Gov. Gavin Newsom launches ads to fight abortion travel bans

The multistate campaign will launch Monday with a TV commercial about a measure under consideration in Tennessee.

Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sunday announced an advertising campaign to combat proposals in several Republican-controlled states to prohibit out-of-state travel for abortions and other reproductive care.

The multistate ad campaign and an online petition effort will launch Monday, beginning with a TV commercial about a measure under consideration in Tennessee. The so-called “abortion trafficking” bill sponsored by GOP state legislators would make it a felony offense for an adult to recruit, harbor or transport a minor to get an abortion without parental consent.

Newsom told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that similar restrictions modeled on a law that has already passed in Idaho are also being proposed in Oklahoma and Mississippi.

“The conditions are much more pernicious than they even appear,” Newsom said. “These guys are not just restricting the rights, self-determination to bear a child for a young woman. But they’re also determining their fate as it relates to their future in life by saying they can’t even travel.”

People who support the Tennessee measure say it could criminalize not only driving a minor to get an abortion, but also providing information about nearby abortion services or passing along which states have looser abortion laws.

Republican state Rep. Jason Zachary, who is co-sponsoring the proposal, has called it “simply a parental rights bill.”

Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022, anti-abortion advocates have pushed states to ban abortion and find ways to block pregnant women and girls from crossing state lines to obtain the procedure.

Click here to read the full article in ABC7

Adam Schiff breaks his Fox News boycott

Schiff, a Burbank Democrat, has started running TV ads on Fox News to supercharge his U.S. Senate campaign.

California Rep. Adam Schiff has used his perch as a hero of the MAGA resistance to implore advertisers to boycott Fox News.

Now a candidate for the Senate, Schiff is violating his own entreaty. On Saturday, the Burbank Democrat will begin running TV ads on Fox.

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Schiff’s ad buy is the latest in his deluge of spending to fortify his frontrunner status in the March 5 primary, and, possibly even clear a path to the Senate.

Schiff has spent millions to promote Republican Steve Garvey and box out fellow Democrat Katie Porter. A pro-Schiff super PAC also is running ads on Fox News intended to boost Garvey.

But the Schiff ads run counter to his boycott plea just last year as part of a sweeping indictment of the network’s brass and hosts as “shameful.” Schiff at the time said his boycott applied to Fox News and all other “stations that deliberately put out lies and deliberately undermine our elections.”

Schiff’s decision to steer his donations to Fox is an acknowledgement that the potential Garvey voters he’s hoping turn out in the primary are squarely in the network’s target demographics. A Schiff campaign spokesperson did not directly address the boycott, but defended his decision to spend money on Fox.

“It’s important for California voters — no matter what TV channel they tune into — to know what’s at stake in this election,” Marisol Samayoa told POLITICO. “We’ll continue to bring our message to voters across the Golden State.”

Click here to read the full article in Politico

Coupal: A bold idea for California: Instead of passing so many new laws, how about some oversight over existing ones?

The reaction from politicians to California’s budget deficit – now estimated by the Legislative Analyst to be around $73 billion – breaks down into two camps: the state must either reduce spending or find more revenue. (Euphemism for raising taxes.)

In reality, even the most progressive legislators realize that their dream of unending growth in government is crashing headlong into reality. Days ago, Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas acknowledged that the ultimate goal of single-payer health care won’t be on the table anytime soon.

Of course, any reduction in spending will be accompanied by the obligatory gnashing of teeth and pulling of hair. It is easier to extract a sirloin steak from the jaws of a Doberman than to get politicians and government bureaucrats to reduce their record levels of spending. To the tax spenders, all government spending is “essential,” notwithstanding the fact that state spending has doubled in six years.

Ordinary Californians reject the premise that all state spending is “essential” and, in fact, think much of it is superfluous and wasteful. A Public Policy Institute of California survey earlier this month asked, “Do you think . . . state government[s] waste a lot of the money we pay in taxes, waste some of it, or don’t waste very much of it?” Overall, 45% of Californians perceived that “a lot” of their money was being wasted and 46% believed “some” of their money was wasted.

Specific examples abound. If the High-Speed Rail project were put before the voters after its 14-year history of broken promises, polling reveals it would be derailed. And volumes could be written about the $30 billion in EDD fraud.

An excellent exposé in CalMatters by Sameea Kamal and Jeremia Kimelman reveals the massive non-compliance with legislative mandates regarding the preparation of reports that are supposed to track the effectiveness of government programs. The title of the article is “Legislators wanted 1,100 reports on how California’s laws are working. Most haven’t arrived.”

When it creates a new program, the Legislature frequently requires the affected state or local agencies to prepare a report back to the Legislature about the performance of the new program. The purpose, according to the Legislature itself, is to “provide crucial oversight to ensure effective implementation of programs.”

But according to CalMatters, “more than 70% of the 1,118 reports due in the past year were not submitted to the Office of Legislative Counsel, the public repository for the reports . . . And about half of those that were filed were late. (About 230 were reports required from multiple agencies.)”

The absence of reports on the efficacy of past legislation makes future legislation like a journey into the unknown. CalMatters correctly contends that the “reports could be used to avoid introducing duplicative or unnecessary bills.” But a more fundamental purpose would be to determine which laws or programs should simply be repealed or abandoned entirely.

Compounding the problem of missing reports is that there is little data about which reports are simply late and that there is little notice when they are completed. The lack of a coherent process for tracking legislatively mandated reports is why, according to CalMatters, “some lawmakers and consultants . . . don’t often use the [Legislative Counsel] website,” relying instead on alternative sources of information.

In theory, California has multiple avenues for conducting oversight. The California State Auditor produces a number of useful reports, including a periodic report on “statewide issues and state agencies that represent a high risk to the State or its residents.”

Click here to read the full article in the OC Register

Powerful women are backing a man for California’s Senate seat

Last weekend in Long Beach, Democratic Rep. Katie Porter of Irvine met with voters at a small rally in the back patio of Lola’s Mexican Cuisine. It was one of many stops she’s making around California as she campaigns for the U.S. Senate seat that was recently held by the late Dianne Feinstein.

“If one of Katie’s male opponents wins in November, that will be the first time in more than 30 years that California does not have a woman representing us in the Senate,” Democratic Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Irvine) said as she introduced Porter.

Boos rang out from the crowd.

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This was a scene my colleague Benjamin Oreskes witnessed on the campaign trail in the final weeks before the March 5 primary. It points to an unanticipated undercurrent of California’s Senate race.

Though California made history in 1993 as the first state to elect two women to the Senate, the state’s streak of female representation may come to an end after this year’s election — and, Oreskes reports, women appear to be a leading reason.

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco), one of the most powerful women in California and national politics, has endorsed Porter’s male opponent, Democratic Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank). So has former Sen. Barbara Boxer, who served alongside Feinstein for nearly a quarter century after they were elected in the first “Year of the Woman.” More than half the women in California’s congressional delegation also back Schiff. And recent opinion polls show Schiff leading the field among female likely voters.

Click here to read the full article in the LA Times

California lawmakers seek to short-circuit new income-based utility charges

GOP and Dems eye plans to overturn hastily approved billing scheme

OAKLAND — Multiple efforts are underway on both sides of California’s political divide to short-circuit a 2022 law that would impose new income-based fixed fees on customers of PG&E and other utility leviathans.

Democrats and Republicans in the state legislature have crafted separate measures designed to quash a plan to implement the fee that lawmakers hastily approved in an 11-hour proceeding.

PG&E, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric would be able to impose the new charge on their customers if the state Public Utilities Commission gives the plan a final OK — potentially by this spring or summer. Newsom, who signed the bill, appointed all five current members of the powerful commission.

RELATED: PG&E profits hop higher as revenue from electricity and gas surges

The legislative efforts seek to either overturn or drastically alter the 2022 law, AB 205, a wide-ranging energy bill including a one-sentence provision that directed the utility commission to study income-based fixed charges and then decide on their implementation by no later than June 30 of this year.

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The provision in the legislation was intended to help encourage a transition to greater electrification and energy conservation in California as part of a shift away from reliance on fossil fuels, along with making utility bills more affordable for low-income customers. Critics, though, warn the bill might actually produce higher monthly bills.

The state lawmakers involved in the various efforts to overturn the income-based utility charge plan include Assembly Democrats Marc Berman of Menlo Park and Jacqui Irwin of Thousand Oaks, and Senate Republican Brian Dahle, Shannon Grove, Janet Nguyen, Roger Niello, Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh, Kelly Seyarto, and Scott Wilk.

What’s more, 22 state lawmakers wrote to the utility commission’s president in October warning that the powerful California regulatory agency might be racing too quickly — and with no public input — to decide on the income-based fees.

“At a minimum, more time will be needed to consider such a significant and far-reaching change in policy that will significantly impact ratepayers with only a theoretical benefit,” the lawmakers wrote.

Several experts led by Ahmad Faruqui, an economist who has consulted with all three of the utility behemoths, have provided an array of reasons that regulators should reject the current proposal, including the fact that PG&E bills are already rising far faster than the Bay Area inflation rate.

“The proposed fixed charges are way too high compared to the national landscape,” Faruqui and the group of economists wrote. “The fixed charges will be burdensome for many, infeasible to administer, are likely to be challenged in court and are likely to unleash adverse unintended consequences, such as penalizing customers who use energy efficiently and frugally.”

Advocates for Income-based fees, including The Utility Reform Network (TURN) and the National Resources Defense Council, say that higher-income customers will tend to pay more, while lower-income customers will pay less. Proponents also claim that PG&E and the other utilities intend to lower the kilowatt-hour rates they charge customers as a way to offset the fees.

Even so, TURN and the environmental group concede that fixed fees are far from a complete solution. Despite their support, the groups wrote in a filing with the state that they recognize “the development of a progressive fixed charge does not represent a silver bullet and will not, on its own, make customer bills affordable.”

State lawmakers are increasingly alarmed about the income-based fee proposal.

“Too many Californians struggle to afford their electricity bills at a time when energy is already unreliable, and yet the legislature thought it was a good idea to rip people off more,” Wilk, a Santa Clarita Republican, said in a prepared release this week.

The fixed-income proposal has surfaced at a time when PG&E bills, along with the bills charged by the other two utility titans, have skyrocketed.

Click here to read the full article in the Mercury News

Schiff, Garvey Surge Ahead In Latest 2024 California U.S. Senate Election Poll

Porter six points behind Garvey in third place, Lee remains a distant fourth

A new Inside California Politics/ Emerson College poll on the 2024 California U.S. Senate Election was released Tuesday, showing that both Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA) and former Major League baseball star Steve Garvey (R) have continued to grow their respective leads over other top candidates such as Congresswomen Katie Porter (D-CA) and Barbara Lee (D-CA).

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According to the poll, Schiff has stayed in first place with 28% of those polled giving him their support. Garvey remained in second, receiving 22%, followed by Porter who was six points down at 16%. In a distant fourth was Lee with only 9% of the vote. Lawyer Eric Early (R), Businessman James Bradley (R), and TV Anchorwoman Christina Pascucci (D) each had 2% of the vote, rounding out the candidates who had more than 1%. Meanwhile, only 17% of voters remained undecided.

When broken down by demographics, both Schiff and Garvey enjoyed a high percentage of older voters in their favor, while Porter garnered more support from younger voters. Amongst independent voters in California, both Garvey and Schiff were split, with Garvey garnered 23% support from independents while Schiff had 22%.

“Candidate support varies by age group,” said Spencer Kimball, executive director of Emerson College Polling. “Schiff’s support is highest among voters in their 60s, at 45%, and those over 70, with 39%, whereas Porter’s strength is among young voters, where she holds 23%. Notably, this group has the highest share of undecided voters at 28%. Garvey’s strength is also with older voters, with 33% support among voters over 70.”

When compared to the two previous polls in January, the previous Emerson poll and the USC Dornsife poll, Schiff has seen a trend of growing support. The January Emerson poll showed him at 25%, with the USC poll at 26%, and the February Emerson poll at 28%, marking a three point climb in only a month. Garvey, meanwhile went from an 18% January Emerson showing, to a 15% USC figure, then back up to a 22% with Emerson this month.

In Comparison, Porter had a 13%-15%-16% string of small gains, matching Schiff’s overall 3 point gain in a month, but coming short of Garvey’s 4 point gain. Lee meanwhile, made small gains, going from 8% to 7% to 9% on Tuesday. Bradley, Early, and Pascucci, meanwhile, all stagnated at around 2%.

Schiff, Garvey speed ahead of Porter, Lee

“This poll spells good news for Schiff, great news for Garvey, and just the worst possible news for Porter,” added Stephanie Lewis, a pollster in Southern California, to the Globe on Tuesday. “Schiff’s ads, first debate performance, and generally not rocking the boat in terms of negative headlines during the campaign have led him to maintain and slowly build. He’s getting many older Democrats to go away from Lee and Porter, and has pushed those on the fence to decide between him and Garvey. There’s people saying that some of his ads are charged and is trying to remove Porter because he would rather face Garvey in November, but he’s just been going after the independents and undecideds and wants to consolidate Democrats now.”

“If you’re a Garvey supporter, then this poll is great news. A six point lead over Porter with only 17% undecided, with Garvey grabbing the most independents. Plus he has outpaced support growth over all other candidates, as he went up 4 points since last month, and Schiff and Porter only went up 3. You can also track his debate performances from the polls. As he was doing decently before the first debate, dipped after his poor performance in the first, then won many people back in the second. It is helping that the Democrats are split, but it’s also helping the Porter just cannot break through.”

“Speaking of Porter, she is somewhat keeping pace, but she needed to have done more than that by now. Porter is good for the snappy headline and getting younger voters who see Lee as too old and too left, Schiff as too centrist, and Garvey as too conservative. But younger voters tend not to vote much as older voters, especially in primaries and especially in a primary election where Biden is the only real candidate for the Dems. And she is growing frustrated. She’s putting out a ton of ads, only for Schiff and Garvey to keep outpacing her. She gave up her House seat for this and was expecting to face Schiff in November. If she loses in the primary, well, that is hard to come back from.”

Click here to read the full article in the California Globe

Biden heads to California to rev up his fundraising in anticipation of a costly rematch with Trump

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden heads to California on Tuesday looking to soak up more cash for his reelection bid during a three-day swing through the state.

Going into the trip, Biden’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee announced Tuesday that they had collected $42 million in contributions during January from 422,000 donors. Biden ended January with $130 million in cash on hand. Campaign officials said that is the highest total amassed by any Democratic candidate at this point in the cycle.

Biden campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez called the haul “an indisputable show of strength to start the election year.”

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“While Team Biden-Harris continues to build on its fundraising machine, Republicans are divided – either spending money fighting Donald Trump, or spending money in support of Donald Trump’s extreme and losing agenda,” she said.

The figures suggest Biden is cementing an early cash advantage over Trump, his likely general election opponent. But the numbers still lag what Trump had amassed during a similar period in 2020, when his campaign routinely smashed fundraising records.

Raising money is only part of the equation. How well that cash is spent is also a major factor — as Trump well knows. His 2020 campaign effectively lit his massive cash surpluses on fire through a series of questionable spending decisions.

This year, Trump retains his impressive ability to hoover up campaign cash, particularly from grassroots donors who typically chip in small amounts online. Trump, who hasn’t released his January fundraising numbers yet, also faces a new threat to his campaign’s finances: the staggering legal bills he racked up while defending himself in four separate criminal cases.

In order to maintain an edge in what’s widely expected to be an expensive rematch with Trump, Biden’s campaign will need to accelerate his fundraising.

This week’s trip to Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay area will mark Biden’s third visit to California in just over two months for political events. He’s trying to make up for lost time after largely avoiding the Democratic donor stronghold during last year’s strikes by the Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA.

Biden heads first to Los Angeles, where he will take part in a fundraiser. He’ll also make campaign stops in San Francisco and Los Altos Hills this week and deliver a policy speech near Los Angeles on Wednesday.

Biden made a quick visit to Los Angeles earlier this month for a meeting with supporters in the city’s upscale Bel Air neighborhood. He and first lady Jill Biden also spent a weekend in December in the Los Angeles area for campaign events.

The first lady is traveling Tuesday to Guilford, Connecticut, to hold a campaign fundraiser on behalf of her husband.

While the Bidens will be pursuing deep-pocketed donors this week, the campaign points to the number of smaller donations it has raised as an encouraging sign for the president.

Click here to read the full article in AP News

California braces for flooding again as another wet winter storm hits

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The latest in a series of wet winter storms gained strength in California early Monday, with forecasters warning of possible flooding, hail, strong winds and even brief tornadoes as the system moves south over the next few days.

Gusts topped 30 mph (48 kph) in Oakland and San Jose as a mild cold front late Saturday gave way to a more powerful storm on Sunday, said meteorologist Brayden Murdock with the National Weather Service office in San Francisco.

“The winds are here and getting stronger, and the rains will follow quickly,” he said Sunday afternoon.

California’s central coast is at risk of “significant flooding,” with up to 5 inches (12 cm) of rain predicted for many areas, according to the weather service. Isolated rain totals of 10 inches (25 cm) are possible in the Santa Lucia and Santa Ynez mountain ranges as the storm heads toward greater Los Angeles.

Click here to read the full article in AP News

Election 2024: Get to know the candidates in California’s 37th state Senate race

The race for California’s 37th state Senate district is a crowded one — and features some familiar names for legislative spectators.

The sprawling SD-37, which changed during the decennial redistricting process in 2021, includes at least parts of Irvine, Aliso Viejo, Costa Mesa, Orange, Fullerton and Laguna Niguel.

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It’s the only state Senate seat Orange County voters will see on their ballot this year.

Sen. Josh Newman, an incumbent Democrat is running for the seat, as is business owner Gabrielle Ashbaugh, former Assemblymember Steven Choi, neurosurgical technologist Leticia Correa, surgical coordinator Jacob Niles Creer, former Councilmember Anthony Kuo, medical authorization coordinator Stephanie Le, Councilmember Crystal Miles, community organizer Alex Mohajer, BuildersMax CEO Guy Selleck and respiratory therapist Jenny Suarez.

Choi, Kuo, Miles and Selleck are Republicans; the other seven candidates are Democrats.

For many of the candidates, education and health care are their top budget priorities.

Selleck says he would prioritize supporting behavioral health hospitals to address homelessness and drug addiction during the budget process while Mohajer would like to see Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program, expanded and universal healthcare coverage implemented.

Newman, who chairs the Senate’s Education Committee, is keen on ensuring there’s maximum funding earmarked for California’s education system, particularly at the K-12 level. And Miles, a Villa Park councilmember, says she wants to make sure education funding is spent in the classroom.

Ashbaugh, Correa, Creer, Le and Suarez did not participate in the Register’s 2024 Primary Election Voter Guide and did not respond to requests for comment for this article.

A former Irvine Unified School Board member, Choi served in the Assembly for six years before redistricting pitted him against another incumbent member — and he lost. He says he wants to return to the legislature to aid in efforts to reduce homelessness, and for him, that looks like focusing on more long-term efforts, he said.

Click here to read that the full article in the OC Register

California Assemblymen Introduce a Legitimate Bill to Solve Homelessness

End ‘Liberal Olympics’: Pray that the State Capitol media gives it the attention it needs, and that all of California deserves

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Two California Assemblymen have introduced a bill to address life beyond homelessness.

Assemblymen Josh Hoover (R-Folsom) and Joe Patterson (R-Rocklin) announced Assembly Bill 2417 “to expand and improve California’s response to our state’s homelessness crisis. This legislation increases funding flexibility for treatment and service oriented programs by repealing the state’s existing one-size-fits-all ‘Housing First’ approach to homelessness.”

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What? This doesn’t sound interesting, controversial or sexy? Yawn.

That’s the problem with today’s Liberal Olympics. Only the craziest, most ridiculous bills seem to get any media attention. The actually necessary, corrective policy-fix bills are ignored by the mainstream media while the stupid, excessive, exaggerated bills make the media’s click-bait cut.

This bill is important… So what does the “Beyond Housing” bill do?

According to the bill’s authors:

It “eliminates the state’s one-size-fits-all approach to homelessness by allowing treatment as a potential option rather than the strict Housing First policy. This would allow state agencies and departments to distribute homeless funds to entities that require mental health and drug treatment for homeless individuals to remain in the program. Ultimately, this will reduce homelessness, crime, squalor, and pressure on local services, when billions in taxpayer money has already been squandered.”

This means that the failed “Housing First” policy this state has spent billions on is… well… a failure – except for the contractors refurbishing and building the “housing” for the homeless.

t is notable that several states with high housing costs have low homelessness – something which rankles “housing first” advocates who continue to insist the hundreds of thousands of drug addicts living on the streets, parks, beaches, rivers and golf courses in California would not be there if they could afford housing, even calling the drug-addicted homeless the “unhoused.”

The Globe has covered the homeless crisis extensively and note that focusing only on housing rather than what’s really at the root of homelessness – drug addiction and mental illness – is merely Democrats controlling the language rather than solving the homeless crisis.

As Assemblymen Hoover and Patterson explain in detail:

Click here to read that the full article in the California Globe