Twitter wars, housing, the DMV and the NFL


Good morning, California. We’re up, and we’re good. But we’re not #Lodestar.

“Just like the NFL, whose ratings have gone WAY DOWN, Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts. I wonder if they had any idea that it would be this way? As far as the NFL is concerned, I just find it hard to watch, and always will, until they stand for the FLAG!”—President Donald Trump on Twitter.

“Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything. Former San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick, tweeting a Nike ad scheduled to air during the NFL opener tonight.


Silicon Valley gets it from both capitals and all sides

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg

Calls for social media regulation intensified Wednesday. And not just on Capitol Hill.

As Facebook and Twitter execs were called on the carpet in Washington, two California bills on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk echoed the calls to regulate Facebook and Twitter.

Legislation by Sen. Richard Pan, a Sacramento Democrat, urges the California attorney general to study the spread of “false information” over social media and write a plan to address it.

Another bill by Sen. Bob Hertzberg, a Los Angeles Democrat, would make it illegal to use bots to deceive people into buying something or to influence a vote.

Baby steps: Hertzberg’s bill includes no penalty and Pan’s bill includes no funding. Critics of both nonetheless cite First Amendment concerns.

Pan said he has no intention of infringing on free speech, but likened lies spread over social media to the First Amendment exception of falsely yelling “fire” in a crowded theater.

Meanwhile in DC: U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, warned of federal intervention after testimony on Wednesday:

“The era of the Wild West in social media is coming to an end.”

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced plans to convene some state attorneys general to focus on “a growing concern that these companies may be hurting competition and intentionally stifling the free exchange of ideas.” (California Attorney General Xavier Becerra hasn’t received his invitation.)

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai in Medium: “(W)e need to seriously think about whether the time has come for these companies to abide by new transparency obligations.”

Bottom line: The issue isn’t going away.

Another ‘oops’ moment for DMV

Lines at the California DMV

Department of Motor Vehicle chief Jean Shiomoto, facing criticism for  excessive delays at DMV offices, announced 23,000 errors in the motor-voter registration system:

Shiomoto: “We are committed to getting this right and are working closely with the Secretary of State’s office to correct the errors that occurred.”

The problem had nothing to do with outside meddling, but rather “an administrative processing error.”

Secretary of State Alex Padilla: “I hope this doesn’t detract from the otherwise overwhelming success that motor voter has been.”

Officials promise to alert affected voters. Without delay.

A job may no longer mean a home

California homes, an aerial view

Thousands of Californians are working while homeless, and many don’t want their bosses to know, KPCC’s David Wagner reports in the latest installment of the California Dream collaboration between CALmatters and public radio.

An estimated 10 percent of homeless San Diegans are working, according to a survey this year. Another survey last year of homeless San Franciscans found 13 percent had full- or part-time employment. Yet another survey last year indicated that about 4,000 of Los Angeles County’s estimated 50,000 homeless people had jobs.

Meanwhile among homeowners: California may have changed a lot, but today’s voters have at least one thing in common with their 1970s forebears,CALmatters’ Matt Levin writes. They still really like Proposition 13.

In 1978, 65 percent of California voters approved Proposition 13. Forty years later, a Public Policy Institute of California shows 65 percent view the historic property tax restriction as mostly a good thing.

A couple of housing moves

Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa

Tenants facing eviction would get a bit more time under a bill signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday. Currently, tenants get three days to pay before an eviction and five calendar days to respond to an eviction lawsuit. This stops the clock on weekends. Check out this podcast from CALmatters’ Matt Levin for more on evictions and tenants’ rights.

In other housing news, opponents of Proposition 10, the initiative to expand rent control in California, released a list of like-minded state and local officials. Among them: former Los Angeles Mayor and gubernatorial candidate Antonio Villaraigosa, assorted moderate Democratic Assembly members, and the mayors of Fresno, San Jose, and several smaller cities. Top two candidates for governor John Cox and Gavin Newsom, also oppose Proposition 10.  Los Angeles’s current mayor, Eric Garcetti, supports the initiative.

Speaking of homes

A bipartisan bill making it easier for legislators to live outside their districts was among the less-publicized items to land on the governor’s desk last week.

Its author, Sen. Steven Bradford, a Gardena Democrat, replaced Rod Wright after Wright was found guilty of perjury and voting fraud in 2014 for living outside his district and lying about it. Earlier this year, Wright registered as a lobbyist.

Bigger picture: California’s Constitution has a residency requirement, though it’s ambiguous. Officials must register at a “domicile” to which they have “an intention of returning.”

Congress: Federal law doesn’t require members of the House of Representatives to live in their districts. Republican Congressman Tom McClintock, for one, lives in the Sacramento suburb of Elk Grove, miles from his district, which includes much of the Sierra. Voters have elected him five times.


Prosecutors protest "felony murder" bill

More on the "felony murder" debate

Forty-two county prosecutors signed a letter urging Gov. Jerry Brown to veto legislation that would significantly weaken California “felony murder” rule.

Remind me: That’s the rule that says people involved in crimes that result in death are responsible for the murder even if they didn’t directly cause the death or know that a death would occur.

The argument: At a press conference today, prosecutors are expected to say legislation by Sen. Nancy Skinner, a Berkeley Democrat, violates a 1978 initiative that expanded liability for participants in crimes that cause death. It also would let people off too easily.

Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert told me the law ought to be changed so that an accomplice could receive a somewhat lighter sentence. But Skinner’s bill all but abolishes culpability, except limited circumstances.

“You have to acknowledge that a person died.”

Another issue, another CA brand

Levi Strauss has pledged $1 million to gun control

As Colin Kaepernick’s “take a knee” movement has moved from NFL sidelines to Nike billboards, another California icon, San Francisco-based Levi Strauss & Co., has put its brand behind gun control. This week, the jeans company pledged $1 million in philanthropic grants over the next four years toward gun safety issues.

Levi Strauss CEO Chip Bergh: “We simply cannot stand by silently when it comes to the issues that threaten the very fabric of the communities where we live and work.”

The Los Angeles Times notes that state lawmakers have sent nine new gun control bills to Gov. Jerry Brown amid concern over mass shootings. California has some of the nation’s strictest gun control laws.

Commentary from CALmatters

Solar panels in California

Dan Walters: Cities and school districts are in “an ever-tightening fiscal vise because mandatory payments into public employee pension funds are growing much faster than revenues. That’s why dozens of them are asking their voters this year to approve new taxes, although they typically, for political reasons, don’t specify pensions as the reason.”

Nicole Lederer: “California has the toughest clean air standards and some of the most ambitious climate policies in the country. It also has more clean energy jobs, attracts more clean energy investments, and drives more innovation in renewable energy and energy efficiency than any other state. There’s a connection here.”


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