E-238 - Tuesday, July 9, 2019
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RECENT AURAL PLEASURE:
IN TODAY'S NOONER:
Happy Taco Tuesday! Hopefully you received my Nooner Nightcap last night. I covered several of the big legislative and political developments in what was a wild day.
Here are the final votes on the key bills I covered:
Senator Borgeas was absent yesterday, which explains his abstentions. He wasn't doing the 🦆🦆🦆maneuver.
On to the a fews of the gnus...
QUAKES: President Trump has approved Governor Newsom's request for a federal disaster declaration for the quakes near Ridgecrest.
STEYER: San Franciscan and billionaire Tom Steyer announced on Twitter this morning that he is indeed running for the Democratic nomination for President. Steyer is well-known in Democratic circles as a major donor and he's behind the "Need to Impeach" ads that routinely featured him. His NextGen organization works on climate change and many other progressive causes. The retired hedge fund manager has a bachelor's from Yale and an MBA from Stanford.
Steyer's entrance today fills the gap left when Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin) stepped off the stage yesterday.
There's also just something weird with Steyer "announcing" on the day Ross Perot dies. "Now listen' here"...
POLICE RECORDS: While most police unions have dropped their fights to challenge the retroactivity of police records disclosure bill SB 1421 (Skinner) adopted last year, the legal fight continues in Ventura County and San Francisco, reports Alex Emslie for KQED. In San Francisco, Attorney General Xavier Becerra's office was unsuccessful in getting the First District Court of Appeal to reverse the superior court's holding that the AG's office must disclose records under the law that it has maintained on investigations of officer use-of-force and misconduct in local agencies, not just those officers employed by the state.
Meanwhile, in Ventura County, the Second District Court of Appeal has been asked to overturn district court judge Henry J. Walsh's June 19 ruling that SB 1421 does not apply retroactively to files maintained before January 1, 2019 when the bill took effect. Walsh's conclusion differed with other cases, including the Alameda County case upheld by the First District.
INSURANCE COMMISH: Jeff McDonald reports for the Union-Tribune that Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara (D) will return contributions from executives of companies he regulates. McDonald writes:
“I pledged not to accept insurance money during my campaign, and it is a pledge I intend to keep,” Lara said. “I appreciate The San Diego Union-Tribune bringing this to my attention.”
Appreciation with the sincerity of a three-dollar bill...
COVERED CALIFORNIA: In the Bee, Hector Amezcua reports:
"Covered California announced Tuesday morning that it expects an average premium increase of 0.8 percent for 2020 in the state’s individual marketplace, the lowest such rate change since the health insurance exchange started business in 2013.
Peter V. Lee, the executive director of Covered California, attributed the low rate change to bills passed by the California Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom over the past six months.
The legislation includes a so-called individual mandate that will impose a state tax penalty on any California resident who does not maintain health insurance coverage and offers state subsidies that will help an estimated 922,000 residents pay for insurance."
SMOKIN' AND TRASHIN': Yesterday, I tweeted the following: "State employees who smoke and throw their butts on the ground in the smoking areas outside their building should lose their civil service job. Maybe I’ll start taking pictures."
Now, I was indeed being overly dramatic to get the attention of people. Nevertheless, it is a real problem. Since California law prohibits smoking within 20 feet of a main entrance, exit, or operable building window or a state-owned building, the smoking areas are usually alongside buildings. My purpose today is not to complain about these smoking zones concentrate the clouds affecting those of us who regularly walk by, although that is worthy of discussion.
However, as I walk around downtown a lot to the Capitol or to a pod recording, I watch the accrual of cigarette butts even while there are state-provided standing ashtrays five feet from the bench on which the smoker dropping a butt is sitting.
A perfect example is the building that houses the Department of Development Services and Department of State Hospitals at 8th and P. At this smoking area on P Street and a similar one along 8th Street, there are regularly butts on the ground near the ashtrays. Aside from rude, there are significant environmental issues if it rains or the sprinklers go off.
A first offense of littering in California is punishable by a fine of up to $100 and 8 hours of community service, but our police are more likely to say "pick it up" if they feel like enforcing the law, and I don't blame their desire not to spend time writing a ticket. The state could put up signs, however, citing the littering law.
Or, is picking up your own cigarette butts interfering by performing a duty within the job scope of Department of General Services workers who pick up for you the rest of the day? Why not throw your paper towels on the floor of the bathroom?
Before I hear from people that think the butts are being left by homeless after hours. I've watched many employees do this while wearing their state badge.
TRUMP'S TAXES: Joe Mathews writes to argue against the passage of SB 27 (McGuire and Wiener), which would require presidential candidates to disclose the last five years of taxes in order to be granted ballot access in the California primary election. Mathews writes:
"No Californian in their right mind should vote for Donald Trump. But plenty of Californians aren’t in their right minds, and these sad souls have rights too.
And they should be able to vote for the incumbent president for re-election on the Republican presidential primary ballot in California.
Unfortunately, a well-intentioned—if plainly unconstitutional—bill, SB 27, would deny people this choice. It would keep Trump off the ballot if he doesn’t release his tax returns, by requiring the release of returns to be certified as a candidate."
It is at minimum a fascinating constitutional question. The bill passed the Assembly yesterday 57-17-5 not unexpectedly along party lines.
FAIR PAY TO PLAY AND DATA DIVIDEND: Joel Fox draws the connection between the bill to allow compensation for college athletes and Governor Newsom's proposal to create a data dividend for consumers whose information is used to create value for tech companies. He writes:
"Much is to be worked out both with the Fair Pay for Play bill and the governor’s suggestion of a data dividend. But the common link between these two distinct issues—an individual’s ability to share the wealth created from his or her likeness, interests, information or abilities—may drive the legislature to seek similar policy solutions."
LOCAL MATTERS and CAKEDAY after the jump...
SANDY EGGO: Voter's Choice Act: Charles T. Clark reports on the consideration by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors to join the five existing Voter's Choice Act counties and others including LA and Orange County for the 2020 elections. Well, sort of. The board is voting on a resolution by Nathan Fletcher today, although it's for a pilot program and not county-wide. Clark writes:
"Currently about 70 percent of San Diego County’s registered voters mail in their ballots now.
At this stage county supervisors would only be studying the potential impact of the vote centers. Even if they ultimately decide to move forward with changing the region’s voting system, a wholesale change would not happen until the 2022 election cycle at the earliest, officials said."
SANDY EGGO: Young voters: Also for the SDUT, Clark looks at how the youth vote could affect San Diego races in 2020. Clark writes:
"Last year, youth turnout more than tripled across the state and in San Diego County, compared to the 2014 midterm election.
Statewide, 27.5 percent of eligible young Californians cast a ballot in 2018, up from 8.2 percent in 2014. And in San Diego County, 26.1 percent of eligible young people voted, up from 7.4 percent in 2014.
San Diego County’s jump was 11th largest of the state’s 58 counties, according to the California Civic Engagement Project, a nonpartisan research center at USC’s Price School of Public Policy in Sacramento.
Young voters managed to increase their share of the overall vote despite declines in the state’s youth population, said Mindy Romero, director of the California Civic Engagement Project."
SAY IT AIN'T SO! IRWIN IS RETIRING. During his presentation of SB 376 on firearms transfers, Senator Anthony Portantino acknowledged that it might be the last bill before Assembly Public Safety that Irwin Nowick worked on. Nowick is planning to retire in middle or late October, "depending on how the PERS thing works out." After Irwin confirmed his plans to the committee, Portantino threatened to bring Irwin back as a retired annuitant if his bill didn't pass. Obviously, it passed easily.
The LAT's Chris Megerian wrote up the Irwin story in 2013:
"Former state Sen. Steve Peace, who brought Nowick to the Legislature, knew he was rough around the edges when they met years ago in San Diego. He urged Nowick to take a Dale Carnegie class to improve his social skills, and was surprised at how literally Nowick took his tutoring.
As they talked on the phone one day, Nowick told Peace, "They tell us in class the appropriate time for a business conversation is two minutes. And your two minutes are up."
Then he hung up.
Despite Nowick's eccentricities, Peace and others who have worked closely with him say he's brilliant, maybe even indispensable.
"It would take a team of people to do what Irwin does on the fly walking through the building," Peace says.
Nowick is officially the "principal consultant for the Senate Rules Committee," but the label is inadequate. As Peace says, "Irwin's title has always been Irwin."
We really need a bronze Irwin to go next to Bacteria Bear outside the Governor's Office. At minimum, we should bring Irwin back to push the button to blow up the Capitol Annex when the tear-down begins, likely in 2022. After all, the halls of the Annex will never be the same without him.
#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Kimberly Ellis, Dana Ferry, and Mark Rosso!
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