E-252 - Wednesday, June 26, 2019
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RECENT AURAL PLEASURE:
IN TODAY'S NOONER:
Happy Humpday! No, I didn't post a picture of my #BourdainDay dinner last night that I threw together after a late podcast recording. I had Riverdog Farm pork belly in the fridge, so I threw together this recipe--Vietnamese pork belly in respect to Bourdain's stated favorite country. Actually, I just had leftovers for breakfast. It was delicious! I didn't have thawed shrimp, but as suggested, that will be a great addition next time.
Enough about me...we have poly-ticks to get to!
SCOTUS WITH THE MOSTUS: The Supreme Court handed down three opinions this morning but, unless Commerce Clause issues get you excited (they actually do me), it was a nothing butter. Tomorrow will be the last day of the term and there are four cases left, including the Census citizenship question and partisan gerrymandering.
So, one group of Democratic candidates will debate before the opinions in the two biggest election-related issues of the term and another after. Chief Justice Roberts is just effing with them.
DUNCAN HUNTER: For the SDUT, Jeff McDonald continued updating his story throughout the day on the prosecution's filings in advance of Monday's hearing on motions in the case of Congressman Duncan Hunter. He writes:
"The prosecutors’ motion to admit evidence of Hunter’s alleged infidelity said they tried to work with Hunter to avoid publicizing his alleged indiscretions. Specifically, they asked him to stipulate to certain behavior so they would not have to disclose the details of the spending outlined in the filing Monday.
“Before filing this motion, the United States offered to craft a factual stipulation that would eliminate the need to introduce this potentially sensitive evidence at trial (and eliminate the need to address this motion),” prosecutors wrote in a footnote. “Hunter declined that proposal, however.”
Did he add "I want to face my wife in court"?
Hunter's attorneys claim the whole thing is a witch hunt driven by Hillary Clinton-loving prosecutors. That has a familiar ring to it.
Hunter's attorneys have also filed a motion to have a change of venue to the Eastern District of California, which primarily sits here in Sacramento. Obviously, they are looking for the jury pool that stretches from Kern County to the Oregon border rather than San Diego and Imperial Counties.
DON'T TOUCH ME BROUGH (allegedly): More information (and confirmation) has come out about the accusations of aggressive sexual advances by Assemblymember Bill Brough (R-Dana Point), including a complaint made to the Assembly Rules Committee. Christine Mai-Duc writes for the Times:
"The allegations came to light last week, when Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett spoke out against an endorsement for Brough at an Orange County Republican Party meeting and claimed she had a past negative encounter with the lawmaker. In an interview with The Times, Bartlett said Brough propositioned and “attacked” her at an official event in 2011 when they were both on the Dana Point City Council.
Three other women, who spoke to The Times on condition of anonymity, citing fear of reprisal, have also alleged that Brough made unwanted advances toward them. One woman, a governmental affairs manager who filed a 2017 complaint against Brough with the Assembly Rules Committee, alleged that Brough propositioned her in a Sacramento hotel lobby. An Assembly investigation later found Brough did not violate Assembly policy. And a former Assembly staffer and former lobbyist claim that the legislator sexually harassed them in separate incidents in Capitol-area bars and implied he could help their careers if they obliged his overtures.
Brough, who is married, denies the claims, calling them a “coordinated effort of unsubstantiated allegations” that are politically motivated by rancor over his attempts to rein in a local toll road agency. He introduced a bill earlier this year that would have curtailed the powers of Orange County’s Transportation Corridor Agencies to build new roads and bridges but later pulled it, saying he would seek an audit instead."
As I always try to do in these situations, I was cautious when I first wrote about the matter on Saturday and when I talked about it on yesterday's podcast recording (to be released later this week). Now that the Times has spoken to three other women and with the below comment from Republican leadership, it appears to be more serious with allegations by a former Assembly staffer and former lobbyist, in addition to the governmental affairs manager's complaint that was cleared by the Assembly Rules Committee.
Mai-Duc's article has lots more, including a joint statement from Assembly Republican Leader Marie Waldron (R-Escondido) and Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) stating that such allegations should be taken seriously and reviewed by the new Legislature's Workplace Conduct Unit.
As I said yesterday on the pod, I've talked to a couple of GOP sources in Orange County and there doesn't appear to be any serious candidates waiting to replace Brough, who is in his third term (of six possible). Sure, anything with the phrase "toll road" in it in Orange County is controversial, but that didn't come up.
CALIFORNIA VS. NCAA: Yesterday, the Assembly Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism, and Internet Media committee approved SB 206 (Skinner and Bradford), which is the bill to allow college athletes to receive compensation for the use of their name, image, or likeness. The NCAA has threatened to ban California teams from championships if the bill--which would take effect January 1, 2023--is adopted. Democrats voted for the bill and the two Republicans abstained.
In addition to the NCAA, the bill is opposed by the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities, the California State University, PAC-12, and the University of Southern California.
PAYDAY! PAYDAY! For the LAT, Taryn Luna and Maloy Moore look at AB 539 (Limón), the bill that would reign in interest rates on short-term loans, commonly referred to as "payday loans." The bill, which has had iterations killed for as long as I can remember, had an easier-than-expected route through the Assembly and observers are unsure what will happen in the Senate. The bill was set for Banking and Institutions on June 13 and punted to today. It is scheduled to be heard after Insurance Committee, which starts at 1:30.
The new proposal extends more homeowner exemptions and covers fewer properties. It still means that, if qualified, campaign consultants and media will make bank in 2020. With rent control and split roll on the ballot, consultants can start shopping for more vacation homes and yachts.
"The proposal, filed Tuesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in San Francisco, would set aside between $16 billion and $18.4 billion to pay the claims of wildfire victims, insurance companies and others.
The plan also includes a provision for the reconstituted PG&E -- which the bondholders suggested could be renamed the "Golden State Power, Light & Gas Co." -- to contribute $4 billion to a new utility wildfire fund contemplated under legislation proposed last week by Gov. Gavin Newsom.
The bondholders committee -- a group of large investors that hold about $10 billion in PG&E bonds and other company debt -- is urging Judge Dennis Montali to substitute its plan for one that PG&E has been ordered to present by the end of September."
Does that mean that the baby blue trucks would be repainted to look like Sacramento's Tower Bridge?
"But instead of responding to "the obvious urgency," the bondholders said, PG&E has "wasted crucial time needlessly overhauling its board of directors to protect and entrench the parochial interests of an aggressive new subset of equity holders."
The filing says the plan would restore PG&E to financial health and help restore both its credit rating and those of the state's two other major utilities -- Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas and Electric.
The plan also emphasizes that it will be "rate neutral" for PG&E ratepayers, meaning customers will not be required to pay the cost of the reorganization."
It will be interesting to see if Governor Newsom takes sides on either proposal.
NEWSOM'S LEGACY? For CALmatters, Dan Walters writes that the legacies of politicians at all levels frequently are defined by how they handle crises, and how Governor Newsom handles his first--wildfire risk management and utility financial solvency--may define the new governor's.
OUT-OF-STATE PRISONS: In the Bee, Bryan Anderson reports that the final 33 California prisoners have been transferred out of a Mesa, Arizona private prison after hundreds more have been moved back in recent months. He writes:
"At its peak, the La Palma Correctional Facility housed 3,100 inmates who were sentenced for crimes in California, Waters said. California at one point had contracts with five other out-of-state detention centers."
California corrections Secretary Ralph Diaz called the use of out-of-state prisons a “temporary solution” to substantial overcrowding issues in the mid-2000s.
“Due to meaningful prison reforms, we have been able to bring our inmates back to California and closer to their families,” Diaz said in a news release."
MUNI MATTERS, CDP's JUUL $$$, and CAKEDAY after the jump...
BAGHDAD BY THE BAY: The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted yesterday to ban electronic cigarettes, such as Juul's vaping devices, becoming the first city in the nation to do so, reports Thomas Fuller for the New York Times. The law, if signed by Mayor London Breed, would take effect January 1, 2020.
"Merchants will be allowed six months to deplete their stock, and the ban will not affect the sale of conventional cigarettes or cannabis joints.
The board of supervisors passed a separate bill on Tuesday that would bar any e-cigarette company from renting space on company-owned land, a measure that would not affect Juul, which recently purchased a high-rise building in the city."
Juul previously leased space on city property.
Don't expect a similar statewide ban to make it through Assembly Governmental Organization Committee. They've been beJuuled.
Speaking of beJuuled, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network is asking the California Democratic Party to return any money it has received from Juul or its 35% owner, Altria. Juul was a prominent sponsor of the state party's convention at the beginning of the month, but nobody has actually found money reported (yet). There are interesting campaign finance issues here, as the party was required to report contributions over $999. Convention sponsorships certainly qualify for that and many were reported.
MORE FROM SF: Trisha Thadani reports for the Chron that SF supervisors have approved moving ahead with a 200-bed "Navigation Center" for homeless along the Embarcadero, which has been heftily opposed by area residents for fear that it will draw more homeless to the area.
DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL: Los Angeles County officials wanted to force Los Angeles Times reporters to disclose their unidentified sources of unpublished information that led to Public Records Act requests, but a Los Angeles County judge said the reporters are not required to, reports Ben Poston for the Times.
"The newspaper alleged in a court filing that county attorneys demanded unnecessary evidence from the journalists who had requested records from the Sheriff’s Department and district attorney’s office. The Times argued that unpublished information is protected by California’s Shield Law and should not be disclosed to satisfy the county’s demand for pretrial evidence."
SANDY EGGO: For Voice of San Diego, Scott Lewis writes up mayoral candidate Barbara Bry's campaign email message with the subject line "They're coming for our homes," citing fellow candidate Assemblyman Todd Gloria's affirmative vote on SB 330 (Skinner), which is a five-year bill meant to streamline the production of housing. SB 330 is seen as the "tweener" between doing nothing and Scott Wiener's more controversial SB 50, which has been shelved for the year, but is still opposed by the League of California Cities and many individual cities.
#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Tony Gonzalez and Angela Manetti!
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