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E-164 - Saturday, September 21, 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 we look 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:
¡Feliz sabado! I'm still on my backup laptop, but I did find a charging cable for my external keyboard and can actually type "E"s this morning. It's the little things in life.
This actually feels like a Saturday with time to look at the papers are out there and not only my cavalcade of legal pad papers taped to vertical surfaces around my desk. I even planted some fall seeds on my balcony yesterday and was somewhat domestic.
Monday's podcast is now the fastest growing episode and Gibran and I thank you for your listen/watch and feedback. We'll be back behind the mics on Monday afternoon and, now that the Legislature is in joint recess, our next round of guest invites is going out. It hasn't been a dearth of guests, but scheduling is always a challenge and, frankly, guests require more preparation on our side.
We may have a ratatouille of news and policy between our ears, but I don't know where each elected official was born, grew up, and went to school. And, I could do well playing legislative district Trivial Pursuit, I admit that I'm constantly looking up members' districts. We've you been through three redistricting cycles, you start singing Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines." It's also to make sure to get the
I know. You stopped at "preparation" and thought "They prepare?" Gotcha. Anyway, just a little behind-the-scenes in this audio/video adventure. Since Valentine's Day, we've released 35 podcast episodes totalling over fifty hours in content. It's a lot of work but also a lot of fun.
We've received lots of feedback both on structure and substance, but always crave more. For example, would you consume a 2-3 minute daily rundown M-F released before your commute in addition to "What a Week" and guest episodes? For those familiar with the "smart speaker" products that blend up a morning smoothie of news, I'm thinking something along those lines.
Anyway, you know how to reach us and if not, you can find it on the podcasts page. Also, if you have been enjoying the episodes but yet not have subscribed in iTunes, on the YouTube channel, or another pod app, doing so will get you notice of new episodes before I email a note out. Gibran made a significant investment in new tech equipment and the audio now often available as I lollygag the 1.5 miles home. If you like the pod, rate us on iTunes!
NEWS AFTER THE JUMP...
A TRUMP TAX RETURNS CASE ASIDE: Richard Winger, who has the great elections blog Ballot Access News, has a good post on something I have in my chicken scratch notebook from the hearing. In defending SB 27 requiring disclosure of five years of tax returns for presidential and gubernatorial candidates to appear on the California primary ballot, Deputy Attorney General Peter Chang made an argument that raised eyebrows. For Politico, Jeremy B. White got the entire quote because, well, Jeremy writes much faster than I do, which comes in handy in a "no electronics" federal courtroom.
“Individuals don’t have the right to run for office. When they choose to run for office, they insert themselves into the public discourse,” Chang argued, and the burden of releasing returns is “outweighed by the state’s compelling interest in informing voters.”
In response, Winger writes:
"[T]he Copenhagen Meeting Document, an international human rights declaration signed by the United States, says “The participating states will respect the right of citizens to seek political or public office, individually or as representatives of political parties or organizations.” See 7.5 of the Document of the Copenhagen Meeting of the Conference on the Human Dimension of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, a document that the U.S. signed in June 1990.
That document is commonly called “The Helsinki Accords.”
Thanks Richard for chasing down the answer to this head-scratcher!
The deputy AGs did what they could in their arguments, but even with opinions from the brilliant constitutional law mind of Berkeley Law dean Erwin Chemerinsky (who was not at the hearing), the state's arguments were far weaker than those of the plaintiffs President Trump and his committee, political parties, and individual voters of various parties and those not affiliated with a party.
You know that I strongly believe that Trump should release his tax returns for examination by courts or Congress for the purposes of the Emoluments Clause and civil matters, but I don't think states can use ballot access because of the Qualifications Clause (Article II, Section 1), First and Fourteenth Amendment rights of Speech and Association, and the statutory preemption issue that appears to be the narrowest rationale to be used in Judge England's written decision expected by October 1.
If the state was contracting out for counsel, I would say not to waste the money for an appeal. But the state likely will since it's handling the case in-house, but I think the likelihood of a Ninth Circuit reversal of the Eastern District injunction is highly unlikely, and I need not put in writing that it would be a Ninth Circuit decision that the majority of the Supreme Court of the United States would almost certainly let stand.
DEFENDER IN CHIEF: Dale Kasler reports in the Bee that Attorney General Xavier Becerra has filed the 60th lawsuit against the Trump Admiinistration, this time to block the rollback of the state's Clean Air Act auto-emissions standards. Kasler writes:
"Besides 22 other states, the cities of Los Angeles and New York and the District of Columbia joined California in the lawsuit.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., marks the 60th lawsuit by California officials against President Donald Trump’s administration, and state officials expressed confidence they can overturn the decision. They said there’s nothing in the Clean Air Act that allows the federal government to revoke the state’s authority once it’s been granted."
An adept reader caught that I inappropriately intertwined fuel efficiency standards with emissions standards. While interrelated, they are different.
This week has been a veritable Double Jeopardy round of topics, so my ability to at least stay in the category of autombiles deserves some recognition.
NEWSOM TAKES STEPS ON CLIMATE: As youth and supporters around the world left classrooms for public spaces, Governor Gavin Newsom yesterday issued an executive order to direct the Department of Finance to develop a Climate Investment Framework that leverages the more than $700 billion in the state's investments in such funds as CalPERS and CalSTRS. The order further directs agencies with property and vehicle fleets to take steps to minimize the state's carbon footprint and emissions.
Newsom has already said that he plans to veto SB 1 (Atkins), which seeks to protect California's environmental, public health, and labor standards from federal rollbacks amidst concerns of Central Valley water interests, but I fully expect him to stand by the veto announcement. However, since the breakdown at the end of session on key environmental bills, Newsom has done much to ingratiated himself with environmental advocacy groups by a media blitz blasting and legal action against the Trump Administration's withdrawal of California's Clean Air Act waiver allowing higher emissions standards and yesterday's executive order.
ED MATTERS: For the Bee, Sawsan Morrar looks at the new ethnic studies curriculum being developed by the Department of Education for consideration by the State Board of Education in 2020. Morrar writes:
"The curriculum, which is being created through a bill signed in 2016, is currently meant to serve as a guideline for schools, and an ethnic studies course would be a requirement for high school graduation. Currently, one out of five California high schools offer a course in ethnic studies.
The proposed 550-page curriculum was designed by ethnic studies leaders from various school districts and universities, appointed by the State Board of Education. It received support from 22 California State University Ethnic Studies departments, educational leaders throughout the state, and both the San Francisco Unified and San Diego Unified School Districts.
But the curriculum was also met with criticism from various groups, namely the Jewish Caucus and Jewish and pro-Israel community organizations. The Jewish legislative caucus criticized the draft curriculum, stating in a letter written to the Instructional Quality Commission that the curriculum omits discussions of anti-Semitism and delves into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “with strong bias and little nuance.” The caucus also stated that the curriculum is too critical of Israel.
The letter prompted a quick response from Thurmond, who said the new draft should discuss anti-Semitism and the contributions of Jewish people."
By now I think Jared Kushner has solved the Middle East and immigration challenges and can probably help all parties agree on the California curriculum.
DIVE BOAT FIRE: In the Times, Richard Winton writes that a suspicion of the catastrophic fire aboard a dive boat anchored overnight next to Santa Cruz Island off the Ventura coast is that recharging electronic devices overnight, particularly underwater cameras, led to the fire.
"[When the vessel set off decades later on its fateful Labor Day weekend voyage, those on board needed power — a lot of it. And they plugged their equipment into a series of outlets concealed in the back of foam-filled, L-shaped benches in the ship’s galley.
Those outlets are now the focus of an intense investigation as federal officials try to determine the cause of the worst maritime disaster in modern California history, a fire that swept through the dive boat and killed 34 people."
RAVEL ON YANG'S GIVEAWAY: SD15 (San Jose) candidate Ann Ravel (D) has an op-ed for Politico questioning whether Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang is violating federal law with the giveaway announced at the last debate off $1,000 per month until the election for each of ten lucky supporters. Ravel points to the fact that the Federal Elections Commission no longer has enough appointed members to rebuke behavior not consistent with law. Ravel, an attorney, is a past chair of California's Fair Political Practices Commission and was an Obama appointee to the Federal Elections Commission.
AB 5 (Gonzalez): Worker status: employees and independent contractors. Zócalo's Joe Mathews offers his take on what the high-stakes fight over AB 5, which was the response to the Supreme Court of California's decision in Dynamex.
"Yes, AB 5 deals with a real problem; the misclassification of workers. Many workers who are considered contractors are really employees. But AB 5’s purposes isn’t really about that.
AB 5 is, at heart, a cash grab.
It’s a law that also wasn’t necessary. The California Supreme Court, in its unanimous ruling in the Dynamex case, already set out a standard for dealing with such misclassification. But the legislature and governor decided to step in, on the theory that they needed to affirm the supreme court decision.
But that’s not what they did. They created a far more complicated series of tests and exemptions, using the Supreme Court decisions as cover. Indeed, much of the legislation is devoted to replacing that decision with other language and text seen as more favorable to organized labor—and to favored industries.
The result is a series of muddled and different standards based on¸the decisions made by politicians."
Just in case you thought 2020 was about the presidential, chew on what's ahead just on this issue.
COMMON SENSE PARTY: Former Republican Assemblymember Jim Cunneen posts to Facebook that he is joining the Common Sense Party, which is being launched by former Republican congressman Tom Campbell and independent judge and former state senator Quentin Kopp.
Cunneen was one of the classiest legislators to pass through in my years around the Capitol.
CAKEDAYS and NEW CLASSIFIEDS after the jump...
Anyway, that's it for today. I need to do some cooking with ingredients in my fridge. First off is fresh marinara sauce in the Instant Pot.
CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Brian Brokaw, former assemblyman John Longville, and Assemblymen Devin Mathis and Randy Voepel! Also, I missed some yesterday, so a belated happy birthday to Senator Brian Dahle, Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, and Steve Maviglio!