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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.
Happy Humpday! What a beautiful day and evening it was yesterday. Today should be more of the same and the weather should be perfect for the Legislative All-Star Softball Game tonight at Raley Field (details listed yesterday). There are four teams tonight--Democrats, Republicans, Dodgers fans, and Giants fans. Final game of the series is at 7:10, with Ryu on the mound for the Dodgers and Holland throwing for the Giants.
As of this writing, the MLB office hadn't announced the suspensions from last night's melee. The Dodgers's Puig will certainly lose a few outings, as may the Giants's Hundley. It was hard to see other overt actions in the bench-clearing brawl, as most in the middle were restraining others or just there to puff out their chests.
I know there are problems with the headline feed at the bottom of The Nooner and I haven't had time to track down the glitch. Frankly, my maintenance/editing of the automatic feed has fallen to the lowest rung of priorities amidst so much else. Let me know if you want me to if you use it and whether it's my effort to fix and curate it.
Today, I'll be at the Public Policy Institute of California's lunchtime conversation with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield), which should be very interesting. As you know, he's the presumed next Speaker of the House, but that rides on the November 6 election outcome.
He is in the unenviable position of seeking to be the first Republican Speaker from California (and second overall to Pelosi), while also maintaining a good relationship with President Trump, who has a net approval rating in California of -30% [PPIC]. A relationship with the President is important for a GOP Speaker, but that same President is creating a huge challenge for California GOP-held seats in the 115th Congress as we approach elections for the 116th.
I wrote more about this in the Nooner Premium election analysis on CA23, but if the GOP loses control of the House, I would expect McCarthy to serve in the Republican Leader role for a bit, but retire early in the term.
I have moved the fire update to below the first jump. Obviously, there are still threats and we will be talking about this issue a lot longer, but the daily changes are fortunately less dramatic.
SPLIT ROLL: The coalition of social justice and education organizations (list on page two of the release) backing a split roll property tax measure announced in Oakland yesterday that it had submitted over 860,000 signatures to place a measure to treat commercial and industrial properties different than residential properties for the purposes of property taxes. The proceeds, estimated by the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office as $6 billion to $10 billion for schools (40%) and local government (60%). The measure is drafted to ensure that new funding supplements, rather than supplants, the current Proposition 98 school and community college funding guarantee.
The effort requires 585,407 valid signatures to qualify for the November 3, 2020 ballot. Thus, using the 860,000 number of submitted signatures, that requires a 68% validity rate, which should be enough to qualify in the random sample stage, as we've generally been seeing validity in random samples of 72%-76%.
Originally, the coalition planned on aiming for this November's ballot. I don't know whether it was the cost of competing for signature gatherers with the eight initiative measures that did qualify or polling that showed the chances of passage in the presidential year would be increased that led to the change. However, it's good news for candidates for statewide office. You could see a scenario where a Governor Gavin Newsom could be a backer in 2020, but he certainly wouldn't jump aboard as he seeks the governor's office.
If qualified, this will be a battle royale in 2020. Two categories of properties that gained protection under Proposition 13 would continue to be treated the same as residential property, and that is important. They are property used for commercial agricultural production and those used for rental property, including single unit and multi-unit properties.
The latter is critically important amidst California soaring rents. Proposition 13's most visible proponent was Howard Jarvis, who was the executive director of the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles. While the "faces" of the measure were elderly people being squeezed by increased residential housing prices and thus property taxes, the initiative was propelled by owners of residential rental property. Market rates for rental housing were increasing as fast as assessed valuation. That's the scenario we have now as the housing market enters scarcity and valuations recover. Rents have certainly gone up, but not as much as valuation in many places in California.
The biggest price tag of the new split roll initiative would be on large industrial properties, particularly the oil refineries. Chevron, Valero, Tesoro, Phillips 66 and others would have significant increases in property taxes under the measure. They are probably good for $100,000-$250,000 to oppose the measure. At the end of the day, though, property tax as a cost of doing business is relatively minor. I don't see them spending millions, and this is a campaign that could easily exceed a combined $100 million from the two sides.
The social justice organizations and the California Federation of Teachers don't have that kind of money, but they have relationships with people who do. Will Tom Steyer open his checkbook? California Calls, the leader of the organization, has highly influential foundation grantors that work in the progressive policy arena. Unlike candidate political campaigns, these 501(c)(3)s can spend money on initiatives under federal tax exemption laws, and depend on each foundation's bylaws.
If you're ready for a major California battle on the November 3, 2020 ballot, it won't be about the presidential (there's no question where CA's electoral votes will land), but I think this will be it.
DABABNEH: I really hoped that Monday would be the only writing about former assemblymember Matt Dababneh (D-Encino) for at least this week. But, nope. Yesterday, Dababneh filed a lawsuit in Sacramento Superior Court against one of his several accusers, reports Alexei Koseff in the Bee. The suit against lobbyist Pamela Lopez and "DOES 1-10" to cover people who have forward) is for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Wherefore, Plaintiff prays for relief as follows:
For both causes of action in the lawsuit, Dababneh has to prove that, in making the allegations public, she knew they were false (defamation) and, knowing it was false, did so for the purposes of causing emotional distress. The complaint by Dababneh demands a jury trial.
As for defamation, there are exceptions to libel and slander for public officials. I don't have time to research it with citations, so we'll save that.
I would bet that the first motion by his attorney will be a change of venue. A Los Angeles former legislator does not want a Sacramento jury, particularly on this issue.
Let's be candid, this is he-said, she-said as are most such cases. Rarely do we find the alleged offender in harassment cases fighting back seeking legal remedies, because legal proof on either side is not available.
If it results in a trial, the only result is personal destruction of both parties at the hands of attorneys. There's no incentive for a settlement. I don't know Lopez personally, but I don't think there is a reason for her to negotiate a settlement. I don't think she has the means to pay for a legal defense AND a cash settlement. Saying "I'm sorry...whoops I was wrong" is meaningless since there are other several other women who have come forward.
We are in the going to be deep in the gutter here. Or, I think were beyond gutter and will be drowning in the yet-to-drained swamp.
I don't get Dababneh's strategy here. I get that he wants to clear his name. After talking to lots of people, men and women in and around the Capitol, let's just say Dababneh doesn't want them selected for the case's jury.
A Twitter user says that she has proof that Dababneh is innocent. I have asked for it and will provide it here if provided.
On a different but related issue, we now know that Dababneh used funds from "Matt Dababneh for Assembly 2018" during the 01/01-06-30 filing period to pay his attorney Patty Glaser of the firm who filed the lawsuit against Lopez. Glaser is a named partner in the Los Angeles firm of to Glaser Weil Fink Howard Avchen & Shapiro LLP. He spent $20,630 and accrued an unpaid $12,018 from that campaign account, which has now been transferred to the "Matt Dababneh for Lieutenant Governor 2020" committee.
He also has the firm Miles Kennedy working on his behalf, which does crisis communication, as well as political consulting. He accrued, but hadn't paid $12,000 out of Assembly/LG accounts through June 30.
FPPC Regulation §18525(b) provides for that beyond enumerated allowable expenses for furtherance of a campaign for or holding a specified current office. "This section shall not be construed to permit an incumbent elected officer to make expenditures from any campaign bank account for expenses other than those associated with his or her election to the specific office for which the account was established and expenses associated with holding that office."
Whether or not Dababneh runs for lieutenant governor in 2020 is irrelevant on this fact. I could shoehorn lots of expenditures into the definition of in furtherance of a future candidacy or for costs of holding the current office while running for future office. However, any expenditures (paid or accrued) on legal and PR costs out of Matt Dababneh for Assembly 2018 between March 10 and June 30 were not in furtherance of that office, as the March 9 filing deadline had passed. And, it couldn't be for costs of holding that office while seeking re-election, as he had resigned.
I sincerely don't mean this as a takedown of former assemblymember Dababneh. I know neither him nor his accusers. Whatever the truth holds, it is awful for our community.
It is a teachable moment, however, for everyone involved in the Capitol (and extended throughout the state) community. There are laws related to campaign finance and they should be enforced consistently.
BUDGET, IT AIN'T OVER 'TIL SESSION IS OVER: Our friend Chris Micheli shares the list of pending budget trailer bills. These require a majority vote and some of the big, big issues could be slipped in these vehicles, so long as they "implement" part of the State Budget.
2018 BUDGET TRAILER BILLS – AUGUST
Update on the fires below . . .
Rankings in California's Top 20 in history from over the last 12 months:
Pretty much across the board, cooler weather and fewer windy conditions have slowed fire growth and increased containment.
FERGUSON: The Yosemite-area fire has burned 96,810 acres and is 87% contained. There have been two firefighter deaths associated with the fire, which has now burned for over a month.
Yosemite Status: Wawona Road (Hwy 41) between Wawona and Yosemite Valley, and Glacier Point Rd are closed due to fire
CARR (Shasta/Trinity): The Carr Fire continued to burn at a slower pace and no new destruction or deaths or serious injuries have been reported.
MENDOCINO COMPLEX (Colusa/Lake/Mendocino):
The River Fire component of the complex on the west side is now 100% contained and the River Fire on the east side is 68% contained.
HOLY FIRE (Orange/Riverside counties):
#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Alysha Heatherly and Cat Nou!
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Is Trump Finally Ready To Turn His Sights To Remaking The 9th Circuit Court?
Sarah D. Wire @ latimes.com
In a rush to fill judicial vacancies with young, conservative judges, the Trump administration has largely ignored the 9th Circuit. Why is President Trump hesitating to remake the court that has been his biggest headache and is that about to change.
Bernie Sanders Wins Democratic Nomination for Vermont Senate Seat
In TuesdayâÂÂs primary elections, voters were also casting ballots for major races for Senate, governor and House seats in Wisconsin and Minnesota.
She Served In The Army For More Than 4 Years. Now She Could Be Deported
Victoria Kim @ latimes.com
A federal judge on Tuesday is hearing the case of Yea Ji Sea, a 29-year-old army vet, whose immigration status is in jeopardy after serving more than four years and being honorably discharged. Unbeknowst to her, her paperwork had been mired in a Koreatown-based immigration fraud scheme.
The Health 202: Senate Democrats stay focused on health care even during short August recess
It's at the heart of their midterm strategy.