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RECENT AURAL PLEASURE:
WEEKENDS AT THE NOONER:
Well, hello there. Happy Monday! Well, not so happy with the change of intro music on NPR's Morning Edition. Maybe I'm picky with my Cinco de Mayo hangover too many tacos, menudo, and street-cart mangonadas. Okay, maybe churros as well. Today is very much a salad day.
Thanks for the early feedback on this week's pod. I hope I wasn't too confusing on the two big legal issues of Dynamex (independent contractor) retroactivity and wildfire liability for inverse condemnation. Yes, Gibran and I often disagree on policy, and I'm glad he challenges me. Keep the feedback coming!
Gibran posted a YouTube clip from the pod, saying "Scott Lay is a mild-mannered, very polite kind of guy. So when he says High Speed Rail is "Fucked" you know we're in trouble." [YouTube around 43:17]
When we have a guest, we use clean(er) language. When the two of us do "What a Week," the polite language is set aside for a more guttural response.
Meanwhile, leading up to the May 31 house of origin deadline, this Friday is the deadline for policy committees to meet and next Friday is the deadline for fiscal committees to approve bills for the suspense file purge. SB 276 (Pan)--the vaccination--bill has not yet been set for Approps, but assume that you need to wear your haz mat suit next Monday.
VALLEY RACES: In the Fresno Bee, Kate Irby writes that there is a big problem with the hope of Democrats to unseat Devin Nunes (R-Tulare) in CA22 (Tulare)--they don't have a candidate. This is after 2018 candidate Andrew Janz decided to run for Fresno mayor instead. Janz raised and spend $9.2 million in the 2018 effort, amassing a huge war chest from a national network of largely small donors, which was supplemented by big SuperPAC and DCCC expenditures.
Nunes may turn Democrats off like few others, but in the end it is a Trump +9.5 district. I mean, it's better than CA50's Trump +15, but these really are not competitive districts.
As Irby notes, the National Republican Congressional Committee have a similar problem next door in TJ Cox's CA21, where the GOP hasn't found a candidate to challenge the first-term Democrat.
Here's the March 31 cash on hand of the two:
THE BUDGET: John Myers writes in the Times that Governor Gavin Newsom's first big test will take place over the next five weeks as he updates his budget proposal and works with the Legislature to put a final spending plan to bed by June 15. Newsom's office has said that the May Revision will be released May 14, although there have been hints it might come later this week. I'm hoping for the latter, as I'm "on call" for jury duty starting Monday.
As I wrote Saturday, chief among these will be ensuring that the budget doesn't commit to ongoing expenditures with one-time revenues. That's particularly true for the April upside surprise in revenues and there will likely more from upcoming IPOs, writes the AP's Adam Bean.
TAXING MATTERS: For the Bee, Adam Ashton and Emily Cadei look at the tax proposals Democrats are proposing to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit, effectively transferring money from the rich to the poor working class. In California, they write:
"Newsom would greatly expand who is eligible for California’s credit. He’d raise the maximum qualifying income to $30,000, create a new $500 credit for qualifying families with children under age 6 and increase the amount of money Californians can receive from the benefit, according to his budget proposal.
In 2017, 1.5 million California taxpayers received $348 million from the earned income tax credit, according to the analyst’s office.
Newsom’s proposal would make about 3 million households eligible for the benefit and potentially raise state spending by about $1 billion."
USE OF FORCE: It's been a crazy and confusing couple of weeks for folks watching the debate over police use of force. Here's where we're at:
AB 392 is not currently a fiscal bill, so it can be released for a floor vote at any time.
Wildfire prevention and the Census after the jump...
WILDFIRE PREVENTION: In the Chron, J.D. Morris looks at the concerns over the plans of Pacific Gas & Electric to shut off power in some windstorms to prevent wildfires. It's a classic "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation. Power may need to be shut off to save lives and property but turning power off without proper safeguards can cost lives.
FROM THE DESK OF THE DEAN: In the LAT, George Skelton looks at the issue of whether there should be a citizenship question on the 2020 Census:
"As a journalist, I’m all for collecting as much information as possible about almost everything. Sure, I’m curious to know the exact breakdown of citizens and non-citizens. But in this case, the questioner can’t be trusted.
Reductions in federal funding and shifts in political power should be decided in Congress and elections — not in rigged census surveys."
SCHOOLS and #CAKEDAY after the jump...
SAC UNIFIED: With another one-day strike by teachers in Sac City Unified scheduled for May 22, Mayor Darrell Steinberg weighs in, writing:
"Why is the union striking over savings that haven’t been realized and can’t by definition be realized or directed for the contract term in dispute. Continuing this fight would be an act of bad faith towards the community, our kids, and their futures.
The union won the main fight. The fight over health care savings is essentially moot for this contract. Declare victory and move on.
What is the path forward? The parties must negotiate in good faith on health care savings for the new contract commencing in seven weeks. Find the millions available by agreeing to solid but less expensive health plans as a start. There are other savings to be had that are essential to both reducing the deficit and investing directly in schools and kids.
What is the path for a successful negotiation? The parties have a mutual goal and a necessary obligation. The mutual goal is to invest as much money as possible in equity and school improvements. The obligation is to first avoid state receivership and address the deficit now amounting to about $35 million.
With a little good will and creativity, the parties can reconcile their mutual goals and begin a new day for Sacramento’s schools, its kids, and it’s teachers."
But he continues:
"I am willing to help lead a parcel tax campaign with the teachers union, the other district unions, parents, and the district in 2020 to raise real money to invest in our schools sooner rather than later. We can only be successful raising more resources with the voters if we settle this dispute.
Please parties, get to the table. Lock the doors."
Like in Los Angeles and Oakland, contracts are being negotiated that need tax increases to fund them or they will require cuts elsewhere. Either the 2020 split roll property tax and/or continuing and/or new parcel taxes are needed.
You can take your camp and I know you have one:
Make investments that you think are needed now and then essentially give taxpayers the final tab for what has been negotiated and then cut if they say no. Negotiating cuts after a failed ballot measure is about as hard as sending back courses two, four, and five at The French Laundry and expecting the tab to be lower.
Or, make a case to voters that the district needs an additional investment and where it would go, and then negotiate the proceeds after it passes. That's like asking your friend to spot you a Benjamin because you forgot to calculate the tip for your server at The French Laundry.
I could take either side if charged to advocate either case.
#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Sheila DeBlonk, Eric Heins, John Kabateck, and Mac Zilber!
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