Good morning, California.

“We are deeply sorry for this. We know we could have done better.”—UCLA Health spokeswoman Rhonda Curry, after UCLA gynecologist James Mason Heaps was charged this week with sexual battery and exploitation of patients. UCLA had been aware of the allegations in 2017. Heaps denies the allegations.

In a year of plenty, some go wanting

How will after-school programs be funded?

California enrolls 400,000 kids in after-school programs, thanks to a voter-approved initiative promoted by Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2002. The state spends $600 million a year on those programs.

Now, after-school programs face a shortfall, largely because of minimum wage increases approved during Jerry Brown’s tenure.

Despite California’s $21 billion budget surplus, after-school advocates worry their programs will be forced to turn away thousands of kids.

  • The programs sought an additional $113 million in the new budget.
  • Senate Democrats proposed $100 million.
  • Assembly Democrats offered $80 million.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom, who initially proposed no increase, countered with $50 million. That’s what’s in the $213 billion budget headed for a vote later this week.

Democratic Assemblyman Kevin McCarty of Sacramento pushed for $80 million, and argued that it should come from taxes levied on the commercial sale of cannabis.

  • McCarty cited the 2016 campaign for Proposition 64 that legalized commercial weed. In the official ballot argument sent to all voters, proponents wrote legalization “raises billions for after-school programs that help kids stay in school.”

McCarty: “I’ve seen these programs add tremendous value.”

Newsom, Proposition 64’s main promoter, had other ideas for cannabis tax revenue.

Jennifer Dietrich, who represents the California Afterschool Advocacy Alliance:

“This $50 million is incredible, but it is not the end-all fix.”

Meanwhile, Los Angeles Democratic Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo is carrying legislation to fully fund the programs. Where the money would come from is to be determined.



FSB Core Strategies: Public Affairs. Ballot Campaigns. Legislative & Regulatory Fights

Medical detectives and measles

There have been 51 reported cases of measles in California.

For every 1,000 cases of measles, one to three people will die. So medical detectives spread out in California and beyond to track people who may have been exposed.

The nonprofit news organization Kaiser Health News details one such search that began on April 11, when one of 4,000 visitors to the library at California State University-Los Angeles had measles:

“It’s the stuff of public health nightmares: Everyone at the library between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. that day had to be identified, warned and possibly quarantined.”

Cal State and Los Angeles County health officials came up with a list of 1,094 people who were exposed. Library hours needed to be curtailed, and 887 people were under quarantine at one point during the investigation.

By the numbers:

  • Nationally, 1,022 measles cases have been reported in 2019, almost triple the 2018 number.
  • California has reported 51 cases, up from 20 in 2018.
  • L.A. County places the cost of contacting a single person exposed to measles at $2,000.

Measles is easily preventable by vaccination. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded measles was eliminated in 2000. The nation may lose that status, given the incidence in 2019.

The Assembly is considering Senate Bill 276, which would crack down on the issuance of bogus medical exemptions given to parents who refuse to have their children vaccinated.


Laura Ingraham on CA's budget

Fox News host Laura Ingraham has attacked California's proposed budget.

First, one of President Donald Trump’s operatives denounced California Democratic lawmakers for earmarking $98 million out of the new $213 billion budget to fund health care for undocumented immigrants ages 19 to 25.

Next, Trump booster and Fox News host Laura Ingraham went after the expenditure:

“Think those homeless people, including homeless vets, might be able to use that money?”

In reality, Gov. Gavin Newsom and Democratic legislators are earmarking $1 billion for homelessness, no small sum.

  • Facts aside, the attacks are examples of how Trump and his allies will use California as a punching bag in the 2020 campaign. Whether that tactic will move voters is a question to be determined.
  • Bill Wong, who oversees campaigns for Assembly Democrats, recalled the reaction when Trump began separating families at the U.S.-Mexico border. Voters were repulsed, and Democrats’ poll numbers soared.

“I don’t think the GOP or Fox News has nuanced messaging. It’s ‘blame the brown people.'”

Providing health care to people, regardless of their immigration status, has an upside, Wong said. If people don’t receive preventative care or have access to physicians, “they show up in the ER and they have to get treated.”

Sure, some voters might be swayed by the attacks. But would those voters ever support Democrats? Wong thinks not.


Chemical castration

Alabama passed a law that's been on the books for decades in California.

Alabama got national attention this week when Gov. Kay Ivey signed legislation authorizing the state to chemically castrate sex offenders as a condition of their parole.

California has been there and done that. In 1996, Republicans controlled the Assembly, and then-Assemblyman Bill Hoge, a Republican from Pasadena, carried legislation authorizing the use of a drug that would deaden the sex drive of sexual predators upon their parole.

“Californians and Americans are absolutely outraged by the way we coddle our criminals,” Hoge declared before the bill passed on a bipartisan 51-8 vote in August 1996, as detailed by my ole buddy Max Vanzi.

I was there that night. It was a different time. After the vote, Hoge went to the balcony outside the Assembly, and shared large cigars with other supporters of the bill.

Commentary at CALmatters

Tom Dresslar, former deputy commissioner at the California Department of Business OversightBy setting a 36% annual rate cap on such loans, Assembly Bill 539 by Assemblywoman Monique Limón would provide Californians with protections against high-cost loans similar to safeguards now enjoyed by an estimated 232 million Americans. AB 539’s fate is in the state Senate’s hands.

Dan Walters, CALmatters: All but five of the 31 bills given the “job killer” epithet by the California Chamber of Commerce have already died.

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