THE BUZZ: Forget that other stuff in the news. California’s political universe this morning orbits around a sprawling fiscal document.
Gov. Gavin Newsom is releasing his budget this morning, his second crack at the most far-reaching tool governors have to shape policy. Remember, it’s not just a matter of who gets how much; by determining how that money is doled out, Newsom can wield influence over top-of-the-agenda issues. You may remember last year’s budget linking concrete carrots and sticks to whether cities build enough housing.
We already know some of the big-ticket proposals: Newsom wants to plow hundreds of millions more into alleviating homelessness; he’d like California to become the first state to manufacture its own generic drugs in an effort to limit costs; he’ll call for a state consumer protection agency to fill the void left as the federal watchdog has withered under Trump; and he’ll seek a $1 billion green loan fund and more firefighting resources.
Newsom has shown a recession-wary aversion to costly ongoing funding commitments, and we expect that type of caution to persist. But you can also count on legislative Democrats having plenty of ideas for where to direct ample state revenue. In a one-party state, that tension is where much of the action lies.
Immigrant healthcare has been a focal point for that push-and-pull, namely how many undocumented immigrants can get covered by Medi-Cal. Newsom last year signed off on encompassing young people but eschewed bringing in the elderly; the state senator pushing to cover older immigrants says she’s not giving up and plans to pursue legislation if Newsom doesn’t come through in the budget.
BUENOS DIAS, good Friday morning. Former Vice President Joe Biden is continuing to pick up California endorsements as we inch ever-closer to the March 3 primary.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I’ll send them when I’m ready.” Speaker Nancy Pelosi addresses her much-scrutinized timeline for transmitting articles of impeachment.
TWEET OF THE DAY: Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell @AsmPatODonnell lambastes a fellow Democrat’s bill to cap mortgage tax deductions: “This bill is a massive tax increase & assault on the middle class. We should be finding real solutions to increase housing affordability & not relying on gimmicks that will make the problem worse. I will not be supporting it. Put this on the bad idea file.”
WHERE’S GAVIN? Revealing his budget in Sacramento, starting at 10:30 a.m. Got anything you think we should ask him? Drop us a line!
YUBA CITY NOIR — “The suspect next door,” by the SF Chronicle’s Matthias Gafni: “Officer Nicholas Morawcznski was taking photographs of a chaotic murder scene, looking for clues, when he heard a scream from next door.”
HOMELESSNESS BREAKTHROUGH? — “Trump and Garcetti, enemies in public, are quietly working out a deal on homelessness,” by the LA Times’ Noah Bierman, Benjamin Oreskes and Dakota Smith: “Trump administration officials have made quiet but significant progress toward a potential deal with Los Angeles officials that would provide federal funds and land to help shelter the city‘s and county’s growing homeless population. The movement follows a series of phone calls between Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger.”
POMPEO ON TOUR IN BAY AREA: On the heels of the Iran crisis, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is hitting the liberal bastion of the SF Bay Area Monday — with a high-profile stop in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s House district. In addition to morning talk at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, Pompeo is scheduled to star Monday at an already sold-out “fireside chat” at the headquarters of the Commonwealth Club of California, where he’ll sit down with Silicon Valley Leadership Group CEO Carl Guardino to talk “foreign policy challenges and issues of economic security.’”
That 4 p.m PT event — in the heart of downtown San Francisco — should not only draw some crowds — but likely some protests. The club will offer his talk via livestream here.
— “Appeals court lifts block on $3.6 billion for Trump border wall plan,” by POLITICO’s Josh Gerstein: “The 5th Circuit panel’s majority did not provide a detailed explanation for its action, but noted that last July the Supreme Court stayed a similar injunction issued by a federal judge in Oakland, Calif.”
CALIFORNIA DEMS UNANIMOUS — “House votes to rein in Trump on Iran,” by POLITICO’s Sarah Ferris and Andrew Desiderio: “The House voted to halt further U.S. military action against Iran, in a powerful rebuke of President Donald Trump’s use of force overseas without congressional approval.”
NEVER MIND — “Feinstein backtracks on impeachment dig at Pelosi: ‘I did not mean to say that,’” by the SF Chronicle’s Dustin Gardiner.
— “‘We’ve Upped the Ante.’ Why Nancy Pelosi Is Going All in Against Trump,” by Time Magazine’s Molly Ball: “What is most striking about this moment in Pelosi’s career is that at the peak of power, she is not protecting her position but rather using it in aggressive, even risky ways. Impeaching Trump is a gamble for Pelosi.”
GARCETTI’S CHOICE: For the scrum of Democrats jostling over California’s bountiful delegates, the head of the state’s largest city is a major prize. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has long been a presidential wildcard — after laying some groundwork for a run himself and declining to jump in, he refrained from endorsing even as much of California got behind Sen. Kamala Harris.
Now, with Harris out, Garcetti is getting behind former Vice President Joe Biden, calling him “a close personal friend who has been an incredible partner in delivering progress for L.A.,” including by pushing for a $15 minimum wage. Garcetti will serve as a national co-chair for Biden’s campaign.
FROM KAMALA TO BIDEN: The migration of former Harris backers continues with former top Harris surrogate and Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia swinging behind Biden on Thursday, the latest in a growing list of local and state electeds endorsing Biden to be the Democratic nominee. Biden and Garcia together toured a bridge project in Long Beach Thursday.
— “Kamala Harris’ national finance chair prepares to back Joe Biden as former VP starts 2020 with a fundraising boost,” by CNBC’s Brian Schwartz.
STEYER BUMP: Democratic presidential hopeful Tom Steyer will participate in the next debate, POLITICO’s Zach Montellaro reports, on the strength of a pair of Fox News polls that show the California megadonor surging into the top three in South Carolina and Nevada — a stark turnaround for a candidate who seemed to be on the verge of missing the debate stage.
— “How Democratic presidential candidates want to make the U.S. more like California,” by CalMatters’ Laurel Rosenhall: “The Golden State has evolved into a laboratory for big blue ideas. Put a price on carbon? We’ve done it. Provide health insurance to undocumented immigrants? We do some of that too. Gun control, minimum wage hikes and heavy taxes on the rich are also realities here.”
— “Independents could decide California’s Democratic primary,” by the AP’s Kathleen Ronayne: “In the battle for the Democratic presidential nomination, no prize is bigger than California, which offers more delegates than any other state. And as candidates plot their strategies here, there’s an overlooked group of voters who could be key to victory: independents.
— “AB 5 does not apply to truckers, judge rules,” by POLITICO’s Jeremy B. White: “LA Superior Court Judge William Highberger said this week CA AB5 (19R) is preempted by federal law, writing the statute — and the Supreme Court decision it reflects — “clearly” runs afoul of the 1994 Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act. … Highberger’s conclusion is likely to roil the political landscape around AB 5.“ (Pro link)
— “He exposed nepotism and questionable hiring at a California tax agency. Then he lost his job,” by the Sac Bee’s Adam Ashton: “
— “‘Not the Golden State anymore’: Middle- and low-income people leaving California,” by CalMatters’ Kate Cimini: “Many who have left in recent years say they simply couldn’t afford to stay.”
— “Bay Area’s largest planned housing project could die due to union fight,” by SFChronicle’s J.K. Dineen: “For more than a year, the developers have been in talks with the building trades unions over how much of the $6 billion project’s construction would be done by union workers. But those discussions are at an impasse.”
— “2 Oakland moms take radical stand in battle for housing,” by SFChronicle’s Otis Taylor Jr.
— “Facebook sticks to policy allowing lies in political ads,” by POLITICO’s Alexandra S. Levine and Zach Montellaro: “The online giant announced Thursday morning that it is not changing the most controversial elements of its approach to campaign ads, after months of a debate that has divided Silicon Valley and brought Facebook a barrage of criticism from Democrats.”
— “Cannabis vaping sales drop 20 percent in California after national health crisis,” by POLITICO’s Alex Nieves: “Through the first eight months of 2019, the U.S. vape market witnessed steady growth, with sales in California alone peaking at over $82 million in August. After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the first death related to vaping-related lung illnesses on Aug. 29, sales in California dipped sharply, finishing at $66 million in September.” (Pro link)
— “Contra Costa DA to clear marijuana convictions for 2,399 people, thanks to Prop. 64,” by MercuryNews’ Nate Gartrell: “All told, 3,264 convictions will be overturned. Eligible convictions were identified by a nonprofit called Code for America, which uses programmers, designers and data aggregators to “improve government services,” according to its website. Code for America joined with the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office in 2018.”
— “Friday’s Bay Area king tides offer a hint of what rising sea levels look like,” by the SF Chronicle’s John King.
— “Someone shot an endangered wolf in Northern California. Will new rewards lead to killer?” by the Sac Bee’s Ryan Sabalow.
— “Alleged gang members federally indicted in deadly shootout at SF’s Fillmore Heritage Center,” by the SF Chronicle’s Evan Sernoffsky.
— “Video: Burglars smash through Palo Alto Bloomingdale’s, stealing $83K in jewelry and watches,” by SFGate’s Amy Graff.
We erroneously reported on Thursday that state Sen. Holly Mitchell is running for LA city council; she’s running for the LA board of supervisors.
Candace Vahlsing has taken on a new role as adviser to Mary Nichols at the California Air Resources Board. Vahlsing was previously a senior adviser to Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is 47 … Michelle Fields … former Rep. Lois Capps is 82 … Joseph Petrzelka, legislative assistant for Sen. Dianne Feinstein …
Joe Lacob is 64
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