Good morning, California. Put your hands together.

“It wasn’t sarcastic. … Look at what I was applauding. I wanted him to know that was a very welcome message.”—House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Capitol Hill reporters, after the San Francisco Democrat’s response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union call for “compromise” and “cooperation” became an internet meme overnight.

“Oh yes, that clap took me back to the teen years. She knows. And she knows that you know. And frankly she’s disappointed that you thought this would work. But here’s a clap.”—Christine Pelosi, the Speaker’s daughter and a Democratic political strategist.

CA views on Pelosi, Trump and the wall

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is favored by 80 percent of CA Democrats.

California Democrats are quite fond of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco. Republicans, not so much with her Republican counterpart, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield, the latest Public Policy Institute of California poll of likely Golden State voters shows.

  • Eighty percent of Democrats have a favorable view of Pelosi, while only 43 percent of Republicans have a favorable view of McCarthy. McCarthy likely would have become Speaker if Republicans had kept control of the House in the 2018 general election.
  • Pelosi is better known—only 2 percent of voters have never heard of her, while 25 percent have never heard of McCarthy.

Likely voters oppose building a wall on the California-Mexico border by a 62-35 percent margin in this state, reflecting the 62-36 percent margin by which they take an unfavorable view of President Donald Trump.

  • Likely Democratic voters oppose the wall 90-9 percent, and disapprove of Trump 91-7 percent.
  • Republican voters want the wall, 81-18 percent and support Trump, 82-16 percent.
  • Latino voters oppose the wall, 71-29 percent, and disapprove of Trump, 67-31 percent.

Not to suggest voters think there are no issues related to the border:

  • Forty-two percent of Democratic voters think the border poses a problem, and 11 percent think there’s a crisis.
  • Fifty-nine percent of Republicans think there’s a crisis at the border and 32 percent think its a problem.
  • Likely voters in Orange and San Diego counties are most concerned about the border, with 37 percent seeing it as a crisis and 34 percent seeing it as a serious problem.

PPIC poll also hints at 'split roll'

Commercial property taxes may be on the ballot in 2020.

The property tax-slashing Proposition 13 remains popular among California voters, 40 years after its passage spawned a national reaction against taxes, the new Public Policy Institute of California poll shows.

Democrats view the Democratic governor favorably, 65-7 percent, while 12 percent Republicans approve of him and 62 percent disapprove.

Likely voters still support Proposition 13 by a 64-24 percent margin.

  • Support crosses party lines, with support from 60 percent of Democratic voters and 74 percent of Republicans.
  • Approval also crosses geographical lines, age, ethnicity and income. Not surprisingly, 73 percent of homeowners like it.

But there’s a potentially noteworthy rub:

  • Forty-nine percent of voters and 62 percent of Democratic voters favor raising property taxes on commercial property by taxing it at market value.
  • Republicans are less enamored of the idea, with only 36 percent favoring such a change.

Voters could get the chance to weigh in on that very proposal. It will be on the 2020 ballot, in the so-called “split roll” initiative, though its backers could remove it from the ballot if legislators strike a broader tax deal.

Newsom does good while making good

John Kraintz and Gov. Gavin Newsom at Loaves & Fishes Wednesday.

Using a lost Super Bowl bet to highlight homelessness in California, Gov. Gavin Newsom volunteered at a Sacramento shelter on Wednesday, dressed in jersey of the Boston Patriots. 

  • Newsom and Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker had wagered prior to Sunday’s game between the Los Angeles Rams and Boston, with the loser agreeing to perform community service in the winning team’s jersey. The L.A. Rams lost.
  • So Newsom donned Tom Brady’s No. 12 and pitched in for an hour-plus at Loaves & Fishes, the sanctuary near the Capitol where homeless people can get a meal, a shower and some services.

The event was not light. The people—they’re called guests—who ate rice, beans and other solid food are troubled. A woman inexplicably dumped a food tray on a member of Newsom’s security detail. (She wasn’t arrested but a California Highway Patrol officer who knew her coaxed her to leave the area.)

  • Newsom spent much of his time in the dining room and kitchen, and conversing with John Kraintz, a 65-year old man who once worked as a contractor, had been homeless for years, and now uses a small government disability check to pay for a small downtown apartment.

Kraintz: “It’s a tough nut to crack, homelessness. … He seemed to listen.”

The governor didn’t get to the memorial at the facility where the names of people have died on Sacramento’s streets are etched on a stone. The most recent count: 706.

Speaking of housing, Newsom talks lawsuits

Gov. Gavin Newsom discusses housing outside a homeless shelter.

That housing lawsuit against Huntington Beach isn’t going away, said Gov. Gavin Newsom, who last month took the extraordinary step of suing the Orange County city to force it to start housing more low-income residents. 

  • And more cities could become targets: “The biggest problem we have in this state is that people feel like it’s somebody else’s problem, not theirs,” Newsom said outside the Loaves & Fishes dining room in Sacramento, where he was volunteering to settle a Super Bowl bet.

Newsom: “My frustration as it relates to that particular city is not that they’re not building housing. They’re not. Not that they’re not entitling housing. They’re not. They’re not even planning. They refuse to plan. … All I am asking is for is a sincere effort to at least begin to address a crisis that exists in this state and manifests itself in cities large and small, including Huntington Beach.”

Newsom said as 52 other cities are in same situation. Will he sue them as well? He said he hoped it wouldn’t come to that.

Online community college CEO Heather Hiles.

A tech entrepreneur and former Gates Foundation official has been tapped to run California’s controversial new online community college, CALmatters’ Felicia Mello reports.

  • Heather Hiles, CEO of a venture capital fund, founder of digital portfolio platform Pathbrite, and an academic outsider was the almost-unanimous choice of the state’s community college board on Wednesday. One trustee, Cosumnes River College professor Man Phan, abstained because he objected to her $385,000 salary.

Board President Tom Epstein: “Nobody better understands the communities the college aims to serve—the needs of both working adults and hiring managers in the modern economy—than she does.”

Hiles: “I think it’s the biggest challenge I’ve had the opportunity to take on … There are easily 10 million Californians who are underemployed or have to work multiple jobs to survive. People are looking for the information and the social networks that can get them the kinds of jobs they want.”

Faculty unions have objected to the online college, signed into law last year by Gov. Jerry Brown and granted $100 million in startup costs provided it enroll its first class by this fall.

  • Aimed at training and credentialing for adult workers, it won’t be internet-only, Hiles tells Mello: “A pure online offering does not work well with people who haven’t been successful in education in the past.”

Click here for Mello’s primer on the issue and here for more details.

Will PG&E promises be enough?

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. is promising to ramp up safety in the wake of its wildfire-related bankruptcy filing and probation violation troubles dating to its role in a deadly gas explosion in 2010.

  • California’s largest utility faces billions in liabilities from 2017 and 2018 wildfires, including the deadliest in California history, the Camp Fire, which killed 86 people.

In a filing with the California Public Utilities Commission, PG&E pledged to increase power-line inspections, remove twice as many trees as last year, install 70 high-definition cameras in remote areas and add 400 weather stations throughout high-risk regions,The Sacramento Bee reports. 

  • The expanded program is a requirement of a law enacted last fall that allows PG&E to pass along some wildfire liability costs to customers. Other big utilities also had to submit fire-safety plans Wednesday.

Sumeet Sing, overseeing PG&E’s wildfire safety program: “We’re doing everything we can every single day to reduce risk.”

It may or may not be enough: U.S.District Judge William Alsup, overseeing the criminal case involving the San Bruno explosion that killed eight people, threatens strong fire-safety restrictions on PG&E this summer.

Commentary at CALmatters

Could collaboration also come from a Huntington Beach housing lawsuit?

Carolyn Coleman, League of California Cities: Recent lawsuits between the state and the city of Huntington Beach are unfortunate. But hopefully they ultimately lead to collaboration and resolution between both sides and a recognition that we can make more progress when cities and the state work together.

Dan Walters, CALmatters: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo blames a shortfall in state income tax revenues on the flight of rich taxpayers to Florida because federal tax laws no longer allow them to write off state and local taxes. What about California?

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

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