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E-269 - Saturday, June 8, 2019
RECENT AURAL PLEASURE:
SEEN ON TEEVEE: Congresswoman Katie Porter (D-Irvine) was on "Real Time with Bill Maher" last night.
SPORTS PAGE: That parlay bet on the Warriors losing last night at what could have been the last Warriors game ever at Oakland's Oracle Arena and the Giants beating the MLB-leading Dodgers sure would have been good one. Dodgers @ Giants return at 4:15, with Hill on the mound for LA and Samardzija ("Shark") throwing the ball for SF. Warriors will be at the Raptors at 6pm on Monday.
Happy Saturday! While writing this morning, I have "WarGames" on in the background. It was released 36 years ago last Sunday. I forgot that the late John Spencer, much later Chief of Staff Leo McGarrity on The West Wing, was in the movie.
I think I was playing on a Radio Shack TRS Model 3 at the time and would use an acoustic coupler modem and an external cassette drive. I was explaining to someone the other day what a BBS was back in the day. I would regularly rely on a list like this to find sites to access, which had to be cross-referenced to the "local prefixes" that wouldn't result in "long distance calls." Some of the names are still familiar more than 30 years later.
Thanks Dad for the early computer access!
Tuesday will be the 33rd anniversary of "Ferris Bueller's Day Off."
I'm aging myself. Thank you for allowing me to walk down memory lane. Lots that you might actually care about below!
PG&E AND WILDFIRES: Dale Kasler writes in the Bee that PG&E this morning started blackouts in three counties as high winds and arid conditions have led to a red fire alert:
"PG&E Corp. began deliberate blackouts to about 1,700 customers in parts of Yolo, Solano and Napa counties early Saturday, as high winds created “red flag” wildfire conditions across parts of Northern California.
The utility, driven into bankruptcy by two horrific wildfire seasons, engineered the blackouts at about 6:30 a.m. Most of the affected customers live west of Winters, and in areas around Suisun City, Vacaville and Lake Berryessa. The shutoffs will last “through at least Saturday afternoon,” the company said.
PG&E warned that the deliberate shutoffs, the first of the 2019 fire season, could spread to as many as 30,000 customers later in the day, including portions of Butte, Yuba, Nevada, El Dorado and Placer counties."
This action precedes Monday's hearing of the Select Committee on Governor’s 2019 Report: Wildfires and Climate Change - California’s Energy Future" to receive the report, which calls for changing inverse condemnation. The committee is chaired by Senator Bill Dodd, who authored last year's SB 901, which did not change the inverse condemnation law but also doesn't apply to the Camp Fire that destroyed most of Paradise.
BUDGET WATCH 2019: The Conference Committee on AB 74 (2019-20 State Budget) plans to meet at 3pm tomorrow to finalize the spending plan before a vote in advance of next Saturday's deadline. If language incorporating the changes in the spending plan can be posted in final bill text form by Tuesday morning, a vote in the two houses could happen on Friday.
Because unlike the "old days" the spending plans that emerged from the two houses has not been shown in bill text, it's unclear exactly how long it will take the Legislative Counsel to translate the political decisions into final bill text.
One thing is certain--whenever the floor votes take place, they will likely only be on the "budget bill in chief" (AB 74) and a few "trailer bills," while further votes will happen after the June 15 constitutional deadline for the Legislature to pass AB 74. This could include both a "baby budget" to address spending changes demanded by legislators before the final vote required by June 15, along with the traditional "trailer bills," which are statutory changes that effectuate the budget, although have been expanded to include major policy issues using the majority vote provision for the budget included in Proposition 25.
"OUR KIDS WIN TOO!" Hugo Lopez stepped down as director of the California State Lottery yesterday, reports the LAT's Patrick McGreevy, "apparently forced out of the job by the governor’s office following a string of controversies."
"Lopez sent employees an email Friday that cited growth of lottery revenue but did not mention the agency’s recent troubles, including a state audit in April that questioned the agency’s spending."
NO GO: The latest ballot initiative sponsored by former San Diego Councilman and radio talk show host Carl DeMaio has failed, the Secretary of State's Office announced yesterday. The measure would have terminated the high-speed rail project and shifted highway construction and maintenance from the state to local governments, including the funding therefore. The initiative required 585,407 valid signatures to be submitted by 5/28/2019.
The measure was announced in September 2018 as part of the "Yes on 6" campaign to repeal the gas tax, but it is unclear whether any significant petition gathering efforts took place.
THE OC: In the Register, Brooke Skaggs reports that Orange County Republicans are tweaking their strategy to reverse the "blue tide" that swept Democrats in to several traditionally Republican districts in the 2018 election. The losses were in CA39 (Fullerton), CA45 (Irvine), CA48 (Huntington Beach), CA49 (S. OC/N. SD), SD34 (Huntington Beach), and AD74 (Huntington Beach).
Of course, SD34 isn't up in 2020 and the GOP faces a legit challenge in holding SD37 (Irvine) next year. SD37 is currently held by John M.W. Moorlach (R), a district that Clinton beat Trump in 2016 by 6% and where the unpopularity of the cap on the state-and-local tax (SALT) deduction in President Trump's tax bill was a major component of CA45's Katie Porter's victory in the 2018 election. The district has already attracted two strong Democratic challengers--Costa Mesa councilmember Katrina Foley and UC Irvine law professor Dave Min. While Min has not served in elective office, he narrowly lost (2.5%) in the race to be in the top two against fellow law professor Porter in the 2018 primary. Governor Newsom won SD37 by 0.4% in 2018.
CA53 (San Diego): KPBS's Erik Anderson writes "Protesters gathered outside the office of Rep. Susan Davis, D-San Diego, Friday morning to ask her to support the Green New Deal. The environmentalists hope to dial up pressure on their Congressional representative to be more proactive on climate change issues."
Ten-term Congresswoman Davis has attracted a candidate to her left in fellow Democrat Jose Caballero in the safe Democratic district. Caballero's web site writes "We are fighting for healthcare for all, a Green New Deal, education for all, student loan debt forgiveness, and the Heroes' Promise."
PAYDAY LENDING: For KPBS, John Carroll reports on the "payday lending" bill by Assembly Banking and Finance chair Monique Limón (D-Santa Barbara) to cap interest rates on short-term loans that is heavily opposed by the industry. He writes:
Lorena "Gonzalez [a co-author] moderated a panel discussion on the bill in downtown San Diego Friday. The bill would cap the interest rate that lenders can charge at 35%.
Gonzalez said the bill is necessary to keep so-called payday lenders from charging what she said are exorbitant interest rates on short-term loans.
"It's time to re-regulate this industry and to ensure that we're providing a situation by which individuals aren't getting themselves into a cycle of debt that they can never get out of," she said."
The trade group representing the lenders — the California Financial Service Providers — claims the bill would effectively eliminate access to capital for people who can't get approved by banks and other lenders.
Gonzalez said her bill would rein in the worst abuses in the industry."
I'm also working on a longer form item on the politics of this issue, which involves very heavy hitters. Last year, a substantially similar bill by Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) received only 27 votes on the Assembly floor with no GOP support. This year, Limón's bill received 60 votes in favor on the Assembly floor, including eight Republicans including Assembly Republican Leader Marie Waldron (R-Escondido).
It's a very complicated issue to unravel the lobbying and political money because of layers of parent companies and subsidiaries and changing ownership. ProPublica had an article on the national efforts to beat back attempts to regulate the industry earlier this week.
Citing the ProPublica article, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon tweeted this morning:
When regulations on pay-day lenders are rolled back after the industry spends $1 million at a #Trump resort.
Hotel bills for an industry conference may be partially credited in giving the propulsion of Limón's AB 539 this year in a turnaround on a major policy issue.
If you haven't learned in our little Nooner conversations over the years, there's usually a lot more to bills than we learned in Schoolhouse Rock.
MUNI MATTERS and SAC RESTAURANT SCENE after the jump...
BAGHDAD BY THE BAY: KCBS's Doug Sovern was reporting by tweet yesterday on the advance by a committee of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors of a proposed ordinance to "of citywide ban on sale of e-cigs, vaping & flavored tobacco products that lack FDA approval." The full board will hear the proposal on June 18. He reports that there was well organized opposition, but the vote to advance was unanimous. Juul Labs Inc. is headquartered in the city and is obviously fiercely opposed to the proposed ordinance, but voters banned flavored tobacco (including menthol) in Proposition E with 68.39% of the vote in June 2018.
MORE FROM SF: Lyft, also headquartered in the city, has filed suit against the city, claiming it has reneged on a deal to give the company exclusive rights for street-rented bicycles. Of course, it has more to do with a fight to keep Uber's JUMP bikes off the city streets. Uber bought JUMP in early 2018 and the two companies have warred over business models and how they work with local governments.
...although bike-riding in the city regardless of the brand of bike may not be advised for the faint of heart.
SACTOWN SCHOOLS: While the Sac City Unified School District's budget is likely to be rejected by the Sac County Board of Education, the financial picture is actually improving, reports Sawsan Morrar in the Bee. Morrar writes:
"[T]he school board also heard hopeful news at its meeting Thursday night, as Jacquie Canfield, the district's contracted budget consultant, surprised many attendees by saying she had identified more than $5 million in savings after combing through the budget, correcting errors and eliminating funds that had been going unspent."
LAX: As if the Los Angeles International Airport needed any more bad news this week, the LAT's Rong-Gong Lin II reports that a traveler with measles passed through the airport over Memorial Day weekend. Lin reports:
"The potential places where the public may have been exposed to the infectious traveler on May 26, the Sunday before Memorial Day, were at Terminal 4 and Gate 48B between 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., and the day after Memorial Day, May 28, at the Tom Bradley International Terminal. Potential exposure could have also occurred at a remote gate, between 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Anyone who may have been at those locations at those times may be at risk of developing measles for up to 21 days after being exposed to the virus, one of the most highly contagious in the world."
Lin's article proceeds to give guidance from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to anyone who might have been exposed during those times.
A major power outage caused by a malfunction at an LADWP substation resulted in flight delays and cancellations Wednesday night and the evacuation of Terminal 1 (Southwest) on Thursday morning.
SAC RESTAURANT SCENE: Just after Esquire Grill closed attributing the two-year Sacramento Convention Center/Sacramento Community Theatre construction project, the Sac Business Journal reports that Nishiki Sushi on 16th will close later this morning. Nishiki will be replaced by a restaurant serving Persian/Mediterranean cuisine.
While the Sacramento restaurant scene is perhaps the most exciting in my 25 years up here, the loss of these two are sad. Esquire was a restaurant that preceded many events at the Community Theatre and business lunches and Nishiki was the site of many lunches with friends and colleagues after I moved to the CEO gig on 20th Street. That said, there are around ten other sushi restaurants within one mile of Nishiki and 16th Street is notorious for parking.
CAKEDAY after the jump...
#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Congressman Ken Calvert, Jess Durfee, Zoe Kipping, and Dave Lesher!
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