Around The Capitol

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RECENT PODS:

  • Political Breakdown (Scott Shafter and Marisa Lagos @ KQED): BART Director Lateefah Simon on the protests against police violence, steps cities can take to reform policing, the re-entry program she created with Kamala Harris, her Bay Area roots and her late husband Kevin Weston. (2020-06-04)
  • Inside Golden State Politics (Bill Boyarsky and Sherry Bebitch Jeffe): police violence; new generation of African American women mayors; LAPD budget (2020-06-04)
  • Health Policy Protest (School of Public Health at San Diego State University): First four episodes of 2020 (2020-06-03)
  • Political Breakdown (Scott Shafer and Marisa Lagos @ KQED: Tom Steyer, chair of Gov. Gavin Newsom's Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery (2020-05-28)

The Nooner for Sunday, June 7, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners

  • The Capitol protest
  • SacPD drops "carotid hold"
  • Cash from cops
  • The legislative work ahead
  • State budget
  • Unemployment
  • After the crises
  • From the Desk of the Dean
  • Trump and California's universities
  • Simi Valley 
  • Cakeday and classifieds

SEEN ON SUNDAY TEEVEE: Rep. Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) - State of the Union (CNN)

Happy Sunday! Yesterday was a beautiful breezy day in Sacramento, but it was anything but a quiet news day. While not as perfectly stenciled as the 16th St. NW in Washington, DC, the brown grass on Capitol Mall in Sacramento was painted with "BLACK LIVES MATTER" ahead of the march that later proceeded down the street leading to the State Capitol.

There is a free Sacramento Press Club Facebook Live BYO "luncheon" on Tuesday on the future of AB 5, the controversial law regarding independent contractors. Participants include AB 5 author Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), Assembly member Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield), NFIB state director John Kabateck, and CA Labor Fed comms director Steve Smith. The program begins at noon on SPC's Facebook page. You are encouraged to contribute to the SPC's scholarship fund for needy journalism students.

CAPITOL PROTEST: A large protest that began at Golden One Center yesterday ended with about 1,000 protestors on the east side of the State Capitol leading to an at times tense situation but which showed the tolerance and professionalism of the California Highway Patrol, which provides security for the Capitol grounds and surrounding areas.

I'm still hunkered down protecting my lungs so, unlike the Black Lives Matter protests in 2018 or the anti-vaccination protests last year, I was watching it remotely from my bunker here at Nooner Global Headquarters. Fortunately, Sam Stanton of the Sacramento Bee was providing live video of much of the hours-long protest.

During the protests, the Capitol has had an extended perimeter short, temporary fencing to essentially make only the east side available for protests. I believe that's so that the CHP personnel can concentrate on one side and, while not as visually pleasing for protestors as the west side, is the side with the most room -- essentially four square blocks of Capitol Park.

On the east side, there is similar fencing about 50 years from the doors. Until yesterday, protestors have stayed behind that fence. When the remnant of the march of perhaps 3,000 reached the Capitol, around 1,000 of the most vociferous (and endurant) protestors gathered on the east side. It initially appeared routine with loud chants with some aimed toward a line of CHP officers standing on the first elevated level of the steps.

Then, about 100 protestors jumped over the fence and filled in the area fenced off, nearing the base of the steps. It became a tense situation after watching a week of clashes between police and protestors. However, the line of officers stood without a move.

Around 2pm (I didn't keep notes on times), CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley and a couple of lieutenants exited the Capitol and waded into the crowd of 100 that had breached the perimeter. Carrying his own amplified sound system and wearing no helmet unlike the officers in the line above. He spoke to not just those the 100 but the nearly 1,000 still outside the perimeter fence. Stanley, who is African-American, stated that he disapproved of the policing tactics used leading to the death of George Floyd and was as disheartened as the protestors were. He told the protestors that they were welcome to make their voices heard on the Capitol grounds, but also asked them to obey the perimeter fence.

He then spent over an hour speaking with the 100 inside the perimeter. A recurrent allegation by protestors was that Stanley's officers had used rubber bullets and tear gas on protestors last Sunday at 10th and L just off the northwest corner of Capitol grounds. Stanley repeatedly said that his officers had not used such force at any time and that clash was instead with the Sacramento Police Department, often pointing north toward the jail and city hall. (The CHP's one use of force was a couple of batons used as protestors tried to enter the freeway.) However, seemingly, few protestors discerned the difference between the agencies.

He then said that he would be willing to meet inside the Capitol with leaders if the others who breached the perimeter fence returned to the other side. As he waited, he continued to speak individually with those inside the perimeter. After about an hour of such discussions, it was clear that those inside were not returning but he took four leaders inside the Capitol anyway. Meanwhile, additional, more heavily armed officers had gathered atop the second level of steps that leads to the doors to the Capitol Annex building.

After about 45 minutes inside at around 4pm, the leaders emerged and Sam Stanton reported:

Jamarri Lovejoy, one of the activists who spoke with the commissioner, said the meeting was friendly and went well, but that the group’s primary grievances are with the Sacramento Police Department.

“More than anything, that’s the CHP in there,” Lovejoy said. “There’s not too much they can do. We need Sac PD. We need to get in contact with Sac PD.”

However, the crowd inside the perimeter refused to leave. At 5pm, Commissioner Stanley again came outside and told the crowd that he would meet further with activist leaders. Stanton reports:

California Highway Patrol Commissioner Warren Stanley agreed to formally meet with activists next week after speaking with a handful of protesters inside the Capitol building.

“We’re going to talk about the role of the CHP and how we can better engage with the community,” Stanley told The Sacramento Bee after he briefly spoke to the crowd.

At 6:15pm, officers moved to force out the 60 protestors who remained inside the perimeter, raising their batons (I believe not using them), and at least two were detained, tweeted Emiliano Gómez of the SacBee.

Protestors then moved to Cesar Chavez Plaza two blocks from the Capitol, meeting up with others in a planned evening event that appeared to be without incident. The Sacramento Police Department reported no arrests on the first night after the curfew was lifted, reports CapRadio.

It was a wild five hours to watch and read from a mile away. The California Highway Patrol's Capitol detail, which was clearly supplemented by many more from other areas, has always been extremely professional. I've organized community college student protests and covered several contentious protests in my years of writing The Nooner. Yesterday, was a day of pride for the California Highway Patrol and of most of the protestors who peacefully made their voices heard.

At least during the five-hour event, I was able to get a lot of needed cleaning done.

Today's march is BlackBrownShutItDown and begins at 4pm at Southside Park across from Nooner Intergalactic Headquarters before marching to Cesar Chavez Plaza. It is co-sponsored by several labor and social justice organizations.

SACPD DROPS "CAROTID HOLD": A day after Governor Gavin Newsom called for the end of the use of the "carotid hold," which halts the flow of blood to the brain and can render a suspect unconscious but has also been shown to cause permanent harm including death, the Sacramento Police Department announced via Twitter that it would end use of the maneuver that apparently led to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Davis, west of Sacramento, also announced that it was banning the carotid hold.

Meanwhile, Assembly member Mike Gipson (D-Carson) yesterday announced that he would be amending his AB 1196 to prohibit the use of the choke hold and carotid artery restraint tactics to forcibly detain suspects. He's holding a press conference tomorrow morning that includes Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood), among many other Capitol and community leaders.

CASH FROM COPS: For CalMatters, Ben Christopher reports that progressive lawmakers are under pressure to eschew, and some are eschewing, money from police unions.

Brian Marvel, president of the Peace Officers Research Association of California, a federation of law enforcement unions, called the announcement by the two senators “completely understandable” given a political environment in which, he said, police officers “are being piled on right now.”

“It’s the decision they need to make based on where they are and how they feel and I’m just hoping this doesn’t sour our relationship in that they aren’t willing to work with us in the future,” he said.

Though progressive politicians rarely endear themselves to the organized labor groups that represent police officers, sheriffs and prison guards, something seems to have shifted over the last week. A much broader ideological swath of the country’s institutions, elected leaders and the public at large have embraced the need for reform — even over the objections of rank-and-file law enforcement.

THE LEGISLATIVE WORK AHEAD: Chris Micheli lays out what's ahead as the two legislative floors begin meeting to consider bills for the first time since March 16.

SENATE FLOOR – Meets Thursday, June 11 at 9am

  • Senate 2nd Reading – 0
  • Senate 3rd Reading – 69 [includes 40 empty budget trailer bills]
  • Assembly 3rd Reading – 9
  • Consent – 32
  • On the Floor: 110
  • Does not include the 95 bills to be heard on Monday, June 8 in the Senate Appropriations Committee
  • Does not include the 20 bills to be heard Friday, June 12 in the Senate Budget & FR Committee
  • Total: 225 

ASSEMBLY FLOOR – Meets Monday, June 8 at 1pm [plus Wednesday and Thursday]

  • Assembly 2nd Reading – 64
  • Senate 2nd Reading – 1
  • Assembly 3rd Reading – 209 [includes 40 empty budget trailer bills]
  • Senate 3rd Reading – 3
  • Consent – 79
  • On the Floor: 356
  • Does not include 1 bill to be heard Tuesday, June 9 in the Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee
  • Total: 357

I'll just note that the one bill that is in Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee is SB 350 (Hill), the bill to allow the state to petition the bankruptcy court to take over Pacific Gas & Electric should the utility fail to exit bankruptcy by the state's June 30 deadline and incorporate the assets as Golden State Energy. The analysis of the bill is interesting. There is no registered opposition. However, PG&E and several of the state's largest purchasers of energy (e.g. ag, energy, manufacturers) are listed as "Concerns."

Also this week is a massive Senate Appropriations Committee hearing. The committee's Suspense File is expected to be cleared next week.

STATE BUDGET: For CalMatters, Laurel Rosenhall reports on the efforts to reach a compromise on a state budget by the next Monday's legislative deadline.

These negotiations in pursuit of a California budget compromise mark a shift in the relationship between Newsom and the Legislature. As a freshman governor last year, he filled his budget with items lawmakers had tried unsuccessfully to pass for years under Gov. Jerry Brown. Together, Newsom and the Legislature last year expanded child care and health care, made a second year of community college free for some students, repealed taxes on diapers and menstrual products, gave workers more paid time off to bond with a new baby, and committed $2 billion to housing and homelessness.

Now, Newsom will likely be in the role of saying “no” to a bunch of legislators who are unaccustomed to governing during a recession.

...

In the end, said political analyst Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, when the two sides reach agreement, neither will probably be thrilled.

“The definition of good legislation is a compromise that is mutually repugnant to all sides,” she said. “And that’s what has to happen.”

...more after the jump.

UNEMPLOYMENT: In the Bee, David Lightman writes that, while Governor Newsom has promised improvements in customer service in the state's unemployment insurance program at the Employment Development Department, frustrated Californians seeking benefits aren't seeing it.

EDD reported in a statement to The Bee that “when unemployment was at a record low in February, the EDD had low federal funding and low staff. But as the workload has spiked, the EDD has received more federal funding to support a mass expedited hiring effort.”

So far, the agency reported, it has hired at least half of an initial 1,800 staff it is seeking to help process an unprecedented volume of claims, aid customers in call centers and review documents from claimants and employers. EDD is now hiring an additional 1,200 people, for a total of 3,000 new staff over the next few weeks.

It also says it’s enhancing its chat feature on its website and Facebook pages and extending training for people helping with claims.

“This is all in addition to many other strategies and tactics we are working on daily to help get people information they need about their claim and reduce the need to call EDD,” said agency spokeswoman Loree Levy, “thereby making it easier for those who really have to talk with a representative about more of a complex issue to get through on our call lines.”

AFTER THE CRISES: For CalMatters, Dan Walters asks what lies ahead for California after the protests and COVID-19 are behind us.

Will California simply return to what it was before these jarring, unexpected events visited themselves upon the state?

Will California’s vexing anomalies and conflicts — poverty, homelessness, housing shortages and water wars, to name but a few — have become even more intractable?

Or, will this year’s economic and social upheavals manifest themselves in a rebirth of the California that blossomed into a global economic and cultural powerhouse in the post-World War II era, again offering boundless opportunities for those with ambition and/or talent, regardless of their origins?

FROM THE DESK OF THE DEAN: The LAT's George Skelton criticizes the allegations of fraud with voting by mail that are being trumpeted from Washington and now in the courts on behalf of the California Republican Party.

The Republican Party — both nationally and in California — is suing Newsom, contending he doesn’t have the constitutional authority to tamper with federal elections. They contend “inactive” voters — those who haven’t cast ballots in the last four years — shouldn’t receive one by mail.

But the GOP opposition seems moot. The Legislature has plenty of authority to set election procedures. There are bills pending to send all registered voters mail ballots. And Friday, one of the authors, Assemblyman Marc Berman (D-Palo Alto), announced he’ll amend his measure to place only “active” voters on the mail ballot list.

“Nobody, nobody, nobody has ever said, ‘Let’s mail ballots to inactive voters,’” Berman told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Assuming the Legislature gets Berman et al.'s bill to Governor Newsom before the court date, the case will likely be deemed moot.

TRUMP AND CALIFORNIA'S UNIVERSITIES: In the LAT, Teresa Watanabe writes that California universities fear that President Trump's order limiting the entry of certain students and researchers from China will harm their ability to be international leaders in academic research.

University officials say that concern about Chinese theft of U.S. intellectual property is legitimate.

Arthur Bienenstock, a Stanford University professor emeritus of photon science and special assistant to the university president for federal research policy, said it was appropriate for federal officials to limit the entry of suspect scholars since universities are ill equipped to screen them.

But universities are deeply concerned that the order could lead to vast overreach, wrongly shutting out students whose work is non-military, openly published and critical to American research efforts in fields ranging from climate change to energy storage.

SIMI VALLEY: I wrote yesterday about the controversy surrounding Simi Valley mayor pro tem and 30-year LAPD veteran Mike Judge's since deleted Facebook posting of a meme saying that hoses should be connected to sewage trucks and used to spray protestors. The LAT's Joel Rubin writes that yesterday's march drew around 2,000 participants and went off without incident. Rubin writes:

On Saturday, Judge again apologized.

“I am not a racist. I know I can say that all day long and it just sounds contrived, but I was just trying to be silly and it went sideways,” he said.

And, with the peaceful march in Simi Valley on Saturday, he acknowledged he had been wrong to suggest protesters should stay away. He had feared a march in Simi Valley would turn violent because of “the target” he said the town has had on it since four white officers were acquitted of beating King in 1992. The town, he said, does not deserve the reputation for racism that has endured since the trial.

That deep-seated reputation was the backdrop for the march Saturday. On Twitter and elsewhere, many people commented on the surprise they felt at seeing Simi Valley host an event and the town’s police chief encouraging it.

cakeday and classifieds after the jump...

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CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Craig Cheslog, Faith Colburn, Faith Conley, and Melanie Ramil!

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