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Happy Thursday! You're almost there. Cray-cray weather in Sacramento yesterday. It was beautiful all day and then at around 8pm, the sky dropped hail on us for a few minutes before returning to a clear night with a full moon only minutes later.
Of course, during that little window was when I was planning to bike over to our podcast recording. Instead, Gibran picked me up on his way back from teaching at his jiu jitsu dojo. He kept me up way past my bedtime, but I think it was a pretty good chat. The audio is available now and video will be available shortly on the podcast page.
Let us know what you think and what you want to chat about in future What a Week episodes, which we will be doing in addition to the guest interview and discussion shows. firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
As expected, Oakland Unified teachers are on strike today. Oakland Unified served 50,231 students in 2017-18, 74.4% of whom received free/reduced-price meals. This was a big issue with Los Angeles Unified's strike last month. While instruction can be made up, meals can't.
Like the LA Unified strike, Oakland is attempting to keep schools open. Again, we'll likely see news stories about the school district essentially babysitting kids to receive average daily attendance funds with not enough substitutes available or willing to cross the picket lines, but the safety net function of the schools also can't be ignored.
It was nice to see several of you around the Capitol yesterday. It's certainly a crazy week, as the deadline to introduce regular session bills for 2019 is tomorrow. As of this morning, there are 952 Assembly bills in print, including one proposed constitutional amendment. On the Senate side, there are 416 bills in print. The desk will be very busy today and tomorrow. In 2017, just over 1,700 Assembly bills were introduced in the first year of the session and the Senate had just over 800.
Of course, many bills that are introduced will be placeholders, "spot" bills in Capitol parlance. Because of the deadline, lawmakers introduce spot bills that state the intent for a bill on an issue area to meet the deadline requirement at the beginning of the year. Under the rules of each house, future amendments are supposed to be germane to the original subject matter expressed at introduction, although let's just say that the rule is rarely challenged.
Housekeeping and then to the news...
CLASSIFIEDS: As you probably saw in an email earlier today, I revamped the Nooner classifieds yesterday. Now, instead of static versions that appear in the archives as they did the day that issue was distributed, they will be live with active classifieds, which will now also automatically disappear when they are supposed to. I'll admit that my rudimentary system left some ads up too long, making some advertisers delighted and others continuing to get résumés after the closing date.
Right now, classifieds still are placed through an email to me. However, that will change as soon as I write a bit more code to allow advertisers to submit an ad into the database and then, upon my review, will go live. Formatting should also be better now. Classified advertisers will receive automatic emails when their ads expire.
Most importantly, current ads will now be in The Nooner sent via email, archived Nooners on the web site as well as a current web page on the site.
On pricing, I increased the weekly price from $40 to $50, but reduced the monthly (four-week) price from $160 to $150. That just makes it more reflective of my workload, in the same way I negotiate discounts for long-term display ads.
I don't say this as a sales pitch, but the ads get a lot of traffic. For those of you who review them, you see many returning classified advertisers. I also look at the click-through rates and they are beyond my expectations. So, in a nod to those who advertise, I finally have coded these changes.
As always, I welcome your feedback.
WAR, HUH, YEAH. WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR? For Politico Magazine, Michael Grunwald goes long-form on the ongoing battles between California and the Trump Administration. There is yet another battle as the Trump Administration pulled out of talks with California on establishing a national standard for auto emissions under the Clean Air Act.
NEWSOMCARE: As part of a USC collaborative on health care reporting, Sophia Bollag, Michael Finch II, and Sammy Caiola report on Governor Newsom's proposal to create a California individual health care mandate following the elimination of the one that was included in President Obama's Affordable Care Act. They write:
When the federal Affordable Care Act first took effect in 2014, Americans had to pay a penalty known as the individual mandate if they didn’t have insurance. Congress has since rolled back the penalty, meaning Green won’t be fined for not having coverage.
But that could change if California Gov. Gavin Newsom recreates the individual mandate at the state level as part of his plan to prop up the state’s health insurance exchange and get more people insured.
Newsom and his legislative allies say they want the state-level mandate to work the same way as the federal one. The goal is to encourage enough healthy people to buy coverage to offset costs from those who need expensive care.
SCOTUS WITH THE MOSTUS: Yesterday, with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg back on the bench, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down a unanimous ruling authored by RBG in the closely watched case of Timbs v. Indiana. The case holds that the United States Constitution's Eighth Amendment clause prohibiting excessive fines applies not only to the federal governor, but to states and their political subdivisions as well.
The Eighth Amendment provides: "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted."
The case is that of Tyson Timbs, whose 2012 Land Rover was seized after he sold $400 in heroin to an undercover cop. SCOTUSBlog's Amy Howe writes that, beyond home detention and probation, "The state court also ordered Timbs to forfeit his 2012 Land Rover, which he had purchased for approximately $42,000 with the proceeds of his father’s life insurance policy, on the theory that he had used the car to transport drugs."
"Timbs challenged the forfeiture of his Land Rover as a violation of the Constitution’s ban on excessive fines, and a state trial court agreed. It reasoned that because the SUV was worth four times more than the maximum fine that the state could impose, requiring Timbs to forfeit it would be “grossly disproportional to the gravity” of Timbs’ crime.
An intermediate appeals court upheld that decision, but the Indiana Supreme Court reversed. It ruled that the U.S. Supreme Court has never specifically said that the Constitution’s ban on excessive fines – part of the Bill of Rights, which was originally interpreted as applying only to the federal government – applies to the states."
In the ruling, the court seemingly almost asks why the case had to even come before them. After all, the Eighth Amendment seems in line with other civil rights amendments that apply to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment.
California already has more stringent civil and criminal forfeiture laws than most states and than under federal law, so it's unclear how significant yesterday's ruling will have on The Golden State.
CHOO-CHOO FIGHT: For KQED, Dan Brekke and Scott Shafer report that the fight between California and the Trump Administration over high-speed rail funding may just be beginning, and Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) believes that it's about more than the wall:
"It's Donald Trump's allies in the Central Valley who have done everything in their power to slow down the land acquisition and the other logistical steps to build the project," Wiener said. "So this project has been so politicized by Trump's own colleagues in the Republican Party who are opposing the project that it's hard for him to say 'well you didn't do it quickly enough.'"
George Skelton writes in the Times that President Trump's war with California over the train provided a needed assist to Governor Newsom, whose State of the State message left many advocates, legislators, and reporters unclear on exactly what he was proposing.
Meanwhile, Dan Walters opines that Newsom should have just done what Walters has been advocating for months--finish the build-out of the current construction in the Central Valley, then integrate the new rail with Amtrak, and bail out on the concept of statewide high-speed rail.
USE-OF-FORCE: For CALmatters, Lauren Rosenhall asks whether progressives seeking police misconduct reform can trust Attorney General Xavier Becerra in instituting reforms, such as disclosure of police records pursuant to SB 988 (Chapter, Statutes of 2018).
CAGOP -- Vive la résistance! Rob Pyers tweets that Travis Allen and Stephen Frank, who are in competition for the activist wing in this weekend's vote for California Republican Party chair, have sent delegates a joint statement calling on conservatives to reject the establishment. Allen and Frank write:
"The definition of insanity is continually repeating the same behavior and expecting a different results. If we join together, the conservatives win and the Party wins, and Jessica Patterson and those that do not with our Party well (Remember November 6) are defeated."
The message closes with "RESISTANCE: THE ROAD TO VICTORY IN 2020."
Here's one thing that the right flack of the California GOP and Democrats have in common in 2020. Vive la résistance! Who is making up the t-shirts?
Key endorsements of the two chair candidates are listed at the end of the letter, although it's not clear that the individuals have endorsed the message. They include:
Of the 26 names listed as endorsements on the letter, only Choi and Stone won elections. They include names like Omar Navarro who had zero chance defeating Maxine Waters in one of the state's most liberal districts and who used his candidacy as a MAGA-fueled fundraising drive and then paid himself a salary out of campaign funds, which is allowed in federal elections.
The list also includes Jack Guerrero who is running in the March 26 SD33 special primary election. Guerrero placed in third behind fellow Republican Greg Conlon in last year's race for state treasurer, so the party didn't affect his election at all. Conlon went on to lose in November to Democrat Fiona Ma by 28.2 points. Conlon is not listed as an endorser of the Allen/Frank letter, so it's unclear what Guerrero's beef is.
Perhaps this is just spring training for the May 31-June 2 California Democratic Party convention chair fight? By the way, the Giants will be playing the Cubbies as the California GOP puts a wrap on this weekend's grudge match.
KQED's Scott Shafer reports on the race:
"Whoever becomes GOP party chair this weekend will have the herculean task of figuring out a way to stop the party's long slide into near-irrelevance, while convincing voters to give Republicans serious consideration on the ballot. And, they'll need to do it with Donald Trump in the White House."
¡SIN AGUA! It's a shame that I include this after so much other writing given the critical nature of the read, but that's how today is going. The Public Policy Institute of California, of which you know I'm a huge fanboy, is out with a new report today on water and the San Joaquin Valley. I know many of you don't have water in your policy portfolio and the San Joaquin Valley may be something you either fly over or speed through, but I can't underscore the importance of this subject enough.
Essentially, without addressing the groundwater shortage through a variety of solutions discussed in the report, hundreds of thousands of acres of farm land will be left fallow. That's an issue far beyond individual farmers and farm workers, but food security for all Californians. PPIC is nonprofit and nonpartisan and this is not a "sky is falling" lobbying exercise as we often see in the Water Wars.
Reporters got embargoed copies yesterday but I'll be honest that I haven't had time to read the 100-page report. At minimum, the 10-page summary is worth a read.
2020 and #CAKEDAY after the jump...
GARCETTI: Yesterday, Eric Garcetti was on Meet the Press Daily, with Chuck Todd hosting from Los Angeles. While not saying who he would endorse in the presidential, he had very kind words for Joe Biden. It certainly sounded like a suggestion by Garcetti that he be considered to be on the former Veep's short list for running mates.
KAMALA: KDH was on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah last night and was clearly a lot more "at home" than she was in New Hampshire over the long weekend.
#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Ericka Flores, Sylvia Flores, Ruben Gonzalez, Alma Martinez, and Trisha Tahmasbi!
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