Aaron Read
Capitol Web Works
Olson Hagel
CA Leg Analyst
Capitol Weekly


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DMV warns of longer wait times if it doesn’t get more money -- The Department of Motor Vehicles wants a special budget boost and is warning lawmakers that Californians could suffer painful delays if it doesn’t get the extra money. Bryan Anderson in the Sacramento Bee -- 1/8/19

P&E stock, bonds plunge anew as S&P cuts its credit rating to junk -- PG&E Corp. shares continued plunging and bonds dropped to all-time lows on Tuesday after S&P Global Ratings slashed the electric company’s credit grades to the middle of the junk spectrum from investment grade, citing its limited options for managing wildfire liabilities. Molly Smith and Natalya Doris Bloomberg via in the Los Angeles Times -- 1/8/19

3 PG&E electric executives departing amid ongoing wildfire scrutiny -- Three of Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s top executives on the electric side of its business are retiring this month, marking a major shift in key leadership as the utility endures heavy scrutiny over its role in recent devastating Northern California wildfires. J.D. Morris in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 1/8/19

Newsom names former Obama official as new California EPA chief -- Jared Blumenfeld, 49, will run the agency, known as Cal-EPA, which oversees a broad range of environmental and public health regulations statewide, on topics that include air pollution, water pollution, toxics regulation, pesticides and recycling. Paul Rogers in the San Jose Mercury -- 1/8/19

Kamala Harris closes state campaign arm ahead of possible presidential run -- Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), moving closer to an anticipated presidential announcement, has shuttered her state campaign committee and is donating its roughly $1 million balance to a host of organizations, Politico has learned. Christopher Cadelago Politico -- 1/8/19

Fox: An Inaugural Day that Jumbles Fiscal Stewardship and Costly Promises -- In his inaugural address, Governor Gavin Newsom promised his administration would be “prudent stewards of taxpayer dollars.” But he raised challenges to that approach immediately not only in the speech, but also with his first post-inaugural pronouncements on expanding health care programs. Joel Fox Fox & Hounds -- 1/8/19

Trump Invites TV Representatives to Lunch Ahead of His Prime-Time Speech -- President Trump has invited representatives from cable and broadcast news channels to an off-the-record lunch at the White House ahead of his prime time speech Tuesday night, an address in which he is expected to frame his demand for border wall funding as a response to a national security and humanitarian crisis. Annie Karni and Maggie Haberman in the New York Times -- 1/8/19


California Policy & Politics This Morning  

Gov. Gavin Newsom throws California into battle against health care costs -- Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed a broad overhaul of health care on his first day in office Monday, promising to throw the state’s financial power into an effort to lower prescription drug costs, expand Obamacare so middle-class families can receive subsidies to buy insurance, and offer Medi-Cal coverage to undocumented immigrants up to age 26. Joe Garofoli in the San Francisco Chronicle Sophia Bollag in the Sacramento Bee Marisa Lagos, April Dembosky KQED -- 1/8/19

California Businesses, Government Would Join in Drug Buying Pact -- Under an executive order signed by Governor Gavin Newsom as one of his first acts hours after being sworn in Monday, drug benefits for the about 13 million Californians in the state’s Medicaid program would be shifted into a direct purchase system. The state would then target some drugs for bulk purchasing, and private businesses and insurers would then be able to join the buying pool. Drew Armstrong, John Tozzi and Riley Griffin Bloomberg Sharon Bernstein Reuters -- 1/8/19

As California's most powerful politician, Gov. Newsom's choices to wield that influence seem boundless -- Gov. Gavin Newsom’s ascent to the top of California’s political pyramid did not happen overnight. It’s been 23 years since he entered public life as a San Francisco parking and traffic commissioner and more than a decade since first saying he wanted to be governor. John Myers in the Los Angeles Times -- 1/8/19

Newsom Pledges Fight for Equality as He Takes Over as California Governor -- The new governor spoke, often vaguely, of the problems his state faced even during a time of prosperity. He pledged to start a “Marshall Plan” to combat the state’s housing and homelessness epidemic; to implement some sort of single-payer health care system; and to resolve issues of economic and educational inequality. Adam Nagourney and Jose A. Del Real in the New York Times -- 1/8/19

As Newsom takes office, liberal California fully embraces its role as the ‘state of resistance’ -- Gavin Newsom is eager to rebuff the Trump administration more loudly than did his predecessor, Jerry Brown. He’s also expected, given the budget surplus and unchecked Democratic power, to approve more expensive progressive initiatives. Scott Wilson in the Washington Post -- 1/8/19

As Gavin Newsom Becomes Governor, How He Could Shape California’s Future—Issue By Issue -- Gavin Newsom first ran for governor in 2010, an effort he abandoned and then relaunched in 2015 with the long, long campaign that has at long last landed him in the governor’s office. Now that California voters have given the 51-year-old Democrat the job he has sought for eight years, he is about to discover that winning was the easy part. Calmatters via Capital Public Radio -- 1/8/19

Governor Dad: How Gavin Newsom’s kids are about to shape California -- Gov. Gavin Newsom was about half-way through his inaugural address Monday when his 2-year-old son toddled onto the stage, sucking on a green pacifier and gripping his blankie. Newsom, barely missing beat, hoisted the boy onto his hip, kissed him on the cheek and gamely continued delivering his first speech as the 40th governor of California. Laurel Rosenhall Calmatters -- 1/8/19

Opening remarks: Gov. Gavin Newsom takes the reins of state government -- In an inauguration speech, delivered to a crowd that featured former governors, Supreme Court justices and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Newsom (with occasional accompaniment from his two-year-old son), went long on soaring rhetoric and short on concrete policy detail—what the governor would no doubt call a “conversation starter” for his first term. Ben Christopher Calmatters Kathleen Ronayne Associated Press -- 1/8/19

Day 1 is kind to Gavin Newsom: First-day speech gets praise from both parties -- “To Governor @GavinNewsom and first partner @JenSiebelNewsom, congratulations and best of luck. It is a great honor to serve the people of CA and I’m proud of you. I am here if you need anything at all,” Arnold Schwarzenegger, the last Republican governor, wrote on Twitter. Claire Morgan in the Sacramento Bee -- 1/8/19

Politifact CA: Fact-checking California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Inauguration Speech -- During his inaugural address, California Gov. Gavin Newsom claimed California’s rents are rising, its wages are stagnant, and described homelessness in the state as an "epidemic." Chris Nichols Politifact CA -- 1/8/19

Bretón: Gavin Newsom’s first pat on the back was tiny, but has big implications -- None of us has any idea what kind of governor Gavin Newsom is going to be. But we do know this: He’s a patient and affectionate father. Marcos Bretón in the Sacramento Bee -- 1/8/19

Gavin Newsom’s son steals the show -- Gavin Newsom’s two-year-old son Dutch stole the show at his father’s inauguration Monday — and probably did the new governor a favor. That’s the consensus in Sacramento after Dutch wandered on stage during his father’s inaugural speech — a defiant message to “an administration in Washington hostile to California’s values and interests” — allowing the telegenic new governor to show off his familial side. Carla Marinucci Politico -- 1/8/19

The heavies turn out for Eleni Kounalakis, the new ‘lite guv’ -- As U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, four other members of Congress and numerous legislators looked on, Gov. Gavin Newsom swore Kounalakis in as California’s 50th lieutenant governor—the first woman to be elected as governor in waiting. Dan Morain Calmatters Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times Bryan Anderson in the Sacramento Bee -- 1/8/19

Eyeing 2020, Harris addresses prosecutorial past in memoir -- As she nears a decision on whether to seek the presidency, Sen. Kamala Harris is taking on what could be a hurdle in a Democratic primary: her past as a prosecutor. Juana Summers Associated Press -- 1/8/19

Kamala Harris readies her 2020 rollout -- A book tour and a flurry of TV appearances enable the California senator to launch a campaign on her own terms. Christopher Cadelago Politico -- 1/8/19

Economy, Employers, Jobs, Unions, Pensions  

PG&E in trouble: Will the lights stay on? Will customers pay more? -- If Pacific Gas and Electric Co. or its parent company seek bankruptcy protection because of the financial squeeze they face due to the last two seasons of California wildfires, it should not affect customers’ ability to keep the lights on, experts say. J.D. Morris in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 1/8/19

PG&E’s major review of finances, operations, management rattles Wall Street amid bankruptcy fears -- PG&E shares plummeted on Monday amid a wide-ranging internal review by the embattled utility that raised the prospect of asset sales, a management shakeup and even bankruptcy due to mounting legal, criminal and regulatory challenges unleashed by lethal wildfires that scorched Northern California in 2017 and 2018. George Avalos in the San Jose Mercury -- 1/8/19


BART considers turning old train cars into housing -- As BART slowly begins rotating its newly designed and delivered, multi-billion dollar “Fleet of the Future” cars into service, it must begin pondering what to eventually do with the old train stock. Adam Brinklow Curbed San Francisco -- 1/8/19


'Transit Center, Interrupted': It's Still Unclear When S.F. Facility Will Reopen -- t’s probably a good thing that the thousands of commuters who were expected to use San Francisco’s Transbay Transit Center every day didn’t have time to get attached to it. Or that the crowds that enthusiastically thronged the facility’s rooftop park didn’t get too used to hanging out there. Dan Brekke KQED -- 1/8/19

Immigration, Border, Deportation 

About 50 remain as standoff continues in warehouse shelter near border -- A standoff continued Monday between Mexican police and Central American migrants at a private warehouse converted into a shelter near the U.S.-Mexico border. Wendy Fry in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 1/8/19


No agreement to avert L.A. teachers' strike after a long day of bargaining -- A last-ditch bargaining effort to avert a Los Angeles teachers’ strike fell short Monday, although the two sides have agreed to meet again on Wednesday morning, the day before a strike is scheduled to begin. Howard Blume in the Los Angeles Times -- 1/8/19

Napa police: Middle school student planned shootings at two schools -- Napa police say they’ve arrested a middle school student and found evidence at two homes that the suspect was planning mass shootings at Napa schools. Suzanne Espinosa Solis in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 1/8/19

Tony Thurmond sworn in as California's new superintendent of public instruction -- After taking the oath of office administered by retired Superior Court Judge Gordon Baranco, Thurmond said in his inaugural speech, “I could have ended up in state prison. Instead I ended up as state superintendent of public instruction. That is why it is so important to break the school to prison pipeline.” Louis Freedberg EdSource -- 1/8/19

Gov. Newsom wants universal preschool for low-income children in California to be phased in over three years -- Within days of being sworn in as California’s chief executive, Governor Gavin Newsom is expected to put forward a three-year plan to achieve universal preschool in California for all low-income 4-year-olds, in an attempt to implement a campaign promise pledging a major expansion of early education programs. Louis Freedberg EdSource -- 1/8/19

Also . . . 

California foie gras ban goes into effect after Supreme Court rejects challenge -- The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected the foie gras industry's latest challenge to California's ban against the French delicacy made from the fattened livers of force-fed ducks and geese, leaving intact a ruling issued by a Pasadena-based appeals panel. The item is in the Los Angeles Times -- 1/8/19

Marines ‘invade’ Catalina Island to fix crumbling airstrip at Airport in the Sky -- The sky was a gloomy gunmetal gray Monday as dozens of U.S. Marines swarmed the notoriously tricky airstrip high atop Santa Catalina Island. Louis Sahagun in the Los Angeles Times -- 1/8/19

Prosecutors file 28 new charges against suspected NorCal Rapist in Sacramento -- Prosecutors on Monday filed 28 new charges against a man they have identified as the NorCal Rapist, adding allegations from victims in five more counties. Anh Do in the Los Angeles Times -- 1/8/19

POTUS 45  

Trump aides lay foundation for emergency order to build wall, saying border is in ‘crisis’ -- Trump administration officials made an urgent case Monday that the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border has reached a crisis level, laying the groundwork for President Trump to possibly declare a national emergency that would empower him to construct a border wall without congressional approval. Robert Costa and Philip Rucker in the Washington Post -- 1/8/19

Trump wages intense but lonely campaign for his border wall -- The president has griped about a perceived lack of public support for his shutdown stance and Syria withdrawal plan from within his administration. Eliana Johnson Politico -- 1/8/19

Trump wants to declare a national emergency to fund a border wall. Here’s why it’s unlikely to work -- This time, President Trump is right about the law. As the partial government shutdown entered its third week, Trump announced Friday he is flirting with the idea of declaring a national emergency and circumventing Congress to begin construction of the U.S.-Mexico border wall. Deanna Paul in the Washington Post -- 1/8/19

Jimmy Carter joins former presidents denying discussing border wall with Trump -- Former President Carter on Monday became the latest former president to deny telling President Trump that he regrets not building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump last week claimed former presidents have discussed the subject with him. Justin Wise The Hill -- 1/8/19


House GOP leaders fear support eroding for Trump’s shutdown fight -- Several dozen House Republicans might cross the aisle this week to vote for Democratic bills to reopen shuttered parts of the federal government, spurring the White House into a dramatic effort to stem potential GOP defections. John Bresnahan and Sarah Ferris Politico -- 1/8/19


-- Monday Updates 

PG&E stock dives on reports it may face $30 billion in fire liabilities and may file for bankruptcy -- PG&E Corp. stock dived more than 20% Monday morning on reports that the California utility could face at least $30 billion in liability related to fires and has considered filing for bankruptcy protection. Samantha Masunaga in the Los Angeles Times -- 1/7/19

Highly paid substitutes, lessons in large spaces — how L.A. Unified is preparing for a teachers strike -- With more than 30,000 teachers union members ready to strike Thursday, the Los Angeles Unified School District is preparing to bring in highly paid substitutes, supervise students in large spaces such as auditoriums and ease background checks for parent volunteers, according to records obtained by The Times. Sonali Kohli and Howard Blume in the Los Angeles Times -- 1/7/19

Expert: Census citizenship question would worsen undercount -- Asking people whether they are U.S. citizens on the 2020 census would worsen the undercount of Latinos and non-citizens compared with other groups, an expert in surveys said Monday at the start of a trial over the Trump administration’s decision to include the question for the first time in 70 years. Sudhin Thanawala Associated Press -- 1/7/19

Gov. Gavin Newsom promises a ‘progressive, principled’ California -- Gavin Newsom took the oath as California’s 40th governor Monday and instantly challenged President Trump, promising a “progressive, principled” administration that will counter “corruption and incompetence” in the White House. John Wildermuth and Joe Garofoli in the San Francisco Chronicle Melanie Mason in the Los Angeles Times Sophia Bollag in the Sacramento Bee Casey Tolan in the San Jose Mercury Kathleen Ronayne Associated Press -- 1/7/19

Excerpts from California Gov. Newsom’s inaugural address -- Gavin Newsom was sworn in Monday as California’s 40th governor. In his inaugural address, Newsom celebrated the “California Dream,” chided the Trump administration and vowed to help the poor, children and immigrants. Associated Press -- 1/7/19

Second body found in West Hollywood home of Democratic donor Ed Buck -- A man’s body was found early Monday in the West Hollywood home of prominent Democratic donor Ed Buck, whose attorney confirmed the death. The man died in Buck’s Laurel Avenue apartment between midnight and 2 a.m., Buck’s attorney, Seymour Amster, said. His name has not been released. Richard Winton and Hailey Branson-Potts in the Los Angeles Times -- 1/7/19

Analysis: What could go wrong for Gavin Newsom? Plenty -- Gavin Newsom starts his gubernatorial career as the political equivalent of a trust-fund baby. He’s been given a ton — a budget surplus of more than $14 billion and a Democratic supermajority in the Legislature — before his term even begins. Joe Garofoli in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 1/7/19

'More aggressive and in your face': Newsom takes power in California -- The incoming governor has a powerful ally in fellow San Franciscan House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, but a president eager to use the state as a foil. Carla Marinucci Politico -- 1/7/19

California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra begins new term promising to fight Trump policies -- California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra on Monday took the oath of office for a new term, saying he would continue his role as a leading challenger to Trump administration actions that he believes are counter to the state’s interests. Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times -- 1/7/19

California Democratic Party Vice Chairman Daraka Larimore-Hall announces bid to lead group -- Daraka Larimore-Hall, a top official at the California Democratic Party, said Monday he’s running to replace former chairman Eric Bauman, who resigned abruptly in November after being confronted with allegations of sexual misconduct. Christine Mai-Duc in the Los Angeles Times -- 1/7/19

The economy is booming. Why are so many California schools broke? -- Facing a $36 million deficit and a possible state takeover, the top budget officer at the Sacramento City Unified School District has a sober message for his counterparts around California. Sacramento is “just one of the first dominoes,” said John Quinto, the district’s chief business officer. Adam Ashton in the Sacramento Bee -- 1/7/19

Graduation rates increase for Cal State Long Beach, LBCC and Long Beach Unified in 2018 -- And as students, educators and administrators can take a sigh of relief during the holiday breaks – with the exception of those in winter courses – there’s room for improvement in other areas, reports show. Emily Rasmussen in the Long Beach Press Telegram$ -- 1/7/19

Restorative justice reduces suspensions in elementary grades but not middle school, study shows -- The use of restorative justice in elementary schools leads to significantly fewer suspensions, a narrowing of the suspension gap between black and white students and improved perceptions of school climates among teachers, according to findings from a new study by the RAND Corporation. David Washburn EdSource -- 1/7/19

Expectations are high for newly sworn-in state schools chief Tony Thurmond -- Tony Thurmond took the oath of office as California’s state superintendent of public schools on Monday, promising a labor-friendly agenda before the teachers, students and Democratic officials who filled an auditorium at McClatchy High School in Sacramento to watch him being sworn in. Melody Gutierrez in the Los Angeles Times -- 1/7/19

State Controller Betty Yee takes oath of office with call for more affordable housing and healthcare -- California Controller Betty Yee took the oath of office Monday for a second term, saying she still has work to do addressing problems that include a lack of affordability in housing, healthcare and higher education. Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times -- 1/7/19

San Diego DA plans to challenge new murder accomplice law -- The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office plans to challenge a new state law that could release from prison people serving time for murder when they didn’t do the actual killing but were accomplices. Alain Stephens inewsource.org -- 1/7/19

Fox: Welcome Back Legislators. Now Cut Down on the Lawmaking -- Today’s column is easy to write because I’m actually pulling up a column I think is worth repeating when welcoming legislators back to the capital. Don’t drown us with so many new laws. In fact, spend some time getting rid of old ones. Joel Fox Fox & Hounds -- 1/7/19

Trump claimed ex-presidents told him they wanted to build a wall. Four of them say it’s not true -- President Trump made the remark during a lengthy appearance in the White House’s Rose Garden on Friday, in the midst of an extended soliloquy about the border wall that he has yet to find funding or widespread political support for. Eli Rosenberg in the Washington Post -- 1/7/19

A New Hampshire city council is miffed by ‘Pho Keene Great’ restaurant name -- It’s a Pho Keene Great name, first of all. But that name — posted on the front of a new Vietnamese restaurant in Keene, N.H. — has put the restaurant at odds with the city council, which deemed the restaurant’s sign offensive. (The Vietnamese soup pho is pronounced “fuh.” Say the whole name, quickly. Now you get it.) Maura Judkis in the Washington Post -- 1/7/19