SMITH, DUNSMORE preview RECALL rhetoric — ARBALLO rakes it in ahead of NUNES challenge — Farmers tell NEWSOM: Declare DROUGHT — TWITTER won’t revive TRUMP accountApril 8, 2021
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THE BUZZ: Curious to know what the Newsom recall campaign will sound like? We just got a taste.
With the effort to remove Gov. Gavin Newsom all but certain to come before voters in the fall, both campaigns are honing their arguments. Here are five takeaways from a combative Sacramento Press Club event Wednesday, where we saw both sides in action:
WHICH WAY, CA? Longtime Newsom campaign hand Ace Smith argued this campaign is less about the governor’s past than about California’s future: Either we extend the state’s progressive arc or backslide to a more conservative era.
“You are sorely mistaken if you believe this is a straight up referendum on Gavin Newsom,” Smith said. “This is a debate about the direction this state should go in.” He repeatedly conjured the ghost of Proposition 187 and argued Republicans are weaponizing the recall to undercut abortion rights, expand oil drilling and hit reverse on criminal justice reforms and other progressive litmus tests.
ALL ABOUT GAVIN: Recall committee manager Anne Dunsmore argued voters will see through efforts to distill the recall into just another clash between Democrats and Republicans.
In her view, it’s not about party, it’s about Newsom’s record: the Covid restrictions that Newsom doesn’t adhere to himself, whether it’s L’Affaire French Laundry, his kids getting in-person private school instruction while public schools remain closed or his decision to switch up the tier structure right after making a schools deal based on the older framework. “That’s what he did that was so egregious,” Dunsmore said. “That’s what made everything spike.”
THE T-WORD: Smith’s other argument should be familiar to anyone getting Newsom’s fundraising appeals: A vote for the recall is a vote for Trump allies, right-wing extremists and QAnon adherents. He invoked former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who both back the recall.
But Dunsmore said voters are more interested in their current governor than their former president. “You can keep throwing Trump at this,” she said. “Trump has not expressed one opinion about this recall,” and the partisan rhetoric “hasn’t stuck.” (Although we wonder how different things would be if Trump was still on Twitter.)
WHERE’S HE WEAK? Dunsmore argued that Southern California is an “Achilles heel” for Newsom, a former San Francisco mayor with a primarily NorCal power base. She also predicted the recall campaign would carve out an “uncomfortably large margin” among Hispanics and win over “soccer moms” who morphed into “mad moms” when games were shut down.
Some polling fior context: Per the Public Policy Institute of California’s most recent survey, likely voters who are women or Latino or have kids in their households would vote to keep Newsom by margins of 20 points or more. And while Newsom is certainly weaker in the south of the state than the Bay Area, majorities of voters in Los Angeles, San Diego and Orange County would still vote to retain him today (and Inland Empire voters as well, though only by a two-point plurality).
WHO MEANS BUSINESS? California Chamber of Commerce political hand Marty Wilson did his best throughout to stay out of the fray. But he suggested business groups — as opposed to individual firms or executives — are likelier to stay neutral and “avoid politics” rather than risk antagonizing a governor who could well survive, even though they are “certainly very frustrated with the lockdown efforts.”
But that could change depending on how the field develops — remember, CalChamber ultimately backed Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger the 2003 recall. “Six months is almost a lifetime in politics,” Wilson said, “and as the candidates emerge people are going to see what their options are.”
BUENOS DÍAS, good Thursday morning. The California Latino Legislative Caucus is holding a press conference underscoring its opposition to the recall today, in the latest show of pro-Newsom Democratic unity.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I could go grab a bunch of pictures of left-wing fringies too. We’re both tormented by people in our parties who don’t represent the mainstream at all.” Dunsmore seeks to refute the criticism that right-wing extremists are driving the recall.
TWEET OF THE DAY: Former California Sen. @BarbaraBoxer: “Despite the best efforts of the defense, it is really hard to imagine a small concerned group, including a nine-year-old girl watching George Floyd’s murder in horror, could be seen as a threat to heavily armed officers.”
WHERE’S GAVIN? Touring Fresno County to oversee wildfire preparations ahead of another fire season. He'll be streaming at 12:45 p.m. on Facebook and YouTube.
— “Tiger Woods was driving over 80 mph, nearly twice the speed limit, before he crashed,” by the LA Times’ Richard Winton: “Instead of reducing his speed into the curvy stretch of Hawthorne Boulevard, Woods was accelerating down the steep grade on the northbound side, which sometimes catches drivers unaware of their growing momentum.”
— “Domestic violence case against ex-Newsom aide Nathan Ballard heads toward trial,” by the SF Chronicle’s Megan Cassidy: “Investigators said on that evening Ballard consumed a large amount of alcohol and instigated a fight with his wife, pushing her into a glass door and then lying on top of their 4-year-old daughter with a pillow, constricting the girl’s breathing. Ballard’s wife reported the alleged attack to the Napa County Sheriff’s Office the following day.”
— “Rapid COVID-19 Tests Could Make School Re-Openings Safer, USC Study Finds,” from CBSLA: “They say if students and teachers are tested twice a week, the rapid test could be more effective in protecting schools than the traditional PCR test once a week, which takes more time.”
JENNER WATCH — The NYT’s dogged Maggie Haberman reported on Wednesday that former Trump campaign aide Brad Parscale is advising Caitlin Jenner as she contemplates jumping into the recall.
KEEPING UP WITH THE RECALL — “A Caitlyn Jenner recall election stunt campaign is the last thing California needs,” by the Sac Bee editorial board: “The presidency of Donald J. Trump proved definitively that it’s usually for the best when TV characters stick to entertainment.”
— “Gavin Newsom says recall is 'absolutely not' influencing reopening plans,” by SFGATE’s Eric Ting.
— “Who would replace Gavin Newsom? The bold,” by Hugh Hewitt in WaPo.
— “Far fewer California seniors are getting vaccinated in ‘red’ counties than urban areas,” by Kaiser Health News’ Jenny Gold: “Overall, nearly 56% of California seniors have received the full course of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the latest data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s about average compared with other states — not nearly as high as places like South Dakota, where nearly 74% of seniors are fully vaccinated.”
WARNING — “Newsom hopes to reopen California in June. But what if Sacramento cases keep rising?” by the Sac Bee’s Tony Bizjak: “Sacramento has one of 10 highest COVID-19 rates among California’s 58 counties over the past few weeks, according to a recent state assessment.”
BUT ALSO — “California has lowest COVID-19 positivity rate in US: Which states have highest?” by SFGATE’s Amy Graff.
TO-DO LIST — “California could actually reopen fully by June 15. Here’s what has to happen,” by the LA Times’ Luke Money, Taryn Luna and Rong-Gong Lin: “While many of those who are out and about may have already been vaccinated, health officials and experts continue to urge residents to remain vigilant and do their part to tamp down transmission of the virus — particularly as other states report new surges.”
— “California expecting nearly 90% drop in J&J vaccines next week, leading to fewer first-shot appointments,” by the Mercury News’ Fiona Kelliher: “State health officials anticipate that allocations of all COVID-19 vaccines will drop by 367,000 doses next week to about 2 million total, down from about 2.4 million doses received this week, said California Department of Public Health spokesperson Darrel Ng said Wednesday night. Doses are expecting to drop again to about 1.9 million the week after next.”
— “L.A.’s young and healthy head to Bakersfield for COVID-19 vaccine,” by the LA Times’ Laura J. Nelson: “Thousands of Southern California residents in recent days have headed over the Grapevine and into the Central Valley. By Monday night, ‘Bakersfield’ was trending on Twitter, spurred by a wave of vaccine hunters who are young, healthy and have time to take a four-hour round-trip road trip.”
— “How to help ramp up COVID vaccination efforts in your Bay Area community,” by the SF Chronicle’s Jessica Flores.
— Federal regulators probe Bank of America's handling of California jobless aid, by POLITICO’s Alexander Nieves and Victoria Guida: The probes by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency come as Bank of America and California’s unemployment agency face intense criticism for their response to widespread unemployment fraud. The state paid out billions of dollars to fraudsters in the past year while it, along with the bank, froze or suspended the accounts of legitimate claimants in response.
— “Where is my stimulus payment? Why you might still be waiting for the money,” by the Sac Bee’s David Lightman: “The Internal Revenue Service began making payments last weekend to people receiving Social Security retirement, survivor or disability (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) beneficiaries who did not file a 2020 or 2019 tax return or did not use the IRS’ special non-filers tool last year.”
— “These are the White House staffers working with Kamala Harris on curbing Central American migration,” by Yahoo! News’ Brittany Shepherd and Caitlin Dickson.
— “Fox News guest says Kamala Harris only got her immigration role 'because she has brown skin,’” by Insider’s Jake Lahut.
FIRST IN PLAYBOOK — ARBALLO HAUL: Democrat Phil Arballo has raised about $272,000 in the eight weeks since he declared he would take another shot at GOP Rep. Devin Nunes. Arballo lost to Nunes by 8.6 points in 2018 despite posting some hefty donation numbers; Nunes remains a formidable fundraiser himself.
SHOW ME THE MONEY — “Chesa Boudin recall: S.F. data shows who's funding both sides of campaign,” by the SF Chronicle’s Susie Neilson and Nami Sumida: “The pro-recall group, the Committee Supporting the Recall of District Attorney Chesa Boudin, has raised nearly $140,000 from 122 individuals and eight organizations, according to the data, while the anti-recall committees have raised more than $200,000 from 116 individuals and two organizations.”
NAME IT — Rural California lawmakers ask Newsom to declare drought emergency, by POLITICO’s Debra Kahn: A declaration would let water agencies waive water quality rules in order to preserve supplies but could be politically touchy for Newsom, who faces a likely recall vote this year. Environmental and fishing advocates are warning that waiving rules to enable water deliveries could jeopardize endangered fish species.
FRACK IT — California fracking bill gets an overhaul ahead of first hearing, by POLITICO’s Colby Bermel: A closely watched California proposal to ban fracking and other fossil fuel extraction methods will be softened to allow more time for the phaseout of non-fracking techniques.
— “How California snared two elite hunters posting ‘once a lifetime’ kills on social media,” by the Sac Bee’s Ryan Sabalow: “In California — and elsewhere around the country — breaking the hunting rules can be a criminal offense. Violators can face misdemeanor charges for breaking even the most technical rules in a thick rule book dedicated to hunting and wildlife protection.”
BROADBAND PUSH — “31% of Californians don’t have high-speed internet, state says. How Newsom can change that,” by McClatchy’s Kate Irby: “But there’s one major hitch to the idea of expanding broadband — it’s not totally clear which areas of California still don’t have high-speed access to internet services. Estimates vary widely, ranging from 120,000 households to 673,000.”
— “California state workers told to continue working from home as Newsom signals reopening,” by the Sac Bee’s Wes Venteicher: “As recently as January, the administration told department directors that 75% of state workers who can telework, should telework. Most of the state’s 230,000 employees can work remotely, but many employed at state prisons, hospitals and other facilities cannot.”
RENTER ROUTE — “Costa Mesa Lifts Commercial Eviction Ban; Tenants Have About Four Months to Pay Back Rent,” by the Voice of OC’s Hosam Elattar.
— “Pandemic has hammered immigrant workers. Here’s some help for finding new jobs,” by the Sac Bee’s Jeong Park and Kim Bojórquez: “Many federally-funded programs exclude undocumented immigrants, said Sasha Feldstein, an economic justice policy manager at California Immigrant Policy Center. She also said those programs often pick those who are most likely to succeed, not most in need, because they have to meet performance metrics to get the federal grants.”
— “Should California decriminalize psychedelic drugs? Army veteran makes his case to lawmakers,” by the Sac Bee’s Andrew Sheeler: “Under both state and federal law, possession of psychedelic drugs is illegal under most circumstances. Senate Bill 519, authored by State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, would decriminalize possession and sharing of several drugs, including ketamine, psilocybin, LSD and mescaline, for people 21 and older.”
— Twitter won’t let National Archives revive @realDonaldTrump, by POLITICO’s Quint Forgey: Twitter’s decision is further fuel for a debate in Washington about social media companies’ control over users’ speech, amid Republican accusations that Silicon Valley’s giants are censoring conservatives.
MILITIA MONEY — “Despite Ban, Facebook Continued To Label People As Interested In Militias For Advertisers,” by Buzzfeed’s Ryan Mac: “BuzzFeed News previously reported that far-right militant groups continued to run ads and operate on Facebook after the company’s ban in the run-up to the 2020 election; some targeted weapon accessory and body armor ads to people following the Jan. 6 insurrection.”
FOOD FRAUD — “DoorDash and Grubhub removed imposter S.F. sushi listings. But diners remain skeptical of delivery apps,” by the SF Chronicle’s Janelle Bitker: “For delivery apps, letting customers know that they’re trying to combat potential fraud can be challenging: Grubhub declined to say what they do exactly, noting that disclosing the measures that they take may lead to more people trying to work around those rules.”
UBER BUCKS — “Uber announces $250 million stimulus to bring back drivers,” by CNBC’s Jessica Bursztynsky.
TIKTOK LAW — “The TikTok Trend That Has Immigration Lawyers Worried,” by Mother Jones’ Isabela Dias.
— “Twitch Outlines Policy to Address Severe Misconduct That Happens Off-Service,” by the Hollywood Reporter’s Trilby Beresford.
— “After Working at Google, I’ll Never Let Myself Love a Job Again,” by Emi Nietfeld in the NY Times
— “‘Everyone Just Knows He's an Absolute Monster’: Scott Rudin's Ex-Staffers Speak Out on Abusive Behavior,” by the Hollywood Reporter’s Tatiana Siegel: “Even as other Hollywood bullies are being sidelined, the uber-producer behind 'The Social Network' and Broadway’s 'To Kill a Mockingbird' has been given a pass for his volcanic temper.”
GREEN MAP — Where weed is legal, by POLITICO’s Mona Zhang: More than 40 percent of Americans now live in states — 18 in total — that have embraced full legalization. Roughly two-thirds of Americans back legal weed, according to polls.
— “Sacramento made promises to Black entrepreneurs. Keep them before halting cannabis permits,” by the Sac Bee’s editorial board: “Most of the outdated myths to stoke fears about opening dispensaries have been debunked.”
— “CBS shake-up: Two TV station executives exit following L.A. Times investigation,” by the LA Times’ Meg James: “The move comes two months after an investigation by the Los Angeles Times alleged that the pair cultivated an environment that included bullying female managers and blocking efforts to hire and retain Black journalists.”
— Gabe Schneider is joining CalMatters as an assistant editor.
ICYMI — “Huntington Beach City Council Members Condemn Racism After Residents Report Receiving KKK Flyers,” by Voice of OC’s Hosam Elattar.
— “Fremont police officer who fatally shot Oakland man after chase identified,” by the Mercury News’ Rick Hurd and Joseph Geha.
— “What Does the Released Footage Around OC Sheriff Deputy Killing of Kurt Reinhold Show?” by Voice of OC’s Brandon Pho.
— “Oak Park activists to drop appeal to $1 billion Aggie Square project, accept city’s deal,” by the Sac Bee’s Tony Bizjak.
— “The Gospel of Fernandomania: Forty years later, Fernando Valenzuela still a Mexican American icon,” by the LA Times’ Gustavo Arellano.
— “Fresno’s Tower Theatre to be taken off market, court filing says. Sale to church uncertain?” by Fresno Bee’s Thaddeus Miller.
— “The next Aliso Canyon could happen on L.A.’s Westside,” by the LA Times’ Sammy Roth.
— “Reported Hate Crimes in Santa Ana Will Now be Available on Police Department’s Website,” by Voice of OC’s Anthony Robledo.
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