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RECENT AURAL PLEASURE:
Happy Taco Tuesday! If you're planning to catch an Uber/Lyft ride tomorrow, know that labor is calling for a strike by gig drivers, the day before the expected Uber IPO. Noone knows how many will heed the call.
The Governor's May Revision will be released this Thursday (time not announced). At this hour, Governor Newsom and First Partner Jennifer Siebel-Newsom are making a "major announcement" about the May Revise to the California Legislative Women's Caucus.
I have never watched Game of Thrones but I think there oughtta be a law forbidding the digital alteration to remove a misplaced Starbucks cup. That's like digitally adding arms to Venus de Milo. Honor art in its current state! Yes, I will probably watch it at some point. I'm just not great with shows requiring too much attention. #multitask
Last night, there was a great reception to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Kenneth L. Maddy Institute at Fresno State, which focuses on public policy issues affecting the Central Valley. Willie L. Brown, Jr. emceed the event and talked fondly about his days working with Maddy. He brought up several members representing each house for comment--Assemblyman Adam Gray, Assembly Republican Leader Shannon Grove, Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove (who brought up Sen. Andreas Borgeas to present a resolution), and Senate Majority Leader Bob Hertzberg. Willie noted that he brought Grove up before Hertzberg because she's from Bakersfield because in law school he befriended a guy who wrote really big so Willie sat next to the guy for exams.
Willie then brought up Governor Gavin Newsom, introducing him as the guy Da Mayor first appointed to the traffic and parking commission, a truly thankless job. Newsom talked about the Central Valley and its importance to the state but also noted that some from coastal areas have an attitude of looking down on the valley and its people. "We're better than that," Newsom said. He then suggested that we need "sister cities" not only internationally but perhaps within California to break down the identity barriers.
Maddy was Senate Minority Leader when I first arrived in Sacramento, and was removed from the post in the turmoil of 1995. He was close to Governor Pete Wilson, which wasn't an asset following the Gingrich Contract with America election that swept the nation. I don't even remember who was successful in the leadership coup, but most here both before and after Maddy mark that change as a major change in how the Capitol works.
Maddy served in the State Senate until 1998 and passed in 2000. If he was in the members' lounge now bearing his name yesterday, everybody would want to know his take on the controversial conclusion of the Kentucky Derby.
Budget, party non-preference, sheriff office oversight after the jump...
THE BUDGET AND TAXES: For the Bee, Sophia Bollag looks at the proposed new fees/taxes in Governor Newsom's budget and the likelihood of their passage, particularly with the surge in April revenues. Bollag writes:
"At least two of Newsom’s tax proposals would require approval from two-thirds of the Legislature. Theoretically, Democrats have the votes to enact new taxes, with supermajorities in both chambers.
But voting for tax increases has hurt vulnerable Democrats at the ballot box in the past, most recently with the 2018 recall of Sen. Josh Newman after he voted to increase gas taxes."
The two requiring two-thirds are for drinking water and the expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit, which could come with a $1 billion/year annual price tag on business.
VAXX: The LAT's Melody Gutierrez looks at the argument by those opposing the current vaccination bill that the current iteration of involving the state in review of medical exemptions threatens the medical privacy of the children for whom parents are seeking an exemption.
"'There has been so much cybercrime that it's natural that parents are concerned about the protection of privacy,' said Dr. Jonathan Fielding, professor of public health and medicine at UCLA and former public health director for Los Angeles County. 'I can't say it’s an illegitimate concern, but you do have to weigh the importance of trying to prevent outbreaks and broader epidemics of a number of diseases.'"
PARTY NON-PREFERENCE: For Capitol Weekly, Paul Mitchell writes on the correlation between ease-of-registration of voters and the increase in the share that choose "No Party Preference." Because of the convenience, such as at the Department of Motor Vehicles, registrants aren't thinking about it and aren't being signed up by cute girls or guys from a college club affiliated with a party.
SHERIFF OFFICE OVERSIGHT: While the high-profile law enforcement bills this year have been about police use of deadly force, Joe Mathews writes up another bill that has gotten little coverage but may be of equal importance.
"There is one thing that both supporters and opponents say about AB 1185: it shouldn’t be necessary. The law makes explicit what already should have been true, according to previous law and court decisions—that sheriffs' office are subject to civilian oversight.
The trouble is that many California sheriffs, in practice, refuse to accept real oversight. Indeed, sheriffs often are our greatest scofflaws. In recent years, we’ve seen sheriffs flouting state laws protecting immigrants, a new L.A. County sheriff who ignores civilians in hiring back problematic sheriff’s employees, a Sacramento sheriff locking out an inspector general, and even a San Joaquin County sheriff who had the hands removed from corpses in office-involved deaths. (That last one is a long story)."
The bill passed Assembly Public Safety on a party-line vote April 2 and has been sitting on Third Reading since.
EXCELLENCE IN CAMPAIGN REPORTING: The slate mailer committee "Californians in Action," tied to former Senator Rod Wright, reported yesterday receiving $4,000 from CJT Development of Long Beach. The report says the money is to "oppose," but omits the measure or candidate being opposed.
Water wars, California v. Trump, LA-LA Land, and #CAKEDAY after the jump...
WATER WARS: For Voice of San Diego, Ry Rivard writes about the interesting land dealings for water rights involving Renewable Resources Group of Los Angeles and the Metropolitan Water District that serves 19 million Southern Californians. VOSD finds that MWD appears to have been significantly overpaying for acquiring the land in the scramble for water rights, likely committing to future increases in water rates. Rivard writes:
"Now, Renewable may be working on another deal that could rearrange the distribution of water in California forever.
Operating under two different names, the company now controls thousands of acres of land in another place with special ties to the Colorado: the Imperial Valley.
Remarkably, farmers there can use more of the Colorado than anyone else. All told, the Imperial Valley, with less than 200,000 people, has rights to as much Colorado River water as Arizona and Nevada combined.
With very little fanfare, Renewable is now one of the largest private landowners in the Imperial Valley. For now, the company says it wants the land for farming, but its recent history suggests it eventually hopes to make money from the valley’s water rights."
Most Californians don't know the Imperial Valley. It has rich soil (because of previous flooding) and as close as you can get to alternate growing seasons from the "salad bowl" of Monterey-San Benito while still in the United States. But its neighbors to the west care more about water than eating green things.
My clock is running out on today's Nooner, but there's more to this story. The co-founder of Renewable Resources Group, J. Ari Swiller and Antonio Villaraigosa both worked with supermarket billionaire Ron Burkle. Renewable went on to compete in 2009 with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power in the purchase of land east of Bakersfield. The land was bought for a wind farm but of course comes with water rights.
Renewable sold the southern half of the Onyx Ranch to the city of Vernon, which has an estimated 302 residents. The principally industrial city operates its own electric utility, although it's unclear what it has done with the water rights. The northern half, which abuts the Kern River, was kept by Renewable Resources.
I have a feeling I have tiptoed into a rabbit hole and will have much more on this topic. Ah, water politics...
SEE YOU IN COURT: In the LA Times, Anna M. Phillips writes that, while California has sued the Trump Administration in many areas, nowhere has the state seen as much success as in the Administration's attempted rollback of environmental and public health regulations. Phillips writes:
"In its rush to delay, repeal and rewrite rules it considers unduly burdensome to industry, the administration has experienced significant setbacks in court. Federal judges have sided with California and environmental groups in cases concerning air pollution, pesticides and the royalties that the government receives from companies that extract oil, gas and coal from public land.
California says it has filed 49 lawsuits against the administration over a variety of issues. Of those, at least 21 are challenges to policies put forward by the Environmental Protection Agency, Interior Department and other agencies responsible for setting energy and fuel efficiency standards for products such as ceiling fans and cars."
PUTTING POTUS UNDER THE MICROSCOPUS: For CALmatters, Ben Christopher reports on the latest effort by Democrats in the Legislature to require presidential candidates to disclose their tax returns to appear on the California primary election ballot. Christopher writes:
"Last year, both the Assembly and Senate passed a virtually identical bill along party lines only to see it vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown. Whatever the bill's 'political attractiveness—even the merits,' Brown wrote, the idea rested on shaky constitutional ground and could invite future politicians to erect ever-higher barriers to entry for those hoping to run for office.
This year's version passed the Senate on Thursday and is expected to sail through the Democratic-dominated Assembly before landing on the governor's desk. Gov. Newsom has yet to say whether he will sign it."
The bill is SB 27 (McGuire and Wiener) and passed through the Assembly on party-line votes.
LA-LA LAND: Businessman and charter school supporter Eric Smidt yesterday kicked in $100,000 to the Yes on Measure EE campaign for the Los Angeles Unified parcel tax.
#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to George Escutia!
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