Rough & Tumble ®
A Snapshot of California Public Policy and Politics


Updating . . .

‘Mood is dark’: 80% of Bay Area voters see state of big three downtowns as serious problem, poll finds -- Anthony Estrada hasn’t been to downtown San Francisco since he grabbed a beer after the St. Patrick’s Day parade and “a guy walks up and drops his pants” and, well, we don’t need to tell you what happened next. “It’s really not worth going there anymore.” Julia Prodis Sulek in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 10/1/23

‘I always think of her as mayor’: Dianne Feinstein’s legacy lives deepest in San Francisco -- Nowhere was Dianne Feinstein’s death felt as strongly as in her hometown of San Francisco. Kevin Rector, Sonja Sharp, Benjamin Oreskes in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/1/23

Garofoli: California Republicans are doubling down on transphobia -- California Republicans doubled down on LGBTQ vilification at their three-day convention that ended Sunday. That, of course, wasn’t their preferred framing. Instead, it was cast as favoring “parents rights.” Or being against “child sexual mutilation.” Joe Garofoli in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 10/1/23

Desperate to rid Catalina of invasive deer, officials propose bold helicopter hunt -- A plan to use helicopter-mounted sharpshooters to kill nearly 2,000 invasive mule deer roaming the mountains of Santa Catalina Island has ignited a storm of protest among residents of the popular resort destination and prompted calls for state wildlife officials to block the hunt. Louis Sahagún in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/1/23

McManus: Biden and Trump want working-class votes. The economy may decide who gets them -- The battle for working-class voters is on, and it could well decide the outcome of the 2024 election. Doyle McManus in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/1/23

Matt Gaetz Plans Vote to Oust Kevin McCarthy After Speaker Avoids Shutdown -- Challenge comes after leader turned back on GOP holdouts to pass bill with Democratic support. Kristina Peterson, Lindsay Wise in the Wall Street Journal$ Kevin Freking Associated Press Marianna Sotomayor, Leigh Ann Caldwell, Mariana Alfaro in the Washington Post$ Karoun Demirjian in the New York Times$ -- 10/1/23


More than 75,000 Kaiser Permanente workers prepare for three-day strike -- The employees’ labor contract expired this weekend, setting the stage for the largest health-care strike in U.S. history. Aaron Gregg in the Washington Post$ -- 10/1/23


Bay Area residents clamor for new COVID vaccine, but shots remain in short supply -- The new COVID vaccine, which targets more recent variants, is now available in the Bay Area, but people interviewed in the East Bay report a wait for appointments. Michael Cabanatuan in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 10/1/23


Large trees fueled massive Calif. wildfire that killed giant sequoias -- The researchers believe the large-diameter fuel produced longer flames and caused the fire to jump to the forest canopy. Erin Blakemore in the Washington Post$ -- 10/1/23


‘Granny Annie’ found some solace living on the streets of Serra Mesa. Then she was killed with a pellet gun -- Prosecutors say Annette “Annie” Pershal — also known as the “Queen of Serra Mesa” — was targeted while she slept by a suspect who texted he wanted to go “hobo hunting” David Hernandez in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 10/1/23

Sforza: Orange, Riverside counties will test new strategy to treat severely mentally ill -- It’s a philosophical faceoff between those who argue that folks should be free to chart their own course without government intervention and those who argue that civilized societies don’t allow mentally ill people to live — and die — on public streets. Teri Sforza in the Orange County Register -- 10/1/23


Seeking protection and opportunity, more Chinese migrants take treacherous journey to San Diego-Mexico border -- Though Chinese migrants account for just a fraction of the people arriving at the Tijuana-San Diego border, their presence has grown noticeably in recent months. Alex Riggins in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 10/1/23


Morrison: The sordid tale of L.A.’s forever war on smog -- Los Angeles’ first documented smog attack — yes, we had smog attacks — was in 1943. We’ve been fighting the sources of pollution and the quirks of geography that trap it ever since. Patt Morrison in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/1/23


Bill Ackman Tweets a Lot of Big Ideas. His Biggest Might Be Combining With Twitter Itself -- Ackman’s firm, Pershing Square PSH 0.69%increase; green up pointing triangle, received regulatory signoff Friday for a novel investment vehicle whose purpose is to invest in a privately held company and take it public. When asked by The Wall Street Journal if he would consider a transaction with X, the billionaire investor said “Absolutely.” Cara Lombardo in the Wall Street Journal$ -- 10/1/23


Why You Soon Won’t Be Able to Avoid AI—at Work or at Home Tech giants are racing to incorporate artificial intelligence into almost every aspect of their businesses, aiming to make AI indispensable for some—and unavoidable for the rest of us. Christopher Mims in the Wall Street Journal$ -- 10/1/23


Arnold Schwarzenegger Is Here to Pump You Up (Emotionally) -- As improbable as his achievements are, Schwarzenegger believes his life and outlook can be a model for others. At least that’s the premise of his new self-help book, “Be Useful: Seven Tools for Life,” which will be published Oct. 10. David Marchese in the New York Times$ -- 10/1/23

This is the ‘weirdest stuff’ Yosemite hikers have dropped into Half Dome -- The “honey hole” produced more than 200 pounds of stray Nalgenes and reusable water bottles, shoes, hats and gloves, credit cards, GoPros, a can of bear spray, a canister of asthma medication and a personal satellite GPS tracker, according to Jonah Durham, a seasonal climbing ranger at the park who rappelled off the saddle. Gregory Thomas in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 10/1/23

How a pro soccer team hopes to create a new identity in Antelope Valley -- The former baseball stadium that hosted the Lancaster JetHawks is poised to host a USL-affiliated pro team that could help revitalize the high desert. Kevin Baxter in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/1/23


California Policy and Politics Sunday

Newsom vetoes bill to give striking workers unemployment benefits -- Newsom’s rejection of Senate Bill 799 delivers a rare blow to organized labor, which has enjoyed strong support in the Democratic-controlled state Legislature. In his veto message, Newsom said expanding benefits would make the state’s unemployment trust fund “vulnerable to insolvency.” Queenie Wong in the Los Angeles Times$ Sophia Bollag in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 10/1/23

California housekeepers won’t get work safety protections after another Newsom veto -- Newsom said that although he is “committed to the well-being of domestic workers,” private households cannot be regulated in the same way that businesses are. Under this legislation, private households would be required to provide eyewash stations if workers use bleach and could face fines up to $15,000 per safety violation. Mackenzie Mays in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/1/23

Body of Sen. Dianne Feinstein returns to San Francisco -- As Feinstein’s plane taxied down the tarmac, her granddaughter Eileen Mariano and Mayor London Breed were among the crowd that walked out to meet her. Feinstein’s daughter Katherine was the first to disembark, followed by long-time colleague Nancy Pelosi and Feinstein’s chief of staff James Sauls. Megan Fan Munce in the San Francisco Chronicle$ Ian James in the Los Angeles Times$ John Metcalfe in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 10/1/23

Dianne Feinstein’s cause of death hasn’t been disclosed, but it likely wasn’t dementia -- No cause of death has been disclosed for Dianne Feinstein, who struggled with evident health problems. But doctors doubt it was dementia. Corinne Purtill in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/1/23

Feinstein’s Death Intensifies Fight for a Coveted California Senate Seat -- The death of Senator Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat, has set the stage for a costly ideological battle to replace a moderate senator who was one of the most monumental figures in California’s political history. Adam Nagourney, Shawn Hubler in the New York Times$ -- 10/1/23

Smith: Newsom’s cynical pitch: Hey, you there, Black woman. Can you keep Feinstein’s seat warm? -- California’s governor vowed to pick a Black woman to fill the vacancy in the Senate. But he won’t get many takers without the ability to run again. Erika D. Smith in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/1/23

News Analysis: Kevin McCarthy avoided a government shutdown. But the fiasco shows he’s weaker than ever -- Congress has voted to prevent a government shutdown. But House Speaker Kevin McCarthy had to rely on Democrats to get the bill to President Biden’s desk. Erin B. Logan in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/1/23

In California, Republicans are divided over McCarthy’s deal to avoid government shutdown -- McCarthy’s deal to fund the government through mid-November passed the House with more support from Democrats than Republicans, demonstrating his inability to hold his caucus together on key votes. Ninety Republicans opposed the measure. Faith E. Pinho, Benjamin Oreskes in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/1/23

Walters: Technology and labor trade-offs create dilemma for California’s economy -- California’s labor unions prioritize job preservation and employment enhancement, but at what point do these efforts backfire and eliminate jobs? Dan Walters CalMatters -- 10/1/23


Saturday Updates

On the brink of a federal shutdown, the House passes a 45-day funding plan and sends it to Senate -- On the brink of a federal government shutdown, the House on Saturday swiftly approved a 45-day funding bill to keep federal agencies open as Speaker Kevin McCarthy dropped demands for steep spending cuts and relied on Democratic votes for passage to send the package to the Senate. Lisa Mascaro, Kevin Freking, Stephen Groves Associated Press -- 9/30/23

Trump to California Republicans: ‘No way we lose this state in a real election’ -- The former president railed against Democrats and again claimed the 2020 election was rigged in his speech to the California Republican Party. With him skipping the primary debates, the party convention may get the next best thing, with speeches also by Sen. Tim Scott and Gov. Ron DeSantis. Sameea Kamal CalMatters -- 9/30/23

Trump attacks Pelosi and Newsom while rallying California Republicans -- Former President Trump, opening up the California Republican Party’s fall convention, assailed Gov. Gavin Newsom, “California radicals” and “tech tyrants” on Friday in a rambling speech that drifted from mandated vaccines for schoolchildren to the quality of his Palos Verdes golf course. Seema Mehta, Benjamin Oreskes, Faith E. Pinho in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/30/23

Biden offers dire warnings about Trump, accuses mainstream GOP of ‘deafening’ silence -- President Joe Biden issued one of his most dire warnings yet that Donald Trump and his allies are a menace to American democracy, declaring Thursday that the former president is more interested in personal power than upholding the nation’s core values and suggesting even mainstream Republicans are complicit. “The silence is deafening,” he said. Seung Min Kim, Jonathan J. Cooper, Will Weissert Associated Press -- 9/30/23

Ron DeSantis pushes California Republicans to embrace Florida politics instead of Donald Trump -- Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis doesn’t want California Republicans comparing him to former President Donald Trump. He wants them to contrast their state’s politics with those of his own. Lindsey Holden in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 9/30/23

Whom will Newsom pick to replace Dianne Feinstein? Here are some possibilities -- Though California Gov. Gavin Newsom pledged in 2021 to appoint a Black woman to the U.S. Senate if Sen. Dianne Feinstein retired, he has kept his deliberations private and shrugged off rumors of who could be his top choice. Hannah Wiley, Laurel Rosenhall in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/30/23

Feinstein’s death reignites discussion about term limits -- A Pew survey finds “overwhelming” public support for congressional term limits, with 87% saying they are in favor. Kwasi Gyamfi Asiedu in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/30/23

With Feinstein’s death, what happens with her seat on Judiciary committee, other panels? -- Sen. Dianne Feinstein was the most senior Democrat on two of the Senate’s most powerful committees, and her death could set off a cascade of changes that affect California’s power in Washington. Sarah D. Wire in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/30/23

Why a quick Feinstein replacement is in Newsom’s best interest -- Feinstein was indispensable to the 50-50 Senate split, and Democrats need every vote they can get to avert an impending government shutdown, confirm judges, and generally advance President Joe Biden’s agenda. “We cannot afford to be one down,” Sen. Tim Kaine told Politico. Jeremy B. White Politico -- 9/30/23

The race to replace Dianne Feinstein is about to get even more expensive -- Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s death this week means the state’s governor, Gavin Newsom, will name a replacement who will serve until a special election can be scheduled. That means there will be four Senate elections next year: a pair of primary and general special elections to complete the remainder of Feinstein’s term, and the regularly scheduled 2024 primary and general elections for the new term beginning in 2025. Steven Shepard, Jessica Piper Politico -- 9/30/23

How Dianne Feinstein helped preserve the California desert -- Sen. Dianne Feinstein had a passion for the California desert and protected it like no other, friends say. “It stirred her soul.” Louis Sahagún in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/30/23

Dianne Feinstein championed the environment. On California water, her legacy is complicated -- It was 1990, and a self-identified city girl in a denim skirt and boots perched herself atop bales of hay near Los Banos in California’s farming heartland. Dianne Feinstein was running for governor and looking for votes. Ari Plachta in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 9/30/23

Lake Tahoe’s biggest champion, Dianne Feinstein, secured its beauty for future generations -- Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who spent her childhood and adult life in the mountainous region, was the “biggest champion Tahoe ever had and will ever have,” said Amy Berry, the CEO of the nonprofit Tahoe Fund. The state’s longest-serving U.S. senator secured more than half a billion dollars to keep Lake Tahoe from environmental harm. Ishani Desai in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 9/30/23


Looming government shutdown worries business owners near Yosemite, other national parks -- Many business owners located in communities around California’s nine national parks, including Yosemite, fear that a potentially long shutdown would turn off tourists who are the lifeblood of nearby towns. Andrew J. Campa in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/30/23


Three more buses carrying dozens of asylum seekers arrive in L.A. from Texas -- Texas has sent 19 buses carrying migrants to Los Angeles since June. Three arrived Friday and aid workers contacted 65 people, the highest single-day total yet. Jeremy Childs in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/30/23


After three months of rolling strikes, second L.A. hotel reaches tentative agreement with union -- The union, Unite Here Local 11, said in a written statement that once the contract is ratified, the 300 workers at the Biltmore will see “unprecedented wage increases that keep pace with the soaring cost of housing.” Suhauna Hussain in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/30/23

L3 Harris bought this Viasat unit for $2B. Now, it’s cutting jobs and closing Carlsbad facility -- Less than a year after Carlsbad’s Viasat struck a $1.96 billion deal to sell off its military communication unit, the buyer — L3Harris Technologies — is making job cuts and closing a San Diego facility. Natallie Rocha in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 9/30/23


A safe RV parking site in S.F. has cost $140K annually for each spot. Supervisors recommended extending it -- San Francisco opened a safe parking site at Candlestick Point in January 2022, saying it would hold up to 155 recreational vehicles and provide residents there with badly needed services. St. John Barned-Smith in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 9/30/23

Some just lost a home. Others are about to. Can more aid to both groups slow the homelessness crisis? -- Donors are directing more money to prevention and diversion efforts — and hope the results convince governments to rethink their budgets. Blake Nelson in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 9/30/23


Why it took 27 years for an arrest in Tupac Shakur’s Las Vegas killing -- Then on Friday, Las Vegas authorities charged Duane “Keffe D” Davis, 60, with murder. Davis has long acknowledged he was in the car that pulled alongside Shakur. Authorities now claim that Davis masterminded the killing as an act of revenge over an escalating gang feud. Richard Winton, Nathan Solis in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/30/23

Never-before-seen details revealed on the California kidnapping that changed American history -- The kidnapping of Polly Klaas from a sleepover party in Petaluma forever changed the way America treats kidnappings. Kevin Fagan in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 9/30/23


Hidden grave marker uncovered in Lawndale backyard could derail Metro C Line extension plans -- The grave marker of a Jewish soldier was uncovered in a Lawndale backyard, and neighbors say there are likely several more. The site is in the right-of-way of the Metro C Line extension. Rachel Uranga in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/30/23