Good morning, California.

“Pesticides classified as human carcinogens or likely human carcinogens were applied to nearly 9.2 million acres statewide in 2016. That’s more acreage than the entire land area of each of nine states.” – Fairwarning.org.

Gretchen Carlson stumps in Sacramento. Will it help?

Gretchen Carlson speaks at a press conference held by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (left) and Sen. Connie Leyva.

Former Fox commentator Gretchen Carlson, a leader in the #MeToo movement, came to Sacramento Wednesday to advocate for Democratic-backed legislation that she said would pull sexual harassment out of the shadows.

Jog my memory: Carlson received a $20 million settlement in a sexual harassment case against the late Fox News executive Roger Ailes in 2016, a landmark that helped spawn the movement to combat workplace sexual harassment.

What’s new: Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, a Democrat from San Diego, is carrying legislation that “could sharply reduce the use of non-disclosure agreements and similar legal tools that can tie victims’ hands,” as CALmatters’ Antoinette Siu wrote recently.

Carlson: “When you allow sexual harassment to go into the shadows of secrecy, and allow women to just be shoved aside and leave your company, that is a detriment to your own bottom line.”

Elsewhere: Carlson is a voice for federal legislation to end forced arbitration in sexual harassment cases. At least three other states have bills similar to California’s. Carlson told me a bill passed in California could prompt other states and Congress to act.

What’s next: The influential California Chamber of Commerce opposes the measure, believing it would add to unnecessary litigation and that federal law allowing for arbitration preempts the California Legislature from acting. Business groups have killed similar measures in past years.  Carlson and women like her could be disrupting politics.

Let the sun shine in

The California Energy Commission voted Wednesday to require that almost all homes built in 2020 and beyond include solar panels.

It’s a first-in-the-nation requirement that will add $9,500 to the upfront cost of a home but lower monthly energy use and costs.

Bloomberg: The decision is “the clearest signal yet that rooftop power is moving beyond a niche market and becoming the norm.”

History: The Energy Commission has banned incandescent bulbs and imposed electricity-saving requirements on television sets and major home appliances. As governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger called for a million solar roofs. Gov. Jerry Brown has been a proponent, too. Drastic steps must be taken, if you believe climate change is real, and California leaders do.

Solar company stocks ticked up at the news.


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Gaming the top two primary

You knew it was coming: Wealthy charter school advocates backing Democrat Antonio Villaraigosa’s run for governor are airing an ad attacking the lead Republican candidate.

Remember: Regardless of party, the top-two vote getters on June 5 will face one another in the November general election. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, is the front-runner. Republican John Cox is polling in second place. Villaraigosa, the former Los Angeles mayor, is lagging.

The ad derisively tells the political history of Cox, pointing out that he ran for office repeatedly in Illinois, including once for president, before moving to San Diego. Cox’s consultant, Tim Rosales, noted an irony in charter school advocates hammering Cox; he supports “school choice” and charter schools.

Meanwhile: Newsom is airing an ad intended to help Cox, knowing a Republican would be easier to beat in November than Villaraigosa. Expect to see more of the same in races up and down the ballot as consultants try to game California’s top-two primary.

It’s not like watching paint dry

CALmatters’ Laurel Rosenhall sorts out a high-stakes fight raging over who should pay to clean up lead paint in old homes. Who could include you.

Long story short: Lead paint, a problem in older homes, is particularly toxic for children. Ten jurisdictions, from Alameda and Santa Clara to San Diego and Los Angeles counties, sued companies that made lead-based paint. A judge found three paint companies liable for clean-up costs of $1.15 billion. A court of appeal softened the decision, but the companies still would face huge costs.

What’s next: Paint companies have paid $6 million to place an initiative on the November ballot to create a $2 billion bond to pay for lead clean-up. If it passes, taxpayers would have to pay off the bond debt, essentially bailing out the corporations. Paint company lobbyists are using the threat of an initiative as leverage to persuade legislators to intervene, over objections from municipalities.

The goal: Getting lead out of homes and schools, helping cities and counties pay for clean-up, avoiding an initiative war, trying not to bankrupt paint companies. It’s the stuff of serious brinkmanship.

Brown’s education inconsistency

CALmatters’ Dan Walters’ commentary: Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget seeks to overhaul community college financing by providing carrots and sticks to push colleges to improve outcomes for their students. It might be a good idea, but it’s also inconsistent with his approach to K-12 public schools.

Please reach out with tips, suggestions and insights, [email protected], 916.201.6281.

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