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The Nooner for Monday, January 20, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners
January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968
This is the statue that greeted us daily at UC Davis School of Law. While now relocated after the building named in his legacy was renovated, we walked by this daily. Whenever it seemed like it wasn't worth the three years, it didn't take long looking in the statues eyes to regain the motivation to trudge on. Here's a great video celebrating the day from UC Davis School of Law.
Don't think for a moment that his dream has been posthumously realized. There is much work to be done.
Just a few items today after the jump...
January 20. There's something about that date that I just can't put my finger on.
Oh, I got it. One year from today lots of people will be very happy and lots will be very sad.
SD13 (San Mateo): In the four-way race among Democrats to be the one who makes it to November In this safe Democratic district, the independent expenditure money is flowing. The California Association of Realtors has spent $174,367 in support of Annie Oliva since January 11. It appears that CAR has sent around five mailers on Oliva's behalf. Meanwhile, the 85-year-old mother of Oliva's fellow Democrat Mike Brownrigg has deposited $460,000 in an independent expenditure on her son's behalf, with $35k on January 10 and $425k on January 16. The first was for research and polling and the large amount was for "Media Buy, Production Expenses, Political Retainer."
Obviously, the campaign finance reports due Thursday will tell us a lot more, but here's where we're at for the five Democrats. Neither the Republican nor Libertarian in the race have filed any reports.
FROM THE DESK OF THE DEAN: George Skelton opines in the Times that it's time to expand on the free first two years of community college for full time students now in law and add two years at the California State University, returning to a time of "free tuition" for a four-year education in California. Skelton speaks of it in the context of Miguel Santiago's AB 1826, which would provide two years free at CSU for full-time transfer students from community college who obtain a transfer degree and 18 units toward a major.
WALTERS ON H.L. RICHARDSON: For CalMatters, Dan Walters looks at the legacy of H.L. Richardson, who passed away on January 13 at the age of 92. Walters notes that he was largely responsible for the change from genteel, incumbent-protection collegiality to the all-in partisanship in the "upper" house we see today.
Obviously, Wild Bill Richardson was a very controversial figure in his day. Obviously, too, he single-handedly changed the nature of the Capitol, pioneered political techniques that continue to be used and altered the course of California history by playing key roles in the election of Deukmejian as governor and the defeat of Chief Justice Bird.
Very few political figures past or present could claim to have had such impact.
One needs to look no further than the 2018 recall of Josh Newman (D) in SD29 over his gas tax vote by Ling Ling Chang (R) and the rematch this year. Neither would have happened in the "good ole days."
SMOLENS ON FAULCONER: Michael Smolens writes for the SDUT on outgoing San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer's hopes of becoming a statewide figure with suggesting he will pursue a ballot measure to address homelessness for 2022, when Governor Newsom will be up for reelection.
Even if Faulconer took on Newsom, it seems the incumbent would have to implode to lose re-election to any Republican in such a heavily Democratic state.
But there may be more to it than just winning. For the last couple of gubernatorial election cycles, the GOP has been looking for a candidate who, even if unlikely to win, could put up a good image for the party, generate voter enthusiasm and attract an infusion of campaign cash that could help down-ballot candidates.
COURTS V. SCHOOLS: In the Chron, Jill Tucker reports that several school districts have banded together to oppose a 2011-12 property tax shift from the counties to the State Trial Courts Fund. Or, as the state would frame it, a partial "undo" of the early 1990s shifts from local governments to schools in what as known as the Educational Revenue Augmentation Fund. This is the portion of "excess local property tax revenue" that usually puts K-12 and community college districts in "basic aid" status destined for county offices of education.
“It’s the education code of the state that is being used to fund the state trial court system,” said Joe Ross, a member of San Mateo County’s Board of Education. “Almost anyone would say it’s crazy to do so. People often say things like a dollar spent on a classroom now is a dollar less we’ll have to spend later on a courtroom.”
Even before 2011, state law restricted the use of the excess property tax money, essentially freezing it in county education coffers so it could be used in future state funding calculations for schools in case local property taxes dipped, requiring the state to make up the difference. But in the meantime, the counties were able to use the interest generated from the money.
Along with the new requirement starting in 2011-12 to make the annual transfers, counties also had to shift all the money in those frozen accounts to the state — which was more than $20 million in San Mateo County at the time, Ross said.
State finance officials say that the state retains authority to determine how excess property revenue is spent — something granted under Proposition 13, which capped property taxes.
In addition, counties used to be responsible for trial court costs, but when the state took over the responsibility in 1997, counties agreed to continue supporting trial court operations, said H.D. Palmer, deputy director of external affairs for the state Department of Finance.
In other words, the state has the right to direct the use of the funds, Palmer said.
The ERAF/Basic Aid/Excess Local Property Taxes debate will never end. I see both sides.
According to the Department of Finance, K-12 funding per pupil has increased $10,653 per pupil to $17,508 in 2019-20, an increase of 64%. Some of this is through undoing of paper deferrals, some is from declining enrollment, and some is through supplementary payments of retirement obligations. Had the amount per pupil in 2019-20 been adjusted only for the consumer price index, the amount would be $12,432.
There has been remarkable improvements in K-12 and community college funding, as the General Fund and per capita personal income has grown far faster than general inflation. There will of course be a day of reckoning, but it'll be a softer landing than the least recession because the state squirrel has hidden many budgetary acorns. And, regardless, California still trails many states in per-pupil spending while having a very high cost of living.
The county offices of education argue that they can step in for regional teacher training and supplemental services in the districts serving the most socio-economically disadvantaged students. While San Mateo has the lowest unemployment rate at 1.9% and immense wealth, there is still great need in cities such as East Palo Alto and Daly City. Sacramento might counter that the Local Control Funding Formula accounts for this and directs additional money for such students and English Language Learners to the school districts serving them.
Of course, the State Auditor reported in November that LCFF is not fully delivering on the promises of directing resources to the neediest of students:
So, while not proposed in the Governor's January Budget, there are many legislators in reopening the entire LCFF discussion as well as that of the functions of county offices of education.
From the courts (and counties) perspective, Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye (go community college, go UCD, go UCD Law!) of the Supreme Court of California told the PPIC audience in December that access to justice is at a crisis point. Fees have increased and the courts have been redirected money from obscure funds. I wrote on December 13 after the event:
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.
According to Tucker's article, the amount being transferred has increased from $28 million in 2011-12 to $90 million and from three county offices of education to ten now because of the robust economy and increases in housing prices. In addition to the ongoing shift, the transferred reserves of such money to trial courts as well. The county offices of education argue that they need the funds to address critical educational needs now as well as to restore reserves ahead of a likely economic slowdown.
Good arguments on both sides. In the end, $90 million is budget dust for the state and could fix this in the 2020-21 budget, but the question is whether or not the Legislature and Administration trust that the county offices of education would use the money for needs that are of higher priority than those competing.
immigration after the jump...
IMMIGRATION: The PPIC Statewide Survey released last Wednesday included question on immigration. Let's look at the crosstabs on these questions.
In April 1998 after voters approved Proposition 187 in 1994, the first PPIC poll question on topic asked "And which of these two views is closest to yours? (rotate a and b) (a) immigrants today are a benefit to California because of their hard work and job skills. (b) immigrants today are a burden to California because they use public services." Among adults, 46% answered immigrants are a benefit, while 42% responded that they are a burden.
By September 2005, the answer to that question had moved to 56% who answered immigrants are a benefit 38% responded that they are a burden.
That 2005 poll also asked "Should immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally be allowed to apply for work permits which would allow them to stay and work in the United States, or shouldn't they be allowed to do that?" The results among all adults was 60% should be allowed to stay and 38% opposed.
Arguably, this year's question is even more generous as it doesn't mention work permits, and the difference over the years is striking.
Even with those numbers, Washington is at a gridlock on permanent protection for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals protectees, and both sides are to blame. A stand-alone bill to codify the Obama executive order and end the legal standoff before the Supreme Court of the United States would pass, but Democrats want more. At minimum, they want a path to citizenship for DACA, but many want comprehensive immigration reform in exchange for codifying politically popular DACA.
So, in red districts in 2020, this is red meat and the President's continuous pounding on the issue won't hurt any Republican. However, in those toss-up GOP congressional seats (CA21, CA25, CA39, CA45, CA48), this could be a major point with independent voters--who could break either way.
muni matters, cakeday, and classifieds after the jump...
CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Kimberley Beatty, Gabriel Castellanos Jr., Assemblyman Tyler Diep, and Sharon Huntsman!
FAREWELL: Longtime Democratic political consultant Robert Marvin (Bob) Sanders (1941-2020)