E-254 - Monday, June 24, 2019
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RECENT AURAL PLEASURE:
WEEKENDS AT THE NOONER: I anticipate that many of you spent the weekend in the water or and summer festivals, so you may have missed whatever Nooner goodness was cobbled together. Here's some of what was covered:
IN TODAY'S NOONER:
Happy Monday! While I'm still waiting on an air conditioning tech, I had menudo for lunch and bún bo Hue for dinner. If Anthony Bourdain can have soup in outdoor stalls in some of the hottest, most humid climates on earth, I can do it too. He would have been 63 tomorrow.
Actually, while most Americans think of soup as a winter choice, it's very popular in hot climates. When I've been fishing with my dad in the Gulf of California, every day's lunch on the boat had soup. It's common in most parts of Mexíco outside of zonas turísticas.
For a Monday morning, it's been a busy one!
Gibran and I are back behind the mic tomorrow for What a Week, so send us your perspectives from the last week. Obviously, we've had lots going on!
SCOTUS WITH THE MOSTUS: All weekend, Supreme Court watchers were anticipating big decisions this morning, but the anticipation was pretty FUCT. The sitting was a nothing butter, except for those directly involved. No partisan gerrymandering or Census citizenship question opinions. The Court's next sitting is Wednesday and there are 7 cases left, so there will likely be two remaining sittings in the term--Wednesday and Thursday or Friday. The last sitting day is usually when retirements are announced. Justice Thomas is the only one on the radar of a possible retirement although it is unlikely for the 71-year-old.
Today's four opinions were by three of the most junior members--Gorsuch, Kagan, and Alito. During each sitting, opinions are provided in reverse seniority order. One could surmise that since there were so many cases pending for the last week of the term that the likely three sittings are spread out in reverse seniority order.
I am guessing that Chief Justice Roberts will author the partisan gerrymandering or Census citizenship question opinions--regardless of which way they go. He is focused on the image of the Court and recognizes that importance of the image of the Chief Justice authoring such high-profile decisions (think Warren Court).
Today's decision that will be most widely talked about is in the FUCT case. In an opinion authored by Justice Kagan that had all justices concurring in at least in part, the Court held that the United States Patent Office unconstitutionally denied a trademark application by Erik Brunetti for his clothing brand FUCT. The Patent Office denied it stating that it was "immoral" or "vulgar" under 15 U.S.C. §1052(a) The justices noted that the clothing brand is pronounced F-U-C-T and that it was not, excuse the pun, patently "immoral" or "vulgar."
I haven't gotten to dissecting the opinions of Roberts, Breyer, and Sotomayor that concurred in part and dissented in part, but it should make for an interesting afternoon read.
HORSE RACING: In the LAT, John Cherwa reports that the focus on the 30 horse deaths at Santa Anita since December 26 may have implications across the entire industry. Cherwa writes:
"Horse racing is not a sport that is typically quick to embrace change. Even in the midst of crisis, the three biggest race track operators — the Stronach Group, which runs Santa Anita, Golden Gate Fields in Albany, Calif., and Pimlico and Laurel in Maryland; Churchill Downs Inc.; and the New York Racing Assn. — haven’t agreed on many issues, including whether there should be a national organization to oversee medication rules."
The Santa Anita winter meet is now over and the focus turns to the fall including the November 1-2 popular Breeders' Cup.
POT BANKING: Today at 3:30 in Room 444, the Assembly Banking and Finance Committee will hear SB 51 (Hertzberg), which seeks to allow state-chartered banks and credit unions that would be allowed to provide banking services from the legal cannabis industry. Given that the bill passed the Senate on a bipartisan vote, it should easily pass although the conversation will be interesting to watch.
CRIME AND PUNISHMENT: For CALmatters, Ben Christopher writes that new research suggests that there has been no spike in crime following the accelerated prisoner release policies implemented during the Brown Administration. [PPIC report]
"When the U.S. Supreme Court ordered California to disgorge tens of thousands of inmates from its overcrowded prison system in 2011, Justice Antonin Scalia warned in his dissent of “the terrible things sure to happen as a consequence” including the “inevitable murders, robberies, and rapes to be committed by the released inmates.”
But researchers who’ve looked at how how often those released from the state’s prisons and jails in the ruling’s aftermath say such fears have not come to pass."
FROM THE DESK OF THE DEAN: George Skelton writes in the Times on the budget that Governor Newsom will sign this week:
"Gavin Newsom has reached an important milestone in his reign as California’s rookie governor. He has produced his first state budget. So far, OK.
Nothing spectacular. Nothing horrible. But OK."
"Check back in mid-October after he has signed or vetoed perhaps 1,000 bills. And we’ve had a wildfire season."
FOX ON TWO CALIFORNIAS: Joel Fox writes that while the economic metrics of California look strong, it doesn't amount to lipstick on the pig that is found on streets across the state--homelessness, disease, filth, and poverty. "Cleaning up the streets is a basic first step to not only provide a needed healthier environment for the state’s citizens but also to clean up the state’s image as well."
This actually is well-timed considering a discussion on Twitter (if that's what you call it) following Bernie Sanders's call for massive student loan forgiveness. Proponents argue that homelessness and high rents justify it, while many of us paid off our loans and also struggle now with high rents. I believe in means-tested loan forgiveness for public service professions (including nonprofits). Many institutions already have such programs. At Davis as the Law Students Association president, I authored a student fee hike for exactly that (to parallel a program of financial assistance for Pell recipients at the undergrad level that students would subsequently approve).
Perhaps the federal government should match such local efforts as they are likely in need of more funds. A collateral issue is that many of these local efforts are in endowed restricted funds or fees approved by the student body that can't be used for anything else. How do you reconcile that if the federal government is doing a blanket loan forgiveness?
As 1992 candidate Paul Tsongas would say (to Bill Clinton in a debate), "I'm no pander bear," but that is what's happening as the 24-person Democratic field try to make headlines.
MUNI MATTERS and CAKEDAY after the jump...
BAGHDAD BY THE BAY ELECTRIC UNICYCLES? And if you thought the scooters on sidewalks was sketchy, some in space-confined San Francisco are crazy over electric unicycles, writes Carolyn Said in the Chron. No, they aren't what you think and they aren't provided by a company. Instead of the circus act tall cycles, the rider is low to the ground on sitting on a seat with a wide tire.
LA-LA LAND SCOOTERS: In the LA Daily News, Ethan Varian reports that while electric scooters are popular in much of LA, much of the San Fernando Valley feels left out on the craze. "When the Los Angeles City Council debated the ordinance that would eventually regulate electric scooters and bikes in the city, L.A. City Councilwoman Nury Martinez appeared determined to make sure often-overlooked communities in the San Fernando Valley wouldn’t miss out on the latest transportation alternative."
SANDY EGGO: In the SDUT, Joshua Emerson writes that environmental laws largely are stopping the San Diego regional sprawl, while developers say that urban infill doesn't pencil out:
"The San Diego region is on the front lines of a statewide push to abandon suburban development in favor of building denser urban communities — a vision many California leaders have called for to curb greenhouse gases from cars and trucks.
Forcing existing neighborhoods, however, to shoulder increasingly more development is proving expensive and slow at a time when San Diego and many other regions are suffering a severe lack of affordable housing."
Of course, traditional homebuilders particularly in Southern California are used to constructing single-family wood-framed homes with yards and pools and downtown infill projects are usually different construction firms and labor forces. Change is hard, as evident in the fight over SB 50 (Wiener).
#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Josh Franco!
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