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FIRST PRIMARY ELECTION MAIL-IN BALLOTS SENT: 29 days
The Nooner for Sunday, January 5, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners
SEEN ON SUNDAY TV: House Intel chair Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) on Tapper's State of the Union.
Happy Sunday from The Nooner satellite office, which in this case is my dad's house in Placentia. Yesterday, dad, my sister, my niece and I gobbled up plentiful food from El Farolito as we sat on the sunny patio with 70-degree temps before watching some great football. Before hopping on the Southwest bus later today, I'll be teaching my dad how to Instant Pot.
For now, it's me and my dad's aging black lab in the family room. She has two nice doggie beds--one in his room and one in the family room where I'm writing as the sun rises. She regularly rotates between the two--likely because of his snoring. Yes, she is a girl named "Brinkley," because "You've Got Mail," and dad still has an aol.com address.
Dad got up early, showed me how to use his complicated coffee pot and went back to bed. Good for him. It's not easy having a 47-year-old house guest who starts working at 5am.
AB 5 (Gonzalez): Social media continues to be just wild on the bill to define independent contractors in light of the Dynamex decision. From a legal perspective, it's driving me nuts. Dynamex was the law of California as of December 31, 2019. The California Supreme Court unanimously (3 Rep appointees, 4 Dem appointees) told the Legislature through a broad decision that the Labor Code had not kept up with changes in the economy.
Lorena's bill is far better than nothing for business. Do I like the end product of codification of Dynamex with exemptions? Of course not. I believed in a bottom-up rewrite of the Labor and Unemployment Insurance codes. I've also said that I think the Supreme Court of California could have had a more narrow decision that left it as a class-action certification from the Los Angeles County Superior Court with a hint to the Legislature that it needed to get its act together on the Labor Code. It is what it is.
Dynamex alone would have been a plaintiffs' lawyers dream with lawsuits against many California businesses. I don't expect everyone on Twitter to understand that hazard and intricacies in law, but respect Lorena for trying to do something. The need for immediate legislative action was necessary to avoid the bevy of lawsuits and I applaud Lorena (Stanford MBA, Harvard MA, and UCLA law) for tackling an issue that most wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole as the kids say.
We return tomorrow and I expect plentiful bills for exemptions, reminiscent of the Educational Revenues Augmentation Fund ("ERAF") feeding frenzy at the trough in the 90s when I was cutting my teeth. The only "answer" I have is buy-in programs by the "gig economy" companies for things like auto and personal liability insurance to keep folks independent but covered. I'm one of those people so I admit I have a self-interest. Build on Covered California, which is one of the most successful health insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act in the country.
There's a reason Uber, Lyft, and Postmates have an initiative in circulation to amend AB 5 rather than a referendum to overturn it. They have very smart advisors, even if I don't like an "app-based drivers" exemption. I'm hoping Governor Gavin Newsom bangs heads together for a solution rather than ballot showdown (same as commercial property tax and MedMal caps). I know Gavin and personally like him, but I don't lobby him. Anything he hears from me is in this space, available to anyone.
Meanwhile, we're back in for the second year legislative session in roughly 24 hours. Game on, boyfriend.
HOUSING: In the Bee, Hannah Wiley reports on what California legislators are looking to do this year to tackle the state's housing needs. Wiley writes:
Housing advocates are banking on the Legislature to deliver what David Garcia, policy director of the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at UC Berkeley, has called the “ultimate solution” to the increasing crisis: policies to construct housing for Californians of every demographic and income level.
Wiley lists efforts under these headings:
SISTER ACT III: In yesterday's LA TImes, Jazmine Ulloa profiled Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio (D-Baldwin Park) and Senator Susan Rubio (D-Baldwin Park), who are hoping to see sister Sylvia Rubio be elected this year in AD57 (Whittier). Ulloa writes:
In conversation, the Rubios suggest they are carbon copies of each other. But those working closest to them see a difference in styles: Blanca, 50, outgoing and blunt, is quicker to attract a circle of friends at events. Susan, a year younger, is a little more reserved and always meticulously organized.
Jazmine left the Times in May 2019 and is now a national politics reporter for The Boston Globe. I guess she's down to 34 submissions to the LAT for this year under AB 5.
THE STATE FUND: Patrick McGreevy reports on the hefty salaries at the State Compensation Insurance Fund:
A California public agency that offers workers’ compensation insurance coverage to employers has recruited a high-priced team of former executives from the private sector to turn it around after years of scandal and financial problems.
But the hires are earning six-figure salaries that dwarf others in state government, drawing concerns from some in the state Capitol who question the cost as the agency rebuilds following investigations in years past that led to the removal of top managers and mass layoffs forced by loss of business.
LA-LA LAND: In the LAT, Matt Stiles writes on the intense race for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors seat being opened by term-limited Mark Ridley-Thomas. The Los Angeles County Democratic Party has endorsed Herb Wesson, the former Speaker of the state Assembly. Wesson is in the race against State Senator Holly Mitchell and former LA councilmember Jan Perry along with four other candidates. Stiles writes:
“What we think happened [with the LACDP endorsement] is that Herb Wesson tried to win by cheating,” said Eric Hacopian, a consultant for Perry. “They tried to game the system when they didn’t have the votes.”
At issue is the way the party’s Dec. 10 vote was conducted at United Teachers Los Angeles headquarters in Koreatown. The process is usually swift and occurs without controversy, following candidate recommendations from a party committee. In this case, however, the committee was a vote short of a consensus to recommend Wesson. That prompted a floor vote, in which Wesson won the endorsement by one vote.
Scores of voting members and alternate members from the party, as well as nonvoting Democratic activists and campaign staffers, crowded into the conference room as the ballots were cast. The chaos and close tally led to questions by the Perry and Mitchell campaigns.
It's a total mess from the intel I am getting from activists in the area that are not affiliated with campaigns.
LA-LA LAND: In the Times, Emily Alpert Reyes reports on the controversy over the LA City Council ordinance prohibiting candidates from taking contributions from developers. The criticism is that under Citizens United, it likely will move the money toward difficult-to-track independent expenditures or direct contributions through third parties.
SACTOWN: The Sacramento Bee's Tony Bizjak reports on the new door-to-door rideshare system beginning tomorrow in the region by SacRT to compete with Lyft and Uber.
Starting Monday, bus and rail agency Sacramento Regional Transit will launch a major expansion of an experimental service that invites residents and workers in nine local communities, including downtown, to leave their cars in the garage and instead summon a door-to-door ride-share shuttle bus called SmaRT Ride.
Transit officials are billing it as the largest “microtransit” network in the country, a 42-shuttle bus system they say could help reduce car congestion, save people the cost of parking, and help SacRT lasso new riders in the era of app-based ride sharing.
Cakeday and new Classifieds after the jump...
CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Assemblyman Jim Cooper, Derick Lennox, and Reid Milburn!