Will California Lawmakers Fall for Fraudulent Study Justifying Unjustified Prison Guard Union Giveaways?

California taxpayers should pay careful attention to the scheme orchestrated by the Newsom administration to further enrich his political cronies at the California Correctional Peace Officers Association.

Under California law, the state of California is required to conduct compensation studies in order to determine the appropriateness of general raises for public employees.

Prior to this year, the last publicly released compensation study for California’s prison guards was from 2013. According to the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office that compensation study determined “that state correctional officers were compensation 40.2% above their local government counterparts and 28.1% above their federal government counterparts.”

Ever since, the state has dragged its feet in completing and referencing these legally required studies.

In 2018, Gavin Newsom was elected governor with the support of the CCPOA.

In 2020, the CCPOA ousted one of its most prominent critics in the California Legislature, Republican Sen. John Moorlach, helping to elect compliant Democrat Dave Min.

In 2021, the CCPOA dumped millions to defend him from recall. That same year, over the objections of the LAO pointing out the lack of a compensation study, the California Legislature, including Min, uncritically voted to give the CCPOA a lucrative new contract worth hundreds of millions of dollars per year.

That contract is now up.

The LAO is raising alarm bells once again about how the state is trying to justify a lucrative new contract for the CCPOA.

For one, the state’s HR department has concocted a deliberately misleading compensation study using different methodology and comparison groups designed to make the CCPOA-represented prison guards look underpaid.

The LAO notes a number of problems with the Newsom administration’s compensation study. It deliberately compared the pay of prison guards to law enforcement employees in high cost-of-living counties where few prison guards actually work and even two counties where zero prison guards work.

The LAO also notes the study conveniently omitted overtime pay, “which is equivalent to roughly 24 percent of gross regular pay in 2022,” and “mischaracterizes the value of pension and retiree health benefits.”

For these reasons and more, the LAO is advising the Legislature not to even reference the study.

The LAO brings to light other very useful information. Like the fact that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has to turn away more than 90% of qualified applicants for the prison guard academy, which indicates that at current levels of compensation there are more than enough people willing to do the job. No general raises needed.

The LAO also notes that compared to 2013, “the share of state correctional officer positions that are vacant” has also gone down. This, too, indicates there’s no actual problem bringing prison guards on to the job.

And as for handwaving from the CCPOA about retention problems, the LAO points out “the average Unit 6 member is younger today than they were in 2013. To some extent, this may reflect recent rates of retirement.”

Despite this, the Newsom administration wants to reward his cronies at CCPOA.

This is yet another test voters should use to gauge who in the Legislature is truly representing them and who is willing to play political games over public service.

There is no reason to throw more money at CCPOA. None.

For comparison, consider this question from watchdog group Govern for California: “Do our elected state officials really believe that California should spend twice as much on the compensation and benefits of 64,937 [correctional] employees as it spends on the 450,000 students served by California State University?”

Click here to read the ful article in the Orange County Register

California FPPC Chief of Enforcement Demoted Without a Peep: What Led Up to Demotion?

FPPC chief’s relationship with CDPH deputy director and chief counsel

July 27, 2023, a press release was issued by the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) naming the new Chief of Enforcement.

“The Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) today announced the appointment of James M. Lindsay as Chief of Enforcement.

Lindsay comes to the FPPC from the California Children and Families Commission (CCFC), where he served as Chief Counsel since August of 2022. In this position, Lindsay advised the Commission, Executive Director, and staff on all legal matters, including Political Reform Act and Bagley-Keene Act compliance and training, as well as being responsible for leadership, litigation, and mentoring responsibilities. Prior to that, Lindsay spent almost four years as the lead litigation attorney at the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS). There, he had primary responsibility for administrative hearing matters, writs and appeals, and helped lead efforts to improve litigation practices and organizational improvements.

“I’m extremely pleased to announce Mr. Lindsay’s appointment to this important role in the agency,” said FPPC Chair Richard C. Miadich. “We’re thrilled to have someone with extensive litigation experience to lead our Enforcement team. Mr. Lindsay’s experience in government policy and operations will greatly help our ongoing efforts to promote the public’s trust and maintain our leading National role in the realm of government ethics and campaign finance.”

In addition to his roles at CCFC and CalSTRS, Lindsay spent more than 20 years in the private sector at law firms in Folsom, Modesto, and Dublin/Stockton where he specialized in numerous aspects of consumer, insurance, business, real estate, personal injury, and family law. Lindsay received his law degree from Tulane University School of Law in New Orleans, LA and his undergraduate degree in Economics from California State University, Fresno.

“We have a dedicated, professional and experienced staff and we are confident James’ breadth of experience in other aspects of California’s political and legal climate will only improve and enhance the Division’s overall capabilities,” said Chair Miadich.

Assistant Enforcement Division Chief Chris Burton will remain acting chief until August 28, 2023.

The Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) is California’s governmental ethics and campaign disclosure agency.”

Per an email from Ms. Tara Stock, Intake Manager, Enforcement Division, Ms. Angela J. Brereton, Former Chief of Enforcement has been reassigned as Assistant Chief of the Enforcement Division.

Information regarding Ms. Brereton’s reassignment remains unclear. However, Executive Staff Reports from the January 26, 2023 Commission Hearing highlight negligence in duties.

According to deed records for the County of Sacramento, Ms. Brereton shares a mortgage with Mr. Hugh A. Brereton.

A class of 2000 announcement by UC Davis School of Law further confirms the relationship between these two individuals.A press release issued by Governor Newsom’s Office in February 2020 stated the following:

“Hugh “Drew” Brereton, 44, of Sacramento, has been appointed deputy director and chief counsel of the California Department of Public Health. Brereton has served as deputy director and chief counsel for the Office of Enforcement at the Department of Managed Health Care since 2016, where he was assistant chief counsel from 2014 to 2016 and an attorney III from 2008 to 2014. Brereton was an attorney at Katchis, Harris and Yempuku from 2002 to 2008 and at Pagliero & Associates from 2001 to 2002. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California Davis, School of Law. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $195,168. Brereton is a Democrat.”

Although I currently have approximately a dozen cases open with the FPPC, Ms. Brereton has continually denied sworn complaints regarding violations of the Political Reform Act surrounding public health.

I previously reported to the FPPC that State Treasurer Fiona Ma is personally invested in pharmaceutical companies as detailed on her statement of economic interest, received donations from Pfizer and established a statewide pooled money investment account with the aforementioned entity. Why did Ms. Brereton deny this is a conflict of interest, and does her spouse’s position with the CDPH present bias?

My article in The California Globe further elaborates on these concerns: Health or Heredity? COVID-19 Vaccines & California’s History of Eugenics:

“According to the California State Treasurer’s website, “through the Pooled Money Investment Account (PMIA), the State Treasurer invests taxpayers’ money to manage the State’s cash flow and strengthen the financial security of local governmental entities. PMIA policy sets as primary investment objectives safety, liquidity and yield. The PMIA has three primary sources of funds: the State general fund; special funds held by State agencies; and monies deposited by cities, counties and other entities into the Local Agency Investment Fund (LAIF).”

“As a part of the 2023 investment portfolio, the State Treasurer’s Office has included Johnson & Johnson for both corporate bonds and commercial paper. The public at large may consider this to be a conflict of interest given that State Treasurer Fiona Ma possesses a personal investment in the pharmaceutical giant. Treasurer Ma’s spouse also holds a retirement account with Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) Financial Group. On February 16, 2023, SVB Securities held a Global Biopharma Conference in conjunction with Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and an array of other pharmaceutical corporations. Due to the recent SVB collapse and uncertainty regarding the COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics, California residents may seek deeper answers into the true origins and legitimacy behind the bank failure. The lack of transparency from the Biden and Newsom Administration leaves the people with unrest.”

RNC, CAGOP, and House Speaker McCarthy Launch California ‘Bank Your Vote’ 

Bank Your Vote encourages voters to pledge to ‘bank’ their vote before Election Day

Today, the Globe learned Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel announced California’s state buildout for “Bank Your Vote” and launched the State Leadership Team. Bank Your Vote encourages voters to pledge to “bank” their vote before Election Day.

“To beat Joe Biden and California Democrats in 2024, we must ensure that Republicans bank as many pre-Election Day votes as possible,” RNC Chairman Ronna McDaniel said. “The RNC is proud to work with Republican leaders across the state to encourage voters to Bank Your Vote and deliver Republican victories up and down the ballot next November.”

Ahead of 2024, the Bank Your Vote operation is leveraging the full infrastructure of the RNC, the California Republican Party, and the historic investments in data driven ground game to encourage, educate, and activate Republican voters on when, where, and how to lock in their votes as early as possible. In addition to staff and the statewide volunteer network, California will have a state-specific voter resource page on BankYourVote.com, which will include pre-Election Day voting processes, links to state government sites where voters can request their ballot directly, and digital reminders for voters on all applicable pre-Election Day voting options.

“California Republicans secured our House Majority in 2022, and it’s here that we will continue to expand that majority next November,” said Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy. “Together with the RNC and CAGOP, it is critical that we continue our momentum and encourage Republican voters nationwide to ‘Bank Your Vote’ ahead of Election Day in 2024.”

The RNC said “Building on our absentee return rate, early in-person voting, and ballot harvesting success in 2022, Republicans must now improve on our overall number of pre-Election Day voters to ultimately secure victory in 2024. A crucial part of getting Republican voters to become pre-Election Day voters will be ensuring voter confidence in elections through our continued Protect Your Vote efforts. In 2022, we had nearly 1,800 volunteer shifts filled by Poll Watchers and Poll Workers during Early Voting and on Election Day in California.”

“To win in 2024, Republicans must reach more voters than ever before, which is exactly what we will do through ‘Bank Your Vote’ with the RNC,” California GOP Chairwoman Jessica Millan Patterson said. “As Chairwoman, I have long made it a top priority for California Republicans to maximize every option to turn out voters, especially Vote-By-Mail, all of which are crucial efforts in delivering more low propensity and swing voters.”

“Ahead of 2024, Republicans are fully focused nationwide on maximizing pre-Election Day voting, and California will lead the way,” RNC National Committeewoman Harmeet Dhillon said. “To make sure that Joe Biden is a one-term president, we take back the Senate, and expand our Republican Majority in the House, Californians must ‘Bank Your Vote’ early and join our efforts to ‘Protect Your Vote.’” 

From elected officials to grassroots leaders, the Bank Your Vote California Leadership Team is comprised of Republicans from across the state:

  • Federal Officials
  • Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy
  • Congressman Doug LaMalfa (CA-01)
  • Congressman Tom McClintock (CA-05)
  • Congressman Kevin Kiley (CA-03)
  • Congressman John Duarte (CA-13)
  • Congressman David Valadao (CA-22)
  • Congressman Jay Obernolte (CA-23)
  • Congressman Mike Garcia (CA-27)
  • Congresswoman Young Kim (CA-40)
  • Congresswoman Michelle Steel (CA-45)
  • Congressman Ken Calvert (CA-41)
  • Congressman Darrell Issa (CA-48)
  • RNC Members
  • Chairwoman Jessica Millan Patterson
  • National Committeeman Shawn Steel
  • National Committeewoman Harmeet Dhillon

Big Bucks for Ballot Measures in 2024 California Election

As California’s 2024 election gets more crowded by the day, some ballot measure campaigns are already building their war chests for the costly fight to come, raising more than $60 million since January.

Last year, nearly $700 million was spent, mostly by companies, to sway voters on seven November measures, the vast majority on two sports gambling measures that both failed

And, like last year, at least two measures next November will be industry-backed referenda to overturn new laws.

Almost immediately after the passage last year of a law to establish a fast food workers council to set wages and workplace standards for restaurants, fast food chains vowed to fight the bill. By January, they gathered enough signatures to get the referendum on the ballot, freezing the law until after the vote.

And last month, the money started flowing into their campaign. On July 5, In-n-Out cut a $10 million check to the ballot measure committee. Over the next two days, McDonalds, Chick-fil-a and Chipotle all donated $10 million as well. So far, the committee has reported raising more than $50 million.

Not as much cash has been raised by the oil industry campaign that spent $20 million to qualify a November 2024 referendum to block a state law banning new wells within 3,200 feet of hospitals and schools

So far, there aren’t any committees officially involved in the measure, but one committee entirely funded this cycle by Chevron, Valero, and Marathon Petroleum has raised $2.1 million. More money may be on the way: Wednesday, a coalition of environmental and public health groups filed a competing initiative to uphold the law. 

Next November, voters will also decide on a measure to remove some limits on cities’ ability to enact local rent control. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation is in for $10 million supporting the measure

Though there is no official opposition committee yet, the California Apartment Association reported more than $1.7 million in contributions this year. In 2020, the group spent more than $72 million to defeat Proposition 21, the most recent rent control measure on the statewide ballot.

Click here to read the full article in CalMatters

These 10 California Elections Might Decide Partisan Control of U.S. House in 2024

Whether Democrats or Republicans control the U.S. House of Representatives in 2025 is a toss-up, election analysts say, with a handful of California incumbents’ seats on the line. The state had some of the closest House races in the nation in 2022, ultimately delivering Republicans a slim majority and Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, the speaker’s gavel. The Cook Political Report, Sabato’s Crystal Ball, Inside Elections and Elections Daily rank districts by partisan advantage. The nonpartisan forecasters rate close elections as “toss-up,” “leaning” or “likely” for a Democrat or Republican. Projections will probably shift as more details about 2024 races emerge. Many contenders have already announced their intent to run, or at least filed the required paperwork. Prospective candidates have until mid-December to file. These are 10 House races to watch in California:


3rd Congressional District Most analysts believe freshman Rep. Kevin Kiley, R-Rocklin, will keep his seat in 2024, representing a district stretches from the northern Sierra Nevada along the Nevada border into Death Valley. 40th Congressional District Rep. Young Kim, R-La Habra, will win in 2024, forecasters say. The 40th holds parts of Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside counties. Two Democrats have announced they will challenge Kim, who has been in Congress since 2021. LEANS REPUBLICAN 41st Congressional District Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Corona, has an advantage, three analysts predict. The Cook Political Report rates the Riverside County district as a toss-up for the Republican, who has served since 1993. Redistricting landed Palm Springs, a liberal and LGBTQ stronghold, in the 41st. Calvert had his closest House race in over a decade in 2022, edging out Democrat Will Rollins by less than 4 percentage points. The Republican’s previous history against LGBTQ rights, coupled with Rollins’ identity and positions, might have contributed to the closeness. Now Rollins, a former federal prosecutor, is in for a 2024 rematch. Two more Democrats have so far announced their candidacies. 45th Congressional District Rep. Michelle Park Steel, R-Seal Beach, will edge out an opponent, all forecasters think. Four Democrats have already entered the race for the 41st, which takes in parts of Orange and Los Angeles counties. Steel was first elected to the House in 2020. TOSS-UP 13th Congressional District Home to the second-closest House race in 2022, the 13th is expected to be hotly contested again. Rep. John Duarte, R-Modesto, edged out former Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced, by fewer than 600 votes. Gray hasn’t announced his 2024 candidacy but has filed the paperwork to run. Three other Democrats so far have said they would contest Duarte, a first-time candidate last year. The district, which holds all of Merced County and chunks of Madera, Stanislaus, Fresno and San Joaquin counties, voted for President Joe Biden in 2020 by 11 percentage points. It has more registered Democrats than Republicans. 22nd Congressional District Analysts are split on whether on Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford, can keep his seat. Some give him a slight edge over a Democratic challenger. He’ll be in for a rematch with former Assemblyman Rudy Salas, D-Bakersfield, whom Valadao beat by a 3% margin in 2022. The 22nd, which has more Democrats than Republicans, includes most of Kings County and parts of Tulare and Kern counties. Valadao, who has been in the House for about a decade, survived tough elections before: He lost and regained his House seat on slim margins between 2018 and 2020. 27th Congressional District It looks like a toss-up for Rep. Mike Garcia, R-San Clarita, most experts say. Garcia, who has represented northern Los Angeles County in the House since 2020, will face at least two Democrats in 2024. Garcia became the first California Republican in two decades to flip a district represented by a Democrat; he won a special election in 2020 after former Rep. Katie Hill resigned amid scandal over a relationship with her staffer. LEANS DEMOCRATIC 47th Congressional District Forecasters are divided on whether Democrats have a clear advantage in the district that Rep. Katie Porter, D-Irvine, is vacating to run for Senate. Porter is among a handful of House Democrats competing to succeed retiring Sen. Dianne Feinstein. The 2024 field for the Orange County district has drawn at least 10 candidates. Scott Baugh, an attorney, is running in the district again as a Republican. Among Democrats, State Sen. Dave Min, D-Irvine, garnered Porter’s endorsement. He was arrested in May for driving under the influence.


9th Congressional District This Stockton-anchored district held by Rep. Josh Harder, D-Tracy, is likely, rather than safely, Democratic, three analysis organizations think. Harder unseated a four-term Republican to win a seat in 2018. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, campaigned last week for a GOP challenger, Stockton Mayor Kevin Lincoln. Ripon pastor Brett Dood also said he would run as a Republican.

Click here to read the full article in the Modesto Bee

Kamala… They Are Coming for You

The Cackling Vice President, Kamala Harris, is the domino that will fall first.

Joe Biden is Inspector Jacques Clouseau.

We don’t know whether to laugh (Clouseau) or cry (Biden). In fantasy, Clouseau bumbled his way to success. In reality, Biden is a failure; worse, a danger to himself and to others. He is America’s nightmare, more hazardous to the world than climate change.

The dark comedy of Biden’s mental decay/physical decline is evidenced daily when his caretakers let him out, after dosing his secret, volatile medication. Sleep apnea, previously undisclosed, is the latest alibi for his dysfunction. His medical records are no more transparent than Hunter Biden’s tax returns, and the president’s doctor won’t come clean.

Biden was elected because complicit media enabled his cynical handlers in 2020 to keep him under wraps. But the luster of the perpetual coverup has faded. Just as the media can no longer ignore inflation — because people feel it, the media now highlight Biden’s cognitive debilitation, because it’s in plain view. And two more reasons: (a) the discredited and biased legacy media are desperate for recovering credibility and (b) the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, et al. see Biden as a loser and want him out.

The once servile White House press corps has ramped up the age issue, thus intentionally priming voters to look for Biden’s senior moments. Party bosses talk up Biden, but privately fret about his decay. The recent coverage of the DOJ/FBI/IRS whistleblowers insures a slow water torture, the drip-drip revelations of what the president’s detractors call “the Biden crime family.” (READ MORE: Will the Media Ever Acknowledge the Biden Family Bribery Scandal?)

Not exactly waterboarding, but Joe Biden is in no shape to withstand “water dripping on the forehead for a very long time… the stress to drive its victim insane.” How much can Biden take? Biden — like Putin — already is delusional and confused. While Putin believes he’s CEO not of an emasculated Russia but of the formidable USSR, Biden believes that he is in charge, not his ideologue-puppeteers.

In Biden worship, the media parroted the Democratic party line, just as Pravda in the former Soviet Union spoke for the Communist party. Power brokers in the Democratic Party and dominant media remain synergistic — thus, the “new journalism” is a precursor for where the Democrats go next: inevitably, Joe Biden is on the way out, and how plausible for him to claim health as the reason for not running, but how implausible for Kamala Harris to be president!

The Whistleblowers are karma for Hunter Biden. First, consider his preemptive mea culpa tell-all book, to gain sympathy for the troubled 53-year-old juvenile; that his cocaine addiction explains his crimes. Here we have the proverbial schoolboy who says the dog not only ate his homework, but also his study notes so he could not prepare for the final that he failed. Second, Hunter took full advantage of the DOJ/IRS double standard in federal law enforcement: his case was dragged on so that his felonies would be outside the statute of limitations.

Is Joe Biden in any shape to face all this? The dishonest former intelligence chiefs will not be around this time to falsely claim, without any evidence, that the laptop was not Hunter Biden’s but “Soviet-style Russian disinformation.” Hunter appears the genesis of what happens to Joe and the Democrats, but he may be just collateral damage. The emails, the texts, the DOJ manipulations, making the “Big Guy” (Joe Biden) off limits, burying the serious charges, then letting Hunter off with a plea bargain. Is there a nexus between foreign money to Biden family members and Joe Biden’s government position?

The Republican Party’s disappointing showing in the midterms, especially after raising expectations and then screwing up its messaging — was seen as a vote of confidence in Joe. Thus, Biden announced for reelection — Dems now are a victim of their midterm reprieve.

Biden is not popular and cannot depend on a loyal, gushing voter mass to circle the wagons as his integrity is called into question. He can only hope Republicans don’t let nature take its course and instead stridently make this all partisan. Consider that Republicans have fumbled investigations repeatedly, raising unrealistic expectations with premature disclosures. Also just last week they botched the abrupt, un-choreographed Adam Schiff censure, coming across as Republican payback for Schiff investigating Trump. In fact, the censure was for Schiff’s misusing his intelligence committee chairmanship to falsely claim classified evidence proved Russian collusion with Trump’s 2016 campaign.

Biden’s apologists continue to spin Joe as father-loves-son; notably, Hunter was on display at the recent White House state dinner. This hubris is akin to Gary Hart in 1988 urging the press, which had asked about his reputed womanizing, to “follow me” — and they did, and his campaign collapsed.

Biden is hardly a folk hero above reproach, though he is sentimental, except when he loses his temper, as he does more often. A large percentage in his own party does not want him to run for re-election. Polls show him performing poorly with the national electorate, especially independents, on many key issues — the economy and inflation, border security, law and order, and more.

How can Biden, already at low ebb, withstand downward momentum?

Attorney General Merrick Garland, bitter at Republicans refusing to hold hearings when Obama nominated him (March/2016) to the Supreme Court, remains in retribution mode. Sort of like Chris Christie who Trump selected (Nov/2016) to head his transition, but decided on payback when Trump abruptly changed his mind. Presidents whose integrity is in question often opt for a diversionary, symbolic housecleaning. Once a respected judge who prostitutes himself as Biden’s AG, Garland, himself in disrepute, is expendable.

That takes us back to the man who put him there, Joe Biden. Even if his impeachment is warranted, Republicans fear that conviction would elevate Kamala Harris. A generation ago, Harris accommodated the elevated testosterone levels of the powerful Speaker of the California State Assembly, Willie Brown, who effectively launched her political career with patronage appointments to state commissions (her salary funded by taxpayers). She was fast-tracked (district attorney, attorney general, eventually U.S. Senator). Harris was the first to drop out of the Democratic primary in 2020, yet Biden nonetheless selected her as his running mate, indicating she was selected for her gender and race. Her performance as VP puts to rest that merit played any role.

Democratic strategists realize that her ignorance on issues and her clown-like behavior, her nervous giggles when she can’t answer a question, or when she can (she’s just a giggler) are less an issue than her failure to grow in the job; she actually gets worse over time. Yet, she performs a function as an insurance policy against impeaching Biden. Remarkably, she is even more leftist and incompetent than Biden.

Some alleged Biden crimes predate the presidency. It’s unclear whether impeachment is appropriate. Also, if he resigned as an informal or legal plea-bargain for “what’s best for America” — it’s Kamala. Sure, she has been typical VP attack dog — in relentless prosecutorial mode — quarterback to Joe’s straw man arguments — the evil “MAGA Republicans,” the supposed attack on democracy, the white racists, the rogue Supreme Court (odd since the conservative justices have issued mixed, hardly predictable rulings), the war against women and gays, and all the other garbage. Note that White House insiders put Kamala in charge of the border, and gave her hopeless assignments created to sabotage her. Jill Biden had opposed Joe selecting her as his running mate; Biden deferred to his caretakers.

If Biden is set to go, Kamala Harris must go first. A half century ago, when the Republican Establishment thought Nixon’s days as president were numbered, they decided they didn’t want VP Spiro Agnew around. So Agnew pled no contest to a felony charge of tax invasion. Gerald Ford became vice president, Nixon resigned, Ford became president, then in 1976 lost to Jimmy Carter. Watergate played a role. Can Biden scandals do it this time?

If they can’t find anything compromising in the past of Kamala Harris, Gov. Gavin Newsom could fulfill his pledge to appoint a black woman to Dianne Feinstein’s Senate by convincing Feinstein to resign, then appointing Harris to her seat. Better yet, Harris then could displace Chuck Schumer and become the “first woman” and “first black woman” to be Senate majority leader. (She’s relatively young; if she transitions, Democrats might back her for president in the future.)

Newsom would do his part, especially if he could become vice president, and thus the heir apparent. Newsom is partisan, yet effective on the stump. Newsom has that lean and hungry look. He has been hoping that Joe Biden gets pneumonia or falls one too many times. He overwhelms Biden with faint praise. Like many other Democrats who praise Biden but covet the presidency, Newsom is hyper.

Some will propose Elder Statesman-woman Hillary, others will say why just a woman, when there is a black woman — Michelle Obama. But as long as Harris remains as vice president, everything is on hold.

Harris is her party’s worst nightmare. Remember, a Republican theme is that a vote for the aging Joe Biden is in fact a vote for President Kamala Harris. But if President Biden does not run, then as vice president she is presumed heir apparent. More importantly, suppose Biden is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of the office.” Harris would replace him and get a head start.

Click here to read the full article in the Spectator

Orange County GOP Identified Former Republican Voters — And Now It Wants to Woo Them Back

More than 27,000 Republican voters in Orange County have switched to no party preference in the past six years.

That’s according to Orange County Registrar of Voters data obtained by the county GOP, said its executive director, Randall Avila. And in an effort to “bring these Republicans home,” Avila said, Orange Country Republicans will host a series of re-registration trainings for volunteers ahead of the 2024 elections.

The idea, he said, is to train volunteers who can find and meet with “these no party preference, formerly Republican, voters.” Volunteers will be given a rundown of the data, who the voters are and how to “re-register” them as Republican voters — both on paper and online.

“It’s not terribly difficult or complex; it’s more of just talking to your neighbors because we’ll assign most of the volunteers to their own neighborhoods,” Avila said. “Maybe they know the Joneses down the street, maybe they talk politics, maybe they walk their dogs together or see them at the park. Maybe they’re on the Little League team together. And maybe they didn’t even know that their friend was no longer Republican, but they know that they share conservative values.”

In Orange County, the largest withdrawal of Republicans from the party came in 2019, the year the voter registration advantage switched from a Republican to a Democratic plurality, Avila said.

Democrats have since widened the gap, accounting for 37.6% of the county’s registered voters, Republicans for 33.1% and no party preference for 23.5%, according to the Registrar of Voters.

Despite Democrats’ advantage, Republican candidates at the state and local level had a strong showing last year: Orange County voters chose Republican challenger Brian Dahle over incumbent Gov. Gavin Newsom as well as Republican candidates for lieutenant governor, secretary of state, controller, treasurer, attorney general and insurance commissioner.

“I think we have a strong advantage on no party preference voters and independents,” Avila said. “And especially in a presidential year, that’s going to depend on who our nominee is.”

The county Republican Party has already sent volunteers to canvass some of these former Republicans, “not for the point of registration but more of a fact-finding mission,” Avila said.

“When we talked to these voters at their doors, we asked them if they were willing to share with us the reason for their party change,” Avila said. “And we found basically an even split in three ways.”

The first group, he said, are individuals who weren’t aware they were registered as no party preference.

In the rollout of California’s “Motor Voter” program, which automatically registers eligible Californians completing a driver’s license, state identification or change of address transaction through the DMV to vote, the DMV made processing mistakes with 23,000 Californians, including assigning some to political parties they didn’t choose.

The Orange County Republicans’ data showed that some 13,000 Orange County Republican voters switched to no party preference through the DMV. Some have told OC GOP volunteers, Avila said, that their party preference was incorrectly changed at the DMV.

The remaining two groups, Avila said, are voters who feel the Republican Party is “changing in the wrong direction.” While one group believes the GOP “isn’t supporting Donald Trump enough,” there is another that felt the party is headed “too far toward” the former president, said Avila.

Part of the latter group is former Westminster councilmember and one-term state Rep. Tyler Diep, a former Republican who re-registered as no party preference in 2021, shortly after the Jan. 6 insurrection and attack on the Capitol.

“I was pretty appalled by what happened on Jan. 6 and then afterward when many of the leaders within the Republican Party downplayed the severity of that event,” Diep said. “It was the final straw for me as far as whether I belong in such a party anymore.”

Diep, who voted for President Joe Biden in 2020, said he isn’t sure who he’ll back this year — but it definitely won’t be Trump, he said. For now, he hopes Sen. Tim Scott, R-South Carolina, does well in the early-voting states.

“We’ll wait and see if anyone can overcome Donald Trump’s personality within the Republican Party,” Diep said.

If a candidate other than Trump seems to have a good chance, Diep said he won’t rule out the option of re-registering as a Republican to support that person.

“Like many other independents, we have to sit back and say, ‘What are our choices, and what other factors can influence our decision?’ I’m going to look at how President Biden handled the economy, inflation, the war in Ukraine,” said Diep. “Based on all of that, I’ll make my final decision sometime in October of next year.”

Despite the clear distinction between the two groups, Avila said, the county party isn’t planning on sending out differing messages to win voters back.

“We’re not going to go to folks who are highly supportive of President Trump, and tell them we’re pro-Trump, and then walk to their neighbor who’s anti-Trump and say something else,” said Avila. “Our singular message is you get to decide the direction of the party, and to do that, you have to participate to decide who’s going to be that standard bearer, who’s going to be our nominee going forward.”

Ada Briceño, chair of the Democratic Party of Orange County, said her party does voter registration year-round — whether that’s registering someone in a household who has not yet voted or ensuring an individual’s voter registration is as it was intended.

The Orange County Republican Party will kick off the first session of the training on Saturday, June 24, and continue on until next year’s March primary, Avila said. It will be a continuous effort, he said.

“Twenty-seven thousand is a big number,” Avila said. “It may not be that first knock on the door. It may be a phone call after building the relationship and the trust of that person to get them to change registration.”

Click here to read the full article in the OC Register

Potential 2024 Presidential Hopeful Implores GOP Not to Overlook California

With the 2024 presidential election on the horizon, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who is contemplating a run for the White House, has a message for Republicans in Orange County: “Californians will have a voice.”

Hutchinson, 72, is swinging through Orange County this week as he develops his message about the country’s future and mulls a presidential bid. A decision on that, he said in an interview Tuesday, March 21, will come in April.

But in the meantime, Hutchinson is visiting a blue California, speaking to a Republican Party of Orange County gathering and a Laguna Niguel Republican Women group this week before he headlines an event at the Nixon Library on Wednesday. And while here, he is imploring the national Republican Party to pay attention to California ahead of 2024.

“California is important. We can’t simply be a party that appeals to middle America,” Hutchinson said, referring to what is typically seen as more conservative-leaning states not on either coast. “We have to be a party that can win on the West Coast.”

While he’s optimistic about the future of the Republican Party, Hutchinson said a winning formula for the GOP is having a “consistent conservative nominee” who can attract suburban and independent voters. The party shouldn’t be hinged, he said, on a candidate who is “always looking in the rearview mirror.” While not a specific reference to former President Donald Trump, who is in the midst of his third bid for the White House, Hutchinson has said the Jan. 6 insurrection “disqualifies” Trump from being at the top of the ticket again.

An attorney with a long political history in Arkansas, Hutchinson defined conservativism as “believing in a limited role of government, individual responsibility, valuing life and the life of the unborn and a strong America that can lead in terms of freedom.”

His priorities range from reining in federal spending to increasing border security to implementing a “more consistent and fulsome energy policy.”

On that latter note, Hutchinson believes there is a balance to be had between producing energy — more of which he says should be happening in the U.S. — and being good stewards of the environment.

“You’ve got to see fossil fuel energy sources as part of the mix, but let’s use technology to make it more friendly to the environment,” he said. “I think you can use sound practices to continue to produce, but in a way that recognizes the importance of the environment and protecting it.”

On border issues, too, Hutchinson, a former Drug Enforcement Administration chief, is hopeful. His solution? Speed up decisions on asylum cases, utilize technology for border patrol and designate cartels as a “foreign terrorist organization” to free up additional resources to combat the influx of fentanyl into the country.

Hutchinson, a former congressman and Department of Homeland Security undersecretary during the George W. Bush administration, has made recent trips to Iowa and South Carolina.

His visit to Southern California comes about two weeks after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, also a potential 2024 contender, made appearances at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley and at a fundraiser for the Republican Party of Orange County.

DeSantis’ popularity among registered California Republican voters appears to be growing: A recent Berkeley IGS survey found the former congressman, 44, leading a field of potential GOP candidates with Trump in second place. (Hutchinson was not included in the list.)

But while DeSantis castigated California policies on his visit, from education to COVID-19 to public safety, Hutchinson said he wants to take a different approach to his potential rival — one that is more about comparing and contrasting rather than critiquing the state.

“I’m telling people what I’ve done and how I’ve led in Arkansas and my vision for the country,” Hutchinson said. “And my vision for the country, as I’ve articulated, I think makes sense in California, too.”

Despite the deep blue political makeup of California, Southern California is still seen as an asset for Republican candidates — because of its cash and the timing of the March 5 presidential primary, an opportunity for a competitor to nab an extraordinary amount of delegates for the nominating process.

Republicans in Orange County, Hutchinson said, seem to have “a strong sense of optimism for the future,” and he sees the GOP base in the Golden State as critical to the party’s overall success.

Click here to read the full article in the OC Register

California 2024 US Senate Contest Kicks Off at Furious Pace

California’s U.S. Senate race is unfolding at a furious pace, with candidates reporting seven-figure fundraising and holding competing rallies and campaign events more than a year before the 2024 primary election.

The fight for the safely Democratic seat held by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who at 89 is the oldest member of Congress, is shaping up as a marquee match-up between nationally known rivals and is likely to become one of the most expensive Senate races in the country next year.

On Saturday, Democratic U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, who rose to prominence as the lead prosecutor in former President Donald Trump’s first impeachment trial, gathered hundreds of supporters in a union hall parking lot for a rally in his hometown of Burbank, California, where he implored the cheering crowd, “Let’s go win this thing.”

Schiff, who announced his candidacy last month, said he was running for Senate after two decades in Congress “to build an economy that works for everyone, a democracy that will last for all time and a planet that doesn’t melt beneath our feet.”

A day earlier, Democratic U.S. Rep. Katie Porter brought her Senate campaign to Los Angeles, where she met with local leaders to discuss pollution in lower-income neighborhoods. She said such areas are often overlooked in Washington and Sacramento, where residents’ complaints about unhealthy conditions go unheard.

Porter, a leader in Congress’ progressive wing, built a reputation for her tough questioning of CEOs and other witnesses at congressional hearings — often using a whiteboard to break down information.

Other potential contenders for the seat include Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee, a former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. If she runs and is elected, Lee would be the only Black woman in the Senate.

Feinstein has yet to say if she will seek a seventh term. In recent years, questions have arisen about her cognitive health and memory, though she has defended her effectiveness. However, her reticence about her future has created a publicly awkward dynamic — the race to replace her is rapidly taking shape, even as the senator remains unclear about her intentions.

Schiff’s rally, held on a nippy, mostly overcast morning, marked the start of a two-week statewide tour, with stops to include San Diego, Sacramento, Fresno and San Francisco.

He was joined by his wife Eve, one of his two children, Alexa, and David McMillan, whom the congressman mentored as a youth and considers part of his family.

After recounting his career as a federal prosecutor, state legislator and member of Congress, Schiff made clear he would anchor his campaign to his role as impeachment manager and Trump’s chief antagonist in Congress. He has been a frequent target of conservatives — Trump in particular — since the then-GOP-led House Intelligence Committee he served on started investigating Trump’s ties to Russia in the 2016 election.

He mentioned “democracy” more than a half-dozen times in the speech. He’s selling T-shirts and coffee mugs on his campaign website, with the slogan “Democracy Matters.” He called Trump, who has announced his 2024 campaign for the presidency, “a demagogue bent on destroying our democracy.”

“We investigated Trump. We impeached him. We held him accountable and then we defeated him at the ballot box,” Schiff said to cheers. “And we will defeat him again, if the GOP is foolish enough to nominate him. He will never see the inside of the Oval Office, never again.”

Trump was impeached in December 2019 on charges he abused the power of the presidency to investigate rival Joe Biden and obstructed Congress’ investigation. The Republican-led Senate acquitted Trump of both charges. In 2021, he became the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice, this time for inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol after he lost the 2020 election. He was again acquitted by the Senate.

Schiff’s other foundational issues include fighting climate change and improving the economy.

“Too many people are working multiple jobs but cannot pay the rent, afford groceries or pay for lifesaving medication,” he said. “Too many children are growing up in poverty and hungry.”

Schiff and Porter, both prolific small-dollar fundraisers, already are dueling over campaign dollars and endorsements. Former Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco is backing Schiff, providing Feinstein retires, and Porter is supported by Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Click here to read the full article in AP News

Family Business: Meet the Legacy Caucus in the California Legislature

Assemblymember Megan Dahle ran to take her husband Brian’s vacated seat in 2020 and just last week announced that in 2024 she’ll be running again to take his place once he leaves the state Senate. 

But she said it wasn’t her political significant other who gave her the initial motivation to pursue a political career.

It was a cinnamon roll: Her eldest son came home after school one day bragging that the cafeteria had given him a sugary pastry “the size of my head” that morning.

“That’s kind of how it started for me,” the Redding Republican said, referring to her 12 years so far in elected office. “I started going to the board meetings and listening and going, ‘Oh, I really should know more about this.’”

Those meetings convinced her to run for the Big Valley Joint Unified school board, where she eventually served as president. From there, she decided to run for state Assembly — reluctantly, she insists, because “she knew enough about” the Legislature via her husband to know what a slog it is as a Republican. Ultimately, she decided it was a good way to keep plugging away at education policy and other issues she cares about. And now she’s running for Senate.

She tells this story as a way to explain that nothing about her path in politics was the predictable result of her relationship to the man who ran for governor last year and was trounced by Gov. Gavin Newsom. When she met Brian Dahle while he was campaigning for the county board of supervisors, she said she didn’t even know what that position was. She did not dream of becoming a politician as a kid. Nor did she come from a political family.

But she’s part of one now. And in the California Legislature, the Dahle clan is not alone.

Of the 120 legislators, a dozen have current or former members in their immediate family. And the size of the Legacy Caucus may increase after the next election. 

Assemblymember Dahle isn’t even the first family-connected candidate to launch a 2024 campaign. 

Edith Villapudua, whose husband Carlos is a Stockton Democratic Assemblymember, is running for the state Senate. In late December, a day after Assemblymember Sabrina Cervantes, a Democrat from Corona, announced for state Senate, her sister Clarissa Cervantes, a Riverside city council member, announced that she’s running to take her place. And on Monday, San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher launched his state Senate campaign. He’s a former Assemblymember, but he’s also married to Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, who served in the Assembly from 2013 until last year, when she left to run the California Labor Federation.

The fact that so many state lawmakers have fellow California pols in their family tree is no one-off. At least 10% of the Legislature has been related to at least one current or former state lawmaker since 2001, according to data compiled by Alex Vassar, a spokesperson for the California State Library and the unofficial keeper of legislative lore and trivia. His tally includes direct family ties, but also more distant kin, such as in-laws, nephews and great-grandchildren. 

The last time the Legislature lacked a single family-tied member was 1910, according to Vassar.   

What’s true of the Legislature may simply be true of politics in general. Adams, Bush, Clinton, Kennedy and Roosevelt are just a few of the most notable last names in American political history. An analysis of congressional family ties found that serving in the House of Representatives for more than one term increased the likelihood that an incumbent “will have a relative entering Congress in the future by about 70%.” 

And in California, a Brown — be it, Jerry, his sister Kathleen or his father Pat — was on 15 of the state’s 18 statewide midterm ballots between 1946 and 2014, notes Claremont McKenna College politics professor Jack Pitney.

In the state Capitol, the omnipresence of political families can shape the culture — and, in the cases of relatives serving at the same time, the way that lawmaking is done. At best, it provides a way for institutional knowledge to pass from one generation to the next despite term limits. At worst, it can provide fodder for cynics who believe that political power is only available to those who know the right people.

“The Nepo phenomenon is not confined to Hollywood,” said Pitney. “In any field of work, but especially politics, it helps to have family on the inside.”

What’s in a name?

There are a number of reasons why winning elections might run in the family. Exposure to the world of politics might inspire someone to follow in the footsteps of a sibling, spouse or parent. Connections and know-how could be bequeathed. If there’s such a thing as raw political talent, maybe it’s genetic.

State Sen. Dave Cortese, a Campbell Democrat, is quick to concede another reason: Name identification. His father, Dominic, served on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors before nabbing a seat in the Assembly and, in the pre-term limit era, holding it for 16 years. That was a lot of time spent reminding voters of the “Cortese” name.

That came in handy when the younger Cortese launched his first campaign, for a seat on the East San Jose school board in 1992: “It’s me and a couple other people running, and I’ve got a name at that point that’s got 12 years of Board of Supervisors and another 12 years of state Assembly recognition in the area, right? I mean, that’s name ID that goes from ’68 to ’92.”

In another study of congressional elections, University of Pennsylvania professor Brian Feinstein estimated that “dynastic politicians” get a 4-percentage-point electoral boost on average, thanks solely to their connection to a previously elected family member. Feinstein called this effect the “brand name advantage” to distinguish it from “capital advantages” that might come with being related to a politician — a working understanding of how to put together a campaign, seek endorsements or raise money.

Cortese said he got a bit of that from his dad, too. As an 11-year-old helping out on his dad’s first supervisorial campaign, he said he fell in love with precinct walking and canvassing at the county fairgrounds. Twenty four years later, he said he “tried to sort of mimic that process.” 

And though he said his father did nothing to either persuade or dissuade him from getting into politics, Cortese recalled that he did give him one valuable piece of advice: “Just make sure that you’re reaching out to the right people.”

‘Good training’

Diane Papan, a San Mateo Democrat elected to the Assembly last November, remembers getting a similar early education in retail politics from her dad, the pugnacious Lou Papan, a former Assemblymember who served as an “enforcer” for Willie Brown during his reign as Assembly speaker.

She recalls stuffing envelopes and knocking on doors, watching her father joke and glad-hand his way into the good graces of constituents and fellow lawmakers, getting a better-than-average fifth-grader’s schooling on how a bill becomes law and lobbying her father at the kitchen table to vote her way on certain legislation. 

“Good training,” she said.

For many years of her childhood, Papan said that working on her dad’s campaigns was also one of the surest ways to spend quality time with him. And after a decade hiatus, when her dad ran for office again, she and her future husband were called to go knock on doors again. 

“Running for office is a family affair,” she said. “It really does take the family buy-in.”

While Papan said her father instilled in her an early love of politics and policy making, she rejects the idea that it put her in the Legislature. California’s current crop of lawmakers is full of former staffers and the trusted friends of former lawmakers. A family tie is just one other kind of connection, she said. 

Plus, Papan said she faced her own hurdles, as a female candidate. “Here’s where I get on my soapbox a little: It’s a lot easier for a man to be a chip off the old block,” she said.

Click here to read the full article in CalMatters