A Calpeek Correction
We are sorry to have to admit that Calpeek messed up. Last week, we brought you a peek about Stacey Shin and her new political law firm, Shin Law Corporation, but we misspelled the contact email address. Please contact Stacey at email@example.com. And read more about her in last week’s Calpeek.
When Your Benefactor Gets Indicted
Last week, Calpeek discussed the latest corruption scandal to rock Los Angeles City Hall (well, maybe not rock, since Angelenos appear to be getting used to their elected leaders heading to prison). As mentioned, Councilmember Curren Price was indicted on 10 felony counts. Some, including the L.A. Times, wonder if the indictment will impact the special election for a City Council seat where Price’s deputy chief of staff, Marisa Alcaraz, is running. Alcaraz’s campaign has tremendously benefited from Price’s desire to get her elected, thereby securing another council ally, especially when it comes time to electing a new Council President, a position Price would like to hold. Alcaraz spent most of the last 14 years working on policy and has few connections to the district she is running to represent. Price has done the heavy lifting for her campaign, especially with fundraising and endorsements. With the indictments, Alcaraz’s campaign could have hit a huge roadblock, but fortunately for her, the election is Tuesday so the indictments may not yet resonate with the voters. Her opponent is Imelda Padilla, who has been endorsed by the L.A. Times and Daily News. Padilla is supported by Congressman Tony Cardenas and is rumored to have support from former elected officials in the northeast portion of Los Angeles, including former Councilmember Nury Martinez and former Assemblymember Raul Bocanegra. What might become even more interesting: the council seat’s regularly scheduled election is in March 2024. Will next week’s loser challenge next week’s winner in 2024? Or will another viable candidate jump in?
US Supreme Court Rejects Another Challenge to AB 5
Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected yet another challenge to California’s AB 5 law which defines workers as employees rather than as contractors if they are in the same business as the hiring company. As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, the latest challenge focuses on political signature-gathering “doorknockers” as employees, which would entitle them to payment of wages by the companies that hire them. The challenge was bought on by a Florida-based political nonprofit called Mobilize the Message and an affiliated company that hired canvassers to collect signatures for proposed ballot measures. The nonprofit claims that AB 5 is discrimination against political speech. The Courts have also rejected challenges brought on by freelance journalists and photographers, and trucking companies. In its own attempt to get around the law, ride sharing companies in 2020 sponsored Proposition 22, which passed by 60% of voters but is also being challenged in the courts.
Gavin Faces Blowback on Budget
It’s down to the final hours before the June 30 deadline of the state budget. And within those hours, Governor Gavin Newsom is facing blowback from environmentalists and children’s advocates. According to CalMatters, environmentalists are displeased with the Delta Conveyance Project, which is part of the Governor’s package of infrastructure bills. At the heart of their discontent is the executive order and series of measures that would prevent infrastructure projects like the Delta project from being tied up in court under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Environmentalists argue that without guardrails in place such as CEQA, the project could go unchecked resulting in the disruption of residents’ lives and threatening ecosystems and endangered species. In addition to environmentalists raising red flags, children’s advocates are not pleased about Newsom’s proposal to overhaul the state’s Mental Health Services Act, which comes with $1 billion being diverted from the law’s funds to housing homeless people with severe mental illness. Advocates are concerned about possible cuts to youth services, LGBTQ+ programs, school-based suicide prevention programs, and mental health consultations.
Faux-ilition vs Coalition
It seems that the coalitions that went after Governor Gavin Newsom on his oil regulation legislation were actually “faux-iltiions” according to Dustin Gardiner of the San Francisco Chronicle and were run by one man: Steven Lucas – a San Rafael attorney and partner at the firm of Neilson Merksamer. The groups: Californians Against Higher Taxes, Californians for Affordable and Reliable Energy and Californians for Energy Independence, went after the Governor for his proposed regulation of oil refiners with a barrage of social media posts and television ads. While the groups claimed to be coalitions of thousands of concerned taxpayers and small-business owners, according to filings, Lucas, who has a long history of working with oil companies and trade associations, was the one behind them. Although the legislation passed, the final bill was scaled back due to some concerns by moderate Democrats amid the oil industry’s push back. As lawmakers considered the measure, the oil industry spent over $9.4 million in Q1 of 2023 on lobbying and public-influence campaigns – of which roughly $5.2 million was funneled into the groups with ties to Lucas.
Investigative Report into Friendly Fire Incident
The San Diego Union Tribune has an in-depth report on a friendly fire incident that took place in Iraq in 2004 which took the lives of two marines, an interpreter, and wounded 12 other Marines. It took years to reveal many of the details. Despite the fact that, within months, an internal Marine Corps investigation acknowledged that it was a friendly fire incident, the Corps took another three years to just admit that friendly fire was involved. Part of the delay was allegedly due to the fact that former Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-San Diego), Chair of the House Armed Services Committee at the time, traveled to Iraq, and allegedly helped cover up the involvement of his son, also named Duncan Hunter. The younger Hunter was a Marine Corps First Lieutenant and partly in charge of targeting where the mortar would land. The younger Hunter went on to assume his father’s congressional seat in 2009. In 2019, he was indicted on corruption charges, pleaded guilty, and was pardoned by then-President Donald Trump before he would have begun serving his prison sentence. Both Hunters have denied any wrongdoing.
Here we go again. According to Politico, we have another rich, corporate, tech leader with no background in government or public service wanting to run for U.S. Senate. Is it arrogance, ego, or cluelessness that drives them? Or, do political strategists (with all due respect to many of us in the business) hoping for a financial windfall, fluff up their egos and tell them they can easily win a statewide race? The latest Silicon Valley tech big-wig to consider running is Lexi Reese who worked with Google, Facebook, and a long list of other corporations. Our suggestion to Lexi, who may be a lovely human being, is to do a google search on the names Meg Whitman, Carly Fiorina, and Al Checchi for more insight. While we’re at it, we have a suggestion for others who eye the U.S. Senate but have no experience: first run for your local city council and learn how government works and why policy knowledge is important, then run for higher office.