Good morning, California.
“Manzanar should become a monument to our core values of democracy and civil rights.”—Bruce Embrey at the annual pilgrimage to the wartime internment camp in Owens Valley, as described by the L.A. Times’ Teresa Watanabe.
Embrey’s mother, Sue Kunitomi Embrey, was one of the first camp survivors to break the silence about the experience.
A shooting and one perhaps averted
Gov. Gavin Newsom is focused on the challenge of preventing more mass shootings.
The 19-year-old man suspected in the fatal shooting of a Poway synagogue worshiper Saturday apparently posted an anti-Semitic screed and claimed credit for setting fire to a mosque in Escondido, the L.A. Times reported.
- John T. Earnest, of Rancho Penasquitos, is suspected of killing 60-year-old Lori Kaye, who was at Chabad of Poway to say Kaddish for her deceased mother on the last day of Passover.
The Times: “Dr. Roneet Lev said Rabbi Goldstein told her that Kaye had thrown herself in front of him, possibly saving his life.
“Kaye’s husband, a physician, was in the synagogue when the gunshots started. Worshipers called him over to help victims, and he began to do CPR on one until he realized it was his wife, Lev said. He then fainted.”
The San Francisco Chronicle reports on the troubling story of Igor Perlov, 19, who came to its attention after he called the FBI to say he thought there was a chip under his skin and was being programmed to carry out a mass shooting.
The Chronicle: “Officers seized four handguns stowed in the trunk of his car, officials said, before a search of his second-story apartment turned up a .308-caliber bolt-action rifle with a scope leaning next to a window overlooking Katherine Delmar Burke School, a private K-8 all-girls school.”
The Chron notes that the case underscores the challenge: How to deal with a person authorities believe presents a risk of hurting others but who hasn’t committed a serious crime.
- It’s a challenge Gov. Gavin Newsom and some legislators are focused on this year. Expect to hear more on the topic soon.
California's stake in the Census
Secretary of State Alex Padilla
Will the Trump administration be allowed to add a question about citizenship to the 2020 U.S. Census? If so, experts say, California could lose big, CALmatters contributor Martha Groves reports.
- The U.S. Constitution mandates an “actual enumeration” of each state’s population every 10 years. The U.S. Census Bureau conducts the count, which aims to determine how many people reside in the United States and where they live.
- The answers determine how many congressional seats each state will have, and where hundreds of billions of federal dollars will be spent.
A significant element of the 2020 census awaits a U.S. Supreme Court decision: Will the Trump administration be allowed to add a question about citizenship? If the answer is “yes,” there’s a fear California will be undercounted and lose a congressional seat.
- Money matters: Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year includes $50 million to enhance outreach for the census. Gov. Jerry Brown’s last budget included $40.3 million over three years to help ensure an accurate count.
Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who oversees California elections, lauded Newsom’s step: “It is critical that we mount a robust statewide effort to reach and properly count our diverse and hard-to-reach communities.”
For our explainer on the issue, click here.
Farming's stake in Trump's trade policy
Vintners are seeing a decline in wine exports.
President Donald Trump’s China trade policy is taking a toll on one of California’s signature industries: agriculture.
- Purchases of farm equipment plunged by an annualized $900 million in the first quarter amid falling commodity prices and fallout from Trump’s trade wars, Bloomberg reported.
- The Wine Institute reported that the value of U.S. wine exports declined by 5 percent last year, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat’s Bill Swindell wrote earlier this month.
The Press Democrat: “Declining wine sales to China were particularly striking because there was nearly a 25 percent decrease in value of American wines sold there last year as a result of retaliatory tariffs imposed by Beijing in response to the Trump administration imposing higher taxes for Chinese steel and other products.”
The impact of higher steel costs were felt by Bill Berryhill, chairman of the California Association of Winegrape Growers.
Increased cost of steel stakes used to secure grape vines pushed the cost of his recent planting of cabernet in the Plymouth region to $15,000 an acre, from what it was, $10,000-$12,000 an acre.
- Trump’s promises of economic prosperity helped him with rural voter in the 2016 election. Will his trade policies hurt him with those voters in 2020? To be determined.
Berryhill, a Republican and former legislator, told me that while Trump’s policy is causing short-term pain, he is willing to give him leeway:
“At the end of the day, if he gets a good deal, we’ll all benefit. We have been getting the shaft with a lot of these trade deals.”
For the Silicon Valley view of tariffs, click here:
A tax break for some hurts others
Deals to share sales tax revenue have grow in the age of e-commerce.
From Cupertino to Corona, cities have cut deals to retain major employers by giving them a share of sales tax receipts. That’s great for the cities and companies that benefit from the arrangements but not for other cities, in the view of some legislators.
- Bloomberg Tax’s Laura Mahoney reports Cupertino agreed in 1997 to grant Apple half of the city’s share of sales tax revenue generated by the company’s sales to businesses in California. Apple was struggling then. Now, it’s the world’s most valuable company and is still benefiting from the arrangement.
- How much has the deal been worth to Apple? That’s confidential.
About 10 percent of the state’s 482 cities and a few counties have the agreements. It has become a bigger deal in the age of e-commerce.
- The downside: The arrangements help certain cities and their employers, but other cities lose their share of revenue.
Riverside Democratic Assemblyman Jose Medina’s Assembly Bill 485 would require local governments to hold hearings before approving the agreements, and provide more details about them. His bill awaits a vote by the full Assembly
Sen. Steve Glazer’s Senate Bill 531 would ban new agreements in which cities give revenue directly or indirectly to retailers for sales from warehouses in their jurisdiction.
- The Orinda Democrat called them “special deals for the wealthiest companies in the world, and they come at the expense of our cities that could use the money.” His bill passed its first hurdle last week.
Take a number: 3,500-4,000
Proposed legislation would require more retail cannabis licenses.
Democratic Assemblyman Phil Ting of San Francisco is pushing Assembly Bill 1356 to require local government jurisdictions where voters supported Proposition 64, the 2016 initiative legalizing commercial cannabis sales, to issue one retail weed license for every four liquor licenses.
- The legislation would apply to cities where a majority of voters supported Prop. 64 and the unincorporated areas of counties that also backed the law.
As the bill cleared its first committee last week, no legislator asked the fundamental question: How many marijuana retail licenses would be required under Ting’s bill?
- California has issued 620 retail marijuana licenses so far.
- There are 79,189 retail liquor licenses in California, including about 70,000 in the 40 counties where voters supported 64. In counties that opposed the initiative, voters in some cities within those counties also voted for Proposition 64.
The bill also includes is a cap limiting licenses to one for every 10,000 people.
Ting’s spokeswoman: “Mr. Ting is seeking about 3,500-4,000 more cannabis licenses.”
Turpins are locked away. Are there others?
Assemblyman Jose Medina, Democrat from Riverside
David and Louise Turpin are beginning their sentences of 25 years to life after pleading guilty to abusing and imprisoning 12 of their 13 children for years.
- From the start, the case raised uncomfortable questions: How could the Turpins have kept their secret for so many years, and what could be done to prevent similar cases.
- California has had a compulsory education law since 1903. The Turpins homeschooled their kids, supposedly. California imposes almost no restrictions on homeschooling.
Democratic Assemblyman Jose Medina, a former schoolteacher who represents the Riverside County town of Perris where the Turpins resided, proposed legislation last year requiring that the state collect data on homeschooling.
- Hundreds of home-school advocates and their children descended on the Capitol a year ago this month to denounce the bill at the Assembly Education Committee.
- Three hours later, after each took a turn at the microphone, Medina asked for support. Not a single member of the committee rose to its defense.
Medina told CALmatters’ Ricardo Cano last week: “All we were trying to do was to gather data, and there didn’t seem to be any support for that, either. At all. Just allow the state to gather data. There was no support for that.”
The Assembly staff report on Medina’s bill estimated 22,583 students are home-schooled in California, but under current law:
“Homeschool parents are not required to inform their district of residence that they are homeschooling their children.”
Medina has no plans to reintroduce the bill.
- Julie Makinen, executive editor of the Desert Sun, asked her reporters to write about covering the Turpin case. Read their report here.
Commentary at CALmatters
Peter Leroe-Muñoz, Silicon Valley Leadership Group: The United States has unilaterally imposed a series of escalating tariffs on Chinese imports to pressure China to reform its unfair trade practices and slow China’s rise as a global tech power. This strategy has been ineffective. More troubling, it places California’s robust economy and innovation leadership at risk.
Dan Walters, CALmatters: Some legislative bills are silly, but one, allowing local governments to create their own banks, transcends silliness and is just plain dumb.
See you tomorrow.