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E-267 - Monday, June 10, 2019
RECENT AURAL PLEASURE:
SPORTS PAGE: The Dodgers take the series against the Giants 2-1. The Warriors face the Raptors in Toronto for Game 3 at 6pm. Trailing 3-1, it's do-or-die for Golden State's hopes for a three-peat.
In Women's World Cup soccer, the lunchtime game today is Canada vs. Cameroon, and tomorrow's finally will get USA's women on the pitch to face Thailand. Both games are at noon. If you're in downtown Sac and looking for a place to watch, get your grub and fútbol on at Darna Mediterranean, which is at 925 Kay Street, and open from 11-3. There are two large teevees, and who doesn't like a buffet when watching a game?
This is a not an advertisement, but rather just a personal plug to a great business (say "hello to Mo") that we want to keep around! Of course it's also a plug to support the United States women's national team and your other favorites through the Cup.
Happy Monday! What a great weekend in SacTown. Farmers market has moved in to the summer and I ate my first yellow peach of the season last night, which was delish. Peaches, nectarines, and pluots oh my! Also, I have discovered Jillity Farm's craft goat cheese from Garden Valley in El Dorado County. Jillity sells at the Davis farmers market on Saturdays and the main Sunday farmers market in Sacramento (under the freeway at 6th street) on Sundays.
This morning I had a dab of the habanero goat cheese with a scramble of eggs and asparagus from Riverdog Farm in Capay Valley. And, I'll put the cost of my breakfast up against the cost of a venti beverage at the house of the green princess across the Capitol (the old Next Chapter for old schoolers).
BUDGET DEAL: Last night, the Conference Committee on AB 74 (2019-20 State Budget) "closed out" its work on the spending plan with agreement with the Newsom administration. The action lists are found here.
Here is the governor's statement praising the plan.
Key articles on the deal...pick and choose among those you subscribe to:
The governor won on his Medi-Cal expansion for undocumented low-income residents aged 19-25, but the State Senate's desire to add seniors as well was not included. On drinking water clean-up, $130 million is included, using $30 million in General Fund and $100 million from cap-and-trade proceeds. Both houses had balked at the governor's proposal to enact a new fee/tax on water users. The Senate instead proposed $150 million in ongoing General Funds, while the Assembly kicked it to policy committees. Both houses were seeking a solution that avoided a vote on a "tax increase."
The final deal also includes the Governor's proposal to implement a state fine for those who don't buy (or already have) health insurance and uses the money to expand insurance subsidies for middle-income individuals. This fine to be paid on state taxes is similar to that included in the Affordable Care Act but repealed as part of tax reform.
The Legislature must pass the budget by midnight Saturday night if it hopes to continue receiving paychecks. Article IV, Section 8(b)(2) requires that the bill(s) be in physical print, distributed to members, and available on the Internet 72 hours before a final vote.
So, for those trying to make weekend plans, look to those elements. Much of the work to incorporate the provisions of the deal will be in trailer-bill language provisions, which make the statutory changes necessary to effectuate the budget. Those don't have to be completed by Saturday night. It's possible that Legislative Counsel could finish the AB 74 provisions by the end of the day today, as the attorneys have no doubt been preparing for this scramble.
If I were to gamble, I would bet on a vote Friday morning. But I learned long ago to never gamble on when a budget will be voted on. The question is how insistent Democrats (don't expect GOP votes for this budget) are on having trailer bills and how many in order to put up their AB 74 vote. Unlike before Proposition 25, leaders don't need all of the members of the Democratic caucuses in each house. Seven Democrats can be given a pass in the Assembly and one or two Dem votes can lay off in the Senate, depending on whether or not Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach) is sworn in yet.
However, the last thing Democratic leaders want to see is widespread defection on the spending plan, particularly if it is done with critical floor speeches.
WILDFIRES: As the State Senate's Senate Select Committee on Governor's 2019 Report: Wildfires and Climate Change - California's Energy Future prepares to convene to hear the report at 3pm today in room 112 of Governor Newsom's task force on the topic, the CAL FIRE reports that the Sand Fire is now at 2,220 acres and is 30% contained. Seven non-residential structures have been destroyed, apparently mostly agricultural out-buildings.
The draft of the report, which calls on changes to the "inverse condemnation" liability standard for utilities, can be found here.
The chair of the select committee is Bill Dodd (D-Napa), whose birthday is today, and who has the largest current fire in the state burning in his district. The cause of that fire has not yet been determined (or even suggested to my knowledge).
TWENTY-NINE HORSES: This weekend, two more horses died at Santa Anita, bringing the total that have died since December 26 to twenty-nine. One was injured with a presumed pelvic injury during a race and later died, while the second collapsed and died on the track during a race after the jockey jumped off.
Meanwhile, in the LA Times, John Cherwa reports that the Arcadia track has rebuffed calls by the state's regulatory board--the California Horse Racing Board--to suspend races as the deaths are investigated and new safety measures are fully implemented. The current "meet" closes June 23, so the board's request would affect six racing days. The industry-learning board has no authority to force the cessation of races.
HIGH-SPEED RAIL: For the LAT, Ralph Vartabedian writes that, while farmers gave up a lot of land through eminent domain high-speed rail, the checks aren't showing up.
HOUSING and MUNI MATTERS after the jump...
HOUSING: Joel Fox says he was surprised about the support expressed for allowing the state to override local zoning laws to encourage more housing density near transit and job-dense corridors, but he points out that it's a simple question without an expression of the arguments.
I agree and, as longtime readers know, I regularly pick apart top-line polls. What's important to note is that, like the gas tax for road repair, SB 50 (Wiener) can be done legislatively. Then, if there is enough opposition, there can be a referendum or a statutory initiative to change it. Only that way can you have a thorough informational campaign and discussion on the issue. As Gibran and I talk about on the pod dropped yesterday at around 35:00, the opposition by many cities was largely driven by wealthy donors and activists who councilmembers listened to even while the support was peppered with community and social justice organizations across the state.
In Los Angeles and San Francisco, you had mayors who vocally supported the bill, but councils (supes in SF) that opposed the bill. There's no mistaking that the most vocal opposition in Los Angeles was by former Assemblymember Paul Koretz, who represents the west side, including Century City and UCLA, as well as Encino. There are lots of wealthy neighborhoods of single-family homes among burgeoning industry in the academic-related and creative industries. In Encino, there are lots of single-family homes within 1/2 mile of the White Oak/Ventura Blvd Metro rail station.
He has used protecting tree-lined streets and backyards in Los Angeles (and assumedly a two-car garage) as he pushed through his opposition council resolution to SB 50. He's describing what I had growing up in Placentia. It was nice, but there wasn't a housing crisis. Public higher education, not just community colleges, were nominally free of academic charges. I had to walk through snow from the couch to the teevee to change the channel.
Nobody is proposing that my childhood home or anybody else's be plowed down to build condo towers on Montecito. It's about zoning for when there are willing buyers and sellers. I get that a backyard, two-car garage, front lawn, and swimming pool is the California Dream. I also know, however, lots of families living in denser housing that have given up nothing I had growing up.
In fact, I live in a large apartment on a lot that used to accommodate a single-family house and I'm guessing a large yard. Because of private development, there are now three units accommodating six people, although that's certainly not the capacity. We have a nice courtyard in the middle where a couple play with their little one. There's a large park and pond across the street. There's a community pool two blocks away. There are festivals in the park and farmers market (three blocks away). I enjoyed my neighborhood growing up and still keep in touch with some of those "kids" but that doesn't mean that's the only way to have a great childhood.
The Southside Park neighborhood is seeing lots of projects that are densifying the area, including a quadplex across from me and lots of new construction around the corner on Fifth Street. This is all going through willing buyers and sellers and the willingness of a Planning Commission to set aside complaints from some neighbors. Densification doesn't necessarily destroy neighborhoods, as Councilmember Koretz suggests. Rather, with good project review (something that would still be enabled under SB 50), it can actually build neighborhoods.
Read the Daily Bruin editorial on the topic that skewers Koretz.
I don't know what would happen if SB 50 were passed (or placed on the ballot by initiative), but UCLA's 45,428 students (let alone faculty and staff) may not be influential before the LA City Council, but they would quickly dwarf NIMBYism of the wealthy neighborhoods who constantly fight students over parking and housing developments. They would be voting on whether they have local housing or continue to spend as much time sitting on the 405 than in class.
A ballot fight would be ugly and points to why the Legislature needs to tackle this issue--sooner rather than later. Meanwhile, Michael Weinstein and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation are prepared to dump millions of their pharmaceutical/HMO profits into another ugly rent control campaign.
I'm not going to play the Clue game of exactly who killed ("deferred for more discussion") SB 50 and whether they used a candlestick, wrench, or rope. What I do think is that if this issue is not addressed, there could be a Proposition 13-type rebellion, albeit from the opposite side of who fueled it in 1978. Remember, that effort was propelled through inaction in Sacramento.
Could Scott Wiener become the next Howard Jarvis-like figure?
LA-LA LAND - HOMELESS: While we're on the topic of housing, Sonja Sharp reports for the Times that, while 16,500 people are sleeping in cars, vans, and RVs in Los Angeles, there aren't enough safe places to park. And, that's after a pilot of city-secured lots for such purposes.
LA-LA LAND - SCHOOLS: For CALmatters, Dan Walters joins the criticism of education leaders in Los Angeles over the failure of Measure EE, the $500 million parcel tax proposal that had an embarrassing defeat on June 4:
"In the future, if new school taxes are proposed in Sacramento, Los Angeles or anywhere else, officials shouldn’t try to fool voters with clever buzzwords. They should be honest about their finances, own up to their miscues, own up to pension and health care expenses and stop blaming charter schools for their travails."
In the LA Daily News, Ariella Plachta writes that some Measure EE supporters see the campaign as good practice for the larger campaign for a statewide property tax increase on commercial and industrial properties on the November 2020 ballot. It won't be easy.
CAKEDAY and SACTOWN GRUB after the jump...
SACTOWN GRUB: Tomorrow, the physical location of Culinerdy Kitchen opens up at 524 12th Street (12th between F & G), moving from food truck to bricks and mortar. While it may be out of the immediate zone Capitol folks think of for lunch, there are bike racks right in front that look quite inviting for a short Jump bike ride. The spot previously housed Margarita's Village.
They plan to open initially for lunch and dinner from 11am until 7pm Monday through Friday
In a few weeks, they plan to expand to breakfast from 6am, which will feature pancakes many ways, including vegan and gluten free, and with toppings galore.
Here is the full menu.
#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Aaron Davis, Senator Bill Dodd, Charles Halnan, Larry Levine, Dean Vogel, and Timothy Wendler!
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