Calpeek 1/27/2023

So, the Party’s Over?

We understand what outgoing Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon means, but we are kind of surprised he didn’t say it more tactfully since he was speaking to reporters.  From his conversation with Politico about what has changed during his tenure:  “The bad stuff that’s changed is honestly, Covid has just — it’s not as fun anymore. It’s not as sociable. It changed everything. I think the two years or whatever broke down the sense of camaraderie and all the fun stuff we used to do, and now everybody kind of goes home, and that’s kind of a shitty thing.”


Them is Fightin’ Words 

Governor Gavin Newsom took on yet another red state when he stated that 95% of Texans pay higher taxes than Californians.  The jab taken at the Lone Star State, and indirectly at Texas’s right leaning legislators, follows his swing last week at Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (as shared by Calpeek).  However, as shared by the Sacramento Bee, when asked to provide some numbers to back up the claim, the Governor’s office cited a 2018 study by the Institute of Taxation and Economic Policy.  A spokesperson for the Institute didn’t seem to be want to get in the middle of things by telling the Bee that “we don’t compute a specific percentage of Californians who pay less/more tax than Texans.”  The question at the water cooler remains: who will Newsom be going after next?  And are such attacks yet another step toward a run for President?


Is COVID Really Over?

Another sign that COVID may really become a bug of the past is the planned closure of state-run testing and treatment sites.  As reported by CalMatters’ Kristen Hwang, as the state prepares to bring the COVID state of emergency to a close, it will start shutting down sites not in high demand.  Companies impacted include Optum Serve which received four contracts in the amount of $1.05 billion to provide testing and vaccines.  Another division of the company received an additional $47 million to design a data management system for COVID results.


Adam Schiff’s $21 million vs Barbara Lee’s $55k.   

SF Chronicle’s Joe Garofoli reported this week about the cash on hand of those who have announced, or are expected to announce, their bid to fill Dianne Feinstein’s Senate seat (note: DiFi has not yet said she isn’t running).  According to Garofoli, insiders predict it will take a cool $20 million to compete in the primary alone.  Katie Porter currently has $7.7 million cash on hand, Adam Schiff who announced his bid for the seat on Thursday has $21 million, while Barbara Lee has significantly less at just $54,940.  However, we’re told not to count Lee out as her deep network of donors and strong support has a history of showing up when needed, even if she’s raising for another organization or cause.  The months-long lead time for the primary gives all the candidates (and those yet to come) the opportunity to raise the needed millions to challenge each other…as well as Feinstein if she chooses to run again.


Amazon Rainforest Oil Fuels California

According to a report published by Amazon Watch and, two conservation nonprofits, a major portion of the gas in our California tanks is coming from the Amazon – and no, that doesn’t mean it’s being delivered to your door.   As reported by the New York Times and shared by CalMatters, our golden state is the Amazon oil drilling industry’s top customer, with 50% of Amazonian crude being shipped to California and half of that going to three L.A. area refineries. It also points out that LAX is a major consumer, with 1 in 6 gallons of jet fuel being pumped out of the Amazon.  As Governor Newsom has pushed back on big oil for gouging customers, the new report has given strength to the industry’s message of being able to drill locally.  Others say it also fuels the need to go green and lessen our dependence on fossil fuels.  


Fast-Food Goes To The Ballot

As Calpeek shared, when Governor Newsom signed AB 257 into law last fall, a law which would create a council to set wages and other workplace standards statewide, the fast-food industry quickly took action to stop it.  On Tuesday, the California Secretary of State’s office certified that the referendum had gathered the signatures necessary to take it to the November 2024 ballot. The coalition seeking to overturn the law is spearheaded by the coalition Save Local Restaurants.  This also means that the law, known as the Fast Recovery Act, will remain suspended until voters have their say.  This is bound to be a “super sized” fight between the fast-food industry and organized labor, with political spending potentially hitting the hundreds of millions of dollars.


Precipitation Party Pooper

California was in a severe drought and then it started to rain and snow. The rain and snow has continued to fall and more is predicted, especially since California is still in its rainy season.  Lakes and reservoirs are filling up and the snowpack is at a record high.  So, what is a Californian to do?  Worry about the snow melt of course.  The Sacramento Bee has details.


Are You Suffering From Election Withdrawal?

Calpeek feels your pain.  But, no worries, it’s California so there’s always an election around the corner.  In less than two weeks, ballots will be arriving in districts that have a March 7 election.  Here are the counties that have an election in at least one district: Contra Costa, Humboldt, Los Angeles, Marin, Napa, San Joaquin, Shasta, Sonoma, Stanislaus, and Ventura.  For details on the specific races, the Secretary of State has a list of county administered elections.  And, if that’s not enough, there will be more elections in April.  

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