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California Legislative Directory| Classifieds | Sofa Degree

E-253 - Tuesday, June 25, 2019

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SacTown Talks by The Nooner



  • AD01 (Northeast Cal.): added farmer/businesswoman Megan Dahle (R)


  • Budget
  • Death penalty
  • Student loan forgiveness
  • Duncan Hunter and drip...drip...drip...
  • Child care
  • Homeless students
  • Student athletes
  • Public banking
  • Background checks
  • Smoking trash
  • Cakeday


Today would have been Anthony Bourdain's sixty-third birthday, so I'm tracking down fantastic and interesting local cheap eats around the city for the week. You can see my progress on my Facebook post. Warning, if you are reading this before lunch, you might get hungry. Yes, we gnawed on every chewable part of Vietnamese fried catfish last night. Very different from fried catfish on the stick at the State Fair. Highly recommend Tay Giang.

We'll see what I run across today after we record the pod at 4. And yes, instead of the usual CNN and late night shows running in the background as I write, I have Anthony Bourdain episodes running. I saw 5 minutes of CNN, so I don't need to see the same breaking news repeating for the next 5 hours. So now in the background, "Tony" is taking me on a tour of Laos in a story as much about the Laotian, Hmong, and Mien people as about food. 

Speaking of food, many of us were crushed with the news of the fire at Queen Sheba Ethiopian restaurant on Broadway. The fire was started at 4:30am yesterday and was confined to the exterior front of the restaurant. It is being investigated as arson and reportedly there is video from a nearby business that captured someone pulling up and igniting the blaze. Of course, the concern of a hate crime immediately comes to mind given the number of restaurants on Broadway and the Ethiopian black-owned one was the one chosen.

We'll let the investigation proceed to determine the facts. For now, if you'd like to help with the restoration, there is a GoFundMe page. Whether you give or not, I'll let you know when the restaurant reopens and hope you try it. They have an outstanding veggie/vegan buffet for lunch Monday-Friday. Here's the menu, and they hope to reopen as soon as possible, as the damage was confined to the exterior.

Meanwhile, my air conditioning was just fixed because it will be a high of 79 tomorrow. That's the problem in Sacramento. The waitlist for a tech gets long during heat waves. Undoubtedly, we haven't seen nothing yet.



BUDGET: Friend of the Nooner and lobbyist Chris Micheli shares an updated list of budget trailer bills. The governor has until midnight Thursday to approve the budget and trailer bills. Additional trailers can be approved after the budget, and additional revisions are already being discussed. 

Yesterday's actions included the approval of the individual health care mandate tax penalty that will be used to increase the subsidies under Covered California, the state's health care exchange. The federal individual mandate that was part of the Affordable Care Act was eliminated by Congress in 2017. 

DEATH PENALTY: The murder of a rookie Sacramento Police Department officer last week presents a quandary for Sacramento District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert, reports Scott Shafer for KQED. The case qualifies under law for the death penalty, which is still on the books, although 58% of likely voters responded that they would prefer life without the possibility of parole over the death penalty. Only 38% responded that they would prefer the death penalty.

Of course, as I wrote at the time of the poll's release (or said on the podcast--it's all a blur), generic responses change when applied to an individual case. Those numbers shift dramatically if voters are presented with the photo of the 26-year-old Sacramento State alum and that of the accused. Think of a television commercial if there were these two photos:

Tara O'Sullivan Adel Sambrano Ramos
Officer Tara O'Sullivan Accused Adel Sambrano Ramos

You don't have to have a Ph.D. in political science or law degree to know that the poll of 38% for death penalty, 58% for life w/o possibility numbers flip right there. 

I've written in this space before that I believe law should be developed without consideration of individual cases and that I personally have always been against the death penalty. However, that's not my job in The Nooner. My job is, to the best of my ability, provide analysis of policy and political issues. 

This is why I said that legislators should be cautious in pushing forward ACA 12, particularly if it would go on the ballot in 2020. Other photos from heinous crimes would be dug up and used in commercials against the measure. I'd be a vote to remove the ban of statutory changes to the death penalty from the state constitution, but I'd likely be in the 38% and not the 58%.

Let me be clear that I have not spoken to the district attorney's office about anything other than rescheduling the podcast with DA Schubert. However, like many other DAs around the state have done since Governor Newsom's moratorium was issued, I expect Schubert to seek the ultimate penalty in this case and leave it to future governors to decide whether or not to carry it out. Otherwise, she could face a barrage of ads against her featuring the above pictures in her future campaigns.

I don't like it, but it is a political reality that when a cop killer case lands on a DA's desk in all but a few counties, the death penalty is sought. The moratorium, which I support, doesn't change that reality.

HUNTER: Duncan Hunter is hoping that evidence that two Assistant United States Attorneys attended a Hillary Clinton event for a photo op in 2016 will be enough to get a federal judge to throw out a campaign finance indictment, reports Ken Stone for Voice of San Diego. Hunter's wife Margaret has already entered into a plea agreement on a single count with assumedly a commitment to testify, making his defense efforts a challenge. The next motion hearing is July 1 with a trial scheduled for September 10.

DRIP...DRIP...DRIP...: Meanwhile, in the SDUT, Jeff McDonald reports:

"Rep. Duncan Hunter began living with a woman other than his wife early in his first term in the U.S. House of Representatives, one of a series of personal intimate relationships prosecutors say he began with lobbyists and congressional staffers during his elected service.

In a sweeping series of court filings this week, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Diego accuses the six-term Republican from East County of engaging in a litany of extramarital affairs and paying for some of it with campaign funds while serving in Congress.

Hunter’s initial relationship with a woman who was not his wife began in April 2009, prosecutors say, three months after he took over the congressional seat previously held by his father, also named Duncan Hunter. Soon the newly elected congressman moved in with a lobbyist who is identified in court papers as Individual 14.


The assertions this week are the first time federal prosecutors have publicly accused Rep. Hunter of engaging in extramarital affairs."

This ongoing story alone justifies an electronic subscription to the San Diego Union-Tribune as if he continues to fight, it will just get more salacious. 

Darrell Issa is licking his chops for a chance to return to Congress since he won't be confirmed as Director of the United States Trade and Development Agency to which he was appointed by President Trump.

CHILD CARE: Katie Orr writes for KQED that, despite a large need for child care slots, progress is impeded because of the low wages and benefits for the employees who pay for kids. Even with that, the costs are unbearable for many California families. One example Orr cites:

"It has not always been easy, but Alexander enjoys the work. She is one of more than 27,000 in-home child care providers in the state. It’s far from a lucrative career. She and her husband watch a dozen kids. They make about $24,000 a year combined. She estimates they each work 55 hours a week, which comes out to $4.20 per hour.

“And that doesn't count my before-hours or my after-hours," she said. "This morning I was up at 6 o'clock getting ready for the kids to be here at 7. And then at night we're putting things away and cleaning up, and the weekends grocery shopping.”

HOMELESS STUDENTS: In the Bee, Andrew Sheeler reports on the opposition that has emerged from the community colleges to AB 302 (Berman), which would require community colleges to keep at least one parking lot open overnight to allow homeless students a place to park and sleep in their cars.

I don't want to disparage my former colleagues and agree there are costs and liability, but I'll just say I'm glad I'm not there to argue against the bill and try not to follow community college issues these days.

I will associate this, however, with the proposal by Bernie Sanders yesterday to forgive student loans without a means-test. The biggest champions of this are Sanders (Vermont) and Warren (Massachusetts), two states without a huge tradition of public education and some of the costliest private colleges (Harvard, MIT, Middlebury) in the country. Further, in law school, many of us (most?) took out more loans than needed for better living spaces, movies, nice meals, and the like. We had jobs lined up and we were confident that we could pay the loans back. The same thing was true with my friends in medical and business school. We were in professional school and wanted our lives to reflect that while still students.

Meanwhile, we have community college students that want to be able to sleep in their cars overnight in parking spaces they are paying for and it is being opposed.

There's a huge moral hazard is these blanket (or near-blanket) loan forgiveness proposals. I expressed these exact concerns on Twitter yesterday and was widely attacked. I'm a big boy and can handle it, but my point is well supported in AB 302.

STUDENT ATHLETES: Also for KQED, Jeremy Siegel reports on the threat by the NCAA to ban California teams from championships if the Legislature pursues and the governor signs the bill to allow compensation for the use of a student's name, image, or likeness. It would also allow a student athlete to secure professional representation for such activities. The bill is SB 206 (Skinner and Bradford), which was up in the Assembly Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism, And Internet Media committee this morning. The hearing wasn't televised or webcasted and obviously I'm at my desk. I'll let you know the outcome tomorrow.

PUBLIC BANKING: Scott Soriano writes for Capitol Weekly on AB 857 (Chiu and Santiago) that would allow the creation of public banking institutions in California. He writes:

"With a public bank, the “shareholder” is the public, not private individuals. The goal of personal profit is replaced with whatever benefits the community. If a municipality prioritizes low interest small business loans in a blighted area in order to bring jobs to an impoverished community, the public bank is there as a resource. Municipalities can, in turn, use their rich deposits to secure low interest loans for infrastructure development, low income housing, and other projects commercial banks are loath to loan money to, especially at low interest rates."

The bill passed the Assembly with the bare minimum 41 votes and obviously has huge opposition from the private banking industry, business, and taxpayer groups.

BACKGROUND CHECKS: Carla Marinucci tweets "On Monday, CA will become the first state in this country to reequire point of sale background checks" on ammo sales --  and "that should be a point of pride,'' says CA Gov. @GavinNewsom."

SMOKING TRASH: For CALmatters, Rachel Becker reports on an effort by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson to ban filtered cigarettes, plastic holders, and single-use electronic cigarettes over the trash that they create. Becker writes:

"The bill [SB 424] cleared the Senate in May, but it’s now in the Assembly Committee on Governmental Organization—where previous cigarette butt bans have gone to die.

If Jackson’s bill meets the same fate, she warns the tobacco and e-cigarette industry could face an even more difficult road ahead. Alameda and Santa Cruz counties are considering policies of their own to curb cigarette butt litter. And the Beverly Hills city council just voted for a tobacco-products sales ban that goes well beyond the butt."

Assembly G.O. as a graveyard? Who woulda thunk? Oh yes, we followed the tobacco money to members of the committee on May 1. Publicly, the tobacco and vape companies aren't in opposition, but that's how they roll. Only the convenience stores registered opposition for the Senate Floor.

MUNI MATTERS and CAKEDAY after the jump...

Probolsky Research



LA-LA LAND: In the Times, Maya Lau reports that while new Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva has ordered the county's jails to not cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, it's still happening.

"The reality inside the jails is a complex tango that grants ICE a role while distancing it as a law enforcement partner, illuminating the political tightrope Villanueva is walking in balancing the demands of the immigrant rights groups that helped him get elected with his own concerns over public safety.

“I know some people say we shouldn’t transfer any inmates from jail to ICE. Others say we should have an ICE agent in practically every jail cell. As L.A. County Sheriff, my priority is to ensure everyone’s public safety and to uphold the law,” Villanueva said in a statement. “We are protecting everyone, including undocumented persons, by not letting those violent criminals back into the community where they pose a threat.”

Villanueva noted that ICE transfers declined 47% from January through April compared to the same period last year."

SANDY EGGO: A man and a woman riding Lime motorized scooter riders collided on the Mission Beach sidewalk while riding adjacent to each other and were thrown to the ground and appeared to suffer minor injuries. The man complained of chest pains and was taken to the hospital and subsequently died. A medical examination for cause of death is taking place. 

#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to former Assemblymember Sam Blakeslee, John Paul Drayer, Assemblymember Mike Gipson, Larry Kaplan, and Joe Romero Jr.!




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