26th February 2024
Those standing around the water cooler apologize for not bringing you any new peeks so far in the New Year. We will be back as soon as we can figure out how to get off the Arc, take off our goulashes, and get in front of our computers. We miss you and all the fun policy, political, and government work that have been going on. We wish you well and will see you soon.
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Ballot Title Fun
It’s that time again – creative ballot titles are being submitted to county registrar of voters and we just love the imaginative options. Some are funny, clever, unusual, and others make us want to rethink what we do for a living. Note: these may not be the final, approved ballot titles.
In no particular order:
Candidate for Assembly, district 57: Tara Perry, Gentrification Crusader/Reparationist – for AD
Candidate for LA District Attorney: Lloyd “Bobcat” Masson, Cold Case Prosecutor
Candidate for Fresno County Democratic Party Central Committee Representative, district 2: Patty Cappelluti, Medical Biller
Candidate for Tulare County Supervisor, district 2: Benny Corona, Biomethane Analyst
Candidate for State Assembly, district 12: Andy Podshadley, Winemaker/Businessowner
Candidate for Congress, district 2: Tief Gibbs, Vintage Vehicle Restorer
Candidate for Marin County Central Committee Representative, district 5: Sarah Ruth Nagle, 3-d Model Development
Candidate for Marin County Central Committee Representative, district 3: Mia Camera, University Auditory Captioner
Candidate for Imperial County Board of Supervisors, district 2: Diahna Garcia-Ruiz, Postmaster
Candidate for Imperial County Board of Supervisors, district 4: Daniel Paramo, Retired State Warden
Candidate for Santa Clara County Central Committee Representative, district 28: James Steven Kastelman, Physician/Medical Doctor
How Much for Housing?
And you thought home prices and rent were high. As Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass celebrates the end of her first year in office with media tours touting how many people have been housed under her administration, three new reports look at the costs and effectiveness. CalMatters examined a government funded, non-profit organization, HOPICS, which “…failed to pay tenants’ rent on time leading to hundreds of evictions.” Although the CalMatters investigation looked at the last three years, which is two years before Bass took office, L.A. Magazine looked at a program spearheaded by Bass, known as “Inside Safe”, which spent $67 million and housed 255 people. Inside Safe did find “temporary” housing for many more people. Bass says she has moved 21,694 people into “interim” housing. L.A. Times columnist Erica Smith has some additional insight. LAist examined the problems with homelessness data in a city that has allocated $1.3 billion “…to invest in solutions for the homelessness crisis.” It seems another challenge to tackling homelessness is definitions of words, political jurisdictions, and the entities managing the data.
Love Those Random Letters
As long-time Calpeek readers know, those standing around the water cooler just love the random alphabet. Yesterday, the Secretary of State picked letters of the alphabet in random order (we don’t know if she wore a blindfold, but that would be fun). The letters in their new line up will determine how candidates are listed on ballots Some local jurisdictions may also pull a random alphabet. You can find the Secretary of State’s random alphabet for the March 2024 election here. Congratulations to the candidates whose names begin with G, H, A, U, T, and J. You’re up first.
Ready for New Laws?
The new year will bring us new laws. The Sacramento Bee, ABC7, and KCRA, have a roundup of some interesting laws, but those standing around the water cooler wanted to highlight a few of our favorites: veterinarians will now be allowed to see an animal via video conference; cities and counties will not allowed to ban cruising; some mixed martial-arts fighters will be eligible for retirement benefits; employers will not be allowed to penalize workers who smoke pot on their own time; Japanese shochu can be sold in bars and restaurants as long as it doesn’t exceed 24% alcohol by volume. 2024 might be a fun year.
$68 Billion Shortfall?!
Remember the days when California had more money than it knew what to do with? Those days weren’t too long ago but seem to be far gone. According to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, our state’s budget deficit has swelled from an anticipated $14.3 billion to an actual whopping $68 billion. This is due to months of unexpected low tax revenues. According to Politico, this could prompt the state’s deepest spending cuts since the Great Recession. However, we’re told not to fret quite yet. Analysts suggest that we could use cash reserves, one-time cuts in spending and changes to the way education is funded. Legislative Analyst Gabriel Petek stated “The state remains in a good cash position, and that really wasn’t the case back at the start of the Great Recession. We don’t face the same kind of liquidity challenges that we had at that time, and so I would stop short of describing it as a crisis.” If this projection wasn’t depressing enough, analysts also project an annual $30 billion deficit in future years. In response, H.D. Palmer, with the California Department of Finance, said in a statement that “The Administration will present its plan to close the budget gap when the Governor sends his proposal to the Legislature next month.”
CalPeek Sports Round Up:
$700 Million Reasons to Love Los Angeles
In case you missed it, the once Angels player Shohei Ohtani signed a $700 Million, 10-year deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday. That’s correct, that’s $700,000,000 (with eight zeros). As reported by The Ringer, this deal nearly doubles the $360 million record that Aaron Judge signed last December. Not bad for a 29-year-old.
It Pays to Play Golf
If your name isn’t Shohei Ohtani, you can still score some cash for playing golf. Sort of. According to CalMatters, ClubCorp – the Dallas headquartered golf giant – owes some 33,500 California golf and country club members some cash and State Controller Malia Cohen is out to collect. In total, the ClubCorp is expected to hand over $43 million in deposits, as well as $31 million in damages and penalties to the state’s controller’s and attorney general’s offices. (that’s one zero short of Ohtani’s deal…in case you’re keeping score). According to the Department of Justice, ClubCorp didn’t return the over $43 million in membership deposits unless requested – a violation of its contract. So…if you’re a golfer and member of a fancy country club, you could be “on par” to have some cash coming your way.