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Well, it's Friday and I discovered why The Nooner didn't go out the last couple of days. I'm including yesterday's below. Basically, it was a large server outage and the "cron job" file got replaced by an old one that for some reason was set to send only on Mondays. Cron jobs basically are where scripts are schedule, such as the ones that send out The Nooner. If you're a tech geek, 00 12 * * * was replaced with 00 12 * * 1. Yeah, I really am that geeky.
I think we're all set today and I'll be here virtually watching the server before recording the pod with Gibran this afternoon. And, I don't know if there is a better week than this to proclaim "What a Week!" Ads will be extended as I always do with hiccups.
No, I am not going to write about my friend Eric Bauman. Yes, there was a new lawsuit filed. I learned in law school to leave that to the courts. I also know addiction. That is all and I send my heart to everyone involved. Nobody is winning here.
ANTI-VAXX: So, UCLA and Cal State LA have quarantines because of measles. I'll just leave it at that. If you were in the Capitol for Wednesday's Senate Health hearing, please bathe in isopropyl alcohol before appearing in the Capitol again. I feel all germy even from watching from The Nooner Global Headaquarters a mile away. Thank you mom and dad for believing what the pediatrician advised you and not listening to Dr. Jenny McCarthy.
Speaking of SB 276 (Pan), the "West Virginians for Health Freedom" were listed as opponents. West Virginia and Freedom in the same organizational name. Great historical connection, but my freedom to not get measles when I see Avengers: Endgame is far more important.
MONEY MATTERS: Through yesterday, personal income tax collections continued at $2.5 billion above projections for April, erasing the January deficit. We should be out of the budget-cutting fears for the May Revision.
HOUSING: Governor Gavin Newsom's office put out a statement yesterday praising the Assembly Housing and Development Committee for approving a package of bills to address housing affordability. I noted on Twitter that, while I'm a fanboy of Gavin, he's a voter in Marin County, which got a carve out in Senator Scott Wiener's transit-oriented housing bill in Senate Governance and Finance Committee this week.
Of course, the Legislature is moving on housing affordability legislation that is staying away from allowing new communities to pass rent control ordinances. If you're a newbie, the Costa-Hawkins Act froze rent control ordinances at the 1995 enactment. That's before we had rules in the Legislature to prohibit naming yourself in legislation. For CALmatters, Elijah Chiland had a great explainer in 2018 when the repeal sponsored by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation was on the ballot as Proposition 10.
Costa is now in Congress representing the north part of Fresno. Phil Hawkins (R) was an Assembly member from Cerritos, the swing district of Hawkins, Epple, and Havice. Yes, I walked precincts there back in the day with Paul Mitchell at the request of Jay Hansen, who then worked for Speaker Willie Lewis Brown, Jr. Tomorrow, I'm delighted to be going to an engagement party for Jay and Jesse hosted by CDP Acting Chair Alex Rooker. The evite response list is totally who's who, or at least who is in town in Sacramento on a Saturday. To think I've known Jay for twenty-five years, twenty of which came before he was legally allowed to get married, is something remarkable and look forward to celebrating with him and Jesse.
And, yes, I dated a Phil Hawkins staffer who was my ideological and religious opposite. Wonderful woman who to my knowledge isn't in politics anymore.
PG&E: So, the Public Utilities Commission approved a $373 million per year rate increase for Pacific Gas & Electric as the utility clings to survival as lawmakers look at a public takeover that the governor seems open to. As Gibran and I have talked about on the pod, the PUC and PG&E share a bed.
I've tried figuring out whether it is on electricity, natural gas, or both customers. If you live in Sac like many of us, that's important. In Sac, our electricity is from the publicly owned Sacramento Metropolitan Utility District (SMUD). Our gas is from PG&E. Electricity was at fault in the 2018 disasterous Butte County Camp fire. My PG&E bill for nat gas should not go up because of clear electric system negligence by a for-profit investor-owned utility.
#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Matthew Cunningham, Soyla Fernandez, John Frietas, Nikki Johnson, Assembly member Marc Levine, and De'shawn Woolridge!
Happy Thursday! You're almost there! I don't know what happened with the hamsters yesterday. I wrote, it was saved, and everything looked fine on the server. I guess it's just that kind of week.
Hmph...I pay bigly for an IBM server housed in San Jose. I've been through three different companies as I have been doing this endeavor. Anyway, I'm now with Softlayer/IBM.
There was a large unexpected outage yesterday that affected lots of servers in the hosting server farm in the 408. I was out for a lunch and didn't see the email to realize that everything was down. That's why there's no Nooner in your inbox or online for yesterday. As I normally do for missteps, I'll extend current ads a day.
HUGZ: Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and League of California Cities API executive director Annie Lam (Lam Consulting Group) are expecting a child in October! As you know, I love these two.
MONEY: The state is doing well on personal income tax revenues through yesterday. We're on track to meet the January budget estimates, erasing the $2.2 billion shortfall, and if the above-projected corporate tax payments continue, we're likely $500 million above the budget protections. Neither of these are related to state tax policy changes, but rather the federal withholding schedules that were just wrong this year. It's good for taxpayers who kept money in their accounts, although bad if they didn't plan accordingly and scrambled around April 15.
With January falling short, June is the second largest month because of quarterly sales, corporation, and personal income tax payments. Of course, we won't know those revenues until after the state budget is completed by June 15. Thus, if it continues, the additional revenue is a nice buffer if Governor Newsom can keep the Legislature from spending more than proposed in January. Because of the withholding problems challenging the best economic projectors, this is probably more important this year than in most of our political/policy lifetimes. And yes, I spent most of my 20 years as a higher education advocate trying to spend more money than the state had.
POLL POSITION: PPIC is out with a new poll today on education. Likely voters generally approve (54%) of Governor Gavin Newsom's education approach, although I believe few understand how the CalSTRS unfunded liability benefits districts. The Legislature gets 45%, but the Legislature hasn't really done anything yet this year. The poll was conducted April 5-15 and, as all staffers and advocates know, this is the week for all the big bills. No criticism of PPIC as you know I love the organization.
Gavin gets a 54% approve/42% disapprove among likelies on K-12 issues. You know I like Gavin, but the numbers are completely meaningless. The poll, though, is very meaningful as it dives in to charter education.
I wanted to get to today's briefing, but What a Week! I'm exhausted.
SB 50 (Wiener): The housing density bill was approved by Senate Governance and Finance yesterday, although it was amended to exempt counties with fewer than 600,000 people. Matt Levin reports for CALmatters:
"While the bill still faces fierce political opposition and a long road ahead in the state Legislature, the vote marks a significant victory for Wiener’s move to promote more dense housing around transit—an approach he says is necessary to help alleviate the state’s housing shortage and curb greenhouse gas emissions from commuters.
The original provision would still apply to the 15 most populous California counties, including Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Joaquin counties. “Jobs-rich” communities not within a half-mile of public transportation would also have to change local zoning laws to allow for taller buildings.
But under the new compromise, smaller counties—including those with expensive real estate markets such as Marin, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo—would be treated differently.
Most cities in those smaller counties would be forced to allow housing near public transit that's slightly more dense than what’s currently allowed, but not 4-5 stories. They also would also be required to approve duplexes, triplexes and four-plexes "by right" in almost all neighborhoods, allowing developers to bypass the often lengthy and costly process of getting small housing projects approved by local planning commissions and city councils."
NIMBY is alive and well in two counties with big state university campuses and very little affordable housing. We'll see what the amendments are when they are in print. And Marin County is just Marin. It is beautiful but is a huge NIMBY county in California and is among the wealthiest and whitest.
Palo Alto, though, was also a target of SB 50 and worth of criticism since we pay for CalTrain to have two stops there to shephard tech workers who often live in San Francisco but work for tech companies near Stanford. Palo Alto is also very white and wealthy, living off commuters.
On a side note, consultant Anton Favorini-Csorba with Senate Governance and Housing gets the "thumbs up" for perhaps the best committee analysis of the session.
VAXX: As if yesterday wasn't crazy enough in the Capitol already, Senate Health had the bill by Senator Dr. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) up yesterday to more tightly control doctor exemptions from vaccination requirements. Don Thompson reports for AP "The Senate Health Committee approved the proposal to give state public health officials instead of local doctors the power to decide which children can skip their shots before attending school. The push coincides with this year’s national measles tally reaching the highest it’s been since 1994, according to an Associated Press count."
The bill provides that medical exemptions must be approved by the state's Department of Public Health and must be based on an actual medical contraindication. The vote was 7-2, with the committee's two Republicans voting no.
People asked me if I was in the Capitol yesterday. No, if there is a VAXX bill up, I stay the hell away from those strollers. I respect your legitimate medical exemptions, but I'll watch you on teevee. Thank you mom and dad.
And, a friend from undergrad (not naming here on purpose) posted a picture yesterday of a full diaper in the Capitol's stairwell. Seriously? We've literally gone into the shitter.
ARAMBULA: The story has changed in the alleged child cruelty case facing Assembly member Joaquin Arambula. The Fresno Bee's Rory Appleton reports that while Arambula initially said it was a spanking, his attorneys explain the incident as a slap and his daughter having a bruise on her face from his ring. He is on a leave of absence from the Assembly.
"The attorney's summary is part of a motion to dismiss the case.
According to the summary, Arambula’s daughter described several other instances of cruelty, including punches and kicks by her father and spankings with a stick by her mother. The summary says both parents told police they would never hurt their children.
The 7-year-old also admitted to police that she sometimes hurts herself, and she originally told her teacher she had fallen the night the alleged crime occurred."
Not only is Arambula's political career in doubt, but also his medical license. Before being elected to the Assembly, Arambula was an emergency room physician. His father previously served in the Assembly. I will leave it up to the court and Medical Board. You can be a convicted criminal in the Legislature--eviction like in the House of Representatives that Duncan Hunter knows well--is the body's responsibility.
#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Crystal Araujo and Board of Equalization member Ted Gaines!
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