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The Nooner for Thursday, November 5, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners

  • Election 2020
  • The new "kid" on the block
  • State telework
  • Double-X factor
  • LA-LA Land
  • Little Saigon
  • COVID-19
  • Cakeday and classifieds

Happy Thursday! I'm guessing I'm not the only one of us who actually slept last night. No, it has nothing to do with any election results but I'm guessing the crazy brain just giving in. I haven't gotten to all the "papers" today, so my apologies if I missed a key article. I spent too much time on election results and my longer form item on Prop. 22. If I see something that I should included, the sun comes out tomorrow...bet your bottom dollar...

ELECTION 2020: Yesterday, around 300,000 votes were tallied in California. When I was updating the spreadsheet of most-watched races around California, one thing was noticeable. The votes preferred Republican candidates, narrowing the leads where Democrats were leading and widening them where Republicans were leading. That was also evident in each of the ballot measures.

Twelve counties updated votes yesterday (meaning after 5am, after all had completed "election night" tallying). The bulk of ballots were from Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties. In fact, Los Angeles accounted for 195,971 of yesterday's ballots, which were "mail-in" ballots received via the United States Postal Service on Sunday or dropped off at a Vote Center or drop-box by Tuesday.

While Los Angeles stands at 71.5% for Joe Biden, even the votes yesterday were more conservative. The one countywide race I am tracking is for District Attorney, and incumbent Jackie Lacey gained on challenger George Gascón by 5,651 votes (0.6%). Gascón continues to lead in the race 53.8%-46.2%. Gascón, the former San Francisco D.A. is considered the progressive reformer, while Lacey was strongly backed by law enforcement groups.

The point is that even in deep blue Los Angeles County, yesterday's vote was conservative. Of course, we don't know the actual partisan makeup of the ballots. Anyway, the phenomenon was seen in almost every race I was watching yesterday across the state.

-What's left? First, remember that vote-by-mail ballots postmarked by Tuesday can be received through November 20 and still counted. That is a special extension for this election because of COVID, as the normal deadline for delivery from USPS would be tomorrow. This is important because, as I wrote yesterday, the United States Postal Service has submitted a document in the lawsuit filed by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund that there were 88,819 ballots in California in possession of the USPS on not delivered by Election Day. It's irrelevant in California, but is super relevant in the battleground presidential states that don't have a "postmarked by" provision, including our neighbor Arizona.

We'll know tomorrow how many ballots are left in each county, although some counties are pre-announcing estimates:

  • Los Angeles: 618,200 (VBM: 520,000; CVR: 87,000; P: 2,000; M: 9,200)
  • Orange: 235,564 (CVR: 2,821; other details)
  • Riverside: 425,000 (VBM: 400,000; P: 25,000)
  • Sacramento: 360,000 (CVR: 12,000)
  • San Bernardino: 364,000 (VBM: 346,000; CVR/P: 15,300; M: 2,700)
  • San Mateo: 98,000

For the counties providing breakdowns, VBM: vote-by-mail; CVR: conditional/same-day registration & voting; P: provisional; M: damaged, other non-machine readable ballots, incl. those with write-ins.

-Candidates: I don't believe that there were any lead changes yesterday although with 153 congressional and state legislative races, I only have two eyes and can't promise perfection. Here are a few updates on some of the closest races (<5%):

  • CA21 (Coalinga-Lemoore-South Bakersfield): David Valadao (R): 56,289; *TJ Cox (D): 53,286 (Diff: 2.8%)
  • CA25 (Santa Clarita-Antelope Valley): Christy Smith (D): 131,218; *Mike Garcia (R): 128,462 (Diff: 1.0%)
  • CA39 (Diamond Bar-Fullerton-Yorba Linda): Young Kim (R): 134,556, *Gil Cisneros (D): 133,263. (Diff: 0.4%)
  • CA48 (Orange County beach cities): Michelle Steel (R): 169,179, *Harley Rouda (D): 167,229 (Diff: 0.6%)
  • SD21 (Santa Clarita-Antelope Valley): *Scott Wilk (R): 142,735, Kipp Mueller (D): 141,308 (Diff: 0.6%)
  • SD23 (Rancho Cucamonga-Redlands-Hemet): Abigail Medina (D): 114,870, Rosalicie Ochoa Bogh (R): 114,258 (Diff: 0.2%)
  • SD29 (Diamond Bar-Fullerton): Josh Newman (D): 173,765, *Ling Ling Chang (R): 163,596 (Diff: 3.0%)
  • SD37 (Anaheim Hills-Irvine-OC beach cities): Dave Min (D): 234,275, *John M.W. Moorlach (R): 217,807 (Diff: 3.6%)
  • AD68 (Anaheim Hills-Orange-Tustin-Irvine): *Steve Choi (R): 114,239, Melissa Fox (D): 104,049 (4.6%)
  • AD74 (OC Beach Cities-Costa Mesa-Irvine): *Cottie Petrie-Norris (D): 117,231, Diane Dixon (R): 111,221 (Diff: 2.6%) 

-Criminal justice: A team at the Times looks at the progressive stance California's voters took on criminal justice issues on Tuesday's ballot.

[O]n statewide ballot measures and in key local races, voters backed progressive candidates and policies that promised to hold police more accountable and shift taxpayer funding away from law enforcement and toward social services.

In some cases, voters leapfrogged their own elected officials in the state Legislature to enact policies that never gained traction or fell short of passage during recent legislative sessions in Sacramento — where the idea of broad, statewide policing reform has loomed large but never fully materialized.

California has been a leader on easing the tough-on-crime tactics of an earlier era, but the results of Tuesday’s balloting opens a new front for more aggressive reforms, such as calls to reduce funding to law enforcement agencies.

Well-funded police unions and other groups, who were able stall police reform legislation in Sacramento, were less effective convincing voters the move would endanger public safety. But it also comes in a year in which crime — particularly homicides — are rising significantly in some cities, including Los Angeles.

“There was a time in California where the impulse was to incarcerate more people, three strikes and you are out,” Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the UC Berkeley School of Law, said of the election results Wednesday. “I don’t think that is the impulse in California any longer.”

For CalMatters Byrhonda Lyons and Ben Christopher write on the same topic.

“In voting down Prop. 20, California voters signaled once again that they believe most human beings can turn their lives around if given the chance,” [former Gov. Jerry] Brown said in a statement released on election night.

Voters also backed Proposition 17, a measure to give Californians on parole the right to vote.

And in Los Angeles, the state’s largest county, voters were opting to replace current District Attorney Jackie Lacey with former San Francisco prosecutor George Gascon. In a race widely seen as a referendum on a more progressive, less police-friendly prosecutorial style informed by the Black Lives Matter movement, the progressive won. Gascon joins a growing stable of like-minded district attorneys — San Francisco’s Chesa Boudin, Contra Costa County’s Diana Becton and San Joaquin County’s Tori Verber Salazar.

The first Black district attorney in Los Angeles and the first woman, Lacey has played the role of police-aligned moderate in this year’s campaign. “Moderate” is a relative term in Los Angeles County. But Lacey was the favorite in Los Angeles’ whiter, more affluent, more suburban areas. With endorsements from every major law enforcement union in the county and the state, she also incurred the displeasure of anti-police-violence activists who criticized her for never having prosecuted any law enforcement officer who shot an unarmed civilian since she was elected in 2012.

-Ballot measures: John Myers writes in the Times that Tuesday's results show that little has changed in that those that spend the biggest bucks on ballot

California voters were first empowered to govern by ballot measure in 1911. But it took almost seven decades and the anti-tax crusade of a cantankerous, fist-shaking businessman to reveal the political strength of a direct democracy tool that has come to redefine the state’s politics ever since.

What Howard Jarvis discovered in 1978 with Proposition 13 was that the public’s distrust of government was a kind of electoral rocket fuel that could carry almost any payload into orbit. It no longer took haggling with legislators in Sacramento to write a law. It took only a popular concept and — over the last two decades — enough money to wage a nonstop blitzkrieg of TV commercials and mailbox fliers.

On Tuesday, voters waded through a dozen propositions covering a variety of complicated policy ideas. Most were carefully crafted by powerful interest groups, often as much a solution to their problems as addressing an urgent public need.

-Proposition 22, plastics, and a possible "Bradley Effect:" While vehemently opposed by organized labor, the Yes-side spending-bonanza to exempt transportation network ("gig") companies from AB 5 and the California Supreme Court's interpretation of Labor Code in Dynamex is winning 58.4-41.6%. More relevant is that the measure is currently winning in all but eight Bay Area counties and Alpine County, the liberal enclave powerhouse of 869 registered voters.

In Los Angeles County where there are strong labor organizations, the measure has a lead of nearly 2 million (8.6%).

When AB 5 was going through and the murmurs of a ballot measure by the tech companies was going through, I talked with several people about it (and likely wrote in this space) that supporters of AB 5 didn't want it to be on the ballot. I was warning that self-proclaiming progressives and "labor supporters" might vote to protect the brands they know in the secrecy of the polling booth, similar to "The Bradley Effect."

That refers to the 1982 gubernatorial election in which pre-election polling showed that California voters preferred Los Angeles mayor Tom Bradley over Attorney General George Deukmejian, which was borne out in exit polls (at a time when polling was much more reliable than now). Deukmejian won research after found that a statistically significant number of white voters actually cast ballots for Deukmejian than were forecast for Bradley.

I was thinking about that possible phenomenon with the gig companies even before COVID. While Uber and Lyft rides have gone down during the pandemic (Uber has partially made up for it with Uber Eats), the food delivery services (Postmates, DoorDash, Grubhub, Instacart, etc.) have become essential for many people.

Would Prop. 22 have passed had it not been for COVID? I honestly don't know. But, it was a perfect storm for opponents of the measure.

I would say the same thing about a ban on polystyrene and single-use plastics. In polling, voters would have said last year that they supported a ban (proposed as a 2022 measure after missing this year's ballot).

I know which restaurants use recyclable/compostable containers (Andy Nguyen's Vegetarian Vietnamese on Broadway), but have I been exclusive to them for the last 7.5 months?

The nearly 24-hour Election Day/Night marathon was fueled by a "family" dinner from Tea Cup House on 21st. After all, chopsticks socially distance those honey walnut prawns from your typing fingers in a way that eating pizza does not.

I'll still likely be a yes on the plastics reduction measure in 2022, but I wouldn't have wanted to see a bunch of money spent on it in the current environment. I would have told a pollster "Of course, I'm a yes," and then The Bradley Effect would have prevailed.

-Proposition 16: The LAT's Phil Willon and Teresa Watanabe dive into why the repeal of Proposition 209's ban on affirmative action went to defeat.

The measure faced an uphill challenge from the outset, hobbled by a truncated campaign that began after the California Legislature added Proposition 16 to the ballot in June and the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, which made door-to-door campaigning and other grass-roots voter outreach difficult.

Ward Connerly, who helped lead the campaign against the measure, said California voters saw Proposition 16 as an affront to the principle of fairness. Opponents also said the outcome showed that the Democratic-led Legislature has drifted too far left of the electorate.

...

Thomas Saenz, president of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and a co-chair for the campaign supporting Proposition 16, said the greatest challenge was educating voters about how affirmative actions programs would make California more just and equal.

“Our challenge to inform was particularly heightened for those who were too young to remember Proposition 209,” he said. “We had to explain what affirmative action is because they have no personal experience of what it is in their lifetime or political consciousness because we haven’t had it for a quarter-century.”

That was especially true among Latino voters in California, who tend to be younger on average, Saenz said.

Independent polls by UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies and the Public Policy Institute of California showed weak support for Proposition 16 as late as mid-October. Even more telling, the surveys also showed that Latino voters in California — who account for roughly a quarter of the electorate — were evenly split. White voters were firmly against the measure, while Black voters were strongly in favor.

As I've written before, I was surprised in seeing the PPIC crosstabs of Latino voters. Then again, I was in college during the debate. My graduation undergrad mortarboard had a "Save Affirmative Action" sticker on it.

But I am old and can understand who the campus communities are completely different a generation later.

-Proposition 21: In the Times, Liam Dillon looks at why progressive California has twice to turn down statewide rent control measures and it's not just the huge amounts spent against them.

Landlord groups significantly outspent the measures’ advocates, allowing the campaigns against the initiatives to hammer home with voters potential problems with rent control. And Democratic politicians and traditionally left-leaning interest groups such as labor unions have been split on the issue. Notably, Gov. Gavin Newsom didn’t support either rent control initiative, arguing this year that Proposition 21 would hurt the supply of affordable housing and detract from already available tenant protections.

Public polling in recent years has shown that Californians back the idea of rent control and prefer it over other ways to address the state’s housing problems. But once actual measures were placed on the ballot, support has quickly plummeted.

Californians weren’t actually voting on any new rent control policies in either election. Instead, both initiatives would have done away with or changed current statewide prohibitions on most strict versions of rent control, which would have allowed cities and counties to pass their own measures later on. Initiative supporters have said they wanted to allow local governments to tailor their renter protections, recognizing that housing challenges in the Bay Area and Los Angeles are different than those in the Central Valley and other more rural areas.

But the distinction between voters approving rent control and voters giving their city councils the ability to pass rent control allowed opponents of the initiatives to capitalize on uncertainty over what the initiatives actually did. Initiative supporters have said that some voters told them they believed voting against the measures meant they supported rent control.

-Proposition 25: While the referendum repealed SB 10 (2018) which would have replaced cash bail with pretrial risk assessment, Maura Dolan and Patrick McGreevy report on the strange alliance that brought down Prop. 25 and why its failure doesn't necessarily mean that money bail is sticking around all those accused.

A case pending before the California Supreme Court would require judges to consider a defendant’s ability to pay bail before requiring it. The court’s decision likely would be based on the California Constitution, making it harder to overturn at the ballot box.

The bail industry spearheaded Proposition 25, a referendum on a law enacted by then-Gov. Jerry Brown to replace bail with a risk assessment system. The industry hoped voters would reject the law, which passed over its objections.

A liberal coalition supporting the end of cash bail fractured at the last minute when the bill was amended to allow judges more flexibility in deciding who must remain behind bars. Some criminal defense lawyers worried that algorithms to be used to assess a defendant’s risk of flight or re-offending might themselves be biased and lead to defendants unnecessarily being kept in jail.

The split produced an unlikely but informal alliance against the measure: the bail industry, members of law enforcement and the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California and Human Rights Watch.

“The bottom line is I think there was enormous confusion among people,” UC Berkeley law school dean Erwin Chemerinsky said.

...

California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, who heads the state high court, supported the bail law that voters opposed in Proposition 25. A study by a group of judges she appointed also concluded he bail system unfairly hurt the poor.

The bail case before the court, In re Humphrey, stems from a 2018 San Francisco-based Court of Appeal decision that required judges to consider whether a defendant could afford bail and weigh nonmonetary alternatives.

Thank goodness Dolan and McGreevy got Tani into their article. I can't have Chemerinsky in The Nooner twice in one day without getting in a UC Davis Law grad (and community college, and UCD political science grad -- notice the pattern).

THE NEW "KID" ON THE BLOCK: He's no kid, but a guy with policy chops whose breaking many barriers. The LAT's Melody Gutierrez introduces us to Alex Lee, the new Democrat from AD25 (Fremont-Santa Clara).

Four years ago, Alex Lee was student body president at UC Davis. On Tuesday, he overwhelmingly won a seat in the California Assembly, becoming the youngest state legislator to assume office in more than 80 years.

Go AGs!

The Generation Z Democrat from San Jose is 25 years old, lives with his mom and, up until recently, was working part time for an app-based delivery service to make ends meet during his campaign. When he is sworn into office, he will also be the first California legislator to have come out as bisexual.

Those facts could have easily been an obstacle during his campaign, Lee said. Instead, he leaned into all the things that set him apart from other lawmakers.

“All of this combined will make me an effective advocate,” Lee said Wednesday. “This isn’t abstract for me. I don’t have to try to understand what it’s like for people who struggle to pay their bills or with housing insecurity, that’s something I live with.”

Lee previously was a field representative for Evan Low (D-Campbell), who Lee will be joining in both the legislative API and LGBTQ caucuses.

STATE TELEWORK: In the Bee, Wes Venteicher provides an update on progress toward Governor Newsom's goal of moving more state employees to telework permanently.

Telework moved closer to becoming a permanent part of California state employment this week after Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration told officials to reconsider building leases and find other permanent savings.

Finance Department Director Keely Bosler sent a letter to agency secretaries and department leaders Tuesday instructing them to submit plans for permanent spending reductions of 5% by Feb. 1.

The letter makes repeated reference to telework, saying departments may find savings by reducing lease space, trimming travel spending and using telework to cut costs such as printing, postage, utilities and transit subsidies.

The across-the-board reductions for fiscal year 2021-2022 were included in this year’s budget, which was drafted to close a projected $54 billion deficit. Newsom stated his intent in budget proposals to incorporate telework into state service — a long-discussed but hitherto elusive goal for past leaders. The letter provides firm direction to departments to start making changes.

DOUBLE-X FACTOR: With the election of State Senator Holly J. Mitchell to the Board of Supervisors, Los Angeles has an all-female board for the first time. Damn, I'm going to miss her running Budget Committee and so much more!

LA-LA LAND: In the Times, a team introduces us to the Bernie Sanders-endorsed urban planner Nithya Raman, who appears to have defeated incumbent David Ryu for the Los Angeles City Council district that includes the Hollywood, Koreatown, Sherman Oaks, and Silver Lake areas.

Her first-place showing — she had 52.4% as of Wednesday — represents “a political earthquake” for City Hall, said Zev Yaroslavsky, a former councilman and county supervisor who heads the Los Angeles Initiative at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs.

Yaroslavsky predicted a Raman victory would embolden the movement that rallied for her — younger, grassroots activists who favored Bernie Sanders and are frustrated with City Hall — to get even more involved in the 2022 election, when eight council seats and three citywide seats will be up for grabs.

“Anybody at City Hall who doesn’t recognize the significance of this election,” he added, “is making a mistake.”

...

In her race against Ryu, Raman offered a detailed progressive policy platform, calling for the creation of a network of homeless access centers, arguing for the LAPD to become a much smaller armed force and promoting a rent forgiveness plan that would deliver cash reimbursements to small landlords and tax credits to larger ones.

LITTLE SAIGON: A team at the Times reports on a "POLLING PLACE" set up for Election Day the business and campaign headquarters in Westminster.

On Election Day, voters arrived at a strip mall in the Orange County enclave known as Little Saigon. “POLLING PLACE,” a large sign announced in Vietnamese. “Together, let’s vote.”

But the strip mall wasn’t an official vote center. The nearest one was just up the road, at a community center in Westminster.

The office was in fact the headquarters of Apogee International, a skincare company owned by Kimberly Ho, vice mayor of Westminster. The location doubled as Ho’s campaign headquarters for her ultimately successful bid for reelection to the City Council.

It’s not yet clear whether the voting site, which is under investigation by Orange County authorities, was in violation of any election laws. Some of those involved in politics in Westminster’s large Vietnamese community defended it Wednesday as a natural outgrowth of a robust political culture that goes to great lengths to encourage voting. Others questioned whether Ho’s campaign had gone too far.

Representing Kimberly Ho as counsel is former Assembly member Van Tran.

Claims that the campaign was running a fake voting center were coming from agitators without any understanding of the operation, [Tran] said.

“Is it voting when you bring in your ballot to ask for help — then drop off your ballot with the campaign after they answer your questions?” he said. “How can you physically cast a vote when we’re not set up to do that? Everything that we do, we do it within the confines of the law.”

COVID-19:

  • Yesterday, California recorded 68 deaths for a total of 17,815 since the pandemic began. 

cakeday and classifieds after the jump...

Probolsky Research

CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Nick Anas and Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara!

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California School Boards Association - Legislative Director

CSBA is seeking a Legislative Director to lead our Governmental Relations team to shape legislative and political strategy for CSBA’s statewide agenda. You will act as a liaison between legislative, educational, and public communities. If you are interested in leading a team of legislative advocates to influence opinion in favor of public education, please apply through our website. Position is located in West Sacramento. Learn more and apply here: https://www.csba.org/About/Careers

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Between 1-3 offices are available for sublease in the Meridian Plaza office building, 1415 L Street, two blocks from the Capitol. The offices are approximately 150 SF each. Internet, gym, partially furnished (desk, chair, bookcases) are included. 24/7/365 key card access; floor-ceiling windows facing Sierras; professional offices. One year lease preferred. $1,500 per office. Contact Jane at admin@stoneadvocacy.com or (415) 577-9734 with questions.

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