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Summer Recess

E-234 - Saturday, July 13, 2019

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SacTown Talks by The Nooner


  • Fullerton PD police shooting video
  • Chevron oil spill in Kern County
  • Swalwell and Costa--challenges from the "new wave"
  • Federal filing deadline: Barbara Lee's burn
  • Cakeday

Happy Saturday! It's going to be a bit toasty today, but thank goodness for SacTown's cool mornings. Last night, the California Angels (screw their current name--that's what I grew up with) honored teammate pitcher Tyler Skaggs, who was found dead in his Southlake, Texas hotel room on July 1. Police have ruled out foul play or suicide, but the cause of death is still being investigated.

Last night, the team all wore jerseys with Skaggs's number 45 and name on them, but that's not the only story. Behind pitchers Felix Peña and Taylor Cole and strong bats, the Angels defeated the Mariners 13-0 in Anaheim in a no hitter.

Much more below the jump!

FULLERTON PD POLICE SHOOTING: Late yesterday, the Fullerton Police Department released the officer body cam of the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Hannah Linn Williams on the 91 freeway July 1. The officer's name has not been released. The full "community briefing" includes includes the Chief Bob Dunn stating that a full investigation is underway, which he says could take up to a year, and which is followed by the regular speed video that lasts 3:23. The body cam video begins at 4:14.

The full video includes a slow down of the video and still shots pointing out that Williams had in her possession a replica (inoperable) gun, had gotten out of the rental SUV she was driving, and assumed a threatening stance. 

Assuming there are no other witnesses with a differing account, the officer's use of force was likely justified under existing law or the likely new AB 392 standard, which has been sent to Governor Gavin Newsom and which he is expected to sign. The family of Linn, who worked as a lifeguard at Knott's Berry Farm, has said that she had mental health issues.

That doesn't mean that the Penal Code §20165, which prohibits most imitation firearms, has not been violated here by someone. There are clear laws on what is an allowable toy gun and for legal purchases of replica guns, such as for theatrical purposes. The definition of imitation firearms is found in Penal Code §16700, which generally requires that the exterior of all toy guns be of a bright color or transparent.

Now the question is where the "toy" gun that led to the unfortunate death of Linn came from and if the purchase preceded the state's law limiting the sale of specified replicas, which has been on the books for at least ten years. (It's complicated to track down a date from The Nooner Global Headquarters this morning, as the firearms portion of the Public Safety Code was renumbered in 2010.)

As it appears, it is tragic for everyone involved.

KERN COUNTY OIL SPILL: For the Bakersfield Californian, John Cox reports on the oil spill in Kern County:

"California regulators have issued a notice of violation against Chevron and ordered a limited ban on nearby production after a steaming operation in the Cymric Oil Field produced a pool of oil 250 feet long and 20 feet wide near McKittrick.

The state's Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources said Friday the "surface expression" has brought a total of 13,515 barrels of oil and water, or 567,630 gallons, to the surface during at least three episodes between May 10 and June 23.

No injuries have been reported and the state said the spill presents no risk to the public. DOGGR said in a statement the area is remote and the underlying groundwater has no beneficial use. The spill was reported to be 3½ miles from McKittrick.

Noisemakers are being used to keep birds and wildlife away from the spill, the agency said. It said 20 steam-injection wells in the area have been shut down and nine idle production wells have been activated in an attempt to reduce pressure that has pushed the oil to the surface."

I'm guessing that the "no beneficial use" of the groundwater just might mean that drilling in the McKittrick Oil Field, California's 19th largest, has been taking place since 1896 with major drilling beginning in the 1960s with California's growth, particularly in the number automobiles.

SWALWELL, COSTA FACE CHALLENGES: As you know, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin) stepped off the presidential stage this week after lagging in the polls and sluggish fundraising. In doing so, he announced that he would seek re-election to CA15, the Hayward-San Ramon Valley district he has represented since ousting Fortney "Pete" Stark (D) in 2012.  During Swalwell's April 8-July 8 presidential bid, Hayward councilwoman Aisha Wahab (D) announced that, because it appeared to be an open seat, she was running. She further said that she would make a decision on whether to pursue the race if Swalwell ended up seeking the congressional re-election instead of the presidential nomination.

Wahab has not directly said that she's continuing to pursue the congressional bid, now against Swalwell. However, all indications are that she is, given that she retweeted messages from supporters around the June presidential debate suggesting that Swalwell should "pass the torch," using the words he did in the debate to critique Joe Biden. She also retweeted a message by Bay Area News Group reporter Casey Tolan that BART director Lateefah Simon said "Women of color shouldn’t be scared to dip our toes into these highly contested races, even if we believe there’s a strong incumbent."

It sounds like Wahab is in it to win it. But, let's talk about another race and tie the two together.

You may have seen in yesterday's Nooner that eight-term Rep. Jim Costa (D-Fresno) has drawn a Democratic challenger in CA16--Fresno councilwoman Esmeralda Soria. Soria is a graduate of UC Davis Law (go King Hall! -- well after me--interview/profile of Soria, class of '11), and has worked in the state Capitol as a legislative fellow and a staffer. She is on the faculty at Fresno City College, teaching Latino politics and areas of the law and judicial process. Her ballot label would likely be Councilmember/Professor/Attorney or the some mix thereof, and "Professor" is not just through the "give me one class to teach so I can use it on my ballot label" employed by many candidates.

Costa's CA16 is a likely Democratic district, albeit not as strongly so as Swalwell's CA15. In CA16, H. Clinton beat Trump in 2016 by 21.6 points and in CA15, Clinton ended up with 27.2 points over Trump. Essentially, the Democrats have to have a colossal screw-up to lose one of these seats. Of course, with the top-two primary and some bad candidates in recent cycles, both parties have had meltdowns.

I'm going to be diving in deeply on both districts this week for Nooner Premium, including the likelihood of a November top-two general consisting of only Democrats. For everyone though, I wanted to pause on the general political dynamic.

Assuming Wahab stays in the CA15 race, we have two women of color running against white guys. While CA15 there is less of a stark (sorry Pete) political difference between the two, in CA16, Soria is taking on a very prominent "Blue Dog" Democrat. These are fiscally conservative Democrats that hold a key negotiating role in which bills make it to the House Floor and with which Speaker Nancy Pelosi must balance with the liberal members of her caucus. There are currently 27 members of the Blue Dog Democrats. Some have left the coalition to be Republicans, while others including Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) have left over other policy disagreements or when attaining leadership roles.

It is no secret that with all of the talk of a "blue wave" in 2018, there was also another wave--women of color capturing seats traditionally held by men. While the most prominent is Alexandria Ocasia-Cortez's defeat over House Democratic Caucus chair Joe Crowley in NY-14, others include Rashida Tlaib in MI-13 (John Conyers followed by Brenda Jones for part of 2018 after his Conyers's death) and Ilhan Omar in MN-05 (Keith Ellison). Tlaib and Omar are the first Muslim-American women to serve in Congress.

While all three of these candidates are progressives, their successful elections appear to have been less about specific issues that contrasted with those of their predecessors, but rather the desire by Democratic primary voters to advance to the general election in safe Dem seats. These voters instead seemed to be looking for something "new" with a more aggressive political stance by their representatives.

I see a strong correlation with the challenges faced by Eric Swalwell and Jim Costa respectively by Aisha Wahab, believed to be the first Afghan-American woman elected in the U.S. and Esmeralda Soria, who would be the first Latino-American elected to Congress from California's Central Valley. The citizen voting-age population (CVAP) of Latino residents in the district in the 2010 Census was 40.7% and 58% overall. In the 2020 Census, the CVAP number has undoubtedly increased since as more Latino citizens reached 18 and are eligible to vote.

Costa clearly feels more threatened than in cycles since the 2011 redistricting, rolling out "no kidding" endorsements like that of Senator Dianne Feinstein.

I've written before for Nooner Premium on CA15 that it's a demographically interesting district. You may have seen Swalwell's comments on the presidential stage that he represents one of the most diverse cities in America, which is true. However, he's referring to Hayward in the western side of the district, where Wahab captured the most votes in the 2018 council race.

I don't have current CVAP numbers by city, but Hayward is around 25% of the district. In short, the western side of the district is very different than the higher income majority white and East Asian populations in the San Ramon Valley, with lots of growth of working-class Middle Eastern/South Asian (Afghan in particular) and Filipino residents in an area that was historically white and African-American blue collar workers associated with World War II manufacturing growth, like many other East Bay areas.

There are rumors that Ocasia-Cortez is planning or considering a trip to CA16 to endorse Soria, which would obviously elevate the profile of the 37-year-old Latina and draw an activist and demographic contrast to the 67-year-old Costa. Costa is of Portuguese descent and comes from a third-generation Valley farming family. Soria grew up in Lindsay about 65 miles to the southeast of Fresno in Tulare County as the daughter of Mexican immigrant farmworkers.

I need not tell you of the longstanding conflict between European immigrant (often Portuguese and Basque) farmers and Latin-American farmworkers in the Central Valley. Lindsay, where Soria grew up, is in the 22nd congressional district, represented by congressman and dairyman Devin Nunes, one of the two targets of Democrats who tried in 2018 to knock off the controversial Nunes with the very well-funded Andrew Janz, but came up 5.4% short.

These are shaping up to be the most interesting primaries among California Democrats in 2020, and it's possible one or both could carry-forward to a mano-a-mano face-off come November. I'm working on that probability with numbers in the respective districts from several races now and will have something for Nooner Premium in the upcoming week.

All of this is taking place as Nancy Pelosi has been having publicly aired disagreements in strategy between wings of her caucus, particularly the newer more aggressive, more liberal (than the caucus, not Pelosi personally) members, particularly women of color.

Buckle up and get ready for the ride!

FEDERAL FILING DEADLINE: Monday is the filing for federal quarterly reports for federal candidates. Like me, you have likely received many emails with totals from those proud of their numbers while those not-so-proud offer radio silence. I don't report on those here because "top-line" numbers aren't always so telling, and most candidates don't file the report until deadline day.

Yesterday, we did get a filing that caught my eye from liberal firebrand Barbara Lee (D-Oakland). Let's take a look at the report, which covers 04/01-06/30/19:

  • Net contributions: $284,076
  • Expenditures: $243,737
  • Cash on Hand: $53,568
  • Debt: $4,402
  • Net Cash on Hand: $49,166

This may be the only time I write about Lee this cycle. The former Assembly member and State Senator who succeeded Ron Dellums in a 1998 special represents CA13, which is the most Democratic congressional district in the state. She defeated her 2018 opponent--a Green Party candidate--by 76.8%. She is the co-chair of Kamala Harris's presidential campaign.

Anyway, what I was interested in was her burn rate. Where is the money going since she doesn't have any serious challenger in 2020?

Barbara LeeBrowsing the disbursements, here are the largest ones for the quarter:

Lee also gave contributions to several of the frosh class of congressional members from California.

Lee is co-chair of the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, meaning she's in the inner circle. There is nothing nefarious that I have found in her costly fundraising and spending operation for a member in a safe seat. She's playing the game and does it well.

The state filing deadline for the semi-annual period ending June 30 is July 31, so we'll have lots to talk about during the legislative summer recess.

CAKEDAY after the jump...


Probolsky Research

I'm out of time as a good friend and Noonerific person is taking me for golf lessons. She's never golfed before, knows I have, and I think somebody told her I need beginners lessons as well. That's totally true. 

#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Veronica Perez and Terry Sandoval!


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