Calpeek 1/13/2023

Challenging an Incumbent U.S. Senator

Two members of Congress are breaking the unwritten rule of challenging an incumbent.  Congresswoman Katie Porter announced she will be running for U.S. Senate in 2024.  Congresswoman Barbara Lee told colleagues she plans to run, but has not yet formed a committee.  Few people think Senator Dianne Feinstein will run for re-election, but if she does, the question is will these challengers stay in the race?  Porter announced on Tuesday and Lee announced on Wednesday.  Calpeek has a list of prospective candidates who may be announcing earlier than planned so as not to be left in the dust. 


Frankly, We’re Surprised He Lasted So Long 

Controversial union leader Richard Louis Brown was formally removed from office last week.  As Calpeek has previously discussed, Brown was elected to run SEIU Local 1000, representing state employees, in 2021 when only 8% of the members voted.  If you would like to read the list of violations and accusations, the Sacramento Bee has details here


Modest Shortfall Definition in Question

On Monday, Governor Gavin Newsom put forth the new state budget proposal for the next fiscal year that will be discussed, debated, and amended over the next 6 months.  Unlike in the last few years, the state faces a deficit, which Newsom acknowledged.  He called the $22.5 billion (billion with a “b”) a “modest shortfall”.  That is not how Calpeek would describe it, but maybe we would have a different perspective if we were BFFs with a Getty.  Calpeek has some background information and the Sacramento Bee has details on the new proposal.  


Frizzy Hair Saves the Planet

Please sit down and enjoy some good news.  CNN is reporting that the “Earth’s ozone layer is on track to recover completely within decades”.  Wow!  By phasing out CFCs and other ozone-harming chemicals, the atmosphere is recovering.  The United Nations report said that international cooperation was and still is essential.  This does not solve global climate change, but we will take a moment to be grateful for some progress.


Bought and Paid For – Donor Bases Matter

People often express concern that a politician is “bought and paid for” by powerful and/or moneyed interests.  The Wall Street Journal looked at the donors to Republicans who opposed Congressman Kevin McCarthy’s Speakership bid.  The analysis showed that about ½ of the members did not have wealthy donor or PAC support.  Instead, they receive small, online contributions from a very large number of individuals.  Online donations en masse is relatively new and we are just discovering how it impacts an elected official’s votes. It’s the latest, new wrinkle in politics. (note: Calpeek does not have a subscription to the Wall Street Journal, so we don’t really know what the article says, but Politico summarized it for us.)


Who Says the IRS Doesn’t Have a Heart?

On Tuesday, the Internal Revenue Service announced that taxpayers impacted by the recent rains in California have an extra month to file their 2022 returns.  If a filer lives in one of the 31 counties included in the Federal Emergency Declaration, they will have until May 15 to submit their returns.  The IRS is also granting extensions and allowances for businesses and estimated payments among other things.  The L.A. Times has more information here.


FYI – Breast Augmentation is NOT a Gift

According to the Fair Political Practices Commission, money given by lobbyist Sigrid Lopez to El Monte City Councilmember Victoria Martinez Muela for breast augmentation is legal.  That’s right!  As reported by the L.A. Times, the Councilmember had been accused of accepting the $1,100 “gift” payment for surgery in late 2016, which was said to be for health reasons, and then failed to disclose it on financial statements.  However, according to the FPPC, it wasn’t a “gift” after all.


Riverside Sheriff Not Backing Down 

Chad Bianco, once a dues-paying member of the far-right Oath Keepers militia, was sworn in to his second term as Riverside County Sheriff last week.  And as expected, he didn’t disappoint his conservative base.  As reported by the Press Enterprise, after being sworn in, Bianco described 2020’s social justice protests as destructive riots and claimed criminal justice reform efforts “allowed for the murder” of Deputy Isaiah Cordero who was shot during a traffic stop on December 29th.  Based on Bianco’s previous term and outspoken behavior, we’ll be hearing a lot more crazy rhetoric from him in the future (lucky us).

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