There’s been a lot of noise over the last week in response to Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon’s decision to hold SB 562, a bill to create a single-payer health care system in California.

But San Diego Sen. Toni Atkins, co-author of the bill, hasn’t been among the voices decrying the decision.

National Democrats who support Sen. Bernie Sanders and protesters in California led by the California Nurses Association have expressed outrage and taken part in rowdy demonstrations in response to Rendon’s move.

Atkins, though, has only made two public statements, both tepid. She signed on to a joint statement with Sen. Ricardo Lara, the bill’s other author, and she told the Sacramento Bee that she doesn’t fault Rendon for his move because “I have been in his shoes” as Assembly speaker.

Rendon’s – and most observers’ – main beef with the bill was that it didn’t establish how the state would pay the $400 billion price tag. (Atkins’ staff has pointed out the state already spends hundreds of billions on health care.)

“Nor did Lara or Atkins ever explain how California could get around a powerful federal law regulating health insurance — a law the RAND think tank recently warned would pose major hurdles for Oregon if it tried to implement single-payer,” noted the Union-Tribune editorial board.

Mother Jones pointed out that state measures, like Prop. 98, would have posed serious problems too.

San Diego Signs on to SANDAG Reform Bill

The San Diego City Council voted this week to support Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher’s bill to reform the San Diego Association of Governments.

Gonzalez Fletcher introduced the bill following a Voice of San Diego investigation that revealed SANDAG knowingly misled voters on a multibillion-dollar bond measure, and misrepresented how much transportation projects cost.

AB 805 would create an audit committee and hire an independent auditor at SANDAG. It would also make it easier for the board to trigger a weighted vote where the vote of each of the cities represented on the board is proportional to their population. That would give more power to larger cities in the county, particularly the two largest – San Diego and Chula Vista. San Diego and Chula Vista, unsurprisingly, have both voted to support the bill.

Smaller cities argue they’d lose power under the new structure imposed by the bill, and many of them have voted to oppose it.

In an April op-ed, El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells wrote that the bill “would choose just two of the 19 local municipalities to rule over the others and to take away representation of the majority of San Diegans.”

Andrew Bowen of KPBS has a rundown of how support across the county has shaken out:

“San Diego joins the cities of Lemon Grove and Chula Vista, as well as the MTS board of directors and several nonprofits, in voting to support AB 805. The cities of El Cajon, La Mesa, National City, Solana Beach, Poway, San Marcos and Vista, as well as the County Board of Supervisors and the SANDAG board, have voted to oppose the bill.”

More Audits, Please

Without much power in the state Legislature, California Republicans often criticize spending decisions made by their colleagues and by other Democratic-controlled offices and agencies throughout the state.

This week, two San Diego-area Republicans called for audits they believe would reveal fiscal mismanagement.

Assemblyman Randy Voepel denounced the Joint Legislative Audit Committee’s decision not to pursue a forensic investigation of University of California officials after the state auditor earlier this year found a secret $175 million fund.

“This issue is about answers. It’s about transparency. It’s about accountability. I hope the committee will reconsider its decision,” Voepel said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Sen. Pat Bates got better news from the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, which approved her request for an audit of the South Orange County Wastewater Authority.

“An independent audit will help explain inconsistencies in SOCWA’s financial records and provide greater transparency to the public,” Bates said in a statement.

Golden State News

• People want Kevin Faulconer to run for governor, Volume 1,437,498 in a neverending series. (L.A. Times)

• In an op-ed, Sen. Joel Anderson writes that changes to recall rules were inappropriately stuck in a bill meant to help veterans. (Times of San Diego)

• Sacramento Report pal Liam Dillon has written an excellent piece detailing why California’s housing crisis hasn’t been solved. (L.A. Times)

• The Delta tunnels project cleared a major hurdle with the feds this week. (Sacramento Bee)

• The clock is ticking on California’s scramble to set up a regulatory system for marijuana. (Union-Tribune)

• The Supreme Court declined to hear a case involving San Diego’s limits on concealed weapons, keeping the rules in place. Also this week, a state agency blocked a new law limiting assault weapons. (L.A. Times, Associated Press)

• Bee hive theft is a real thing, and it’s a problem in California. (NPR)

• Rep.-elect Jimmy Gomez, who won a special election to replace now-California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, still hasn’t been sworn in to Congress, and he’s missing important votes on immigration policy. (Washington Post)

• California is leading the way on a crucial maternity care issue. (Vox)

Sara Libby

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

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