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RECENT AURAL PLEASURE:
Today is the strike against Uber and Lyft, or as drivers call it, an unpaid vacation day. There should have been a corresponding effort to buy drivers Tuesday tacos last night since they won't be earning money today.
Yesterday, the governor and First Partner Jennifer Siebel-Newsom joined the California Legislative Women's Caucus to announce that the exemption from sales tax on diapers and tampons would be included in the May Revision. The former is currently authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) and the latter by Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens). The exemptions had previously passed the Legislature, but were vetoed by Jerry Brown. He also reiterated his proposals to increase child care funding, increase the personal income tax deduction for families with children under 6, and expand the Earned Income Tax Credit as part of a "Parents Agenda."
Newsom backed down somewhat on the extension of paid family leave to care for a new baby. While he envisions getting to six months of leave, a significant increase from the current six weeks, he will now propose an extension to eight weeks. That significantly scales back the cost, expected to be a payroll tax on business.
For CapRadio, Katie Orr follows the story of one working mother trying to find state-subsidized child care. Let's just say that it's nearly impossible:
"[T]he number of state-subsidized child care slots is incredibly limited. The California Budget and Policy Center found that of the roughly 2 million kids that qualify for some kind of subsidized care, just 228,100 are actually enrolled in programs that operate on more than a part-time basis. An additional 96,700 kids are enrolled in part-day preschool. A mix of high program demand, high child care costs, a lack of child care facilities and a low-paid workforce combine to make providing enough affordable care difficult."
BROWN THE BUILDER, NEWSOM THE NARROWER: For CALmatters, Dan Walters reports on Gavin Newsom's pull back on two of Jerry Brown's signature infrastructure projects--high-speed rail and the tunnels to ferry water under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Walters writes "Both new versions may be more practical than Brown’s, but both still face high hurdles, particularly financial ones, to become reality. The ultimate fate of both may still be uncertain when Newsom hands the governorship to his successor."
INFRASTRUCTURE WEEK: While we have seemingly had many declared in Washington, next week is the real "Infrastructure Week." In advance of the week, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ACSE) yesterday released a report card on California's infrastructure. ASCE gives The Golden State the following grades which, as you would expect, are not pretty (click for full report):
MOTOR VOTER: In the Bee, Bryan Anderson looks at the email traffic among the state technical employees that worked to meet the deadline for implementing voter registration at the DMV. Let's just say that it's pretty clear that they were not comfortably ready to flip the switch. When it went live, there were an estimated 105,000 errors.
Lots more after the jump...
CENSUS 2020: For the Bee, Emily Cadei looks at the reduction of the number of Census offices ahead of the 2020 count, including moving from four to one in the Sacramento region. Cadei writes:
"Nationally, the Census Bureau plans to cut the number of local offices in half compared to 2010, with workers condensed into fewer offices. The bureau also expects to hire fewer enumerators — the staff who do the follow-up work when people don’t respond to census information requests — than in 2010.
That has alarmed some state and local government officials, who warn that the bureau’s shrinking physical footprint will only heighten other logistical challenges facing the Census. A more mobile, diverse population — and one that is increasingly distrustful of government — has driven up the cost of the Census in recent decades, even as response rates have fallen."
GOOD WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT: In the Bee, Wes Venteicher reports on a Caltrans employee who lives in San Diego and took a temporary assignment in Sacramento that became permanent. Well, she claimed reimbursement for the travel costs of the weekly commute for two years apparently without her Sacramento supervisor knowing.
OFFENDER EQUITY: The Chron's Alexei Koseff writes on Senator Scott Wiener's (D-San Francisco) bill to make the sex offender registration laws at parity for consensual non-intercourse sex acts with a minor that is ten-years younger than the adult. Currently, a judge who has the option to require registration for a 19-year-old who impregnates a 15-year-old, but does not have similar discretion with oral copulation or anal sex.
BIG TREES, LA-LA LAND and #CAKEDAY after the jump...
BIG TREES: In the Bee, Darrell Smith reports that a federal judge has once again blocked Caltrans from widening Highway 101 in Humboldt County to accommodate extra-long tractor trailers (more than 18 wheels), agreeing with environmentalists that the plan would endanger the old-growth redwood trees in Richardson Grove State Park. The area is currently too curvy for the trailers to navigate and the Caltrans plan wouldn't require cutting down trees, but the judge agreed with environmentalists that sufficient study of the impact on the roots of the trees had not been conducted. [court ruling]
CAMP FIRE AFTERMATH: For CapRadio, Kirk Siegler writes that more than 1,000 families are still seeking even temporary housing:
"Even before the fire, there was already a severe housing shortage and a growing homelessness crisis in rural northern California. The November disaster peeled back the band aid, says Ed Mayer, director of the Butte County Housing Authority, exposing just how vulnerable rural communities can be.
"We've really lost our ability to produce housing that is affordable to our citizenry and this is the larger tragedy," Mayer says."
Meanwhile, for KQED, Michelle Wiley reports that schools are having a difficult time getting enough counselors to help students and staff cope with the tragedy and Dale Kasler writes for the Bee that the judge overseeing PG&E's probation from the San Bruno gas explosion has ordered the corporation's board of directors to visit Paradise to see the damage caused by the Camp Fire.
LA-LA-LAND: In the murky world of the Measure EE parcel tax that voters are currently considering as vote-by-mail ballots sit on their kitchen tables, the LAT's Howard Blume reports that the Los Angeles Unified board of education voted yesterday to exempt residential and non-residential garages from the June 4 parcel tax measure. The original measure approved by the board of the $0.16 per square foot, 12-year tax. Then, Superintendent Austin Beutner sent a request to the county clerk to change the language to instead refer to any improved structure on a parcel.
However, as Blume writes, the change wasn't enough to stop the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association from filing a suit to block the measure given Beutner's requested changes of "clarification" to the measure's language without a vote of the board of education.
There are interesting legal and practical issues here. The resolution adopted yesterday seeks to retroactively change the meaning of language on a measure on the day on which ballots first hit mailboxes. Thus, it's possible that some ballots were returned yesterday before the board made what could be argued to be a substantive change.
The bigger issue is how the tax is going to be calculated. The measure states that Los Angeles Unified will provide the Los Angeles County Treasurer-Tax Collector with the parcel number and amount of tax to be levied. But there is a big question as to what the data source will be for the square footage of structures, minus parking structures. For example, what about a garage that is not used for a car but storage of Nooner coffee mugs? Or a man cave?
The strange bedfellows of LA Unified and its charters are being creative but as ballots are being cast, there are more questions than answers.
Meanwhile, the National Education Association added $250,000 to the Yes on EE campaign yesterday.
SMOKIN': The AP's John Rogers reports on the efforts of Beverly Hills to ban sales of all tobacco products, except for in a few high-end cigar lounges. The exemption is something that's been pushed for by Arnold Schwarzenegger, who favors Nazareth's Fine Cigars and created a "cigar tent" in the courtyard in the center of the Capitol Annex while he was governor.
Beverly Hills has already banned the sale of menthol cigarettes and other flavored tobacco, an issue that's being debated statewide in SB 38 (Hill).
#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Julian Canete, Sean Henschel, Kendra Noelle, Andres Ramos, and Frank Torres!
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