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FIRST PRIMARY ELECTION MAIL-IN BALLOTS SENT: 10 days
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The Nooner for Friday, January 24, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners
Happy Friday! We now have the first pre-election campaign finance reports for state candidates. For ATCpro, I'll have your election update with the campaign finance stats for the 20 primary races I'm watching most closely either tonight or tomorrow.
Last Friday, I sent ATCpro subscribers new race ratings for the 154 seats up this year, the first changes I've made since the final candidate lists were published. Here is the listing and a handout I provided to the California Association of Treasurers and Tax Collectors on Tuesday.
The California Democratic Party had net cash on hand of $13,124,864 and raised $448,250 between January 1 and January 18. The California Republican Party had a net cash on hand of $2,268,728 and raised $157,000 during the period.
Yesterday, I went to the lunch session of the Milken Institute's California Policy Summit. Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis and State Controller Betty Yee took the stage during lunch and talked about both the highlights and challenges in California's economy, particularly the challenge of housing and the increasing gap between high-income- and low-to-middle-income residents.
RIGHT TO HOUSING: In the Bee, Hannah Wiley reports that AB 22 (Burke) died quietly yesterday in Assembly Appropriations. The bill would have declared a "right to housing" for California children and families. The bill's death came as a surprise to Autumn Burke, the bill's author.
Assemblywoman Autumn Burke, D-Inglewood, said she was “1,000 percent” shocked that the Assembly Appropriations committee blocked it, and learned about its demise only after she walked into the hearing room to present the measure.
“I thought I would at least be allowed to present on the bill,” Burke said in a phone interview with The Sacramento Bee. “There are accountability issues that need to be addressed. This can’t be cities by themselves. It has to be a partnership between cities, counties and states.”
The bill sailed through its first hearing on Jan. 15, with a 6-0 vote in the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee. The legislation included 15 co-authors, at least one of them Republican, representing the Central Valley, the Bay Area and Los Angeles.
Burke tweeted about her dismay this morning.
AB 5 (Gonzalez): A court reporting company has sued the state over the new limitations on independent contractors. The plaintiffs allege that the law as applied violates the equal protection clause of the California constitution as it applies to independent contractor court reporters, since similar licensed professions were given an exemption in AB 5. But the sweet spot of the pleading is that the firm -- Williams, Weisburg & Weisburg, d/b/a Diamond Court Reports -- lists several agencies with which they currently have contractors, including the California Department of Justice which will be defending the law.
Meanwhile, my law school classmate Ben Ebbink has put together this one-pager on the various efforts around AB 5.
POWER SHUTOFFS: Adam Beam reports for AP on Senator Scott Wiener's SB 378, which would require investor-owned utilities to reimburse some costs to customers for public safety power shutoffs and allow the CPUC to fine the utilities up to $250,000 per hour for public safety power shutoffs that are executed in a way that was not reasonable and prudent. Beam writes:
If the penalties had been in effect last fall, PG&E could have faced fines of more than $1 billion, according to a legislative analysis of the proposal.
“It’s about giving utilities an incentive to use planned blackouts as a scalpel and not as a sledgehammer,” Wiener said.
Others worry the bill would spook electric companies into being too cautious with blackouts, thus increasing the risk of deadly wildfires.
“I believe it gives perverse incentives that could harm people,” said state Sen. Bill Dodd, a Democrat from Napa.
ABORTION: Noam M. Levy reports for hte SDUT that the Trump Administration has warned California that if it continues to require health insurers for small businesses to cover abortion it could lose federal funds. Levy writes:
“If California wants to provide abortion services, it can do so,” said Roger Severino, who directs the Office for Civil Rights in the Department of Health and Human Services. “What the state is not free to do is force people to pay for other people’s abortions.”
California has 30 days to repeal its abortion mandate, Severino said.
The announcement came as President Trump, who is aggressively courting religious conservatives ahead of his reelection campaign, prepared Friday to become the first sitting president to address the annual March for Life in Washington.
The administration has not detailed which federal funds could be jeopardized by a refusal to comply.
COVERED CALIFORNIA: For the Bee, Cathie Anderson reports on the enrollment numbers for 2020 on the state's health insurance exchange:
Covered California reported Thursday that the number of new enrollees has surged to 318,000, surpassing the total number from last year, as open enrollment nears its close on Jan. 31.
Still, leaders of the state-based insurance marketplace say a survey shows that many Californians are unaware that a new state law mandates that everyone have health care coverage.
“Thousands are signing up every day, and we’re not done yet,” said Peter V. Lee, Covered California executive director. “Californians have until midnight on January 31 to sign up and not only avoid paying a penalty to the Franchise Tax Board but – for almost a million Californians – get new help from the state to lower their health care costs.”
CORONAVIRUS: A passenger arrived at LAX late Wednesday with symptoms of the coronavirus originating from Wuhan, China, report Jonathan Lloyd and Toni Guinyard for NBC LA. Tests of the passenger were sent to the CDC in Atlanta.
GENERIC DRUGS: For the Bee, Cathie Anderson reports on an effort by health insurers to reduce the prices of generic drugs.
Blue Shield of California and 17 other insurers announced Thursday that they would be putting $55 million behind a nonprofit that they believe can end the shortages and price gouging in the generic drug market.
Californians and consumers around the world have been subjected in recent years to price gouging on insulin, EpiPens, anti-malarial drugs and other generic medications they need. The upheaval has been so widespread that Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed that the state get into the business of manufacturing prescription drugs.
Civica Rx has worked with a coalition of Blue Cross and Blue Shield insurers to identify drugs that are no longer on patent and that should be selling to consumers at more affordable prices, said Paul Markovich, Blue Shield of California CEO. If all goes as planned, he said, consumers could be seeing some relief on prices for some generics in two years.
OKLAHOMA! In the Bee, Wes Venteicher reports that Oklahoma has banned travel of state employees on business to California in retaliation to California's similar ban:
Oklahoma was added to the list in 2018 after it put in place a policy to allow private foster and adoption agencies to deny placing children with certain families based on religious or moral grounds. The City of San Francisco put in place its own ban on travel to Oklahoma this fall.
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt said in a Thursday news release that his announcement was timed around the March for Life, an anti-abortion rally that will take place Friday in Washington, D.C.
“California and its elected officials over the past few years have banned travel to the state of Oklahoma in an effort to politically threaten and intimidate Oklahomans for their personal values,” Stitt said in a statement. “Enough is enough. If California’s elected officials don’t want public employees traveling to Oklahoma, I am eager to return the gesture on behalf of Oklahoma’s pro-life stance. I am proud to be governor of a state that fights for the most vulnerable among us, the unborn.”
Stitt’s executive order bans all “non-essential travel,” with the exception of recruiters trying to get businesses to relocate to Oklahoma, according to a news release.
Here is the list of eleven states where state funds can not be used for employee travel.
CAGOP: John Myers writes for the Times on the false social media claims that Democrats are blocking Independent voters from voting in the Republican presidential primary.
The move by Republicans stands in contrast to a decision made by Democrats to allow Californians registered as having “no party preference” to vote for any of the party’s 20 presidential hopefuls whose names will appear on the ballot. Confusion over the different rules has increased as local elections officials begin sending out mailers to unaffiliated voters explaining how to vote in the primary for president — mailers that don’t include the Republican Party as one of the choices.
[George] Andrews, a legislative staffer who also works on GOP campaigns, recently complained on Twitter about what he believes is a failure by GOP leaders to embrace the changing habits of voters who may focus more on particular candidates and policies than party membership.
“We’re throwing away Republican votes,” he said in an interview. “We’ll just continue to shrink and shrink.”
CA25 (Santa Clarita-Palmdale): In the race for the special and regular elections to fill the seat left by the resignation of Rep. Katie Hill, Republican candidate Mike Garcia captured the Ventura County Republican Party's endorsement over former Rep. Steve Knight. Garcia previously received the endorsement of the Los Angeles County Republican Party.
CA50 (East San Diego County): In the SDUT, Charles T. Clark reports on a new controversial attack ad on former San Diego council member Carl DeMaio (R) by former Rep. Darrell Issa (R), which has been criticized by Mayor Kevin Faulconer and San Diego Republican Party chair Tony Krvaric who encourage Issa to "stick to the issues." Clark writes:
The TV ad, which began airing earlier this week, runs 30 seconds and begins by decrying a recent attack ad from DeMaio.
Then Issa’s ad spends much of its run time accusing the former San Diego City Councilman of supporting citizenship for “illegal aliens” while showing an image of three scowling tattooed men, presumed gang members, from El Salvador.
The ad also highlighted negative comments DeMaio has made about President Donald Trump in news articles that featured headlines emphasizing that DeMaio is gay.
The Union-Tribune editorializes about the ad: "Gay-baiting is unacceptable and unforgivable."
SD13 (San Mateo): LinkedIn CEO Reid Hoffman reports contributing $500,000 to an independent expenditure committee to support Josh Becker (D) in the very competitive race to succeed Senator Jerry Hill.
MATSUI: In the Bee, Marcos Bretón writes that congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento) is getting remarried.
The 75-year-old legislator, who took over the congressional seat of her late husband Bob Matsui when he died in 2005, said she didn’t expect to marry again.
“Bob Matsui was a special man,” she said.
So, when is the ceremony?
“In May”, said Matsui, who was coy about the specific date.
She will wed Roger Sant – a longtime Washington, D.C., heavyweight and billionaire who co-founded Applied Energy Services, described by the Washington Post as a “Fortune 200 global energy producer.”
Sant is 89 and, like Matsui, he lost his spouse. Philanthropist Victoria Sant died from cancer in December of 2018.
muni matters, cakeday, and classifieds after the jump...
BAGHDAD BY THE BAY: San Francisco's Market Street is going car-free next Wednesday and KQED's Dan Brekke reports what folks should know.
The prohibition on private vehicles marks the first tangible step in an ambitious city plan to remake its principal boulevard into a thoroughfare that will emphasize transit and feature a wide range of physical changes to make the street safe and user-friendly for pedestrians, cyclists and others who don't happen to be moving through the city in cars.
The new ban is the beginning of a sweeping transformation of downtown's most important thoroughfare. The changes, which will eventually include reconfiguration of sidewalks, pedestrian crossings, transit boarding areas, bike and bus lanes and more, is designed to improve the performance of transit on the city's most important stretch of pavement and make it a safer place to walk, cycle and, yes, ride your favorite micromobility device.
LA-LA LAND: In the LAT, Alex Wigglesworth reports that hate crimes in Los Angeles are at the highest levels since 2002.
Reports of hate crimes rose in Los Angeles for the fifth straight year in 2019, increasing 10.3% over the year before and reaching their highest level since 2002, according to data released Wednesday.
A total of 322 hate crimes were reported last year, compared with 292 in 2018, according to numbers from the Los Angeles Police Department that were disclosed at an L.A. City Council Public Safety Committee meeting. The latest statistics represent a rise of nearly 41% since 2016, when 229 hate crimes were reported in L.A. Last year was the worst for hate crimes since 2002, when 354 were reported.
And the crimes were more violent, the data show: Hate crimes directed against people rose, while those involving vandalism and destruction of property dipped 3.4%.
OC HOUSING: In the Register, Alicia Robinson reports on a brewing battle among Orange County cities as they try to push off their housing element expectations on others.
At least half of Orange County’s 34 cities are pushing back on state-mandated housing goals, criticizing the math formula that gave Southern California cities new home construction numbers some say would be impossible to achieve.
But now that the state has approved that formula, city leaders will have to take the fight to the regional agency where it started a few months ago – and they could end up battling each other as they try to haggle for smaller numbers.
In recent weeks, more than a dozen city councils have sent letters to the state Department of Housing and Community Development objecting to the way the Southern California Association of Governments, or SCAG, calculated housing goals for its 191 member cities.
SANDY EGGO: Michael Smolens writes that the public perceptions of San Diego City Council candidates do not necessarily reflect the positions of the candidates.
A San Diego Union-Tribune/10News poll released Tuesday showed Assemblyman Todd Gloria holding a commanding lead with 29 percent support, trailed by City Council members Scott Sherman at 18 percent and Barbara Bry with 13 percent.
More surprising is where the candidates get support when the poll, conducted by SurveyUSA, breaks down voters into subgroups based on issues and demographics. In some cases, the voters’ views don’t match up with those of the candidates they favor.
This isn’t necessarily a case of voter schizophrenia. Voters may disagree with candidates on a given issue, but support them because of their stands on other issues or because of who they are.
CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Congressmen Lou Correa, John Garamendi, and Mike Thompson, as well as Brian Johsz!