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E-226 - Tuesday, July 23, 2019
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RECENT AURAL PLEASURE:
IN TODAY'S NOONER:
Happy Tuesday. Have you had your tacos yet today?
PRIMARY: For CalMatters, Ben Christopher writes that the Independent Voter Project is filing suit today in Santa Bernardino Superior Court, arguing that the state's top two primary applied in the presidential race violates the rights of voters not registered with a major party.
The filing argues that the state constitution requires in open primary, whereas following the Supreme Court's ruling in CDP v. Jones 530 U.S.C. 567 (2000), the state uses a modified closed primary, where recognized parties can choose whether or not to allow voters expressing no party preference may cast ballots.
Article I, Section 5 provides:
(c) The Legislature shall provide for partisan elections for presidential candidates, and political party and party central committees, including an open presidential primary whereby the candidates on the ballot are those found by the Secretary of State to be recognized candidates throughout the nation or throughout California for the office of President of the United States, and those whose names are placed on the ballot by petition, but excluding any candidate who has withdrawn by filing an affidavit of noncandidacy.
This may be the first time this argument will be presented in a California court, but federal judges have weighed in elsewhere—and they have not been convinced, said Christopher Elmendorf, a law professor at UC Davis.
“The federal courts have said that parties have the right to keep non-members from voting for their candidates, as a general rule,” he said. “This sounds like an effort to relitigate under the state constitution a type of claim that the federal courts have not simply just rejected, but have said itself is violative of the rights of the party.”
My thoughts exactly.
CA01 (Northeast Cal.): While I don't expect the seat to be competitive in 2020, Democrat Audrey Denney is off to a strong fundraising start for her challenge of four-term incumbent Doug LaMalfa (R). For the second quarter:
Trump beat H. Clinton in 2016 in CA01 by 19.7%. John Cox (R) beat Gavin Newsom (D) here by 22.4 points in 2018.
HOUSING: The Bee team reports that, while employment numbers are very good, Governor Newsom's efforts to build 3.5 million new units by 2025 may be difficult based on housing permits issued.
"In the first five months of 2019, cities and counties issued permits for an average of 111,000 residential building units per month, according to data released Friday by the California Department of Finance.
That's a decrease of 12.2 percent from the same period in 2018."
DYNAMEX: In an odd maneuver yesterday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals withdrew its May decision in Jan-Pro and referred the issue of retroactivity of the new independent contractor test to the Supreme Court of California. Last April, that court provided in Dynamex the "ABC" test limiting the definition of independent contractor. Essentially, the issue of retroactivity is in the lap of both the Legislature and the California Supreme Court, although if the Legislature acts first (which there is talk of), it's determination on retroactivity as part of the Labor Code would take precedence.
VACCINATION: As the state has tightened up vaccination exemptions, Soumya Karlamangla reports in the Times that the number of home-schooled children has increased:
"In the school year that ended in June, there were 6,741 home-schooled kindergartners without their shots in California, compared with 1,880 in the 2016-17 school year, according to state data. Overall, 1.2% of the state’s kindergartners were home-schooled and unvaccinated in the last school year, according to state data. (The state health department collects vaccination data only on kindergartners and seventh graders.)"
WILDFIRES: For the LA Times, Anna M. Phillips writes that as fire season gets underway, the federal government is short of firefighters:
"Nearly 60% of California’s 33 million acres of forest is owned and managed by two federal agencies, the Interior Department and the Forest Service. They are often aided by state firefighters with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection — the source of a recent dispute in which the Forest Service threatened to withhold millions of dollars in back pay owed to the state for battling wildfires on federal lands.
Officials at the National Interagency Fire Center, which coordinates federal wildfire response, said that the Interior Department had budgeted for a firefighting workforce of about 5,000 this year. In actuality, an Interior spokeswoman said it has 4,500 firefighting personnel and no plans to hire more."
AB 1788 (Bloom): Pesticides: use of anticoagulants. In the Bee, Ryan Sabalow and Phillip Reese look at the debate over the use of certain anticoagulant rat poisons, which are proposed to be significantly limited because of their impact on "up the food chain" species. But, with such a ban, public health experts are concerned of resurgence of diseases that have long been thought as extinct.
DMV: This morning, Governor Newsom announced new leadership for the state's beleaguered Department of Motor Vehicles and released the report of the "strike team" he appointed to review the agency. The new director is Steve Gordon, who comes to the position with extensive technology business experience.
LET THERE BE LIGHT: In the LAT, Teresa Watanabe reports on the latest data on admissions at the University of California:
"The system’s nine undergraduate campuses offered seats to 71,655 California freshmen, nearly 600 more students than last year. Overall, UC admitted 108,178 freshmen among 176,695 freshman applicants. It also admitted 28,752 transfer students from a pool of 41,282, including the largest-ever class from the California Community Colleges.
Overall, the system admitted 991 more students from underrepresented groups, increasing their proportion among California freshmen to 40% from 38% last year. First-generation students made up 44% of those admitted and low-income students 40%.
Asian Americans remained the largest ethnic group at 35%, followed by Latinos at 34%, whites at 22%, African Americans at 5% and American Indians at 0.5%."
PAINT BY NUMBERS: For Capitol Weekly, Joaquin Romero reports on the applications received by the office of the California State Auditor for the citizens' independent redistricting commission, which pursuant to the state constitution will be completely reconstituted.
"According to the auditor’s demographic data, 50% of the applicants were Democrats, 29% were Republicans, 60% were male and 39% were female. Some 68% were white and 40% were from the southern coastal region of California.
The Citizens Redistricting Commission is an independent body charged with redrawing the boundaries for congressional, state Senate, state Assembly and Board of Equalization districts. The commission is created every ten years and uses the U.S. Census data that will be released next April 1. The first commission, established for the 2010 census, remains in effect until the new commission is established over the next few months.
The 2020 commission will have 14 members — five Democrats, five Republicans, and four who are not affiliated with a political party and who have registered with no party preference. The application period for the 2020 Citizens Redistricting Commission, which began June 10, will conclude on Aug. 9."
MUNI MATTERS and CAKEDAY after the jump...
KNOCK-KNOCK: A team at the Times reports on yesterday's FBI service of search warrants on the headquarters of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and City Hall. They write:
"Investigators searched the DWP headquarters on Hope Street and the offices of City Atty. Mike Feuer a few blocks away at City Hall. Search warrants were also served in two other locations — one in Beverly Hills, the other in an office tower that houses multiple city agencies.
An FBI representative would not describe the nature of the investigation. Feuer’s spokesman Rob Wilcox, however, said the warrants served at the city attorney’s office were connected to the city’s settlement of a class-action lawsuit filed over the inaccurate DWP bills that resulted from the launch of the new billing system in 2013."
#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Joe Barr!