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The Nooner for Monday, June 15, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners
GENERAL ELECTION DATA POINTS
WEEKENDS AT THE NOONER
Happy Budget Day! Or, framed in 2020 parlance, "Pass Anything to Keep Legislator Paychecks and Per Diem Flowing by Midnight Day."
Sometime today, Democrats in the Legislature will pass their 2020-21 budget, although they are far apart from Governor Gavin Newsom, a fellow Democrat. The Legislative Analyst's Office highlights some of the biggest differences between legislative Democrats' proposal and the Governor's May Revision in this handout, but there are other issues as well beyond the big picture ones. Most notably, they are wrestling over executive spending authority during COVID-19, a proposed reorganization of a couple of executive departments, and subsidized health care for undocumented seniors that the governor proposed in January before withdrawing it at May Revision after the budget crisis emerged.
It doesn't seem as if a deal was reached over the weekend and it could be moot since the Legislature's SB 808 was in print Thursday night to meet the 72-hour in print/online requirement now in the state constitution. As today's Nooner hits your email box, Governor Newsom is scheduled to hold a NewsomAtNoon press conference for a COVID-19 update.
By June 30, Newsom will either reach a deal with the Legislature or sign their plan and figure stuff out in August when there will be more economic indicators, final 2019 personal income tax revenues, and possibly federal movement on aid to state and local governments (which seems less likely by the day). If the Legislature's plan is signed into law, a decision will have to be made in August whether or not to change the triggered cuts incorporated into SB 808. The trigger date is September 1 with an operative date for cuts of October 1. Or the Legislature could be called into a special session in September or even after the election for a "lame duck" special session in November or leave it to the new Legislature sworn in December 7.
In my 25 years of watching the state budget wearing different hats from a student advocate to community college lobbyist and then association CEO to whatever this thing is I do now, this is the most uncertain I have seen and I have seen many.
In the Times, George Skelton writes that the cuts in the Governor's budget if federal funds don't materialize particularly shortchange seniors. In comparing the Governor's cut-first, restore-later plan for federal funds and the Legislature's wait-and-see and cut October 1 if we have to, Skelton writes:
Newsom wants to get it done and over — not kick the can down the road. Problem is, that immediately kicks struggling seniors.
Among the programs lined up for sharp whacks or even the dumpster: in-home supportive services. And community centers where seniors can engage with social workers and other old folks.
Newsom also proposes to make it harder to qualify for Medi-Cal by making sure you’re worse off than merely poor.
Siding with the Legislature's plan, Skelton concludes:
So kick the can. This is a case when bad government becomes good government.
Dan Walters writes for CalMatters that -- whether Governor Newsom's plan is adopted, the Legislature's is, or a compromise is reached -- we are rebuilding a wall of debt that Newsom triumphantly proclaimed eliminated with last year's budget after a dogged focus by former governor Jerry Brown to eliminate the state's red ink.
EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION: Huge victory in the Supreme Court of the United States for the LGBTQ community this morning against employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. In a 6-3 decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, GA authored by Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, the Court held that sexual orientation indeed is covered under the Title VII statute's use of the word "sex." Chief Justice John Roberts joined the decision along with the four justices appointed by Democratic presidents.
California already had protections afforded by the ruling under the California Unruh Civil Rights Act. The protections began in 2006 by now-LA county supe Sheila Kuehl with a 29 states (7 of these provide protections only for public employees).
SANCTUARY State: Also today, the Supreme Court denied cert to the Trump Administration appeal in United States v. California, the challenge to California's "sanctuary state" law prohibiting local law enforcement from cooperating Immigration and Customs Enforcement to facilitate the transfer of undocumented individuals into state custody. The Ninth Circuit upheld the law, finding that it was not preempted by federal law, a decision that now stands. Justices Thomas and Alito voted to hear the case, which requires four justices.
BLACK HANGINGS: SUICIDE OR LYNCHING? Three elected officials have called for an independent inquiry into the death of a 24-year-old Robert Fuller, a black man found hanging from a tree last week in a park across from the city hall in the eastern Los Angeles County city of Palmdale. The county medical examiner-coroner characterized it as an apparent suicide, but family members have doubts. The City of Victorville has joined LA county supervisor Kathryn Barger, State Senator Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita), and Assembly member Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale) in asking Attorney General Xavier Becerra to conduct an independent investigation.
Fuller's death follows the May 31 discovery of 38-year-old Malcolm Harsch hanging from tree in the San Bernardino County high desert city of Victorville, about 45 miles east of Palmdale. Harsch is also a black man. The San Bernardino Sheriff's Department said that foul play was not suspected but family members feel that the conclusion was hastily made to avoid further attention, report Russ Bynum and Ed White for AP.
Both cities have a problematic history of racism as black families moved from Los Angeles seeking a safer environment. Here's a story about Palmdale from 2015.
"DEFUND THE POLICE": Joel Fox looks at the politics of the movement to "defund the police."
[A]s Claremont McKenna College political science professor John J. Pitney Jr. pointed out, by using the refrain “defunding the police,” what protestors mean by it will be lost because of the slogan itself. “In politics, it doesn’t matter what you mean to say. What matters is what people hear. When activists talk about “defunding the police,” they mean the reallocation of some money from police to social services. But many people will think that the phrase means “abolish the police.” Yes, the advocates have a rational explanation, but the old saying holds here: if you’re explaining, you’re losing.”
If defunding police equates to reduced public safety in the minds of voters who may share sympathy and even empathy with the protestors, the catchphrase will cost candidates who embrace the slogan.
LAW AND DISORDER: In the LAT, Maura Dolan reports on a new UC Berkeley Law study on the use by California prosecutors of peremptory (without cause) challenges to strike black and Latino prospective jurors.
The study, “Whitewashing the Jury Box,” was spearheaded by UC Berkeley law professor Elisabeth Semel, who runs the law school’s Death Penalty Clinic. The report examined nearly 700 cases decided by the state’s Courts of Appeal from 2006 through 2018 that involved appeals of prosecutors’ jury strikes.
In about 72% of the cases, prosecutors used their peremptory challenges to remove Black prospective jurors, the study found. Prosecutors struck Latinos in about 28% of the cases, Asian Americans in less than 3.5% and white people in only 0.5%.
Semel acknowledged the study was limited in that it looked at only appeals of non-death-penalty verdicts involving peremptory challenges. It is not surprising that most or many of those appeals would involve the striking of people of color. But Semel said the evidence of prosecutors overwhelmingly striking Black people was not necessarily anticipated.
ORANGE "WE DON'T NEED NO STINKIN' MASKS" COUNTY: For the Register, Jeff Goertzen writes that Orange County reported "another 304 cases attributed to the coronavirus as of Sunday, June 14, bringing the total number of cases to 8,573. Four new deaths also were reported." Goertzen continues:
Of the 221 reported deaths since the start of tracking the virus in the county, 102 have been among skilled nursing facility residents.
The county noted another 304 new positive tests in the last day, raising the total in the county to 8,573 since the start of testing in March. The average number of new cases for the past seven days is 172 a day.
Of the 8,573 confirmed cases, 887 were residents in skilled nursing facilities and 386 were Orange County Jail inmates.
Last week, the county health officer resigned after being harassed by some members of the Board of Supervisors and protestors in front of her home over her order of mandatory mask-wearing in most public places. By the end of the week, the order was changed to a recommendation.
SACTOWN: In an email this morning, Crest Theater has announced that it is reopening on Friday with health precautions and classic movies. Oddly, there is no information about the precautions in the email or that I can see on the website. I do know that theaters are limited to 100 patrons or 25% of capacity, whichever is less. I'm guessing that won't be an issue.
Tower Theater, Cinemark DOCO and Arden, and Regal Natomas remain closed.
cakeday and classifieds after the jump...
CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Monica Cardiel Cortez, Michael Johnson, Drew Mercy, and LA County Assessor Jeffrey Prang!