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FIRST PRIMARY ELECTION MAIL-IN BALLOTS SENT: 17 days
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The Nooner for Saturday, January 18, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners
Happy MLK weekend! This morning, participants in the Women's March are gathering across from Nooner Global HQ in Southside Park before marching to the State Capitol. Presidential candidates tabling were Buttigieg, Sanders, and Warren. (Other candidates are active elsewhere--Yang's wife, who came forward about sexual assault by a Columbia physician this week, spoke at the NYC rally.)
Anyway, I made a quick walk through on this chilly morning before returning to my desk. The crowd is perhaps the largest I've seen since inauguration 2017 and many of the signs are focused on impeachment.
On last night's Real Time with Bill Maher back from the holiday break were Speaker Nancy Pelosi and presidential candidate Andrew Yang. Yang held a rally in San Francisco yesterday and was introduced by his new national co-chair, Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Campbell). Here is the Pelosi interview, Yang late guest spot, and Overtime with the panel and Yang.
Also in the Bay Area yesterday was former NYC mayor and prez candidate Michael Bloomberg. Joe Garafoli writes in the Chron that voters were looking at him and wondering if he was the one who could beat Trump.
Apologies to ATCpro users. The first weekly memo is running a bit behind but I should have it to you by this afternoon. I got stuck chasing some stories late yesterday.
I also got stuck on the new race ratings for congressional and legislative districts, which you'll see first and will be updated on the web site in a couple of days. This week's memo focuses on the new ratings and the questions I'm asking on several major (mostly intra-party) races. Look for an email from me this afternoon and it will be posted in the subscriber's section. If you are a subscribert but haven't set (or can't remember) your ATCpro password, just click "Forgot Password" on the subscriber log in page. As always, email me at email@example.com.
Let's get to it after the jump!
AD57 (Whittier): I've received a copy of a letter from Los Angeles County Democratic Party chair Mark Gonzalez that questions AD57 candidate Sylvia Rubio (D) about her past voter registration history. Gonzalez writes:
According to public records, you were a registered Republican from 2010-2017. As you know, according to California law, voters are not permitted to vote in other primaries in which they are not registered to a party. Not until recently did the California Democratic Party change the rules to allow “No Party Preference” voters across California to vote in the upcoming March Primary. In 2016, the only candidates who were on the ballot for president were Fmr. Governors John Kasich and Jim Gilmore, Senator Ted Cruz, Dr. Ben Carson, and Businessman Donald J. Trump. The question we know voters in the 57th and across Los Angeles County are going to want to know is, if you couldn’t vote in the Democratic primary in 2016, and records show you voted in the Republican primary - which Republican candidate did you vote for? (emphasis is Gonzalez's)
Rubio is in a tight campaign with Lisa Calderon, wife of former state senator Charles Calderon and stepmom of Assembly Majority Leader Ian Calderon. Sylvia Rubio's sister Susan serves in the State Senate and sister Blanca serves in the State Assembly.
Neither the California Democratic Party nor the Los Angeles County Democratic Party have endorsed in the race.
AB 5 (Gonzalez): The exemption bills for AB 5's condification of Dynamex relating to independent contractors are starting to be introduced. Yesterday, Senator Bates, joined several of her Republican colleagues, introduced SB 867 to remove the January 1, 2021 sunset date on the exemption for newspaper carriers and SB 868 would lift the 35-submission limit for freelance journalists.
THE NEXT GOP GUBER CANDIDATE? In Politico, Carla Marinucci reports on the new committee opened by San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer to support a 2022 initiative to combat homelessness.
A 2022 ballot measure would coincide with the next gubernatorial election, and the Republican mayor is widely seen as the most viable candidate for the party that continues to shrink in California.
“People on the street are struggling with severe mental illness and drug addiction, trash is piling up in public spaces, and the homelessness crisis keeps getting worse,” Faulconer said in a statement.
He argues San Diego has been the only major city in California to significantly reduce homelessness. While the problem has grown in other regions, he says official counts show it has fallen by 9 percent in his city. He wants his Rebuilding the California Dream committee to back efforts that place greater emphasis on attention to mental health and substance abuse.
Faulconer's move comes as Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom is touring the state to underscore his own efforts to address homelessness and a 2020-21 budget that invests more than $1 billion into programs and services to reduce the problem.
The committee name is "Rebuilding The California Dream, San Diego Mayor Faulconer's Ballot Measure Committee." He announced the event at his State of the City Address on Thursday, but the specifics are not yet available.
I very much enjoyed meeting Faulconer and, along with Gibran, chatting with him on the pod back on March 26. If we were in a traditional partisan primary system, I'd say "good luck" getting through a primary, but he would have a good shot at making the top two to face Newsom in 2022. Then the question would be whether the Republican Party would get behind him full-throated to recapture a statewide office for the first time since Arnold Schwarzenegger handed in his keys. Schwarzenegger is not particularly popular among the California GOP these days and, like a boiled down soup, the conservative factions have a stronger voice than ever. That's not my opinion, but rather what I'm hearing from Republican electeds, former electeds, and consultants.
I wish Faulconer luck. Y'all know I like Gavin. But you also know that I believe competitive elections are healthy for the state, a point reiterated by former Secretary of Defense and California Democratic congressman Leon Panetta at PPIC's luncheon on Thursday (video: PPIC | Facebook).
SB 50 (Wiener): Planning and zoning: housing development: streamlined approval: incentives.: After I wrote yesterday's item. I got the release from Senate President Pro Tem's Toni Atkins's office that she had pulled the controversial housing density bill from Senate Appropriations to Senate Rules. This was after the release of the final agenda for Tuesday's final Senate Appropriations Committee hearing before the deadline to send 2019 bills to the floor. This buys Wiener a bit more time to work on votes for the bill and then, with a simple majority vote of the Senate Floor, the senator can bring the bill up and bypass the committee.
Some were quick to suggest that Atkins was pulling a fast one on Portantino, but there may be another explanation. Unlike days of the past, both Atkins and Speaker Anthony Rendon rose to their positions by promising to allow for strong chairs to whom the leaders would defer decisions. In the past, if a chair didn't do what a leader wanted (particularly under Willie), that leader could very well lose the role.
Portantino may not feel hoodwinked at all. He's a smart guy who knows that homelessness and housing are the top issue in this critical election year and for Governor Newsom's governorship. Forcing the hand of recalcitrant local governments on zoning is part of many controversial solutions and, before SB 50 was heard by its first committee last year, Newsom proposed tying transportation funds to local government zoning for housing.
Portantino's district, however, is a tough one on topic. The district stretches from Burbank to Upland along the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. Portantino lives in the small city of La Cañada-Flintridge, which has a median home price of $1.5 million. It's the "nicer" neighbor up the hill from Pasadena, which is a very nice city in and of itself as are others in the area. Another thing about the district--the 210 freeway runs right through it. One of the perennial issues for the district has been a proposal just to the south to connect the 710 freeway, which stops next to Cal State LA, to the 210. That appears to be dead, but when the conversation of tying housing and transportation together, this is a hotbed of opposition.
I'm guessing that Portantino is just fine with the Pro Tem's move. He didn't force her hand and the last thing Appropriations chairs want is for a bill to pass their gatekeeper committee without their support. Thus, if the bill comes up on the floor, he can oppose it and when in the district, he can say with a straight face that he held his line but the Pro Tem has that right.
CANNABIS: In the LAT, Patrick McGreevy writes up the latest proposal to cut taxes on legal cannabis.
The bill would cut the state excise tax on marijuana sales from 15% to 11% for three years while eliminating a cultivation tax for that period. Similar legislation has been shelved in the last two years, with Newsom saying he felt it was too soon after legalization to make changes to the law.
But the governor signaled last week that he might be changing his mind, proposing in his new state spending plan a shakeup of the agencies that regulate cannabis sales as well as a streamlining of the method of collecting taxes, and saying he is open to considering other measures to boost a legal industry created when California voters approved Proposition 64 in 2016.
The bill is AB 1948 by Bonta and along with several Democrats, he has brought on board Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale).
MENTAL HEALTH: In reviewing yesterday's bill introductions, I saw AB 1946 by Assemblymembers Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) and Laura Friedman (D-Glendale). The bill is a spot bill to reform the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act to address those experiencing mental health crises, "including expanding the definition of 'gravely disabled' to add a condition in which a person is unable to provide for their own medical treatment as a result of a mental health disorder, and emphasizing the necessity to create policies that prioritize living safely in communities."
I'm guessing this is a bill to address homeless issues and is similar to the efforts included the ballot measure currently in circulation sponsored by former Assemblymember Mike Gatto. Friedman succeeded Gatto in the Assembly.
Meanwhile, Steve Lopez opines in the Times that the closing St. Vincent's Medical Center in downtown Los Angeles should be used as a homeless shelter and service center, something he floated in a column Wednesday.
[An] enthusiastic response came from L.A. City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell. The venerable hospital at 3rd and Alvarado — which was founded by nuns and has catered to the poor for much of its history — is in his district, and O’Farrell told me he has been interested in the property since last summer and has met with the Daughters of Charity and made preliminary inquiries about acquiring the property to help ease the city’s homeless crisis.
BLACKOUTS: Dale Kasler reports in the Bee that the California Public Utilities Commission has approved "$830 million worth of incentives to help residents and small businesses buy advanced batteries and other energy storage technologies to keep the lights on."
Utility-funded incentives for “self-generation” have been in place since 2001 but were due to expire. A pair of laws, SB 700 in 2008 and AB 1144 in 2019, extend the program through 2024.
By "utility-funded," that means it's paid for in consumer rates...
The laws also shift the focus of the program toward renewable energy — no more incentives for gas-fired home generators — and allocates much of the incentive money to fire-prone areas, particularly those hit with blackouts last year. The PUC’s decision Thursday finalizes the rules governing the incentives.
The revised program also puts particular emphasis on the emerging field of “energy storage” — high-tech batteries that can store power generated by solar panels and other renewable sources. Energy storage allows households to generate solar power during daylight hours and then use it after the sun goes down.
I'm okay paying a small fee to assist customers in fire-prone areas, but let's not ignore what the changes are actually doing. I did get some hella cheap LED flood light bulbs through SMUD recently and I'm pretty sure it was from a similar program.
more after the jump...
An aide to Rep. Devin Nunes exchanged dozens of text messages with indicted Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas about a search for information on former Vice President Joe Biden from Ukrainian prosecutors, according to documents House Democrats released Friday evening.
The exchanges include repeated references by Nunes aide Derek Harvey and Parnas to Biden. Parnas allegedly helped carry out President Donald Trump’s campaign to pressure the Ukrainian government for investigations that would benefit Trump’s re-election.
The release adds to questions about the role Nunes played in efforts central to the impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.
Meanwhile, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) has told Nunes to "shove it" after the Central Valley congressman threatened a lawsuit against him. Marisa Iati reports for WaPo:
Rep. Ted Lieu (D) alleged in December that fellow California Rep. Devin Nunes (R) conspired with Lev Parnas, a former associate of President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, to undermine the United States. Parnas has pleaded not guilty to violating campaign finance laws.
Then a lawyer for Nunes, who is the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, sent a multi-page missive threatening to sue for damage to Nunes’s reputation, Lieu tweeted. The Democratic congressman replied with a letter of his own and posted a photo of the document online.
“I welcome any lawsuit from your client and look forward to taking discovery of Congressman Nunes,” he wrote. “Or, you can take your letter and shove it.”
Cakeday and classifieds after the jump...
CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to AD25 candidate Roman Reed!