Good morning, California.

“I was told by my male agent at the time to take my MBA off my resume because I didn’t want to seem too smart, and to lie about my age. Well, I didn’t do either.”—Jennifer Siebel Newsom, who would become first lady of Gavin Newsom is elected governor, speaking on Politico’s Women Rule podcast,  She’d prefer to be first partner.

Where do all those old mattresses go?

Old mattresses awaiting recycling at a San Leandro warehouse.

A major dispute and lack of state oversight are undermining a high-minded program intended to recycle old mattresses, divert then from dumps and persuade people from abandoning them on sidewalks.

The problem:

  • Californians discard 4.2 million mattresses and box springs each year, leaving many on streets. Cities and the state spend millions to gather them up.
  • Municipal dumps have difficulty disposing of them because of their bulk.

The solution:

  • Legislation in 2013 levied a fee, now $10.50 fee on every mattress and box spring sold, roughly $40 million a year, to launch a program to reduce mattresses in landfills by 75 percent in 2020; 85 percent of mattress material can be recycled.
  • The industry-controlled Mattress Recycling Council based in Virginia administers the program.

A recent state audit found:

  • The agency responsible for recycling programs, CalRecycle, “has not provided the necessary oversight.”
  • The Mattress Council instead amassed a $42 million reserve and failed to use funds for research or raise consumer awareness of the program.

The Mattress Council canceled its contract with the state’s largest mattress recycler, Commerce-based Blue Marble Materials, on Sept. 21, contending it failed to perform tasks as promised.

Blue Marble founder Tchad Robinson hired a lobby firm to help fight the cancelation. Meanwhile, he can’t pay workers and has 250,000 mattresses in a Fresno warehouse.

Robinson: “If we don’t process them, they’re going to landfill.”

Mattress Council attorney Marie Clarke: “We would like to recycle them and believe we can do that with our existing recyclers.”

Bottom line: No rest on this issue, and more to come.


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CA’s version of net neutrality is tied up in multiple courts

The Trump administration was quick to sue California on Sunday night after Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation to impose a state-only version of net neutrality.

  • And internet service providers such as AT&T filed a separate suit on Wednesday, as expected, to block the law.

But the real fight likely won’t be those suits, both of which were filed in federal court in Sacramento, the LA Times reports. 

  • Rather, the big event is taking place in the U.S. Court of Appeal in Washington, D.C.

California is one of several states and public interest groups suing in D.C., challenging the decision by President Donald Trump’s Federal Communications Commission decision last year to scrap Obama administration regulation of internet providers.

  • Jonathan Spalter, president of the industry trade group USTelecom, said Congress, not multiple states, should set the rules for the internet.
  • Supporters of California’s law counter that the federal government has exited the business of regulating internet service providers. When there are no regulations, states may impose their own.

It’s a classic 10th Amendment battle: States have the power to assert themselves unless Uncle Sam passes a law occupying the issue. Courts will have their work cut out sorting it all out.


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Schools turn to voters for more funding

Vallejo High School, one of many with a school bond measure on the ballot.

One of the biggest asks on the November ballot will be one of the least visible to most voters, CALmatters’ Ricardo Cano writes.

  • Local school bond measures totaling more than $12 billion are up for approval, scattered among some 90 school districts, along with a baker’s dozen harder-to-approve parcel taxes.

The measures seek to raise money for school construction and other costs not covered by state tax payments, from new roofs to air conditioning to healthier water in school fountains.

  • This year’s top pitch: School security, Cano finds, a sign of the times when school shootings are all too common.
  • Voters have approved 86 percent of local school bond measures since 2012, totaling $45 billion, including all but five of the 35 school bond measures on the ballot in June.

History lesson: In one of Gov. Gray Davis’s most lasting legacies, he pushed for passage of Proposition 39 in 2000, lowering the threshold for local school bond passage to 55 percent. Previously, schools needed to get two-thirds votes to pass school bonds. Since then, school bond proposals have boomed.

Word of caution: Orange County budget hawk Sen. John Moorlach, who regularly delves with a conservative bent into the fiscal health of municipalities and public institutions, finds in a downloadable report issued Tuesday that about two-thirds of California’s 944 public school districts are running negative balance sheets.

  • Deepest in the red among large unified school districts? Los Angeles, San Diego, Fresno and Santa Ana.

Democrats turn up campaign to unseat GOP Leader Bates

Marggie Castellano, challenging GOP Sen. Pat Bates.

Democrats released an ad Wednesday challenging Senate Republican leader Pat Bates over her stand on health care, as they sought to show their candidate, Marggie Castellano, is serious in challenging what long has been seen as a safe Republican seat.

  • Castellano, a documentary filmmaker, is a first-time candidate in California, though she did run for parliament in her native Peru.
  • She had raised a mere $89,000 until recently when Senate Democrats and the California Democratic Party gave her $123,000. That’s not enough to run a full campaign, though her consultant said more is coming.

Castellano’s ad calls Bates heartless” on health care policy. Bates is a former social worker. Castellano is a breast cancer survivor, as she says in this ad.

Republicans believe Castellano’s late-blooming campaign is intended to drain Republican money from a hotly contested San Joaquin Valley race where Democratic Assemblywoman Anna Caballero of Salinas is challenging Republican Madera County Supervisor Robert Poythress for a seat held by a termed-out Republican, Anthony Cannella.

Sacramento consultant Dave Gilliard, representing Bates, said Castellano is “not viable.”

Gilliard: “That does not mean that we are not taking everything seriously in this toxic environment.”

Proposition 10 in 60 seconds

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.

  • Today’s installment, with help from housing reporter Matt Levin, focuses on Proposition 10, the rent control measure. 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.

Commentary at CALmatters

Dan Walters: Having achieved domination of the Capitol, Democrats and their allies, such as unions, want to make it more difficult for competing interests, particularly anti-tax or business groups, to bypass the Legislature and place their causes on the ballot.

How Dianne Feinstein handled Christine Blasey Ford’s letter:

James W. Rushford: Feinstein’s handling of the letter from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford was such that Republicans cannot allow her to retain her seat.

Laura Friedman: If we really want to encourage victims to come forward, we must create processes that reduce their trauma and place them in a position of control.

Please email or call me with tips, suggestions and insights, [email protected], 916.201.6281. Thanks for reading, please tell a friend and sign up here.

See you tomorrow.