Good morning, California.
“We didn’t have any notice that this announcement was coming,” J.J. Ament, of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp., said Wednesday of Chipotle’s Mexican Grill’s decision to move its headquarters from Denver to Newport Beach. Ament was in San Francisco to check on Bay Area companies that have expanded in Colorado.

Trump's tweet is golden for John Cox, for now

Three-fourths of California Republicans approve of President Donald Trump's performance.

In some districts and states, Republicans think twice about courting President Trump’s endorsement. In deep blue California, Republican John Cox is finding gold in Trump’s embrace of his campaign for governor.

A Public Policy Institute of California poll released Wednesday shows Democrat Gavin Newsom with 25 percent of the vote, Cox with 19 percent and Democrat Antonio Villaraigosa with 15 percent, 12 days before the June 5 primary.

Trump’s endorsement in a tweet last Friday came while the survey was underway. But PPIC president Mark Baldassare noted that three fourths of Republican voters have a favorable view of Trump, and are inclined to vote for candidates endorsed by Trump:

“To the extent it becomes known, it helps.”

What’s ahead: Cox’s campaign is making sure that Republican voters know all about it. Expect Villaraigosa’s backers to try to boost the fortunes of Assemblyman Travis Allen, an Orange County Republican who trails Cox. Unlike Cox, Allen voted for Trump in 2016 and fashions himself as a Trump Republican.

California Republican Party Chairman Jim Brulte is neutral in the race, but told me: “It is incredibly helpful to John Cox. Donald Trump is the most popular Republican among Republicans in California. That translates into support from rank and file Republican voters.”

Hard reality: Most California Republicans support Trump. But only 25 percent of the voters are registered Republican. And a mere 38 percent of California voters approve of Trump. What may work well for Cox in June will mean all-but-certain defeat in November.

P.S. Educated, well-off Republicans are less favorably inclined toward Trump. One is Meg Whitman, the billionaire who was outspoken in her opposition to Trump in the 2016 presidential campaign and spent $144 million on her failed run for governor in 2010. She is co-hosting a fund-raisers for Villaraigosa in the Silicon Valley tonight, The Los Angeles Times reports.

A message from Lucas Public Affairs: Strategic – Connected – Effective Navigating the crossroads of policy, politics and communications.

For more information, visit Lucas Public Affairs

CALmatters is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization and depends on the support of individual members, foundations and sponsors to produce quality journalism.

He’s running for office. Literally

Vivek Viswanathan is a 31-year-old marathon runner with Harvard-Cambridge-Stanford credentials and blue glow-in-the-dark sneakers who aspires to be California treasurer.

Unable to compete with perceived Democratic front runner Fiona Ma’s $1.8 million-plus, Viswanathan is literally running 625 miles across California.

CALmatters’ Ben Christopher caught up with Viswanathan for a profile of candidates who don’t have the millions it takes to buy 30-second TV ads.

His basic question: How does a serious candidate get attention in a state with nearly 19 million voters? Might as well go for a run. At least it will clear a candidate’s head.

A terrible day in Reedley

In the worst day in the California Conservation Corps’ history, three young recruits died in 2016 when a gravel truck broadsided the work van in which they were riding., a nonprofit journalism organization based in Los Angeles, discovered signs that, if heeded, could have prevented or lessened the tragedy, including that the van driver, who was found to be at fault, was “prone to recklessness and clowning behind the wheel.”

Created by Jerry Brown in his first term, the conservation corps puts young people to work. Its motto coined by the late B.T. Collins is: “Hard work, low pay, miserable conditions, and more!”

Collins, who was Brown’s chief of staff, would have insisted on safety first.

Dan Walters: CalPERS perilous strategy

In his latest commentary, CALmatters’ Dan Walters writes that the California Public Employee Retirement System is heading into perilous territory by deciding to use some money to purchase private companies and provide venture capital.

What could possibly go wrong? Not long ago, CalPERS was engulfed in a bribery scandal.

Walters’ bottom line: “Even when bribery was not involved, CalPERS’ dealing with private equity firms has had an unsavory taint since many specialize in taking over companies, stripping them of their assets, reducing costs by cutting jobs and then selling the corporate carcasses at a profit.”

Morning coffee

“I never thought I’d be around California politics long enough to see Dianne Feinstein opposed to the death penalty” — Bill Press, former California Democratic Party chair and “Crossfire” co-host, told me over coffee.

U.S. Sen. Feinstein, running for reelection, has reversed her position. Press was at the state Democratic convention in 1990 when Feinstein declared her support for the death penalty:

“I think I am more mainstream than has been the philosophy of the Democratic Party; I think I’m a lot tougher on crime,” she said then.

Delegates booed. “I was probably one of the ones booing.” Press, a former aide to Jerry Brown, was in town to talk about his latest book, a memoir, “From the Left.”

Please email or call with tips, suggestions and insights, [email protected], 916.201.6281. Thanks for reading. See you tomorrow.