Good morning, California.

“Old people are holding in place, but we are losing the younger generation. We are losing potential parents. It is a slow-moving train wreck here.”—Dowell Myers, USC professor of demography and urban planning, describing California’s population trends to the L.A. Times.

Lobbying business grows

Lobbyists in a Capitol hallway.

Persuasion is a growth industry.

Corporations, advocacy groups, unions, local government and others spent $87.3 million on lobbying in the first quarter of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s tenure.

Although it was a modest 3 percent bump from the first quarter of 2018, spending by lobbyist employers increased by 14 percent from the first quarter of 2017.

  • Lobbyist employers spent $67.5 million in the first quarter of 2011, the start of Jerry Brown’s tenure. That’s a jump of nearly 30 percent.
  • They spent $51.6 million in the first quarter of 2004, the start of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s tenure, almost a 70 percent increase.

Chevron and the Western States Petroleum Association, fending off more restrictions, were the top two spenders in the first quarter of 2019, at a combined $4.2 million, up from $1.5 million at the start of Brown’s tenure.

The ACLU was the third-biggest spender, at $1.1 million. It’s lobbying for legislation related to police use of force.

Capitol Advocacy, the highest-billing lobbying firm, reported $2.06 million in charges. Its clients range from a payday lender and a private prison operator, to nursing homes, police unions, retailers and Pacific Gas & Electric.

Axiom Advisors, a firm founded last year and led by one of Newsom’s political advisers, reported billings of $582,000, placing it 27th among all lobbying firms in the first quarter of 2019.


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California's population growth lags

California's birthrate is falling.

California’s population grew by the smallest percentage in history in 2018, driven by a slowing birth rate, changing immigration patterns and the lack of housing.

The Department of Finance reported Wednesday that California added 186,807 residents for a total of 39.9 million. The growth rate was 0.47 percent, down from 0.78 percent in 2017.

Ethan Sharygin, a state demographer, told the L.A. Times that the falling birthrate is due to a decline in immigrants from Mexico, an increase in Asian immigrants, and greater education among women:

“The overall profile of immigrants to California is higher education, which correlates to lower fertility.”

While baby boomers age and die, lack of housing makes it tough for young people to stay here, and American Community Survey data show that 5 million people moved here from other states from 2007 to 2016, while 6 million left California, The Times reported.

Department of Finance numbers for 2018 show:

  • The state produced 77,000 new housing units.
  • Of the 10 largest cities, Sacramento had the largest percentage gain, 1.49 percent. Bakersfield was a distant second, 1.1 percent.
  • Los Angeles County, which has 10.25 million residents, lost 942 people, though the city of L.A. gained 1,766 residents.
  • Cities and counties where prisons are located reported falling population as prison populations decline.
  • The Butte County town of Paradise, largely destroyed by fire in 2018, lost more than 82 percent of its population, or 21,833, while nearby Chico gained 19,250 residents.

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What, exactly, is a PIMBY

Aging Californians are building homes in backyards.

A growing number of California seniors are turning to accessory dwelling units—also known as granny flats—as a solution to the challenges of aging in an expensive state, CALmatters’ Matt Levin reports.

In the latest installment of the series, Graying California, Levin finds that older Californians are moving into the backyard units of their adult children, or having their adult children move into theirs.

  • After state laws passed in 2016 and 2017 made it easier and less expensive to build them, accessory dwelling units, or ADU, have exploded in popularity in many cities.
  • Los Angeles received about 67 times as many ADU applications last year compared with three years ago.

You’ve heard of NIMBYs, Not in my backyard, and their counterparts, YIMBYs, Yes in my backyard. Levin catches up with PIMBYs, Parents in my backyard.

For his full report, click here.

Racial implications of amputation

Black or Latino diabetrics were twice as likely as whites to lose a limb.

In a side effect of the diabetes epidemic, California physicians performed more than 82,000 amputations from 2011 to 2017, and black or Latino diabetics were twice as likely as whites to lose a limb, Kaiser Health News reports.

The medical establishment has known how to manage diabetes for decades. Patients can learn to manage their diabetes. Yet surgeons perform tens of thousands of diabetic amputations nationally each year.

Kaiser: It’s a drastic procedure that stands as a powerful example of the consequences of being poor, uninsured and cut off from a routine system of quality health care.

Amputations occur when infections rage out of control and enter the bloodstream or seep deeper into the tissue, a common problem for people with diabetes.

Ninez Ponce of UCLA’s Center for Health Policy Research: “It’s the most shameful metric we have on quality of care. It is a health equity issue. We are a very rich state. We shouldn’t be seeing these diabetic amputations.”

One solution: podiatric care.

The Legislature, facing a budget crisis in 2009, eliminated several Medi-Cal benefits, including podiatry. CALmatters’ Elizabeth Aguilera reported earlier this week that there’s an effort to restore podiatric care in the Legislature this year.

The cost: $4.6 million annually. California’s budget is more than $200 billion.

Frogs, beware

A bill banning animal dissection died Wednesday.

Legislation that would have made California the first state in the nation to ban public schools from using animals in dissection failed on Wednesday.

  • Animal rights activists, including People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and Social Compassion in Legislation, pushed for Assembly Bill 1586 by Assemblyman Ash Kalra, a Democrat who represents the Silicon Valley.
  • Science teachers use frogs, fetal pigs, cows’ eyes, sheep hearts and brains, worms, squid, rats, fish and other animals and their parts, the legislative staff analysis notes. The Los Angeles Unified School District purchased 5,035 animals or animal organs, at a cost of $16,321, in a recent year.

Kalra called animal dissection immoral, said it turns students off from science, and contended technology could be used to teach the same lessons of anatomy:

“There are alternatives that are just as good, if not better.”

The California Teachers Association, which has significant clout in the Legislature, testified against it, arguing that it would deny science teachers a valuable tool.

Assembly Education Committee Chairman Patrick O’Donnell, a Long Beach Democrat and a teacher, argued against the bill: “We shouldn’t be designing lesson plans from Sacramento. We shouldn’t be telling teachers how they can and can’t teach.”

Commentary at CALmatters

Cynthia Buiza, California Immigrant Policy Center: We need to make quality health care affordable to everyone who lives in California, immigrants and people born in the U.S. alike. Removing exclusions to health care for undocumented Californians is one step on the road to an equitable and workable healthcare system.

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See you tomorrow.