Good morning, California.
“That is insane—it borders on criminality. It perhaps is the most obvious and dangerous and irresponsible action by Mr. Trump. And that’s saying quite a lot, because he has a whole list of them.”—Gov. Jerry Brown on President Donald Trump’s proposal to weaken regulation of heat-trapping methane.
Climate summit opens, lit by wildfires
Delta Fire, Shasta County
The Global Climate Action Summit opens today in San Francisco, while the Delta Fire torches 83 square miles in Shasta County, spewing greenhouse gas.
Gov. Jerry Brown will host 4,500 delegates from state, local and tribal governments, plus a large number of domestic and foreign journalists.
- David Victor, co-chair of the Cross-Brookings Initiative on Energy and Climate, notes it’s one of four major confabs just this month worldwide on the need to curb global warming.
- The difference, he adds, is “it is a summit focused on the believers—especially the politicians, corporate leaders, and NGO leaders who say they are doing the most.”
CALmatters’ Julie Cart explains in a video primer why believers are so thick on the ground here: “Modern environmentalism was really born in California, and that sensibility is still embedded in the state’s DNA.”
It's time to make behavioral health solutions a top priority in California.
Beyond the panels on cap and trade
There’s more to a climate conference than panel discussions. Among the side events this week that caught Cart’s eye:
- The San Francisco premiere of “GLACIER: A Climate Ballet,” choreographed by a Washington-based climate change policy analyst and former ballet dancer with a video backdrop by an artist known for his #resist projections on Trump Hotels.
- “COAL+ICE,” an international photo exhibition at Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture on the effects of global warming.
- “Play for the Planet,” an outdoor concert by the ClimateMusic Project, in which scientists and musicians use music to illustrate climate change.
Ex-con therapists and doctors, or a second chance?
On Brown's desk: state licenses for ex-felons
Now, he must decide a related issue: Should past felons be eligible for professional, state-issued licenses?
Legislation awaiting his signature or veto would limit the authority of Department of Consumer Affairs’ boards to deny licenses to people with convictions or arrests seven years old or older. The ACLU and organized labor back the bill, contending jobs help reduce recidivism.
Numbers: Thirty percent of jobs in California require licenses. Eight million adults in the state have a history of conviction or arrest.
Opponents, including 20 state boards that regulate cosmetologists, physicians, nurses, engineers and psychologists, warn of “the potential to diminish consumer protections.”
The Board of Psychology says that from 2016-2018, it denied or restricted licenses for 23 of 6,294 applicants for past acts such as drug dependence, sex crimes, and having sex with patients.
If the bill were to become law, only three of those 23 could have been denied.
San Francisco Democratic Assemblyman David Chiu, the bill’s author: “It doesn’t make sense to block people with old nonserious, nonviolent convictions or arrests from getting licenses.”
Prospects: Chiu said he worked closely with administration in crafting the bill. Brown has until the end of the month to sign or veto.
The rising rent control tide
Local governments eye rent control
Proposition 10, the statewide rent control initiative, may or may not pass in November. But local governments already are responding.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday extended temporary rent control to 200,000 LA County renters, CALmatters’ Matt Levin notes.
- Earlier, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg floated a plan for temporary rent stabilization.
- And Berkeley City Council members placed an expanded rent control plan on the November ballot.
Janet Gagnon of the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles, predicts that the ferment will prompt small landlords to say: “‘I’ve been living right at the margin … If this is the direction that our supervisors are going, then I’m not going to be in this business anymore.’”
Proposition 10 would repeal the Costa-Hawkins Act, a 1995 law that severely limits local rent control ordinances. Loud voices such as the Democratic Socialists of America are pressuring localities to act immediately to restrict rents.
Money matters: Initiative promoter Michael Weinstein’s AIDS Healthcare Foundation recently put $10.1 million into the Yes-on-10 campaign. Apartment owners and real estate companies have put $35 million into No-on-10.
Hitting the snooze button with CA school candidates
Look alive, kids: State Superintendent of Public Instruction candidates are split over whether middle and high school classes should start earlier in the morning, reports CALmatters’ Ricardo Cano.
Tony Thurmond supported the late start, and Marshall Tuck opposed it at a Sacramento Press Club debate Tuesday. Thurmond’s stand places him at odds with a key supporter, the California Teachers Association, which opposes legislation pushing school start-time to 8:30 a.m.
The union is spending millions to defeat Tuck, a fellow Democrat and former charter school executive. The governor has until the end of the month to sign or veto the bill by Sen. Anthony Portantino, a La Cañada Flintridge Democrat.
Alex Padilla defends the DMV
Republicans running statewide in California may not have numbers on their side, but they do have the DMV, CALmatters’ Laurel Rosenhall writes.
- First came the scandal over absurdly long wait times.
- Then came the news that the DMV messed up 23,000 voter registrations—changing party affiliations and other information of some Californians who registered to vote at a Department of Motor Vehicles field office.
Secretary of State Alex Padilla, a Democrat, called the errors “absolutely frustrating and beyond disappointing,” but he was more forgiving than the GOP candidates who have made sure voters hear all about the DMV’s issues. Click here for his interview with Rosenhall.
Commentary from CALmatters
Grant Deary and Carol Burger, Family Business Association of California: Instead of helping us grow, Sacramento too often piles on new taxes and regulations that make it more difficult for us to remain in business. When will enough be enough?
Dan Walters: On the starring roles and personal political agendas of U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris in last week’s confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
See you tomorrow.