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EAR TICKLERS: On KQED's Political Breakdown, Scott Shafer and Marisa Lagos sit down with Congressmember Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) to talk about the Democratic House and single-payer heath care. Meanwhile, on Capital Public Radio's Capital Chat, Beth Ruyak talks to LAT Washington Bureau reporter Sarah D. Wire about the new term in the other capital.
Happy Friday! You made it! Yesterday was weird. Beautiful in Sacramento and thunder and lightning in SoCal.
KDL IN FOR A LANDING: Former Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León has joined the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs as a distinguished policymaker-in-residence and senior analyst.
“Kevin de León has led the way for more than a decade on issues as important as environmental protection and climate, immigration, education, and so much more. Our students and researchers will both benefit greatly from his insights and vision,” Dean Gary M. Segura said in announcing the appointment.
For undergrads in political science from UC Davis, Segura's name may be familiar. He taught several political science classes as a junior professor who went on to Stanford and UCLA. I know people from the Capitol scene who were in those classed in the mid-1990s.
The position places de León ideally in an academic setting without liabilities of taking a lobbying job. Most people believe that he plans to run for LA City Council in 2020 and mayor in 2022.
As mentioned yesterday, it was the deadline for year-end campaign finance reports to be filed with the Federal Election Commission and the Fair Political Practices Commission. I'm still poring over the numbers.
One can't understate how starkly different things are for the two major state parties.
California Democratic Party - 10/21-12/31/2018
California Republican Party - 10/21-12/31/2018
Now, you know that my background is in Democratic politics, although I am no longer involved since I write for you these days. That said, people may take the above as a football spike. Of course, I've written here before that I want vibrant parties, and this is not a good situation for California.
Beyond these numbers, things are actually much worse. The Democratic Party's balance sheet is actually much better, as they own their building, which appears as an additional $500,000 cash equivalent on the CDP's campaign filing. Furthermore, the CRP's debt is real. As you know, political debt can be misleading. Often times, it includes significant candidate loans that eventually are forgiven. However, the CRP is to vendors, ranging from lawyers and consultants to print shops. In yesterday's filing, the list is 11 pages long.
The biggest creditors are the law firm Bell, McAndrews, and Hiltahk, which is the party's general counsel, and Moore Information, a major pollster for the party. They're used to billing parties and candidates big money and getting screwed. It's factored into the business model. But, there are dozens of others that might not be so forgiving.
Reading the report is like a stroll through the Old City Cemetery in Sacramento. It's full of loss and I don't need to tell you that, but it's important to consider in terms of digging out of the financial hole. The congressional delegation dropped 14 to 7, the State Senate's GOP membership from 14 to 11, and the Assembly from 25 to 20. Oh, now 19.
The California Democratic Party pulled in more contributions on Wednesday of this week than the CRP had on hand after the end of 2018. And, that's without netting out the CRP's debt.
If you followed committee reports, a large amount of money was shifted from candidates to parties. I call it legal money laundering, because it is a function of how the parties wrote Proposition 34 (2000), which prescribes how state political money is handled. That was a compromise campaign finance form following findings by the US Supreme Court of the unconstitutionality of Proposition 208 (1996).
The point is that not only have some large donors abandoned the Republican Party, such as Charles Munger, but the GOP has 30 state legislators compared to the Democrats' 90. Sure, that means Democrats have a bullseye, but they have far more people to do the bidding to bring in the big money in competitive state elections. Yes, money in politics can be distasteful, but when you have 250 volunteers showing on a a weekend, they expect a water bottle, t-shirt, walk packets and, of course, cold pizza.
I don't know of a panacea for the CRP. This happened under Jim Brulte, who is a brilliant political strategist. He's also a creditor of the party, which owes him over $38,000. The bulk of that is the chair's salary, which both parties provide.
Meanwhile, going in to 2020, things don't look good. Beyond Ling-Ling Chang (R) who knocked off Josh Newman (D) in the 2018 special, the two most vulnerable state senators are John Moorlach (R-Irvine) and Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita). They played the game, giving big money to the party and incumbents and peers. Wilk is left with $235,951. Wilk spent $269,154 in 2018 and $100,000 went to the CRP. Moorlach ended 2018 with $111,365 after spending $212,271 in the calendar year. Of that, $46,500 went to the California Republican Party and $7,700 went to the Republican Party of Orange County. Democratic challengers will easily compete financially in a year in which President Trump is on the ballot and the party machine is much more well-oiled.
Meanwhile, Chang has $67,551 in her 2018 account, plus $80,000 in a forgivable debt to herself. Her 2020 account has a 2018 ending cash balance of $4,479.
The state's GOP organizing conference at which a new chair will be elected is February 24 in Sacramento.
ISN'T THAT SPECIAL? No, we don't get much insight into the SD01 (Northeast) and SD33 (Long Beach) special elections from yesterday's filings. That is because the March 26 and June 4th elections were called by Governor Newsom on January 15. Therefore, committees weren't opened until after the start of the year. The first periodic reports we will see are February 14 for the period extending from January 1 through February 9. Meanwhile, contributions of $1,000 or more from a single source are now under 24-hour electronic filing.
Here's what we know. This includes balances from SD01 in 2020 and, in the Assemblymember accounts, 2018 Assembly. Only $4,700 per the special primary and special general can be transferred per donor. The exception are the self-contributions/loans, all of which can be moved to the 2019 specials, regardless of which election. Confused, try writing this before the sun comes up.
SD33 (Long Beach):
NEWS AND #CAKEDAY after the jump...
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PG&E: Marisa Lagos reports for KQED on yesterday's Public Utilities Commission meeting, where the state board took a first look at the investor-owned utility's bankruptcy. Lagos writes that the commission approved paying retention bonuses to employees, but not executives.
KDH 2020: For Politico, Nancy Scola looks at Kamala Harris's fight against "revenge porn" as California attorney general, taking a national leadership role. But, did she constitutionally overreach?
Joe Mathews writes that Kamala shouldn't have to apologize for being a prosecutor.
ASYLUM AID: Governor Newsom was at the border outside San Diego yesterday, touting his proposed $25 million in funding to assist eligible organizations serving asylees seeking refuge in the United States. In a day bookended by an Oval Office press avail and Newsom's announcement, the contrast couldn't have been stronger. Newsom earlier in the day touted his proposal to fund changes to the state's MediCal health care program to extend coverage to undocumented adults age 19-25. For the SDUT, Charles T. Clark and Taryn Luna write:
"With prodding from San Diego lawmakers, Newsom called for spending $20 million over three years to aid local nonprofits and community organizations that serve asylum-seeking migrant families. The funds would be available beginning in July.
The governor also asked the Legislature for another $5 million in immediate funding, which the Assembly is expected to vote on early next week."
HOUSING: For the Bee, Maddy Ashmun looks at Governor Newsom's plan for housing and its costs.
HEALTH CARE: For CapPubRad, Sammy Caiola looks at the cost of insuring more Californians.
POLICE SHOOTINGS: For CALmatters, Laurel Rosenhall looks at the brewing legislation to reduce police shootings.
NO TAKE BACKS? KQED's Marisa Lagos reports that the California Correctional Peace Officers Association is asking for $2 million back that it gave in December to the Keep Californians Safe Issues Campaign, which supports a November 2020 ballot initiative to roll back some of the criminal justice reforms pushed by Democrats in recent years regarding parole eligibility.
"As you aware, during the last week of December 2018, CCPOA contributed two million dollars to your Issues Committee," the letter from CCPOA president Kurt Stoetzl states. "As you may not be aware, this contribution was made by our past president in the final hours of his term. This contribution was made without the new leadership of CCPOA having the opportunity to evaluate the proposed initiative, to determine if the goals of your Issues Committee, and the initiative, are in step in the goals of CCPOA."
The letter goes on to ask the campaign to return the money "so that we can evaluate your positions and determine whether or not we are in support."
Jerry Brown pushed the AB 109 criminal justice realignment. Voters in 2014 adopted Proposition 47, reducing some drug offenses and petty theft to misdemeanors. Much of law enforcement opposed Proposition, but CCPOA stayed neutral. As Lagos writes, CCPOA is up for a contract renegotiation with Governor Newsom's administration. Five bargaining units have contracts expiring in late June or early July 2019 and they are looking with keen interest at the state's healthy financial position. The January budget already includes $1.2 billion for employee compensation increases--before new negotiations.
When Newsom unveiled his January 10 budget proposal, Lagos notes the new governor said:
"Please don't take it the wrong way but just a one percent increase in the CCPOA budget is about a $50 million impact to the general fund -- it just puts it in perspective," Newsom said. "That's just something we're in the process of negotiating so between now and, we hope, the May revise, that contract will be complete and will allow us to adjust appropriately."
Brown's report on his main committee filed last night showed a December 31 cash balance of $14,719,549, and one of his top priorities is to keep his criminal justice reforms. He left office with a 51% approval rating (net +20). The November 2020 election is unlikely to feature a law-and-order Democrat, while Kamala Harris--the biggest prosecutor in the bunch --tries to win over criminal justice reformers. From what I can tell, Harris was neutral on Proposition 47. Prop. 47 passed with 59.6% of the vote in the November 2014 midterm, which was the lowest voter turnout in California history for a general election.
Brown's sitting on $15 million in campaign accounts and has openly expressed is opposition to the ballot measure. Support from the measure largely is from law enforcement and retailers, the latter of which want to roll back the Prop. 47 petty theft provisions.
CCPOA's $2 million is the whale currently in the ballot measure's account, which reported yesterday having $2,002,984 cash on hand and $247,730 in debts as of December 31. The next highest is $175,000 from the Los Angeles Police Protective League.
CCPOA is making a smart bet trying to get its money back. They're betting on the odds of the measure winning in 2020 and on a relationship with the Newsom administration in 2019 and beyond.
SAC CITY: Things are ugly in the Sacramento City Unified School District. CapPubRad's Nick Miller reports.
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