During what’s notoriously always a slow week in news, California Assembly Democrats made things interesting with their decision to quickly name a successor to Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, the first San Diegan to lead the Assembly. It will be Anthony Rendon, an assemblyman from the LA-area city of Lakewood.
Debate and discussion about the move carried into Friday with Atkins’ people making the case that it happened exactly as she hoped it would and didn’t represent a rebuke.
I spoke with Rendon late Friday. He said he did what all upstart leaders do: He took a letter with signatures proving he had 50 percent of the votes of Democrats (plus one) to Atkins and she was “very cooperative” after that. I asked him if she asked him to wait and he said she did not.
“She was very accepting of all this,” he said. “The plan was always to have a transition take place in 2016 and this is consistent with that.”
He did not know exactly when he would take the office. He would only say it would be sometime after Jan. 5.
“There’s only one speaker at a time and that’s her,” Rendon told me. “If she asks me to be involved in discussions about the direction of the Legislature, I will be. She has a very collaborative approach. My involvement is at her direction.”
• On this week’s podcast, we asked Sacramento Bee reporter Christopher Cadelago for his take. In short, it was expected she wouldn’t get a shot at managing a third budget cycle — the state budget is hashed out over the spring and summer. (We also asked him to explain some of the big issues going through the last minute bill frenzy at the capitol and then we talked for far too long about the Convention Center expansion news this week.)
• Looking back historically, you can see the handover of the speaker’s office usually happens in springtime — between March and May. Here’s a table of the last several speakers and how many days they served. But it was late January of 2014 when Atkins’ peers selected her to become speaker.
• We break down all that is known in this week’s Sacramento Report and also offer an explanation of Atkins’ role (or what turned out to be a non-role) in the effort to expedite a stadium project. Mayor Kevin Faulconer and his allies trumpeted her involvement weeks ago but it turns out their application to fast-track environmental review was to the governor and she merely looked it over.
We also round up all the bills San Diego reps got turned into laws. But this one came in after deadline: Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez’s bill to forbid homeowners associations from punishing those who replace lawns with artificial turf has now been signed (SacBee).
Tales of NFL Owners Woes, Chapter 35
If you were looking for a good read about wealthy heirs complaining about how long it takes to get a real estate deal on public land and persuade the government to invest hundreds of millions of tax dollars into it, have I got one for you.
Raiders owner Mark Davis pointed out to a reporter how much easier it is to buy his own land and put together a signature campaign he finances to get around permitting than it has been to get Bay Area governments to help build him a new stadium.
On that same NFL stadium drama beat, here’s an update from St. Louis, where the governor is jumping over every hurdle that comes his way to try to persuade the NFL to keep a team there.
• Doug Manchester still wants a waterfront football stadium, according to the La Jolla Light, which asked him 10 questions (not the 10 I would but that’s OK).
Encinitas Trying to Make Room for Housing
Our Maya Srikrishnan reports on how Encinitas is vulnerable to lawsuits from developers and affordable housing advocates since it hasn’t adopted a required plan to make room for denser housing. It’s the only city in the county not in compliance to identify in planning documents places where more housing can be built.
But because of an earlier lawsuit from the Building Industry Association, city leaders hope to ask voters to approve such a plan in next year’s election.
Quick News Hits
• A major California Supreme Court ruling that could cripple the fundraising ability of educator unions if it bars so-called “fair-share” fees that collect union dues from those who aren’t official members of the unions. Cadelago, at the Sacramento Bee, reports that labor lobbyists are clamoring for a last-minute bill in this legislative session that would allow union representatives to meet with teachers and make the case to join their associations.
• U-T columnist Logan Jenkins riffed on our story about the superintendent’s editing of a critical consultant’s analysis.
• This week we saw the release of a study that the mayor said was so persuasive, he’s going to try once again to expand the Convention Center on its current footprint, this time with a tax increase he’ll take to voters. The Reader says the consultant that produced the study has a history of overstating the projections of impact from those projects.
• U-T: “Superior Court Judge Gary Kreep will pay a $6,000 state fine for irregularities in his 2012 judicial campaign.”
• KPBS is reporting that Sycuan now has permission to expand its gaming operations to a new area.
• A judge heard arguments on inewsource’s filing to dismiss a lawsuit against from San Diegans for Open Government, or SDOG, which works closely with attorney Cory Briggs. inewsource’s lawyer claims Briggs’ lawsuit — which alleges the news organization had conflicts of interest when it got its lease from KPBS and San Diego State University — is nothing more than retaliation for reporting on Briggs.