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E-183 - Monday, September 2, 2019
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RECENT AURAL PLEASURE:
TRUMP TAX RETURNS: Lawsuit information page for SB 27 (McGuire and Wiener): Primary elections: ballot access: tax returns.
IN TODAY'S NOONER:
My blank slate in this space this morning, like the subject line, started with "Happy Labor Day," but I'm ready for this awful weekend to be over. After the first good night sleep out of several, I expected to wake up and get the latest on Hurricane Dorian.
Instead, it's the news of the diving boat fire off Santa Cruz Island. The boat was the Conception out of Santa Barbara Harbor, which departed around 4am on Saturday for a trip around the amazing Channel Islands and was scheduled to return around 5pm today. Instead, a fire broke out in the early morning hours.
As of this writing, of the 39 on the 75-foot boat, 5 crew members have been rescued and 34 people are missing. The reason the 5 crew members survived appears to be because they were awake and on the top deck when the fire broke out, while others were on lower decks with access impeded by the fire. As of this writing, the boat had burned to the water line, with the only hope being that some swam to the shore.
When I was 13, my final PADI dive open water certification was off Catalina and I'll always remember that trip. While that was a day trip out of a Los Angeles harbor, I have been on a couple of multi-day fishing trips in Mexíco. All great experiences with my dad that are wonderful memories, so this is particularly difficult news to swallow.
CA04 (Foothills): As noted above, Placerville school board member Sean Frame (D) has suspended his campaign to challenge Republican Tom McClintock in the foothills and mountainous district east of Sacramento. Frame cites family reasons in this letter.
That leaves Roseville resident and entrepreneur Brynne Kennedy as the lone Democrat seeking to challenge McClintock, who was a second-tier target for Democrats in 2018. Kennedy recently moved to the district from the Bay Area and is seen as a candidate who can follow in the footsteps of candidate Jessica Morse in 2018 by tapping into a national fundraising network. Kennedy announced in May and reported $390,892 in contributions in the July quarterly, with only $7,200 from the candidate.
McClintock raised $143,774 during the same April-June period and ended with $395,382 cash on hand. Kennedy ended the period $321,755 on hand. Frame reported $51,541 on hand as of June 30.
With seven frosh members to defend next year, let's just say that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) is putting its thumb on the scale for candidates who either are self-funded or tap into a national fundraising network. I don't have time this morning to get an exact number, but a cursory glance at Kennedy's contributions show that the vast majority are outside of CA04 and through ActBlue.
This is still a very tough district for Democrats, even when the target is six-term incumbent McClintock, who lives in Elk Grove in Ami Bera's CA07. CA04 was a Trump+14.8 in 2016, and Newsom lost by 19 points in "blue wave" 2018 after a spirited campaign by Morse.
Local progressive activists aren't happy about "local guy" Frame's apparent departure in favor of a tech entrepreneur from the Bay Area. That said, it's not a district chock full of liberals willing to open their checkbooks and there's little chance that the DCCC or allied superPACs will be coming through with money. Meanwhile, Kennedy is a 35-year-old Yale graduate who founded a tech company, has personal money, and a national network.
DAN WALTERS ON LABOR DAY: For CalMatters, Dan looks at the seemingly contradictory phenomenon of labor unions growing in political strength while also losing members, particularly following the Supreme Court of the United States 5-4 decision in Janus v. AFSCME, which held that unions in organized workplaces can not charge "fair share" fees to cover the non-political of representing employees.
This explains the huge showdown between organized labor, the Internet-fueled "gig economy," and usually pro-labor "old economy" businesses (i.e. newspapers) that have relied on independent contractors for as long as most of us have been alive.
I'm not going to opine on AB 5 (Gonzalez) as it's one of those that I could take an assigned side in a debate, as can members of both parties and in both houses, as evident by the expanding list of exemptions added to the bill through the process. The newest ones were added in Friday's Senate Appropriations Committee, but there are still members who have voted for the bill that are looking out for a specific constituency not yet exempted but also don't want to run afoul of labor. As a majority-vote bill, it's likely to pass, but there are also only four legislative days left to amend bills.
FROM THE DESK OF THE DEAN: In the LAT, George Skelton writes up the upcoming shutdown of the California Channel and hopes of saving the cable-funded service that costs cable subscribers 2 cents per month:
"Assembly Speaker Pro Tem Kevin Mullin (D-South San Francisco), who presides over house floor sessions, is the only legislator who seems concerned. He’s trying to figure out a way to “retain at least a modicum of programming.”
Moreover, he says, “I think this is an opportunity to do something better than the Cal Channel. It has a lot of regurgitated programming, lots of rehash. Maybe we can do something more robust.
“It’s just a bad moment for democracy in California to have fewer eyeballs on state government. It needs to have more attention.”
But, he adds, “I don’t have a solution. I’m going to work on it this fall.”
By that time, Cal Channel will be kaput. And the Legislature knocks off for the year in two weeks.
Two possible solutions:
One, lean on cable to rethink. After all, the Legislature can write laws regulating the industry.
Two, $1.2 million isn’t even budget dust in a $215-billion state spending plan. Grab enough money to establish a new, improved, independently run Cal Channel — one a tad closer to C-SPAN.
Keep a light on the sausage-making."
That's a bigger excerpt than I usually provide from articles, but I feel as strongly as Skelton, Capitol Weekly's John Howard, and Kevin Mullin about this issue. Yes, the streaming of floor sessions and committee hearings by the Legislature as required under Proposition 54 replaces much of the content, there is so much more that can be done in policy discussions and analysis in a world of shrinking coverage of state politics and policy.
Get 'er done, folks. Skelton provides a couple of options and a bill can be amended by Friday (or arguably, next Tuesday with a two-thirds vote).
SANDY EGGO, CAKEDAY, and CLASSIFIEDS after the jump...
SANDY EGGO: In the SDUT, David Garrick reports on the challenge Republicans in "America's Finest City" have in their effort to hold on to one of two remaining GOP city council seats in a county that, along with Orange, has had one of the biggest partisan shifts.
"Republicans are rallying around longtime community leader and small business owner Noli Zosa to help save one of the party’s two remaining seats on the San Diego City Council.
Zosa, who is trying to succeed termed-out Republican Scott Sherman in central eastern District 7, is facing off against three well-funded Democrats, including Deputy City Attorney Raul Campillo.
The two candidates who get the most votes in the March 2020 primary, regardless of party, will advance to a November runoff.
Democrats lead Republicans in voter registration by a significant margin in the district, which includes Allied Gardens, Del Cerro, Tierrasanta, Mission Valley and Linda Vista."
This reminds me of the great podcast we had with SD mayor Kevin Faulconer who, while still a Republican, acknowledged that demographic and national trends require Republicans to be more independent. This followed our first podcast, which was with Assemblymember Brian Maienschein, who changed parties from Republican to Democrat on January 23. A former San Diego city councilmember along with Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, Maienschein represents the northern part of the city of San Diego and inland cities such as Poway and Rancho Bernardo.
Four-term legislator Maienschein previously had a moderate voting record and some Democrats were wary of whether he'd be a DINO (Democrat in name only) on key bills down the stretch, but he more often than not has been with the majority caucus.
Of course, now-supervisor Nathan Fletcher was elected to the Assembly as a Republican, became an independent, and then a Democrat. You may have heard of his better half.
I started out on a sad note today, but I hope you are having a fantastic weekend, and I thank all those who work hard every day to make our lives better.
CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Emily Davenport, Jesus Diaz-Madrid, Jann Dorothy, Senator Ben Hueso, and Jennifer Wonnacott!