E-239 - Monday, July 8, 2019
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IN TODAY'S NOONER:
Happy Monday! Just a few quick items today as I want to get over to the 10:30am Senate Energy hearing on the wildfire and utilities bill, AB 1054.
Scratch that...the hearing was delayed until noon. Nevertheless, I'm in the Capitol sniffing around on several topics.
Nooner hearts go to our readers and friends in Washington, DC, which has had significant flooding this morning after heavy rainfall. Meanwhile, Gustavo Arrelano looks at the impact for the Times on the tiny town of Truno of the Ridgecrest quake.
AB 1054: Public utilities: wildfires and employee protection. As mentioned above, the Senate Energy, Utilities, and Communications and Senate Appropriations committees are scheduled to hear AB 1054 at noon. In the LAT, Taryn Luna reports for the LAT that it will be the first test of lawmakers on the ideas advanced by Governor Newsom's strike team to address the financial stability of the investor-owned electric utilities. The bill facilitates long-term borrowing for utilities to settle claims arising from wildfires by allowing them to "securitize" the debt incurred through the extension of a $2.50 per ratepayer charge on monthly bills.
I just ran over from Nooner Intergalactic Headquarters for the scheduled 10:30 hearing to find on the door that it has been delayed until noon. I'm waiting for the analysis to be copied right now. Of course, it's unclear whether the amendments made available on Saturday have updated support/opposition positions fully reflected.
SWALWELL: Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin) has called a 1pm press conference in Dublin to make a campaign announcement in Dublin. In the LAT, Michael Finnegan, Mark Z. Barabak, and Evan Halper report that he is expected to withdraw from the presidential and announce a run for re-election.
If Swalwell does announce for re-election to CA15, all eyes are on whether 32-year-old first-term Hayward councilwoman Aisha Wahab (D) stays in the race. Wahab has significant momentum that has likely required Swalwell to make decision before he wanted to. Basically, he was facing a "poop or get off the pot" decision. Swalwell's presidential store is full of "pass the torch" merch that pokes at Joe Biden, and plays off his ouster of 80-year-old incumbent Pete Stark in 2012. In turn, Wahab supporters are using "pass the torch" against Swalwell himself.
STEYER: While one Californian may be exiting the presidential sweepstakes, Daniel Strauss writes for Politico that billionaire climate change champion Democrat Tom Steyer appears to have reversed his January announcement that he would not run for President in 2020. Strauss reports:
"Steyer held a private conference call last week to announce to people who work for Need to Impeach, NextGen America and Steyer's Sacramento office that he was planning to run, according to one of the people.
There has been increasing chatter in recent months among those in Steyer’s circle about a potential run, according to two of the people, and one of the people said they expect him to talk a lot in his campaign about the economy given his background as a former hedge fund manager.
“He’s definitely focused on the [fact that the] economy is not as good as people are making it out to be,” said the person, who didn’t know the reason Steyer is making an about-face on his earlier decision.
“I think his heart’s in the right place. If he’s doing this, he’s got a reason behind it,” the person said. “He’s a very intelligent man.”
INSURANCE COMMISH: In the SDUT, Jeff McDonald reports on insurance industry contributions to Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara (D) for his 2022 re-election. OMG, like seriously? The people who care most about the regulatory office are those being regulated?
I know it's not a popular opinion in the world of electeds to suggest eliminating directly elected folks in these positions, but if I had a magic wand, all constitutional offices but for attorney general and secretary of state would be appointed by the governor with State Senate confirmation. Lieutenant governor would be a ticket like the federal level, and I think Eleni would be a great LG for Newsom to have on his ticket.
Anyway, I have no such magic wand and it won't happen. Until then, we'll get stories about how much money the educational establishment spends on battles for SPI and, indeed, insurance industry contributions to the insurance commissioner.
CENSUS 2020: The roller-coaster that is the citizenship question on the 2020 Census continued to be a wild ride over the weekend. Josh Gerstein reports for Politico that the Department of Justice has entirely switched up its legal team as the Administration pursues the question after Dept. of Commerce secretary Wilbur Ross said it was too late. Gerstein writes:
"A statement announcing the move gave no clear rationale for the shift, but legal experts said the lawyers who’ve handled the multi-front legal battle for the Trump administration over the last 15 months were likely to face questions about their credibility in the prolonged fight, since they repeatedly told federal courts that there was an urgent deadline at the end of last month to finalize the language for the census questionnaire.
A Justice Department lawyer who’d handled those cases, Joshua Gardner, found himself seeking to explain why he told the court that the administration was throwing in the towel following an adverse decision from the Supreme Court late last month, but Trump announced on Twitter that he planned to press on."
My legal ethics class with Cruz Reynoso didn't cover what you do when you have guidance from a client/boss, state it in court, and then are reversed by a boss of said your boss via a tweet that says the statement to the court was "FAKE NEWS." Well, even MySpace wasn't around then, let alone Twitter.
CHARTER SCHOOLS, MUNI MATTERS, and CAKEDAY after the jump...
CHARTERS: For CALmatters, Ricardo Cano reports on the charter school reform efforts to crack down on teacher credential exemptions:
"Whether all teachers should need a state credential to teach has long been debated. In California, the answer has been “yes” for teachers in traditional public schools.
But California law grants charter schools “flexibility” in credentialing requirements for teachers assigned to classes outside of the “core” subjects of math, reading, science and social studies, as well as “college prep” courses such as Advanced Placement.
Charter advocates and local school officials say the ability to expand limited applicant pools to include, say, professional artists, helps ensure a breadth of course offerings in areas such as dance, theater and music."
BAGHDAD BY THE BAY: In the Chron, Rachel Swan writes that while the number of used hypodermic syringes in downtown SF BART stations has been on the decline, it is not necessarily a good thing. Addicts are reportedly turning more to smoking fentanyl, which has seen a greater increase in overdose deaths than often injected heroin and meth.
#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Melanie Perron, Bob Shireman, and Lee-Anne Tratten!
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