Thank You Gloria Molina

The world has lost a groundbreaking lawmaker and politician – Gloria Molina.  Molina’s rise through local and state government required breaking down doors along with a few glass ceilings.  She was the first Latina to be elected to the state legislature, the L.A. City Council, and the L.A. County Board of Supervisors.  Molina became politically active in the late 1960s.  In the early 1970s, she assisted with the campaigns of then-Assemblymembers Art Torres and Richard Alatorre, and became the first Latina to hold an administrative assistant position in the state legislature when she went to work for Torres.  When Molina decided to run for Assembly, the “Eastside Machine” would not support her.  She won anyway.  According to the L.A. Times, each time she ran for office, the machine opposed her yet she continued to win. One of the great assets her campaigns had were the women who came out to volunteer, some of whom she knew through quilting clubs.  Throughout her life, Molina was an avid quilter.  LAist details this part of her life and how she used quilting to inspire other women to learn more about their community, the world, and public policy.  The club she co-founded, The East Los Angeles Stitchers (TELAS) is still going strong with 67 members.  Calpeek thanks Supervisor Molina for breaking down so many barriers; you’ve made it easier for the Latinas that followed and for those who are still discovering their future.


Unusual Compromise

We don’t often hear the phrase “unusual compromise” about legislation, but that’s how the L.A. Times described the deal that will allow farm workers to more easily unionize.  The final part of the deal came Monday when Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 113.  Negotiations for a deal started last year over AB 2183.  Supported by the United Farm Workers and the California Labor Federation, AB 2183 allowed for farm workers to organize by filling out a union card (aka “card-check”) and returning it by mail.  The UFW argued that “in-person” voting at a worksite often led to employer intimidation.  The legislation had strong support, including from President Joe Biden, but facing a November 2022 re-election campaign, Newsom refused to sign unless the UFW and CLF agreed to support legislative changes this year.  The result was the “unusual compromise” that is AB 113, which eliminated AB 2183’s mail-in option, limited using “card-check” to 75 locations, and setting an expiration date of 2028. Despite the changes, all involved are calling this a win for the people who pick the vast majority of our fruits, vegetables, and nuts.  


That’s “Ambassador” Garcetti to You

Former Los Angeles City Mayor and now US Ambassador to India, Eric Garcetti, appears to be having a great time in his new home in New Delhi – at least according to the videos being posted on the Embassy YouTube Channel.  From attending a cricket match to visiting Maharashtra Bhavan, Ambassador Garcetti seems to be right in his glory.  And be sure to check out his debut video as ambassador where he opens with a friendly “namaste”.  If you’ve been worried about now-Ambassador Garcetti, I hope this puts your concerns to rest.  His climb to success is a true testament to what patience (over a year in waiting for his confirmation), persistence (the ability to continue to deny any knowledge of sexual harassment taking place among his staff), and the love of family (his parents paid a lobbyist to get his confirmation passed) can do for one’s career.  And if being sworn in wasn’t reason enough to celebrate, according to the Los Angeles Times, the lawsuit brought on by an LAPD officer against Garcetti aide Rick Jacobs appears to have reached a settlement.  Although dollar amounts are not shared, according to the L.A. Times, a source familiar with the suit said the payout is in the range of $1.5 million to $2 million.


May Revise Budget Funds Some While Placing Others on Chopping Block

Last Friday, Governor Gavin Newsom revealed his May revised proposed budget for the 2023/2024 fiscal year.  As reported by CalMatters, the new spending plan takes into account a $31.5 billion deficit – an increase from the January projected deficit of $22.5 billion.  Even with such a deficit, the Governor’s budget hits the $306 billion mark – just 1% less than last year’s $308 billion budget.  Although the deficit did climb, the Governor doesn’t seem to be sweating it. The shortfall is “well within the margin of expectation and well within our capacity to address.”  However, with every draft budget there are winners and there are losers.  In this one, those on the short end of the stick include the climate (yes, climate programs are looking at another $1.1 billion cut), childcare providers, arts programs, and prison towns.  For the full breakdown of the budget balancing act, be sure to check out Alexei Koseff’s story.  However, as we all know, a proposed budget is just that until the Big 5 finish with their late-night negotiating – a process that used to run through the summer.  However, with legislators not getting paid if the budget isn’t passed by June 15, we can expect the process to move quickly.


How Close Are We to a 4-Day Workweek? 

The conversation around the four-day workweek continues with more companies giving it a try.  According to the Los Angeles Times, since the COVID-19 pandemic began the interest in a four-day workweek has increased with studies showing positive outcomes.  What caught our eye even more than the idea of a shortened week was the company profiled in the Times’ story: Oakland-based online thrift store ThredUp.  In addition to ThredUp employees working Monday-to-Thursday, they also get full benefits which include unlimited vacation time and a two-month sabbatical after being with the company for three years.  Those of us around the water cooler are wondering…are they hiring???


Is the End of the Rainbow Now in Sight?

Assembly Bill 418, which takes aim at certain ingredients and dyes linked to cancer and other health concerns, is getting closer to becoming the first law of its kind as it cleared the Assembly this week.  As Calpeek shared in March, AB 418, which was introduced by Assemblymembers Jesse Gabriel and Buffy Wicks, raised eyebrows as it would change the candy landscape.  According to the Los Angeles Times, if passed, the bill would ban the manufacture, sale and distribution of food containing red dye No. 3, titanium dioxide, potassium bromate, brominated vegetable oil, or propylparaben.  All of which don’t sound very appealing, but apparently play a role in food items such as Crush Orange Soda, Mountain Dew, some Betty Crocker icings, and an array of Hostess snacks.  Said chemicals are claimed to act as preservatives or enhance colors and flavors of our favorite guilty pleasures.  If AB 418 makes it to the Governor’s desk and succeeds in getting signed, the rainbow of candy colors we grew up with may make those Twinkies, Little Debbie’s, Skittles, and Wonka Nerds look a little different.


Hot Race for Governor

The race for California’s next Governor is heating up, but you’ll still have to wait a couple of years before anyone can officially file to run.  Why is the race to replace Governor Gavin Newsom so hot so early?  Because lots of people want to be Governor of the golden state despite all the problems that need to be solved.  Last month, Calpeek talked about Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis’ official declaration.  Former State Controller Betty Yee has said she is running but has not made an official declaration.  This week, according to the San Francisco Standard, Attorney General Rob Bonta is seriously looking at running.  Bonta is reported to be building a new political team since Kounalakis hired the same political consulting firm that Bonta has used in the past.  It is not a surprise that Bonta is considering a run for the state’s highest office, but it will be interesting to watch how things play out over the next few years.  


Hot Race for SD 57 …or Not?

Is the race to replace term limited State Senator Steve Bradford heating up?   The rumor mill thinks so.  Based on the Secretary of State’s CalAccess site list of who has filed to raise funds for what seat, SD 57 looks like it could be highly contested with two former elected officials vying for the win along with 5 other lesser known candidates.  Former Congresswoman Laura Richardson has declared her candidacy so that already makes the race interesting.  Speculation has been swirling about former Assemblymember Autumn Burke running because she is also on the list as having opened a campaign committee.  However, a closer look shows that Burke’s 2024 Senate committee was terminated in 2021 so maybe it’s time for the rumor mill to put that one to bed.  (Maybe it’s also time for the Secretary of State to update the CalAccess site).  We will need to wait and see who else jumps into the race and if any of the other current candidates have the ability to make the race against Richardson competitive.  

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