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FIRST PRIMARY ELECTION MAIL-IN BALLOTS SENT: 12 days
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The Nooner for Wednesday, January 22, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners
Happy humpday! I'm getting through a few items here this morning before prepping for an afternoon talk at the Sheraton with the California Association of Treasurers and Tax Collectors, who are in town for their lobby day. I hear they are a rowdy bunch. Actually, if you've seen state Treasurer Fiona Ma sing karaoke, you know that they can be pretty crazy when the green eyeshades come off. Tonight, I'll be prepping the ATCpro Election Update for this week as well as a downloadable spreadsheet for ATCPro of the first preelection campaign finance reports for the 20 state races I'm watching most closely for the March 3 election.
As you likely have guessed and as reflected online, yesterday's item was about Sylvia Rubio, not Sylvia Robles. While I spellchecked, I didn't Sylviacheck. Robles is a Republican councilmember in Grand Terrace in San Bernardino County.
On this day in 1984, the iconic Apple Commercial was aired nationally for the only time during Super Bowl XVIII. The ad, directed by Ridley Scott, introduced the first Apple Macintosh computer. If you're like me, you feel quite old hearing that. And, the Raiders beat the Redskins 38-8 that day in Tampa, two teams I love to hate. Speaking of Florida, the Niners meet the Chiefs in Miami a week from Sunday or as we call it "ballot eve" in California. As of this morning, the Chiefs are favored -1 and the over/under is 54.
THERE WILL BE BLOOD: The independent expenditures by California's independent oil producers continue in SD05 (San Joaquin) and SD13 (San Mateo), and have now entered the AD13 race on behalf of former San Joaquin supervisor Carlos Villapudua (D). I wrote about the State Senate IEs last Monday, so I'll build off that chart.
AD72 (Garden Grove-Westminster): Also on the independent expenditure front, Taxpayers for Ethical Government is conducting an IE for the reelection of Assemblymember Tyler Diep (D). Thus far, the committee funded by the Orange County Building Industry Association and the Orange County Taxpayers Association, has spent $10,427 on a single mailer. Diep is fighting off a challenge by fellow Republican and former state senator Janet Nguyen., one of whom will likely face off with Garden Grove councilmember Diedre Nguyen in November.
As investigations into multiple claims of sexual harassment and misuse of campaign funds by GOP Assemblyman Bill Brough drag on, leaders of two influential Orange County Republican groups on Tuesday called for him to immediately resign from office.
“It’s time for Bill Brough to step aside, resign, and open the door for a candidate who can represent South County without degrading the name of the Republican Party,” said John Warner, president of the Lincoln Club of Orange County, which has helped shape conservative politics for nearly 60 years.
Warner’s call was backed by Steve Craig, chairman of The New Majority, another well-heeled Orange County GOP group that previously rescinded its endorsement of Brough.
“The allegations against Mr. Brough are serious, and we take them seriously,” Craig said. “Every one of Mr. Brough’s constituents should too.”
Brough has denied wrongdoing in both cases, dismissing the accusations as politically motivated.
But it’s not clear that either of the state investigations into Brough will be wrapped up and made public before the March 3 primary whittles the field in Assembly District 73 from five to two candidates. And GOP leaders fear that they could lose the most solidly red Assembly District in Orange County if Brough squares off against a Democrat in November while battered by negative investigation results.
The five-way race has two other Republicans--Laguna Niguel mayor Laurie Jeffries and Mission Viejo councilmember Ed Sachs. On the Democratic side, attorney Chris Duncan and businessman Scott Rhinehart are wrestling to make the top two. The California Democratic Party has endorsed Rhinehart. This is a Trump+6.5 district, although the math suggests a tradition Dem-Rep top two in November, and GOP interests are fighting to elevate the candidate of their choice.
Ahead of tomorrow's first pre-election campaign filings, let's look at the "late" contributions received by each candidate. As I wrote Sunday, these would include $5,000+ contributions between July 1 and December 3, and then $1,000+ contributions after December 4. Tomorrow, the report including cash on hand for the January 1-January 18 period is due.
I haven't seen any independent expenditures yet in this race.
SECOND CHOICE FOR PRES: For Capitol Weekly, Paul Mitchell looks at voters' second choices in the presidential race, including where Kamala Harris' supporters likely went and where supporters of other candidates have moved through the series of polls he has been conducting.
more after the jump...
HOMELESSNESS: Joel Fox offers kudos to San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer's "common sense" approach on homelessness. Fox writes:
Faulconer announced that he is forming a committee to develop a ballot initiative to deal with the homeless problem from many angles. He intends to give back to cities the power to encourage the homeless to accept treatment or shelter beds. He wants to undo some of the laws that he feels have permitted drug use and criminal activity, boldly saying in his State of the City speech that voters were “sold a bill of goods under the guise of criminal justice reform.”
He pointed to the successful ballot measures, Propositions 47 and 57, that amounted to what Faulconer termed a “slap on the wrist” for drug use. Excessive and out-of-control drug use is one of the driving forces behind the homelessness epidemic, Faulconer contends. “These laws are letting people slowly kill themselves right in front of our eyes.”
SB 50 (Wiener): For CapRadio, Chris Nichols looks at the arguments over whether SB 50, the controversial housing density bill, would materially improve California's housing market. To no surprise, it's mixed.
CAMP FIRE: For KQED, Lily Jamali looks at where the victims of the Camp Fire--most known for largely destroying the town of Paradise--have settled.
California State University, Chico, study has been mapping out where survivors of the wildfire ended up. Using data including U.S. Postal Service change-of-address information, researchers found new mailing addresses for roughly a third of former Paradise residents.
Small clusters have landed in mid-sized cities like Boise, Denver, Salt Lake City, and Orlando. One cluster turned up in Crossville, Tennessee, a town of less than 12,000 people.
The age of survivors has emerged as one of the most important factors determining who stayed and who moved away, said geographic information systems specialist Peter Hansen.
"Of the 65 or older population, half of that group moved beyond 30 miles of the fire," he said. "That says to me that we lost a lot of our older population. The people that were able to remain were more of the working age population."
SPORTS BETTING: In the Times, Patrick McGreevy writes that California could become the nation's sports betting capital after the November election, although it's not that simple.
On Tuesday, a coalition of 18 Native American tribes was given approval to begin circulating petitions for a statewide ballot initiative that would allow sports betting at tribal casinos and horse racing tracks, but not at rival card clubs or on the internet.
“This is an important step in helping ensure sports wagering is restricted to adults over 21 at highly regulated and experienced locations,” said Mark Macarro, tribal chairman of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians, which operates a casino in Temecula. “The measure will also result in new revenue for mental health programs and vital services like public safety and education.”
Card clubs vowed to campaign against the tribal casino proposal and instead support another ballot measure being considered by the California Legislature that would apply to a larger group of gambling interests.
Card clubs are pissed that they were left out of the initiative that would allow sports betting at tribal casinos and race tracks, as well as craps and roulette at tribal casinos.
A legal sports betting market could bring in $2.5 billion in gross revenue annually in California, the largest market in the country, according to Chris Grove, a managing director for Eilers and Krejcik Gambling LLC, a research and consulting firm that has provided estimates to California lawmakers.
The market could generate $250 million to $500 million in tax revenue for the state based on whether the tax rate is 10% or 20%, [Assemblymember Adam] Gray said.
Gray and state Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa) have each introduced legislation that would put a constitutional amendment on the statewide ballot as early as November to allow sports betting. To make the ballot, lawmakers have until late June to overcome the divisions in the state gambling industry over how to allow sports betting, and groups such as professional sports leagues and law enforcement are already weighing in.
The constitutional amendments are SCA 6 (Dodd) and ACA 16 (Gray), which are identical and simply authorize the Legislature to regulate sports betting without provisions of by whom or a taxation amount. That would move the fight over who can offer it and taxation to the Legislature, creating a lobbying bonanza. The proposed constitutional amendments don't open up craps and roulette for the tribes, but sports betting is seen to be the whale.
The circulating initiative places the sports betting tax at 10% of net proceeds. Of this, 70% would go to the General Fund, 15% to the Dept of Health for research and implementation of programs to address problem gambling and mental health, and 15% to the Attorney General's office for enforcement.
GEOTHERMAL: Sammy Roth reports for the Times on hopes that geothermal electricity generation may be the solution after the sun goes down.
Three local energy providers have signed contracts this month for electricity from new geothermal power plants, one in Imperial County near the Salton Sea and the other in Mono County along the Eastern Sierra. The new plants will be the first geothermal facilities built in California in nearly a decade — potentially marking a long-awaited turning point for a technology that could play a critical role in the state’s transition to cleaner energy sources.
Geothermal plants can generate emissions-free, renewable electricity around the clock, unlike solar panels or wind turbines. The technology has been used commercially for decades and involves tapping naturally heated underground reservoirs to create steam and turn turbines.
Despite those advantages, development has been bogged down by high costs. Building a geothermal facility can be several times more expensive than a comparably sized solar or wind farm, meaning geothermal plant operators must charge more for the electricity they generate.
Geothermal accounted for 4.5% of California’s electricity mix in 2018 — about one-fifth the amount supplied by solar and wind, which made up the bulk of California’s renewable energy supply.
With the solar mandate for new residential construction, there is expected to be a glut of electricity generation. There is plentiful debate about storage technology and location (with people opposing cell towers, wait until big batteries are being installed underground), but geothermal could partially meet that overnight demand.
LET THERE BE SPITE: Larry Gordon reports for EdSource that the UC Board of Regents have canceled plans to vote on four years of tuition increases after Governor Newsom and student organizations opposed the policy and the late notice before the meeting taking place this week at UCSF.
Gov. Gavin Newsom expressed adamant opposition on Tuesday to any tuition increase at the ten-campus University of California, saying proposals to hike UC tuition over the next five years were unwarranted. Meanwhile, UC student leaders challenged the timing of a vote by UC regents on proposed tuition hikes originally scheduled for this week.
Facing those developments, the UC regents postponed voting on plans to raise undergraduate tuition in each of the next five years and instead will just discuss the matter on Wednesday. Any action on the tuition plans – which could have raised costs as much as $606 for new students in the fall and more in the four following years– may not occur until March or later.
Some might say that the proposal, which emerged shortly after the Governor's budget release and was supported by UC Berkeley Law dean Erwin Chemirinsky with an op-ed in the Times last week, was a tried-and-true part of the elegant budget ballet. The Regents float or adopt a fee proposal in January in a good budget year with hopes that the Legislature "buys it out" in the hearings through the spring leading up to the 2020-21 budget.
Chemerinsky has become a leading voice for UC since moving from UC Irvine Law, where he was the founding dean, to Berkeley. He has provided constitutional arguments defending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program as well as a flawed argument supporting the constitutionality of SB 27 (Wiener and McGuire), the Trump tax return bill. That law was thrown out by both a federal district court and the Supreme Court of California. With the upcoming retirement of President Janet Napolitano, he is perhaps the member of UC leadership respected most among Democrats in Sacramento.
muni matters, cakeday, and classifieds after the jump...
LA-LA LAND: For the LAT, David Wharton reports on the progress of SoFi Stadium in Inglewood and the impact on neighboring communities.
The new, 70,000-seat home of the Rams and Chargers is 85% complete and on schedule to open with a Taylor Swift concert in late July. At an estimated cost of $5 billion, it ranks as the priciest venue — by far — in NFL history.
Critics have voiced concerns about the venue and its surrounding Hollywood Park development, a commercial and residential array that will encompass 298 acres, more than three times the size of Disneyland. They worry about its impact on a community that stands among the last African American enclaves in California.
Wharton describes how the stadium is buried 100 feet into the earth and that guests will enter on level 5 or 6, not unlike many downtown arenas including Golden 1. In SoFi's case, it was also because it's in the landing path of Los Angeles International Airport.
The subterranean design led to another issue because of the nearby Newport-Inglewood fault, one of Southern California’s top seismic danger zones. Workers made that big hole — more than eight million cubic yards’ worth of dirt — extra large and lined it with a “mechanically stabilized earth” wall. The stadium was set in the middle, leaving space all around so it could shake freely during an earthquake.
So, you're underground near an earthquake fault and in a landing path where jets dump fuel over school kids? That makes for a helluva brochure for those seat licenses for the Rams of $7,500 plus $150 a game for season tickets.
SACTOWN: Kay Street a block from the Capitol is going from 0 to 2 fried chicken shops. According to a sign on the door, Cajun-themed chain Skip's Fish and Chicken is scheduled to open next week. Meanwhile, Benjy Engel reports in the Bee that food truck Nash & Proper is adding a bricks-and-mortar location at the former Mother space on Kay Street. With the closure of Mother, Empress Tavern--which has the same ownership-has added additional vegetarian items.
CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Luis Alvarado, Suzy Costa, and Ritchie Engelhardt!