If you don't see images in this message, click "Display Images" or the equivalent.
Advertise in The Nooner to reach over 8,000 readers
IN TODAY'S NOONER:
¡Buenos dias desde Portland, OR! If you think I talk politics a lot, you should see the convo when the maternal side of my family gets together. Before going to a holiday gathering at the assisted residence my 99-year-old grandmother now lives last night, I think we watched eight hours of cable news. Of course, it was mostly MSNBC because you know CNN is a bit too moderate for my mom. The holiday gathering had more caroling than politics, even though the local member of Congress was there with a family member. I'm guessing that after returning from DC on Thursday, she would prefer to focus on holiday joy.
GOLDEN STATE EMPLOYMENT: Yesterday, we received the employment numbers for California for the month of November. On the top line, unemployment stayed at the low 3.9% and 28,400 nonfarm jobs were added.
Among industries, only construction (-1,100), "other services" like barbering/cosmetology and janitorial (-1,600), and trade, transportation, and utilities (-2,300) posted declines. Among increases, health and education services (+15,000), information (+8,600), and professional and business services (+3,100) posted the biggest increases. That likely contributes to California's strong General Fund performance, as growth continues in the highest-wage sectors. It also means that the socioeconomic gaps among Californians continue to rise.
At the county level, the top 5 lowest unemployment and top 5 highest unemployment counties remain familiar (not seasonally adjusted like the state number).
Lowest unemployment counties:
Highest unemployment counties:
Note that the highest unemployment counties have largely agriculture-based economies and are more susceptible for seasonal variations and also are less affected to economic booms and busts, for both good and bad.
PG&E: In the Chron, Roland Li and J.D. Morris write that Pacific Gas & Electric has reached a proposed rate settlement agreement to raise customer rates 3.4% to pay for wildfire prevention. The rate hike is expected to bring in around $575 million per year. In the Bee, Dale Kasler writes:
If approved by the Public Utilities Commission, average household bills would increase $4.90 a month for electricity and 79 cents for natural gas service. It’s about half as much as PG&E requested when it filed for the rate hike a year ago, shortly after it was suspected of causing the deadly Camp Fire with faulty equipment.
PG&E said the bulk of the money would be plowed into improving wildfire safety, including stronger power lines and poles, increased tree-trimming efforts and the installation of remote cameras in fire-prone areas.
None of the money will go for paying liability claims or other costs from the string of wildfires, including the Camp Fire, that drove PG&E into bankruptcy in January. PG&E shareholders agreed earlier this week to swallow more than $1.6 billion in wildfire expenses under a penalty to be imposed by the PUC.
The proposed settlement still needs approval of a PUC administrative law judge before going to the commission sometime in 2020.
ANIMAL HOUSE: For the Bee, Andrew Sheeler reports on new animal-related bills taking effect on January 1. "In part due to the efforts of groups like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and Social Compassion in Legislation, California lawmakers voted to ban the use of most circus performing animals, ban both recreational and commercial fur trapping, and ban the sale of many types of exotic animal skins in the Golden State."
REFUGEES: Theresa Clift reports in the Bee that Sacramento mayor Darrell Steinberg has informed the Trump administration that the city will continue to welcome refugees. Clift writes:
The city of Sacramento will continue to accept refugees, despite a September executive order by President Donald Trump that allows municipalities to block refugee resettlement.
The order requires municipalities that want to continue to accept refugees to send in letters by Christmas. Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg sent the Trump administration a letter on Friday, according to a news release.
AD59 (South Los Angeles): A large clash is brewing for 2020 In what might be considered an odd location, with incumbent Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D) facing Democrat Efren Martinez and Republican Marcello Villeda. With the Democrats having 61 of the 80 Assembly seats and a culture of incumbent protection and special interest money directed to such, one would think that Jones-Sawyer has the race in the bag. That, however, does not appear to be the case in 2020 in Assembly District 59, a population dense district straddles the 110 in Los Angeles County neighborhoods just down to Manchester, in a region known as the "Gateway Cities."
The first question is whether this will be decided in March with one Democrat and one Republican advancing to November. Hillary Clinton captured 90.7% of the vote in the district to Donald Trump's 5.1%. In 2018, Governor Gavin Newsom defeated Republican John Cox in the district 88.6 to 11.4%. This is the exact type of district that is likely to advance two Democrats to November.
Now is the often uncomfortable issue of the changing racial demographics in South Los Angeles, the locale of legendary African-American political machines. The district has been changing for some time, but dynamics are accelerating it.
The American Community Survey (ACS), which collects limited data through samples rather than the decennial actual population count, estimates black or African-American residents are at 18.7%. Hispanic/Latino residents (which can be white or other race) are estimated at 75.2%. In the 2010 Census, total population was 19.9% and 75.0% respectively.
However, citizen voting-age population (CVAP) isn't measured in the ACS. In the 2020 Census in AD59, it was 39.9% black or African-American and 49.9% Hispanic Latino. There's every reason to believe that the CVAP number in the 2020 Census will look much more like the ACS total population. Demographically, Hispanic/Latino residents have higher birth rates. While many are likely non-citizens, their children likely are, and ten years likely means that citizen children of non-eligible voters have reached voting age.
But, are they politically engaged and will they vote?
An instructive race to look at is the 2016 general election in which Kamala Harris defeated fellow Democrat, former congresswoman Loretta Sanchez. Statewide, the Democratic Party-backed Harris won 61.6% to Sanchez's 38.4%.
Not only are racial demographics changing here, election systems are as well. Because of the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA), local government elections throughout Los Angeles County are switching to even-numbered years and frequently election districts with cities and school districts that have been at large. While the City of Los Angeles previously had elections by districts, they were conducted in April of odd-numbered years.
The culturally significant city of Compton (south of AD59) is switching to even years and council districts, as is the school district. The city council currently has one Latino and the school board is all black or African-American. That's expected to change significantly as the election systems change, leading to local government that more closely reflects a city that has a Hispanic/Latino majority. With that, the bench of potential candidates will have far more experienced Hispanic/Latinos and, with that, stronger political machines.
While Compton is not in AD59, very similar dynamics have been taking place throughout Los Angeles and of course in AD59.
In AD59, Martinez lives in Huntington Park, which has an all-Latino city council and elections coordinated with the change to the statewide March 3 primary. Jones-Sawyer lives in Los Angeles City Council district 1, which isn't on the ballot in 2020. They are both in the 1st supervisorial district, which is represented by Hilda Solis and also not up in 2020.
Before the Assembly, Jones-Sawyer worked for the City of Los Angeles and was a labor leader. He was also a Democratic Party leader, serving as statewide CDP secretary. Martinez is a veteran who led the Florence-Firestone chamber of commerce, served in civic and community organizations, and now consults on public policy for business organizations.
On the money side, Jones-Sawyer reported $153,327 in cash as of June 30. Since July 1, he has raised $81,200 in large contributions. As of June 30, Martinez reported $110,354 in cash. However, Martinez added $260,000 to his campaign account shortly after filing and has raised $5,700 from two large contributors since.
Martinez presents a serious challenge to Jones-Sawyer and also a quandary in Sacramento. The Latino Legislative Caucus has 29 members and the Legislative Black Caucus has ten. While the Latino Caucus plays in elections to expand its reach, don't expect them to directly take on an incumbent and, in fact, many members of the Latino Legislative Caucus have endorsed Reggie. This includes Assembly Majority Leader Ian C. Calderon who is not running for re-election to AD57, and Senator Susan Rubio and Assembly member Blanca Rubio. That's significant since Ian's stepmother Lisa Calderon and Sylvia Rubio--sister of Susan and Blanca--are two leading candidates to succeed Ian. Calderon chipped in the primary max of $4,700 to Jones-Sawyer on December 13.
That doesn't mean that this won't be a high-profile race if Jones-Sawyer and Martinez face off in a Dem-on-Dem fight in November between business interest and labor. This would be similar to the fight for SD22 in 2018, when Susan Rubio (D) defeated former Assembly member Mike Eng (D), with business groups conducting a large independent expenditure campaign for Rubio and labor countering on behalf of Eng.
For the above reasons, I am adding this safe Democratic seat to the list of the top Assembly Districts to watch in 2020 with it very likely to be a fight between Jones-Sawyer and Martinez through the November general election and yet another proxy war between business and labor groups trying to exert more influence over what is almost certain to be another supermajority of Democrats in both houses.
A few more items, Cakeday, and NEW Classifieds after the jump...
LA'S HOMELESS: The LAT's Erika D. Smith reports on the increase in the number of homeless and visibility thereof in Los Angeles in 2019.
Homeless people have long been a part of the landscape of Los Angeles. In skid row. In Hollywood. More recently, in Venice.
But this was the year that the tents, tarps and broken-down RVs, and the unseemly sights, sounds and smells of people living on the streets became inescapable, no matter where you lived or worked. This was the year that homelessness truly felt like a crisis in L.A.
At last count, close to 59,000 people — roughly the population of Cupertino, Calif. — lacked permanent housing across L.A. County. That’s up 12% from last year. Meanwhile, in the city of L.A., the number climbed 16% to more than 36,000.
THE BIG A: In the Register, Jeong Park and Alicia Robinson report that the Anaheim City Council yesterday approved the $325 million deal to sell Angels Stadium and the land surrounding it to the ownership group led by Arte Moreno. They write:
Councilwoman Denise Barnes and Councilman Jose Moreno voted against the deal; Councilman Jordan Brandman was absent due to an emergency.
Under the deal, the city would sell the stadium to SRB Management Co. LLC, of which Arte Moreno is the controlling partner, for as much as $325 million, but the final price would likely be determined in 2020 after related agreements on community benefits are worked out.
The new owners would be in charge of renovating or replacing the stadium and would develop the property around the ballpark.
Several other agreements are expected to come forward by spring: a commitment that the team would play in Anaheim through 2050, with another 25 years of extensions; and a separate agreement that commits SRB Management to renovate the stadium or build a new one without any public financing, describes what would be developed around the stadium, and lays out details and costs of affordable housing, park space and a labor agreement.
Those community benefit costs would be subtracted from the $325 million land price, so the final cost is not yet known. Closing the sale could take until 2025, so until then the current lease remains in place.
Critics cite that there are ways for both sides to back out and that a master-planned development will be overly reliant on single-family homes adjacent the largest multi-modal transportation hub in Orange County when state leaders are looking on increasing density in such locations.
CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Matt Gray , Senator John M.W. Moorlach, and Congressoman Zoe Lofgren!