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NOONER PREMIUM UPDATES:
IN TODAY'S NOONER:
SEEN ON THE TEEVEE: House Intelligence chairman Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) was on Stephen Colbert last night.
Happy Friday the 13th! I'll send out a This Week in The Nooner recap this afternoon. I may have additional content as I've been in deep and am running out of time. You may get two as I test spam filters and some new email settings. My apologies in advance and rest assured that the delete button is one click (okay, likely two) away.
The 24-hour food fest for Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe at Our Lady of Guadalupe and along T Street is over and now we return to the regular Sunday church and street food. While I'm saddened that I can't go get tamales for this morning's writing at 5am or a midnight churro, my waistline is thankful. I ate more carbs the last couple of days than I generally do an an entire month--bacon-wrapped hot link with guac, eloté, tamales, street tacos (buche, cabeza, y asada), champurrado, and churros.
It was beautiful to see Mexican-Americans come from around the region to celebrate their "Virgin Mary," share culture from folklorico and Aztecan dancers, dancing horses, children in beautiful dress, and of course F-O-O-D.
Of course, I have more of those tamales squirreled away in my freezer. Anyway, I'll stick to hard boiled eggs, almonds and fruit this morning.
MOVIE REC: In my Tuesday afternoon writing break, I saw Queen & Slim. It was a fantastic movie. I didn't share it earlier because of the Jersey City shooting at which a police officer was fatally shot. If you've been to the movies in the last several months and seen a trailer or read a review, you know it involves the interaction of a black couple and an officer and the officer ends up shot. The couple flees on a multi-state escape. But there's far more to the story and it's not a "cops are bad" movie--in short, it's complicated. It was snubbed by the Golden Globes and the director says that Globe voters wouldn't even go to screenings. Anyway, it's 82% by critics and 93% among audience on Rotten Tomatoes, and count me in with those who found it a strong, emotional, and relevant movie.
TECH STUFF: I continue to work on problems with spam filters and there are issues on both my end and the recipient side. The Nooner is posted every day around 12:05pm at www.aroundthecapitol.com/nooner. While working on this today, I found official notices from the Secretary of State's Office and email from several presidential candidates with big infrastructures sitting in my Gmail spam box. I don't feel so bad.
Helping me this morning on an lengthy Facebook chat? Former Assemblymember Eric Linder. We seriously geeked out on various Linux and other server issues, which he has been dealing as well, for about an hour on FB chat. Because I was President/CEO and had a great legislative team for most of his time in the Assembly, I didn't get to know him up here but have been enjoying our tech geeky conversations.
TANI! TANI! TANI! Yesterday, Supreme Court of California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye spoke to a full house at the Sheraton at a PPIC-hosted luncheon. Now, I would say that I'm just a fan boy because her educational route is identical to mine--community college->UC Davis->UC Davis School of Law--but in watching the crowd, I think they were smitten as well. To me, her appointment as Chief Justice in 2010 was one of the highlights of Governor Schwarzenegger's seven years.
People don't understand that the California Chief Justice has a role that is very different than the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Tani is a jurist but, like her predecessors, she is the chair of the Judicial Council, the policymaking body for the state's courts. Thus, she is a jurist, policymaker, and administrator.
Here are a few notes from her talk:
On the court's composition: "After (Marvin) Baxter's retirement, we thought we weren't going to have a white guy on the bench." Jerry Brown appointed legal affairs secretary Joshua Groban to the court.
The current composition is:
Despite the political and racial/ethnic diversity, they are often together, like on the Dynamex decision. While the decision and the codifying AB 5 (Gonzalez) may have been hugely controversial and continue into next year, most legal observers on both sides understand that the Supreme Court was unanimously telling the Legislature "We interpret what is written in the Labor Code. If you don't like it, you (or the voters) have the authority to change it." And so the debate continues... This paragraph is all my reading and not reflective of anything the Chief Justice said yesterday.
On re-registering from Republican to No Party Preference: "I am a Deukmejian Republican." Her first state government job after the Sac County District Attorney's Office was as a Deputy Legal Affairs Secretary for Deukmejian. On the Kavanaugh hearings, "How could I explain that to my daughters?"
Court access and understanding: She talked about putting video of oral arguments on the internet so citizens can have a better understanding of the issues in particular cases and the court process itself. She further discussed the efforts to make courts accessible to those with limited English comprehension.
Bail reform: She discussed the diverse advisory group that studied the state's bail system leading to the recommendation to eliminate cash bail. She talked about how the prescriptive nature of bail often requires judges to hold those accused without consideration of ability to pay. The accused often don't have the money to bail themselves out.
That often requires family members to put up a non-refundable premium for the bond, and those family members are more often that not those paying are female spouses or girlfriends, mothers, grandmothers, ahd aunties. That premium is profit for the bail bond sellers and surety companies--even if charges are never filed.
Often times, they don't have the cash and put it on high-interest credit cards, amplifying the socioeconomic inequity.
Last year, the Legislature passed SB 10 (Hertzberg) to replace the money bail system with pre-trial risk assessment. However, the law has not taken effect because the industry (more the surety companies than the storefronts clustered around courthouses and jails) has qualified a referendum on the measure, which will be on the November 3, 2020 ballot.
Fees and fines: The Chief Justice talked about how the Legislature has frequently increased court fees and fines with "worthy causes" unrelated to the administration of justice, such as the "abalone preservation." As such, it results in a regressive tax on those with matters that disproportionately affect lower-income Californians such as family law and tenant eviction issues.
She talked specifically about the burden of fees and fines on the homeless and efforts to relieve them and the courts' role in assisting people get back on their feet. She said that there is even talk over using courthouses unused at night for overnight cold weather shelters.
On Proposition 66: In response to voter approval to expedite the death penalty, she discussed the court's actions, the advisory committee working on implementation, and the challenge of implementing the will of the voters with no additional funding, the inability to access the prescribed drugs and physicians unwilling to administer them, and with a governor who has imposed a moratorium on the death penalty and dismantled the state's lethal injection chamber. She did not express personal opinions on the ultimate punishment.
The Chief Justice as a dealer: She talked about dealing cards for Harrah's during her 1L year of law school and how it gave her practical knowledge that has helped her in her legal career. She said she could tell when someone was drunk and lying. "My first case was a DUI and that background was helpful." (paraphrase)
By way of background, longtime Harrah's CEO Phil Satre is a UC Davis School of Law alum and has been very generous to the school. He retired and is now the Chairman of International Gaming Technology (IGT), the large manufacturer of slots and other gaming machines.
In addition to the Satre connection, working as a dealer in Reno has been a long past-time for UC Davis students of age. I wouldn't be surprised if there are some Capitol Aggie alums who earned cash on weekends across the I-80. I never dealt cards but do have stories such as coming back in the early morning hours with roomies and girlfriends with morning finals awaiting and one of us writing a final paper in the back seat.
CapRadio's Scott Rodd sat down with Tani after the talk and has a Twitter thread on his conversation.
The archived video is not yet available, but will be here. Trust me, the 45-minute or so interview of the Chief Justice by PPIC president/CEO Mark Baldassare is worth your time.
Sign up for PPIC's email list to learn when it's posted as well as about a bevy of nonpartisan free events and livestreams across myriad policy areas. You won't regret it.
HEY, IT'S OMAR! In the SF Examiner, Michael Barba reports that at the arraignment hearing for congressional candidate Omar Navarro, a San Francisco judge ordered the perennial challenger of Maxine Waters in CA43 to be remanded into custody following his Saturday night arrest and release after posting $75,000 bail. Barba writes:
Omar Navarro, a 30-year-old resident of Torrance, was arrested overnight Saturday after being spotted outside the Outer Sunset apartment of DeAnna Lorraine Tesoriero, a conservative commentator who is also running for congress.
Navarro bailed out of County Jail only to continue texting Tesoriero dozens of times in the following days in an apparent violation of a restraining order she obtained against him back in August, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Navarro appeared in court for the first time Thursday wearing a blue suit and pleaded not guilty to the charges.
He was taken away in handcuffs at the end of the hearing in which prosecutor Courtney Burris recited a lengthy list of threatening text messages Navarro allegedly sent Tesoriero,
Navarro ran two unsuccessful campaigns to unseat Waters in 2016 and 2018. He has also reportedly courted the support of far-right figures including political operative Roger Stone and former Sheriff Joe Arpaio from Arizona.
I wrote about Omar's grifting scheme and abuse of campaign finance rules on Monday. While the $16.04 "travel expenses" at the Chipotle near his house and campaign "office" are fun, the $2,000 "mileage reimbursement" in the third quarter is enough to point to fraud. I wrote:
In addition to all of the Uber, Lyft, and gas fill-ups around his house and "office," he paid himself $2,000 for "mileage" on August 30. I've both claimed mileage and signed checks paying it out. I've never seen a it work out to a flat number. It is to be paid out using the IRS rate, which currently is $0.58 cents per mile and that includes gas and wear-and-tear on a personal vehicle.
Again, this is a quarterly report. That works out to 3,448 miles driven. The dense urban district is relatively tiny, running from Inglewood on the north to Torrance on the south. No, you don't get extra mileage because it involves the 405. It's 2,686 miles from Torrance to Washington, DC. However, there are all indications that he prefers to travel by air.
His fourth quarter reports of his travel in San Francisco should be J-U-I-C-Y.
He's a grifter that targets retirees with direct mail. He's a political televangelist without a paid-for Sunday show. It's more like a S***SHOW on days ending in "Y."
A few more items and Cakeday after the jump...
CA21 (Fresno-Kings-Kern): The western Central Valley district that flipped from David Valadao (R) to TJ Cox (D) in 2018 looked to be shaping up as a basic rematch in a region of perennial fights between the parties in congressional legislative districts that have often split from Dem at the top-of-the-ticket to the GOP locally. It was to be a turf battle mostly on national themes, including impeachment, and some local issues in a region that lags California's overall robust economy.
However, I need not tell you that we're in strange political times both on teevee and elsewhere.
In CA21, there's farmer Rubén Macareno, a Democrat who is a councilmember in Farmersville in Tulare County.
The interesting story is that also filing were Democrat-turned-Republican presidential candidate Rocky De La Fuente and his son Ricardo De La Fuente, a Democrat. If Rocky's name sounds familiar, that is because he filed a lawsuit against SB 27 (McGuire and Wiener), the now-defunct "Trump tax returns" bill. I remember seeing him in the Eastern District courtroom when Morrison C. England, Jr. heard oral arguments on September 19. In the end, the push by Democrats failed on both federal and state constitutional and statutory grounds.
Rocky De La Fuente ran in California as a Democrat for President in 2016 and for U.S. Senate as a Republican in 2018. Ricardo De La Fuente had taken out papers in CA53, the open seat of the retiring Susan Davis (D).
The De La Fuentes have a diverse small business empire in San Diego County, where they live. For congressional races, residency in the district is not required. Ask Tom McClintock (R) who he'll vote for on March 3. I don't think it'll be Ami Bera (D), the congressman who represents Elk Grove, where McClintock lives.
So, here's what we're looking at for CA21:
Scott, why don't you have analysis on all these races yet? Anyone want to write this one with a guesstimate what will happen as Californians get their ballots maybe 1-2 weeks after the Senate impeachment trial?
With grifters like Omar and gamers/attention-getters like the De La Fuentes in our politics, who cares about alleged Russian meddling? We do it just fine ourselves.
PRESIDENTIAL IN CALIFORNIA: Last night, Joe Biden held a fundraiser on Nob Hill last night. KCBS Political Reporter Doug Sovern tweets:
Of note: present at tonight’s @JoeBiden fundraiser at the Fairmont in SF: #Oakland Mayor @LibbySchaaf. She was an early and enthusiastic endorser of @KamalaHarris for president. Might she switch to Biden now? The event was hosted by Dick Blum, husband of @SenFeinstein.
Liberal supporters of Sanders and Warren were quick to jump on the "establishment" coalescing as a rallying point against such.
Meanwhile, Dr. Jill Biden will be at a Sacramento fundraising breakfast on Thursday, December 19 hosted by Brian Rice, president of California Professional Firefighters on Thursday. Electeds listed on the invite include Congressman Ami Bera, State Senator Melissa Hurtado, and Assemblymembers Jim Cooper and Tim Grayson.
As I've written before, I don't have a candidate in the race and I won't publicly. But to be candid, I don't privately yet either. That said, Dr. Biden, a community college professor at Northern Virginia Community College, was huge for us when that was my work (still my passion). She helped us on the Student Aid Financial Reform Act, which saved money in the student loan program through efficiencies and paid for large increases in Pell Grants and grants to community colleges for career technical education.
In addition to Speaker Pelosi 1.0, the California hero on that effort was former congressman George Miller, a graduate of UC Davis School of Law (have to get that in). Funny trivia--we got around opposition from the banks and a filibuster by riding on the wagon of the Affordable Care Act in the 2010 Budget Reconciliation Act, the one piece of legislation exempt from the filibuster.
Candidates are starting to look at pockets of delegate pick-ups. Say what you will about the March 3 early California primary to align with Super Tuesday, but it's definitely transitioning California from simply an ATM to a delegate rich state needing attention.
ADD FRIEND: I don't usually include promotions and hires in The Nooner because I get so many and my friends at Capitol Morning Report do a great job covering them. However, it is noteworthy that longtime insider Mona Pasquil Rogers, who served as Acting Lieutenant Governor following John Garamendi's election to Congress, has joined Facebook as Director of California Policy. She posted the news on, of course, Facebook.
CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Congresswoman Anna Eshoo!