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The Nooner for Saturday, August 15, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners
- The numbers
- The defiant
- Central Valley
- The toll
- Rolling blackouts
- Taxing matters
- Going postal
- The other Capitol
- cakeday and new classifieds
GENERAL ELECTION DATA POINTS
ATCpro SUBSCRIBER UPDATES: [A full list of recent election analysis is on the subscribers home page. If you have forgotten or haven't set a password, use the forgot password tool]
- *CA21 (Coalinga-Lemoore-South Bakersfield): updated analysis and rating change from Leans Dem to Toss-up (2020-08-15)
- *CA25 (Santa Clarita-Palmdale): updated analysis (Toss-up) - money update
- *CA39 (Diamond Bar-Fullerton-Yorba Linda): updated analysis (Leans Democrat) - money update
- *CA45 (Anaheim Hills-Tustin-Irvine): updated analysis (Likely Democrat) - money update
MONEY MATTERS (highlights from daily campaign finance reports):
Most of the reports until closer to the election will be ballot measures and I am generally only including main committees. There are some, like agriculture against Prop 15, but I don't include it as it may be a feeder committee that ends up in the main committee, which would lead to duplication. On ballot measures, this is not every committee report, but generally receipts of over $10,000 in a day.
- No on 15 (split roll): $1,526,000 from 4 contributions, including $1.5 million from the California Business Roundtable
- No on 21 (rent control): $1,500,000 from the California Business Roundtable
- Yes on 22 (AB 5 transportation network exemption): $157,709 - in-kind contributions from DoorDash ($17,773) and Lyft ($139,936)
- No on 23 (dialysis): $8,579,748 from National Medical Care Inc.
Happy Saturday! Hopefully you haven't melted by the time this arrives in your inbox. I finally said "Mercy!" around 2pm and turned my a/c on for the first time in a couple of months. Fortunately, the Sacramento Metropolitan Utility District (SMUD) is not part of the grid managed by the California Independent System Operator (CalISO) and thus wasn't subject to the rolling blackouts last night. We'll get to the topic of the blackouts below.
Lobbyist and Friend of The Nooner Jack Gualco caught my error yesterday and I kicked myself because I knew it. August 31 is not sine die of the legislative session. That is November 30. (Cal. Const. Art. IV, Sec 3) The August 31 deadline is provided for in Art. IV, Sec. 10(b)(2), which provides "No bill may be passed by either house on or after September 1 of an even-numbered year except statutes calling elections, statutes providing for tax levies or appropriations for the usual current expenses of the State, and urgency statutes, and bills passed after being vetoed by the Governor."
The state constitutional provision is then reflected in Joint Rule 51(b)(3), which provides "Final Recess—The Legislature shall be in recess on September 1 until adjournment sine die on November 30."
I've been writing since 4:30 this morning and I'm out of time. A Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals three-judge panel upheld a district court ruling invalidating a California law prohibiting the sale or possession of gun magazine with an ammunition capacity exceeding ten rounds. I haven't had time to read the opinion yet, so I'll get to it in the next couple of days. The panel's decision is likely on its way to an en banc review of the case.
Let's get to it after the jump!
- The Numbers: Yesterday, California added 150 deaths, bringing the total to 11,149. The counties reporting double-digit deaths were Los Angeles (43), Orange (20), Kern (17), San Joaquin (16), and Fresno (12).
- The defiant: The AP reports that Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge James C. Chalfan has refused to grant the county a temporary restraining order prohibiting Grace Community Church from holding indoor services and set a September date to hear the county's motion for a preliminary injunction.
There have been a few of these denials of orders, which make no sense. Then again, superior court judges have to be reelected, which also makes no sense. Nobody is going to run a campaign against them for NOT prohibiting indoor services, but the churches will mobilize against them.
Earlier this year the U.S. Supreme Court upheld state COVID-19 restrictions on religious gatherings in a suit filed by South Bay United Pentecostal Church in Chula Vista, California.
Most recently, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected on July 24 an appeal by a rural Nevada church in a 5-4 decision joined by Chief Justice John Roberts but sharply criticized in three separate conservative dissents.
- Central Valley: The biggest hot spot now in California is clearly the Central Valley. In the last 14 days, the top eight counties in confirmed positive cases per 100,000 residents are: Merced (926.1), Kern (742.1), Madera (632.9), Kings (619.7), Tulare (575.7), Stanislaus (568), Fresno (482.3), and San Joaquin (432.7).
To get off the watch list, a county needs to be below 100 cases per 100,000 over the previous 14 days. Only 12 of the state's 58 counties currently meet that metric.
- The toll: In the Times, Alejandra Reyes-Velarde reports that Long Beach mayor Robert Garcia has now lost his mother and stepfather to the virus.
ROLLING BLACKOUTS: Late yesterday, rolling blackouts returned to California as temperatures soared across the state. The Stage 3 hit as the sun set and the large number of solar powered homes along with the arrays stopped generating electricity, causing a greater draw on the grid as the mercury stayed above 90 until after 9pm.
In the Chron, J.D. Morris writes in the Chron:
With the rare move, the California Independent System Operator sought to preserve the stability of the system that provides power for tens of millions of residents and businesses. The last time grid managers implemented this kind of power cut was in 2001, when the state was in the throes of an electricity crisis.
The effect was felt promptly in Northern California, as Pacific Gas and Electric Co. began shutting off power to large blocks of customers for up to an hour at a time. In a news release, the utility said that each rotating block of blackouts could affect up to 250,000 customers.
Leila Miller reports in the Times:
We “were monitoring the flex alert to see if consumers would answer the call to lower the energy use so we wouldn’t have to go into Stage 3,” said Anne Gonzales, a public information officer for the corporation. “We are in Stage 3 now and hopefully demand will keep going down.”
David Song, a public information officer for Southern California Edison, said that approximately 132,000 of the utility’s 5 million customers were without power as of 7:30 p.m. because of rotating power outages it had put in place. The outages were scattered throughout Southern California Edison’s service area and were set to last about one hour for each outage group. These groups include customers from a cross section of cities so that an entire city is not affected, he said.
The Bee's Daniel Hunt looks at where the power shutoffs in Northern California occurred.
While it's easy to have flashbacks to 2001 and analogize rolling blackouts, which very well could continue for the next week. Here are the differences:
- 2001 was about gamesmanship of the market by Enron and others. They had a chokehold on natural gas flowing to California, which fuels a plurality of the state's electricity generation (34.91% in 2018). Through intricate and unconscionable market maneuvers, they made it impossible to secure the fuel necessary to keep the lights on. That was combined with plants taken offline for "maintenance" later deemed not urgent when the state desperately needed the juice.
- The current situation is a statewide heat wave that we haven't seen in a long time. As of yesterday's forecast, the peak in Sacramento was 111 Monday and Tuesday. Today, it is 113 on Tuesday and 112 on Wednesday. While I remember several heat waves in my 26 years in the Sacto region, I can't recall it hitting those numbers.
- People are home and largely inside. Because of COVID-19, most folks are at home, bingeing shows and watching movies, often with a laptop. Community pools are largely shut down and movie theaters are empty. 500 people watching a movie in a theater uses far less electricity than 500 people at home watching the Giants blow a 7-run lead to the A's (Actually, go A's!) or the Dodgers beat the Angels at the Big A. And, while the hit yesterday was after the normal business day, folks working from home and kids learning over the 'puter is sucking down far more juice than normal.
This actually raises an interesting issue. Should the state consider electricity rate relief during these months when we're facing hot weather and requiring 90-95% of California's school kids to stay home, generally along with their parents?
In short, this situation is very different than 2001. Gray Davis made mistakes as governor, although he was hamstrung in the electricity crisis because of corporate scofflaws. Anyway, the documentary Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room is a great explainer and worth a watch.
Gavin Newsom, PG&E, and Southern California Edison are not to blame. Only 2020 is to blame.
TAXING MATTERS: During yesterday's NewsomAtNoon, the guv was asked by Politico's Jeremy B.White for his thoughts on the two tax measures proposed by Democrats -- a high-income tax proposed by leadership and a "wealth tax" introduced by the caucus's most liberal members. He responded by talking about the federal tax cut, which he called a "huge mistake" that will affect "our kids and grandkids."
Newsom continued "I'm looking forward to the Biden administration righting that wrong...You have to be careful with taking the national constructs which may be appropriate for a nation and having state-by-state constructs until and unless you consider the impacts of those decisions, your ability to retain and attract talented individuals, companies and your competitiveness. Everything needs to be considered in that light and I would encourage those that are making proposals in this space to consider those impacts in relationship to what may or may not be happening in other parts of this nation. So, for me, the issue of taxation for me is one where as a federal construct means one thing. As a state and even a local level, one has to consider the impacts of these decisions in terms of our competitive environment in terms of all of those factors as well."
Let's put that through our magical Newsom-speak translator. The readout is "Legislature, don't send me a personal income tax hike on high-income individuals or the new concept of a wealth tax."
The question and answer begins at 1:12:45.
GOING POSTAL: The United States Postal Service has sent letters to many states including California that state laws and procedures governing voting by mail do not ensure that the USPS can deliver the ballots to voters and back to the county elections office in time to be counted.
Of course, since all registered voters are being mailed a ballot on October 5, receiving them in time won't be an issue. For those who register late, the deadline is 15 days before, which is plenty of time for the county elections office to get a ballot out. After that, it's conditional registration, where a voter both conditionally registers AND casts a ballot at county elections office, a satellite office, polling place, or vote center.
For those who receive a ballot in the mail, it must be postmarked on or before Election Day. While in 2018 the law was that it would be counted if received by the Friday after Election Day, chaptered urgency bill AB 860 (Berman) provides that county elections officials shall count ballots received within 17 days of the election, or November 20. That was actually done before the political interference with the post office materialized, a serendipitous action that Governor Newsom acknowledged in his presser yesterday.
The letter by the USPS to Secretary of State Alex Padilla means nothing. Californians will get their ballots and assuming they put them in their mailbox (postage free now), drop it in a secure ballot drop box, or turn it in to a county elections office, a satellite office, polling place, or vote center on or before Election Day, it will be counted.
THE OTHER CAPITOL: Yesterday in WaPo Rachael Bade looked at the future prospects of Bakersfield representative and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's position should Biden win in November.
Discontent with Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is on the rise in the House, as Republicans increasingly fearful of a loss by President Trump on Election Day gear up for an intraparty war over the future of the GOP.
A cluster of GOP lawmakers is starting to privately question whether the California Republican is putting loyalty to the president over the good of the conference. And a small group of members is discussing whether someone should challenge him for minority leader if Trump is defeated Nov. 3.
The feeling, however, is far from unanimous. McCarthy, an affable politico, maintains a loyal crop of followers, including many conservatives who once viewed him as a foe. He also has raised $82 million for Republicans this cycle, more than the previous two GOP speakers.
McCarthy, 55, has dealt with problems in the ranks before. When Freedom Caucus conservatives drove then-Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) into early retirement in 2015, the same group denied McCarthy the vote to succeed him, accusing McCarthy of being too accommodating to the left.
But McCarthy’s move to wrap himself in Trump, and keep the conference in lockstep with the president, has upended that dynamic. Now Freedom Caucus members such as Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) are among McCarthy’s top allies, while those with complaints hail from the moderate or establishment wings.
cakeday and NEW classifieds after the jump...
CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Lisa Battista, Ken Burt, Brian Kabateck, Nina Kapoor Oliveira, and Rep. Maxine Waters!
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