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PRIMARY ELECTION DAY: 26 days
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The Nooner for Thursday, February 6, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners
Hello there! It continues to be wild with items popping up like a game of political Whack-A-Mole, but I'll try to tackle a few today.
CA53 (San Diego): In the crazy, 15-candidate race to succeed retiring Rep. Susan Davis (D), "Forward California" reports spending $369,832 for television and online ads in support of Sara Jacobs (D). As an independent federal superPAC formed after the 2019 year-end, the committee doesn't need to disclose the donors to it until April 15 for the period ending March 31. (For state IE committees, the contributors must be disclosed with the first expenditure.) However, Target Book's Rob Pyers is probably correct when he tweets "(Taking a wild guess that the check from Irwin Jacobs cleared)." Sara Jacobs is the granddaughter of the co-founder of Qualcomm, the San Diego-based global semiconductor and telecommunications company that can be found in many of our devices.
There was a SurveyUSA poll out in the gnus yesterday on this race that found Jacobs with a big lead. I don't dignify a telephone, recorded voice poll in a race with eleven Democrats, three Republicans, and one NPP candidate in the same race. I get a top-two general, but these primary polls on these wide fields are ridonculous. Americans stand in front of a McDonald's menu for fifteen minutes with fewer choices. They can not listen to 15 candidate names and remember to type 1-3-# for their choice.
Of course, Jacobs likely will make it to November and the question is whether labor-backed San Diego council president Georgette Gómez or someone else will meet her there.
SD15 (San José): The Opportunity PAC reports $156,479 in its independent expenditure effort supporting Santa Clara Supervisor Dave Cortese (D) in tight race to succeed Jim Beall (D). The existing committee reported yesterday reloading with a million from several labor organizations and the Consumer Attorneys of California and spending in the race to oppose Modesto councilmember Mani Grewal (D) in SD05. In both districts, Opportunity PAC is spending money opposite the California Independent Petroleum Association is spending. In SD05, oil and gas producers are supporting Grewal, while in SD15, they are supporting former Assembly member Nora Campos in a tough, crazy race of three Democrats, two Republicans, and two No Party Preference candidates. Really, it appears to be down to Campos, Cortese, Johnny Khamis (NPP), and Ann Ravel (D) and is anybody's guess.
SD23 (Redlands): The California Independent Petroleum Association is also playing in the SD23 race to succeed Mike Morrell (R) to oppose Beaumont council member Lloyd White (R), reporting expenditures of $226,489 thus far. This is another wild State Senate race with five candidates:
It is a brawl in San Berdoo, and is the third in order of possible pick-ups for Democrats in November behind SD21 (Santa Clarita-Palmdale) and SD37 (Irvine). On the Dem side, Medina, who lost a razor-sharp race against former Assembly member Marc Steinorth (R) in 1996 is to the left of Goodfellow.
I with I had the time to chase down every rumor I get sent. With 535 candidates and this early primary, it is just brutal and my email box is suffering a deluge. So, I'm only able to really monitor and share vital signs for this primary and there is great uncertainty in many races, including SD23.
AD42 (Yucaipa): Keep California Golden reports $31,988 for a mailier in support of Assembly member Chad Mayes (NPP) in his effort to remain in the Assembly against challenges from the left and right in a . That's the same committee I reported yesterday that is sponsored by the California Association of Realtors, California Building Industry Association, and the California New Car Dealers Association.
MENDOZA TAB: Taryn Luna reports in the Times that the State Senate has paid $310,000 to settle a lawsuit from a employee of former state senator Tony Mendoza (D), who allegedly "fired and retaliated against her for reporting an allegation that the lawmaker sexually harassed her co-worker." There were several other complaints against Mendoza but it is unclear whether the state has settled them. The legislative policy of disclosure only reports on settlements, not investigations.
PG&E: What happens if the state takes over Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and what would a remade utility look like? For CalMatters, Judy Lin looks at the options being considered.
UBER: For Politico, Jeremy B. White writes that Uber and Lyft drivers who support AB 5 have filed wage order complaints with the California Labor Commissioner's Office to receive declarations that the companies continue to treat them as independent contractors in violation of the new law. White writes:
The new law cements in statute the California Supreme Court’s so-called “ABC” test dictating that many independent contractors, like Uber and Lyft drivers, should be treated as employees. That classification historically comes with wage and benefit guarantees and, perhaps most critically, collective bargaining rights.
But AB 5 is not self-enforcing; it requires either workers or city attorneys to file claims of labor law violations, which then must be adjudicated. Drivers said going to the Labor Commissioner gets that process rolling by pushing them “to enforce the laws of the state,” driver-advocate Nicole Moore said, adding that this is not just about past wages but “about the future of work in this state” in which drivers like herself are treated as W-2 employees.
However, White explains that the state can't make a determination that the drivers are employees under California law, it is up to the National Labor Relations Board to determine if they are for the purposes of collective bargaining, the end goal of many of the bill's backers.
At the end of the year, the companies made changes to their model to make the waters a little more muddied, such as not providing a fixed quote in advance of the ride and giving drivers and riders more control over who drives/rides with whom.
Incidentally, I took a rideshare over to the UPS Store on L Street yesterday as I had a box heavy enough not to carry along with my backpack before recording a podcast. Over the holidays, Dad reminded me that he never received a Nooner mug, so I had to pack up a couple along with a book from Capital Books and some items from Allspicery (espresso spice rub and chili mix!). I digress.
Anyway, as often happens, my driver asked what I did for a living, something always difficult to describe. Anyway, she unloaded on my about AB 5, which she is not happy about. She is a retiree of the state's Department of Corrections with lifetime health benefits and drives for a bit of cash over her CalPERS retirement and because she likes conversations with people. She fears that AB 5 as written will end her ability to do that.
There are two sides and I'm not taking one but rather sharing them.
RECYCLING AND PLASTICS: For CalMatters, Rachel Becker looks at the continued debate over the status of reforming the state's recycling program in light of partial collapses of the industry that has led to the shuttering of recycle centers around the state. A bill by Senator Bob Wieckowski to do so failed in January, and lawmakers are now largely focused on an alternative that stalled on the last night of last year's legislative year that would limit single-use plastics. Becker writes:
Special interests and legislators instead are focusing on a set of identical bills collectively called the California Circular Economy and Pollution Reduction Act. The Act aims to curb waste from single-use packaging and food service items like containers, forks, and stirrers that Californians use once, and then toss.
Spearheaded by Democratic lawmakers Sen. Ben Allen from Santa Monica and Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez of San Diego, the effort calls for cutting three-quarters of the waste from these single-use products in the next ten years. It also requires manufacturers to make such items 100 percent compostable or recyclable starting in 2030.
Those bills are “the big game that we’ve been seeing,” said Tim Schmelzer, vice president of California state relations at the Wine Institute, an advocacy organization that represents the California wine industry.
Wieckowski’s bill, Schmelzer said, “was kind of an unfortunate distraction here in January, and we can get back to work on the real bills.”
UTILITY $$$: Yesterday, Assembly member Kevin Kiley (R-Roseville) introduced AB 2079, which would prohibit political contributions for state candidates by the state's investor-owned utilities. As an amendment to the Polltical Reform Act, the bill requires a two-thirds vote and is keyed fiscal.
PG&E is not making political contributions while in bankruptcy as that would require the court's approval, but gave $4.1 million in 2018. Three-fourths of that, however, was to parties and political action committees not covered by the bill. Remember the adage, political money flows like water...
I think we know how this story will end on Assembly Appropriations Suspense File because of the "exorbitant costs" keyed to FPPC enforcement.
CASH IS KING: Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) yesterday introduced SB 926, which would require retail outlets to accept U.S. currency as a form of payment, unless meeting specified exception, such as bills over $20 or those suspected as counterfeit.
As some retailers have moved to electronic-only payments, advocates for requiring cash argue that it's a backend way to deny services to the bankless and homeless, something that would be illegal under civil rights law if posted explicitly as such on the front door. Opponents of requiring cash argue that it creates risks and dissuades retailers from serving neighborhoods perceived as at greater risk of crime.
Good arguments on both sides. Regardless of what happens with the bill, I would suggest an amendment on the requirement that "metal coins" be accepted with some reasonable limit that my feeble brain can't come up with this Thursday morning. Under the bill, my dad could bring his water bottle full of pocket change gathered over decades and do all his holiday shopping at Macy's. Or more realistic, Capitol scoundrels could hold up the line at Chicory by insisting on paying for their chai lattes with all pennies, holding up the line forever and denying me my cup of herbal tea.
And, yes, we should get rid of pennies. On that, I agree with Andrew Yang.
Cakeday and classifieds after the jump...
CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Christine Aurre, Amy Jenkins, former Assembly member Pedro Nava, and Assembly member Luz Rivas!