Calpeek 1/20/2023

A Minimum 9 Year Sentence

Late yesterday, the L.A. Times reported that a plea agreement was filed and former L.A. City Councilman Jose Huizar  “agreed to plead guilty to racketeering and tax evasion, admitting that he extorted at least $1.5 million in bribes from developers.” Huizar was accused of numerous crimes and others involved have already gone through the legal process including Huizar’s brother and estranged wife.  Former Councilman Mitchell Englander pled guilty two years ago and is already out of prison.  The evidence against Huizar and others was extensive and shined light on L.A. City corruption. 


Cal Electeds Do the Hustle

Do the Hustle” is more than a disco song played at every wedding reception, it’s the political dance that occurs when candidates announce their desire to leave their current office for another.  And that’s exactly what’s happening as electeds vie to become the next U.S. Senator for California.  But let us be clear that U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein hasn’t stated any plans that she is not intending to run for reelection.  However, the feeding frenzy for her seat and the seats of those rumored to run has begun!  As shared last week, Rep. Katie Porter and Rep. Barbara Lee have already announced their intention to run.  In addition, POLITICO’s California Playbook believes that Rep. Adam Schiff is all but guaranteed to jump in with Rep. Ro Khanna stating that he’s interested.  With each candidate announcement (or rumored interest), comes a flurry of names of those who will or may run to fill those respective seats.  Those of us at Calpeek do recommend the use of Dramamine as the “Political Shuffle”, which much like doing the Square Dance with bell-bottoms, can make your eyes cross and create dizziness and nausea.



Newsom, DeSantis, and Drag Queens

The battle between California Governor Gavin Newsom and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis continues to heat up, as does speculation that both may make a bid to run for President.  According to the Los Angeles Times, Newsom was recently quoted as saying that DeSantis is “cruel” and that he (Newsom) has “no respect for bullies and people who’ve made their entire political careers on attacking vulnerable communities.”  In response, a DeSantis spokesperson said “If Gov. Newsom is looking for any pointers on successful governance, he can follow Florida’s lead.”  However, perhaps the best quote came from Diane Roberts, a Florida-based author and DeSantis critic, who said: “California represents the right: high taxes, Hollywood, strange parades in San Francisco where the drag queens not only read stories, they prance.  Whereas in Florida, we’re investigating a drag queen Christmas show.”  


Libby Schaff “Emerges” In Career Move

Libby Schaff, Oakland’s former mayor who left office at the end of 2022, has been named the interim executive director of Emerge California – an organization that trains women to run for elected office.  As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, the appointment came amid speculation that Schaaf might run for office as Rep. Barbara Lee has announced her bid for U.S. Senate and State Senator Nancy Skinner terms out next year.



It’s the Wrong Labor Day!

As Calpeek readers know, Labor Day is the traditional start of campaign season.  But, before you plan your winter vacation, check which year it says on the calendar…look for 2023.  Yes, that is correct.  Labor Day 2023 will be when many candidates start campaigning full-time for the 2024 primary election currently scheduled for March 5, 2024.  Not June 2024.  The “Signatures-In-Lieu of Filing Fee Period” begins on September 14, 2023.  That is nearly 14 months prior to the General Election.  And less than 8 months from today.  Oy.


What Happens in Vegas Ain’t Staying in Vegas 

Nevada has financial secrecy laws, no individual income tax, no corporate tax, and “some of the loosest trust laws in the nation” according to a story in the The American Prospect entitled “How Nevada Picks Millions From California’s Pocket. A lawsuit against members of the wealthy Getty family exposes the intricacies of state trust law.” It’s not a few dollars, but hundreds of millions, and many wealthy Californians pretend to “live” in Nevada in order to avoid paying what they owe in California. This is not groundbreaking news, but the details coming out of the trial are fascinating.    


Election Season is Finally Over, We Think

We are talking about the 2022 General Election which is arguably finished now that the race in State Senate District 16 has concluded.  Calpeek has previously discussed how the super-close election results were being contested.  The last count showed Democrat Senator Melissa Hurtado with a 13 vote lead causing Republican David Shepard to concede.  Frankly, it would have been fun to watch the political and legal maneuverings if Shepard had won since Hurtado was sworn into office last month and already began serving.  Not to worry, there are new elections right around the corner.


 $225,000 for One Local Law

Almost all local city ordinances get passed without costing any money other than the staff time to go through the process.  In the City of Irvine, some folks wanted to open a pot business and their business consultant agreed to pay $225,000 in bribe money to get it done. Business and Political Consultant Melahat Rafiei agreed yesterday to plead guilty to one count of felony wire fraud. Rafiei was also involved in the Anaheim City scandal that saw the mayor resign over a deal to sell Angel Stadium. There are a lot more details here.

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