Kevin de Leon to Seek Reelection
As reported by POLITICO, on Wednesday, Kevin de Leon – one of the L.A. City Councilmembers caught in leaked recordings of racist remarks and the only one still serving in office – announced that he will seek reelection in 2024. The scandal prompted the resignation of then Council President Nury Martinez and L.A. County Federation of Labor head Ron Herrera. Even as President Biden and others called for his resignation, de Leon refused. In 2020 de Leon raised nearly $1 million for his campaign and won with a 52 percent vote. For the March primary, 11 candidates have already opened campaign committees, so it is a crowded field, including two well-funded current-Assemblymembers. All eyes will be on de Leon to see if he’s able to raise the money needed and if voters of the 14th Council District are ready and able to look beyond the past and continue to support him.
Governor Newsom to Consider 900 Bills
With the close of the Legislative session, the Governor woke up to roughly 900 bills on his desk whose fate is now in his hand with literally a signature or a veto. Last year, the Governor had roughly the same count of which he vetoed 14% (169 of 997). As reported by CalMatters, the Governor will be considering a tax on guns and ammunition, whether to ban caste discrimination, and to the decriminalization of magic mushrooms. If you think the 900 bills are a lot, it’s nothing compared to the more than 2,600 bills that were introduced this session – the most in a decade. If you’re interested in learning more about some of the more intriguing bills and their impact, be sure to visit CalMatters for the analysis. Meanwhile, we wish the Governor well and would advise the use of Aleve* to assist with any writer’s cramps.
*Note: Aleve is not a paid sponsor of CalPeek…but we would welcome that ad buy if they’re interested.
Jackie Speier Is Back!
Retired Congresswoman Jackie Speier is one tough cookie. As pointed out by the San Francisco Chronicle, she survived five gunshot wounds while investigating Jim Jones’ Guyana cult, her husband died in a car crash while she was pregnant, she took on the Pentagon over sexual harassment, and even acknowledged her own abortion from the floor of Congress. And while most would be happy to enjoy retirement after such a successful career in Congress, Speier isn’t riding off into the sunset. Instead, after just nine months of being out of Congress, the 73-year-old is coming out of retirement to run for San Mateo County Supervisor – a position she held from 1980 to 1986. Speier told the Chronicle: “When I left Congress, I did not think I was going to be running for the Board of Supervisors. But finding greater satisfaction and doing good is more likely on the county level than on the federal level.”
Propositions, Measures, Initiatives, oh my!
Are you wondering what’s happening with your favorite ballot measure? Wait, what? You don’t have a favorite ballot measure this year? We are sorry about that, but we hope some information will help you find one, or ten. We have lots heading to the ballots next year from which you can choose. Although state lawmakers recently decided to have all the statewide ballot measures (aka propositions) only appear on the November General Election ballot, the one exception is that the legislature is allowed to place measures on the March ballot, and it looks like we already have 3 scheduled for the primary ballot. We may all be voting on public housing projects, marriage equality, and local government financing related to affordable housing and public infrastructure. You can read the details here. As for what we will see on the November 2024 ballot, it’s hard to know for sure. We already have 7 qualified and you can read all about them here. There are 12 that have been approved to collect signatures and 14 pending with the Attorney General’s office. As Calpeek watches our favorites move through the process, we will keep you posted on exciting new developments.
Is L.A. Confidential Real?
Those standing around the water cooler love the movie L.A. Confidential. It’s got great actors, beautiful cinematography, and the production staff did a terrific job making it look like Los Angeles in the 1950s. The story is about corruption, racism, greed, murder and the plot seems well over the top. Then again, maybe we should take a look at the Los Angeles City Council 70 years later. Calpeek readers know about the Councilmembers’ illegal acts, racist comments, etc. Earlier this month, Calpeek talked about how the Council voted against an Ethics Committee appointee who supported a rule change that would require people who lobby to actually register as lobbyists (see peek titled “Fox…Hen House”). This week, the L.A. Times Editorial Board has a few thoughts about appointing someone to the Ethics Commission who has run for political office, has close ties to elected officials, and works for a political consulting firm. Apparently, the Council likes this possible appointee more than the community leader who might have enforced some rules. And the L.A. City Ethics Commission still cannot hold meetings because they lack enough members for a quorum. Maybe the L.A. City Council should stop using L.A. Confidential as an example of honesty and ethics.
An Interesting (or Nutty), Idea Out of San Francisco
For years, local political jurisdictions have changed from electing representatives “at-large” to “by district”. Most local elections were “at large” where everyone voted for all the candidates and the top few vote getters became council members, school board members, etc. “At-large” voting prevented groups who were in the minority from electing someone from their community. “By district” voting is more equitable. Now, we have a possible change coming out of San Francisco which is an unusual place for many reasons. Longtime elected official and politician, Quentin Kopp, is putting forth a ballot measure that would change the county’s voting back to “at-large” yet keep individual districts, according to the San Francisco Standard. It’s designed to let all voters in the county vote for who should represent each district. It’s a fascinating idea for students of political science to discuss and might provide for more equitable representation than the traditional “at-large” election process, but we will need time to ponder the idea. And we have time. Kopp’s team still needs to collect signatures, avoid lawsuits, get it qualified for the ballot, then get the voters to approve the idea. We can always count on S.F. to keep things interesting.
Word Choice is Everything
California Governor Gavin Newsom and his team know how important it is to choose one’s words wisely. Recently, the Governor announced that he is increasing the number of National Guard troops by 50% at the border in an effort to stem the amount of fentanyl that illegally arrives in the U.S. from Mexico. Wow, 50%. That sounds significant. 50% is a lot. Newsom must be serious. It would sound a lot less impressive, if he had said that he was adding 20 troops to the existing 40 troops. Even Politico noticed the not-so-subtle spin. To be fair, in the Governor’s press release, the actual number of troops is included, just not at first. Those standing around the water cooler enjoy watching politicians spin information, but we also know that facts matter as does word choice.
Oh No Ho
The fight between the City of Sacramento and Sacramento County District Attorney Thien Ho has reached a new level. As reported by the Sacramento Bee in early August, DA Ho “went to war” with the city of Sacramento over its homeless encampment clean up strategy. This derives from two very different approaches to the issue of homelessness in the city. Sacramento, being the largest city in the county, DA Ho wants the city to remove 16 major homeless encampments, add new homeless shelters with 24 hour security, and to hire 4 new assistant district attorneys to oversee prosecuting code violations all within 30 days. This has not happened and now he is suing the City of Sacramento. According to KCRA, “the suit alleges the city is not consistently enforcing its own ordinances in regard to homelessness, which Ho says is risking the safety of unhoused people, city residents, business owners and other members of the community”. According to the Sacramento Bee, Ho has also stated that the city is in a “descent of decay”. As a response to the lawsuit, the city has cleared out a homeless encampment near the city’s Landpark area. The homeless situation in Sacramento has grown exponentially over the past few years. Those of us standing around the water cooler are interested to see how the battle between the city and the DA will play out over the next few months.