The devastating wildfires we face in California demand more action at the federal level. Buildings, communities and lives have been destroyed and we need to approach the issue as a crisis. After 35 years fighting fires and serving as chief of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, I can promise you that the time for talk has long passed. Given the scope, scale and human and financial costs of the problem we face, I’ve often wondered why presidential candidates haven’t talked about how to address the problem.
One campaign, however, called me and asked specifically about the issues we face in California. And one candidate launched an ambitious but doable plan on climate change that includes specific provisions for addressing our wildfires.
Like most Californian’s, until recently, I didn’t know much about Mike Bloomberg. But after digging into his record and plan, I believe we need to pay close attention.
Bloomberg has a track record of getting things done on climate as the mayor of New York. He made significant investments in clean energy, successfully implemented a clean buildings plan and despite a rapidly growing population, dramatically reduced pollutants resulting in the highest air quality in 50 years.
But what grabbed my attention and should grab everyone’s attention was that Bloomberg is the only candidate to release a specific wildfire plan.Read More
Jennifer Jennings dons a veritable uniform these days. Whether she’s picking up groceries, cruising through a fast-food drive-thru or headed to the carwash, she’s always sporting Bernie-wear — sweatshirts, t-shirts, whatever.
But she doesn’t just wear her support on her sleeves. She’s also been making small online donations — hundreds of them — to the campaign of Bernie Sanders, the progressive senator from Vermont who continually assails the “billionaire class.”
“It has just become part of my life now. It’s a dollar a day,” said Jennings, a safety manager at the Port of Long Beach. “I live paycheck to paycheck and somehow, I’m contributing this money because I’m making that choice, ya know? I’m making minimum credit card payments by their due date and that’s all I’m willing to do,” she said. But when it comes to Bernie, “I want to do my part. I want to participate.”
A CalMatters analysis of the latest available Federal Election Commission data shows that of the 20 California donors under the same name who made the greatest number of small presidential campaign contributions in 2019, one supports President Donald Trump. The rest are backing Democrats. Fifteen of those sent most or all of their donations to the Sanders campaign.
And those donations are adding up.Read More
After 30 years in the business of politics, you find yourself to be alumni of several different campaigns. I’ve always been proud to be a Mitt Romney alum, as the California director of his 2008 presidential campaign.
I had decided over a year beforehand that I wanted to work to elect Romney as president. I was impressed with how he was a Republican who was elected governor in the blue state of Massachusetts and pragmatically steered a course with conservative hues.
My friend and then business partner Mike Murphy had navigated Romney’s Massachusetts victory, and I was influenced by the atypical genuine high esteem Mike held for Romney. Romney was a skilled conservative of strong character whom I deeply believed would be a great president.
His 2008 campaign was of course unsuccessful. He lost the Republican nomination to John McCain. But my belief in Romney remained and he was a great friend to consequential GOP efforts in California, like supporting his friend Meg Whitman’s quest for governor in 2010.
All of this came into focus during the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.Read More
Climate action starts at home. It’s where we cook our meals, plug in our appliances, heat our water, and as a result, homes are a large source of our carbon pollution.
Add on top of that the energy needed to create the materials our buildings are made of, such as concrete and steel, whose production are responsible for more than 11% of global greenhouse gas emissions. It all means our buildings have a huge amount of embedded carbon before we even turn on the lights.
Even as our electricity supply becomes cleaner, buildings will continue to be a source of carbon. About half of the homes in the U.S. use natural gas for heating, cooking, and hot water.
In 2018, the residential sector alone accounted for almost 17% of U.S. natural gas consumption. We will not solve our climate crisis without addressing fossil fuel use in buildings and the making of building materials.Read More
In the race to gobble up as many big name endorsements in California before the March 3 primary, few presidential contenders are quite as hungry as Mike Bloomberg.
In the last week, the billionaire former New York mayor has touted new stamps of approval from no fewer than 50 California politicos, big and small, including three members of Congress, two state senators, California’s treasurer and the former mayor of Los Angeles. They join a list of backers including San Francisco Mayor London Breed, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs.
Ever since California’s junior U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris dropped her presidential bid in early December — releasing the bulk of the state’s political elite, who had endorsed her, to seek out a new candidate — the race has been on to scoop them up.
These are, as Bloomberg termed them in a CalMatters interview, the coveted electoral “influencers.”
Like Instagram celebrities hawking a new fashion line, these are the big names who can suss out a presidential aspirant and say, “I’ve been there, done that, and you should do the same thing,’” he said.Read More
You might not guess it given the president’s subterranean approval numbers among California voters, the more than 40 mean tweets he’s issued about the state or his regular spats with Gov. Gavin Newsom. But the latest raft of numbers from the Federal Elections Commission do not lie: The top beneficiary of California-based campaign contributions in 2019 is none other than President Donald Trump.
See for yourself.
Last year Trump’s reelection campaign took in almost $12.2 million in itemized contributions from California donors, more than any other candidate.
Before you revise your understanding of California politics, two caveats.
All the Democratic contenders take together actually leave Trump in the dust — they’ve collected 83% of California’s reported donors. Remember, the president isn’t facing any significant challengers from within his own party, whereas the Democratic field is still split 11 ways.Read More
Kathy Garcia is not your typical Republican candidate for the California Senate.
For one, she only just joined the GOP. A lifelong Democrat, she won election to the Stockton school board member with the backing of the county Democratic party. She changed her affiliation to Republican in June 2019, six months before the deadline to enter the Senate race.
She said the idea to run — under the banner of a party she’d opposed most of her adult life — was suggested to her by a Stockton lawyer and powerbroker who, records show, has helped fund the campaign of another candidate in the race. And that candidate, a moderate Democrat, incidentally stands a better chance if the Republican vote is divided.
The 80-year-old Garcia, asked by CalMatters why she’s running under the GOP label, gave a series of distinctly un-Republican explanations.
“I just decided I was going to try something new. And not because I like Trump,” she said, before making a retching noise. As for the Republicans that are running, she said, “I want to just put them under the bus.”Read More
The climate crisis is no longer a threat to future generations. It is real and tangible. Every day brings a new reminder of the cost of failure to address the crisis.
Australia, which resembles California in its rich biodiversity and spectacular coastal resources, is facing the most disastrous ecological devastation in modern history.
Californians have felt the heat of fires as well as extended drought, sea level rise and violent weather systems on homes, businesses and people.
Meanwhile the Trump Administration works relentlessly to thwart climate progress, denying science, ignoring warnings from Wall Street and defying common sense.
The crisis demands leaders who will embrace solutions that are bold, far-reaching and transformative. America’s youth have made that clear. But above all we need elected officials who will act–bringing both serious policy and practical implementation skills to the enormous task of turning the global economy green.Read More
Aspiring Democratic presidential
candidates, welcome to California. You’re not in Iowa anymore.
Although a calendar packed with
county fairs, barbecues and house parties might be enough to carry you through
the early states that will vote and caucus in February, California — boasting
the largest reserve of candidate-electing party delegates — is a different
Our electorate is diverse. Our
election procedures, complex. Our population, enormous; our costs of
campaigning, even more so. And now that California’s primary has been boosted
to March 3, just after the first contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and
South Carolina, the qualities that make California politics unique might
actually matter this time.
#1: Every vote matters — but early votes may matter more
On Feb. 3, hundreds of thousands of
Iowans will head to their first-in-the-nation caucuses — and multiples more
will start getting their ballots in the mail in California, where any
registered voter can cast an absentee ballot for any reason. Campaigns have
three reasons to get those vote-by-mail supporters to cast their ballots as
early as possible.