Good morning, California.

“Just want to  that the Shortseller Enrichment Commission is doing incredible work. And the name change is so on point!”—Tesla CEO Elon Musk in a tweet after settling a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission suit over a prior tweet by agreeing to step down as Tesla’s board chairman and pay a $20 million fine.

 

Dianne Feinstein's disruptive challenger

Kevin de León with his daughter, Lluvia de Milagros, now 23.

Democratic Sen. Kevin de León, termed-out of the Legislature, took an audacious step in challenging Democratic icon Dianne Feinstein for the U.S. Senate seat she has held since 1992. In a new profile, CALmatters’ Laurel Rosenhall explains why he has been “a disruptor from day one.”

  • The son of a San Diego housekeeper, de León—whose name has its own backstory—came, at 51, to be one of the most prolific and productive state Senate leaders ever. It has cost him.

Rosenhall: “Few politicians can match de León’s hard work, persistence and political instincts, yet few spend as much time dealing with people, even some political allies, who personally dislike them.”

De León is relatively little known beyond Sacramento’s version of the Beltway and lags behind Feinstein in the polls. Billionaires Laurene Powell Jobs, Haim Saban, and Tom Steyer each gave $5,400 donations to de León campaign.

  • But they show no signs of delivering the sort of seven-figure independent campaign that might give Feinstein cause to worry.

De León persists, calling for Feinstein to debate, believing such a face-off would show voters that there’s need for a change.

  • Feinstein told the San Francisco Chronicle earlier this year that she would debate de León, but lately has been busy with the fight over Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court.
  •  “There may be some sort of event featuring de Leon and Feinstein in mid-October,” The Chron’s Joe Garofoli writes.

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It's not easy being green

Used carpeting accounts for 3 percent of waste in landfills.

Add discarded carpet to California’s recycling quandaries. As with discarded mattresses, it’s turning out to be easier said than done to keep big-ticket household detritus from clogging the dumps.

  • Problem: Carpet accounted for 3 percent of the waste in landfills in 2010.
  • Answer: A 2010 piece of legislation by then-Speaker John A. Pérez making California the first state to require that carpet be recycled.
  • Goal: Recycle 25 percent by 2017 and 50 percent by 2022. Realizing that was too ambitious, Pérez omitted a percentage in the final version and required that there be “continuous meaningful improvement.”
  • Cost: Initially, five cents per square yard of new carpet sold to create markets for reused carpet material.
  • Reality: The fee, now 25 cents per square yard, has generated $76 million to subsidize companies that recycle carpet, turning it back into plastic for such products as auto parts and decking. California recycles 16 percent of its old carpet.

What’s new: The Carpet America Recovery Effort, an industry group that oversees the program, cites many reasons for the slow start, but proposes a new five-year plan to CalRecycle, the state agency responsible for recycling.

The new goal: Recycle 24 percent by the end of 2020, and raise the fee to 35 cents per square yard.

CalRecycle director Scott Smithline is set to decide on Oct. 16 whether to approve the plan. He rejected an earlier version.

Bob Peoples, head of the industry group, says carpet recycling could end if the plan is rejected: “I don’t know if ‘devastating’ is too strong a word.”

Consider it one of the first crises for next governor.


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Mr. Mactaggart goes to Washington

Big tech lobbyists already aim to preempt California's new internet privacy law.

San Francisco developer and privacy advocate Alastair Mactaggart is traveling to Washington to next week to urge the U.S. Senate to expand California’s new privacy law nationwide.

Mactaggart: “I’m going to go there to tell them why it’s great legislation. I’m there to correct some of the misinformation.”

His testimony scheduled for Wednesday comes two weeks after major tech companies such as Amazon and telecommunications giants such as AT&T urged Congress to preempt California’s law.

The California Consumer Privacy Act passed in June without a single no vote. Mactaggart said he has faith that the Golden State’s congressional delegation would block congressional efforts to weaken Californians’ protections. But Congress may pass something.

Republican Sen. John Thune, of North Dakota, chair of the Senate commerce committee, opening the Sept. 26 hearing: “The question is no longer whether we need a federal law to protect consumers’ privacy. The question is what shape will that law take.”

Commentary at CALmatters

Alastair Mactaggart: California’s new consumer privacy act should be the baseline for any federal law. The rights of California consumers not only must be protected but expanded to other consumers in our country and around the globe. That’s what I will tell the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation when I testify on Wednesday.

Gimme Shelter meets L.A. Podcast

The Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles.

A first of its kind for Gimme Shelter: A crossover episode.

Matt and Liam join comedy writer and all around smart guy Hayes Davenport, Curbed editor Alissa Walker, and housing guru Scott Frazier of L.A. Podcast to talk about the intersection of state and local housing policy in L.A.

Proposition 2 in a minute

Want to get up to speed fast on the 11 propositions on the Nov. 5 ballot? CALmatters’ video journalist Byrhonda Lyons has boiled down the measures in 60-second videos.

  • Laurel Rosenhall explains Proposition 2, to provide $2 billion to build housing for mentally ill people, in the latest installment. To watch, please click here.

And check out our election guide, while you’re at it. We’ll be updating as we gather more information.

Paying attention? Take our news quiz and see

Which politician sent out a 40-page mailer attacking The Fresno Bee? What happened to Democrat Katie Porter when she opposed the gas tax? Which #MeToo bills did Jerry Brown sign? To test your knowledge, please click here. 

Erratum: I mangled Democratic Assemblywoman Anna Caballero’s name in an item Thursday about the race between Senate Republican leader Pat Bates and Democrat Marggie Castellano.

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 on Monday.