Fungus and Bats Beat Housing
Calpeek readers are never surprised to hear that a politician didn’t keep a promise and neither are those standing around the water cooler. We skipped over the story in the Sacramento Bee about Governor Gavin Newsom’s promise to provide 1,200 tiny homes to needy communities around the state by this fall. It’s mid-October. Not only have the tiny homes not been provided, but the state has yet to hire a builder or award any contracts. What then caught our attention was the Politico story about Newsom signing bills to make the cantharellus californicus (aka chanterelle) the state’s official mushroom and the pallid bat as the state’s official bat. Well, now that those pressing issues have been solved, maybe the Governor will have time to focus on the state’s homelessness crisis.
Preparing For Political Dominos to Fall
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg opened a finance committee to raise funds for a campaign for State Attorney General, according to a story by KCRA. The former Member of the Sacramento City Council, State Assembly, and State Senate did not say that he would definitely run for AG, just that he was exploring his options. And raising some cash. The current AG, Rob Bonta, will not be termed out in 2026, but Bonta is rumored to be considering running for Governor.
There is Always an Election
If you can’t wait for the March Presidential Primary Election to satisfy your campaign cravings, we have lots more. For instance, in just over a week, the Scotts Valley Unified School District in Santa Cruz County is having an election. Check out the Secretary of State’s Election Page for all the fun. There are even some unusual ones like Butte County’s Tuscan Water Landowner District Election. And everyone’s favorite: Uniform District Elections which have nothing to do with clothing. It’s more about parts of the election being the same or “uniform”. Most of the local elections will be held on November 7, including L.A. County’s Broad Beach Geological Hazard Abatement District, but the Kinneloa Irrigation District’s election has been canceled.
“Governor” Laphonza Butler?
With a week serving as “U.S. Senator Butler” behind her, there is a lot of speculation as to whether or not she’ll run to fill the appointed seat permanently. However, new rumors abound about Butler potentially running for Governor in 2026. While the two positions are not mutually exclusive, if Butler were to run for the Senate seat and not succeed, she could pursue California’s highest statewide seat two years later. As pointed out in POLITICO, gubernatorial candidates know that in order to win in California, labor must be courted. In Butler’s case, she has lived the life of a front-line organizer having served as President of SEIU 2015 and SEIU California. She was also the labor leader who worked to move California to be one of the first states to implement a $15 an hour minimum wage. All eyes are on Butler, the decisions she makes, and the implications those decisions will have on other candidates who have eyes on the U.S. Senate as well as the Governor’s mansion
Bills, Bills, and More Bills
With tomorrow’s deadline nearing to either sign or veto the nearly 1,000 bills sent to his desk, Governor Newsom’s been busy. In fact, over the weekend the Governor made decisions on approximately 470 bills. Some signed bills that have been highlighted by Fox 40 included AB 418, also known as “the Skittles Ban”, SB 478, which makes it illegal to advertise, display or offer a price for a good or service that does not include fees or charges other than those imposed by the government, and SB 616, that increases the number of paid sick days required by California employers from three a year to five. Newsom also used his pen to veto a number of bills, including those that would have increased Jurors pay for low-income jurors and decriminalized psychedelics. For more information on what was signed into law and what got the ax over the weekend, visit CalMatters’ coverage.
Steve Garvey Enters Race for U.S. Senate
Can a career as a former Dodger All-Star be enough to get voters to elect him to fill the seat held by the late Dianne Feinstein? That may be what Steve Garvey is “batting” on as he announced his run for U.S. Senate as a Republican candidate. According to the Los Angeles Times, the 74 year old Garvey has been talking to party leaders and donors for months about stepping into the race. Could Garvey be what the state’s GOP needs to bring them back to political relevance after nearly two decades of losses or will they strike out? Those at the watercooler suggest you buy yourself a Dodger Dog, grab some Cracker Jacks, and a nice cold beer and watch what is guaranteed to be quite a game!
Redistricting Reform – Not
Four bills to reform how local governments redistrict made it through the legislature and landed on the Governor’s desk. The two bills that would have brought significant changes to the process were vetoed. California Common Cause’s Executive Director Jonathan Mehta Stein told CalMatters “We’re deeply confused and frustrated, why the governor would choose to veto a proven democracy reform.” In Governor Gavin Newsom’s veto message, he cited budget concerns and said the legislation would require extra funding. In 2019, Newsom vetoed a bill that would have required an independent commission in some areas. Those standing around the water cooler think there may be an additional motivation for the vetoes – incumbent office holders do not want an independent commission to draw district lines. They like to control the process so they can benefit from the line drawing. Which is exactly why independent line drawing continues to be proposed. We will see if the bills are revived in January.