Around The Capitol

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REMINDER: My email address is still in DNS hell. (where that other email usually goes anyway) is working just fine.

SPORTS PAGE:  Padres @ Giants 1:05, with the rookie Dereck Rodriguez on the mound. Like that kid! Angels hose the Blue Jays at 1:07. 

AURAL PLEASURE: For KQED's Political Breakdown podcast, Marisa Lagos and Scott Shafer are joined by colleague California Report host John Sepulvado to talk about the border situation, who has reported from the migrant camps in Texas. They are also joined by State Senator Connie Leyva, who makes the case for her visit to the border and discussion her rise from grocery clerk to head of the California Labor Federation to State Senator.

Happy Sunday to you! Unfortunately, it appears that fire season has started again with an all too short of a break since the devestation last fall. Lake and Tehema Counties now have evacuations for out-of-control wildfires.

I start today with a couple of longer form articles, but not to worry, there are some kibbles and bits below.

CAMP PENDLETON: Yesterday, I had an item about the Department of Defense looking at the former Naval Weapons Base in Concord as a location for a "tent city" to house immigrants awaiting processing. Camp Pendleton is also included in the memo of options for accommodating 47,000 detainees. It is unclear if it is an "and" or an "or" situation.

In 1975, the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base in northern San Diego County erected a tent city to house Vietnamese refugees, with the first arriving at the end of Apri  after the fall of Saigon. They were all settled across the country by October that year. Many settled outside of Southern California returned in subsequent years, creating the largest Vietnamese community in the United States, in Orange County

The tents may be coming back soon to house up to 47,000 awaiting immigration processing and/or trial. As of now, it's not even clear if the criminal prosecutions under the "zero tolerance" policy will continue, or whether the criminal element will be dropped, as was done with 17 such cases on Thursday. If the latter was the case, than the question of refugee status is front-and-center. The Vietnamese in 1975 were largely treated as de facto refugees as a class because the American government wanted to put the war behind as soon as possible. They were settled with host families, churches, and non-profits and the formal immigration processing was handled later.

It doesn't seem like the current situation will be treated the same with the amount of rhetoric around the Central American migrants. That said, like Southeast Asia, we can't feign innocence in Central America. The President's favorite monster, and it is, is MS-13. MS-13 started in the 1980s in Los Angeles. It was bread in the jails and prisons as the war on drugs accelerated. Upon being deported, it spread throughout the deportees' home countries. The gangs were lucrative down there because the United States had an insatiable appetite for drugs. 

El Salvador and Honduras were #1-#2 in the most homicides per 100,000 people, according to the United Nations. Guatemala is #9. That's the triad of migrant influx we've been seeing the last several years, while net migration has been to, not from, Mexico.

Migrants from Southeast Asia and Central America actually have a lot in common, seeking refuge in a country that has significantly contributed to the unrest in their home countries. There are significant differences as well. I get the problem, but don't know the solution. I think that's why it's been such a complicated week. Politically, the some (clearly not all) in the Administration saw an issue that could be the 1-2 punch along with tax cuts going in to the November mid-terms. 

However, like me, they knew the problem, but not a solution, before acting this week. Thus, we have a complicated mess. One thing I would say is for sure--unlike 1975, if Pendleton opens a "tent city," it won't be empty within six months.



Classifieds below:

  • Education: Pepperdine Masters of Public Policy (GRE waived for legislative staffers)
  • Education: UOP/McGeorge School of Law: MPP/MPA (full-time or part-time, 3 miles from the Capitol)
  • Events: American Association of Political Consultants Regional Conference (June 25-26 - Sacramento)
  • Job: Cargill Director of Governmental Relations (Newark-Bay Area)
  • Job: The East Bay Community Foundation: VP of Community Investment and Partnerships
  • Job: Local Health Plans of California seeks a Program Manager
  • Job: Randle Communications 
  • Job: Serna Center @ Sac City Unified: Chief Business Officer
  • Job: The California Dental Association seeks full-time Associate Legislative Advocate
  • Job: Probolsky Research - Research Analyst - Public Opinion (Orange County)
  • Job: SEIU-UHW – Regional Political Organizer (Los Angeles)
  • Job: SEIU-UHW -- Political Capacity Organizer (Oakland or Sacramento)
  • Training: PDI (Political Data Inc.): weekly online trainings of various skill levels   


POP!?! I wrote last week about the proposal to prohibit the marketing, including menu display, of children's meals that include beverages other than water, sparkling water, flavored water, or milk. I noted that the large beverage companies and their trade association, the American Beverage Association were neutral on the bill. 

Now, we have an interesting budget "trailer bill" (SB 872) that has popped up (pardon the pun). It would prohibit the local jurisdiction of sales tax on groceries, except for tobacco, alcohol and pot. So, what are they going for here? 

I'm guessing it's to stop the "soda taxes" imposed/proposed in many cities, as I can't recall any other products for which a local supplementary sales tax have been proposed. 

The Revenue and Taxation Code provides the exemptions to the uniform sales tax:

6359. Food products. (a) There are exempted from the taxes imposed by this part the gross receipts from the sale of, and the storage, use, or other consumption in this state of, food products for human consumption.

(b) For the purposes of this section, "food products" include all of the following:

(1) Cereals and cereal products, oleomargarine, meat and meat products, fish and fish products, eggs and egg products, vegetables and vegetable products, fruit and fruit products, spices and salt, sugar and sugar products, candy, gum, confectionery, coffee and coffee substitutes, tea, and cocoa and cocoa products.

(2) Milk and milk products, milkshakes, malted milks, and any other similar type beverages which are composed at least in part of milk or a milk product and that require the use of milk or a milk product in their preparation.

(3) All fruit juices, vegetable juices, and other beverages, whether liquid or frozen, including bottled water, but excluding spirituous, malt, or vinous liquors or carbonated beverages.

Of course, this is about food for off-site consumption. This is why the "for here or to go" question is beyond just how it is packaged. Your froyo is going in the same container regardless, but once you walk out that door, it changes from exempt to covered by the sales tax. Sitting at a table on the sidewalk is on-site, while sitting on the park bench immediately across the street is off-site. Literally, it comes down to who paid for the chair your butt is sitting in. §6359(d)(2)

Carbonated beverages are subject to the uniform state and local sales tax, whether on-site or off-site. Then, local governments can add a supplementary sales sales tax from upon approval of the local voters (either majority or two-thirds, depending on how the proceeds are distributed), to items currently not included in the general grocery sales exemption, and the only thing I can think of is carbonated beverages. This bill would end that ability of local governments. 

That's really the only example that I see covered by this bill. Yes, this bill is ironic that that the bill to prohibit soda and juices from children's meals is flying through with Democratic support.

But, this is part of a deal to get proponents of an initiative that would broaden the requirement of a two-thirds vote of local voters for certain taxes and fees. That initiative is in the signature counting stage, but clearly has submitted sufficient signatures to qualify.

This Thursday, June 28 is the deadline to pull initiatives that are still being tallied by county elections offices. As we saw with the privacy deal last week, folks on both sides would prefer not to have a costly ballot showdown.

Cities that have adopted these types of sales taxes target "sugar-sweetened beverages, "or SSBs." These include San Francisco, Oakland, Albany, which adopted a supplemental SSB sales tax in 2016. The supplemental tax is 1 cent/oz, or 12 cents per can, of $1.44 for a twelve pack. For a Big Gulp, it's 30-, 40-, or 50-cents, depending on the three sizes. (I really don't know how that works, because the customer adds ice.)

The proposed initiative is only retroactive to January 1, so the above-referenced ones are not affected. SB 872 provides a similar retroactivity, and would allow any soda tax imposed before January 1, 2018 to continue. SB 872's new limitations on the supplementary local sales taxes would be through December 31, 2030.

While the beverage industry is the leading proponent of the initiative, convenience stores would like to see an end to this local patchwork of sales taxes on one product. We all know that Californians love to stock up on stuff in Oregon, which doesn't have a sales tax.

You can thus imagine the interest of local convenience store owners when someone can walk across the street and save $1.44 on a 12-pack of Coke/Pepsi/Dr. Pepper (I'm trying to play fair). Voters in Albany adopted a SSB supplemental sales tax, while Richmond's voters have defeated one in the adjacent city. This "crossing the street to save a buck" is particularly true in the Bay Area, where you have small compact cities and people walk several blocks, often crossing cities, on their way to public transit.

[h/t Chris Micheli for reading gut-and-amends over the weekend]


Probolsky Research


CA48 (Huntington Beach): Orange County has finished counting ballots and Democrat Harley Rouda  did come back after election night to beat out fellow Dem Hans Keirstead by 126 votes in the very expensive race to take on Congressman Dana Rohrabacher. Rouda spent over $1 million of his own money, and Keirstead spent over $750,000 of his.

LAUSD: For CALmatters, Dan Walters asks whether Los Angeles Unified is "too big to fail." The district is being given a five-year waiver of penalties for having an administrator:teacher ratio exceeding state standards.



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  • American Association of Political Consultants Regional Conference: Join AAPC June 25-26 at the beautiful new Sawyer Hotel in Downtown Commons to hear from the state's leading political consultants for a recap of the June primary and a look ahead to November. Key speakers include Ace Smith, Gale Kaufman, Bill Carrick, Paul Mitchell, Christy Wilson, Rob Stutzman, Mike Mad