Happy Humpday! I asked Gibran if we could call it "What a Week" and stop the calendar with yesterday, but he gave me this Jiu Jitsu look and told me to "wax on gakusei," or something and reminded me we have more days to go. We recorded a pod yesterday with John Laird that I think will be fantastic in your ears with history, current issues, and the future all wrapped in a one-hour bao, which is how we roll. We talked history, water, fire, and education...we literally could have talked for hours.
Anyway, I am in a rush this morning to get to a board meeting for Open California, the nonprofit that operates Capitol Weekly. While some live the thug life, I continue today to continue the mug life. Fifty out and today's batch goes to Open California's board of directors. I'm going to run out before long and will need to do another run. If someone wants to sponsor, contact me. They are $8/mug with candy/wrap so I can't even think about covering all Nooner Premium folks and electeds, although several who overlap have already received one. While they are made in China (find me some in America), they are union printed in Berkeley by Alliance Graphics. As I wrote before, I did the art on my wee laptop before the order, so there's no bug, but I can show you the invoice if that's your thing and many of you have used Alliance.
Folks have asked if they can buy one. I'm working on an on-demand ordering solution for them. I just don't want to handle shipping and sales tax myself. A few out-of-town longtime Premium subscribers (like 3+ years) and out-of-town leg staffer Premium subscribers are getting them in the mail, but understand that's a big ordeal for me, as is sending to my family. After all, only so many fit in a Jump bike basket. I also don't keep records well as to who became Premium when and who works in what office now. Lots of you move offices which is why I created the staff database in the legislative directory, enhanced for Nooner Premium. I refer to my database that is limited to chief of staff, leg director, and scheduler, but even that changes weekly.
Some of you have been "subscribed" to the editorial/curated The Nooner since 2012. Others joined yesterday. I know when an address first signed up and whether it has bounced 10 times, whether it is Premium or not, but that's it. I know from name folks who were Premium when it became a thing in 2015 (longtime friends), but that's about it. I am Encyclopedia Brown in 2019 sleuthing out where to deliver a mug.
Oh, yes, back to John Laird... The best nugget from the convo I think related to a question I asked about why the LGBT women (Sheila Kuehl, Carole Midgen, Christine Kehoe, Jackie Goldberg) beat the men to the Legislature. Laird and Mark Leno joined the Assembly together in 2002 and became incredibly accomplished legislators, but they weren't the trailblazers that the women were seen to be.
I don't remember the convo word-for-word and will listen to it tomorrow when you do, but I essentially asked why many women beat the men.
John answered candidly that it was likely because AIDS took away many of the early openly gay men political leaders and named several local government leaders who were openly gay. He named names that I was unfamiliar with even though I had a wonderful class in Gay Politics, literally my first class at UC Davis for undergrad taught by Gary Segura, who is now dean of the Luskin School of Public Affairs at UCLA.
We're going to get back to Laird, as that was the most honest thing I have ever heard in politics and am still digesting--gay men were stifled in political representation by AIDS.
Segura started the class by saying he persuaded the department to allow it and as he said, "Well, because I'm as queer as a three-dollar bill." There are several people who work in and around the Capitol who were in that room of around 30 students, people from both major parties who I know to this day. These were the inquisitive types--those who survive in politics and policy. I'm a straight white guy from deeply conservative north Orange County going to a university for the first time. First class? Gay Politics. The biggest stretch one could take, outside of any physical exercise. I would encourage any university student to do the same. I took Chinese Philosophy. When called on by the prof to identify the familiar "laughing" Buddha, I answered "restaurant Buddha." I ish you not. The class roared. The Chinese-born professor not so much. There's a senior State Senate staffer who was in that class and remembers the moment. The point is that we were inquisitive and I think it has paid forward.
Back to Gary Segura. I don't know if he and Mikey Madrid have ever interacted. Segura's focus is primarily Latino politics, although that gay politics class changed my thinking about how history of "micro-communities" affect overall politics. LGBT used to be a micro-community. This applies to the conservative striations of Vietnamese-Americans as well. Politics is neither about a last name nor a gender identity and the answers can't be found in a database. It is far more complicated and requires a cultural competency based on experience. That experience is in the classroom, community, or even farmers market.
I'm rarely speechless but was after Laird's comments about AIDS taking away our promising gay male leaders and wanted to cry on mic/video. What a dramatic moment that was an "aside" in an hour-long pod recording. So, I wanted to spend some time on it this morning, as John has been a longtime reader and is among the first Premium subscribers. Again, I met him when I was literally an intern lobbying for community college trustees and an undergrad at Davis and he was a trustee at Cabrillo College.
Think about his answer that AIDS took away a generation of gay male political leaders. We know the story of Harvey Milk well, but that was a gun shot heard around the world along with the assassination of Mayor George Moscone., which were seen more as political assassinations than identity ones. We'll never know what the mens rea of Dan White was, but it certainly wasn't found in his twinkies. White killed himself through carbon monoxide poisoning in his garage in 1985, two years after serving five years in prison for the murder of Milk and Moscone.
If you haven't watched Milk with Sean Penn, do so. It should be required studies in California politics, and I really need to add "The Mayor of Castro Street" by Randy Shilts to our Sofa Degree along with current books like Lou Cannon's "Governor Reagan." Of course, the screenwriter for Milk was Dustin Lance Black, an alumnus of Pasadena City College (PCC). The students of the college chose him to be their graduation speaker, but were blocked by a conservative board of trustees after travel plans had been arranged. So, we gave him our statewide Distinguished Alumni Award on behalf of all community college boards and presidents, which normally requires a nomination by the local board. He gave the Pasadena City College commencement address after that. I'll take that as an accomplishment of my eight years as CEO.
After PCC, Sacramentan Black transferred to UCLA for film school, with no parental largess buying admission and then won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. I digress...
Just think about Laird's thought that a generation that were the first to come out as openly gay men literally died off before Laird an Leno arrived in Sacramento. What a stunning thought in California politics.
I naturally associate that with our outright discrimination of other "foreign" people of Asian and Latin American descent. The East Coast had its discrimination among non-Anglos, but we have a lot of our own here in the "Golden" state. But it's true of gay men in the Legislature as well.
Also, many of us know of several gay men who came out after serving in the Legislature. That's up to the individual if they come out and to whom.
I'll try to stop the long-form Nooners like the last few days for the next few, as I know your office teevees are tuned in to important hearings (March Madness). I just filled out my Ye Olde Pool bracket to likely lose again to Ben Adler. All I really know about college basketball is that in the women's bracket, we have UC Davis against Stanford (aka buy-your-own-admission junior university school) on Saturday. My best lifetime sports memory was being in Stanford Stadium in 2005 when the Ags toppled the trees in football in a stunning upset. Come on Lady Ags, let's repeat that ish.
MUG TALK: About 50 mugs have made their way to the Capitol, and it's been a great exercise regime for me. I don't have a plan of attack, but rather a notebook and our Nooner Legislative Directory of offices. I only have 144 and there are 700 Premium subscribers. When I give one to a Premium subscriber, I usually give that one to the boss, although many legislators are Premium. My point is that this endeavor has me figuring out who works for whom and where the office is, and it has me working the stairs like a junior lobbyist again, although the offices aren't sorted and mugs are a lot heavier than letters. Have patience as it takes time, and yes, I need far more than 144 even to meet all of Premium folks. But, to keep it union and local, we're talking $8 per mug. So, not requiring a gift report, but still not cheap for me. Thanks for understanding!
YOU CAN MAKE THIS TWEET ISH UP: Congressman Devin Nunes (R-Tulare), who was challenged by Dems but easily won re-election in his safe Central Valley district, has sued Twitter alleging that the platform has allowed fake accounts to spring up. Activists took him on because of his role, or more like the abstention from, investigations of President Trump's ties to Russia.
He's a community college to CSU (Cal Poly SLO) guy, so I don't like to challenge his academic credentials. I will, however, do so of his lawyers who filed the lawsuit. Seriously? Twitter is a platform open to all. They take down accounts under second-year Con Law standards of yelling fire in a crowded theatre. Is there a subjective component? Yes. Is there a partisan bent? Only to the extent there is such bent by the "publishers" to begin with. On Facebook, I read about "publishers" being in "jail" all the time, and they are on the left.
Meanwhile @devincow has increased this week from 1,204 to over 315,000. There are several other such accounts, and I honestly have no idea who is behind them. But, Nunes has totally screwed the cow on this one, as his lawsuit has captured late night attention. And, now his mom, ego, and other things are tweeting.
Our grandparents said don't pick fights with those who buy ink by the barrel. Nunes is my age. So, "kiddos," don't pick fights with those who buy their 8 bits by the byte. Noonerific computer geeks get that. For others, there is Wikipedia.
USE OF FORCE: Jumping onto the pitch that law enforcement has taken to promote SB 230, the American Civil Liberties Union has come AB 392 ads
2020 and #CAKEDAY after the jump . . .
KAMALA: Senator Kamala Harris was on Jimmy Kimmel Live! last night. Kimmel, along with Colbert, also ridiculed Devin Nunes. Kamala talked about being "Mamala" to her stepkids and her own "Modern Family." She talks bail reform...
THE PERFECT STORM? For Capitol Weekly, Chuck McFadden writes about the battle over the use of gill nets to catch swordfish off the California coast. "Commercial fishermen can use gill nets now, with a drift gill net shark and swordfish permit from the Department of Fish and Wildlife. But a new California law will officially ban gill nets as of January 2023."
Noonerites know how I like to eat--local and sustainable.
#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Senator Maria Elena Durazo and Greg Hayes!
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SAVE THE DATE - JUNE 26th – 12th ANNUAL CAPITOL VETERAN OF THE YEAR LUNCHEON
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The California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) seeks an Executive Director located in Sacramento.
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