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EAR TICKLER: On the Gimme Shelter podcast, Liam and Matt talk with Minneapolis City Council president Lisa Bender about the city's elimination of single-family housing zoning to see how it could affect the housing density debate in California.
NEW LAWS: The LAT's John Myers and Kelcie Pegher give the treatment to the new laws that take effect Tuesday.
THE GOVERNABLE STATE: For The Atlantic, Todd Purdom writes "Raphael Sonenshein, the executive director of the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at California State University in Los Angeles (named for [Jerry] Brown’s father, who served two terms as governor from 1959 to 1967), said that the younger Brown’s greatest legacy was “proving that California was governable at a time when California’s image was under assault as the next Greece.”
THE POSTGAME: For Capitol Weekly, Chuck McFadden writes up the governor's farewell tour.
CH-CH-CH-CHANGES: Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins has changed up leadership, replacing Majority Leader Bill Monning (D-Carmel) with Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys). Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) gets the gavel of the new Housing Committee, which is split from Transportation that Jim Beall (D-San Jose) will chair. New senator Susan Rubio (D-Baldwin Park) gets the lucrative Insurance Committee. Approps remains in the hands of Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada-Flintridge) and Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) holds on to Budget.
Wiener is already getting blasted on the left in social media for taking the appointment.
Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon also has announced Assembly leadership positions. Spox Kevin Liao notes that the number of women committee chairs has nearly tripled (from 5 to 14) under Rendon.
CA GOP: From Washington for the Bee, Kate Irby looks at the woes of the California Republican Party:
"Returning Rep. Paul Cook, R-California, whose district is 40 percent Latino, agreed with Brulte on the need to appeal to more minorities. But he said representing those voters’ interests with Trump as president has gotten more difficult. Cook still won his seat by 20 points in 2018 — but the margin was a marked decrease over previous years. He thinks 2020 will be more difficult due to anticipated demographic changes.
“It’s a very dicey situation — I just went through that,” Cook said. “If you don’t handle it right, you lose your election, and we all know it.”
OK OK WHAT'S NEXT? When I was writing about Sandy Eggo the other day, I speculated on either Pro Tem Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) or Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego) as possible candidates for Scott Peters's congressional seat. However it sounds like both are eyeing a statewide bid in 2022. There are likely eyeing the openings of secretary of state and controller, with Gonzalez Fletcher most likely running for secretary of state to succeed Alex Padilla. Atkins may run for controller to succeed Betty Yee. Relating to the previous paragraph, Hertzberg is termed out in 2022 and has filed a statement of intent for a controller bid. Also with a statement of intent is former insurance commmish Dave Jones, who lost a bid against Xavier Becerra for attorney general this year.
The other statewide office that may be open is attorney general. Article V, Section 11 of the California Constitution is vague on whether an incomplete appointed term is a "term," and I don't know if it's ever been tested. The section, written as part of term-limits initiative Prop. 140 in 1990, provides:
"The Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Controller, Secretary of State, and Treasurer shall be elected at the same time and places and for the same term as the Governor. No Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Controller, Secretary of State, or Treasurer may serve in the same office for more than 2 terms."
Section 5 provides that an appointee "shall hold office for the balance of the unexpired term."
Note the difference to the change in term limits for legislative office adopted by voters in Prop 28 (2012):
"(a) (1) The Senate has a membership of 40 Senators elected for 4-year terms, 20 to begin every 2 years.
There is no such thing as appointed legislators, as they are subjected to special elections, or may be left open based on the proximity to the next election. But, the key difference between the executive and legislative term limits is the absence of the word "elected" in the executive offices. It just says no "more than 2 terms." That said, I think a state judge would say that someone who serves as "acting attorney general" isn't serving a term. Becerra has filed a statement of intent to run for re-election in 2022. He was required to used "Appointed Attorney General of the State of California."
In law, we say that laws are only tested if there is a plaintiff. That said, Becerra's eligibility in 2022 could be questioned, particularly because his office is regular in court challenging the Trump Administration on spanning across many issues. He's made no friends on the GOP side, but did get 63.6% in November against Republican former judge Steven Bailey. Bailey went to court to try to declare Becerra ineligible to be attorney general because he was not practing law in the months leading up to his appointment while he served in Congress.
The only person to have filed for attorney general is former state senator Ellen Corbett. She wouldn't run against Becerra.
Anyway, all just 2018 post-election party games.
CALFIRE: Adam Ashton reports in The Bee about a tug-of-war in the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Some believe an expert in forest management is needed, while the main union of firefighters want someone with a background in management. Labor obviously was a big supporter of Governor-elect Gavin Newsom.
CAMP FIRE: The NYT has a fantastic but sad visual of the destruction in the town of Paradise following the most destructive and deadliest wildfire in California recorded history.
MORE and #CAKEDAY after the jump...
THE 411 ON CALIFORNIA 420: For the Times, Patrick McGreevy looks at why California's legal marijuana industry hasn't taken off in the way some hoped:
"[A]s the first year of licensed sales comes to a close, California’s legal market hasn’t performed as state officials and the cannabis industry had hoped. Retailers and growers say they’ve been stunted by complex regulations, high taxes and decisions by most cities to ban cannabis shops. At the same time, many residents are going to city halls and courts to fight pot businesses they see as nuisances, and police chiefs are raising concerns about crime triggered by the marijuana trade."
SPLIT ROLL: For the Chron, Joe Garofoli writes on the opening advocates are hoping for to make changes to Prop. 13. The latest I hear is that property owners are not ready to negotiate and, with Rex Hime running for State Senate, their advocates are particularly cautious.
THE TRANSITION: The musical lineup for Gavin Newsom's January 6 inauguration benefit at the Golden 1 Center has been announced: Common, X Ambassadors, and Pitbull.
THE SHUTDOWN: While pundits keep saying that members of the military are being paid during the federal government shutdown, that doesn't include the Coast Guard. That's because, unlike the other branches under the Department of Defense, the Coast Guard is under the Department of Homeland Security. Coast Guard members are on duty and expected to back pay after the shutdown is over, like federal employees, many of whom appreciated the shutdown as they were planning to take a vacation time between Christmas and the new year.
There are 10 active Coast Guard stations in California. My dad is a volunteer with the Coast Guard Auxiliary, serving as a radio operator, as he did in the Navy way back when.
#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Allan Acevedo and Mitchell Oster!
#FAREWELL: Barbara Yaroslavsky, community leader and wife of former Los Angeles County supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky. [1947-2018]
DEPT OF CORRECTIONS: The pardon of Oroville mayor Chuck Reynolds was not for a killing, but rather a non-violent drug crime. My sincerest apologies. Too many pardons to read.
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Trump Says He Will Do ‘whatever It Takes’ To Secure Funding For Border Wall - Politico
President Donald Trump had refused to sign any legislation that did not include billions of dollars for a border wall, which Senate Democrats would not approve. | Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
'fema Botched It': Lawmakers Push Disaster Agency To Sell Flood Insurance During Shutdown - Politico
Congressional aides said FEMA did not warn lawmakers beforehand that the partial government shutdown would curtail its ability to sell insurance contracts. | Sean Rayford/Getty Images
Bloomberg Says He'll Insist Presidential Candidates Have Climate Change Plans - Politico
Michael Bloomberg, who said he has yet to make his decision on a 2020 run, has appeared in Iowa, where he also focused on climate change and going up against the coal industry. | Bill Pugliano/Getty Images
Iraqi Lawmakers Demand U.S. Withdrawal After Trump Visit - Politico
ASSOCIATED PRESS @
President Donald Trump said he has no plans to withdraw the 5,200 U.S. forces in the country. | Andrew Harnik/AP Photo
LinkedIn Co-Founder Apologizes for Deception in Alabama Senate Race
The tech billionaire Reid Hoffman said he had no idea his money had been spent on a Russian-style social media disinformation campaign.
Trump Makes First Trip To Iraq As President - Politico
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump greet members of the military during an unannounced trip to Al Asad Air Base in Iraq. | Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
Saudi King Orders Cabinet Shakeup After Khashoggi’s Killing - Politico
ASSOCIATED PRESS @
Saudi Arabian King Salman has issued a wide-ranging overhaul of top government posts, following international fallout from the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi nearly three months ago. | Fayez Nureldine/Getty Images
Trump Tries To Steer Shutdown Focus To Financial Impact For Democrats - Politico
President Donald Trump suggested on Tuesday without evidence that federal workers were largely supportive of his push for a wall and willing to go without pay to get it funded. | Pete Marovich - Pool/Getty Images
POLITICO Playbook: Trump back in the U.S. after whirlwind trip abroad
And thereâÂÂs no progress in ending the partial government shutdown.
As Shutdown Continues, Resolution May Depend on Definition of â
Even with negotiations resuming, the partial government shutdown may not end until Democrats and President Trump agree to disagree on what makes a border barrier a âÂÂwall.âÂÂ
18 Numbers That Explain Trump’s 2018 - Politico Magazine
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Jim Watson/Getty Images
Trump, In Iraq, Defends Decision To Withdraw Troops From Syria - Politico
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
An interactive look at 2018 campaign contributions.
News Analysis: Trump Unites the Left and Right, Against His Plans in Syria and Afghanistan
A serious debate over the future of AmericaâÂÂs wars is worth having. But the way President Trump made and announced his decisions snuffed out any opportunity.
Trump claims without evidence that â
The presidentâÂÂs tweet on Thursday prompted criticism from some Democrats who argued that federal workers are not the partisans he has made them out to be.
Trump in Iraq: First Visit to U.S. Troops in Combat
President Trump made a surprise visit to U.S. troops in Iraq on Wednesday, days after he said, despite advisersâÂÂ objections, that he would pull out all American soldiers in Syria and half of those in Afghanistan.
How Trump gave away his secret war zone trip
The president's trip to Iraq was supposed to be a surprise. But the White House couldnâÂÂt keep the sensitive trip a secret for long.
Nielsen To Visit Border Friday - Politico
Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen will travel Friday to El Paso, Texas, and Yuma, Arizona. | Sandy Huffaker/AFP/Getty Images
Msnbc Morning Ratings Top Fox For First Time In 18 Years - Politico
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
Federal Workers, Some in â
Flocking to the hashtag #ShutdownStories, government employees and contractors recounted anxiety over buying food and paying rent.
Trump makes unannounced visit to Iraq a week after announcing a victory over the Islamic State
President Trump made his first visit to a combat zone since taking office. The trip follows months of public pressure for him to spend time with troops deployed to conflicts in the Middle East and punctuates the biggest week of turmoil the Pentagon has faced during his presidency. This is a developing story. It will [âÂ¦]
Trump Makes Surprise Visit to Iraq to See American Troops
President TrumpâÂÂs first visit to forces in a combat zone came after criticism that he had not paid such a visit âÂÂ and days after his defense secretary resigned.
Congress returns to session â
Republicans and Democrats look more dug in now than they were a week ago.
For Bernie Sanders, Holding Onto Support May Be Hard in a 2020 Bid
Mr. Sanders has not yet told advisers he intends to pursue another White House bid. But if he does, he will encounter a vastly different landscape than that of 2016.
The shutdown is just the finale. Here are five takeaways from the Republican Congress’s chaotic 2018.
Say goodbye to all-Republican rule.