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Usually when two people “make it official” it means they’re coming together — getting married, etc.
Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins and Sen. Marty Block made it official this week, but they’re doing just the opposite and forcing San Diego Dems to choose a side.
“The brewing showdown could cause fractures not just in local San Diego Democratic politics, but in the state Capitol, escalating a long-simmering rivalry between the Senate and Assembly that persists even as Democrats solidly control both chambers,” Mel Mason wrote in the Los Angeles Times.
Atkins camp quickly began framing her challenge as a feminist issue, using the hashtag #donesteppingaside.
— Atty Brigid Campo (@AttorneyBrigid) September 19, 2015
Forget, I guess, the fact that it’s Block — the one with a remaining term still on the table — who’s being asked to step aside. And also forget that far from being asked to step aside, some Democrats would prefer Atkins make a higher-profile move and challenge Republican Mayor Kevin Faulconer.
I asked Atkins spokeswoman Laura Fink, given that this is being framed as a feminist move by Atkins, where she and Block differ on policy issues that affect women.
She listed many of Atkins’ accomplishments in the Legislature that lift women up — the Earned Income Tax Credit, bills protecting pregnant women and victims of domestic violence. But she didn’t offer anything on which Atkins and Block wouldn’t produce the same exact vote.
But Fink pointed out that casting a vote and being a leader are different.
“Most importantly, women bring a different perspective to political discourse that frequently changes the course of conversation on issues of importance to women. The speaker is proof of this concept,” she wrote in an email. “There is a big difference between being a leader in the fight for women and better representation for women, and being just a good vote on legislation.”
• An early polling memo shows Atkins crushing Block. (SD Rostra)
• Logan Jenkins writes that he believes the fight will sort itself out before the actual election. (Union-Tribune)
• Dan Walters thinks the clash will have lasting, damaging repercussions for Dems: “Regardless of who prevails, these kinds of political civil wars create personal rifts that can last for decades – as demonstrated by the Democrat-vs.-Democrat clashes during a struggle over the Assembly speakership in 1980.” (Sac Bee)
Why San Diego’s Getting $64 Million from Sacramento
California was flying blind when it ended its tax-funded redevelopment program in 2012. There was no real plan to handle the process, so cities and state regulators just figured it out as it went along.
The program had been a way for cities to fight blight, by taking new property tax revenue in a given area and reinvesting it in projects that would help turn things around. That meant those property taxes weren’t going to state or county coffers, which is why Gov. Jerry Brown decided to end the program.
But many of the projects had ongoing payments – it wasn’t as simple as just taking back all the money and re-routing the new taxes to the state. There had to be a way to figure out which local payments still needed to be made out – which meant the cities keeping some money – and how much flowed back to Sacramento.
This meant lengthy fights between cities and the state over how much money stayed local.
Brown just signed a new bill that will clear up one specific type of this ongoing disagreement, and it’ll mean the city of San Diego gets back $64 million.
The money was part of an agreement made between San Diego’s old redevelopment agency – now called Civic San Diego – the city of San Diego and the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The deal called for the redevelopment agency to make $79 million in payments to the city over 10 years, and the city would spend all of that money on HUD-related programs, like low-income housing and homeless programs.
The new law clarifies that payments that were part of any agreement like this between a city, redevelopment agency and HUD count as money that must stay local. The funds that had already been sent to Sacramento will now be re-routed to San Diego, where Mayor Kevin Faulconer says they’ll be used for housing programs, as originally intended.
— Andrew Keatts
Anderson Creates a To-Do List for Brown (Good Luck With That)
Sen. Joel Anderson is telling Gov. Jerry Brown to veto a law Brown has all but promised to sign. That’d be AB 350, the climate bill that got neutered but that “still calls for the state to boost energy efficiency in buildings by 50 percent and requires California to get half of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
The Sacramento Bee says “Brown is certain to sign a bill that encompasses two of his other major environmental initiatives.”
AB 350 is just one of the bills on a list created by Anderson and Sen. John Moorlach, who represents parts of Orange County, of measures they believe Brown should veto. The list also includes Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez’s Motor Voter Bill – because voter fraud – and the aid-in-dying measure, because it will encourage folks to off their costly grandmothers: “who is to stop an unprincipled son or daughter from encouraging death for the ailing mother – just because care is expensive or time consuming?”
Brown’s (Presumably Non-Anderson-Approved) Actions This Week
Gov. Jerry Brown is still signing bills – he has until Oct. 11 to sign or veto the bills passed by the Legislature this session.
This week, he signed AB 313, Speaker Toni Atkins’ measure to create a special way to fund certain capital projects, called enhanced infrastructure financing districts, and AB 897, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez’s measure offering job protections to grocery workers.
Brown vetoed a measure by Assemblywoman Marie Waldron that would have encouraged the government to use more sustainable printing practices. He said in a message that the state is already doing what the bill asked, making the measure unnecessary.
Oceanside Assemblyman Rocky Chavez, who’s running for a U.S. Senate seat, is facing an uphill climb even if he does make it to the November 2016 election. But for now, he still has two other Republicans to contend with: former party chairs Tom Del Beccaro and Duf Sundheim.
“I don’t see a threat from any of the other Republican candidates,” Chavez said at this weekend’s state Republican Party gathering, according to the Sacramento Bee.
An L.A. Times/USC poll put Del Beccaro and Chavez within a point of each other, with Del Beccaro taking a slight edge.
Golden State News
• George Skelton laments the state party’s loss of Carly Fiorina (she’s moved to Virginia) and wonders whether she might take another stab at a California Senate seat if the whole president thing doesn’t work out. (L.A. Times)
• The sharing economy is causing some rifts among Democrats, featuring an appearance from Sen. Ben Hueso, who has a long history in the taxi business. (San Francisco Chronicle)
• California’s controversial Junipero Serra is now a saint. (San Jose Mercury News)