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THE LONG WEEKEND AT THE NOONER:
The Nooner for Tuesday, January 21, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners
By the time you read this, we're probably all glued to the teevee for a debate about rules of the debate.
Billionaire philanthropist and Californian Tom Steyer was on Colbert last night. It is in two segments here and here. He didn't do the pee-pee dance as he did earlier in the day, so there's that. Can someone buy this man some gloves?
Meanwhile, Tony Quinn asks whether Michael Bloomberg can win California in the March 3 presidential primary:
Just to give you an idea how larger this voter block is, our NPP voter roll is greater than the entire population of Iowa and New Hampshire combined! NPP voters tend to be younger voters with a high percentage of Asian voters; Bloomberg’s work on gun violence and climate change could have an appeal to them.
So if Bloomberg can organize outreach to these voters, he could vote harvest them the same way Democrats did with vote by mail ballots in 2018. To do this would cost millions and require an army of paid workers going door to door to contact and educate NPP voters, who otherwise are unlikely to be contacted by any campaign.
Then there is another factor. California Democrats are the most anti-Trump voters of any large state. They have had great success at winning at the state level but no influence nationally – Hillary Clinton wasted millions of votes carrying California in 2016 while losing nationally. I doubt California Democrats think an elderly socialist or an elitist college professor is going to defeat the Trump juggernaut, so they just might be open to a guy like Bloomberg whom many observers think would be Trump’s toughest opponent.
That would be street fighter against street fighter, New York nasty against New York nasty. If the nomination is still wide open by the time California votes, Bloomberg just might be able to show that he’s the one to take on Trump, and find real support in this land of Trump derangement.
AD57 (Whittier): I started this story on Saturday after I got my hands on a letter from Los Angeles County Democratic Party chair Mark Gonzalez in which he asks AD57 candidate Sylvia Rubio to explain her voter registration history and identify who she voted for in the 2016 presidential primary. Gonzalez's letter states that she was registered as a Republican in that primary and therefore if she voted for a candidate, it would have had to have been a Republican (the same would be true for 2012, when Barack Obama was reelected). I got the letter after close of business Friday night and of course it was a three-day weekend.
I now have facsimiles of Sylvia Rubio's voter registration affidavits from Los Angeles County. While have ones from before the 2009-2019 history that is required to be reported by candidates, they are irrelevant
That doesn't match up with the Secretary of State's 10-year history that it provided for all candidates. So, when the Secretary of State's Office opened this morning, I put on my Adidas and went over there to see the form that they used. A nice man came out to explain that the elections division was in an all-staff meeting with no ETA of when someone would be available. Oh well, it's not even 11am and my watch tells me I've already walked two miles today. Toward the end of the walk back, my bladder told me that I've drank way too much tea this morning.
Candidates can change parties from Republican to Democrat or vice-versa and I have no problem with it. When Brian Maeinschein changed from Rep to Dem last January, Democrats weren't sure what to make of it. That said, his voting has stayed consistent with a progressive-to-moderate district, and Democrats are showering him with the riches of the majority for this year's election. Senator Bill Dodd was a Republican until 2012 but a Democrat for four years before he became a senator and. while still a moderate, has been there for Democrats on their key bills.
The only real issue here is the discrepancy between the voter registration history at LA county and how the Democratic Party became listed on the Secretary of State's document.
more after the jump...
SANTA ANITA: Neil Vigdor reports in the New York Times that three horses died at Santa Anita racetrack over the weekend, one each on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. He writes:
All three horses were euthanized, two after breaking their ankles in turf races and the third after colliding with another horse while training on dirt, racing officials said.
There have now been five deaths at Santa Anita since the start of this year, prompting the group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to call on state racing officials to suspend racing at the Arcadia, Calif., track.
“Three dead horses in three days requires immediate action,” PETA said in a statement. “The California Horse Racing Board was recently given the authority, in legislation backed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, to suspend racing — and now it must do exactly that.”
The outcry followed the deaths of 56 horses at Santa Anita from July 1, 2018, to Nov. 30, 2019, according to a special investigation by a task force that was created last year by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
So, I guess our horse ticker begins anew for 2020: 🏇🏇🏇🏇🏇
WILDFIRES: INSURANCE: Dale Kasler reports in the Bee about the complex global insurance market and how that's playing out in California's wildfire-prone areas.
California’s continuing woes can be traced in part to a collection of mostly foreign companies that have become increasingly nervous about the widespread havoc caused by the state’s wildfires.
These companies sell reinsurance. That’s insurance purchased by other insurance companies that are offloading some of the financial risks of a major catastrophe.
Reinsurance companies — unknown to most Californians, typically headquartered in such far-flung locales as Bermuda and Zurich — are a quiet but powerful force in the state’s insurance market. The availability of reinsurance enables better-known primary carriers such as Farmers and State Farm to keep writing coverage in wooded foothill communities where wildfire danger lurks.
WILDFIRES: BETTER THAN RAKING: In the Bee, Jared Gilmour writes that experts are calling for more prescribed burns to avoid devastating wildfires and looks at why there are not more. He writes:
Those “fuel treatments” [Stanford doctoral student Rebecca] Miller is referring to include prescribed burns (fires intentionally lit in a controlled setting to clear kindling that could fuel future fires) and vegetation thinning (trimming plant growth that lets wildfires climb into the tree canopy), according to the study. Researchers said those treatments are needed on 20 percent of the state’s land area to slow future wildfires.
But even as fires have ravaged California in recent years — killing dozens and leveling entire neighborhoods — controlled burns haven’t expanded much, researchers said.
Miller has co-authored a paper following interviews with stakeholders and policymakers:
Those interviews revealed an overarching problem, identified by “almost everyone” who was asked: There’s “a risk-averse culture in the shadow of liability laws that place financial and legal responsibility for any prescribed burn that escapes on the burners,” the researchers said.
Landowners are afraid of going bankrupt if a prescribed burn escapes control, the interviewees told researchers. Meanwhile, state and federal workers see little praise for successful controlled burns, and face fears and possible backlash from a risk-averse public, wary of wildfire smoke and mishaps.
The Stanford experts suggested those perceptions among the public aren’t accurate.
SD21 (Santa Clarita-Palmdale): "The California Alliance for Progress and Education, an alliance of business organizations" is up with $40,338 in polling and radio ads supporting Senator Scott Wilk's (R-Santa Clarita) reelection and there is far more where that came from. Toward the end of last year, the organizations behind it anted up for the 2020 elections.
The Jan. 10 proposal calls for a Department of Cannabis Control, a Department of Early Childhood Development and a Department of Better Jobs and Higher Wages. It calls for creating an Office of Health Care Affordability and building a robust program to carry out a new California consumer financial protection Law.
The departments would consolidate functions scattered across some of the state’s 150-odd departments, according to budget documents. The cannabis department, for instance, would consolidate marijuana licensing programs currently carried out by three different offices into one organization. The early childhood and jobs departments would group together programs and data from a range of offices.
The new departments would also provide launching pads for new functions focused on making government more user-friendly for residents, according to budget proposal documents.
Government growth is common in flush financial times, but it can make the inevitable downward adjustments more difficult when a recession arrives, according to government experts. Newsom has also expanded the governor’s office itself, increasing spending by 22 percent last year on top staff positions.
“During times of expansion it’s easy to do these things,” said Michael Shires, an associate professor of public policy at the Pepperdine School of Public Policy. “In the long term, when it’s time to adjust, it’s almost impossible to kill these things. And you’ve got to squeeze everyone else a little harder.”
HOUSING: OAKLAND: In the Chron, Sarah Ravini reports that an agreement has been reached between the owner of an Oakland property where "Moms 4 Housing" activists have been squatting and the Redondo Beach "flipping" company that owns it. Ravini writes:
Oakland Mayor Libby "Schaaf helped arrange the deal that requires the three-bedroom, one-bath house at 2928 Magnolia St. to sell for no more than its appraised value. Although a formal appraisal will need to take place, the home is listed at $631,201 on the real-estate site Zillow.
Built in 1908, the two-story house sold in 1997 for $50,000, and in 1987 for only $15,000. Wedgewood bought the house for $500,000 at a foreclosure sale in July.
Under the agreement, Wedgewood will also negotiate a right-of-first-refusal program for its Oakland properties, about 50, according to the company. Wedgewood said it will also hire construction workers for its projects from local organizations, including the city’s Cypress Mandela, a job-training nonprofit."
Governor Gavin Newsom also twisted the arm of Wedgewood as did Oakland councilman Larry Reid.
TYLENOL: The AP's Adam Beam reports that California regulators are considering adding acetaminophen--which sells as a generic and under the band names Excedrin, Robitussin, and Tylenol--as a carcinogen.
State regulators have reviewed 133 studies about acetaminophen, all of which were published in peer-reviewed journals. Some studies reported an increased risk of some types of cancers, while others did not. Overall, the review noted acetaminophen has been difficult to examine because it is hard to isolate it from other variables that could contribute to cancer, such as smoking.
A state law known as Proposition 65 says California must warn people of any chemical known to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity. The state’s list has grown to about 900 chemicals, including toxic pesticides and flame retardants, and is more extensive than any in the U.S. Some critics say California regulators have been overzealous, requiring warning labels for countless products that confuse instead of inform consumers when the risk of cancer is disputed.
Supporters of Prop 65 say it protects not only Californians but consumers nationwide by compelling manufacturers to make products safer.
SCHWARZENEGGER INTERVIEW: POLITICAL NO MAN'S LAND: For the Atlantic, Edward-Isaac Dovere sits down with former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Dovere prefaces the interview:
In another world, Arnold Schwarzenegger might be an elder statesman in his party. The former Republican governor of California might even be a top ally of the entertainment president: They used to be friendly, and Schwarzenegger was Donald Trump’s successor on Celebrity Apprentice.
In Trump’s world, though, Schwarzenegger is a GOP apostate. Fresh off of playing the president of the United States in a new movie—the upcoming Kung Fury 2, which has a plot about “Thundercops,” time travel, and the Miami Kung Fu Academy—Schwarzenegger is coming into 2020 trying to sort out his role in politics in the year ahead. He thinks Republicans should follow his lead on environmentalism and redistricting reform. He thinks the whole country should follow California’s lead on integrating economic growth into environmental protection.
Forget about the Green New Deal, he told me: “There’s only one deal, and that is the California deal.”
For now, Schwarzenegger’s involvement in the presidential race is much like the rest of the country’s: as a skeptical and unimpressed viewer. A big part of why he thinks show business has consumed politics is the length of campaigns, and the need to keep up with attention spans. That said, he hasn’t been impressed with the Democratic candidates’ chops. “They should take acting lessons, all of these people up there on the stage,” he said. “‘Oh, it was appalling that you used to endorse this,’ and ‘How could you have done that? Oh my God, it was horrendous!’ They do this whole drama as if it really affects their life. And then they walk off the stage again and smile and laugh.”
muni matters, cakeday and classifieds after the jump...
SANDY EGGO: In the SDUT, Andrew Dyer writes that San Diego is about to become home to two more Nimitz-class nuclear aircraft carriers, bringing an additional $1.6 billion a year of economic activity to the region and the total of such ships calling it port to three.
Currently only the Theodore Roosevelt is based in San Diego. However, that will soon change, as the Abraham Lincoln arrived in San Diego Monday, after completing a record-setting 10-month around-the-world deployment.
And the Carl Vinson, which is undergoing maintenance in Bremerton, Washington, will be returning to San Diego this summer.
According to the 2019 San Diego Military Economic Impact Study, each aircraft carrier based in San Diego generates up to $800 million in gross regional product.
Of course, along with 6,000 new sailors comes demand for housing and more transportation woes in an already impacted region. On the other hand, it provides sustainable economic activity largely immune to economic cycles.
CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Jaspreet Johl, Assemblymember Ash Kalra, and Trevor Taylor!