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FIRST PRIMARY ELECTION MAIL-IN BALLOTS SENT: 2 days
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The Nooner for Saturday, February 1, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners
Happy leap February! As I list below, today is Papa Lay's 75th birthday! Meanwhile, I'm working on my Mexico City itinerary February 13-19 since no Sacramento-area restaurants landed on the Yelp Top 100 for Valentine's Day and, well, my valentine might just be a mariachi.
Yes, I'll be writing from there and watching lots of election happenings here. If you've been and have recommendations, let me know! I'll be in the Roma district in an Airbnb a block from the Balderas metro line. I'm particularly looking for hole-in-the-walls even though the city has some of the world's best restaurants. I prefer family-owned places these days.
PG&E: J.D. Morris reports for the Chron that Pacific Gas & Electric has met Governor Newsom in the middle on corporate reforms:
PG&E said in a statement that it would commit to “enhanced safety metrics and stricter regulatory oversight with escalating enforcement mechanisms.” Gov. Gavin Newsom had called for such changes in a December letter to PG&E’s chief executive — and also suggested the company create a path to allow for a state takeover in certain circumstances.
But PG&E did not appear to fully embrace the most dramatic option sought by Newsom: a path for the state government or another entity to take control of the company’s core business if it fails to meet safety standards. In his December letter, Newsom said PG&E should agree to a “streamlined process” through which its operating assets could be transferred to the state or someone else “when circumstances warrant.”
A spokesman for Newsom directed The Chronicle to the governor’s comments on Wednesday, when he said, “There’s going to be a new company or the state of California will take it over.” He said California needs a PG&E that is “transformatively different than the one we currently have.”
“I have no interest in the existing management and the existing board,” Newsom said at an event with the Public Policy Institute of California in Sacramento. “It has to be a completely transformed company.”
MONEY MATTERS: The Trump administration has denied California's request to continue a Medicaid managed health care organization tax, blowing a $1.2 billion hole in the 2020-21 state budget, reports Wes Venteicher for the Bee. The tax is applied to insurers who then recoup it through the state's required contribution to that paid for by the feds.
Under the arrangement, the state taxes insurers based on how many people are enrolled in their Medicaid plans. It uses that money to offset the state’s share of the Medicaid spending and reimburses the insurers for most of the money, according to a Legislative Analyst’s Office analysis.
BILLS, BILLS, BILLS: Lobbyist Chris Micheli emails:
For the month of January, there were 313 bills introduced in the California Legislature so far for the 2020 Session. Since January 6, when the Legislature reconvened, there have been 202 Assembly Bills introduced and 111 Senate Bills introduced during the past four weeks.
There are three weeks remaining until the February 21 deadline for introducing new bills in the 2020 Session. If prior years are any indication, we can expect another 2,000 bills to be introduced over the next three weeks.
[W]hile SB50 will not be the vehicle, the issues it raised are certain to return to the Capitol — and soon. [Senate President Pro Tem Toni] Atkins said after the vote that she is committed to ensuring a housing bill passes this year.
Wiener’s amendments to give cities an alternative process to plan for the same amount of new housing as the bill required did little to eliminate those objections, and many Democrats from suburban and coastal districts, which would have seen the biggest changes, voted “no,” including Sens. Steve Glazer of Orinda and Jerry Hill of San Mateo.
Negotiations between Wiener and a coalition of affordable-housing developers and advocates for low-income communities also reached an impasse last week, prompting dozens of organizations to oppose the bill out of fear of gentrification. That was another common criticism on the Senate floor, with several lawmakers saying their constituents worried they would be pushed out of their homes.
Wiener said he would try again with a new measure this year. He said the defeat of SB50 was “another reminder that California has failed on housing.”
THE PARTIES: The California Democratic Party raised $18,335,389 in 2019 and ended the year with a net $11,493,163 on hand. The California Republican Party raised $6,899,092 and ended the year with $2,370,853.
Meanwhile, here are the legal settlements paid by the California Democratic Party in 2019:
The CDP also forgave a 2018 loan of $500,000 to the Friends of Josh Newman Opposed to the Recall.
CORONAVIRUS: A third case of the coronavirus tied to Wuhan, China has been discovered in Santa Clara County. Thus far, there have been cases in Southern California, Illinois, Massachussets and Washington.
Health officials have not determined how the virus has spread, although the latest case in California traveled from Wuhan to San José recently. The CDC reports that there have been discovered cases among people who did not personally shop at the Wuhan animal and seafood markets. Out of 241 suspected cases, 6 have been identified as positive, 114 as negative, with 121 tests pending. 195 U.S. citizens are currently on a fourteen-day quarantine at March Air Reserve Base after being evacuated from the Chinese region. The Riverside County base was changed from a full base to a reserve station as part of BRAC in 2003. As I wrote yesterday, major airlines have suspended travel to China. 259 people have died from the virus in China.
Meanwhile, the flu has killed over 10,000 Americans this season, with 19 million cases.
The CDC advisory for Mexico lists dengue virus (spread by mosquitos) and measles, the latter of which I have a good chance of exposure to inside the Capitol but should be immunized against. So, now I'm trying to find out how not to be bit by the bug while down there, although mosquitos generally like my taste.
CA50 (East San Diego County): Three days before ballots are mailed out, Marisa Calderon (D) has suspended her campaign to succeed Duncan Hunter (R) in the likely Republican district. Officially, it's to take care of family members, although most see her bowing out to ensure that Ammar Campa-Najjar makes it to the November ballot. Republicans Carl Demaio, Darrell Issa, and State Senator Brian Jones are wrestling to be the sole GOP candidate in November with two other Republicans, two No Party Preference, and one Peace and Freedom candidate also in the race.
SD07 (Tri-Valley): The California Alliance for Progress and Education, an alliance of business organizations, reports spending $49,013 on phone banking to prop up Republican Julie Mobley in hopes of squeezing out labor-backed Marisol Rubio (D) in her challenge from the left of Senator Steve Glazer (D). Mobley has a minimal campaign, raising $2,630 between January 1 and January 18 and ending the period with $1,497 on hand.
AD72 (Garden Grove-Westminster): The IE committee consisting of the California Dental Association, California Medical Association, and California Apartment Association reports $29,165.59 in mail and $12,075 on polling to support Assembly member Tyler Diep (R) in the toss-up race. Diep is facing a challenge from the right by former Senator Janet Nguyen (R), while Democrats are banking on Garden Grove council member Diedre Nguyen.
LIVING DAVITA LOCA: Dialysis giant DaVita reported yesterday spending $14,850 to support retired business owner and former Hesperia council member Thurston "Smitty" Smith (R) in the AD33 race to succeed Jay Obernolte, who is running for CA08. Big Bear Lake mayor Rick Herrick (R) is considered the favorite in the race.
DMV: After yesterday's article in the Chron, Oakland-based YoGov has stopped its service of selling California Department of Motor Vehicles appointments, reports J.D. Morris for the Chron.
Until Friday, YoGov offered an “express” service to find a DMV appointment “in 3-4 weeks,” about a quarter of the time it typically takes.
That would seem to violate a state law that made it illegal “to sell, or offer for sale, an appointment” with the DMV starting this year.
Gov. Gavin Newsom signed AB317, authored by Assemblyman Tyler Diep, R-Westminster (Orange County), on Oct. 8. Diep said the law was needed to protect equal access to the DMV.
OH, DEVIN: For McClatchy, Kate Irby looks at the status of the lawsuits filed and threatened by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Tulare).
Five of the six lawsuits California Republican Rep. Devin Nunes filed last year against media companies and his political adversaries are still unfolding in courts. He’s suggested he’s considering more cases.
Nunes has sent at least two letters that implied more lawsuits could be forthcoming — to his 2018 Democratic opponent for his congressional seat, Andrew Janz, and to another California Democratic congressman, Ted Lieu.
Nearly all the defendants in his lawsuits have filed motions to dismiss his suits, but the only case that has concluded was the one Nunes withdrew against a retired Tulare County farmer and other activists who challenged the congressman’s description of himself as a farmer.
more news after the jump...
SONOMA COUNTY HOMELESS: For the Press-Democrat, Yousef Baig and Chantelle Lee report that Sonoma County officials have cleared the large homeless encampment along the Joe Rodota Trail.
Dozens of campers hurriedly gathered their belongings as authorities went tent to tent along the 2-mile village. The clearing operation represented the culmination of a monthslong tussle between county officials and homeless advocates over plans to relocate trail campers to shelters. In late December, Sonoma County supervisors decided to spend nearly $12 million on a variety of temporary and permanent shelters and services. Also, they promised the community they would clear the Rodota encampment by the end of January.
County officials had called the trail’s burgeoning encampment a humanitarian crisis in light of escalating public health and safety concerns, including a rat infestation along the trail. At its peak, there were as many as 250 homeless people living along the west Santa Rosa trail.
Not all being moved out of the camp will find space in a shelter.
BAY AREA INCOME INEQUALITY: Erica Hellerstein reports for KQED that, indeed, the income inequality is the largest in the state.
It’s official: The gap between the Bay Area’s haves and have-nots is wider than anywhere else in the state.
Top income earners in the Bay Area make 12.2 times as much as those at the bottom of the economic ladder, according to new research from the Public Policy Institute of California, which analyzed 2018 U.S. Census Bureau data, the most recent available.
Bay Area residents in the 90th percentile of incomes earned $384,000 a year, compared to just $32,000 for those in the bottom 10th percentile.
SANTA CLARA: For the MercNews, Thy Vo writes that the Santa Clara city manager--the highest paid in the state--was given an 11.2% "merit-based" increase after giving back a housing allowance. Her salary is now $448,491 and total compensation after two years on the job is $767,605.
IRVINE: In the Register, Jonathan Lansner reports that Amazon is opening a bricks-and-morter grocery store in Irvine as "Amazon Fresh," which is the name of it's grocery delivery service. Amazon owns Whole Foods, from which it sources much of the Amazon Fresh delivery. Amazon ended its partnership with shopping and delivery company Instacart in 2018, sourcing it's delivery on it's own. Lansner speculates that it could go beyond groceries. Target recently announced that it would begin stocking its own brand of groceries, called "Good and Gather," and making the store a "one-stop shop."
The move could also be an answer to AB 5 (Gonzalez), the controversial bill to limit the definition of independent contractors. Like Instacart, Amazon uses contractors for their Whole Foods deliveries, which may no longer legal in California. Instacart has loaned $10 million to the Lyft/Uber/DoorDash campaign to rewrite the law in November as an initiative, as has Postmates.
SANDY EGGO: In the SDUT, Charles T. Clark reports on the big money flowing into San Diego supervisor races, particularly in the swing District 3.
SANDY EGGO: Improper flyovers are not the sole province of Tom Cruise. A squadron commander has lost his job following a flyover at Miramar of the F/A-18D, a plane that's being phased out in favor of the F-35Cs.
cakeday and classifieds after the jump...
CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to my dad Roy Lay, Stephanie Cohen, Assembly member Tasha Boerner Horvath, and Tanner Kelly!