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As he transitions from longtime city councilman to rookie state assemblyman, Todd Gloria says he will continue to champion the three big issues he’s prioritized at City Hall: housing, public transportation and the environment.
“A lot of it does come down to allowing folks to have choices in transportation and being able to live closer to where they work,” he said, because if people can live close to public transit, they don’t need to drive around in climate change-causing cars.
Gloria also expects to dive into new issues, like education and health care, which the state deals with but the city does not. (In San Diego, education policy is handled by separately elected school district boards and local health care issues are handled by the county government or other special districts.) Gloria said he is particularly keen to find a way to shape health care policy to help solve housing issues, since many homeless people have mental health issues.
When he was first elected to the City Council in 2008, his top priority was housing but he ended up spending a lot of time on transit.
“It was kind of all under the umbrella of helping folks make ends meet,” he said.
He also wants to help solve a few local issues that involve the state, like the state-run DMV office in Hillcrest, which Gloria called “inadequate” because people are forced to stand in line in the sun and elements as they wait. There’s also ongoing discussion about the fate of the CalTrans office complex in Old Town, which Gloria and others think ought to be made part of the adjacent state park.
He’ll have a few role models in the San Diego delegation. Gloria is replacing Toni Atkins in District 78, which runs from Solana Beach to the border. Of Atkins, who is heading to the state Senate, Gloria said, “I’ve been in awe of Toni Atkins since I met her 20 years ago.” Of progressive champion Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez: “I would hope to be fractionally as effective as her.” Of Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, a leading voice in California’s education landscape: “a force.” Of course, Gloria says, “My style is my own.”
Gloria also said he supports the efforts by Democratic leaders of the Senate and Assembly to insulate California from Trump administration policies, because “a lot of us are proud of what our state was able to accomplish on Election Night,” including the plastic bag ban, gun safety legislation and steps toward criminal justice reform.
– Ry Rivard
Trump vs. California, a New Neverending Series
It may shock you to learn that President-elect Donald Trump’s unfounded claims about voter fraud in California did not go over well with state officials.
Trump tweeted that the media was ignoring “serious voter fraud” in Virginia, New Hampshire and California – states all won by Hillary Clinton.
That drew a swift smackdown from California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who said in a statement that Trump’s “unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud in California and elsewhere are absurd. His reckless tweets are inappropriate and unbecoming of a President-elect.”
Politifact California gave Trump’s claim a Pants on Fire rating.
San Diego Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, who along with Padilla spearheaded the California law that automatically registers new voters through the DMV, defended that measure against critics who seized on Trump’s tweet. The law isn’t even in effect yet, she pointed out.
For idiots saying Automatic Registration registered undocumented in CA. IT’S NOT EVEN IN PLACE YET & wont ever auto register AB60 licensees
— Lorena Gonzalez (@LorenaSGonzalez) November 28, 2016
Trump isn’t the only one questioning California elections, though. Some of the criticism is coming from inside the house – California Republicans say the state’s online registration system could allow voter fraud. Like Trump, they don’t appear to have offered any evidence to back up those claims.
Comings and Goings
As new pols take office and others switch to new roles, staffers are playing musical chairs alongside them.
Two state staffers are leaving their Capitol work to join incoming San Diego City Councilman Chris Ward’s office. Lucas O’Connor, who did communications and policy work for Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, will be Ward’s communications director, and Roberto Alcantar, who worked alongside Ward in state Sen. Marty Block’s office, will head constituent outreach.
There’s been some shuffling at the highest levels of state government this week, too. Gov. Jerry Brown announced Rep. Xavier Becerra, a big player in House leadership, will fill the role of California attorney general. (Disclosure: My husband works in the AG’s office.)
Within minutes of Brown’s announcement, former Assembly Speaker John Pérez said he’ll run to fill Becerra’s Los Angeles-based seat in Congress.
Unpacking the Props
Now that we know where voters landed on that loooooong slate of ballot measures, journalists are beginning to delve into what their passage might mean for the state.
Prop. 51: CalMatters breaks down how the big school construction bond could leave poor districts out in the cold. We’ve previously reported that the measure could very well help fund stadiums in addition to, or even in lieu of, classroom repairs.
Prop. 58: NPR spells out the three big questions the state needs to figure out now that bilingual education has been cleared for a comeback.
Prop. 64: LA Weekly examines how the legalization of marijuana will impact small pot businesses and the Sacramento Bee reports that for now, medical marijuana is seeing an uptick in business.
Golden State News
• California is wisening up to the fact that it might not be a good idea to let lawyers have sex with their clients. (AP)
• The chair of California’s Democratic Party has laid out the party’s positions and priorities in a new post. They include ending capital punishment, supporting Black Lives Matter and instituting a single-payer health care system. (Medium)
• Lawmakers struck a deal to prevent California National Guard troops from having to pay back enlistment bonuses given in error. (NBC San Diego)
• The story behind the story: How the Sacramento Bee caught the former UC Davis chancellor scrubbing the internet to protect her reputation. (Poynter)
• Prop. 13 has been a boon for the wealthy. (Trulia)