Around The Capitol

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E-149 - Sunday, October 6, 2019, presented by SYASLPartners

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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.




  • Baghdad by the Bay
  • Cakeday and Classifieds

SPORTS PAGE: Game 3 of the NLDS has the Dodgers in the nation's capital at 4:45pm (TBS). The best of five is tied 1-1.

Another weekend moUrning awaking to news of a mass shooting, this time in a Kansas City, Kansas bar with 9 shot including four dead.

Yesterday was a beautiful Sikh wedding of Nina Kapoor and Jason Oliviera and it was nice to chat with several Capitol folks. It was a great display of happiness, including my own that I found a suit in my closet that I can still sit crosslegged in without splitting the crotch. It was also great to be off social media for a few hours.

Of course, my brain never turns off politics and policy, as many of you know reaches a nauseating extent. While sitting on the carpet in the prayer hall of Gurdwara Dashmesh Darbar Sahib near Elk Grove, I was thinking of the Sikh sheriff's deputy who was ambushed and shot three times in the head on September 27 in Houston, Texas and for whom services were conducted on Wednesday. Sandeep Dhaliwal was a 10-year veteran of the department and the first Sikh allowed on the force to wear a turban and customary beard. The married father of three was shot after returning to his police cruiser after a midday routine traffic stop.

After the discussions about police use-of-force this year and why police officers can be quick to use force, it was a sobering reminder of the complexity in the balancing the policy arena. That said, it's beyond belief that an officer would be shot three times in his patrol car after what dash cam video reportedly shows was a routine traffic stop.

I took an Uber to-and-from the wedding. On the way over as Sacramento was waking up, I had a driver who was retired and driving to earn cash for her daughter's wedding. "Normally it was for travel money, but now every dollar goes into the wedding fund."

She can't stand Gavin Newsom, although readily admitted that it was her husband who she gets most of her political information from and he is "proud MAGA." In particular, she believed Newsom was using gas tax money to build housing for homeless. I think by the time the 20-minute ride was over, she somewhat understood the proposal of tying transportation funds to meeting regional housing elements, but I think she probably would have been happy to drive to the Capitol to sign one of those recall petitions proponents had at their rally yesterday. Yes, I tipped well even though I spent the ride in a policy discussion.

By the way, I don't know all the signs, but check out the two okay-three-fingers signal by the recall Newsom rally attendee in the front row yesterday. Okay is what you do when SCUBA diving to let your buddy know that you everything is okay from initial plunge to various other moments of a dive. We were never taught the three-finger W, because it doesn't stand for "wet," but rather "white."

For the purposes of this picture, we'll give them the benefit of the doubt. Can you find the two "Waldos" in the picture flashing the okay sign?

[h/t Patrick for the pic]

In the Uber back to my lair, I had a nice guy who is driving for a few weeks before returning to a full-time job in Los Angeles soon. On the AB 5 issue, he hates the bill but also handled it somewhat nonchalantly. "Uber and Lyft both are heading to autonomous drivers anyway. This is temporary for me and for them."

In the way my crazy brain weaves everything together, I was thinking about the "Punjabi Highway" written about by Jaweed Kaleem in the Los Angeles Times in June. Kaleem writes:

"There are 3.5 million truckers in the United States. California has 138,000, the second-most after Texas. Nearly half of those in California are immigrants, most from Mexico or Central America. But as drivers age toward retirement — the average American trucker is 55 — and a shortage grows, Sikh immigrants and their kids are increasingly taking up the job.

Estimates of the number of Sikh truckers vary. In California alone, tens of thousands of truckers trace their heritage to India. The state is home to half of the Sikhs in the U.S. — members of a monotheistic faith with origins in 15th century India whose followers are best recognized by the uncut hair and turbans many men wear. At Sikh temples in Sacramento, Fresno, Bakersfield and Riverside, the majority of worshipers are truck drivers and their families.

Over the last decade, Indian Americans have launched trucking schools, truck companies, truck washes, trucker temples and no-frills Indian restaurants modeled after truck stops back home, where Sikhs from the state of Punjab dominate the industry.

“You used to see a guy with a turban and you would get excited,” says Pal, who is in his 15th year of trucking. “Today, you go to some stops and can convince yourself you are in India.”

Many of these are owner-operators who were very unhappy with the end product in AB 5 and fear that they will be pushed out. From testimony in Senate Labor, Public Employees, and Retirement Committee on July 10 around 1:50:00, you can hear many of the "me too" comments expressed by drivers who are immigrants from India. Because of the nature of "me too" statements in legislative testimony, all we really got were name and position, rather than specific concerns from the drivers. Without dissing my friends Jerry Hill, chair of Senate Labor, or Lorena Gonzalez, author of AB 5, it's a complicated issue deserving of an entire hearing. AB 5 just had too many friends and foes engrossed in it.

Now that AB 5 is law, it is incumbent on labor who wish to unionize this workforce to step forward an welcome drivers with open arms with a clear declaration that religious observances, including both attire and holidays, will be part of any contract.

A final funny observation from the beautiful event yesterday. Sikhism was founded in the 15th century in modern-day India and Pakistan. The traditions of arranged marriage were observed, although this certainly was not. The groom of Latino heritage arrived on a horse with a sheathed sword accompanied by a drummer and attendees were, well "raising the roof" with their hands in celebratory dance--at 9am, well before a day full of events. The parents and siblings were introduced to each other and, but for the parking lot full of late-model vehicles, we could have been in a village.

However, it's 2019, so we looked to the sky for video being recorded from a drone above to capture the festivities.

Thank you to Nina and Jason and their families for a beautiful day.

SB 206 (Skinner and Bradford): Collegiate athletics: student athlete compensation and reputation. One item I missed as I've been in the weeds on polling was a great column by Joel Fox on Friday on the recently enacted bill that, as of January 1, 2023, would allow California college athletes to receive compensation for the use of their name, likeness, or image and be represented in negotiations for such by agents.

In the column, Fox writes that he supported SB 206, because "College athletes should capitalize on their hard work and abilities when others are using their images and names to create moneymaking ventures such as selling shirts with the athlete’s name or using their statistics to create video games."

But, he also writes "The NCAA could achieve the pushback against California schools without instituting a prohibition against the California schools by tangling with another Golden State law—the state travel ban on state sponsored entities to states that pass laws that conflict with California “values,” particularly on gays, transgenders and others."

Here are the current travel ban states, according to the Attorney General's office.

Well, after yesterday, I doubt my UC Davis Aggies will be traveling to Texas for the Football Championship Series national championships in December.


BAGHDAD BY THE BAY:  In the New Yorker, Dana Goodyear writes that San Francisco Mayor London Breed's immediate appointment of Suzy Loftkus to replace George Gascón is not going over well with advocates of criminal justice reform. The election for the office is November 5, Gascón is termed out, and Loftkus was also in a race against a more progressive candidate, while Loftus is backed by Breed, Gavin Newsom and Senator Dianne Feinstein. Goodyear writes:

"The move sharpens the dynamics in an election that, in imitation of Presidential primary politics, already hinged upon the question of just how much the electorate desires disruption—are we more fed up or more afraid? King’s candidate, and arguably Loftus’s most dangerous competitor, is Chesa Boudin, a thirty-nine-year-old Rhodes Scholar and a graduate of Yale Law School, who is currently a public defender in San Francisco and a leader in the movement to abolish money bail. The San Francisco Chronicle, endorsing Loftus, wrote that Boudin at times “seemed as if he should be running for public defender instead of district attorney.” Responding to Loftus’s appointment, Boudin told me that voters would see through, and be repelled by, the political gambit. “I’m confident that our campaign will overcome this last-minute effort to preserve a failed status quo,” he said."

In short, because of Gascón's early departure, there is now an appointed incumbent the weekend before San Francisco voters start getting vote-by-mail ballots to fill the position. In a city and county already deeply divided by class and race, it is understandable why this action has dialed the tension to eleven. Breed could have made the appointment the day after the election and the office wouldn't have missed a beat. It's no big secret that any district attorney has little contact with all but the highest-priority cases, even on "Law and Order."

I don't have time to understand the positions of Loftus and Boudin to determine who I would vote for, but if I were mayor, I wouldn't have tried to make the decision for the voters. It simply smells bad and other qualified actings not running could make sure the lights stay on for the next month until the voters have their say.

Of course, this also points out the idiocy of having the municipal election on November 5 instead of consolidating it with the statewide primary in four months.

Probolsky Research

A just returned from church and farmers market. I wrote above about the drone videography at the wedding yesterday. Today at the Sacramento Buddhist Church, Reverand Matt used a powerpoint to tell a picture-book fairy tale in Japanese and English to illustrate the cost of greed. Well, when Shinran founded the Jodo Shu sect of Pure Land Buddhismin 1175, he certainly could not have envisioned two 120-inch televisions being used to convey the dharma message in 2019 to a couple of hundred Sacramentans from all ethnicities and walks of life, let alone the 120-year old church in which the message was shared.

Namu Amida Butsu.

CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Samantha Corbin, Duncan McFetridge, David Pruitt, and Eric Zell!


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