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A Snapshot of California Public Policy and Politics

California Policy and Politics Wednesday

Updating . . .

President Joe Biden tests positive for COVID-19 while campaigning in Las Vegas, has ‘mild symptoms’ -- Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden will fly to his home in Delaware, where he will “self-isolate and will continue to carry out all of his duties fully during that time.” Aamer Madhani Associated Press -- 7/17/24

Schiff calls on Biden to drop out, citing ‘serious concerns’ he can’t win -- Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank), who is running for U.S. Senate in California, is calling for President Biden to drop out of the presidential race, he said in an exclusive statement Wednesday to The Times. Kevin Rector in the Los Angeles Times$ Maggie Astor in the New York Times$ Sarah Ferris and Jeremy B. White Politico Nicole Markus in the Washington Post$ -- 7/17/24

Nearly two-thirds of Democrats want Biden to withdraw, new AP-NORC poll finds -- Nearly two-thirds of Democrats say President Joe Biden should withdraw from the presidential race and let his party nominate a different candidate, according to a new poll, sharply undercutting his post-debate claim that “average Democrats” are still with him even if some “big names” are turning on him. Darlene Superville, Amelia Thomson-Deveaux and Emily Swanson Associated Press -- 7/17/24

Biden Says He’d Consider Dropping Out if a ‘Medical Condition’ Emerged -- President Biden has said none of his doctors have told him he has a serious medical condition. But his debate performance last month raised questions about his health and acuity. Michael D. Shear in the New York Times$ -- 7/17/24

Co-founders of Silicon Valley venture capital firm back Trump’s presidential bid -- The co-founders of Silicon Valley’s most prominent venture capital firm have announced their support for Donald Trump’s bid for re-election, and plan to make substantial donations to back him further. Alex Hern The Guardian -- 7/17/24


Another round of relentless, hazardous heat forecast across the West -- Another round of significant heat across California’s interior is expected to bring potentially dangerous conditions back to the state, with weather officials warning of “relentless” heat risk over the Southwest beginning this weekend. Grace Toohey in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/17/24

Southern California school district sues Gov. Newsom over new gender-identity law -- The Chino Valley Unified School District and a handful of parents argued the law violates the rights of parents protected under the U.S. Constitution. Sophie Austin Associated Press Diana Lambert and Monica Velez EdSource -- 7/17/24

Tech investor trashes San Francisco at the RNC -- It’s not a Republican party gathering without a designated California-basher. On night one of the GOP convention in Milwaukee, it was venture capitalist David Sacks taking center stage to roast his home state. Lara Korte and Melanie Mason PoliticoChase DiFeliciantonio in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 7/17/24

Garofoli: This is the San Francisco billionaire who bashed his hometown at the RNC -- “In my hometown of San Francisco, Democrat rule has turned the streets of our beautiful city into a cesspool of crime, homeless encampments and open drug use,” David Sacks, the wealthy venture capitalist and former PayPal workmate of billionaire Elon Musk, said Monday during his seven-minute speech. Joe Garofoli in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 7/17/24

Steve Garvey outraises Adam Schiff — but still has less in bank — in U.S. Senate bid -- The Republican hopeful brought in more cash than Democratic rival Adam Schiff for the first time this campaign during the latest quarter, but still has less to spend. Yue Stella Yu CalMatters -- 7/17/24

Mayor Karen Bass vetoes ballot proposal to let police chief fire problem officers -- Mayor Karen Bass has vetoed a proposed ballot measure to rework the disciplinary process at the Los Angeles Police Department — a step that could result in its removal from the Nov. 5 ballot. David Zahniser and Libor Jany in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/17/24

2026 California lieutenant governor race begins to take shape -- Former Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, California Treasurer Fiona Ma and Sen. Steven Bradford are running for California lieutenant governor in 2026. Mackenzie Mays in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/17/24

Smolens: Levin-Gunderson race jolted by Trump, Biden developments -- The day after North County Congress member urged Biden not to run for re-election, Trump was wounded by shooter. Michael Smolens in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 7/17/24


If Californians vote to ban slavery this fall, will prisoners get a raise? -- California courts have long upheld below-minimum wage pay for prison inmates working a wide range of jobs. A 2024 ballot measure that would ban forced labor could alter those decisions. Shaanth Nanguneri CalMatters -- 7/17/24


San Diego County to crack down on corporate homebuyers and landlords amid record prices -- The supervisors aim to target big investors they say have worsened housing affordability, and possibly to sign onto litigation over rental pricing. Emily Alvarenga in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 7/17/24


Sacramento to close homeless shelter while over 800 families sit on waitlist -- The shelter, in the River District just north of downtown, has old piping that would cost over $4 million to fix, said Gabby Miller, a city spokeswoman. Theresa Clift in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 7/17/24

Newsom withdraws $10M tiny homes grant for San Diego -- The California governor argued the city has moved too slowly on the project meant to alleviate homelessness. Jeremy B. White Politico -- 7/17/24

California passed a law to fix unsafe homeless shelters. Cities and counties are ignoring it -- Now that the Supreme Court has granted cities more power to ban sleeping outside, homeless Californians face a crucial decision: Try to get into a shelter, or risk going to jail. Lauren Hepler CalMatters -- 7/17/24


Judge temporarily blocks state order to growers who depleted groundwater -- The decision by Superior Court Judge Kathy Ciuffini grants Kings County growers a temporary reprieve from a state mandate to monitor and report how much water they pump from heavily over-pumped aquifers. Rachel Becker CalMatters Kurtis Alexander in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 7/17/24


Musk Says He Will Move X and SpaceX Headquarters Out of California -- Move follows new California law affecting communications between schools and families over gay and transgender students. Joseph Pisani, Alexa Corse and Micah Maidenberg in the Wall Street Journal$ Kate Conger and Eli Tan in the New York Times$ Laurence Darmiento in the Los Angeles Times$ Lara Korte Politico Gillian Brassil and Nicole Nixon in the Sacramento Bee$ Trisha Thadani in the Washington Post$ -- 7/17/24


X headquarters will move from S.F. to Austin, Texas -- San Francisco real estate market participants confirmed last week that a majority of the Market Street headquarters of X Corp. — formerly Twitter — will soon be available for subleasing. On Tuesday, the company’s CEO appeared to confirm that its days in San Francisco are numbered. Laura Waxmann in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 7/17/24


California remains short of federal firefighters as fire season ramps up -- The forest service counted 3,785 year-round and seasonal firefighters working in the state as of early July, up by nearly 150 people since last year but down by nearly 1,000 since 2020, according to records obtained by the Chronicle. Kurtis Alexander in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 7/17/24

Top of the Ticket

The California Ties at the Top of the Presidential Ticket -- Vice President Kamala Harris’s credentials are already well-known. But Senator J.D. Vance of Ohio has deep connections to the Golden State, too. Soumya Karlamangla in the New York Times$ -- 7/17/24

Megadonors Are Plotting to Change Biden’s Mind With Money. Will It Work? -- They’re calling politicians. They’re dangling money to members of Congress. But major Democratic donors who want President Biden to step aside are also learning the limits of their powers. Theodore Schleifer in the New York Times$ -- 7/17/24

Biden Circle Shrinks as Democrats Fear Election Wipeout -- In the nearly three weeks since President Biden took the debate stage in Atlanta and plunged his re-election campaign into chaos, his closest consultations have been not with his White House chief of staff, his top communications strategist or even the leader of his campaign. Katie Rogers, Lisa Lerer, Reid J. Epstein and Maggie Haberman in the New York Times$ -- 7/17/24

Pelosi privately fields battleground Dem calls as she works to address Biden crisis -- The former speaker gave the distinct impression that she wanted the president to take himself off the ticket, according to a battleground House Democrat who spoke to Nancy Pelosi recently. Sarah Ferris Politico -- 7/17/24

Democrats clash over timing of formally nominating Biden -- Democratic infighting erupted into new territory Tuesday as a trio of party elders pushed to stick with formally nominating President Biden weeks ahead of the party’s national convention, prompting some House Democrats to demand a slower process amid calls for him to step aside. Paul Kane, Leigh Ann Caldwell and Tyler Pager in the Washington Post$ -- 7/17/24

Resurgent Trump Has Democrats in Swing Districts Despondent -- The Democratic plan to hustle through President Biden’s nomination has angered some in the party looking for a change on the ticket, as Republicans project confidence in a drubbing. Jonathan Weisman and Katie Glueck in the New York Times$ -- 7/17/24

Biden, addressing NAACP, bashes Trump in bid to move beyond age questions -- President seizes on recent news about Trump in an effort to return to his original plan: make the election a referendum on his opponent. Toluse Olorunnipa in the Washington Post$ -- 7/17/24

How Trump and Republicans ‘won the war’ on immigration -- The politics of the issue have shifted unequivocally to the right under Trump’s influence. Melanie Mason Politico -- 7/17/24

Democrats promptly attack Vance as abortion extremist and Trump loyalist -- Opponents see an opening to depict Trump’s running mate as hostile to women and eager to do Trump’s bidding. Yasmeen Abutaleb and Meryl Kornfield in the Washington Post$ -- 7/17/24

US officials have gathered increasing amount of intel about Iran plotting to assassinate Trump -- Iran has for years plotted to get back at Trump for killing top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in 2020, and the threat is increasing. Erin Banco Politico -- 7/17/24

California Republicans, long in the minority at home, get a Trump boost at RNC -- California Republicans, long banished to the hinterlands of their home state’s politics, enjoyed being surrounded by like-minded conservatives at the Republican National Convention — and hearing some bashing of the blue state’s politicians and policies. Seema Mehta and James Rainey in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/17/24

Arellano: I know what a true hillbilly is, and it’s not J.D. Vance -- Vance cast his fellow Appalachians as stuck and embittered with a country that moved on without them. My Mexican hillbilly family never had time to whine and mope. Gustavo Arellano in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/17/24


Map: Here’s where Allstate wants to raise California homeowners’ insurance rates -- The insurance giant, the sixth-largest provider in the state, is asking regulators to approve what would be its steepest California rate hike in at least seven years. The increase would affect more than 350,000 homeowners. Ethan Varian in the Orange County Register -- 7/17/24


S.F. schools forced by state into painful cuts after falling short in fixing budget woes -- Fiscal watchdogs armed with control over spending in San Francisco Unified have compelled the city’s education officials to make deeper cuts at school sites in an effort to keep the overspending district solvent. Jill Tucker in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 7/17/24


Carjacking suspect shot by deputies through car window dies; state DOJ to investigate -- California Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta says the state Justice Department will independently review deputies’ shooting of a carjacking suspect after a chaotic pursuit. Keri Blakinger in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/17/24

Burglars made off with over 300 guns by smashing cars into stores, prosecutors say -- Six men have been charged with using stolen vehicles to ram into storefronts of firearms dealers, smashing display cases and taking guns that were later sold on the black market. Brittny Mejia in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/17/24


It’s official: S.F.’s Stonestown to become west side’s largest residential development in 50 years -- The long-simmering plan to convert the Stonestown Galleria from a suburban shopping center to an urban neighborhood with thousands of units of housing, playgrounds and a pedestrian-friendly main drag received its final approvals at the Board of Supervisors Tuesday, setting the stage for the largest residential development on San Francisco’s west side in more than half a century. J.K. Dineen in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 7/17/24


California’s grid passed the reliability test this heat wave. It’s all about giant batteries -- California’s power grid emerged from a nearly three weeklong record-setting heat wave relatively unscathed, and officials are crediting years of investment in renewable energy — particularly giant batteries that store solar power for use when the sun stops shining. Ari Plachta in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 7/17/24


California Policy and Politics Tuesday

Updating . . .

California’s delegation could play a pivotal role at the DNC — depending on Biden -- If Biden steps aside before the DNC in August, California’s 496-person delegation — the largest in the country — would play a key role in picking the nominee. Laura J. Nelson and Andrea Castillo in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/16/24

Schiff Warned of Wipeout for Democrats if Biden Remains in Race -- Representative Adam B. Schiff, the California Democrat who is running for Senate, warned during a private meeting with donors on Saturday that his party was likely to suffer overwhelming losses in November if President Biden remained at the top of the ticket, according to two people with direct knowledge of Mr. Schiff’s remarks at the meeting. Michael S. Schmidt and Mark Mazzetti in the New York Times$ -- 7/16/24

Gambling interests gave $1M to California lawmakers. Did it influence their votes? -- California’s rival gambling interests gave the 22 members of an obscure legislative committee more than $1 million in campaign donations. Did the cash infusion to this “juice committee” influence members’ votes? Ryan Sabalow and Jeremia Kimelman CalMatters -- 7/16/24

California plans to ban plants and bushes within 5 feet of homes at risk for wildfires -- California fire officials are writing new rules that could bar most plants, mulch and other combustible materials within 5 feet of homes in fire-prone areas of California. Julie Johnson in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 7/16/24

Newsom signs first-in-nation bill banning schools’ transgender notification policies -- AB1955 will stop school districts from notifying parents if their child starts using different pronouns or identifies as a different gender than what’s on their school record. Molly Gibbs in the Orange County Register Blake Jones and Eric He Politico Andrew Sheeler and Jenavieve Hatch in the Sacramento Bee$ Mackenzie Mays in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/16/24

Newsom signs law requiring stronger sexual harassment policies at CSU -- The California State University system will be required to establish clear policies and guidelines for how sexual harassment cases are investigated and tracked under a bill Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Monday. Colleen Shalby in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/16/24

VA housing policy discriminates against disabled veterans, federal judge rules -- A federal judge has ruled that the Department of Veterans Affairs practice of outsourcing housing construction on its West Los Angeles campus discriminates against disabled veterans whose compensation disqualifies them for the rent-restricted housing. Doug Smith in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/16/24

Can a ballot initiative transform Richmond from a refinery town? -- The bayside city of Richmond is the latest in a string of local governments attempting to make polluting industries pay more for the right to operate in their communities. Will McCarthy Politico -- 7/16/24

As Scott Peterson’s defense lawyers seek more evidence, Laci’s mother asks “When will it end?” -- Prosecutors say Los Angeles Innocence project is basing case on “rumors and speculation” Julia Prodis Sulek in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 7/16/24

Wife of Trump running mate JD Vance resigns from her S.F. law firm job -- Usha Vance, the wife of JD Vance, former President Donald Trump's newly announced running mate, left her job at prominent San Francisco law firm Munger, Tolles and Olson, the law firm said Monday. Jordan Parker in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 7/16/24

Top of the Ticket

Biden rebellion resurfaces on Capitol Hill -- A letter circulating among congressional Democrats argues that there is "no legal justification" for an early virtual roll call after Ohio moved its filing deadline past the date of the Democratic convention. Andrew Solender, Alex Thompson Axios -- 7/16/24

Democrats seek to lock in Biden nomination before convention -- Leaders plan electronic roll call starting late July despite president’s invitation to ‘challenge me at the convention’ Robert Tait The Guardian -- 7/16/24

Local Police Were Inside Building Used by Gunman, Secret Service Director Says -- “There was local police in the area that were responsible for the outer perimeter of the building,” Kimberly A. Cheatle, the director of the Secret Service said. David A. Fahrenthold in the New York Times$ -- 7/16/24

In Leaked Phone Call, Trump Tries to Coax Kennedy Into His Camp -- Robert F. Kennedy Jr. apologized for a leaked video of the phone call, in which Donald Trump says an endorsement of him “would be so good for you and so big for you” and offered up anti-vaccine messaging. Jonathan Weisman in the New York Times$ -- 7/16/24

The real Kamala Harris: What her California years reveal -- Is she on track to be the first Democratic president from California? Here are nine ways that California shaped Kamala Harris and that Harris has shaped California. Ben Christopher CalMatters -- 7/16/24

Garofoli: Republicans are soft-pedaling Project 2025 even as they promote it -- Even at a policy forum Monday put on by the Heritage Foundation, the think tank that led 110 other conservative organizations in crafting the 900-page document, Republicans sought to downplay the plan. Joe Garofoli in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 7/16/24

Biden allies worry he is not getting complete information about race -- Democratic lawmakers and strategists inside the effort to reelect President Biden have grown concerned in recent days that he is listening to a small number of aides who are limiting the data he receives. Michael Scherer, Tyler Pager, Leigh Ann Caldwell and Toluse Olorunnipa in the Washington Post$ -- 7/16/24

For Biden, How to Cool the Temperature Without Freezing His Campaign -- Former President Donald J. Trump has gone from being an instigator of political violence to a victim of it. The assassination attempt raised questions about how far language should go in a heated campaign. Peter Baker in the New York Times$ -- 7/16/24

Biden Calls J.D. Vance a Trump ‘Clone’ as Democrats Label Him an Extremist -- Democrats quickly went on the attack against the newly anointed Republican vice-presidential nominee, calling out what they called his “extreme MAGA agenda.” Nicholas Nehamas in the New York Times$ -- 7/16/24

Democrats have found their first big attack line against J.D. Vance -- The Ohio senator has given the Biden campaign new rocket fuel for its attacks on the former president. Adam Cancryn and Lisa Kashinsky Politico -- 7/16/24

‘I’m a Never Trump guy’: All of J.D. Vance’s Trump quotes that could come back to bite him -- In the year before Trump took the Oval Office, Vance, who once described himself as a “Never Trump guy,” was quick to criticize the former president, using words like “idiot” and even “Hitler” to describe Trump. Mia Mccarthy Politico -- 7/16/24

In J.D. Vance, Trump is going all in on populism — and elevating an heir apparent -- Trump picked the most ideological, pugilistic Republican on his shortlist. Natalie Allison, Alex Isenstadt, Meridith Mcgraw, Olivia Beavers and Kimberly Leonard Politico -- 7/16/24

Kamala Harris Is Ready to Debate J.D. Vance, Biden Campaign Says -- The vice president also offered her congratulations to the Ohio senator, Donald Trump’s running mate pick. Nicholas Nehamas in the New York Times$ -- 7/16/24

J.D. Vance pick unnerves GOP’s business elite, thrills populists -- Former president Donald Trump’s choice of Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) as the GOP’s vice-presidential nominee reflects the ascendancy of the party’s populist economic wing — and the choice is alarming traditional conservative policymakers and elite donors who opposed the pick. Jeff Stein in the Washington Post$ -- 7/16/24

How Trump got to ‘yes’ on Vance -- A personal bond, a play for Pennsylvania and above all, loyalty. Isaac Arnsdorf, Josh Dawsey and Marianne LeVine in the Washington Post$ -- 7/16/24

Melania Trump absent on first night of the Republican convention -- But in what could be characterized as the most triumphant moment so far for Trump’s 2024 campaign, there was a glaring absence among the VIPs — his wife and the former first lady, Melania Trump. Maegan Vazquez in the Washington Post$ -- 7/16/24

Biden defends ‘pretty damn good’ mental acuity in testy interview -- President Joe Biden dismissed mounting concerns within his party over his age and ability to run for reelection, insisting in an interview Monday that he is showing Americans that he has “command of all my faculties.” Adam Cancryn Politico -- 7/16/24

FBI, DHS warn of possible retaliation for attack on Trump -- U.S. authorities are concerned about possible attacks in retaliation to the attempted assassination of Donald Trump, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security said Monday in a rare joint intelligence bulletin. Erin Banco and Eric Bazail-Eimil Politico -- 7/16/24

No Strings

In the Age of A.I., How Much Is Silicon Valley Prepared to Give Back? -- The tech community, led by Sam Altman of OpenAI, has funded programs that give people unconditional cash. Some say it’s time to scale up. David Streitfeld in the New York Times$ -- 7/16/24


New soundstages planned in Burbank after studio sale -- The former NBC Studios, in what TV host Johnny Carson used to call “beautiful downtown Burbank,” has sold for $375 million to a local developer who previously owned the property and plans to add more soundstages to the legendary lot. Roger Vincent in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/16/24


California needs a million EV charging stations — but that’s ‘unlikely’ and ‘unrealistic’ -- Public chargers must be built at an unprecedented pace to meet the target in less than 7 years, and then doubled to 2 million in 2035. The high cost — $120,000 or more for one fast charger— is just one obstacle. Alejandro Lazo CalMatters -- 7/16/24


Sacramento State rolls out faculty ‘cluster hire’ to meet Latino student needs -- To better serve its student body and reflect campus demographics, Sacramento State is implementing a cluster hire of 17 faculty members with an expertise in working with Latino students, school officials said. These instructors will start teaching in fall 2025. Emma Hall and Mathew Miranda in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 7/16/24


S.F. drug overdose deaths fell to nearly 2-year low in June, offering glimmer of hope -- The last time the death count dropped below 50 was in July 2022, when 43 people died from overdoses. Most months, that number is in the 50s or 60s. Catherine Ho in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 7/16/24


Rising COVID clashes with carefree California summer as cases jump, precautions fade -- COVID’s spread is being aided by people who are still going to work or traveling while sick. Doctors say it’s important for people who are sick to avoid putting others at risk. Rong-Gong Lin II in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/16/24


Price of camping in Angeles National Forest may jump as much as 300% -- The managers of the vast, 700,000-acre Angeles National Forest — including the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument — are proposing to raise the cost of camping at 11 popular sites by as much as 300%. The fee hikes, if approved by a resource advisory committee and the regional forester, would take effect sometime in 2025. Steve Scauzillo in the Los Angeles Daily News$ -- 7/16/24