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AURAL PLEASURE: On the Capitol Weekly Podcast, John Howard and Tim Foster sit down with Samantha (Sami) Gallegos, communications director for Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego). "Sami was a Capitol Weekly intern, then later worked as a full-time reporter for CW before leaving nonprofit journalism for the glamour, glitz and unparalleled excitement of local TV’s ABC10."
Happy Tuesday! Cross your fingers, as the spillway at America's tallest dam at Lake Oroville is expected to be tested for the first time today since its $1.1 billion reconstruction after its 2017 catastrophic failure.
READERS ALWAYS WRITE: I don't know who is behind DayBook.com that has been spamming many of you asking for $5/month to read classifieds. It's a national entity that hides its identity. They scrape ads from those of us who work with advertisers and display them online and then try to charge you to readthem. Reading Nooner classifieds or those of Capitol Morning Report is always free.
NOT HORSING AROUND: I was purposefully strong on Santa Anita yesterday to get people's attention. I know that it is a complicated issue. Is it the track, drugs during gestation, drugs used during training, or something malicious that has led to the death of 23 thoroughbred horses in 96 days?
My point is that, like the 737 MAX, we should at minimum have a moratorium of operations until the cause is identified and fixed. During the moratorium, there should be a robust debate about the future of horse racing in California.
In the Times, John Cherwa writes that the Santa Anita controversy indeed has horse racing advocates fearing the worst.
"Saturday should be the biggest day of the track’s winter/spring meet, with the $1-million Santa Anita Derby, whose winner could become a favorite for the Kentucky Derby, and the Santa Anita Handicap, one of the most prestigious races in the country for older horses.
A bad step in front of a big audience would exacerbate problems for the track and horse racing.
"It has reached a tipping point,” said Jim Cassidy, president of the California Thoroughbred Trainers. "This is Santa Anita. It’s not like the Chattanooga Blue Devils; this is the New York Yankees or the L.A. Dodgers. Things happen here and they are going to get reported on. Social media has gone crazy. Most of the people talking about [these problems] don’t understand the sport or how much we care about the horses. But they enrage other people."
Indeed. I also don't know crap about airplanes, but wouldn't have flown on a 737 MAX until the software problem was identified and fixed. And that fix is expected to take weeks. Meanwhile, horses possibly with fragile bones from drugs will be running on Saturday for big money for humans. No, not everybody goes to the track to gamble, but it is all gambling for someone, most particularly the owners.
USE OF DEADLY FORCE:
GO DIRECTLY TO THE DOG HOUSE. DO NOT PASS GO: After some of the best made-for-TV California legislative action, last Wednesday's Assembly Education Committee hearing led to Assembly member Kevin Kiley (R-Roseville) being sent to the "Dog House," the smallest legislative office that is only used when leadership wants to give someone time in their room to think about their actions. Kiley is vice-chair of the committee.
The debate that led to Kiley's time out was over Assembly member Cristina Garcia's AB 221, which, from the committee analysis, "[p]rohibits, commencing with the 2020–21 school year, a Teach for America (TFA) teacher from being assigned to teach at any California public school, including a charter school, that enrolls 40 percent or more of its pupils from low-income families; and, specifies that this requirement does not apply to a TFA teacher’s placement at a school before the start of the 2020–21 school year."
I don't proffer to understand all of the issues and my head was spinning after watching the video hearing twice. I missed watching it in person, because we were recording the pod with Paul at that time. The gist as I understand it is that Assembly member Garcia is concerned that districts, particularly those serving low-income families, overly rely on TFA teachers who the data show have lower long-term retention rates than teachers recruited through other pipelines.
Proponents of the bill argue that TFA teachers are often using 2-3 years "working in the inner-city" as a résumé builder and point to the contractual relationship between participating schools and TFA that requires a $5,000 per teacher placement fee for those hired. Proponents are the California Conference of the NAACP and The Network for Public Education, the organization led by Diane Ravitch.
Opponents of the bill argue that comparing long-term tenure rather than the hiring the best talent available hurts school children, particularly those in low-income communities. Opponents include Teach for America, numerous school districts, the Association of California School Administrators, Education Trust - West.
The teacher unions, which represent many TFA teachers were not in public opposition to the bill.
The bill passed with amendments that change the bills language to remove references to a ban on Teach for America and instead apply it to any third-party organization that:
1) provides a contract for placement of less than five years
That is all a complete oversimplification, but this space isn't for a full vetting of the bill, but those basics are needed to understand why Assembly member Kiley and his three (I think) staff are now sharing the two-room 5126, which is 392 square feet, less than half the size of the average office.
Kiley is a Teach for America alumnus and has a bachelor's from Harvard and a law degree from Yale. He includes in his official biography:
"Earlier in his career, Kevin taught tenth-grade English at an inner city public high school, where he chaired the English department and led his students to significant academic gains. The son of a special education teacher, Kevin is working to advance educational opportunity for all Californians, with measures to expand parental choice and access to career education."
Let's just say that lawyer and business politicians with this on their résumé pisses off the critics of Teach for America and similar programs.
During the hearing on AB 221, Kiley turned prosecutor toward bill author Garcia and the Legislature itself. I don't know what the tipping point was that led to the DGS workers with hand trucks arriving at 4153 for the one-floor journey to 5127 for Kiley and his staff. But, here are some interesting moments:
I can't do the lengthy interaction between Kiley, Garcia, and O'Donnell (throw in Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) who jumped in at one point) justice in this space, so you really need to see it for yourself. The interaction is available here and starts at 2:35:48 and lasts until 2:55:52. If you want to watch the entire discussion on the bill, it starts at 1:47:38.
Following casting his "no" vote, Kiley leaves before the next bill is presented. As someone who has a small bladder that generally keeps our podcasts to one hour, I'm going to hold back from saying he stormed out.
Kiley took the relocation to the "dog house" as a badge of honor on Twitter, tweeting "Today Speaker @Rendon63rd had me and my staff relocated to a smaller office in the Capitol for statements I made last week about the Legislature's failure to serve students. Such efforts to silence legitimate opposition have no place in a representative democracy. #caleg"
Of course, there's a political element as well. Kiley is in a June 4 special general with fellow Assembly member Brian Dahle (R-Bieber) for SD01. The hearing was the day after the special primary. Dahle, the former Assembly Republican Leader is generally seen as the less combative, more moderate member who is favored by the Sacramento institution. After the special primary, the other two Republicans running--Timothy Dziuba and Rex Hime--endorsed Dahle. Hime is a longtime Sacramento figure, from Ronald Reagan staffer to business lobbyist. Dahle was buoyed with an independent expenditure by the realtors, prison guards, health, firefighters, and health plans.
Being in the "dog house" is good politics in the State Senate district that runs from the eastern suburbs of Sacramento up to Lake Tahoe and flows up through the foothills and mountains to the Oregon border while stretching west to capture Redding and the I-5 corridor north.
As of the second pre-election campaign finance statements, Kiley had $302,879 and Dahle had $91,265. However, Dahle can count on the independent expenditures to continue on his behalf. It is rare that $346,280 is spent in a primary IE and the ball is dropped on that investment in the general. So, financially they are at parity or Dahle has an advantage. Dahle is currently leading in the vote count and, if he captures the 11.7% that Dziuba and Hime combined received, he wins easily.
Kiley knows that he needs to rile up the base and played right to them last Wednesday, even if it will literally cramp the style of the Assembly member and his staff for the time being.
Kamala, Schiff, and #CAKEDAY after the jump!
KAMALA: As many of you likely saw all over your Twitterverse last night, Senator Kamala Harris spoke to the joint labor legislative conference in Sacramento yesterday before collecting cash at a $1,000 per person fundraiser hosted by Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis.
Harris, like many of her fellow presidential candidates announced her fundraising haul for the first quarter. She tweets:
Like all presidential candidates, take the number of contributors and average online donation claimed lightly. I no longer "give" to candidates but do collect memorabilia. You may see me in a Kamala "For the People" shirt or a Cory Booker "We Rise" shirt. In a week or so, you might see me in a "BUTT EDGE EDGE" shirt.
Before online giving became a big thing, this merch used to be sold by outfits independent from the campaign. However, they are now sold by the campaign to enlarge their mailing lists and pad their fundraising numbers. The shirt, with set-up costs, likely cost about $7. Shipping is added separately.
The entire $29.99 will be added to unitemized contributions, but there will be $7 on the expense side of the ledger for the cost of the shirt. So, the campaign nets about $23. Now, this really isn't that much different from other fundraising. It cost money to host the fundraiser last night, from the fundraising professionals to the passed canapés. But, merch sales exaggerate the perceived grassroots donors of all candidates and lowers the average contribution touted as a badge of pride.
And, all the candidates pledging "no PAC or lobbyist money"? Oh, trust me, it is there. it's in the affiliated superPACs, which can collect for more money per donor than candidates can. It's all in the game, yo'.
CA25 (Burbank): When Congressmember Adam Schiff defeated Jim Rogan in 2000, it was a different time in a different district. Rogan had carried water for Speaker Newt Gingrich as one of thirteen managers in the articles of impeachment of Bill Clinton over perjury in the Monica Lewinsky matter. That cost him dearly in running for re-election against fellow prosecutor Schiff, losing by 8.8%. Rogan is now a superior court judge.
After being the most prominent face on the Mueller investigation as chair of House Intelligence, "pencil-neck" Schiff has now become one of President Trump's favorite dartboard. However, can that parlay into a serious challenge to the ten-term congressmember? SCNG's Kevin Modesti takes a look.
The answer is almost certainly no. Schiff beat his GOP opponent by 56.8% (Armenian) in 2018 and 56% (female) in 2016. President Trump has a net approval rating of -30% among likely voters in California, and it's likely greater in CA25.
Instead, it's all great for Schiff who can raise beaucoup bucks and wait for a U.S. Senate opening...
CA21 (Kern-Kings-Fresno): In the Fresno Bee, Rory Appleton reports that first-term member of Congress TJ Cox failed to disclose five business interests, including serving on the board of a Canadian mining company, in his statement of economic interest forms. Cox defeated incumbent David Valadao (R) by 862 votes last November.
"Cox sits on the board of Constellation Mines, Ltd., a Canadian mining company. Canadian records, which the government says are updated within 15 days of any change, list him as a current director.
Under the For The People Act, the Democrats’ sweeping federal elections overhaul proposal, “a member, delegate, or resident commissioner may not serve on the board of directors of any for-profit entity.” The legislation also lays out various rules for dealing with foreign agents and entities.
Cox has been a vocal, public supporter of the act, which passed in the House on March 8 and seems unlikely to ever see the light of the Senate floor. Should it pass, Cox would be appear to be in violation of it."
#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Assembly member David Chiu, Senator Bill Monning, and Jerry Seedborg!
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