Good morning, California

“I don’t think America wants to turn over (control of) Congress to abolish ICE, destroy our health care system and just take over to impeach our president.” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a Bakersfield Republican, in Sacramento Wednesday.

Police unions battle use of force legislation

Peter Repovich, former head of the Los Angeles Police Protective League.

Los Angeles’ police union made clear Wednesday the depth of officers’ opposition to legislation that would toughen the standard for using deadly force.

Remind me: Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, a San Diego Democrat, and Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, a Sacramento Democrat, are carrying a bill saying officers can use lethal force only when necessary to prevent imminent death or injury. Currently, officers’ use of lethal force is justified when an “objectively reasonable” officer would have reacted the same.

In the Capitol basement, the LA Police Protective League set up a simulator so legislators could visualize the difficulty in deciding whether to shoot or not. Outside the Capitol, the union set up its mobile memorial wall on which it names 207 Los Angeles police officers killed in the line of duty.

Peter Repovich, former head of the union: “It’s about education and having the people who make decisions understand the threat police officers face every single day.”

Weber: “We are not saying that law enforcement can never use deadly force. We are saying oftentimes, there are other alternatives that can be used.”

Separately: Sen. Nancy Skinner, a Berkeley Democrat, is also carrying legislation that would open police disciplinary records. The LA Times illustrated the significance of that measure in a series of stories detailing how prosecutors won convictions based in part on testimony by officers who had a history of disciplinary problems.

The LA Times’ Liam Dillon: “No other state has locked away citizen complaints and internal investigation files like California.”


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Southeast Asians want their history taught

Loc Dang of Sacramento testified for legislation that would add curriculum related to Vietnamese-American refugees.

More than 100 Southeast Asian immigrants, many wearing old uniforms from their work with the US military, came to the Capitol Wednesday to support legislation requiring the state to develop curriculum public schools to teach kids about Vietnamese refugees and the Cambodian genocide.

As is the custom in committee hearings, the people who came from as far away as San Diego were given the opportunity to state their name, city of residence and their support for Orange County Republican Janet Nguyen’s bill.

Nguyen, who arrived in the U.S. from Vietnam at age 5: “Their history, their lives, their views should be heard.”

Loc Dang, a 70-year veteran of the South Vietnam Army’s Special Forces, who is living in Sacramento: “The truth about my history is not talked about.”

Near the end of the line, Josh Lowenthal voiced his support. A Democrat, Lowenthal came from his home in Orange County where he is running for an Assembly seat long held by Republicans:

“It’s so important to tell their story.”

What’s next: Like all bills that have a cost ($1.7 million), the measure is stuck in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. The committee will decide today which legislation can move forward for a final Assembly vote.


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Ethnic studies bill is watered down

The Legislature this week scaled back a bill to make California the first state to require ethnic studies for high school graduation, CALmatters’ Elizabeth Castillo reports. Instead of a statewide requirement, the bill was modified to create a pilot program in 10 to 15 school districts.

Assemblyman Jose Medina, a Riverside Democrat and the bill’s author: “I don’t know how a person can say they’re educated without knowledge of other groups, other cultures, other histories.”

Republican Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez of Lake Elsinore voted against the bill, essentially saying schools are not properly educating kids as it is:

“We have a very large segment of our black population, specifically they are boys who by a certain age in their educational career can’t read and write at the same level as their white counterparts.”

The cost: An estimated $400 million. Sponsors settled on a pilot program covering 10 to 15 school districts.

Kevin McCarthy says CA election will turn on gas tax

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy slammed his home state Wednesday, predicting voters will rebel by repealing the 12-cent per gallon gasoline tax the state passed last year to repair roads and bridges, CALmatters Ben Christopher reported.

Interviewed in Sacramento by Mark Baldassare, president of the Public Policy Institute of California, McCarthy predicted the gas tax repeal, Proposition 6, will be “the defining issue in this election.”

“It’s the backwards thinking between what California is doing and what Washington (is doing). Washington lets you keep more of your own money.”

McCarthy donated $300,000 to help the initiative qualify for the November ballot.

McCarthy was not asked any questions about President Trump, but anti-Trump protestors interrupted the Congressman’s talk for several minutes. When they quieted, McCarthy lamented how divisive politics has become.

P.S. McCarthy’s Kern County district is a significant beneficiary of California transportation funding, receiving $118 million so far this year for a major freeway project.

Walters: Will Newsom buck education establishment?

CALmatters commentator Dan Walters points out that Californians spend $100 billion each year to educate about 6 million public school kids. But information on how well those young Californians are being taught is scattered or unavailable. Civil rights and education reform groups have pressed for more data, and Gavin Newsom, the frontrunner to become governor, says he supports it.

Walters: “We’ll see whether he’s willing to buck the education establishment, much of which is supporting his candidacy.”

Commentary: Trump damages First Amendment

Veteran editor Gregory Favre cites many examples of presidents who had tense relations with the media but writes that “no president until now has called journalists the enemies of the people … These are not accidental assaults.”

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See you tomorrow.