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E-263 - Friday, June 14, 2019
RECENT AURAL PLEASURE:
Happy Friday! You made it! It's been a long hot week and, no, my a/c hasn't been fixed yet. Fortunately, it's much cooler today and I'm looking forward to a great Friday evening at the River Cats game. I'm looking forward to rooting for a sport other than basketball.
Anyway, we can now focus on our outstanding women's soccer team. As if my Sunday mornings weren't busy enough, USA faces Chile on Sunday at 9am. Yes, we faced Thai in the first game and will be on the pitch with Chile in the second game. That makes me very Hungary.
As noted above, we have a new podcast out today with guest Sacramento City Councilmember Steve Hansen. Even if you don't live in SacTown, I think you'll find plenty of aural pleasure in the episode. Hansen represents all of downtown Sac and is the first openly gay member of the council. The McGeorge School of Law alum has been a lobbyist for Equality California and is currently Of Counsel with Lighthouse Public Affairs.
We talk housing (SB 50) and homelessness, as well as relations between police and the African-American community. We also of course talk downtown Sacramento, where all three of us live.
BUDGET: As expected, the 2019-20 budget bill (AB 74) passed both houses on a party-line vote yesterday.
POLL POSITION: The video of the presentation of the latest PPIC poll is now available. My friend Dean Bonner always rocks it.
I finally watched the "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" episode that featured the horse deaths at Santa Anita. Absolutely incriminating. Fifty dead horses on average a year at Santa Anita since 2007. This site tracks horse deaths, something most states don't.
"The number of thoroughbreds in this country chewed up and spit out each year in the so-called Sport of Kings is alarming and flat out disgusting."
As highlighted in the episode, Europe has the sport and operates it much better.
I've written before about why "animal friendly" legislators are turning a blind eye to the issue at Santa Anita, largely because of the various unions representing employees at the track. Another interest is the drug companies as horses are regularly drugged up in the United States. In Europe, zero drugs can be in a horse's bloodstream on raceday.
And, while horse slaughtering is illegal in most states including California, horses are often sent to Canada and Mexico, where it is legal.
Last month, Joe Mathews looked at the possibility of an initiative to clean up horse racing. Last year, Florida voters banned greyhound racing beginning next year and the last track has closed. Yes, Florida.
I have written before that I'm not against horseracing per se, but if it can be done more safely for horses and jockeys, I see no reason why not to do so.
We're changing the rules for youth football because we know of the long-term effects of tackle football on the brain. We don't know the long-term effects on horses because we kill them when they "break down," or more often, send them to another country to be killed. The public disclosure of these industry-characterized "break downs" is strange, such as "took a bad step," "suffered a fatal musculoskeletal injury," or simply "went wrong."
Santa Anita has two weekends left of racing but continues to ignore the call for a suspension by the Governor, senior U.S. Senator, and even the industry-friendly California Horse Racing Board. The industry may disappear in California completely because of the obstinance of one track.
All it would take is one person with deep pockets to place it on the ballot. The Real Sports segment alone is enough of a campaign to outlaw horse racing California-style.
Meanwhile, in fairness, Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa), who chairs Senate Governmental Organization (G.O.) does have a bill to give the California Horse Racing Board the authority to suspend racing at the state's tracks. The bill passed out of Assembly G.O. 20-0-1 yesterday in a special emergency hearing requested by Governor Newsom given the public outcry about Santa Anita. The hearing lasted three minutes and thirty seconds and had no witnesses.
Fortunately for legislators, summer recess begins as the State Fair commences on July 12, with weekend racing through July 28.
HOUSING: On Fox & Hounds, Beverly Hills mayor John Mirisch responds to my write-up on SB 50 (Wiener) and not unexpectedly has a very different view. I welcome it since the bill was killed in Senate Appropriations.
As I told John, I appreciate his perspective. We can have a fair debate even as the Senate ducks a debate and vote on the issue. I honestly don't know solutions on housing but certainly welcome a debate.
Meanwhile, after we talked with Councilmember Steve Hansen about it, the Bee's Theresa Clift reports that the conversion of the Capitol Park Hotel to short-term housing is not going smoothly.
DUNCAN's DOO-DOO, CA15, BABY STEPS, and MONEY MATTERS after the jump...
DUNCAN'S DOO-DOO: Things looked bad when Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine) and his wife Margaret were indicted by the feds on campaign finance shenanigans. Morgan Cook and Jeff McDonald report for the SDUT:
"During a change-of-plea hearing in the federal courthouse in San Diego, Margaret Hunter formally admitted that she illegally used thousands of dollars in campaign donations for her personal expenses.
Margaret Hunter, 44, pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy. She faces up to five years in federal custody and a $250,000 fine when she is sentenced Sept. 16. She also could receive up to three years of supervised probation following her release from prison.
The 22-page agreement makes clear that Margaret Hunter has been cooperating with prosecutors for months — and her eventual sentence will reflect that help."
She basically has agreed to blow the whistle on her husband.
The congressman will be going to the pokey too, but likely for longer since he's not playing ball like Margaret did. The congressman really doesn't want to go to trial as salacious details such as hotel rooms with others not his wife would be publicly disclosed. The trial is scheduled for September. If he doesn't get a continuance, look for him to resign.
If Hunter resigns before August 21, a special election will be called (E-180 +14). After that date the special will likely be consolidated with the March 3, 2020 primary. In the race, 2018 Democratic challenger Ammar Campa-Najjar has filed, as have Republicans Temecula councilmember Matt Rahn, El Cajon mayor Bill Wells, and retired Navy Seal Larry Wilske.
AP story if you don't have SDUT access.
Meanwhile...if you didn't know that the Federal Elections Commission is perhaps the most dysfunctional agency in the country, we have this story about Devin Nunes. As presented on The West Wing, it's a stupid agency that usually deadlocks 2-2 without a fifth appointment. Both major parties are totally complicit in it.
CA15 (Hayward-Pleasanton-Livermore): As noted above, Senator Bob Wieckowski is passing on a run for Eric Swalwell's CA15, and instead running for Alameda County supe. While Swalwell has qualified for the Democratic debates, he's a clear longshot for the presidential. Wieckowski has a free ride next year as he is term-limited in 2022. Thus, Wieckowski will take the lesser risk of supervisor for the vacancy being created in District 1 as Scott Haggerty doesn't pursue re-election.
Swalwell punched a ticket for the second night of Dem debates--June 27 on NBC. While the second night, he'll be on stage with Sanders, Harris, and Biden, likely the biggest audience of the two nights.
BABY STEPS: For CALmatters, Ben Christopher and Lauren Rosenhall look at why many ambitious proposals be Democratic legislators are not progressing, despite supermajorities in both houses.
MONEY MATTERS: Senator Steve Glazer's ballot measure committee accepted $8,000 from Anhueser Busch, a St. Louis Company (or so the ads tell me). Yeah, the ballot measure committee was for Proposition 72 in 2018 and passed with 84.6% of the vote, but who really cares. It's all in the ballot measure committee loophole.
CAKEDAY after the jump...
#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Phillip Kim, former Assembly member Ted Lempert, and Barry "The Fish" Melton!
While the video is mostly Country Joe, Barry's guitar certainly is certainly heard. He went on to be Yolo County Public Defender and now has a private law practice.
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