Republicans are becoming increasingly vocal about California's voting system — using words like "bizarre" and "strange" to raise questions about how they could lose so many House seats that seemed to be in the win column on election night. The latest ...
THE BUZZ: IS IT REALLY THAT "BIZARRE?" Republicans are becoming increasingly vocal about California's voting system — using words like "bizarre" and "strange" to raise questions about how they could lose so many House seats that seemed to be in the win column on election night. The latest is outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan, and he's not alone...
OUR STORY: "GOP cries foul after California thumping" — A growing chorus of Republicans are casting doubts about the integrity of the voting system in California, where the party lost at least 6 House seats in the midterm election — including a handful where the GOP at first appeared to have emerged victorious on Election Night.
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-- "A sentiment that began as a murmur among hardline conservatives jumped to the Republican mainstream Thursday when House Speaker Paul Ryan suggested that the state’s “bizarre” voting system “just defies logic to me,” and may have contributed to the GOP’s historic thumping in California.
-- "Ryan Thursday, at a Washington Post Live event, was the latest to suggest that the state’s “bizarre” voting system “just defies logic to me,’ and may have contributed to the GOP’s historic thumping in California.
-- HIS CONCERNS: "We were only down 26 seats the night of the election and three weeks later, we lost basically every California race,’’ Ryan said. “This election system they have — I can’t begin to understand what ‘ballot harvesting’ is.”
-- PADILLA RESPONDS: "His statements drew a sharp rebuke from California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who said Thursday that “it is bizarre that Paul Ryan cannot grasp basic voting rights protections.” Padilla, a Democrat who oversees the elections process in a state with 19 million registered voters, told POLITICO that “our elections in California are structured so that every eligible citizen can easily register, and every registered voter can easily cast their ballot.” That concept, he said maybe “strange for Speaker Ryan, who comes from Wisconsin,’’ but added, if he’s genuine in his concerns “I’m happy to walk him through the bottom line.”
-- An angry Padilla said complaints by Republicans about California’s voter outcome is “nothing but an excuse” for the party’s own failures at the ballot box. In California, “we’ve been hearing Trump for years now make claims of massive voter fraud and millions of illegal votes and it is simply not true. And just as Trump’s ego could not handle losing the national popular vote and losing so badly in California,’’ now it appears Ryan is trying to “drum up an excuse” for the losses, he said.
“It’s their own fault that they fear a large and diverse electorate,’’ he told POLITICO. “What they call strange and bizarre,'' he said, "we call democracy.’’ Full story by POLITICO’s Carla Marinucci in San Francisco. And here’s video of full comments by Paul Ryan
BUENOS DÍAS, Good FRIDAY morning. Rep. Adam Schiff is getting ready to go to work on as the top dog on House Intelligence. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti got a nice plum, and state Democratic Party chair Eric Bauman resigned under growing pressure.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: -- "I may end up as a screenwriter, who knows -- it’s time for this guy to go to Hollywood, baby!" -- Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, saying he’s done with politics in wake of his defeat by Harley Rouda. h/c MercNews’ Casey Tolan.
TWEET OF THE DAY: Gov-elect Gavin Newsom @GavinNewsom "At the border today, I met a 3-year-old girl. She was innocent and kind, and was being housed in this shelter. She came here because someone sought a better life for her. CA is a state of refuge. A place of new beginnings. Of compassion and inclusion. We can’t forget that." With pix.
VIDEO OF THE DAY -- Soldier returns home from duty to Sacramento, wondering if her dog will remember her. Fido does. It'll make your day. Watch here.
-- Where’s Jerry? Nothing official announced.
-- Where’s Gavin? Saturday: Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom attends the inauguration of Mexican President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador in Mexico City.
-- THE OTHER SHOE DROPS - "California Democratic Party chair resigns amid sexual misconduct allegations,'' by POLITICO's Jeremy B. White: Eric Bauman resigned Thursday as chairman of the California Democratic Party, yielding to mounting calls for his ouster from Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom and other state leaders as he faces sexual misconduct allegations.
“I have made the realization that in order for those to whom I may have caused pain and who need to heal, for my own health, and in the best interest of the Party that I love and to which I have dedicated myself for more than 25 years, it is in everyone’s best interest for me to resign my position as chair of the California Democratic Party,” Bauman said in a statement. Story.
-- 'THAT'S NOT MY AMERICA'' -- Gavin Newsom talks immigration in San Diego,'' via Fox5: After he visited the Otay Mesa Detention Center, Newsom's observations: “These children are barefoot. In diapers. Choking on tear gas,” Newsom wrote on Twitter after photos surfaced of a woman at the border with two young children trying to avoid tear gas cannisters. “Women and children who left their lives behind — seeking peace and asylum — were met with violence and fear. That’s not my America. We’re a land of refuge. Of hope. Of freedom. And we will not stand for this.” Story and video.
-- UNCLEAR ON THE CONCEPT: Metropolitan Transportation Commission holding taxpayer-funded meeting at posh Wine Country inn in Sonoma: Agency leaders to discuss homelessness during $29,000 retreat, via Mercury News. Story.
It’s FRIDAY -- Got a tip? Feedback News to share? Let us know.
NOW AVAILABLE! POLITICO CALIFORNIA PRO PREVIEW – NAVIGATING THE GUBERNATORIAL TRANSITION. Available free and for a limited time, the POLITICO California Pro Preview newsletter, is breaking down the people, policy and politics of the incoming administration. Created specifically for business leaders and policy professionals, POLITICO California Pro provides detailed insight and analysis and a portfolio of tools to help navigate the Golden State’s most complex issues. Visit politicopro.com/california to learn more and to sign up for the POLITICO California Pro Preview newsletter.
-- NANCY NOT HAVING IT -- “Pelosi shuts down critics in tense meeting” by POLITICO’s Rachael Bade, John Bresnahan and Heather Caygle: “Nancy Pelosi was having none of it. A trio of her fiercest Democratic critics — lawmakers trying to bar her from reclaiming the speaker's gavel — were trying to pin her down on exactly when she planned to relinquish power. Story.
-- TOP TWO FALLOUT? “Many Republicans skipped voting when their option was Dem or Dem” by CALmatters’ Ben Christopher: “One argument in favor of the top two is that it strips political parties of power to pick and choose nominees. It also, in theory, drives candidates and voters to the ideological center. In a race with two Democrats, for example, centrist and right-leaning voters theoretically will be more likely to choose the moderate in the race. But the numbers suggest that in the face of two blue choices, many Republican-leaning voters opted not to choose at all.” Column.
-- “To adapt, California GOP needs to move beyond Reagan” by SacBee’s Bill Whalen: “The point: times change and so do voting demographics. Bill Clinton may still believe in a place called Hope; earlier this month, 80% of voters in that Arkansas town voted for a Republican congressional candidate. Lyndon Johnson rests in peace near the banks of the Pedernales River and a stretch of central Texas that lent Beto O’Rourke, the new Democratic sensation, a mere 20% in his quest to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz.” Column.
CALIFORNIA VS. D.C.: In the latest round of a year-plus fight over immigration policies and federal funding for law enforcement, state Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a motion to block the Trump administration’s attempt to hold back some $1.5 million in Project Safe Neighborhoods money. Becerra issued a statement blasting “crude attempts to sabotage California law enforcement” and, noting the money flows through the California Office of Emergency Services, warned the dispute could distract OES from alleviating widespread fire damage. We’re wondering if Becerra will broach this to Veep Mike Pence and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in Mexico this weekend.
-- “Schiff: Americans should have 'no confidence' in Whitaker's control of Mueller probe” by POLITICO’s Rebecca Morin: “Addressing a political conference at the University of Virginia, [Rep. Adam] Schiff (D-Calif.) said Congress will exercise its oversight role to ‘determine whatever role Whitaker plays’ in Mueller's investigation, in particular in regard to the special counsel's final report.” Story.
-- "How Newsom's big win gives him a mandate on health care,'' by POLITICO's Angela Hart: 'Riding a blue wave to a margin of victory larger than any first-term California governor has had in nearly 90 years, Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom has a strong mandate to establish the nation's first universal health care system, political strategists and health care advocates say."Story.
ICMYI: “Newsom, California lawmakers head to Mexico to forge ties with new president” by POLITICO’s Angela Hart: “As President Donald Trump threatens to shut down the Mexican border access and demands $5 billion from Congress to build a wall, Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom, Attorney General Xavier Becerra and state lawmakers are heading to Mexico City this week to celebrate the inauguration of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. The message: The country's most populous state wants to work with Mexico despite the president's rhetoric.” Story.
-- "One lesson from Bauman’s resignation? #MeToo isn’t going away,'' by CALMatters' Laurel Rosenhall: "The resignation of California Democratic Party chairman Eric Bauman comes at a particularly emotional moment in California politics—on the heels of historic wins for Democrats and after a year of bipartisan reckoning over the apparent culture of sexual bullying within the political class. Story.
-- "California Democrats face a reckoning about the party's culture and procedures after the resignation of their leader,'' by LATimes' John Myers , Phil Willon and Taryn Luna -- "Days before the November election in which California Democrats expanded their dominion over the state with sweeping victories in almost every electoral battleground, a handful of people inside the party’s inner circle knew of a problem that would ultimately topple their leader." Story.
-- “What happens if PG&E goes bankrupt?” by CALmatters’ Judy Lin: “Another year, another megafire, another calamity in which faulty Pacific Gas and Electric equipment is a prime suspect. And once again, Californians face a familiar question: What’s going to happen to the behemoth power company in the thick of the fire zone?” Story.
-- “Legislators spared from living in their districts” by CALmatters’ Dan Walters: “The Legislature could have gone the other way, eliminating any ambiguity about residence in the previous law by making the requirement to live in one’s district absolute. Instead, Senate Bill 1250 is a virtual invitation for politicians to claim bogus residences as their official domiciles…” Column.
JERRY’S JUDGES: Gov. Jerry Brown may be on his way out, but he continues to ensure an enduring mark on California’s courts. He named 12 more judges yesterday, bringing his total since October to 74. That includes state Supreme Court pick Josh Groban.
NATIONAL NOD FOR GARCETTI: L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti snagged a spot on Governing Magazine’s 2018 Public Officials of the Year list, praising his use of data and efforts to tackle homelessness and traffic while noting his national ambitions. Read the writeup here.
-- "Democrat Garcetti, Eyeing 2020, Faults His Party on Immigration," by Bloomberg's Sahil Kapur: "'Democrats, in particular, have avoided speaking about a vision of the nation,' Garcetti, 47, said Thursday at a Bloomberg News breakfast for reporters in Washington. 'Immigration is a key part of what that national identity is.'" Story.
-- “‘You don’t bulldoze people.’ California highway homeless camps grow dangerous” by SacBee’s Erin Tracy and Adam Ashton: “‘You’re throwing peoples’ stuff away, and they’re sitting there looking at you,’ said Deric Barnes, [a] Caltrans union representative who cleared roadside homeless camps when he worked for the California Conservation Corps. ‘You grow callous. You’re just showing up, throwing the stuff away and leaving.’” Story.
-- MUST WATCH: “Deputy's body cam captures harrowing escape from deadly California fire” by LATimes’ Paige St. John and Rong-Gong Lin II: Video.
-- “California orders safety upgrades at PG&E amid Camp Fire scrutiny” by SacBee’s Dale Kasler: “The California Public Utilities Commission, at a tumultuous meeting in San Francisco interrupted by protesters, voted to adopt 60 recommendations made last year by an independent consultant that audited the beleaguered utility.” Story.
-- “Camp Fire: Butte County officials name five more victims” by SFChronicle’s Lauren Hernández: Story.
-- "Swastikas painted on famed African American mural in Crenshaw, police say,'' via LATimes' James Queally: Story.
-- "SF getting a $415 million windfall. How will the mayor and supes spend it?,'' via SFChronicle's Trisha Thadani: Story.
-- “L.A. considers raising speed limits on more than 100 miles of streets” by LATimes’ Laura J. Nelson: Story.
-- “Local governments can help with roadside homeless, Caltrans says” by SacBee’s Erin Tracy and Adam Ashton: Story.
-- “Sticker Shock: Everything you need to know about California’s new carpool lane decals” by SFChronicle’s Rachel Swan: Interactive.
-- “Waste not, want not: Schools waste $5 million a day in uneaten food. Here's how Oakland is reinventing the cafeteria,” by Grist’s Jonathan Bloom: Story.
-- “California lawmakers move to ban flavored tobacco” by SacBee’s Andrew Sheeler: Story.
-- MORE BAD HEADLINES FOR SHERYL SANDBERG -- She asked Facebook staff to target George Soros' financial interests for research, NYTimes reporting: Her request "came within days of a blistering speech Mr. Soros delivered that month at the World Economic Forum, attacking Facebook and Google as a “menace” to society and calling for the companies to be regulated.:Story.
-- “Benioff puts up $6.1 million to subsidize rents for SF’s formerly homeless” by SFChronicle’s Kevin Fagan: “Weighing in once again on San Francisco’s homeless problem, tech billionaire Marc Benioff will announce Thursday that he is donating $6.1 million to turn an infamously seedy, long-shuttered Tenderloin hotel into housing for formerly homeless people.” Story.
-- “Google village could bring 25,000 jobs to downtown San Jose: study” by MercNews’ George Avalos: Story.
-- "More Pot Revenues May Start Flowing in California,'' by KQED's Katie Orr -- When voters legalized recreational marijuana in California through Proposition 64, many expected a windfall of tax revenue. That hasn’t quite panned out yet, but some more money could start flowing into the state budget next fiscal year — and the wrangling over how to spend it is already beginning. Story.
-- “Could industrial hemp farming mean billion-dollar green for Central Valley ag?” by FresnoBee’s Robert Rodriguez: “Among those working to make industrial hemp happen is Wayne Richman, who heads the newly formed California Hemp Association. Richman said that the U.S. imports about $800 million worth of hemp to be used for its fiber, seed and oil. Among the biggest foreign growers are Canada and China.” Story.
-- LATIMES’ NEW ADDITIONS: The paper announced three new appointments in its Washington bureau. Via POLITICO's Morning Media: Janet Hook, most recently at the Wall Street Journal, is rejoining the Times's Washington bureau as chief political writer. Anna Phillips, who joined the Times in 2016 and was most recently on the Metro staff, will cover environmental policy in Washington. And Molly O'Toole, a former writer and editor at Foreign Policy, Defense One and HuffPost, will be a Washington-based immigration writer."
KAMALA KEYNOTE -- Sen. Kamala Harris will be one of the keynote speakers when MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski brings the “Know Your Value” live event series to the West Coast for the first time on Saturday. The all-day program will take place at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco and will feature Harris, Academy Award-winning actress Mira Sorvino, Time’s Up CEO Lisa Borders, Elizabeth Vargas and Natalie Morales in addition to networking opportunities and interactive panels designed to empower women. Details.
WATCH THIS: Way to Win, the women-led progressive resource and political strategy hub, recently featured in Politico, is hosting its first annual conference — and a big new drive headed toward 2020 — in Los Angeles Dec. 2-4, with key speakers Stacey Abrams and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.).
-- The organization — credited with raising $22 million this midterm cycle — is aimed at forging a “Southern Strategy” of women, progressives, minority communities and new voters for 2020 with an eye towards elevating communities and regions that have been neglected by the political establishment. The goal, President Tory Gavito tells POLITICO via email, is building “a multiracial coalition that will transform our electoral institutions and build long standing, progressive change. We're thrilled that strong supporters like Stacy Abrams and Black Voters Matter will join us to discuss how we continue this momentum for 2019 and beyond.’’ Stay tuned.
Steve Haro, principal at Mehlman Castagnetti
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