Good morning, California.

“We’re selling broccoli donuts.”—Bill Wong, the Assembly Democrats’ main campaign strategist, telling a conference hosted by the California Target Book that legislators fail to explain what they do in understandable terms. All voters hear is “broccoli donuts,” hardly appealing even for people who sort of like broccoli.

Trump’s take on the budget

A 2020 Trump campaign director commented on California's proposed budget.

California’s new $213 billion budget promises huge sums for access to education, preschool, the environment, public safety and more.

And President Donald Trump’s director of rapid response for his 2020 campaign, Andrew H. Clark, homed in on what he sees as the most explosive issue, tweeting:

“California Democrats’ new $100 million plan in the works will start providing health care to illegal immigrants…and pay for it by taxing people (legal residents!) who don’t have health insurance.”

  • The proposed 2019-20 budget to be voted on this week includes $98 million to provide health coverage for adults ages 19-25 who are undocumented, starting in January.
  • The full year cost would exceed $200 million.
  • California already provides coverage for children 18 and younger who are undocumented.

The expenditure will save taxpayers’ money by providing care for California residents, no matter their immigration status, before they become too ill, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s spokesman, Nathan Click, says.  

Click, noting Trump seeks to abolish the Affordable Care Act, said: “It is no surprise that he would not like California trying to get us closer to universal coverage.”

Still, the politics could be fraught for Democrats in swing districts. Two weeks ago, the Assembly approved on a party-line vote legislation by Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula, a Fresno Democrat, to provide full coverage for all undocumented immigrants, at an annual cost of $3 billion.

Though it passed 51-17, eight Democrats in marginal districts declined to vote on the bill. As it happens, the legislation is academic, given that the budget limits funding to people under age 26.


FSB Core Strategies: Public Affairs. Ballot Campaigns. Legislative & Regulatory Fights

Ducking homeless issue

L.A. Skid Row, 2018. Numbers have grown.

Even as they campaign for votes in California, Democratic presidential candidates are all but silent on the state’s most obvious problem, homelessness, the L.A. Times reports.

The silence was notable during the California Democratic Party Convention in San Francisco at the start of the month. Now that L.A.’s latest homeless numbers are out, it’s even more remarkable, the Times points out. Its rundown of the candidates:

  • Sen. Kamala Harris’ campaign declined requests for comment on the latest homelessness figures.
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign did not respond to requests for the candidate’s plans to address homelessness.
  • Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign website features his stands on 25 issues, but housing is not among them.
  • Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey is the only one with a housing proposal that specifically talks about eliminating homelessness nationwide.

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro stood out by highlighting homelessness on the campaign trail.

Castro, speaking to the Times: “This is not the kind of issue that a lot of people open their arms to, but they should.”


Shedding light on charter school fight

A report on charter schools was released by state schools chief Tony Thurmond.

California school districts that lose students to charter schools need state aid to soften the financial blow, a report by Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond says.

  • As detailed by CALmatters’ Ricardo Cano, Thurmond also recommends that districts be given greater flexibility in deciding whether to approve any more of the privately run, publicly financed and mostly non-union charter schools.
  • Thurmond’s report likely will help inform legislation affecting charter public schools. Union leaders and charter school advocates contend that the findings will advance their causes. To read the full report, click here.


How to help house students

A residence hall at Sierra College in Rocklin

Only 11 of California’s 114 community colleges offer on-campus housing. But that could change, as colleges seek to help students struggling with staggeringly high rents by looking  into building dorms of their own, CALmatters’ Felicia Mello reports.

  • The projects sprouting up on campuses in Orange County and the wine country could alter the character of these traditionally commuter schools. They also pose thorny questions, such as how to keep costs down enough so that beds are affordable to community college students.
  • There is a need. One in five of community college students have been homeless.

Take a number: 7

Democrats could gain seven more Assembly seats.

Democrats already hold 61 of 80 Assembly seats. If they run the table in 2020, they could gain seven more seats.

  • That’s the assessment of Darry Sragow, publisher of the California Target Book, which tracks legislative and Congressional races and convened a conference Monday in Sacramento on the 2020 campaign.

Democrats hold 29 of 40 Senate seats, and could pick up three more in 2020. The reason: Republican incumbents hold three seats that could swing to either party.

Sragow: “There is not much upside for the Republicans. I wouldn’t be buying Republican stock.”

One reason: Whites make up 42% of California’s population but 77% of Republican voters. So long as Republican appeal is limited primarily to older white voters, they will continue to lose in California.

Commentary at CALmatters

Elaine M. Howle, California state auditor: California voters took the job of redistricting out of the hands of politicians and gave it to a first-ever citizens commission. The result is a process that ensures fairness and equity in campaigns. And we’re about to take our second walk down that very important road.

Dan Walters, CALmatters: L.A. voters rejected a new tax for schools in a test of sentiment for a similar statewide measure.

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See you tomorrow.