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RECENT AURAL PLEASURE:
It's Monday...that means I'm back in the jury box today so if I'm short, blame it on my civic duty, as court is back in session at 9. So, for while you may think of it as The Nooner today, I have to think of it as the 8:30amER.
Again, all I can say is that Sacramento's new courthouse can't come soon enough. Right now, I just know that there are concert-sized lines for women during 15-minute breaks. Men also have lines outside the door before finding urinals too close together with no divider between them.
The project, which will be in the historic railyards north of downtown was initially funded in 2009-10. From the court's website: "This project is in the architectural design-working drawings phase. Construction is estimated to start in February 2020, with an anticipated completion date of April 2023."
Meanwhile, the item yesterday on Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) possibly missing next Thursday at 7:30pm night's New Kids on the Block (w/ Salt-n-Pepa, Naughty by Nature, Tiffany, Debbie Gibson) concert at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento led KimChi Nguyen to say she has two tickets for sale.
I guess there was something on TV last night. I was watching a great new series on Netflix--"Street Food." If you liked the style of "Chef's Table," you'll love this show. Each season they plan to tackle a continent/region and, not surprisingly, start with Asia. Nine 30-minute episodes have been released and I watched a few last night and highly recommend it. Warning...you will get hungry, but the personal stories behind the people selling the food is as much the story.
THE BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE: Nooner friend lobbyist Chris Micheli has the numbers of bills that will be await action before the May 31 house of origin deadline. For home gamers, that means that bills that aren't approved from the house they were introduced in must be passed by next Friday to be acted on this year.
Given that next Monday is a holiday, that means eight or nine days left, including today, as everybody is Hangin' Tough. Whether or not they stay in town next Friday is based on condition of the file, although they are expected to wrap next Thursday, perhaps late. That's why Lorena might miss NKOTB on the floor...but Whatcha Gonna Do? Until that gavel falls, just take it Step by Step.
Also for home gamers, a bill is on 2nd reading after it has been amended for one legislative floor session day before it is taken up on third reading.
CENSUS 2020: In the Bee with the USC Center for Health Journalism Collaborative, Sophia Bollag, Michael Finch II and Sammy Caiola report on California's efforts to ensure the most accurate count in the 2020 Census, which beyond political representation in Congress. They write:
"With millions of dollars in federal funding at stake, California is trying some unusual strategies to encourage hard-to-count populations to participate in the census and exploring ways to link them with other public outreach efforts, including ones aimed at uninsured Californians.
The Californians the state is targeting for the census tend to be poor. Many lack access to stable housing and transportation. Many are undocumented, and still more come from mixed-status families, where some members have legal status and others don’t.
Those factors also contribute to high uninsured rates in those communities, because immigration status and affordability are the biggest barriers to having health insurance in California."
FROM THE DESK OF THE DEAN: Meanwhile, the LAT's George Skelton writes that the current palette of immigrants is serving California well--from those who toil in the fields and restaurants an increasing larger share highly educated workers that make Silicon Valley possible. He cites the work of one of my favorite PPIC researchers:
"'It's the old story of immigrants coming to the U.S. and California seeking a better life for themselves and their children,' says Hans Johnson, an immigration and demographics expert at the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California.
'What's different now is the trend toward immigrants coming into California with high levels of education. The share of those who already have completed college is extremely high. Asian immigrants are the best educated group in California, better than U.S.-born. Immigrants from India are the single best educated group in our state.'
And the increasing education levels of Latin American migrants, Johnson says, 'means there are fewer lower-skilled immigrants and a smaller pool of farm workers than there used to be.”
But California’s economy still relies on immigrants with little education, Johnson notes in a PPIC research paper released last week. The report is based on immigration figures through 2017, the latest available."
"It's the old story of not seeing the forest for the trees."
GOOD READ: The LAT's John Myers has a good column on the challenge to the ballot measure that has qualified for next November's election to amend Proposition 57. I'm not going to write on it because it could or could not relate to the jury that I am currently on and am trying to avoid anything relating to the courts for a few more days, but it's worth a read.
FLAVORED TOBACCO AND CANNABIS: For CALmatters, Elizabeth Aguilera reports on the efforts of the tobacco/vaping industry to defeat the latest effort to ban the sales of flavored tobacco products, such as menthol cigarettes and vaping cartridges. SB 38 (Hill): Flavored tobacco products is likely to pass the Senate, but the companies are trying to kill or weaken it in the Assembly, which is likely to have more favorable committee referrals.
"With negotiations underway behind-the-scenes, vaping interests hope to at least weaken the legislation, if not turn it in the industry’s favor.
On the Assembly side, all tobacco-related bills were effectively snuffed out when a key committee opted not to hear them. The committee’s chairman, Merced Democrat Adam Gray, declined to be interviewed. In an email, he wrote that 'the authors of the various proposals and the committee are working together to develop a comprehensive proposal that addresses the issue from all sides. We will develop a thoughtful package of reforms and move legislation forward this year.'"
One issue that's not being openly discussed and is not mentioned in Aguilera's article is that vaping cartridges containing cannabis are now a major business for the burgeoning legal recreational industry. Santa Monica has a "Vape Cartridge Valet" delivery service and there's even a ranking of cannabis Juul cartridges, although the dispensaries generally (as I understand it) sell the devices themselves.
Some believe that underage users prefer the battery-operated vaping devices, as they are obviously easier to quickly put something that is not actually on fire away. From my afternoon walks through Southside Park in the afternoon, there's certainly some circumstantial evidence of that. I am not opining on SB 38, but let's just acknowledge this is well beyond menthol and flavored cartridges.
HOUSING: For the Bee, Hannah Wiley looks at what's left in housing legislation following the defeat (for now) of the high-profile SB 50 (Wiener).
PG&E, LA-LA Land, Boys being boys, and #CAKEDAY after the jump...
PG&E: In the Chron, J.D. Morris that under its new prophylactic blackout policy, Pacific Gas & Electric could shut off power to San Francisco in the event of high winds in the East Bay. That's not because of concerns within the city, but rather because it is so interconnected with the regional grid and could be affected as high-voltage transmission lines elsewhere could be turned off.
LA-LA LAND: For the LAT, Emily Alpert Reyes and Maloy Moore look at the special election for the Los Angeles City Council and ask whether one of the several Democrats running can break through in the usually Republican-leaning SF Valley seat.
"With more than a dozen people competing in the June election — and splitting what is expected to be a relatively small number of votes — many Democratic candidates are hopeful that they could snag at least a second-place finish and secure a spot in the August runoff. But whether a Democrat could actually win this Valley seat is an open question.
Some observers are dubious.
'It is a remote possibility. Very remote,' said Larry Levine, a political consultant who is not representing any candidates in the race. Levine said that, based on who has historically been most likely to turn out to vote in the district, “it just doesn’t add up for a Democrat.'"
BOYS BEING BOYS: We've known for a long time that politics in the small cities just south of Los Angeles are just, uh, a bit different. Well, on Friday night, a fight broke out among Commerce City Council members Ivan Altamarino and Leonard Mendoza at the California Contract Cities Association in Indian Wells, apparently with Altramarino knocking Mendoza to the ground, reports Brian Hews of Hews Media Group. Hews writes:
"The incident started in the outside cigar smoking area, when Altamirano ran through a door and sucker punched Mendoza.
The punch knocked Mendoza out, with witnesses saying Mendoza’s head could be heard hitting the ground.
A meleé started with witnesses saying Mario Beltran and his friend Louis Reyes, who owns Blue Icon Media, were sucker punching people who were trying to break up the fight.
Witnesses said Mendoza was still unconscious when paramedics finally made it to the scene and took him away.
The sheriff’s arrived and interviewed witnesses until 4 a.m., with most saying Altamirano sucker punched Mendoza."
Reports are that nobody was arrested on scene, but Hews also writes "Sources told HMG-LCCN that the sheriff’s are contemplating charging Altamirano with aggravated assault with great bodily harm as Mendoza likely fractured his skull when he fell." Hews also has a copy of a letter from Commerce mayor John Soria, who asserts that he will be filing a complaint to press chargers against those who attacked him when he came to "de-escalate" the situation.
Follow Hews on Twitter for the latest.
Beltran writes on Facebook that today's Los Angeles Times story is more balanced, and Hews does often tilts sensationalist in covering several cities with intense longstanding acrimony in politics and plenty of fodder to write about. I gave his story because he wrote about it first and through the weekend. Reyes also advised his friends to not believe the "fake news."
My general policy is that I quote from Twitter but not Facebook, since one is an open universe while another is (in theory) a closed universe. Beltran is a former Bell Gardens councilmember and consultant.
Commerce is a largely industrial/commercial city with an estimated 13,021 residents (6,790 registered voters) immediately south of East Los Angeles.
#CAKEDAY after the jump...
#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Cat Shieh!
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