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E-118 - Wednesday, November 6, 2019, presented by SYASLPartners
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RECENT AURAL PLEASURE: Have a new pod episode related to California politics and policy that you'd like listed? Email Scott.
IN TODAY'S NOONER:
¡Feliz miércoles! I'll be quick today as I'm over at the conference on wildfires hosted by Open California/Capitol Weekly. Also this morning are oral arguments before the California Supreme Court, sitting in Sacramento, on the challenge to SB 27 ("Trump tax returns") on state constitutional and statutory grounds. Preliminary reports from the arguments suggest that the court, like the federal courts, is likely to halt the law's implementation.
Let's see, electricity on the pod Monday. Water and climate extremes yesterday and wildfires today. On Friday, we have a guest on the pod who is a homeless Sacramentan. The crisis du jour for tomorrow has yet to be determined, but please no new ones.
To the news after a sponsor message...
ELECTIONS 2019: As expected, Megan Dahle (R-Bieber) easily won the special runoff in AD01 and will join husband Senator Brian Dahle in the Legislature. Election night results show Dahle with 57.9%, while Democrat Elizabeth Betancourt has 42.1%.
Local government finance expert Michael Coleman has a report of local measures on yesterday's ballot. As expected, London Breed was easily re-elected to a full term as San Francisco mayor, while the hot race for district attorney is too closed to call with ballots to be process and tabulated using the city's ranked choice voting. Voters upheld a ban on vaping products within city limits, voting 80.45% no on the referendum placed on the ballot by San Francisco-based JUUL Labs. After a series of reports on illnesses among youths who have heavily vaped, JUUL backed off its campaign for the measure.
PG&E: For CalMatters, Dan Walters reports on the options available when thinking about Pacific Gas and Electric, including largely status quo, a takeover by more concentrated ownership such as by Warren Buffet, and a public takeover. Walters concludes:
"PG&E clearly needs an overhaul of some kind — and the state, by the way, is complicit in its fall from grace, since its Public Utilities Commission oversees operations.
However, it should be the right kind of overhaul, not something that’s politically expedient. And whatever happens, good or ill, will be laid at Newsom’s feet."
Meanwhile, in the BizJourn, Mark Anderson writes that the non-profit Valley Clean Energy based in Davis continues to pursue a purchase offer of PG&E's assets in Yolo County. The company buys clean energy and serves customers in the county, but relies on PG&E for distribution and billing. Like a similar effort in San Francisco, PG&E rebuffed the offer and argues that its assets are worth far more than what has been offered.
Newsom had PG&E CEO Bill Johnson in his office yesterday, but there was no readout.
VOTER REGISTRATION: This morning, the Secretary of State's Office released the 154-day report of voter registration as of October 1.
DMV: In the Bee, Bryan Anderson writes on the inappropriate access to DMV data by outside agencies. Anderson reports:
"California’s Department of Motor Vehicles on Tuesday acknowledged that it inappropriately shared personal information regarding 3,200 customers with seven outside law enforcement, immigration, and administrative agencies over the past four years.
The DMV said just six undocumented immigrants who applied for driver’s licenses had their personal information accessed by Homeland Security. Under Assembly Bill 60, a California law approved in 2013, the DMV must offer licenses to people without Social Security numbers.
While “data breach” notices are being sent out to the 3,200 customers, DMV Spokeswoman Anita Gore said the incident “is not a data breach in the general understanding of breaches,” because “the disclosure of this information by the DMV did not involve hacking or sharing information with private individuals or entities.”
SCHOOLS AND LCFF: For CalMatters, Ricardo Cano reports on a new state audit that looks at whether the Local Control Funding Formula meant to target funds to help high-needs students is actually doing so. Cano writes:
"In a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom, State Auditor Elaine Howle wrote that her team “had difficulty determining the extent to which the districts used those funds to increase or improve services for intended student groups.”
Auditors also found that the state’s implementation of the new funding formula meant that the three districts singled out for a spot check — Oakland, Clovis and San Diego — identified $320 million intended for disadvantaged students as money that could be used for basic district expenses.
Those errors, according to state auditors’ calculations, imply that billions of targeted dollars might have been mistaken by districts statewide as “base” funds."
THE OTHER PROP. 13: Proponents of the general obligation bond for preK-university on the March 3, 2020 ballot have launched a website, YesOnProp13.com.
Meanwhile, Joe Mathews is not on board, writing "I’m the father of three children who are in their early years of public schools. I think this state should be spending tens of billions more annually on its schools. But I care very little about the facilities in which they learn. I want them to learn more, and to the teachers and staff who work with them to have more support and better pay so they can do more for them."
FOOD INSECURITY: For CalMatters, Jackie Botts and Felicia Mello look at why an estimated 1.8 million Californians eligible for food assistance are not receiving it. They write:
"At the bookends of adulthood, college students and seniors increasingly struggle to pay their bills yet they are among the groups most likely to miss out on the food stamps they qualify for, according to interviews with more than a dozen outreach workers and state and county officials. Obstacles also face immigrants, working families and homeless people, experts said. When these categories overlap, the hurdles to obtaining food stamps are often higher."
PLASTICS: Chris Micheli provides an overview of the plastics reduction initiative filed on Monday. The initiative was filed Monday following the unexpected failure of the Legislature to approve a bill at the end of this year's legislative session.
CLASH ON AUTO EFFICIENCY: For Capitol Weekly, Bryndon Madison reports on the split on the auto industry on the Trump Administrations effort to roll back mileage standards and overturn California's waiver for more aggressive standards than those of the federal government, which has been supported by some automakers. Madison writes:
"Toyota, Chrysler, GM, Nissan, Subaru and Hyundai sided with the Trump administration in its efforts to ease mileage efficiency on rules imposed by the Obama administration.
But earlier, California signed an agreement with Ford, Honda, BMW and Volkswagen that assures more stringent rules – a move that the Trump administration denounced as illegal."
DEM PREZ CANDIDATES AND CALIFORNIA: It all sounded so good. The California Democratic Party would hold a special fall convention for endorsements ahead of the March 3, 2020 primary and invite the top eight Democratic presidential candidates for a televised forum with Univision on November 16. The irrelevance of California in the primary process would end.
That was until the top two candidates said "no thanks." Yesterday, chair Rusty Hicks blasted the decision by Elizabeth Warren to join Joe Biden in denying the invitation. Hicks tweeted:
"1/ When @JoeBiden & @EWarren decide to skip the @CA_DEM/@UniNoticias Presidential Forum, the only thing to say is...
"I respect your work/candidacy, BUT... you should reconsider your misguided decision to publicly snub California’s Democrats & Latino Voters across the nation.
2/ Your decision is a blatant disregard and disrespect to California’s grassroots leaders who make the phone calls, knock the doors, and give the money... in swing districts and swing states alike... year after year after year.
3/ It’s clear you don’t think you need us to win the Primary. But, you *just might* need us in the General. Just sayin.
4/ So, reconsider your decision.
And show us that you value the contributions of California’s hardworking Democrats who do the gritty house-to-house work it takes to win. Anything less is deeply disappointing.
Hope to see you in Long Beach on November 16."
Well, I don't see any scenario where the fate of the Democratic presidential candidate in November 2020 will rest on The Golden State, although it's quite possible we'll be the last ones counting ballots.
MUNI MATTERS, CAKEDAY, CLASSIFIEDS after the jumpity jump...
SACTOWN: In the Bee, Theresa Clift reports that one proponent of a qualified Sacramento rent control initiative is holding out in joining her two co-proponents in signing a withdrawal letter following the city council's adoption of an ordinance that went into effect in September. The initiative has a 1% lower annual cap on rent increases, would be permanent, and would be enforced by an elected board rather than city hearing officers.
LA-LA LAND: In the LAT, Steve Lopez writes that the complaints about the new pick-up area for cabs and transportation network companies at LAX is really the fault of unreasonable expectations of Angelenos who overly rely on passenger vehicles.
"[I]t’s likely we’ll be stuck with some degree of chaos until 2023, when an elevated people mover is scheduled to begin tracking passengers from terminals to car rentals, a ground transportation hub and a Metro station.
In the meantime, try a ride-sharing van out of LAX, take a bus, drive your own car, or fly out of Burbank, Ontario or Long Beach, even if it means having to catch a connecting flight."
CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Noah Finneburgh, Gary Gartner, and Jason Kinney!