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FIRES: The number of unaccounted individuals is down to 158 and there are no new fatalities reported today. CALFIRE has stopped updating the breakdown of structures destroyed numbers as the incident has largely been handed off to locals and now just has the total, which stands at an astonishing 18,804.
DEADLIEST WILDFIRES IN CALIFORNIA RECORDED HISTORY OVER THE LAST 13 MONTHS:
#1 Camp Fire (Butte): 88 deaths (November 2018)
MOST DESTRUCTIVE WILDFIRES IN CALIFORNIA RECORDED HISTORY OVER THE LAST 13 MONTHS:
#1 Camp Fire (Butte): 18,804 structures destroyed (November 2018)
THIRTEEN MONTH TALLY (only from top 20):
HELP IS AVAILABLE:
Butte County Recovery Community Meeting
Butte County and the Town of Paradise are partnering with other local, state, and federal agencies to host a community meeting for fire survivors to provide an update on search and recovery efforts and discuss available resources.
Representatives from multiple agencies coordinating recovery efforts will be present to offer information and answer questions from the community. Please arrive early as the meeting will start promptly at 7 p.m.
Date: Thursday, November 29, 2018
Time: 7 – 9 p.m.
Pleasant Valley High School Performing Arts Center
The meeting will be livestreamed on the Facebook page of California's Office of Emergency Services.
NEXT TIME: For the Los Angeles Times, Patrick McGreevy writes up a legislative hearing yesterday that looked at warning systems and evacuation procedures in wildfires like the fast-moving Camp Fire that destroyed Paradise.
THE LONG AND WINDING LEGAL ROAD: In the Union-Tribune, Rob Nikolewski reports that San Diego Gas and Electric has appealed an appellate court refusal to review a 5-0 Public Utilities Commission that blocked the utility from passing along $379 million in 2007 wildfire costs to ratepayers.
This highlights the stickiness of wildfire liability. A fire occurs and insurers step in immediately for their policy-holders. The insurers then seek remuneration from the utility for liability. If unsuccessful, the insurer is on the hook, leading to premium increases or a hit to their bottom line and, thus, shareholders and employees. If successful, the utility is liable and either shareholders, ratepayers, or a combination thereof are on the hook.
Of course, 2007 is under different law than 2017 and January 1, 2019 going forward. 2018, who knows?
Amidst a colossal human tragedy, we have a huge legal mess playing out in courtrooms and will for decades.
EAR TICKLER: On the Senate Democratic Caucus's Then There's California podcast, State Senator Henry Stern (D-Canoga Park) discusses the dual tragedies that hit his district this month--the Borderline shooting in Thousand Oaks and the Woosley Fire.
Happy Humpday! Normally, the week after Thanksgiving is one big tryptophan fest, but things are simply cray-cray.
Here's a look at the "new faces" doc I will send to Nooner Premium subscribers on Monday when the Legislature convenes for the 2019-20 session. Okay, Tom Umberg is only a new face to the young'ns, but you get the picture of what I am putting together. This is the quick version, with the more detailed two-pager for each member that I'm working on, which will have the final election results and more information about the district and member. Election results are certified on December 14.
BALLOT UPDATE as of November 26, 2018
TURNOUT as of November 26, 2018
AND THEN THERE WERE TWO...
DE LEÓN AND LA-LA LAND - OK...OK...WHAT'S NEXT: While there were a couple of rough spots, like when he criticized Dianne Feinstein's handling of the Kavanaugh accusations, most observers judge State Senator Kevin de León's performance in the U.S. Senate campaign positively. He didn't have much money or opportunity for free media via debates, but right now has 4,860,859 (45.7%) votes, nearly 300,000 more than were cast for GOP gubernatorial candidate John Cox.
On Friday night at midnight, the high profile legislator is out of a job. But, anybody who knows him knows that he is not out of politics. Instead, the ill-fortunes of Los Angeles city councilman José Huizar may have opened the door for de León's next step. Huizar represents downtown, Boyle Heights, Highland Park and environs and is termed out in 2020. José's plan had been that his successor would be his wife, Richelle Rios. However, the FBI recently raided two of Huizar's offices and the couple's home. While the specifics of the investigation are not disclosed, they appear to center around campaign finance. Huizar has been stripped of his city council committee assignments, and recently missed several meetings.
Rios has dropped her bid for the 2020 City Council race and de León appears to now have his eye on it. de León lives in Gil Cedillo's council district 1 and has another term left, so a de León bid would require him to establish a new residence, although that is now easier to do under the bill passed and signed by Governor Brown this year.
But, would city council sate the appetite of de León after serving as President Pro Tem of the State Senate and a statewide candidate who garnered significant grass roots support and is in the top tier of California Latino politicians? Likely not.
In 2022, Eric Garcetti is term-limited as mayor of the City of Angels, and the seat is wide open. Councilmember and former Assembly Speaker Herb Wesson would like it, but many believe his better bet is for Mark Ridley-Thomas's seat on the county Board of Supervisors that same year, a safer political bet for what is seen as a top office. With MRT's son Sebastian's departure from the Assembly on health and other grounds, it is unlikely the seat will stay in the family.
And, that leaves the opening for a strong candidacy of KDL for mayor in 2022. There are lots of local political leaders who would like to see the city's first female mayor, particularly after the 2013 loss by Greuel. However, the council is 13 men and two women. The city attorney and controller are both men. The biggest possibility would be Supervisor Janice Hahn, for whom 2022 would be a free ride. However, she likely would win easy re-election in 2024 for a final term on the board. She will be 72 in 2024 and may be looking for a final election after 23 years in politics at that point.
I never like talking about age and an 80-year-old was just elected to the Board of Equalization, but mayor of Los Angeles is a pretty exhausting job. I know I'd be content with a safe seat on the county board at that point.
Being mayor of Los Angeles has its risk and rewards. The role immediately lands the officeholder on the list of the nation's major political figures, as Garcetti is experiencing now. Garcetti was not necessarily a political star when he was elected in 2013, narrowly winning a runoff against then city controller Wendy Greuel.
However, the cost can be big if the timing is wrong, as Antonio Villaraigosa experienced. Villaraigosa's mayoral reign occurred during the deep recession leading to large budget cuts that hit city employees. Villaraigosa, who had been a darling of labor with a background as an organizer for United Teachers Los Angeles, suddenly found backs turned to him. That was amplified by his embrace of charter schools as a possible solution to the city's most ailing schools.
Despite big spending by supporters of charter schools Villaraigosa ended up placing third in the 2018 gubernatorial primary and has now joined the lobbying/public affairs powerhouse Mercury.
The question for de León is whether the good economic times will continue through the decade of 2020. Garcetti has been lucky and Villaraigosa wasn't. Both have had good and bad steps, but the overall political approval of a reign has a strong correlation with the economy. A recession could hit and be gone by 2022 or the current economic environment could continue and a downturn could be after that. Anyone who says they know for certain is a liar.
Obviously, the chatter about Garcetti is about a potential bid for President. He makes an intriguing candidate as the city's first Jewish mayor and as a Mexican-American. However, while he is an attractive draw right now when he shows up in early caucus and primary states, the starting gates are full with promising ponies. He doesn't really have anything to lose in a respectable run. After all, look at California's outgoing governor.
Whether or not he decides on a winter in New Hampshire and Iowa, Garcetti's more likely play is a run for governor in 2026, a mayor-to-governor play a la Carcetti. Los Angeles still stings from the losses by Tom Bradley in 1982 and 1986 and would love to occupy the office.
For both Garcetti and de León, there is a huge shiny thing in respective possible runs for governor and mayor--the 2028 Olympics. Los Angeles will be the world's focus again after a 44-year absence while looking at cities around the world. The 1984 Olympics were one of the biggest successes of the international sporting and cultural event, even though they were boycotted by the Soviet Union and allied Eastern Bloc countries.
However, the event left the city in the black with extraordinary sponsorship fundraising and existing city facilities, and warnings of horrific traffic led to much better traffic than usual. It launched the political career of businessman Richard Riordan, who would succeed Tom Bradley for two terms as mayor and serve as Arnold Schwarzenegger's secretary for education.
Unfortunately, the city was badly bruised only eight years later with the Los Angeles riots following the Rodney King beating and trial of Los Angeles police officers.
For 2028, the city is even more prepared, with numerous largely privately constructed facilities in a relatively close proximity. Downtown Los Angeles is no longer an abyss after business hours and on weekends with new hotels and restaurants. Los Angeles is preparing to expand its convention center and this will perhaps be the biggest international marketing event the city has ever had. Of course, like California's other large cities, there's still a big problem with homelessness that needs to be tackled before the global cameras converge on the City of Angels.
In short, Eric Garcetti and Kevin de León would love to be on that international stage for the Games of the XXXIV Olympiad 2028 in their city of birth, Los Angeles. They will be 57 and 60 respectively and it would be a major highlight of successful political careers, and there is a path for it to happen.
More below the jump...
THE OTHER CAPITOL: For the Los Angeles Times, Sarah D. Wire reports that Oakland congresswoman Barbara Lee is hoping to become the first African-American woman to serve in House leadership. "Lee, of Oakland, faces Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York in the race to lead the [House Democratic Caucus] for the next two years. Both are members of the Congressional Black Caucus."
"While not the most powerful position in House leadership, running the House Democratic Caucus is the fifth-highest ranked leadership position. The caucus chair is in the room where decisions are made and plays a role in deciding Democrats’ legislative strategy. It’s also commonly seen as a launching point for further moves up the leadership ladder."
Pete Aguilar (D-CA31) is running for Caucus Vice Chair, hoping to succeed Linda Sanchez (D-CA38) in the role. The vote is expected around 2:30 EST, when I'll be on a Jump bike over to the Open California/Capitol Weekly board meeting.
THE BORDER: NPR fact checks what's really happening at the border.
Joel Fox weighs in on the crisis in a reasonable manner "Speed in dealing with the amnesty requests is the answer. Resources should be dedicated to expedite the process but also the law must be followed. Allow those who truly deserve amnesty into the country but don’t open the door to all who seek entry by extralegal means." The U-T's Michael Smolens writes that the crisis could provide an opportunity for Tijuana, which actually has a labor shortage. It's just a challenge to get migrants to refocus their hopes of entering the United States with staying in Mexíco, at least for the time being.
Cartoonist Mark Fiore gives the "immigrant crossing" warning signs along the SoCal north-south freeways a new look for KQED.
President Trump is doubling-down on his demand funding for the border wall, threatening a of a government shutdown if he doesn't get at least $5 billion. Politico's Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer report:
"Nine days ahead of a deadline that could trigger a partial government shutdown, with no solution in sight, the president told POLITICO in a Tuesday Oval Office interview that he is unflinchingly firm Congress must send him a bill approving $5 billion for his wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, and said he would "totally be willing" to shut down the government if he doesn't get it. Democratic leaders — including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) — have said they would approve $1.6 billion for the wall, placing the two sides billions of dollars apart as the lame-duck session begins.
Raising the stakes even higher for the GOP, Trump said the $5 billion would only cover the physical border. "The number is larger for border security," he said."
Look at the number among Independents. The California GOP needs to ignore the Republican column. That's the party's primary voters. Those that it has lost and are thus losing generals are independents. It can't win on self-identified Republicans alone.
While that's all adults, the numbers really aren't much better among likely voters.
Meanwhile, the "fun" isn't limited to California's Republicans. Dan Walters writes for CALmatters that Democratic Party's dominance in California is bringing about more internecine fights and looks at the response to the sexual harassment allegations against party chair Eric Bauman, who has temporarily stepped down for an independent investigation.
PRETTY PICTURES: CALmatters's Ben Christopher looks at "California's GOP congressional map: whiter, less-educated, less well-off, Trumpier."
#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Sasha Horwitz, Emmie Johnson, and Kathryn Scott!
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Senate panel delays vote on Trump pick to lead Immigration and Customs Enforcement
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Ronald D. Vitiello, a veteran law enforcement official whom the president tapped to run ICE, faced criticism at his Senate confirmation hearing this month.
Senate panel delays confirmation vote on Trump’s nominee to lead Immigration and Customs Enforcement, citing unspecified concerns
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Ronald D. Vitiello, a veteran law enforcement official whom the president tapped to run ICE, faced criticism at his Senate confirmation hearing earlier this month after he refused to rule out the possibility that the Trump administration would resort again to separating migrant parents and children at the U.S.-Mexico border. This is a developing story. [âÂ¦]
Sean Patrick Maloney Hospitalized, Requests Delay In Dccc Vote - Politico
However, it's not clear if the election can be delayed. House Democrats will meet on Wednesday to begin organizing for the next Congress. Rep. Joe Crowley of New York is chairman of the Democratic Caucus, but he lost reelection and is retiring. Thus, the decision on whether to delay the DCCC vote would be up to whoever wins the caucus chair race between Reps. Barbara Lee of California and Hakeem Jeffries of New York. That election will take place on Wednesday.
Coons: Mcconnell Blocking Mueller Protection Bill To Protect Trump - Politico
Calls to codify protections for special counsel Robert Mueller and his investigation into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign have taken on more urgency this month after the president fired his attorney general and replaced him on an acting basis with a critic of the probe. | Andrew Burton/Getty Images
Senators Eye Shutoff For Saudis In Yemen - Politico
Tension between senators and the Trump administration over U.S.-Saudi relations has simmered since the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a vocal critic of Riyadh. U.S. intelligence officials have reportedly tied his murder to the Saudi crown prince, raising the stakes for an imminent vote on a resolution that would end America's support for Saudi-backed forces in the bloody war in Yemen.
Trump judicial nominee Thomas Farr advances in Senate amid racially-charged controversy
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Vice President Pence cast the tiebreaking vote to help move his nomination. Farr has defended voting laws that a court ruled were designed to disenfranchise minority voters.
Pompeo: There Is 'no Direct Reporting' Showing Crown Prince Ordered Khashoggi Killing - Politico
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addresses the media following a closed Senate Intel briefing. He said, "There is no direct reporting connecting the crown prince to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi." | M. Scott Mahaskey/POLITICO
Senate To Hold Key Vote On Controversial Trump Judicial Nominee - Politico
Trump judicial nominee Thomas Farr has a razor-thin margin of error on his path to confirmation; 49 democrats oppose him and at least one Republican is refusing to vote for him. | Alex Brandon/AP photo
Trump: 'I don't do anything ... just for political gain.'
In an exclusive interview with POLITICO, the president said he would 'totally be willing' to shut down the government over border wall funding if Democrats don't budge.
Sanders Ponders Second Run, Lays Out Policy Objectives - Politico
MATTHEW CHOI @
Speaking at George Washington University to promote his latest book, Sanders on Tuesday revisited his unsuccessful 2016 campaign and talked about the future priorities for the progressive movement. All the while, the question of his candidacy in two years loomed over the audience.
White House Makes Last-ditch Push On Criminal Justice Reform Bill - Politico
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not indicated if he will put the sentencing and prison reform bill on the floor. | M. Scott Mahaskey/POLITICO
Kushner makes White House policy power play
The top Trump adviser is recommending an ally as the next director of a policy council that works on topics like education and health care.
POLITICO Playbook: Our interview with President Donald Trump
And House Democratic leadership elections take place today.
On Politics: Hyde-Smith Secures Her Mississippi Senate Seat in Win Over Espy
Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, who had to apologize for a cavalier reference to a public hanging, rebuffed Mike EspyâÂÂs bid to become the stateâÂÂs first black senator since Reconstruction.
The Mississippi Senate results arenâ
It's no surprise that Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith won her election to the U.S. Senate.
Trump retweeted a false claim about government benefits received by undocumented immigrants
If anyone should be able to fact-check government benefits, one would think it would be the president.
Trump Appears To Accuse Rosenstein Of Treason In Tweeted Meme - Politico
President Donald Trump, pictured here with Rod Rosenstein, has ramped up his attacks on Mueller in recent days, after a quiet few weeks ahead of the November midterm elections. | Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
Citizens feel disconnected from government. If they knew what government did for them, they wouldn’t.
Many Americans vote to expand Obamacare's coverage while simultaneously voting for politicians who want to get rid of Obamacare altogether.
Cindy Hyde-Smith Holds Off Mike Espy to Keep Mississippi Senate Seat
With a late boost from President Trump, Ms. Hyde-Smith weathered criticism of her rhetorical gaffes and increased the Republican advantage in the Senate to 53-47.
Trump Says He Is Considering Cutting Gm Subsidies In Response To Layoffs - Politico
President Donald Trump on Tuesday threatened to cut government subsidies to General Motors in response to the auto company's announcement Monday that it will shutter North American plants and cut thousands of jobs.
Sherrod Brown: Any Year-end Tax Bill Must Address Gm Layoffs - Politico
His comments come one day after House Republicans unveiled a 297-page tax bill that would revive a number of so-called tax extenders, address glitches in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, rewrite retirement-related tax provisions and revamp the IRS, among other provisions.
House leadership elections: Pelosi seeks to shore up votes for speaker
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As they prepare to take over the chamber, Democrats are scheduled to pick their leaders in a closed-door session on Wednesday.
Democrats Seem In No Mood To Give On GOP Tax Plan - Politico
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
President Trump thinks Mike Espy doesnâ
This isnâÂÂt the first time in this campaign cycle that Trump has used questionable language to diminish a black candidate.
Trump Suggests Mueller Encouraging Witnesses To Lie In Russia Probe - Politico
Donald Trump suggested on Wednesday that special counsel Robert Mueller and his team are bullying witnesses into lying about collusion in order to be spared punishment, marking the president's latest attempt to discredit the Russia probe.