KEEP TABS ON THE LATEST CALIFORNIA POLICY AND POLITICS NEWS
Happy Friday, California.
Well-educated, high-earners are still moving to California. But with housing prices at an all-time high, there’s an exodus of low-wage workers, reports Next10, a nonpartisan group, with research by Beacon Economics.
Putting ‘fun’ back in fundraising
Democratic legislators will spend this weekend attending the 21st annual Speaker’s Cup, a golf and fund-raising extravaganza at Pebble Beach, courtesy of AT&T.
Imagine the fun of spending Cinco de Mayo at Pebble Beach with Democratic legislative luminaries. The event is open to anyone, who has enough money.
The price to attain Platinum Plus sponsorship will be $100,000, says the invitation. Platinum Plus is the most expensive level, and ensures lobbyists and their clients the greatest access to legislators. The low-end sponsorship is $50,000; it had been $35,000 in 2015.
But why? In past years, legislators and lobbyists were treated to free massages, drinks around fire pits, the beauty of Pebble Beach and amazing swag: Tumi Luggage, premium booze, Apple watches. No word on this year’s gifts. It’ll be a surprise.
Rendon aide Bill Wong: “Trump threatens environmental protections, the sanctity of our coast, and key immigration policies. We will do whatever is necessary to protect and expand our majority in California as hedge against his reckless actions.”
AT&T talks: Since 2011, AT&T has spent $10.2 million to elect and un-elect lawmakers in California.
Legislators listen: Come Monday, AT&T lobbyists will be back in the Capitol trying to kill privacy-related legislation and shape other bills. AT&T and other Internet service providers also will campaign against an initiative heading to the November ballot that would open the way for more litigation over privacy breaches.
Best forgotten: The Pro Tem’s Cup, the Senate Democrats’ version of the fund-raiser, was cancelled in 2014 after two Democratic senators were indicted on corruption charges. (Correction: An earlier version incorrectly stated the 2014 Speaker’s Cup was cancelled.)
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Garcia investigation concludes?
Investigators looking into sex harassment complaints against Assembly Christina Garcia apparently completed their work without talking to all the alleged victims.
Jog my memory: Garcia, a Bell Gardens Democrat, was a leading voice in the #MeToo movement before being accused of groping men, making lewd comments and urging staffers to play spin the bottle.
Sacramento attorney John Kennedy, representing the Assembly, sent an email on April 26 to the lawyer representing some of the complainants: “I write to inform you that the investigation of complaints against Assembly member Christina Garcia has concluded.”
Kennedy was responding to a question from the accusers’ attorney, Dan Gilleon, asking whether Assembly investigators would interview Gilleon’s clients. They won’t. The lawyers failed to resolve a dispute over the questioning. As a result, Assembly investigators concluded their inquiry into Garcia without talking to at least five of Garcia’s accusers.
Republicans head south
California Republicans will gather at the San Diego Sheraton this weekend to endorse candidates for the few statewide races in which they are fielding legitimate candidates.
The most closely watched endorsement will be in the Republican race for governor, where San Diego businessman John Cox is facing Assemblyman Travis Allen, of Huntington Beach. Allen will attack Cox for having not voted for President Donald Trump. Cox is vastly outspending Allen. Several party leaders are supporting Cox.
Los Angeles-area entrepreneur Cole Harris, who has put $2 million of his own money into his quest to become lieutenant governor, will use the convention as a coming out. Harris has been turning down interviews and debate appearances, to the dismay of some party faithful.
Why it matters: Although the California GOP is in a weakened state, candidates who receive the GOP’s blessing can avail themselves of the party apparatus, which includes less expensive postage rates, the right to tout the party’s seal of approval and, perhaps, campaign money.
What of Republican moderates?
Assemblyman Rocky Chavez, an Oceanside Republican, is testing whether a moderate can win a Republican congressional seat in California in the era of Donald Trump.
Chavez seeks to replace Congressman Darrell Issa, the North San Diego County Republican who is retiring. Chavez opposes the border wall, supports giving the children of undocumented immigrants legal status, and voted for climate change legislation last year. That bill will raise the cost of gasoline and impose costs on polluters but seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Republican foes: San Diego County Supervisor Kristin Gaspar led the effort to persuade the San Diego County supervisors to oppose California’s so-called sanctuary state law, eliciting a favorable presidential tweet. Issa and the Orange and San Diego county Republican committees have endorsed Board of Equalization member Diane Harkey.
Chavez’s slogan: One Tough Marine, written on dog tags. He’s a retired Marine colonel running in a district that includes Camp Pendleton. That should help. Will he attend the GOP convention, not far from his home? “I will be walking [precincts] this weekend; will be there Saturday evening for a short time,” Chavez told me.
What’s a ‘public policy advisor?’
CALmatters’ Ben Christopher pulls back the curtain for a fascinating look into the perennial fight over candidates’ titles. He explains why, for example, Antonio Villaraigosa will appear on the ballot as a “public policy advisor,” not former mayor of Los Angeles. It’s an arcane area of election law. But as candidates and their consultants can attest, words matter when voters cast their ballots.
Save the butterflies
California once was prime territory for monarch butterflies. No more. Numbers have plunged from 10 million in the 1980s to about 200,000 now. A culprit: herbicides used to kill milkweed, a plant vital to their survival. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is considering whether to protect monarchs under the Endangered Species Act. Assemblyman Mark Stone, a Democrat, represents a Santa Cruz County district where monarchs spend their winters, and has a bill intended to save them. He proposes to pay willing farmers and other landowners to conserve monarch habitat. The cost is to be determined during budget negotiations, which turn serious this month.
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Thank you for reading. See you on Monday.