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E-167 - Wednesday, September 18, 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.
MONEY MATTERS: This is the space where I'll be looking at interesting contributions to party committees or non-capped "ballot measure" committee accounts affiliated with legislators. Standard contributions to candidate committees up to the 2020 limit of $9,400 for primary and general are not included.
IN TODAY'S NOONER:
Happy Humpday! I'm starting to feel like a human again and I've heard the same from several legislators and staff--we're getting older and recovering from 22-hour work days takes longer than it used to. BTW, congratulations to the Sacramento Rivercats on their AAA national championship. For Noonerific peeps outside of Sacramento, the Rivercats are the San Francisco Giants' top farm team and play across the river in West Sacramento.
Well, after getting a new MacBook in February because the "E" was continuing popping off, now the new one has an "R" key doing the same jump off the keyboard with most strokes. I know I write a lot, but I'm a pretty soft typist--just a lot of words. Anyway, it's a known problem on Apple laptops, they are redesigning the keyboards for the next generation, and I have a 4:30 today with the Genius Bar. If you have a problem with an Apple product, ignore the online scheduling availability and use online chat with Apple support and mysterious appointments show up to the online support folks.
Meanwhile, I think I caught all the missing "R"s in today's Noone.
As noted above, the YouTube version of the podcast we recorded Monday is now available. Yesterday was our biggest day of downloads for a new episode and we appreciate the feedback.
There was a lot of buzz yesterday about the Emerson College poll that showed Senator Kamala Harris plunging in California, landing below Andrew Yang. The Capitol Weekly/CA120 (Paul Mitchell/PDI) poll found a different result. I'm honestly in nobody's camp and try to make sense of polls. Clearly, Kamala is in a funk and could be losing big money backers. I would put her in a clear second tier of 8-10% in California with Mayor Pete. There's an obvious third tear. Again, speaking only on California, I see Yang as being on an elevator between the second and third tier with the question of whether the elevator is going up or going down.
Of course, polling on California is now is extremely early. After the March 3 ballot is finalized in December, I would bet that the field of candidates will collapse to single digits. With that, supporters of third-tier candidates realign with those still in the race. I can predict how that will work out, but I'll let you use that thing between your ears. Any campaign or pollster that gives numbers now when there is still so much noise without that important caveat is doing political science a disservice.
While I was browsing stories this morning (mostly for the first time in a week), I came across an interesting add. The ballot measure committee controlled by Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa) is seeking supporters for a potential ballot measure for universal pre-K. Here's the ad, which you can click through to go to the website.
As you know, I'm usually quite cynical about officeholder-controlled ballot measure committees. I've written about them a lot and I think the last time was, well, yesterday. Usually they are used to park contributions over the candidate committee limits ($9,400 for 2020 cycle) or for less-than-savory contributions and sometimes both.
I don't recall seeing an ad such as this. Here's the language on the page "I am considering authoring a ballot measure to place before voters that would create a universal Pre-K system. Fill-out the form below with your thoughts or upload your video telling me how you feel about the issue. Your input will help decide whether I move forward with this issue."
Upload your video? I don't have kiddos to video to say why we want universal pre-K, but I did really enjoy the podcast with Dodd last month. Can I upload that as my video?
I did complete the form and submitted to get to the "thank you" page. There's no request for money, unlike the endless surveys that land in our email nests from presidential candidates, House party committees, and scam PACs.
His ballot measure committee had just around $100,000 on hand on June 30, so it's not poised to qualify a ballot measure anytime soon ($3-4 million).
The ad campaign tells me that the mod Democrat is looking ahead to a bid for higher office, is building name recognition, and a broad mailing list. He likely will be easily re-elected next year and is termed out in 2024. The open statewide seats are Controller (Betty Yee) and Secretary of State (Alex Padilla).
While Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) appears the strongest candidate for Secretary of State, there's a possible wrinkle. If Senator Kamala Harris ends up in a Democratic administration after 2020, Alex Padilla is on the short list for appointment by Governor Gavin Newsom to the Senate seat. If Padilla is selected, that would lead to an appointment in 2021 by Newsom for Secretary of State. That could put somebody on the ballot for SOS in 2022 as an appointed incumbent.
Dodd's effort with the ads and website are in bounds, as they are about an issue for a possible future ballot measure. Well played, senator. Well played.
JUST GETTING STARTED, WITH MUCH MORE AFTER THE JUMP...
AB 5 (Gonzalez): Worker status: employees and independent contractors. Governor Newsom this morning signed AB 5, the bill that codifies the Supreme Court of California's decision in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court of California and issued a signing statement. After plentiful end-of-legislative-year finger-pointing that affected legislative outcomes, Newsom's strong statement favoring collective bargaining rights will be a salve to some wounds.
In the signing statement, Newsom writes "Assembly Bill 5 is an important step. A next steps creating pathways for more workers to form a union, collectively bargain earn more, and have a stronger voice at work -- all while preserving flexibility and innovation."
He then closes with a jab at the federal government and the National Labor Relations Board for "falling short" in ensuring collective bargaining rights of new economy workers.
Like between the Legislature and the Governor, the fights between California and the Trump Administration transcend issues, as we'll see below.
PRESIDENTIAL EMISSIONS AND AMBITIONS: The Trump Administration, through the Environmental Protection Agency, plans to revoke the Obama-era waiver that has allowed California to set automobile emissions standards stricter than federal benchmars, a policy adopted by other states, as well as endorsed by a majority of automakers. President Trump announced the expected action via Twitter this morning before a fundraiser at the InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown.
For Politico, Alex Guillén writes:
"The Trump EPA had originally planned to withdraw California's waiver at the same time it issues its broader proposal to roll back federal auto emissions standards. But the administration accelerated its plans to single out California after the state struck an agreement with Ford and three other car makers to continue to lower their vehicles' emissions, even if the federal rules are frozen. California's deal with the automakers recently drew a stern rebuke from EPA and the Transportation Department as well as an anti-trust investigation from the Justice Department.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom blasted the Trump administration for undermining its efforts to cut pollution and fight climate change.
“The president could learn from California," Newsom said in a statement. "Instead, reports today suggest that his administration will act on a political vendetta by announcing they intend to end aspects of our clean car waiver."
And indeed this morning, Newsom, Attorney General Xavier Becerra, and California Air Resources Board chair Mary Nichols blasted the Trump Administration's announcement and vowed to fight.
Newsom made the point that automakers are largely on board with California's higher standards and that the Trump Administration's action is to favor the oil industry. Politico's Jeremy B. White tweets '“It’s about the oil industry, period, full stop.” @GavinNewsom says of Trump revoking car authority"
and "Take a moment to appreciate that @GavinNewsom just said the oil industry -- which is large and politically powerful here in California -- is "coming to an end” as automakers do away with the internal combustion engine."
CalMatters's Rachel Becker has a backgounder on the face-off between Sacramento and Washington.
For CalMatters, Laurel Rosenhall reports that California may have a card in its back pocket if the Trump Administration indeed revokes the waiver. Laurel writes:
"California is considering a plan that would reward automakers that have signed onto a pact with the state to cut pollution — and punish those that haven’t — by restricting which companies are eligible for millions of dollars in government rebates when consumers buy clean cars.
The plan is still in formation and has not been formally announced. But there are signs it’s emerging as California’s next salvo in an ongoing feud with the Trump Administration over greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency standards.
Legislation written last week would direct clean vehicle rebates only to cars made by companies that have entered an agreement with the state to abide by emissions standards that are stricter than the federal government seeks. Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom declined to comment on the proposal but indicated an announcement is coming soon."
The bill to make the tie of clean-vehicle rebates to the higher California emission standards is AB 40 (Ting), a gut-and-amend on deadline day, September 10. It did not move in the last week of session but has sent a strong message that California has tools of its own.
Speaking of presidential emissions, President Trump had Air Force One land at LAX yesterday, took Marine One to downtown LA, then to Santa Monica, and then The Beast and motorcade to Beverly Hills. This morning, he took the chopper from downtown to LAX and then to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, then coptered to San Diego Airport before taking the 'cade to the US Grant Hotel for an ATM visit. Then, the 'cade went back to SAN before coptering to Brown Field Municipal Airport near the border to go look at the big, beautiful border wall near the Otay Mesa crossing (existing wall that has been retrofitted). Then the chopper blades spin him back to Miramar from where Air Force One returns to Joint Base Andrews.
All presidents have to raise money, in this week's case joint fundraising for re-election and the Republican National Committee. However it's rare that they do so while attacking California on housing and homeless while conducting fundraisers in Palo Alto and Beverly Hills, two of the most NIMBY cities in the state.
While the President kneaded the big money dough, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson was in San Francisco yesterday and was scheduled to be on Los Angeles's Skid Row today. Yes, he is still in the cabinet, as is Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who spoke at the Republican Party's fall convention last week.
If it were Obama making a swing, criticizing the state, and not sitting down to meet with officials about the issues that he's criticizing the state on in the same week, I'd levy the same criticism. The fact that California's nation-leading emissions standards agreed to by the major automakers are under attack in the week of flying around in Air Force One and Marine One and hauling a motorcade around Silicon Valley, westside Los Angeles, and San Diego just punctuates the irony.
Governor Gavin Newsom spent time yesterday in the Horseshoe talking with CNN's Kyung Lah about the fights between California and the Trump Administration, while pointing out that privately, he's had satisfactory phone calls with the President.
E-CIGARETTES: The SacBee editorializes on e-cigarettes:
"Newsom said he supports a ban on the sale of flavored vaping products, but his order is weak juice. It requires the California Department of Public Health to launch a $20 million advertising campaign to warn of vaping’s dangers. “He also directs the California tax collection department to step up enforcement of existing fees and regulations of electronic cigarettes,” according to a story by Sacramento Bee reporter Sophia Bollag.
In 2020, it’s on Gov. Newsom to follow through and keep his word. He must work with the Legislature to overcome vape industry lobbying and ensure that California joins Michigan, New York – and President Trump – in banning these addictive poisons."
CHOO-CHOO: The California High-Speed Rail Authority board has voted unanimously on a route from the Valley to San José via a tunnel under Pacheco Pass, and shockingly some people don't care for the planned route, reports Tim Sheehan for the Bee. But most of the concerns appear to be the eventual increased traffic on the existing CalTrain tracks, which would be electrified and carry the high-speed trains as well. Sheehan writes:
"[T]he vote also took heed of concerns raised over the course of a two-hour hearing over the potential danger of at-grade railroad crossings in communities along the San Francisco Peninsula.
Some residents also worry about the potential impacts of an even busier rail corridor on neighborhoods in San Jose, Morgan Hill and Gilroy.
Three additional alternatives included variations of elevated tracks, embankments or different routes through San Jose, Morgan Hill and Gilroy."
NEWSOM BUCKS DEMS ON WATER: For CalMatters, Dan Walters looks at the gap between Newsom and most legislative Democrats over water interests concerns that maintaining a higher endangered species standard in California than evolving under the Trump Administration.
SANTA ANITA: Yesterday, the 31st horse fatality was reported at the Santa Anita Racetrack in Arcadia, John Cherwa writes for the LAT. "Zeke, a 4-year-old gelding trained by Dean Pederson, was diagnosed with a pelvic fracture after being pulled up while working on the training track, which is considered to be the safest surface at Santa Anita. Veterinarians tried to save the horse but at 11 p.m. decided that euthanasia was the best option."
To visualize, that's 🐎🐎🐎🐎🐎🐎🐎🐎🐎🐎🐎🐎🐎🐎🐎🐎🐎🐎🐎🐎🐎🐎🐎🐎🐎🐎🐎🐎🐎🐎🐎meeting their maker after training or racing at Santa Anita since December 26.
As a side note, Adam Gray's (D-Merced) ballot measure committee reported $13,500 from Santa Anita Park on May 31, after receiving it May 17. That was 10 business days after the contribution, which follows reporting requirements.
What I haven't found is a Major Donor Report from Santa Anita for the period ending June 30. Of course, as we've talked about before, the money interests in Santa Anita go far beyond the park itself and owner The Stronach Group. Labor unions and thoroughbred owners and trainers are much bigger players.
LGBTQ RIGHTS: Congratulations to Evan Michael Minton, who prevailed at the state First Circuit Court of Appeal in San Francisco that overturned a superior court ruling in his suit against Mercy San Juan Medical Center, which denied him a hysterectomy as part of his gender conformity transition. Minton argued that it the procedure was a covered procedure and that the purpose of the procedure, if deemed medically appropriate, violated his due process rights as discriminatory. Mercy argued that requiring the hospital to conduct such procedure violates its First Amendment rights, something that courts have recognized that Catholic hospitals have the right to do for abortions.
The legal difference of course is that Catholic hospitals have a blanket prohibition of most abortion services, regardless of the reason for the procedure. A hysterectomy is a routine procedure in such hospitals and the reason for denial was for the purpose of a hysterectomy for gender conformity. Mercy is owned by Dignity Health, which has been subject to controversy for its partnership with University of San Francisco Medical Center.
Minton had the procedure scheduled but it was canceled at the last minute after the purpose of the procedure was discovered.
Minton is a former Assembly staffer who now lobbies in California for Voices for Progress, a national progressive advocacy organization. It is unclear whether Mercy will appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court of California, after which it could go the Supreme Court of the United States.
NO CAKEDAYS TODAY, BUT CLASSIFIEDS after the jump...