IN TODAY’S NOONER:
- AD57 (Whittier)
- AD73 (Dana Point)
- Fire relief
- Motor voter
- AIDS Healthcare Foundation
- Muni matters
- Cakeday, Farewell, and Classifieds
Happy frosty Friday! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and survived the retail stampede if that’s your thing.
AD57 (Whittier): On the first day of filing Wednesday after Assembly Majority Leader Ian C. Calderon (D-Whittier) announced he would not seek re-election in 2020, three Democrats pulled papers:
- Josué Alvarado, Whittier City Council
- Henry Renan Bouchot, Whittier City Council
- Justin Joshua Valero, CSUSB professor (ran in 2018, placed fourth in top-two)
Louis Reyes is staying in the race for Whittier mayor, where he wants to be the first Latino elected to that role and, like the retiring Calderon, has young children.
Expected to pull papers as early as today is Hacienda La Puente USD board member Martin Medrano, who also district director for Congressman Gil Cisneros (D-Yorba Linda). He lives in Hacienda Heights and has to be happy to see two Whittier councilmembers considering the race. Whittier is the biggest city in the district.
Two others have pulled papers — Green Party candidate Fernando Landeros and Republican Jessica Martinez. Although a safe Democratic district, the race is likely to be essentially decided in March with the prevailing Democrat advancing with the Republican.
AD73 (Dana Point): Just in case you were wondering, Assemblyman Bill Brough has completed his filing for re-election, despite allegations of sexual harassment. Brough has denied the allegations, which were brought forward by Lisa Bartlett, his former colleague on the Dana Point City Council, who is now a Orange County Supervisor.
Also completing filing for the seat is fellow Republican Laurie Davies, who is the mayor of Laguna Niguel. Six others have also taken steps toward filing for the race.
PG&E: In a victory for victims (including insurance companies and local governments, on Wednesday, U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Dennis Montali denied Pacific Gas and Electric Company‘s effort to throw out its liabilities from wildfires under the doctrine of “inverse condemnation.”
I’ve written extensively on the issue before but of course can’t link to any of The Nooner archives until the ATC site is back to normal. In short, inverse condemnation is a strict liability doctrine whereby negligence need not be shown to find liability from damage caused by a utility’s equipment, or that of a governmental entity. In theory, the utility is acting in the stead of the government by operating a franchise of an essential public service.
PG&E has been rebuffed by the Legislature to change state law on the subject. Last month, the United States Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal by San Diego Gas & Electric of a California Supreme Court decision challenging the application of inverse condemnation to a non-governmental entity is an unlawful takings under the Fifth Amendment.
Proponents of applying inverse condemnation to franchised utilities serving in the stead of governmental entities argue it is to avoid a Fifth Amendment quasi-governmental unconstitutional takings.
FIRE RELIEF: For San Jose Inside, Peter Byrne and Will Carruthers write that the Rebuild North Bay Foundation established after the 2017 Tubbs Fire by super-lobbyist Darius Anderson is slow to deliver on promises of relief according to an audit. They write:
During its first year of existence, most of the foundation’s revenue came from PG&E while the bulk of expenses went to management. It spent relatively little money on grants to the public, according to the audit. The foundation made erroneous claims in its tax return regarding its lobbying activities—serious errors which the organization said it will correct. Despite laws prohibiting such foundations from making campaign contributions, Rebuild North Bay donated cash to support local elected officials.
While Rebuild North Bay has performed some charitable acts, it has devoted more resources to creating a network of business people and local public officials to lobby bureaucrats and legislators in Washington DC. Under IRS rules, a charity may engage in some lobbying related to its purpose—but a primary focus on lobbying can cost its tax-exempt privilege.
According to multiple experts, Rebuild North Bay blurred the boundary between charity and political influence machine.
WATER: Jose A. Del Real has a great piece in the NYT in which he writes that the problem of poor drinking water in Central Valley and racially disparate impact is not a recent phenomenon and traces it back to the early 20th Century when black farmworkers arrived from the Cotton Bowl and Dust Bowl.
Amid a vast migration during the early 20th century, tens of thousands of black people like Ms. Beavers came to California’s farm country from far-off states in the Cotton Belt and the Dust Bowl.
And as in other parts of the United States, black migrants were met with Jim Crow-style racism: “Whites Only” signs, curfews and discriminatory practices by banks. Often, the only places black families could settle were on arid acres on the outskirts of cultivated farmland — places like Teviston, the all-black colony where Ms. Beavers raised 12 children in “a two-bedroom shack” with no bathrooms or running water.
KAMALA: In the NYT, an A-list political reporting team looks at what has fallen apart with the Kamala Harris presidential campaign which is beset by infighting and finger-pointing. And, they include a brutal November 11 resignation letter from the campaign’s former State Operations Director Kelly Mehlenbacher.
Congresswoman Marcie Fudge (D-OH), who is a backer of Kamala, has called for the ouster of Campaign Manager Juan Rodriguez, although others are saying that an equally big issue is Campaign Chair Maya Harris, sister of the candidate.
The Economist/YouGov national poll out this morning has Harris at 4% and the senator is at 3.8% in the Real Clear Politics average. She averages 3.3% in Iowa polls and 2.7% in New Hampshire. Her numbers are on the decline in South Carolina.
While Kamala is on the generally recognized presidential candidates for the California primary, she can pull her name off through December 26 if she and advisors fear an embarrassing showing in her home state could affect her political future–whether in a Democratic Administration as Attorney General or with a possible challenge for re-election from a fellow Democrat in 2022.
I do think that if Pete Buttigieg wins the Democratic nomination, she would be on the short list, but not after a prolonged primary of poor showings. I don’t think Joe Biden holds a grudge from the attacks she’s made, but I also don’t see her as a VP for him as he doesn’t need help in California and outperforms her with black voters.
As is often the case in such situations, the question is who would be the messenger.
MOTOR VOTER: Bryan Anderson reports for the Bee that the state DMV is asking for $2.2 million to handle voter registration in 2020.
It’s a fairly small sum, but it follows a $242 million increase in the DMV’s budget that Gov. Gavin Newsom granted the department in June.
Lawmakers and Newsom allocated more money for the department because it is handling a crunch of customers seeking so-called Real ID cards that Californians will need by October 2020 to board airplanes without a passport. The DMV’s total budget this year is $1.36 billion.
VAPING: For Politico, Steven Shepard reports on what motivated the Trump Administration to back off its announced plan to ban all flavored e-cigarette products:
Battleground state polling conducted for the industry by one of the president’s trusted campaign pollsters suggested a ban could tip the balance against the president — 96 percent of vapers said they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who wanted to ban flavored e-cigarettes.
The poll was only of vapers invited by emails provided by the Vapor Technology Association.
The polling memo states “[T]his passionate voting bloc (of vaping users) would rally behind a candidate who opposes banning flavors in all nicotine vapor products.”
Folks around the State Capitol who support banning flavors openly dismissed President Trump’s Oval Office announcement that the Food and Drug Administration would act on such a ban as unlikely to ever be implemented.
Shepard further writes about polling among the general public:
The latest POLITICO/Morning Consult poll demonstrates how out of line this small slice of the population is with the broader electorate on the issue. A 55 percent majority of voters support banning flavored e-cigarettes, the poll shows, while only 24 percent oppose a ban.
And only 11 percent of voters say they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who promised to ban flavored e-cigarettes — far fewer than the 30 percent who would be more likely to vote for a candidate who wanted to ban flavored vaping products and 44 percent who said it wouldn’t make a difference.
COX: In the SDUT, Jeff McDonald writes that 2018 GOP gubernatorial candidate John Cox’s campaign owes more than $97,000 after an arbitrator found in September that the campaign had failed to pay a $50,000 bill to a DC-based advertising firm. The committee had $13,104 on hand on June 30, so it’s likely the businessman will again be dipping into his pocket. He reportedly spent over $4 million of his own money on his failed effort.
AIDS HEALTHCARE FOUNDATION: For the LAT, David Zahniser reports:
A judge has thrown out a lawsuit from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation claiming that the city’s approval of residential towers violates housing anti-discrimination laws — the latest in a string of legal defeats for the group.
Superior Court Judge Robert S. Draper ruled earlier this month in favor of the city of Los Angeles and real estate companies pursuing four high-rise developments in Hollywood, all of them on Sunset Boulevard, where AIDS Healthcare has its headquarters.
SACTOWN: In the Bee, Tony Bizjak writes about a Sacramento County sales tax measure that could be on next November’s ballot:
A group of city and county leaders is assembling a November 2020 ballot measure that would hike the local sales tax a half cent to improve transportation – with an emphasis on offering alternatives to more roads for more cars. The proposal, called Measure A, could raise more than $8 billion locally over the next 40 years for new bridges, light rail lines, bike paths, freeway interchanges and sidewalks to schools.
A draft proposal is expected to be presented to the Sacramento Transportation Authority board in two weeks, but a debate is already well underway about how much money should go to making car travel easier and how much should go to alternatives aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
DO YOU KNOW THE WAY TO SAN JOSÉ? In the Chron, Bob Egelko writes that an appeals court Tuesday held that San José must comply with state law requiring city-owned surplus land be made available for low-cost housing. The city, backed by the League of California Cities, argued that as a charter city, it could approve an ordinance that conflicted with state law.
Assuming the ruling in Anderson v. City of San José stands, it will apply to 121 of the largest cities in the state, including charter cities.
Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) applauded the decision in a tweet:
This is big. Housing is a statewide concern: 3.5M home shortage, so many living in cars, the threat to our economy & climate goals. Some cities argue housing is a pure local issue. That attitude is why we’re in this mess & the court correctly rejected it.
THE OC WEEKLY: Will it stay or will it go? Wednesday was an odd day for the free entertainment and political rag long known for its liberal editorial sense and investigations of elected and other governmental officials. The official Twitter account posted:
Adios Motherfuckers! Today, the day before Thanksgiving, our owner Duncan McIntosh Company has decided to shut us down. For the last quarter century, we’ve tried to bring good stories to Orange County. It’s been fun, but now we’re done.
However, the Register’s Alicia Robinson writes that the owner subsequently put out a statement saying that he was in discussions with an unnamed buyer for the paper.
“The Weekly has built a tremendous reputation for its hard hitting coverage that’s cost more than one self-serving government official his job. We hope to have more details after the holiday about the expected change of ownership by a local businessman,” the statement said. It also praised the paper’s journalists for their work “calling out those who were giving less to the county than to themselves.”
CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Barry Brokaw!
GHOSTS OF CAKEDAYS PAST: Thanksgiving birthdays include Bruce Baron, Benito Delgado-Olson, Sasha Horwitz, Emmie Johnson, Kathryn Austin Scott. and former Assemblymember Sandré Swanson!
FAREWELL: Former Assemblymember and Senator Phil Wyman (1945-2019)