Good morning, California.
Leftist Andrés Manuel López Obrador was elected as Mexico’s next president on Sunday.
Bloomberg: The Mexican election fits into a wider pattern of anti-establishment politicians appealing to voters left behind by globalization — though Lopez Obrador … has little in common with Trump or the right-wing populists who’ve gained power in Europe.
A history lesson worth relearning
California state archives released documents and photos related to Japanese-American internment during World War II.
At the start of World War II, California was at the center of the massive effort to inter Japanese Americans, and Attorney General Earl Warren was running a tough campaign to unseat Democratic Gov. Culbert Olson.
A new online exhibit by the California State Archives includes a Warren flier: “California indicts Governor Culbert L. Olson for his visionless, obstructive, bungling record of politics … California is shamed and shocked by that record.”
Historians know well California officials’ role, much of led by Warren, to intern Japanese Americans during World War II. State archivists, using a grant from the State Library, spent a year pulling together 483 documents related to the episode from various state agencies.
Secretary of State Alex Padilla placed them online Friday: “Given that there is separation of families and detention going on now may not be exactly the same, but it is a similar dynamic. Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it.”
One document Padilla was taken with was one called the Japanese American Creed: “Although some individuals may discriminate against me, I shall never become bitter or lose faith for I know that such persons are not representative of the majority of the American people.”
A document that stood out to Nancy Lenoil, the state archivist, was the record of a state personnel board meeting at which Japanese-American clerks were fired because of a “lack of confidence … in the loyalty of many said employees of Japanese ancestry.”
I was struck by UC President Robert Sproul’s pained letter to Vice President Henry Wallace about students taken from universities, and about how officials fretted over how to handle children, including ones separated from their parents.
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How to frame the gas tax initiative
Congressman Devin Nunes' Facebook ad critical of California gasoline tax.
Construction companies, truckers, labor and others amassed $9 million in the first half of the year to defeat an initiative that would repeal the 12-cent per gallon gasoline tax that lawmakers passed last year to pay for road repairs.
However, they’re framing it differently: It’s a campaign to “protect local transportation improvements.”
“We’re going to spend what it takes and that is tens of millions of dollars,” campaign manager Brandon Castillo said.
In June, the committee to “protect transportation funding” took in $2.5 million, while the campaign for the gas tax repeal received one donation of $52,500; it came from the California Republican Party. That tells only part of the story.
Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox and various other candidates supporting the repeal will integrate the gas tax repeal into their campaigns.
Congressman Devin Nunes, a Tulare Republican running for reelection, for example, has a Facebook ad that depicts pump prices in California and in Arizona; it’s far cheaper in Arizona:
“Driving somewhere this summer? Thank Sacramento for the higher gas prices and poor roads.”
What’s next: Later this month, Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s office will provide the title and summary that will appear on the November ballot. That will matter. Many voters make decisions based on those few words.
Lobby tactic: Spend big, qualify an initiative and deal
CALmatters’ Laurel Rosenhall explains how legislators wheeled and dealed and shortened the November ballot—by placating moneyed interests.
Viewed one way, lawmakers did their jobs by reaching compromises, rather than punting and requiring voters to decide complicated policy questions by initiative.
Viewed differently, interests used their initiatives to extort results they sought.
Rosenhall describes how fast-moving compromises removed measures from the November ballot and led to laws that would benefit the soda industry, organized labor, tech companies and privacy advocates, and could serve to benefit paint companies and local government.
Bottom line: With enough money, advocates can qualify an extreme initiative and use it to win a legislative deal. It will cost a lot less than a full-blown initiative war, the outcome of which is never certain.
The coming rent control war
Advocates for tenants and landlords failed to reach an accord last week to amend a state law that bars cities from expanding rent control. That means an initiative will go before voters in November to end the 1995 Costa-Hawkins Act.
On their housing podcast, Gimme Shelter, CALmatters’ Matt Levin and the LA Times’ Liam Dillon ask landlord and tenant leaders why a deal was elusive and what to expect in the campaign this fall.
Climate change and wildfires
Smoking billowing from the 32,500-acre Yolo County fire, July 1, 2018.
California’s latest $1.4 billion cap-and-trade spending plan, which took effect at the start of the new fiscal year on Sunday, sets aside $240 million to prevent and combat wildfires.
Good timing: This has started off as a bad fire season. This past weekend, more than 32,500 acres burned in Yolo and Napa counties. A Lake County fire burned 14,150 acres. A San Joaquin County fire burned 12,300 acres.
Cal Fire Deputy Chief Scott McLean, in the San Francisco Chronicle: “These fires are extremely aggressive and extremely fast moving. It’s not a joke.”
Why cap-and-trade: CALmatters’ Julie Cart recently explained: When trees burn or decay, they release greenhouse gases. The 2013 Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park produced emissions equal to those of 2.3 million cars in a year.
Walters: California’s shift to Democratic domination
CALmatters’ commentator Dan Walters, who has watched California turn blue, points out that no Republican presidential candidate has even tried to win in California since 1992, when Democrat Bill Clinton won the state’s trove of presidential electoral votes.
Republicans know that losing several congressional districts in 2018 would be a crushing blow, making the party irrelevant in the state and completing California’s transformation into a one-party state.
See you tomorrow.