sacramento County for not having required permits, which included confiscation of hot dog carts and all food. However, they are still concerned that under SB 946, the costs may be too high for their weekly business, where they make $500-$1,000 per month.
Street vendors are an area of real conflict in some areas, as they vend near restaurants and are seen as competition with less regulation and no overhead. That's true, but not the case at 8th/T. There's an agreement with the city that they need to be 50 feet from the park and the church, which as mentioned above sells delicious tacos and other items. The closest restaurants are South (delicious high-end southern food) and Coconut Thai, which are three blocks away. So, there's no competition.
And, in my discussions with them, they noted that they likely won't even come next Sunday because (while May 6) the Cinco de Mayo "Fiesta en La Calle" will be taking place across the street in Southside Park. While you'd think that would be great for Hispanic food vendors, they said that the fenced off park will basically be full of mostly white people getting drunk and eating fried food. Yeah, that's what I've seen in my three years living here. But, under regulatory schemes, the fixed permitting and insurance costs wouldn't change by a day of lost income.
As with issues I like to discuss, there are not easy answers. Thank you, Senator Lara for at least forcing the discussion. The bill is generally supported by liberal organizations, but is opposed by the CA State Association of Counties and a few cities, including Beverly Hills and my hometown of Placentia. How disappointing for the 92870. Feel free to mayor Chad Wanke (firstname.lastname@example.org) to encourage the city to be part of the solution and not just NIMBY.
Don't get me wrong. I love Placentia. It was a perfect place to grow up and I spend age 2 to 21 living there and my dad still lives there.
For those that don't know Placentia, the city of around 50,000 is split around Chapman Avenue--to the north is mostly white and to the south is mostly Latino. In 2010, 36% of the population was Latino. There are no Latinos on the city council, and the city, which means "a pleasant place" in Spanish, has notoriously ignored the Latino population. The city resisted by-district elections and was threatened with a lawsuit by MALDEF under the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA - SB 976 (Polanco)), leading to a settlement agreement that required the city to place a measure on the November 2016 ballot, which was approved by 59.6% of the voters.
The settlement agreement requires that one council district be a majority of Latino citizen voting age population (CVAP). The first by-district election is scheduled for November. The maps are required to be concluded by May 1 under the agreement. Eleven proposed maps have been submitted.
I know, you're thinking "Scott, why did you take up half of my lunch hour talking about Placentia?" The implementation of the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA), which generally requires entities that have at-large elections where it is demonstrated that there is racially polarized voting and that majority-minority districts can be created, continues to be a huge issue in local governments across the state.
I'm so happy that my boards at the Community College League embraced taking a leadership role on this and for the work of my VP Kimi Shigetani and Paul Mitchell's demographic brilliance in leading a process for the transition for most of our college districts which needed to do so. We had no resistance and in some districts, we provided the analysis that demonstrated that a change from at-large was not needed.
Since districts switched from at-large to by-district, many boards have gone from primarily white to majority-minority (particularly in the greater Los Angeles area), reflecting their communities and student bodies. The hiring of senior administrators has changed in a similar manner, as have the policy discussions in cabinet and board meetings.
CVRA is still a big policy issue still and there are too many local government entities (all types) that still have fingers in their ears. Thank you voters of Placentia for taking a step in the right direction. Tying it back to where we began, Placentia may would not be one of the four cities opposing Senator Lara's SB 946.
Meanwhile, just another manic Monday! It's policy committee deadline week for fiscal bills, so committee rooms will be packed. Today, over a hundred bills are up in committees--four in the Assembly and two in the Senate.
An important correction from yesterday--provided by our friend, the longtime Chief Clerk of the State Assembly E. Dotson Wilson--while policy committees can meet until May 18, they must pass bills by May 11. I misread the calendar yesterday.
This is the picture of the year in politics and speaks volumes. For those who have been through all of these campaigns (I'm aging myself), it has to bring tears to your eyes while also a smile to your face. Campaigns were ugly are there were bad policy decisions by all, but they're wonderful human beings who love the country.
GOV: In the LAT, Seema Mehta looks at Gavin Newsom's first TV ad, which is left-leaning but on issues with strong majorities in California. With Newsom's large warchest, it's likely we'll see a lot of the ad, adjacent to those provided for Antonio Villaraigosa by the Broad/Hastings/Riordan independent expenditure.
FROM THE DESK OF THE DEAN: George Skelton opines that the gubernatorial candidates are doing a woeful job in talking about California's flawed tax system that leads to the boom-and-bust budgetary cycles.
TAXING MATTERS: The Bee's Alexei Koseff reports that the business community, particularly soda and oil companies, are jumping behind a proposed ballot measure to require that all fees and taxes obtain a two-thirds vote for approval in the Legislature and local governments.
Aside from the obvious opposition to soda taxes, this also would prohibit cities from using "general taxes" instead of "special taxes" placed by city initiative earmarked for a specific purpose. In a quirk in law, for the former requires a simple majority while the latter requires a two-thirds majority. So, cities will have a proposed sales tax increase and declare that it's for public safety, which requires a simple majority. However, if it's written as dedicated to police funding, it requires a two-thirds vote.
Yeah, it's stupid. Of course, my solution would be to make both general and special taxes simple majority, or compromise at 55% as we have don't with school bonds. Of course, the forces that be on both sides can't even have a conversation and would rather spend millions against each other, and there's a political industry that benefits over the continued fights at the state and local levels. Yeah, I'm indirectly part of that industry.
Also on taxes, Dan Walters writes once again that all the rich people are going to leave California for states with no ocean and crappy weather because of the tax burden. I love Dan, but I think I've read this since I first got my hands on a Bee and it hasn't happened. I can't see Mark Zuckerberg living in Kentucky. Sure, John Draper wants to cut the state into three and may qualify his initiative for the ballot, but it's never going to happen.
MORE TAXING MATTERS: Just because I haven't referenced Paul Mitchell/PDI enough today, I'll add he writes a great article for Capitol Weekly on how Matt Rexroad and Chandra Sharma worked to change a proposed redistricting plan that would have led to a 3-1 Democratic majority on the Board of Equalization to maintain a 2-2 balance, with the fifth member already a Democrat, Controller Betty Yee. One of the current Democrats is Jerome Horton of Los Angeles, who is a well known conservative Democrat.
This led to the killing of a proposed 4-cents per gallon gas tax in March, saving taxpayers $617 million in the next fiscal year, but also creating a hole in the budget. Of course, as we've been tracking here, the budget is in great shape. This was a "normal" planned adjustment, but the 3-2, the board rejected it citing the Legislature's hikes of gas and vehicle license fee taxes controversially approved for transportation projects.
CLIMATE: In the Times, Bettina Boxall writes up a new report published today in Nature Climate Change by UC researches that predicts that California's drought-flood cycle will become more volatile because of human-caused climate change in the eastern Pacific Ocean.
#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to George Raya and Matt Ross!
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California's Candidates For Governor Don't Talk About Taxes Much. They Need To Start
George Skelton @ latimes.com
That's because Democrats feel it's an issue that can only cause grief.
California Initiative Would Make It Harder To Raise Taxes | The Sacramento Bee
Alexei Koseff @ sacbee.com
The go-to source for news on California policy and politics
In electing squirrel to student government, UC Berkeley students ask: #WhyNut?
Dressed in a squirrel costume and armed with the cheeky slogan #ImWithFur, UC Berkeley sophomore Stephen Boyle launched his campaign for student senate as a joke. But this month, hundreds of his peers elected Boyle âÂÂ whose political alter ego is Furry Boi âÂÂ to office, seemingly asking, #WhyNut? When the fall semester starts, Boyle will serve a one-year term as one of 20 elected student senators on the Associated Students of the University of California, or ASUC, which represents UC Berkeley students in forming campus policies. BoyleâÂÂs victory is riling some. âÂÂInstead of electing qualified students who had real, tangible ideas âÂÂ improving (U.C.
Gavin Newsom Says He Learned From Affair, Other Past Mistakes | The Sacramento Bee
Angela Hart @ sacbee.com
The go-to source for news on California policy and politics
As Central Figures In Immigration Debate, Many Latinos Answer Call Of The Border Patrol
Brittny Mejia @ latimes.com
Central figures in debates over immigration and Trump, many Latinos answer the call of the Border Patrol.
Russian Lawyer Who Met With Top Trump Campaign Officials Says Mueller Hasn't Contacted Her - Politico
Ahead of a June 2016 meeting with Natalia Veselnitskaya, Donald Trump Jr. had been promised that the Russian lawyer had access to damaging information about Hillary Clinton. | Yury Martyanov/AFP/Getty Images
It Just Got Easier To Fly Internationally If You Live In Sacramento | The Sacramento Bee
Tony Bizjak @ sacbee.com
By Tony Bizjak
Gun Show Opponents Take Aim At Fair Board - The San Diego Union-tribune
Phil Diehl @ sandiegouniontribune.com
Pompeo likely to fail committee vote, but is all but assured Senate confirmation
Secretary of state nominee is expected to gain full confirmation by the Senate after Democrat Joe Manchin III offers support.
Tijuana Man Crossed Border Daily To Pursue Aerospace Engineering Degree, Career At Nasa - 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. Lawmakers Back New Regulations On Marijuana Industry
Emily Alpert Reyes @ latimes.com
The L.A. City Council approved a host of new regulations for the marijuana industry Wednesday, paving the way for the hotly anticipated business of recreational pot.
L.A. Toy Mogul Scraps Bid For Canadian Toys R Us Stores, Works To Sweeten U.S. Deal
Jaclyn Cosgrove @ latimes.com
Los Angeles toy mogul Isaac Larian is abandoning efforts to buy the Canadian stores of Toys R Us and instead plans to up his rejected bid for more than 200 U.S. outlets of the bankrupt retailer.
White House officials urge Democrats to reconsider support for Pompeo ahead of Monday committee vote
Senior officials made pitches on morning television ahead of what could be an unfavorable report for President TrumpâÂÂs pick for secretary of state.
Eastside Veterans' Memorial Square A Place Of Pride Yet Source Of Division Over Its Official Name
Ruben Vives @ latimes.com
For more than a decade, Vietnam veteran Eddie Morin has been at odds with city officials and a group of veterans over the name of a veterans' memorial in Boyle Heights. Morin said the memorial is named after his father, a World War II veteran.
Goldman prize winners include mom who exposed water crisis in Flint, Mich.
When LeeAnne Walters noticed a rash on her 3-year-old twins in 2014, she did what most moms would and booked a doctorâÂÂs appointment. The hospital said the girls must have scabies âÂÂ a highly contagious itchy mite infestation. Then WaltersâÂÂ eyelashes started falling out, and she and her daughters lost whole clumps of hair when they showered. That December, the water from their kitchen sink turned brown. For WaltersâÂÂ efforts in the years since âÂÂ including exhaustive citizen research that helped expose the water crisis in Flint, Mich. âÂÂ she will be among those who will receive the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize on Monday night at the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House.