Good morning, California.

“Racial justice, economic opportunity, procedural equity for all people … How do you build it? This man was a great carpenter. This man was a great builder of Los Angeles and is one of the founding fathers of the new Los Angeles.”—L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, eulogizing Los Angeles civil rights leader John Mack.

How to energize voters

Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs.

Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, who will turn 28 next month, has a suggestion for getting out the vote: “Give people something to vote for that’s bold and tangible”

In a question-and-answer session with me at the Sacramento Press Club on Tuesday, Tubbs offered his view of the bold and tangible:

  • Give working poor $500 a month, no strings attached in a philanthropically funded experiment about universal basic income. Tubbs said recipients could use it to pay a credit card bill, hire more child care so they can take classes or work more, or maybe buy a television. He hopes to start it in 2019.
  • Scholarships for smart kids who are in need.
  • Focus on reducing violence by giving incentives to the roughly 100 toughest criminals in his city of 300,000.
  • Build a Cal State University campus in Stockton, an idea embraced by Democratic gubernatorial frontrunner Gavin Newsom.

Tubbs grew up in Stockton, the son of a teenage mother and a father who is in prison. His mom made a point of asking her bosses where they sent their kids to school so she would know better how to direct Tubbs.

Tubbs decided to run for the city council in 2012 when he was still at Stanford University after the murder of a cousin. He won that race and was elected mayor in 2016. Barack Obama endorsed him; he had been a White House intern.

What’s ahead: In politics or not, “I will still be working on issues around opportunity, poverty, education and mass incarceration.”


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Tribes ask UC to return ancestors’ bones. Why the delay?

Mark Macarro, chair of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians.

Native American tribes seeking to recover bones of their ancestors from University of California museums are backing a bill that could speed up the process.

The university has thousands of human skeletons excavated from graves in North America. Federal law requires that they must be returned to tribes that can prove a connection to them.

But as CALmatters’ Felicia Mello reports, some tribes say the university is dragging its feet so that scientists can study the remains.

Mark Macarro, chair of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians: “As long as these remains are out there and our people are in pieces in different institutions, the tribes have this sense that things are really out of balance.”

Insiders bet heavily on Gavin Newsom

Gavin Newsom and John Cox

Democratic gubernatorial front-runner Gavin Newsom has raised $2.4 million since winning the June 5 primary, pulling in donations from a major backer of his vanquished rival, Antonio Villaraigosa, and insiders with issues pending in Sacramento, my count shows.

Indicating how donors expect the race to turn out, Newsom’s Republican opponent, John Cox, raised half as much, though the wealthy businessman boosted his total to $1.8 million by giving his campaign $590,000.

Making amends: Netflix founder and charter school advocate Reed Hastings, who gave $7 million to an ill-fated independent campaign to help Villaraigosa, donated the maximum $29,500 to Newsom in June.

Business matters: Some donors are especially narrowly focused. One is the Motor Vehicle Software Corporation, an Agoura-based contractor that does business with the Department of Motor Vehicles. Governors appoint DMV directors.

In a two-day period in June, the corporation and its chairman, Kelly Kimball, gave Newsom’s campaign a combined $116,800, the maximum allowed.

Seeking to alter the balance of campaign power

Proposed legislation would direct more political money to the Democratic and Republican leaders of the Legislature and reduce the clout of the Democratic and Republican parties and independent campaign committees.

Assemblyman Kevin Mullin, a South San Francisco Democrat, wants to blunt outside groups’ power while “strengthening the hand” of legislative leaders and “making it easier for the public to track sources and destinations of contributions.”

To do that, he would create four new campaign accounts, to be controlled by Democratic and Republican leaders of each house.

Like political parties, the four would be able to raise up to $36,500 in individual donations. That’s far more than the $4,400 the leaders can raise now in a single contribution.

Mullin, an advocate of greater disclosure, also would increase the frequency of public campaign reporting. Two of the four legislative leaders have endorsed the bill; a third supports the concept.

As it is: Independent campaigns and party committees raise huge sums and transfer and spend it in ways that can obscure the source of donors.

Implications: Assembly and Senate leaders have life or death power over all bills. Interest groups seeking legislation probably would feel obliged to donate to them. With more money, leaders could more readily consolidate power and select and fund candidates who would win seats and be loyal legislators.

The impact: Unclear. The change could increase overall spending in a system awash in money. Or political parties and independent campaign committees’ power could wain as big donors direct more money to caucus leaders.

Walters: Why a supermajority matters to Newsom

CALmatters commentator Dan Walters points out that supermajorities in the Legislature provide Democrats with bragging rights, but not necessarily legislative achievements. That could change if, as seems likely, Gavin Newsom is elected governor in November.

Walters: Newsom “has hinted that he wants to do big and expensive things, such as universal health care, that would require major new taxes.”

 

Please email or call me with tips, suggestions and insights, dmorain@calmatters.org, 916.201.6281. Thanks for reading, please tell a friend and sign up here.

See you tomorrow.