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The Nooner for Monday, February 10, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners

  • Prez
  • AB 5
  • Insurance Commish
  • CA50
  • SD15
  • GOP
  • Juvy fees
  • Tijuana
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Happy Monday! As you read this, I'll be at a Sacramento Press Club luncheon featuring the state directors of the Biden, Bloomberg, Sanders, and Warren presidential campaigns. Meanwhile, Mayor Pete is expected in Sacramento on Friday for a town hall meeting and a private fundraiser. The address is provided after you register, although the ZIP code listed suggests it is in East Sac.

PREZ: Carla Marinucci writes for Politico that California's primary election will finally be consequential to the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

And the voting has already begun: Even as New Hampshire gets its traditional place in the spotlight Tuesday, more than 15.5 million early ballots were mailed out to registered California voters last week, more than are up for grabs "in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada combined," California Secretary of State Alex Padilla notes.

The vast state’s reputation for a lengthy vote-counting process could prevent the quick emergence of a winner that night. But Padilla maintains there’s little danger that the confusion that happened in Iowa will take place in California, in part because the state’s elections are overseen by state administrators, not party officials. Plus, he argued, “the biggest issue in Iowa was the use of an app — and California does not use apps’’ for counting or casting ballots, or for reporting results — and the state “doesn’t allow the voting system to touch the internet” to prevent hacking.

AB 5 (Gonzalez): For the Bee, Sophia Bollag and Dale Kasler look at the impact of the bill limiting the use of independent contractors and steps the Legislature is taking to mitigate collateral impact.

The music industry is one that needs some relief the new law, but there’s not yet agreement about what that should look like, Gonzalez said. Freelancers are suing over a limit on how many pieces they can write for a publication, which they argue violates the First Amendment.

Even as Gonzalez wants to tweak AB 5, she and fellow Democrat Assemblywoman Christy Smith of Santa Clarita have a plan to spend $20 million in state funding to create grants that would support small arts nonprofits trying to comply with the law. Gov. Gavin Newsom is proposing a separate $21.5 million in the budget to boost compliance and ramp up enforcement of the law through the state’s justice department and labor agency.

[Sacramento Jazz Collective founder Carolyne] Swayze said paying for unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation and other benefits has increased the jazz co-op’s costs by 15 percent — a significant hit for an organization that runs on $85,000 a year in donations and ticket sales. She’s been reluctant to book any shows beyond March.

In the Chron, Carolyn Said also reports on those affected by the bill.

The freelancers’ activism has already yielded some results. On Thursday, AB5 author Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, said on Twitter that she would seek to remove an annual submission cap for freelance writers and photographers (who are suing over AB5), and will soon propose changes for musicians. Gonzalez, who said she’s held hundreds of meetings with affected groups and individuals, promised that more changes are coming soon.

INSURANCE COMMISH: After scrutiny of fundraising from entities he oversees, Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara (D) promised to cease fundraising until closer to his 2022 reelection bid. Jeff McDonald reports that he followed through with the commitment and ended 2019 with only $3,103 cash on hand and $14,767 in unpaid bills.

“As promised, Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara has not accepted political donations to his campaign since September 2019, and has returned donations received prior to that date that he deemed inappropriate,” campaign spokeswoman Robin Swanson said by email.

“When he resumes fundraising, it will be under a strict vetting process involving his new campaign treasurer, fundraiser and trusted advisers, and he will uphold his pledge to not take contributions from the insurance industry,” she added.

CA50 (East San Diego County): Charles T. Clark reports for SDUT that Donald Trump is the central issue in the fierce battle to succeed disgraced former Rep. Duncan D. Hunter.

Even before Rep. Duncan D. Hunter resigned from Congress last month, it was no secret that the race to replace him was going to get brutal, especially on the Republican side of the aisle.

After all, the top Republican frontrunners, former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio and former Rep. Darrell Issa, are two of San Diego County’s most well-known firebrands.

What has intrigued political observers though is the messages the two have latched onto to attack each other. DeMaio and Issa have traded pointed barbs for months in TV ads, tweets, mailers, and forums — all about who would be the strongest and most ardent supporter of President Donald Trump if elected to Congress.

While Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar got within 3.4% of Hunter in 2018, the representative was already in legal hot water. Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton in 2016 here 54.6-39.6%, so the district is not expected to be competitive in November.

SD15 (Hayward-Santa Clara): For the Chron, John Wildermuth checks in on the race to succeed Jim Beall (D).

Democrats Nora Campos, Dave Cortese and Ann Ravel, along with independent Johnny Khamis, have decades of experience working with each other in local government. Now each one is trying to tell voters why they’re the best choice to replace termed-out Democrat Jim Beall.

That’s not easy. As current or former members of the state Assembly, the county Board of Supervisors or the San Jose City Council, three of them have long worked together on local problems. And Ravel, the only one who has never held public office, was Santa Clara County counsel for 11 years, handling the legal side of many of those issues.

GOP: For the SDUT, Michael Smolens writes up the warnings from former California Republican Party chair Ron Nehring about the bad trendline for the GOP.

Stepping back from this momentum swing for the GOP was Ron Nehring, former chairman of the California and San Diego Republican parties. He took to social media on acquittal day to remind fellow Republicans — as he has regularly in recent years — that they need to focus on addressing long-term trends that do not favor the GOP.

He has lived under the storm clouds he sees gathering elsewhere. It really wasn’t that long ago that California and the city of San Diego, now both deeply Democratic, were reliably Republican. He’d not only like to see the GOP try to reverse that, but warns that shifting demographics are changing the politics in deep red states like Texas and Georgia.

In an interview, Nehring urged current party leaders to pay more attention to regional sensibilities and issues, and not simply apply the national partisan narrative to races across the board.

“We need to turn off cable TV and look at the issues affecting our neighborhood, city and county,” he said.

JUVY FEES: For CalMatters, Jackie Botts reports that while the state has prohibited billing parents for the costs of juvenile detention, many still face old debts from before the practice was outlawed in 2018.

California is the first state in the nation to ban the practice of charging parents for the cost of their children’s time in the juvenile justice system. But its new law, enacted in 2018, doesn’t require counties to forgive fees that parents were charged before 2018.

Most counties voluntarily cleared the parents’ old debt off the books. However, 22 counties are still pursuing debt that totals nearly $137 million as of Jan. 1, 2018, according to an October report from UC Berkeley’s Policy Advocacy Clinic.

As a result, tens of thousands of families across California still owe juvenile justice fees that the state has since abolished. Some families, like the Simmons, have had their tax refunds intercepted and liens placed on their houses. Others have had their wages garnished or their bank accounts emptied.

Five counties — San Diego, Orange, Riverside, Tulare and Stanislaus — have been collecting nearly all of these old fees, with close to 414,000 accounts outstanding.

TIJUANA: In the LAT, Anna M. Phillips and Jennifer Haberkorn report that an unlikely group of allies came together to get $300 million in the renegotiated NAFTA trade deal to clean up the sewage problem on the U.S.-Mexico border between San Diego and Tijuana. 

With the backing of an unusual mix of local Democrats, Republicans, Border Patrol agents and environmental groups, House Democrats leveraged their support for the trade bill — one of Trump’s highest priorities — to secure the administration’s rare backing for an environmental project.

Each group played a part. Democrats in Congress drafted legislation to provide money and legal authority to address the spills, hoping to add it to the trade bill. San Diego’s Republican mayor, Kevin Faulconer, met with the president to plead the case. Environmentalists emphasized the health risks of the pollution, and Border Patrol agents at the Imperial Beach Station made public their complaints of rashes, burning eyes and sore throats.

The advocates’ pitch for federal money was not a simple ask, given that it involved frequent targets of the president’s ire. Trump has warred for three years against Mexico’s and California’s leaders on a range of issues. At the behest of farmers and real estate developers, his administration has weakened federal regulations protecting water quality.

More after the jump...

LA-LA LAND: In the Times, David Zahniser looks at the Los Angeles City Council campaigns of Kevin de León and Mark Ridley-Thomas, both of whom are widely expected to run for mayor in 2022.

Both have declined to rule out a run for mayor in 2022. Both have touted their lengthy experience in public office. And both insist that voters have little interest in debates about their future career moves.

Voters are “talking clearly about gentrification and housing insecurity. They’re talking about homelessness,” said De León, who served in the state Legislature from 2006 to 2018. “So I don’t get bogged down in signing silly pledges.”

De León’s opponents disagree, saying voters deserve to know if their next council member will have the time to attend to the needs of the district.

While De León is looking to represent part of the Eastside, Ridley-Thomas is running in a council district that stretches from Koreatown to the Crenshaw Corridor in South Los Angeles. Like De León, Ridley-Thomas says he is focused on the present campaign.

Cakeday and classifieds after the jump...

Probolsky Research

CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Courtney Baxter and Morgan Roth!



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Capitol Weekly's Conference on Housing: Feb 18
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