Good morning, California.

House Minority Leader Pelosi “remains intent on reclaiming the speakership, but in an interview on Wednesday she also acknowledged a handover of power was coming eventually”—New York Times.

Meanwhile, she’s gathering her financial network this weekend in the Napa Valley where she has a home. Gov. Jerry Brown and former Secretary of State John F. Kerry are expected to attend, along with 300 of her closest friends.

Last-ditch attempt to settle San Joaquin water wars

Resources Secretary John Laird at a recent press conference.

California Resources Secretary John Laird is making a final attempt to negotiate a deal with major water users to voluntarily reduce use before a separate agency imposes regulations.

Remind me: In July, the State Water Resources Control Board proposed dedicating much more water from the San Joaquin River and its tributaries to the environment and less to farms, industry, and individuals. A vote was set for Wednesday.

Laird this week asked Water Board Chairwoman Felicia Marcus to delay the vote to provide time to come up with a voluntary deal. Marcus agreed.

Laird: “We’re at a make or break point.”

Timeline: Negotiations with water users could take six or eight weeks, close to the end of Gov. Jerry Brown’s tenure and thus Laird’s.

Laird’s analysis: “You’re dealing with water in California. There are a lot of people in a lot of corners.”

Laird: “If we do voluntary settlements rather than regulations, it is the best thing for everybody.” But various interests must accept the reality that something must give.

Dealmaker: Laird’s negotiator is Bruce Babbitt. At 80, Babbitt is a contemporary of Brown’s and served two terms as Arizona governor in the 1970s and ’80s. As President Bill Clinton’s Interior Secretary in 1994, Babbitt helped forge a truce in the war over San Francisco Bay-Delta water.

Gov. Pete Wilson declared then: “Peace has broken out amid the water wars.”

That was then: A quarter century later, the environment declines and demand for water increases.


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Bail overhaul emerges. Its goal: Make the system fairer

Assemblyman Rob Bonta and Sen. Robert Hertzberg.

Legislation was unveiled Thursday to vastly overhaul the money-based bail system and make it easier for poor people to get out of jail if they’re arrested for relatively minor crimes and pose little threat.

Remind me: Opponents of the current system have said it is unfair to poor people who cannot scrape together money to get out of jail. Too often, they end up losing their jobs while they await release for relatively minor charges.

CALmatters Laurel Rosenhall reports that, if enacted, the bill would scrap the current money-based bail system and give judges far greater discretion over releasing people pending a trial or holding them.

Sen. Robert Hertzberg, a Los Angeles Democrat, and Assemblyman Rob Bonta, an Oakland Democrat, have been working on the overhaul for more than a year. Hertzberg said the goal is for judges to “judge you as a person,” not whether you can afford bail.

Bail industry lobbyist David Quintana, fighting to kill the bill: “You’re talking about an entire industry that goes back for generations, some to the 1850s. I guess their jobs are going to be shipped to the government sector.”

Some want a more liberal version, including San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi:

This bill “provides judges with really unbridled discretion to be able to detain anyone, even people charged with misdemeanor crimes.”

Money matters: The bail industry has spent at least $612,000 on lobbying in Sacramento since the start of 2017, and another $129,000 on campaign donations.

 


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Who are CA’s low-wage workers?

California’s low-wage workers tend to be Latino and immigrants. They’re also aging and clustered in Los Angeles County, although more than 40 percent of the workers in the Central Valley were low-wage earners in 2017, defined as earning $14.35 or less, the UC Berkeley Labor Center reported Thursday.

Researcher Ian Perry compiled the data from a variety of sources: “One of the things that surprised me was the persistence and extent of low wage work.” In 2000, 30 percent of all California workers were low-wage. In 2017, 32 percent were.

Among Perry’s findings:

  • By 2024, there will be seven times more jobs in the personal service sector including in-home health care workers and restaurant and food service workers than in software and related jobs.
  • Education remains key; 88 percent of low-wage workers have less than a college degree.
  • Los Angeles County is home to almost 30 percent of the state’s low-wage workers, and 37 percent of the county’s workforce meets the definition. In Fresno, Kern, Kings and Tulare counties, 43-47 percent of the workers are considered low-wage.
  • Latinos make up 56 percent of low-wage workers.
  • Immigrants account for 40 percent of low-wage workers.
  • Although African-Americans make up 7 percent of low-wage workers, 40 percent of working African-Americans are in low-wage jobs.
  • Low-wage workers are aging: 46 percent were between 34 and 64 in 2017, compared with 31 percent in 1990.

Commentary: Stop Mojave Desert water grab

Guest commentator Mary Martin, retired superintendent of the Mojave National Preserve, calls on the Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown to block Cadiz Inc.’s water project, a “pillage-degrade-and-abandon scheme that would irrevocably mine the lifeblood of desert tortoises, bighorn sheep and other denizens of the Mojave’s fragile desert ecosystem.”

Were you paying attention? Take our quiz and see

A high-profile Republican stopped by Sacramento and was given California’s equivalent of a Bronx cheer. Who was it? Legislation would let some schools teach what class? What percentage of Californians use a fourth of the $100 billion allocated for health care?

To take the quiz, please click here.

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See you on Monday.