San Diego Political Storm Rivals Bay Area Bomb Cyclone
San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher will resign from the Board on May 15. Until then he will be receiving treatment for alcohol abuse and PTSD. He has also ended his campaign for the 39th Senate District in 2024. That seat is currently held by Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins. Fletcher, who is married to current California Labor Federation head, and former Assemblymember, Lorena Gonzalez, also acknowledged having inappropriate behavior with a woman who filed a lawsuit accusing him of sexual assault. Fletcher, a Democrat, started his political career as a Republican and served four years in the State Assembly. According to the San Diego Union Tribune, two staffers in Fletcher’s office resigned “…as a result of the accusations…”. Calpeek has not been able to find additional information about the staff resignations, but we will provide updates if more information becomes available.
The Winking Emojis Took Him Down
Yesterday, long term politician Mark Ridley-Thomas was found guilty of bribery and conspiracy in a Los Angeles Federal Court. Calpeek has been following the story since Ridley-Thomas was indicted in 2021. The written indictment includes text from emails that Ridley-Thomas sent to USC Dean Marilyn Flynn, who pleaded guilty to bribery last year, and another individual who is believed to be Sebastian Ridley-Thomas. The emails included “winking face emoji” which were written out in the indictment at least six times (read the winking emoji indictment here). Calpeek hopes someone interviews the jurors and asks if the repeated use of winking emojis played a role in the conviction on 7 of the 19 counts. Sentencing is scheduled for August, but Ridley-Thomas’ attorneys have already stated they plan to appeal.
End of the Rainbow?
The L.A. Times’ headline sums up the situation nicely, well, for Skittles lovers. A bill introduced in the California Assembly aims to ban certain chemicals used in a long list of foods including Skittles. If AB 418 becomes law, Skittles would be banned from using red dye #3 in any product they sell in California. Other products that use the dye include baking chips and sprinkles, ice cream cones, frostings and icings, frozen dairy dessert, sherbet, soft candy and gummies, meal replacement drinks and bars, cookies, toaster pastries, ice pops, and frozen fruit bars. Anyone want a snack? Although Skittles are grabbing the headlines, the bill aims to ban other chemicals that are currently banned in the European Union. Chemical manufacturers claim the ingredients are safe for human consumption and approved by the FDA. Others disagree. According to AB 418’s author, other ingredients can be used to produce the same quality foods without posing a health hazard. Prepare lovers of Ding Dongs with red heart sprinkles, your Ding Dongs may be ‘a changing.
Gavin Wins Fight with Big Oil
On Tuesday, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law a bill that gives the state’s energy commission oversight authority on oil companies to determine any future price gouging and impose penalties. According to CNN, the law is intended to create transparency in the state’s oil market and how oil companies come up with their pricing. The new law is a victory for Newsom and one that some expect he’ll use when courting future voters when he’s not running for President (winking emoji).
Making GAY Ok
According to NBC (and several other news sources) state Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins is proposing to do away with the ban on publicly funded travel to nearly two dozen states with anti-LGBTQ laws. Taking a marketing note from Governor Gavin Newsom’s playbook when he launched his ad campaign in red states, rather than prohibiting travel to these states to make a statement, the bill, proposed by Atkins, would buy advertising in those states to promote LGTBQ inclusion. Atkins, who is the first openly gay leader of the state Senate, said that her bill is not a retreat from the intention of the ban by saying “I don’t see it as a failure. I see it as you need to adjust to make sure we are exporting our values to those who need it the most.”
The Housekeeper Did It!
The executive director of San Jose’s police union has been arrested and charged with trying to illegally import opioid drugs for over seven years. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Joanne Marian Segovia has had at least 61 shipments delivered to her home labeled as “wedding party favors,” food supplement” and “gift makeup.” Segovia tried to blame the drug activity on her housekeeper but messages she had sent to “suppliers” seem to prove otherwise.
First COVID, Now Water
In addition to recently calling an official end to the COVID-19 state of emergency, Govern Gavin Newsom has withdrawn his July 2021 request for a voluntary 15% water conservation thanks to our ongoing atmospheric rivers. As pointed out by CalMatters, it’s not clear how well the request worked as Californians had only cut their water usage by 6%. Of the 81 provisions enacted to ease drought conditions and conserve water in California since April 2021, only 33 remain. However, don’t get that Slip ‘N Slide out yet to celebrate or feel inclined to take on an evening bath as experts say that the state’s biggest water supply, groundwater basins, are still depleted and future droughts could be just around the corner.