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IN TODAY'S NOONER:
Happy Thursday! You're almost there... The weather is looking good for the lighting of the Capitol Holiday Tree at 5pm today with only a 5% chance of rain. Nevertheless, there is a large tent on the West Lawn just in case.
IMPORTANT EVENT NOTE: The event at Capital Books on Monday night at 7pm will be not be a podcast recording, but rather a discussion with UC Davis Law professor Carlton F.W. Larson focused on impeachment after that day's House Judiciary hearing at which the committee that will be drawing up the articles of impeachment hears the report from the House Intelligence Committee.
Carlton will talk about the book, which he started writing in 2010 but includes research he did starting in 1996! So, unlike some hastily written ones that are popping up now to cash in on the current news cycle, it's a very well researched book yet reads like a novel.
He'll also be prepared to talk about other current constitutional law issues, such as the Supreme Court's consideration of the New York City guns case heard Monday and implications for California's laws on issues like open carry and ammunition magazine limitations. He can talk about the legal principle of mootness, which could kick the NYC case back to the district court and pave the way for a California cast to be the expected legal update to the current Second Amendment doctrine from Heller and McDonald.
You can RSVP for the free event at the same page as linked to previously. Copies of the book will be available at Capital Books on Monday night and Professor Larson will be available for book signings.
So, RSVP and don't just throw stuff at your television but think of your questions for a great conversation!
Speaking of impeachment, here's a great article about now-OC superior court judge James Rogan's role as a member of House judiciary during the Clinton impeachment. He was one of the 13 House managers presenting the case to the United States Senate. He then lost his next election in 2000--to a State Senator.
That was State Senator Adam Schiff, who now chairs House Intelligence and in one of the most pivotal roles in the current process.
While Carlton's Harvard undergraduate, Yale Law School, and Ninth Circuit clerkship obviously is a very diffferent educational and career path than mine. We do have something very much in common however.
We were both in our second year of law school when Bill Clinton was acquitted in the Senate on February 12, 1999 following the 42nd President's impeachment by the United States Senate.
Oh, and he was a White House intern when Monica Lewinsky was there. Get your questions ready on that too!
News after the jump...
HOMELESSNESS: Sophia Bollag writes in the Bee that Governor Gavin Newsom yesterday announced the hiring of a former Trump administration official and is expediting grants to local governments to address the state's homelessness crisis. Bollag reports:
Sacramento County and other local governments submitted their data to the Trump administration earlier this year, but federal regulators have not yet released the official point in time numbers for 2019. That’s a problem for California officials, who allocated $650 million for homeless aid though the state budget, but tied that funding to 2019 federal homeless data.
Newsom announced Wednesday that local governments could use their preliminary data to apply for the funding as a workaround while waiting for the official federal numbers.
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said Newsom’s announcement today will expedite funds for some of the 500 shelter beds the City Council plans to open next year.
Steinberg also praised Newsom for hiring Matthew Doherty, who served as the top federal homelessness official until he resigned at President Donald Trump’s request last month. The Washington Post reported Doherty was forced out as the Trump administration prepares to launch a new homelessness policy targeting California cities.
PG&E: For AP, Michael Liedtke reports that Pacific Gas & Electric Company urged the federal bankruptcy judge yesterday to approve the reorganization plan cobbled together with the support of the equity holders of the company. The equity holders and debt holders, both largely hedge funds, have been wrestling over control of the company. Liedtke writes:
Pacific Gas & Electric on Wednesday urged a federal bankruptcy judge to approve a key insurance settlement as it struggles to regain its financial footing and cover at least $20 billion in losses stemming from catastrophic wildfires in California tied to its equipment.
The nation’s largest utility faced fierce resistance at the court hearing from attorneys representing thousands of wildfire victims, PG&E bondholders who have proposed an alternative plan for salvaging the hobbled company and California Gov. Gavin Newsom.
The opposition argued that PG&E’s $11 billion settlement with a group representing about 110 insurers that have already paid claims in the fires threatens to shortchange uninsured and underinsured victims. Critics also say the deal would give the company an unfair advantage to gain support for its deeply flawed reorganization plan.
PG&E, OWNED BY ME: In the Politico California Playbook, Carla Marinucci and Jeremy B. White report on San José mayor Sam Liccardo's next steps in his effort to transform Pacific Gas & Electric into a customer-owned utility. They write:
The principles — which include labor and workforce issues, governing, public accountability, power supply procurement, geographic inclusion, rate impacts and safety — present “a framework for a viable customer-owned PG&E that will be transparent, accountable, and equitable,” said Liccardo in a statement released to POLITICO.
OFFSHORE WIND: In the SDUT, Rob Nikolewski reports that there is great promise of wind-generated off California's shoreline, although federal approval is a holdup in much of Southern California because of military concerns.
AD57 (Whittier): Your eyes are not deceiving you in the above election updates. Yesterday, the LA County filing log for the seat being vacated by Assemblyman Ian C. Calderon (D) had an interesting update. While I reported yesterday that the big news in the race was that Sylvia Rubio (D), sister of Senator Susan Rubio and Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio, had pulled papers on Tuesday and it appeared the Calderon era was being replaced by the Rubio era, yesterday Lisa Calderon pulled papers.
Lisa is the wife of former Senator Charles Calderon and Ian is her stepson. Charles's brothers Ron and Tom both served in the Legislature and spent time in federal prison on corruption and bribery charges. Tom was released in 2017 and Ron was released on January 18.
Particularly interesting twist on Lisa's entrance? Chuck Calderon represented former Assemblymember Roger Hernández in the last extension of the domestic violence restraining order requested by Roger's ex-wife. Who is the ex? Senator Susan Rubio.
You can't make this ish up.
With six days left in the filing window, there are nine Democrats, one Republican, and one Green Party candidate. While it is a safe Democratic seat, Donald Trump won 28.4% of the vote in 2016. That means that it's almost certain that the lone Republican will receive at least 25% or so and with Dems splitting up the rest, the race will likely be essentially decided in the March primary with Republican Jessica Martinez and one Dem advancing to November.
Look for major independent expenditures in this race as interest groups battle for the seat. In 2018, business groups spent $623,903 to elect Susan Rubio in a tight contest for SD22 over Los Angeles Community College District trustee Mike Eng, a former Assemblyman who is married to Congresswoman Judy Chu.
Yesterday, legislative guru Alex Vassar at the California State Library tweeted about siblings serving concurrently in the Legislature:
There doesn't appear to be anything nefarious about Ian Calderon's decision not to run for re-election. Apparently, he told folks at the Independent Voter Forum last month in Hawaii that he had a job lined up, perhaps with the Motion Picture Association of America. Multiple sources think that he will not endorse a successor, even if his stepmom is on the ballot. He also is likely not crazy about her entrance as he worked hard to change the perception of the family name after the downfall of his uncles.
DOING THE LAUNDRY: For the newbies to California campaign finance, there is an ability for large donors to get around contribution limits to candidates by sending them through county political parties, which in turn can give unlimited amounts to legislative candidates. The maximum contribution to a political party in this cycle is $38,800, per calendar year. So, the holiday season is a great time to make such contributions because it can be repeated next year, as opposed to contributions to candidates, which are per election cycle. The only rule is that the donor to the political party committee can't direct the ultimate destination.
Of course, big donors know darn well which are the priority districts for the parties. (I have a list of the top races for Nooner Premium subscribers.
Here are several such contributions reported yesterday:
The county parties where the money flows through frequently are not where the money will ultimately end up. For example, there are no competitive state legislative races in Humboldt or Tehama counties.
The survey by the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies found that both Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts — the commanding front-runner in a September California poll — and former Vice President Joe Biden have lost ground among the state’s likely Democratic primary voters over the last two months.
That erosion has benefited Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who narrowly tops the primary field, and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., who doubled his support since the September poll.
Here are the top lines among likely Democratic primary voters:
The poll was conducted before Kamala dropped out on Tuesday. The poll's support for her at 7% in California essentially unchanged from the 8% we have seen for the Senator in each previous poll. Respondents were asked whether she should continue her campaign, and 61% said she should not. Only 24% of California likely voters said that she should continue her campaign.
The question though is a bit skewed with the "return to her duties" language:
One of California’s two U.S.Senators, Kamala Harris, is among the Democratic candidates campaigning for next year’s Presidential nomination. Do you feel it would be better for California for Harris to continue campaigning for President next year or would it be better for her to suspend her campaign and return to her duties as U.S. Senator?
Among the 7% that identified Kamala as their first choice, their second choices that indicates where they may go now breaks down as follows:
California will elect 90 at-large delegates and 271 chosen by congressional district. Allocations by congressional district are by equal weight of population and votes for Democratic candidates in 2012 and 2016 and range from 4 to 7 delegates, which are divided by gender.
For both the at-large and district-level delegates, there is a minimum viability of 15%. So using the above top-line first-choice preference, the state allocation would go something like this:
That said, with Biden at 14%, Buttigieg at 12%, 9% undecided, and 7% for Kamala, it's easy to see Biden and Buttigieg hitting at least 15%. So, let's play that out.
This exact process will be used in California's 53 congressional districts. As Mike Madrid and I talked about in the special pod on Tuesday, the caucus states such as Iowa and Nevada use the same 15% viability threshold but there's a big difference.
In Iowa on Monday, February 3, 2020, caucus-goers will gather in more than 1000 precincts that elect delegates to county conventions who in turn send delegates to a state convention. Let's say a precinct is gathering in a high school gymnasium. Caucus-goers will separate into designated areas for their candidate preferences. An initial count is made by organizers. At that point, it's announced which candidates did not reach 15% viability.
At that point, those caucus-goers with a non-viable candidate can either go home or re-align to another candidate and there will be active campaigning by viable candidates to keep non-viable candidate supporters to stick around and affiliate with the viable ones (or efforts among supporters of more than one non-viable to combine forces to become viable).
Of course, in a primary state like California, there's no re-affiliating. Your vote is your vote. If your candidate doesn't receive 15% in your congressional district, your vote essentially doesn't count. It does, however, count toward the statewide totals that determine the allocation of the 90 at-large delegates.
An example district that Mike and I talked about is Raul Ruiz's CA36, which stretches from Hemet through the Coachella Valley to the Arizona border at Blythe. Let's assume Buttigieg stays at 12% and is not viable for the at-large districts and Julián Castro is at 2%.
CA36 will elect two male and two female delegates. Well, the Democratic primary voters in CA36 will be heavily Latino. But there's also a sizeable LGBTQ population around Palm Springs. In fact, the entire city council of Palm Springs is LGBTQ, including Lisa Middleton, the first transgender Californian to be elected to a non-judicial office, and Geoff Kors, who was executive director of Equality California for 9 years.
The resort areas around Palm Springs have around 40,000 Democrats, or about 30% of the district total. The Palm Springs City Council is also highly educated. Where does Kors fall as a Stanford Law School alum? Obviously, Mayor Pete is an attractive LGBTQ candidate who is highly educated.
Where is Castro today? He's at his undergrad alma mater Stanford (he went to Harvard for law school).
This is why it's all so interesting--every campaign is thinking about 54 separate campaigns in California where they can capture delegates. It's easier to organize than the Iowa caucus, but also much more expensive and without the community-level volunteers in the Hawkeye State that take it as a personal obligation every four years.
If only we could have 53 congressional district polls.
Don't expect Buttigieg or Castro to get out soon and neither will be locked in the United States Senator in January in a likely impeachment trial, which is expected to be 2-3 weeks and six days per week. It's mandatory attendance for Senators and they basically have to sit on their hands and listen with no electronic devices. That's likely going to take Klobuchar, Sanders, Warren, and Bennet and Booker (if they're still in) off the trail at a key time.
Buttigieg's fundraising is strong and shows no indication of going anywhere. While Castro's is not strong he can likely stay in and doesn't have a day job to return to. He won't be on the December debate stage which as of now will be all-white and, as the only Latino in the race can focus on picking up pockets of delegates in targeted congressional districts.
And this my friends is why there is a very good chance for a brokered convention. There was a great deal of hullabaloo about the Democratic National Committee rules change for 2020 that keeps superdelegates on the sideline until after the first ballot. The way things are shaping up, it's likely they will be voting in July in Milwaukee and pushing a nominee over the top.
KAMALA: For Politico, Maya King looks at why Senator Kamala Harris never caught on with black voters. King writes:
A review of public polling and interviews with black strategists, activists and Democratic officials explains why African American voters have largely gotten behind non-black candidates: a medley of concerns about Harris’ and Booker’s electability, their authenticity and their campaign styles, all of which prevented them from effectively challenging Biden’s enduring — and, to some, surprising — strength among African Americans.
"The affinity voters in these groups feel for Joe Biden is deep and strong, rooted in his relationship with Barack Obama, who is the ultimate validator," Buttigieg pollster Katie Connelly wrote in a July report, obtained this fall by McClatchy, that garnered attention for probing how Buttigieg’s sexual orientation was affecting his chase for African American voters. “The power of the Obama association with these voters" was paramount, Connelly added.
While Biden’s backing in largely white Iowa and New Hampshire “appears somewhat shallow,” Connelly continued, the connection black voters in South Carolina felt with Biden “seems harder to break."
Meanwhile, for AP, Brian Slodysko and Kathleen Ronayne report that Kamala's former competitors are swooping in to try to capture her donors.
OH, DUNCAN: For Politico, John Bresnahan and Melanie Zanona report that while he has said that he would resign "soon" following his guilty plea Tuesday on one count of campaign finance violations, the six-term congressman from Alpine is showing no sign of a quick exit. He was stripped of his committee assignments after in 2018 indictment. They write:
Hunter has yet to meet with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) about his legal situation, according to GOP sources. Top Republicans would like to see Hunter resign quickly, although they are prepared to give him some time to “get his affairs in order,” one GOP lawmaker said. “But not forever.”
Did the lawmaker really use the phrase "get his affairs in order"? A big part of the federal case against him was his use of campaign funds to maintain several Washington affairs, including with a staff member. You can't make this ish up.
ISSA ON DUNCAN PARDON: In the SDUT, Charles T. Clark writes that former congressman Darrell Issa (R-Vista) who is running to succeed Duncan Hunter is in favor of a pardon from President Trump.
In an interview with the Union-Tribune editorial board Tuesday, former Rep. Darrell Issa, a Republican insider who once chaired the powerful House oversight committee, talked seriously about presidential clemency should Hunter be sentenced to prison on March 17.
“It’s not my decision. It’s the president’s decision,” Issa said when asked about a pardon. “But I would certainly say the commuting of sentencing… has a certain ability to balance the public good. Are we better off spending $60,000 a year to put him behind bars or are we better off with him doing community service and going on with his life with the likelihood of him committing a crime in the future being pretty low?”
The possibility of a pardon is why federal prosecutors agreed to am embarrassingly lenient plea deal.
Muni matters, cakeday, and classifieds after the jump...
SACTOWN: In the Bee, Theresa Clift reports on a proposal for a cluster of cabins for homeless women and children in South Natomas north of downtown Sacramento that is supported by the councilmember who represents the district, Jeff Harris. Councilmember have been asked to identify at least one shelter location in their district. Thus far, only downtown's Steve Hansen has one up-and-running, the old Capitol Plaza Hotel which most recently was a single-room occupancy "hotel." Clift writes:
The 12-foot-by-24-foot cabins, constructed by local builders in training, would include a twin bed, desk, countertop and cupboards.
In addition to the cabins, the community would include a dog park, playground, three restroom buildings and a clubhouse. The clubhouse would include restrooms, showers, kitchens, laundry, a gathering area, counseling offices, medical exam rooms, an after-school study area and programs, according to a design concept.
If agreed to by the council, the village would be opened by next winter.
ANAHEIM: For the LAT, Bill Shaikin looks at the deal between the city and the Angels that will keep the team at The Big A--or perhaps a new ball park on the property along with additional developments around in the large parking lots that are rarely full. The stadium previously housed the Los Angeles Rams (before the team went to St. Louis where they spent 1995 to 2015).
CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Marc Aprea, Ann Blackwood, Lara DeLaney, and Samantha Draper!