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IN TODAY'S NOONER:
Beautiful morning with little fog for Nooner SacTown commuters and more sleep for me! It was a great discussion last night at Capital Books with constitutional law professor Carlton F.W. Larson of UC Davis School of Law on his new book and the events, literally, of the day when the House Judiciary Committee met in impeachment proceeding. While not a podcast, I did record audio of the event and will send out a separate message later today.
Because of the hearings and work yesterday, I was up at 3:30. Today, I slept until nearly 7. So, I'll be short and get back to Nooner Premium analysis for the rest of the day. Tomorrow at 5pm is the deadline for the eleven districts, 3 congressional and 8 State Assembly, seats with extended deadlines because an eligible incumbent is not running, either retiring or running for another office. Here is the list from the Secretary of State's office.
To answer the question, yes, the open AD37 includes both Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. It's just that the sliver of San Luis Obispo County in the Los Padres National Forest has no registered voters. There's a similar situation in Rep. Barbara Lee's CA13. She has a piece of the City and County of San Francisco with no registered voters.
From how I understand it, the entirety of the State of California territory, including offshore territorial waters with land mass, must be included in a congressional, State Assembly, State Senate and congressional district. Thus, Santa Rosa Island--the home of the Torrey Pine (not San Diego County)--is in AD37 in Santa Barbara County. It's a National Park and has recreation and a UCSB research station, but hasn't had residents for a long time. Historically it was home to the Chumash tribe and later a land grant of the Mexican government primarily for the hunting of sea otters.
This circles back to last night's discussion, because during the discussion I asked Professor Larson about the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal's decision upholding a district court ruling in City of Boise, ID v. Martin, which I wrote about on Friday. In that case, the three-judge panel held that the generally applicable ordinance of Boise prohibiting sleeping or camping in public areas without expressing a clear health and safety argument or providing reasonable alternatives was a violation of the Eighth Amendment prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment.
People usually think of the Eighth Amendment in the context of hard labor for stealing a loaf of bread. In the Boise case, it was a $25 fine. From the death penalty to a traffic ticket or a fine for sleeping on the street, the plain language must weight the "wrongful behavior" with the punishment meted.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Because we held the discussion on K Street and our knowledge of the street's homeless problem and the city's dramatic reduction in homeless shelter beds and elimination of cold weather shelters this winter ("we promise next year that we'll use last year's higher sales tax rate to add more beds"), it seemed very relevant to bring the case up.
Professor Larson thought that while the "cruel and unusual punishment" rationale about a $25 fine would likely be a stretch for the current Supreme Court of the United States, there might be a substantive Due Process argument of a under the Fifth Amendment:
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Professor posited that a court could find that prohibiting a "right to sleep" on public property without a compelling and specific health and safety rationale passable under strict scrutiny would be a deprivation of "life" without due process. I hadn't through of that, but it is a far stronger argument than the Eighth Amendment prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment.
We could have discussed that issue alone for an hour.
Taking it to extreme, under that theory, someone could sleep on the Bay Bridge if there were no compelling health and safety reasons and register to vote 500 yards in (guess on mapping) on the western span of the Bay Bridge, be a resident of San Francisco, but be in Barbara Lee's congressional district where all registered voters are currently in Alameda County.
Yeah, that's how my crazy brain works, but if you're having lunch with a ConLaw geek, talk that one through.
The Nooner, come for California politics and policy and stay for the geekery about district maps and constitutional law. It matters.
beJUULed: The California Democratic Party eschewed the convention sponsorship money from JUUL after the event prominently featuring the e-cigarette logos, and the money was redirected through the LACDP and an Assembly Democrats committee. That was after delegates brought up the party's policy of not taking money from tobacco companies and, under state law, e-cigarettes are classified as such.
That Los Angeles County Democratic Party contribution of $100,000 on August 31 was the San Francisco-based company's last contribution as health scares of the products increased among hundreds of mysterious pulmonary illnesses, primarily among youth and likely attributed to illicit THC pods and the additive vitamin E acetate. While President Trump announced in July in the Oval Office that the FDA was going to ban all flavored e-cigarette pods, he backed off recently under industry-funded polling showed that angry vaping users in swing states would turn against him in 2020.
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has, however, gone further. and now provides weekly reports. In California, there have been 173 cases of E-cigarette, or Vaping, Product Use Associated Lung Injury (EVALI), including 111 men and 62 women, with a median age of 27. Obviously, it's not limited to youth.
Of these, 73 required intensive care unit admission, 47 required a ventilator, and there were 4 deaths.
Here is the reported demographics of the 173 California cases reported to public health agencies:
CDPH is conducting surveys through county health agencies of patients among reported cases. Of 172 distributed surveys, 92 responses (57%) have been collected. Respondents were allowed to select more than one answer.
Regarding where THC products were purchased, last week's report states:
As of 11/19/2019, of all the patients interviewed, one case self-reported buying vaping products from two shops that have been confirmed as licensed to sell THC according to Bureau of Cannabis Control’s online database of licensed retailers. The remaining patients who self-reported the source(s) of THC vaping products used, reported obtaining those products from illicit street vendors, pop-up shops, social contacts, or unverified sellers (retailers which could not be located and/ or verified as licensed).
These are reported cases that met threshold of significant medical intervention and it is likely there are other cases that are both THC-laced--illicit and legal--and nicotine-only. The physicians I talk to differentiate these quick-developing illnesses to combustible tobacco, which often materializes after decades of use.
The CDPH's official public health advisory states:
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) urges everyone to refrain from vaping, no matter the substance or source, until current investigations are complete. Since June 2019, CDPH has received reports that 90 people in California who have a history of vaping were hospitalized for severe breathing problems and lung damage, and two people have died. Across the U.S., there are over 500 reports of lung damage associated with vaping across 38 states and 1 U.S. territory, and more reports are coming in nearly every day.
That's a pretty strong statement from our experts.
An aside from my time writing this morning, I had the late shows running on the teevee as I often do. There were at least eight commercials for Michael Bloomberg's presidential campaign. In the commercial in talking about taking on tough issues, the JUUL logo is prominently shown. It's a big issue, particularly among independent parents in the suburbs where the kids have gotten their hands on them and now getting sick.
Why am I bringing this up today when the last reported contribution from JUUL was the $100k to LACDP was on August 31 before the health scare became a national issue? Well, yesterday, JUUL reported giving Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles) and Jose Medina (D-Riverside) $4,700 each last Friday. Hell, it's Friday in December when everyone is talking impeachment is happening. Nobody is paying attention.
Well, somebody reads all these reports and thus it's taken over as a long-form, researched Nooner item because I like to read all those daily filings.
I like both Carrillo and Media, the latter who was a community college trustee when that was my gig. But, I've been tough on Assembly Republicans for a few days and I must mete it out equally when I see it.
In fairness to Carrillo and Medina, several Democrats have taken JUUL money and vulnerable ones and candidates will end up with it in their campaigns, only after it has been laundered through the Assembly Dems "Vote Project" committee and the Los Angeles County Democratic Party. The Republican Party has a "due not discriminate" attitude and welcomes tobacco money, combustible and otherwise. It is just JUUL money is primarily going to Democrats because they control 11 of 40 State Senate and 61 of 80 State Assembly seats.
These latest contributions from JUUL to the two Assembly incumbents is only a story for today's Nooner because they are the first since the vaping-related pulmonary illnesses captured national attention.
If I were an elected or candidate, I wouldn't take JUUL (or other vaping money) and return any received until the health professionals figure out what the hell is going on. That's just me. To each their own.
CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Eric Bauman, Primo Castro, Denise Penn, John Pelzer, and Congressmen Harley Rouda and Mark Takano!