Good morning, California.

“Like so many family dairy farms across the country, burdensome government regulations made it impossible for the operation to remain open.” — Congressman David Valadao, a Republican from Hanford, after a bank seized his Tulare County dairy for failure to repay $8.3 million in loans for cattle and feed.

The nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics lists Valadao as the poorest member of Congress.

Legislature takes aim at conversion therapy

Jim Domen, a Newport Beach pastor, takes a photo at Tuesday's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. He says he benefited from conversion therapy.

Hundreds of people jammed California’s Capitol on Tuesday to protest legislation that would declare for-profit therapy aimed at converting gay and lesbian people fraudulent.

Background: In 2012, the Legislature approved a bill signed by Gov. Jerry Brown to ban such therapy for minors. Now, legislation by Assemblyman Evan Low, a Campbell Democrat, would open anyone who charges adults for conversion therapy to a civil fraud lawsuit. No other state has adopted such a law.

Low dropped provisions that could have been interpreted to restrict the sale of Bibles and other printed material related to the therapy. But a legislative analysis predicts a constitutional challenge if the measure is signed into law.

Sen. Scott Wiener, a San Francisco Democrat and principal co-author, told a Senate committee Tuesday:

“Conversation therapy is psychological torture.…We have a terrible history in this country, and in this world, of efforts to torture to try to make LGBT people not LGBT, a history of lobotomies, a history of electroshock therapy, a history of institutionalization.”

Jim Domen, a Newport Beach pastor, told the committee that after conversion therapy, he is now married with two young children and third on the way.

“How could California pass a law to prohibit questioning, to prohibit my journey, to prohibit choice, to prohibit counseling? … Please do not take away professional programs that have helped people like me.”

Upshot: The Democrat-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee approved the measure Tuesday. The bill has more hearings but likely will make it to Brown’s desk for his signature or veto.


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Brown’s promise didn’t help Rocky Chavez

Republican Assemblyman Rocky Chavez gets a hug after he voted for the cap-and-trade legislation last year.

Gov. Jerry Brown failed to keep his pledge to defend at least one Republican who voted last year to extend the landmark cap-and-trade program so fundamental to his war on climate change.

“Don’t worry, I’ve got your back!” Brown said in his State of the State Speech in January, thanking Republicans for supporting the legislation.

Assemblyman Rocky Chavez of Oceanside was among eight Republicans who voted for the extension. He placed sixth in last Tuesday’s primary to replace Congressman Darrell Issa, after Democrats spent more than $1 million on an ad blitz that derailed his candidacy.

Chavez told me in the Capitol Tuesday that Brown did nothing to help: “Everybody gets to live with their comments.”

Board of Equalization member Diane Harkey, an Orange County Republican, received Republican Party endorsements and led all other candidates, with 25 percent of the vote. Democratic candidates combined received more votes than the Republicans did.

Chavez, a retired Marine colonel who sought to represent the district that includes Camp Pendleton, predicted Harkey will lose: “I don’t think she knows the district.”

Our ‘foodie’ governor

Jerry Brown never quite lived down saying, during his first turn as governor, that college professors should be content with “psychic income,” not higher salaries. Now, CALmatters’ Felicia Mello finds the governor is incurring academia’s wrath over his suggestion that colleges act more like Chipotle (he loves the burrito bowls) by streamlining offerings.

Adding more required classes like English and statistics would help, Mello was told. But the most important factor is having a counselor who can give clear advice. Which sounds less like fast food and more like reading a gourmet menu with a waiter to recommend the best dishes.

Walters: The question Newsom must answer

CALmatters’ commentator Dan Walters ponders the ambitious agenda of gubernatorial front-runner Gavin Newsom. It includes universal health care, a “cradle-to-college promise” for education, a pledge to build huge numbers of new homes, and more. He neglects to explain how to pay for it all.

Walters’ bottom line: If he’s not blowing election-year smoke, Newsom “should be willing to say who will pay and how much.”

Larry Thomas

Larry Thomas, a close political aide to Govs. George Deukmejian and Pete Wilson, and Vice President George H.W. Bush, died Tuesday. He was 70. Thomas, who got his start as a newspaper reporter, retired from the Irvine Company in 2007.

Wilson: Thomas was “immensely talented, selflessly loyal to principles, causes and friends he believed in, with the great courage required for total integrity including advice and guidance needed by governors who didn’t want to hear it.”

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.