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FIRST PRIMARY ELECTION MAIL-IN BALLOTS SENT: 9 days
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The Nooner for Saturday, January 25, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners
Gung hay fat choy
chúc mừng năm mới
Happy new year! It's the year of the rat, which means that it's my year!
I have a podcast that I'm putting together after sitting down with Mike Madrid and Paul Mitchell yesterday. We couldn't find a time for all three of us, but I'll put it together as one pod of roughly an hour. It should be in your feed later today. Mike said that I was more subdued than usual. I guess my coffee hiatus is showing but at least I'm sleeping better. Ten days without coffee (only minimal green tea in the morning), and today is also day 14 of my Whole30. Feel great!
Just a few quick items today so I can get back to the spreadsheet on the first pre-election reports.
UNEMPLOYMENT: California's unemployment rate held steady at 3.9% in December, while the state's employers added 12,600 nonfarm payroll jobs. San Mateo County once again has the lowest rate at 1.8%, while the perennially high Imperial County is the highest again at 19.4%
SPLIT ROLL: For CapRadio, Chris Nicholson looks at false statements being made on social media about the ballot measure in circulation for November to calculate property taxes for most commercial and industrial property on market value rather than the Proposition 13 (1978) constrained value. Whether it's an organized effort by the opponents or not, the arguments generally suggest that the 2020 measure is a full repeal of Prop. 13 including residential protections, which it simply is not.
CHOO-CHOO: In the LA Times, Ralph Vertabedian reports that a federal audit of California's high-speed-rail project that received $2.5 billion in federal funds finds that federal oversight has been lacking.
The review by the U.S. Department of Transportation inspector general said the Federal Railroad Administration did not adequately oversee the grant to reduce financial risks in the largest and most complex grant in its history.
As a result, “the California High-Speed Rail Authority is at increased risk of not achieving the purpose of the agreements,” it said.
The Trump administration has threatened to claw back the grant money, asserting that the project has violated the terms of the grant. In February 2018, it terminated a second grant for $927 million on the same basis, an action that is now in legal dispute.
The California project received more than a third of federal spending for high-speed rail projects across the country and as it went over budget and fell behind schedule the Federal Railroad Administration missed opportunities to document and react to the growing problems, the audit found.
LABOR: For the Times, Margot Roosevelt writes on the rise in union membership in California at a time of stagnation nationally:
The number of Californians represented by unions rose by 139,000 last year in the wake of successful organizing campaigns across occupations as varied as nurses, electricians, animation artists, scooter mechanics and university researchers.
The Golden State’s 2.72 million represented workers amounted to 16.5% of its labor force, up from 15.8% in 2018, according to data released Wednesday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The uptick comes after years of declines in both numbers and share of the workforce, which mirrored national trends. Two decades earlier, 18.3% of California workers were unionized.
beJUULed: Vincent Moleski reports in the Bee that the Davis Joint Unified School District is the latest plaintiff against the San Francisco-based e-cigarette manufacturer JUUL.
In a news release, DJUSD said it filed its suit against Juul alongside Northern California’s Chico Unified School District and the Campbell Union High School District in San Jose, which both filed similar lawsuits Wednesday, alleging that the use of tobacco vaporizers among youth has disrupted its learning environment.
The school district is seeking an injunction to remedy the vape epidemic and compensation to account for its increased absences, e-cigarette outreach programs and the cost of staffing needed to monitor schools and enforce tobacco policies on campuses.
“Esmeralda Soria has been an unapologetic advocate for working families long before she ran for city council in Fresno. Union members knew Esmeralda was a champion for workers when she helped save 150 sanitation jobs in Fresno during the Measure G fight in 2013,” said Dillon Savory, Executive Director of the Fresno-Madera-Tulare-Kings, Central Labor Council. “She has spent time in the White House, the state senate, the state assembly and at Fresno City hall. She is a principled public servant and a proud union sister. Now it’s time to make history and send her to Congress.”
Costa is the most endangered congressional incumbent and it comes down to the March 3 primary, as there is one Republican and three Democrats in the likely Democratic district.
SD07 (Tri-Valley): Dart Container Corporation has jumped into the independent expenditure (IE) game in SD07 to prop up Senator Steve Glazer (D) over his labor-backed rival. Dart is the manufacturer of those SOLO beer pong cups and much of the styrofoam used for take-out and a regular player in California politics. Thus far, the company reports $11,900 for flyers, but there has to be more to it.
The IE for Glazer backed by the California Dental Association, California Medical Association, and the California Association of Hospitals and Health Systems reported yesterday spending $57,193 on mail. The organizations have a big issue in common--the MICRA cap on medical malpractice non-monetary damages. With an initiative backed by trial lawyers likely to qualify for the November ballot, there may be attempts for a legislative compromise.
SD15 (San José): The Santa Clara County Correctional Peace Officers' Association PAC has bought $40,000 in radio advertisements in support of the bid of Supervisor Dave Cortese (D) to succeed Jim Beall (D).
AD42 (Yucaipa): There are a couple of interesting contributions on Chad Mayes's year-end report that came in after he announced he re-registered from the Republican Party to No Party Preference. GOP political consultant and "never Trumper" Mike Madrid chipped in $100 and recalled State Senator Josh Newman (D) sent in $250. Newman will face Senator Ling Ling Chang (R), who won the office after Newman was recalled, in November.
Meanwhile, Politico's Jeremy B. White continues on the story of Sylvia Rubio's misstated voter registration history.
Rubio is running as a Democrat for the 57th Assembly District seat that Assemblyman Ian Calderon is vacating at the end of 2020 — a solidly blue district that is almost certain to be retained by a Democrat. The Secretary of State’s formal list of qualified candidates, which is based off of declarations from the candidates themselves, says Rubio was a Democrat from 2009 through 2019.
That claim has attracted scrutiny from the Los Angeles County Democratic Party, whose chair Mark Gonzalez wrote Rubio asserting that she had been registered as a Republican and demanding that she clear up her record.
Rubio blasted back in a letter that Gonzalez was engaging in “personal attacks” in an effort to buoy another Democrat — Lisa Calderon, the incumbent’s stepmother — and cast her campaign as opposing "the Establishment."
“I’m a Democrat and uphold Democratic values,” Rubio wrote at the top of her letter, which did not address her past registration history.
The letter does not deny that she misstated her history on the form submitted to the Secretary of State's office.
But while registration forms show Rubio is a Democrat now, they also show that she was registered as a Republican starting in 2010 before becoming a Democrat in 2017 — contradicting the information submitted to the Secretary of State — and establish that she voted in the 2016 presidential primary. In California, Republican presidential primaries are only open to registered Republican voters.
That means Rubio could face a fine or imprisonment, according to the California Elections Code, which lays out those penalties for “any person who files or submits for filing a nomination paper or declaration of candidacy knowing that it or any part of it has been made falsely.”
AD72 (Garden Grove-Westminster): The California Apartment Association has joined the independent expenditure effort to get Assembly member Tyler Diep (R) through the primary with a $40,000 contribution to the Healthcare and Housing Business Coalition Supporting Tyler Diep for Assembly 2020 committee. The California Medical Association has kicked in $65,000.
AB 5 (Gonzalez): The California Labor Federation has opened a committee to oppose the initiative backed by Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash to exempt gig transportation workers from AB 5: "Coalition to Protect Riders and Drivers, Sponsored by the California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO."
Meanwhile, Steve Lopez writes in the Times about the Los Angeles taxi drivers calling it quits over competition with Uber and Lyft as well as LAX's change to a common central pick up point for both taxis and the rideshare companies.
[Varuzhan] Shahazizyan, a cabbie for nearly 20 years, got tired of hustling more and earning less as ride-hailing companies began to dominate the market. His dues to Yellow Cab were costing a steady $1,500 a month or so even as his weekly take-home dipped to about $500 a week.
And things got way worse, he said, when LAX switched last fall to a central pickup location for cabs and ride-hailing services alike, which put more of a squeeze on the dying taxi industry’s holdout drivers.
So Shahazizyan quit driving for Yellow Cab of Los Angeles, removed all the firm’s markings from his car, and made the switch to a company he used to think of as the enemy.
Now there’s a Lyft sticker in his car window.
“Yes,” he said, he used to hate Lyft and Uber.
“Yes,” he said, he used to hate their drivers too.
“But I have to make a living,” Shahazizyan said.
AB 32 (Bonta): As expected, the Trump Administration has sued California over the law prohibiting private detention facilities in the state, including those operated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the U.S. Marshals. The complaint argues that the law is preempted and violates intergovernmental immunity under Article VI of the United States Constitution. The case was filed in the Southern District of California and has been assigned to judge Michael M Anello, a 2008 appointee of George W. Bush.
Bianca Bruno reports for Courthouse News:
Arguing it was targeted by the new law, the Trump administration asked a judge Friday to bar California from enforcing AB 32 against the federal government and the private prisons it contracts with.
“California, of course, is free to decide that it will no longer use private detention facilities for its state prisoners and detainees. But it cannot dictate that choice for the federal government, especially in a manner that discriminates against the federal government and those with whom it contracts,” the government argues in its 17-page lawsuit filed in the Southern District of California.
The Boca Rotan, Florida private detention company The Geo Group sued California in December, also in the Southern District, arguing that the law would eliminate 10,925 beds in ten privately managed detention facilities, including seven with 5,725 beds managed by the company. The complaint also contends that the law violated intergovernmental immunity and preemption under Article VI with a third cause of action seeking declaratory relief that its contracts with federal agencies executed prior to January 1, 2020 are valid. That third action is a backstop in case the law is upheld. Several such contracts were extended in December in advance of the laws effective date. The matter is before magistrate judge William V. Gallo, who is no liberal on immigration.
From a legal standpoint, the cases are strong against the law as it applies to federal agencies contracting with privately managed detention facilities.
muni matters, cakeday, farewell, and classifieds after the jump...
GLENDALE: The National Association of Realtors is funding an independent expenditure campaign with $84,000 to support the re-election of Paula Devine and Vartan Gharpetian to the Glendale City Council. Meanwhile, the California Apartment Association has contributed $25,000 to support Ardy Kassakhian's re-election. Kassakhian is endorsed by the Los Angeles Democratic Party and local congressman Adam Schiff, who you might have heard of in the news.
SANDY EGGO: The realtors have also kicked in $350,000 for the campaign against the San Diego county-wide Measure A, which would require voter approval of any changes for new development to the county's General Plan.
CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Tim Schmelzer!
FAREWELL: Former Rep. Fortney "Pete" Stark (1931-2020)