THE BUZZ: gov. Gavin Newsom and family returned to California Tuesday afternoon after taking what sounded like some much-needed vacation time in the Southern Hemisphere.
But now that he’s back, he’s got some much-needed governing to do. While he was out of the country, six people were killed steps from the Capitol, prompting political debate about how California addresses gun violence and incarceration. Meanwhile, California drivers continue to bemoan prices at the pump while lawmakers work out a relief package.
He’ll also have to deal with the ongoing drought, drop in public school enrollment and efforts to shepherd his Care Court plan through the Legislature.
Here’s what’s at the top of Newsom’s to-do list:
— Relief for gas prices: A few weeks after first teasing it in his State of the State speech, Newsom’s administration last week finally published language for four trailer bills that it hopes will ease the strain of gas prices, which, while admittedly dropping, are still hurting Californians’ pocketbooks. The governor wants to give $400 tax refunds for vehicle owners, subsidize free public transit for three months, cancel the sales tax on diesel fuel for a year and pause the gas tax’s inflation adjustment scheduled for July 1.
Legislators, who are in recess this week, will need to act fast if they want to pass two of those bills. Per the Department of Finance, both the pause on diesel taxes and the pause on the gas tax inflation adjustment need to be passed by the end of the month to meet certain deadlines.
— Gun legislation: In February, Newsom backed a series of bills aimed at tightening gun control rules and closing ghost gun loopholes. After the tragic shooting in downtown Sacramento 10 days ago, those bills are under renewed attention.
Senate Bill 1327 by Sen. Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) is modeled, upon Newsom’s request, after Texas’ abortion ban and allows private citizens to go after gunmakers. It made it through a Senate committee hearing earlier this month, but even some Democrats questioned the wisdom of passing a bill based on a Texas law many of them think is unconstitutional.
— May revise: Newsom and staff (and frankly most of the Capitol) are gearing up for another year of budget talks. Next on the schedule is the governor’s May budget revision, where the administration tweaks, adjusts and focuses the priorities laid out in Newsom’s initial January budget proposal. We’re not sure just what that will entail yet, but you can expect the revised budget to include updated revenue figures and adjustments based on inflation.
BUENOS DÍAS, good Wednesday morning. Today California’s reparations task force convenes for a two-day long meeting in San Francisco. At the last meeting, the group decided that only those with direct lineage to enslaved ancestors would be eligible for reparations.
MEA CULPA: In Tuesday’s Playbook we included the wrong photo in a write-up of the LA mayoral race that included Rep. Karen Bass. We apologize to the congresswoman and our readers.
Got a tip or story idea for California Playbook? hit us up [email protected] other [email protected] or follow us on Twitter @JeremyBWhite and @Lara_Korte.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “If you could fill your car up with cans of AriZona Green Tea with Ginseng and Honey, it would be cheaper than LA gas by nearly 40 cents a gallon.” LA Times reporter Sam Dean in a story exploring how the iconic brand keeps its cans at 99 cents despite rocketing inflation.
TWEET OF THE DAY: Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders @SenSanders: “Corporate greed is Pacific Gas & Electric handing out a $51 million compensation package to its CEO after triggering the 2nd largest wildfire in California’s history, increasing rates by 22%, lobbying against rooftop solar and advocating for a solar tax. We need a Green New Deal.”
WHERE’S GAVIN? Back in California.
Our initiative is the only one on the November ballot that will generate hundreds of millions of dollars each year to fight homelessness and fund mental health and addiction treatment in California. Nearly half of the country has legalized online sports betting, proving states can do so safely and responsibly – and generate significant tax revenue. Add your name to support a permanent funding solution to address California’s homelessness crisis.
SHOOTING DEVELOPMENTS — “Sacramento shooting suspect to get $7500 from county to settle jail treatment lawsuit,” by The Los Angeles Times’ Jessica Garrison: “Just weeks before he ended up wounded in a gun battle near the state Capitol, Martin, who has a long rap sheet, was poised to receive $7,500 from the county over what he described as mistreatment during an earlier stint in the Sacramento County jail.”
UNION LEADER UNDER SCRUTINY — “Exclusive: SEIU Local 1000 president used fake name in college, investigated for identity theft,” by The Sac Bee’s Wes Venteicher: “Theresa Brown said she believes her ex-husband used the alias to avoid paying child support, but she was surprised to learn he had used a minor’s identity.”
LOGJAM — “Newsom hailed this ‘critical’ wildfire-prevention program. Two years on, it hasn’t completed a single project,” by Cap Radio’s Scott Rodd: “Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration launched a program more than two years ago that promised to break the logjam, by fast-tracking environmental reviews. But that program, called the California Vegetation Treatment Program (CalVTP), hasn’t led to the completion of a single project so far.”
DISTRICT DRAMA — “Redistricting has been a debacle and a disgrace — and we aren’t nearly done,” by Mission Local’s Joe Eskenazi: “It seems a safe bet to say San Francisco’s controversial new voting lines will be the subject of an injunction request .”
PLUS — “Critics claim SF’s proposed redistricting map favors moderates. Here’s what the data shows,” by the SF Chronicle’s Nami Sumida. “According to a Chronicle analysis comparing the ideology of districts under the current and proposed plans, the map that was approved by the task force early Sunday morning does not, on the whole, favor progressives or moderates.”
FROM THE MAP GURU — “Really folks, redistricting isn’t all that confusing,” by Paul Mitchell for Capitol Weekly: “A city or county cannot pull the rug out from under an elected official and toss them into a new district. A council member or supervisor continues to serve a full term and represent the district to which they were elected.”
WATER WORKS — “California could shrink water use in cities by 30% or more, study finds,” by The LA Times’ Ian James: “While the researchers determined large water-savings could be achieved throughout the state, they said the biggest potential read in Southern California for reducing water use indoors and outdoors, reusing treated wastewater and collecting more runoff when it rains.”
DOCKED AT THE DOCK — “California companies with ties to Chinese aluminum giant to pay $1.8 billion for avoiding import duties,” by The LA Times’ Christian Martinez: Six Southern California companies, all with ties to one of Asia’s largest manufacturers of aluminum extrusions, were ordered to pay nearly $2 billion in restitution after evading import duties and participating in a scheme to artificially inflate the revenues of the Chinese company, federal prosecutors said.
CONFESSION — “Sherri Papini accepts plea deal, will admit her ‘kidnap’ was all a hoax,” by the Sac Bee’s Sam Stanton: “Six weeks after Sherri Papini was arrested and charged with faking her own kidnapping in 2016, the so-called Super Mom from Redding has signed a plea deal and will admit that she orchestrated the hoax, her attorney told The Sacramento Bee on Tuesday.”
RIP — “Gilbert Gottfried, Comedian and ‘Aladdin’ Star, Dies at 67,” by Variety’s Jordan Moreau: “Gottfried was known for his crude humor, political incorrectness and shrill voice, which helped give life to a number of animated characters, such as Iago the parrot in Disney’s “Aladdin,” the robotic bird Digit in PBS Kids’ “Cyberchase” and the Aflac duck in commercials for the insurance company.”
SHOT — “Twitter ‘as–t-show’ for employees since Elon Musk took major stake: report,” by the New York Post’s Thomas Barrabi: “Musk has emerged as a vocal critic of Twitter’s business practices, taking particular umbrage with the platform’s content moderation policies. He’s also the company’s largest individual shareholder after acquiring a 9% stake earlier this month.”
CHASER — “‘Make an example’: SEC weighs options in latest Elon Musk tussle,” by POLITICO’s Victoria Guida and Katy O’Donnell: “Tesla’s billionaire CEO was late in filing notice of his purchase of a sizable share of Twitter’s stock and initially submitted the wrong form, according to experts. Those potential securities law violations may seem technical, but they’ve set up yet another clash between the Wall Street regulator and the world’s wealthiest man.”
ZUCK TAPS OUT— “Mark Zuckerberg Ends Election Grants,” by The New York Times’ Neil Vigdor: “The donations by Mr. Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Meta, and his wife, Priscilla Chan, were never intended to be a stream of funding for the administration of elections.”
COLOR US IMPRESSED: “Blind SF skateboarder relearning daredevil tricks after being shot in the face,” by the SF Chronicle’s Megan Cassidy.
KAFKA-ESQUE: “From the US to China: A 3-Month Quarantine Horror Story,” by the New York Times’ Vivian Wang.
HMMM: “Driverless car appears to flee the cops in San Francisco,” by Metro’s Anugraha Sundaravelu.
Phil Trounstine, a longtime political editor, communications director for former Gov. Gray Davis and founder of CalBuzz.com, passed away this week, according to Capitol Weekly.
U.S. Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno…
Our initiative is the only one on the November ballot that will generate hundreds of millions of dollars each year to fight homelessness and fund mental health and addiction treatment in California. Nearly half of the country has legalized online sports betting, proving states can do so safely and responsibly – and generate significant tax revenue. Our initiative will also provide millions each year and new economic opportunities for California Tribal nations. Add your name to support a permanent funding solution to address California’s homelessness crisis.