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E-161 - Tuesday, September 24, 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 taco martes! Thank you to those who have already listened to our podcast recorded yesterday afternoon, making it the fastest growing pod release since we started the collaboration on Valentine's Day. We've also noticed that many "newcomers" coming aboard are listening to many others in our episode library. There is some great stuff in there that has aged well.
BTW, I removed the podcast photo of Gibran and me in front of Bacteria Bear from The Nooner. The only reason for the removal was that it wasn't rendering correctly in some of the browsers Noonerites use. The pic still has a place on various pages.
Let's start with some ballot news...
TAKING IT TO THE STREETS: The two referenda to overturn the recently enacted vaccination bills that limit medical exemptions were cleared yesterday to begin collecting signatures. Both referenda are title "Referendum Challenging 2019 Law Regarding State Oversight of Medical Exemptions to School Vaccination Requirements," and would, if qualified stay the implementation of SB 276 and SB 714 pending on vote of the people in November 2020. They have until December 19 to collect 623,212 valid signatures.
BAILING ON BAIL CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT: John Myers tweets that the bail industry does not plan to pursue its initiative constitutional amendment to create a state right to cash bail and instead focus on the already-qualified referendum to overturn last year's SB 10 (Hertzberg). Because of the high turnout in the 2018 gubernatorial, the initiative would have required 997,139 valid signatures by St. Patrick's Day, 2020.
Much more after the jump...
CALIFORNIA v. TRUMP, er, TRUMP v. CALIFORNIA? Yesterday, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler sent a letter to Mary Nichols, chair of the California Air Resources Board. The letter, among other things, threatens federal highway funding in areas without an approved State Implementation Plan under the Clean Air Act. I'll let you decide whether this is just routine enforcement or part of the tit-for-tat between Sacramento and Washington.
Meanwhile, Kevin Stark reports for KQED that yet another lawsuit has been filed by Attorney General Xavier Becerra over environment regulations. This time it's the Redwood City Cargill-owned salt ponds familiar to most in the landing path into SFO. Start reports:
"Last March, the Trump administration ruled that 1,365 acres of salt ponds owned by Cargill are not subject to some restrictions of the federal Clean Water Act. That determination breathed new life into one of the Bay Area's largest housing proposals in five decades.
But EPA's decision angered environmental groups and government officials like Peninsula Congresswoman Jackie Speier. She claimed that Cargill executives worked behind the scenes with the Trump administration to push the decision in violation of environmental laws. “I am not willing to let this happen,” she said at the time."
"ENVIRO-IN-CHIEF": Gavin Newsom continues to work to beef up his environmental credentials leading to the expected veto of SB 1. Yesterday, he delivered opening remarks at "Climate Week NYC," and offers the video on his Facebook page.
THE NOT-SO-RETIRED JERRY BROWN: CapRadio's Ben Adler has an interview with former governor Jerry Brown preceding the launch of a new Climate Change Institute at UC Berkeley.
"The institute, a partnership with Tsinghua University in Beijing, will focus on research and training initiatives, as well as “dialogue” between American researchers, scientists and public officials and their Chinese counterparts.
Brown says the institute’s work will engage “at a technical level, but also at a policy level that can help China, California and America do more and be more effective in reducing the dangers of climate change by reducing carbon emissions.”
China’s top climate change official attended the launch announcement Monday in New York City, which was timed to coincide with the United Nations General Assembly and Climate Week NYC.
Brown was scheduled to join him, but his office said a “personal matter” forced him to remain in California. His successor, Gov. Gavin Newsom, is in New York this week but did not attend the launch."
FROM THE DESK OF THE DEAN: I missed this one yesterday, in which George Skelton writes for the Times about the aftermath of AB 5 (Gonzalez) and the winners and losers of the bill's approach of the strict "ABC" approach to independent contractor status, with exemptions for certain job classifications. Skelton, identifying the losers who did not get exemptions "little people," writes:
"All these little people will be pressing for exemptions when the Legislature reconvenes in January. They should.
But the entire law should be rewritten with more realistic definitions of “independent contractor” and “employee.” Democrats and labor overreached."
The Los Angeles Times Editorial Board, which Skelton is not on, wasn't particularly helpful in the process. The board wrote on July 6:
"Rather than expanding the definition of who is an employee, a better approach would be to give more wage and labor protections to independent contractors or create a third category for on-demand workers. A coalition of on-demand services supports expanding the protections for gig workers and allowing them to band together to negotiate; it has also proposed to fund a package of benefits that workers themselves would choose from, cafeteria style. That would offer more help to part-time workers than reclassifying them as employees and robbing them of the flexibility and opportunities that attracted them to the work in the first place."
So that editorial calls for the "third category" rewrite of the Labor Code to find a "tweener" category between employee and independent contractor, something that the gig economy companies like Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash have pushed for. I guess that is essentially what I have suggested and I think the Supreme Court of California would bless after reading its Dynamex decision several times. The company Dynamex Operations West, LLC was clearly in the wrong by reclassifying existing workers from employee to independent contractor. The company itself is now owned by Canadian corporation TFI International. As the kiddos learn in law school, "bad facts make bad law."
The author of AB 5, Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), is as tenacious as any legislator and believes that, while the middle ground approach would bring more benefits to current workers classified as independent contractors, the middle-ground classification between independent contractor and employee would not allow employees to organize into a union, which some of the current workers have expressed an interest in.
A middle ground approach, however, would put thousands of workers in a no man's land under the National Labor Relations Act (29 U.S. Code § 152). That's why Lorena rejected even offers of more generous compensation and benefits than received by some union employees.
It's not about all about money for the gig economy companies. They don't want union control over other terms and conditions of employment, which would be bargainable if a unit of "employees" is certified by the National Labor Relations Board. Meanwhile, unions see changes in the economy and nature of work and are looking to organize along with that reshaping.
After the LA Times editorial board wrote in July, they were silent for two months, until it departed from the high ground of the July 6 editorial, and went flat-out NIMBY on September 5:
"Everyone knows that big newspapers as well as small ones have been shedding staff and fending off bankruptcy in recent years as a result of declining ad revenues and shrinking circulation. Add to that the constant barrage of attacks from President Trump, who views newspaper journalists as “enemies of the people,” and the particular need at this moment in history for accurate, trustworthy journalism to hold our leaders accountable. The last thing California needs is for its Legislature to deal another devastating blow to our industry."
The bill was amended five times between the LAT's "rewrite the Labor Code" and the "save the newspapers" editorials. During that time, the bill was amended three times. The LAT's September editorial followed a similar one by The Sacramento Bee on August 30.
The late NIMBYism of the papers' editorial boards that regularly opine with a heavy tilt to labor when it comes to others indeed returned something--a one-year exemption for the newspaper carriers, which in the newspaper world is akin to an inmate on death row given a one-week reprieve to eat more Popeye's chicken sandwiches.
Meanwhile, the papers thoroughly pissed off legislators for not having a consistent, clear message on the legislation. That was evident when AB 170 was heard in Assembly Labor and Employment on the last night of session, where Lorena Gonzalez said the Senate "shoved it down my throat." Gonzalez proceeded to vote against the bill that she was authoring on the Assembly Floor. Check out the L&E cmte video starting around 2:12.
The Los Angeles Times editorialized about SB 50 on May 11, writing:
"California faces a crisis because those of us who already have housing have been unwilling to make room for those who don’t. SB 50 recognizes that we’ve been trying to preserve single-family neighborhoods in amber. That cannot continue. The bill deserves support if it first gives cities one final chance to meet their housing targets."
Congratulations, LAT, you get "one final chance" with a one year exemption for a thoroughly broken model. Meanwhile, there is a high-profile standoff between newsroom employees and the paper's management over an inaugural contract.
Sort of sucks playing both sides, doesn't it?
VOTUS MOSTUS: For the Bee, Sophia Bollag looks at the bills advanced to Governor Gavin Newsom aimed at increasing voter turnout in the March 3 primary election. Bollag writes:
"[L]awmakers sent Newsom a bill by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, to require county elections officials to notify voters of the political party they’re registered with several months ahead of the election. Assembly Bill 681 also requires officials to send a second notice to those not registered with a party that includes instructions to request a presidential primary ballot.
Under the bill, the notices can be sent by mail, email or text message if a voter has given prior permission.
Newsom now has until Oct. 13 to sign or veto the bill.
He’ll also have to decide on Senate Bill 72, which would require all California voting locations to allow same-day voter registration. Right now, only some voting locations are required to provide that option.
Paul Mitchell of Political Data Inc. said if Newsom signs that measure, it could significantly boost turnout. The policy would mostly benefit young voters, because they move frequently and are most likely to need to register to vote. Those voters tend to cast ballots for Democrats, so it could result in a boost for that party, Mitchell said."
Claims of ballot harvesting in 3...2...1...
CAKEDAYS and CLASSIFIEDS after the jump...
CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Steve Cruz, Maria Garcia, Taylor Glass, Alexander Hall, Katie Hanzlik, Cynthia Leon, Berman Obaldia, and Joanne Wendler!