THE BUZZ: Chalk another one up for Donald Trump in his battles against the State of Resistance.
It was a high-profile throwdown when California AG Xavier Becerra went to court in September to argue for CA SB27, the law signed by Governor Newsom that required candidates for governor and president to release five years of taxes if they wanted to be on the ballot. Becerra, Newsom and Secretary of State Alex Padilla all confidently claimed that the legislation didn’t bar any candidate from the ballot — and that every candidate, even Donald Trump, had the choice to make the move in the interest of transparency.
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But Republicans — and Trump backers — moved quickly to challenge what they claimed was a blatant effort to poke Trump in the eye — and reduce choices for GOP voters on the ballot. Even some high profile legal scholars, like Loyola Law School’s Jessica Levison, termed the move a risky one likely to turn into an expensive and useless drama — and an embarrassing political defeat for state leaders.
TEAM TRUMP won that one yesterday, as POLITICO’s Jeremy B. White report — “California Supreme Court strikes down Trump tax returns law’’: “The California Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously struck down a recently enacted law seeking to compel Donald Trump to release his tax returns, the latest legal setback for Democrats hoping to crack open the president’s finances. …
“Justices on California’s highest court appeared deeply skeptical of the state’s position at oral arguments earlier this month that the Legislature has the authority to constrain candidates’ access to the ballot. Several of them echoed former Gov. Jerry Brown’s rationale for vetoing an earlier version of the bill by warning it could set a precedent of cascading requirements, like forcing candidates to release health and academic records.
“The new ruling is the second blow to the law in recent months, with a judge in a parallel federal case blocking the law’s implementation last month. The state appealed that decision, but Secretary of State Alex Padilla conceded on Thursday by dropping the case. ‘While we are disappointed in today’s ruling, the movement for greater transparency will endure. The history of our democracy is on the side of more transparency, not less,‘ Padilla said in a statement.“
But on Trump’s taxes, it ain’t over until it’s over. A federal appeals court in New York ruled this month that the president must turn over his tax returns in response to a subpoena from a Manhattan grand jury. The case is being appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Stay tuned.
SAC BEE EDITORIAL: “President Trump wins big in California – thanks to Gov. Newsom’s silly tax returns law”: “In urging Newsom to veto the silly stunt bill, we noted that it was unlikely to survive the inevitable legal challenges and would force California taxpayers to fund frivolous court battles. We reminded the governor that the United States Constitution does not require presidential candidates to release their tax returns, making victory for SB 27 unlikely in the U.S. Supreme Court.“
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— QUOTE OF THE DAY: “After I was born in Kenya, I moved to Hawaii. That’s where my earliest memories are…” Barack Obama, throwing a little humor when asked about his childhood by Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff at San Francisco’s Dreamforce convention.
— TWEET OF THE DAY: Leading Silicon Valley journalist @KaraSwisher calls out the president for his inaccurate Wednesday tweet claiming he “opened a major Apple Manufacturing plant”: “This is completely false. I get that @tim_cook did not correct the Tim Apple thing (pointing out someone being addled is awkward), but this is different. It’s a plant run by a company called Flex that has been manufacturing since 2013. If Apple is not going to say so, I will.”
… THE WAPO FACT-CHECK ON THAT: “Trump took credit for opening a Mac factory. It’s been open since 2013,” by The Washington Post’s Rachel Siegel.
— WHERE’S GAVIN? Nothing official announced.
— SF SNUB: “San Francisco’s mayor and city attorney endorse L.A. County Dist Atty. Jackie Lacey, snubbing George Gascón,” by the LA Times’ Matt Hamilton: “[T]he support of Mayor London Breed and Dennis Herrera, San Francisco’s longtime city attorney, is also a tacit rebuke of Gascón, a former San Francisco police chief who gained a national reputation for championing criminal justice reforms.”
— BARACK IS BACK: “Obama warns SF crowd of a splintered America because of media ‘siloing,’” by the SF Chronicle’s Joe Garofoli: “Obama said the explosion of information technology and social media has left many Americans not only wondering whom to trust but also unable to speak a common cultural language.”
— IT’S THAT BIG: “Elon Musk’s rogue fleet of internet satellites so big it’s ‘blocking view of stars’, astronomers moan,” by The Sun’s Sean Keach: “SpaceX has already launched 122 satellites into space, to trial delivering internet to Earth from low orbit.”
— 50 YEARS FROM ALTAMONT: “Altamont ended the ’60s with chaos and death,” by WaPo’s Geoff Edgers: “[T]he full story of the turbulent 1960s can’t be told without the ugliness of Altamont, a disastrous exclamation point on the decade that also brought us Vietnam, race riots and the crushing assassinations of our next wave of leaders.”
— SAN DIEGO SPOTLIGHT: “With a tweet, Trump dives deep into the Navy’s chain of command,” by POLITICO’s Wesley Morgan: “President Donald Trump’s Thursday morning tweet directing Navy leaders to maintain the status of a Navy SEAL acquitted of war crimes charges marks not just an escalation between the White House and the military, but also high-level involvement in a special operations unit’s right to choose its members.”
— DIANNE AND JOE: Sen. Dianne Feinstein said early on she favored former Veep Joe Biden over fellow California Sen. Kamala Harris, and DiFi is again putting her money where her mouth is next month by hosting a fundraiser for Biden in San Francisco. Feinstein also defended Biden’s debate gaffe about African American women senators.
— ZUCK TAKING HEAT: “‘This is corruption’: Warren blasts Zuckerberg’s secret dinner with Trump,” by POLITICO’s Cristiano Lima: “Democrats on Thursday hammered Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for attending a previously undisclosed dinner with President Donald Trump, calling it the latest sign of the tech mogul cozying up to the administration just as regulators are scrutinizing its treatment of competitors.”
— BAIL OUT BACKERS: We got some clarity yesterday on who will spend to defend California’s cash bail ban, with SEIU California launching a committee to beat back the bail industry’s effort. Facing extinction in California, the bail industry put prohibition on hold by qualifying a referendum for the 2020 ballot. Industry underwriters have kicked in $500,000 so far this year to a committee run by the American Bail Coalition.
— UH OH: “Former assemblyman fined $150K for misusing donations,” by POLITICO’s Jeremy B. White: “The penalty — one of the largest of the year so far — caps a swift fall for [former Assemblyman Joe] Canciamilla, who abruptly resigned his position as Contra Costa County clerk-recorder and registrar of voters last month.” (Pro link)
— “Google’s new political ad rules unite Democratic and Republican campaigns in opposition,” by WaPo’s Tony Romm and Isaac Stanley-Becker: “The strong, bipartisan objections to Google’s plans, announced Wednesday, underscore how the tech giant and its Silicon Valley peers have remade U.S. politics — and how disruptive changes could be.”
— BANKRUPTCY AND CONFLICT: “One of California’s tightest races is packed with financial baggage,” by the Fresno Bee’s Kate Irby and Brianna Calix: Voters last year were “were less aware of [TJ Cox’s] business issues, including his repeated failure to disclose all his business interests as required of a congressman. Cox’s opponent, former Rep. David Valadao, a Republican from Hanford, had his family farm in the middle of bankruptcy proceedings in 2018.”
— DELTA DAWN: “Newsom says California will sue Trump over Delta water, endangered fish,” by the Sacramento Bee’s Ryan Sabalow and Dale Kasler: “In a 610-page environmental report, Newsom’s administration sketched out its own plan for managing water flows through the Delta, while issuing a separate statement that blasted the Trump plan, which is designed to increase water supplies for San Joaquin Valley farmers, the president’s political allies.”
— “California lawmaker wants to ban sending unwanted nude pics,” by The AP’s Adam Beam: “When she was first elected to the California state Assembly, Ling Ling Chang publicly posted her cellphone number to get feedback from her constituents. It worked, but it came with a dark side effect: unwanted nude photos from strangers.”
— “Report: To become affordable, LA needs to build duplexes—not just tall towers,” by Curbed LA’s Jenna Chandler: “There is space available inside Los Angeles to add 1 million units within the next decade—without having to turn every corner into a high-rise,” says Steven Kling, who co-led a new report from economic researchers at the McKinsey Global Institute on affordable housing in LA.”
— TRENDWATCH: “San Francisco’s Quest to Make Landfills Obsolete,” by Erick Trickey in POLITICO Magazine: “Though it is a leader in the U.S. at recycling and composting, San Francisco is in a predicament common among American cities, whose residents are growing increasingly vexed by their role in creating vast amounts of garbage and their struggle to control where it’s ending up.”
— ‘FIRE IS MEDICINE’: “‘Tribes burning California forests to save them,” by The Guardian’s Susie Cagle: “Alongside huge expenditures on firefighting staff and gear, the state is making new investments in prescribed burning. But who gets to decide where that fire goes, what it burns, why it burns – who is the steward of a natural element – remains contentious.”
— DO THE CRIME, DO THE TIME? “Minor crimes, major time,” by the SF Chronicle’s Joaquin Palomino and Jill Tucker: “State law prohibits the detention of children and teenagers in juvenile halls unless they pose a danger to themselves or the community, are a flight risk or would not be safe if released. Yet probation officers and judges broadly interpret that standard, often holding young people in cells for low-level crimes, even if they pose little risk to the public.”
— ABORTION RULING: “California Supreme Court turns down abortion challenge by missionary group,” by the SF Chronicle’s Bob Egelko: “The state Supreme Court rejected a challenge by a Catholic missionary organization Wednesday to decisions by state health regulators and an appeals court that voluntary abortions are ‘medically necessary’ procedures that must be provided by health care service plans in California.”
— CALIFORNIA RENT WRECK: “As Rents Outrun Pay, California Families Live on a Knife’s Edge,” by NYT’s Jill Cowan and Robert Gebeloff: “As property values rise, the resulting rent increases have forced these tenants to move from home to home, sometimes pushing them into homelessness and often sending them far away from jobs and support networks.”
— “Medi-Cal To Expand Eligibility To Young Undocumented Adults. But Will They Enroll?” by California Healthline’s Ana Ibarra: “Some young people already say they won’t enroll in public coverage because they fear federal immigration policies could later penalize them for participating — though that fear might be unfounded.”
— INTERACTIVE LOOK AT CALIFORNIANS ON HOMELESSNESS, via Public Policy Institute of California’s Alyssa Dykman and Vicki Hsieh.
— GOOGLE LABOR UNREST: Google employees are planning a mass demonstration today in solidarity with two employees who were placed on leave in what critics call an act of retaliation for their efforts to speak out about the company. Activism is on the rise within Google’s workforce, with employees walking out en masse earlier this year to protest how their employer handled sexual harassment claims.
— “Facebook Weighs Steps to Curb Narrowly Targeted Political Ads,” by WSJ’s Emily Glazer: “The company in recent weeks has weighed increasing the minimum number of people who are targeted in political ads from 100 to a few thousand, [people familiar with the matter] said.”
— “White nationalists are openly operating on Facebook. The company won’t act,” by The Guardian’s Julia Carrie Wong: “Facebook promised to ban white nationalist content from its platform in March 2019, reversing a years-long policy to tolerate the ideology. But Red Ice TV is just one of several white nationalist outlets that remain active on the platform today.”
— BEHIND THE BROMANCE: “Why Tim Cook made friends with Donald Trump,” by the Verge’s Russell Brandom: “Apple has emerged with exactly what it wanted by appealing to the narrow, transactional politics that have become Trump’s trademark.”
— HIGHER… TAXES: “California to raise cannabis taxes in 2020,’’ by POLITICO’S Alexander Nieves: “California officials stunned the cannabis industry Thursday by announcing they will increase excise and cultivation taxes starting Jan. 1, drawing immediate condemnation from legal businesses that say they are already at a price disadvantage against the underground market.” (Pro link)
— SPOILED APPLE? “The Banker: Apple abruptly cancels premiere of its first major film,” by The Guardian’s André Wheeler.
— NEWSPAPERS: “Bay Area journalists protest job cutbacks under hedge fund newspaper ownership,” by Oakland North’s Amalya Dubrovsky: “On Tuesday, journalists from around the Bay Area gathered in front of the pergola at Lake Merritt to denounce what they say is a decline in working conditions at The East Bay Times, San Jose Mercury News, and Monterey Herald as a consequence of nearly a decade of ownership under MediaNews Group and its hedge fund owner, Alden Global Capital.”
— SHE’S ON IT: “Laurene Powell Jobs solidifies control of The Atlantic as Bradley relinquishes duties,” by POLITICO’s Michael Calderone.
— SANTA CLARITA SHOOTING: “Weapon used in Saugus High attack a ‘ghost gun,’ sheriff says,” by the LA Times’ Richard Winton.
— CALIFORNIA COMPANY TARGETED: “Louisiana tried to help prisoners fight opioid addiction. Here’s why doctors objected,” by the LA Times’ Melissa Healy.
— “After Christian college found out she was married to a woman, she was expelled, lawsuit says,” by the LA Times’ Alejandra Reyes-Velarde.
— AMAZON DELIVERS: “Venice Nonprofit Receives $5 Million From Amazon CEO’s Homelessness Fund,” via City News Service.
— “Jury awards record $13.2 million in Anaheim police in-custody death case,” by OC Weekly’s Gabriel San Román.
— “UC contracts with Catholic hospitals allow religious limits on medical staff, students,” by the LA Times’ Michael Hiltzik.
— BASED IN SAN DIEGO: “Bumble Bee Files Bankruptcy Amid Antitrust Fines, Lawsuits,” by Bloomberg’s Eliza Ronalds-Hannon.
Goldie Hawn is 74 … Judge Beth Labson Freeman is 66 … Thomas Rothman … George Zimmer is 71 …
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