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BALANCE OF POWER: Note that I don't list district-specific predictions below, but rather use probabilities in toss-ups to make projections. Individual race ratings are on the ATC district pages.
AURAL PLEASURE: Tickle your ears with a discussion by Scott Shafer and Marisa Lagos on KQED's Political Breakdown Podcast with Senator Kevin de León, as they talk about his U.S. Senate bid, his childhood, fatherhood, his legislative battles and much more.
Happy Friday! You made it! It's going to be a toasty day in Sac today, although the smoke is not expected to be as bad. As I write, I think there is a discernable shade of blue in the sky.
The 49ers had a comeback win 24-21 over the Cowboys last night in their first pre-season game. I didn't watch, but not because the President told me not to (tweet 1, tweet 2 this morning). I just was just working and watching the Giants get their butts kicked by the Pirates.
That said, a friend from law school posted on social media that she won't be watching this season because of the concussion-related brain damage issue and what it does to retired players later on. She would know, as she's married to a former NFL player.
Movies I saw over the last week that I found good for my post-writing, pre-researching afternoon (re: matinee) break and found good/great:
All are still playing over the upcoming week. Today is BLACKkKLANSMAN, which is getting rave reviews.
Then it's back to work. Recording a podcast at 8pm tonight. Yes, my Friday night's are totally wild. Fer sure.
On to the fires . . .
Rankings in California's Top 20 in history from over the last 12 months:
FERGUSON: The Yosemite-area fire has burned 95,5544 acres and is 80% contained. Here is the latest on Yosemite National Park (same as yesterday), which remains closed:
"Yosemite Valley, Wawona, Glacier Point, Mariposa Grove, and Hetch Hetchy are closed due to fire. - Yosemite Valley, Wawona, Mariposa Grove, Glacier Point, and Hetch Hetchy are closed. Tioga Road and Big Oak Flat Road west of Crane Flat are open. Big Oak Flat Road east of Crane Flat remains closed. Limited services in Big Oak Flat and Crane Flat areas."
A brutal summer for the small businesses around the park, as I've written about before. Those areas are not directly affected,
CARR (Shasta/Trinity): Carr continues to grow through largely unpopulated areas toward western Colusa and southwestern Glenn County, and moves up to the 10th largest wildfire in California history.
MENDOCINO COMPLEX (Colusa/Lake/Mendocino): The Mendo Complex continued to burn although in largely unpopulated areas on the Ranch Fire side of the complex. The River Fire on the west side is 87% contained, while the Ranch Fire is at 49% containment.
HOLY FIRE (Orange/Riverside counties): Firefighters were able to hold the line yesterday at the ridge to keep the fire from moving downslope into the populated area around Lake Elsinore.
Repeating this from the Small Business Administration--forward to anyone you know in Shasta County:
The Disaster Recovery Center opened at 9:00am this morning and will be open 7 days/week from 9:00am to 7:00pm.
2685 Hilltop Dr.
Redding, CA 96002
The SBA Office of Disaster Assistance also opened a Business Recover Center this morning at 8:00am with the location below. It will be open 8:00am to 5:00pm Monday through Friday to assist any businesses affected by the Carr Fire.
Superior California Economic Development office
350 Hartnell Avenue
Redding, CA 96002
LOOK BEYOND SHASTA, AS LAKE AND MARIPOSA SMALL BUSINESSES NEED HELP TOO: Although not directly damaged, if this area in Mariposa County and the resort area Lake County were included in a major disaster area by President Trump after a request from Governor Jerry Brown, the Small Business Administration could help as it is in Shasta County by:
If we don't get an expansion of the major disaster from the feds, California should do it as a state and the Legislature should enact it immediately. The same model could be done in the state using either its healthy General Fund reserves or through revenue bonds. The state's very good credit rating would allow a much lower interest rate than small businesses could get from private banks, ends up cash neutral, and helps families and towns in these areas survive.
Let's do this folks!
UNLOCKED UP AND ON THE CHEEP: For Capitol Weekly, Chuck McFadden looks at the inmate fire crews, who have been fighting the wildfires for $2/day plus $1/hour while actively firefighting. Mostly, they are the diggers on the containment lines.
There are about 3,900 of them, all state prison inmate volunteers from 44 fire camps spread across California. They are providing vital reinforcements to the army of men and women battling a host of fires from Oregon to Mexico. The fires include the largest blaze in nearly a century.
The inmates earn $2 a day and $1 an hour while firefighting. In addition, they earn two days off their sentences for every day in the fire camps. Volunteers come only from minimum-custody inmates. Those convicted of sex crimes, escape attempts — and arson — are not eligible. Inmates have been known to put in 72 hours straight on a fire line.
While this is nothing new, it raises many questions, such as--if they are safe enough to be allowed to work out in the quasi-free world, why are we paying to house them in state prison when they have demonstrated good behavior and little public safety risk? Should they earn at least the minimum wage? Are they taking jobs from non-incarcerated residents?
UTILITY LIABILITY: KQED's Marisa Lagos looks at the ongoing discussions in the waning days of the Legislature around if and how utility liability for wildfire damage to private property should be capped when negligence by the utility is not proven. It may be the toughest vote lawmakers have to cast this year. I've written about the discussion a couple of times before and don't need to rehash it, but the politics are very tough to navigate.
More stories below . . .
POTUS? The MercNews's Casey Tolan writes that three-term Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-Livermore) has visited Iowa ten times since Donald Trump assumed office. Iowa raises eyebrows over the congressman's plans, who has become somewhat of a media darling on the boob tube. The events are a mix of fundraisers for would-be congressional colleagues as well as public events such as the famous "soap box" at the Iowa State Fair.
Unlike the other candidates spending a lot of time in The Hawkeye State, he can just proclaim a fondness for Iowa, where he was born.
CA22 (Tulare): A farmer and two others have challenged Congressman Devin Nunes's ballot designation of "U.S. Representative/Farmer," reports Rory Appleton in the Fresno Bee. The challenge was filed in Sacramento Superior Court Thursday morning, which is the forum for all such challenges since the Secretary of State is the final clearance for ballot designations.
Section 13107(a)(3) provides "No more than three words designating either the current principal professions, vocations, or occupations of the candidate, or the principal professions, vocations, or occupations of the candidate during the calendar year immediately preceding the filing of nomination documents."
The plaintiffs, whose lawsuit is backed by super PAC Fight Back California, argue that Nunes has not actively farmer in the calendar year prior to filing. Nunes has invesments in wineries, but doesn't get his hands dirty (at a farm, at least), opponents argue.
SD29 (Fullerton): In the Times, Patrick McGreevy writes that recalled state senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton) is "more than open" to running in 2020 against Ling Ling Chang (D-Diamond Bar) to reclaim the seat he held for a nineteen months. Chang was elected by voters on June 5 on the second requestion on the recall which "If recalled, who shall serve the remainder of the term?"
I think "more than likely" is very likely, given the top ad that started running this week for an August 22 event. Remember that ads are paid for and there is no editorial discretion on my part, although I occasionally provide classified space for small non-profits doing great work.
EXTERMINATED: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that the Trump Administration violated federal law by keep the pesticide chlorpyrifos on the approved list even though there is substantial evidence, including from EPA scientists, that it leads to brain damage in infants, reports Michael Biesecker for the Associated Press. The Obama Administration started the process to ban it given the evidence, but that was stalled by the legal challenge. After President Trump gained office, he sought to reverse the Obama plan. The court ordered the cessation of all sales within 60 days.
Chlorpyrifos was created by Dow Chemical Co. in the 1960s. It remains among the most widely used agricultural pesticides in the United States, with the chemical giant selling about 5 million pounds domestically each year through its subsidiary Dow AgroSciences.
Dow did not respond to an email seeking comment. In past statements, the company has contended the chemical helps American farmers feed the world “with full respect for human health and the environment.”
On behalf of California, Attorney General Xavier Becerra joined the lawsuit as did several other attorneys general, which was originally brought by the League of United Latino American Citizens ("LULAC") and farm labor groups.
DMV: I've been working around the Capitol scene for 23.5 years. Do you know how many times I've read the story about the "secret DMV office" that serves legislators and staff? Well, Alexei Koseff and Bryan Anderson at the Bee get the task of dusting off the old story amidst the anger of lengthy weight lines and news of a DMV processing (not local office) staffer who slept for up to 3 hours on the job for years.
No criticism of Alexei and Bryan, who are great reporters. It'll be an issue for a few weeks, but don't expect any changes.
ONE CALIFORNIA: For AP, Kathleen Ronayne writes that billionaire venture capitalist Tim Draper does not plan to pursue the "Three California's ballot measure for 2020."
I met Kathleen for the first time at Tuesday's policy summit. Welcome to California!
Procedurally, I'm not sure where this goes from here. The case is technically still before the Supreme Court of California, which basically said that they didn't have time to review the law before the printing deadline for the November 6 ballot. The plaintiff in the case ("Petitioner" in appellate law) is the Planning and Conservation League, and the defense ("Respondent") is Secretary of State Alex Padilla, in his ministerial role. The actual legal work was of course done under the California Department of Justice, which is led by Attorney General Xavier Becerra.
They all hate the concept of three Californias, and I would go out on a whim to say that a majority, if not all of the SCOCAL justices do as well. Draper was a Real Party of Interest in the case, but was not represented by counsel. Now, how to make the case disappear out of the legal system?
#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Dominic DiMare, Steve Glazer, Alexander Gurfinkel, Lisa Matocq, Kimi Shigetani, and Buffy Wicks!
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Waging A Desperate Fight To Save Homes As Holy Fire Explodes To 18,137 Acres
Ruben Vives, Alene Tchekmedyian @ latimes.com
By Thursday evening, the blaze had ravaged more than 10,200 acres through Cleveland National Forest and into Riverside County. Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency for the area.
Russian Embassy Mocks Trump’s Space Force Logos - Politico
Using Trump's favorite mode of communicating, the embassy tweeted "Good Morning, Space Forces!" along with a graphic of a rocket being launched and features the Russian flag. | Chris Kleponis/AFP/Getty Images