Getting excited for the MLB All-Star Game in San Diego? The state Legislature is!

This week, the Senate Governmental Organization Committee approved AB 866, a bill to ease certain alcohol restrictions for Petco Park and the future L.A. Rams stadium. The San Diego Padres sponsored the bill.

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California doesn’t allow breweries or wineries to buy their way into venues under the guide of marketing partnerships. So, Petco Park couldn’t tell Stone Brewing, for example, to pay a ton of money in order to sell within the park. But this bill carves out an exception for Petco Park so that it can do just that.

Lots of other stadiums and event venues already have these exemptions.

“In order for stadiums, speedways, concerts or events to both sell alcoholic beverages and accept money for advertising they must fall within a tied-house exemption,” Assemblyman Brian Maienschein wrote in an explanation for a similar bill he wrote last year that gave an exemption to the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia, who wrote the bill, is seeking urgent approval so that it can go into effect before the All-Star Game. And though it’s specifically aimed at Petco Park and the new Inglewood stadium, the Senate committee’s analysis of the bill notes that the way the bill’s written means it would also apply to Qualcomm Stadium. (The analysis also randomly notes Tony Gwynn’s batting average, and the height of the Tony Gwynn statue. So there’s that.)

Though these types of bills are pretty common, I did wonder why Garcia, who represents the Coachella Valley, was pushing a bill for a team in another county.

“The sphere of influence of the Padres goes all the way to Imperial County. The Padres came to us because of that,” Garcia’s spokesman told me.

San Diego Sen. Marty Block was added as a coauthor this week. Block did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and Garcia’s office did not respond to multiple follow-up requests.

Since the beginning of 2015, Garcia has raked in more than $18,000 in campaign contributions from alcohol purveyors.

50 Is the Loneliest Number

You might’ve heard about the firestorm/avalanche/tsunami/other weather events of ballot measures about to overwhelm California voters.

And yet, the June ballot features exactly … one statewide measure. One!

It’s called Prop. 50, and it’s a direct response to a problem state legislators faced recently. A trio of legislators were facing criminal charges, and their fellow lawmakers voted to suspend them. But they kept collecting paychecks during that time, which obviously irked taxpayers.

This measure would let legislators suspend a fellow member, without pay.

CalMatters’ Laurel Rosenhall has an excellent rundown this week of Prop. 50 and why it’s so strange.

The official arguments against the measure that appear on the state’s voter information guide come from two San Diego lawmakers, Assemblyman Brian Jones and Sen. Joel Anderson.

You know they’re fired up about the issue because their arguments contain lots of CAPITAL LETTERS and exclamation points!!!

Jones and Anderson make two basic points against the measure: That it could be used to target members who express unfavorable views, and that it would deprive voters of representation. They think the correct remedy for addressing misbehavior by lawmakers is to kick them out of the Legislature entirely.

Highway Robbery: Not Just Hyperbole

The public has grown increasingly skeptical over the past year or so of a law enforcement tactic known as civil asset forfeiture, where officers can seize cash or other assets from someone they suspect has committed a crime – whether they actually did or not. The best part: They don’t have to return the money, even if they never end up charging the person with wrongdoing.

The Washington Post and The Atlantic have both done excellent investigative work on the use of asset forfeiture around the country.

A bill in the state Legislature aims to rein in these seizures.

“The bill, SB 443, enjoys strong bipartisan support, including from San Diego Sen. Joel Anderson, and would require that someone be convicted of a crime before the police could permanently take their money or property away,” Margaret Dooley-Sammuli, the criminal justice and drug policy director for the ACLU of California, writes in a VOSD op-ed. She details two stops in which San Diego residents had thousands of dollars in cash taken from them.

Rep. Darrell Issa of San Diego has been similarly fired up about efforts to rein in asset forfeiture at the federal level. Last week, he wrote about it in an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times, and this week he spoke out against the practice on CSPAN’s “Washington Journal.”

Gonzalez: Don’t Make Workers Choose Between Job and Kid

Though the fight over the local minimum wage increase was rendered partly moot by the state’s decision to raise the minimum wage, the citywide measure is still a worthy endeavor, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez wrote this week in a VOSD op-ed.

That’s because the local measure has a component that would require employers to provide five days of paid sick leave.

“No parent should feel the additional burden of worrying about their livelihood in this situation – wondering if calling in sick will mean a paycheck that doesn’t stretch the full month or even worse, a lost job,” she writes.

Gonzalez wrote a landmark bill passed in 2014 that requires most employers statewide to provide three paid sick days a year.

Golden State News

• Gov. Jerry Brown released his revised budget on Friday, preaching a message of restraint. Noteworthy: “The revised budget for 2016-2017 includes $3.5 billion in state and federal funding for various affordable housing and homelessness programs,” reports the San Francisco Chronicle. “Brown said low-income residents are straining to pay rent and the state has a disproportionally high number of homeless people.”

• Sandra Fluke, who became suddenly famous when Rush Limbaugh publicly attacked her for testifying in favor of birth control access, talked to the Huffington Post about lessons learned from her unsuccessful California state Senate bid.

• Here’s a sentence describing a state Senate candidate you don’t read every day: “He’s an avowed atheist and Satanic Temple organizer.” (Time)

• This week’s entry in Nothing Ever Changes: Why the state’s roads won’t get fixed any time soon. (L.A. Times)

• Some hospitals are considering opting out of participating in the state’s new aid-in-dying law – but it likely won’t matter all that much. (KPCC)

 Sen. Joel Anderson is a Donald Trump delegate. An avowed white nationalist might be one too. (Washington Post)

• Gavin Newsom did a Q-and-A about the motivations behind his crusade for legalized pot. (Mother Jones)

Ego Check

Love this line from Paul Mitchell about how unknown candidates can surge to surprise wins or almost-wins:

One thing that contributes to this phenomenon is an inflated sense of self within the small cadre of political directors, consultants, media and pollsters who begin their analysis with their own highly-informed perceptions – and struggle to put themselves into the mindset of real voters.

Sara Libby was VOSD’s managing editor until 2021. She oversaw VOSD’s newsroom and content.

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