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Newsom’s labor gains and pains- POLITICO


THE BUZZ: Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Labor Day weekend certainly embodied the theme.

The governor signed one union-priority bill and faced extraordinary national pressure on another — parallel developments that underscored organized labor’s enduring political clout in California and its greater resonance in national Democratic politics.

Labor allies exulted on Monday after Newsom signed a bill giving California a first-in-the-nation fast food industry labor overseer. The measure was the most fiercely contested business bill to hit Newsom’s desk, barely clearing the Legislature as Democrats faced strenuous opposition. Industry groups argued the bill would undercut franchise operators and raise prices on consumers, bankrolling an advertising blitz amplifying that message. Labor supporters who had sought industry inroads with the Fight for $15 campaign called it a basic safeguard for a class of disempowered workers.

Both sides stressed the national stakes. They argued other states would imitate California’s model for a fast food industry that employs millions of people across the country. That’s an alarming outcome for franchise industry players who argued the concept would hobble their business model. It’s a goal for unions who see a path not just to imposing labor standards but possibly a path to a long-sought goal of organizing fast food workers.

Newsom similarly stressed the broader reverberations, pointing out in a signing video that the world’s fifth-largest economy could set an example for other states. California can wield its economic might to influence the national policy picture. But this weekend, national political pressure was being applied to Newsom’s other major labor decision.

President Joe Biden marked Labor Day by embracing a farmworker unionization bill that sits on Newsom’s desk. “In the state with the largest population of farmworkers, the least we owe them is an easier path to make a free and fair choice to organize a union,” Biden said — a markedly more supportive position than Newsom’s. The governor vetoed a previous version and has telegraphed resistance to this year’s followup.

It’s rare to see the White House weigh in on pending legislation. But Biden’s declaration culminated a larger push by national Democrats to persuade Newsom, with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other California House Democrats also applying public pressure. It’s certain that Newsom’s decision will attract national scrutiny. A governor positioning himself as a leader of the Democratic Party will have to consider the implications of a veto that would break with party luminaires and the unions that form a pillar of Democratic power.

BUENOS DÍAS, good Tuesday morning. Electricity demand is expected to approach or exceed a record high today as a withering heat wave strains California’s grid and fans fears of blackouts. Speaking of energy reliability: today’s the deadline to apply for federal funding to keep the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant generating. Newsom advanced the extension process on Friday by signing legislation allocating money for Diablo.

Got a tip or story idea for California Playbook? Hit us up: [email protected] and [email protected] or follow us on Twitter @JeremyBWhite and @Lara_Korte. 

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I think we lost the historic opportunity during the recall campaign. I don’t think Larry Elder was in that to win it. I think he was in it to build his brand and sign up more conservative radio stations so he could make more money, and he did a disservice to 40 million residents of CA by getting in that race.” Senate Republican leader Scott Will denounces the top vote-getter challenging Newsom in the 2021 recall, via Inside California Politics. 

TWEET OF THE DAY: Democratic CA-41 House candidate @WillRollinsCA pitches to the GOP: “Dear Republicans: I’m pro-small business and I worked in law enforcement. Give me 2 years in Congress to clean up after Corrupt Ken, and if I suck at the job, you can bring him back in 2024.”

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Today’s Tweet of the Day. | Twitter

WHERE’S GAVIN? Nothing official announced.

A message from Clean Air California:

California has the worst air quality in the country, with serious consequences for our health. As climate change increases the number of catastrophic wildfires, the threat is even worse, polluting our air with cancer-causing substances and particulate pollution that aggravate existing health problems and increase the risk of asthma, heart attacks and strokes. Prop 30 attacks the top sources of air pollution — wildfires and vehicle emissions, ensuring Californians have clean air to breathe.

POWERED UP — “California Avoids Blackouts With Bigger Test Ahead as Heat Looms,” by Bloomberg’s Mark Chediak and Brian K Sullivan: “The state’s grid operator canceled its grid emergency late Monday evening after deploying supplies that helped keep the lights on even as electricity use soared to its highest level in five years.”

— “Black Lives Matter leader accused of stealing $10 million from organization,” by the Los Angeles Times’ Noah Goldberg: “Shalomyah Bowers was called in the court filing as a “rogue administrator, a middle man turned usurper” who siphoned contributions to the nonprofit activist group to use as a “personal piggy bank,” according to the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Thursday.”

— “Gavin Newsom’s in-laws fled from California to Florida during the pandemic, records show,” by Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn: “Newsom’s in-laws, however, officially became registered voters in the Sunshine State as of June 2020. Kenneth Siebel is a registered Republican while Judith Siebel has no party affiliation.”

— “‘Everybody on that street knew everybody.’ Wildfire destroys historic Black section of Weed,” by the Sacramento Bee’s Ryan Sabalow and Dale Kasler: “The Mill Fire tore through parts of the Roseburg Forest Products mill Friday afternoon in Weed and destroyed much of the Lincoln Heights neighborhood, a tight-knit working-class community that sprang to life in the 1920s to house Black millworkers.”

FIRST IN PLAYBOOK — SALAS AD JUST DROPPED: Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) is launching his first ad across CA-22 today, touting his experience supporting farmworkers and gas producers in the Central Valley in his effort to unseat Republican Rep. David Valadao. The 30-second spot, which airs across the district today, hits on themes of “Working People” — including highlighting Salas’ 2017 vote against raising the gas tax that cost him a committee chairmanship.

— “California Politics: An exit interview with Mark Ghilarducci, Newsom’s go-to guy in emergencies,” by the Los Angeles Times’ Phil Willon: “Now, after years of phones calls in the middle of the night, missed birthdays and vacations cut short, Ghilarducci is stepping down as director of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services at the end of the year.”

PALM OF THEIR HANDS — “In the California Desert, L.G.B.T.Q. Voters Could Sway a Key House Race,” by the New York Times’ Stephanie Lai: “Representative Ken Calvert, a Republican who has served in Congress for three decades, has almost never faced a tough re-election contest in this ruby-red corner of Southern California. But a redrawn political map in the state has reshaped his district this year, adding Palm Springs, a liberal bastion that residents proclaim to be the gayest city in America.”

— “California voters to decide on repeal of anti-public housing measure in 2024,” by the Los Angeles Times’ Liam Dillon: “The real estate industry sponsored the 1950 campaign, which appealed to racist fears about integrating neighborhoods and featured heated rhetoric about the need to combat socialism.”

— “Big L.A. institutions refused to host a mayoral debate. Are disruptive protests to blame?” by the Los Angeles Times’ Benjamin Oreskes: “But USC’s decision shows how precarious a fundamental part of politics has become in Los Angeles, as protesters unhappy with the state of the city have made some would-be debate organizers leery of wading into the fray.”

— “Two killed in Mill Fire as firefighters battle punishing weather in Northern California blazes,” by the Sacramento Bee’s Ryan Sabalow, Sam Stanton and Dale Kasler: “Their deaths mean six people have been killed in wildfires this summer in California, all of them in Siskiyou County. Four died in July’s McKinney Fire.”

HEAT DEATHS — “The science behind California’s worsening heat waves, explained,” by the San Francisco Chronicle’s Jack Lee and John Blanchard: “In the U.S., heat kills more people in an average year than other weather extremes — more than torrential floods, tornadoes and cold snaps.”

SUN STRAINS — “‘All I can think about is the sun’: How workers are coping with California’s heat wave,” by the Los Angeles Times’ Suhauna Hussain, Kiera Feldman, Hugo Martín and Samantha Masunaga: “This week’s triple-digit heat has pounded workers across Southern California, particularly those who labor primarily outdoors or whose workplaces, like many warehouses, lack air conditioning. It’s yet another way that climate change is contributing to inequality, and it is only going to get worse.”

— “California police officers have killed nearly 1,000 people in 6 years,” by the San Francisco Chronicle’s Raheem Hosseini and Joshua Sharpe: “But the statistics do not yet offer conclusive results for recent legislative attempts to curtail police violence by toughening the rules of engagement for officers, requiring de-escalation training and bringing in outside investigators when unarmed civilians are killed.”

— “Misfire: Behind the California concealed carry bill’s big fail,” by CalMatters’ Ben Christopher: “In a state known for its strict gun laws, a concealed carry bill failed in the final hours of the legislative session. Its supporters rolled the dice with a proposal that would take effect quickly, but that required two-thirds approval.”

— “California Legislature Passes Bill to Expand Prison Releases for Terminally Ill People,” by Bolts’ Piper French: “California has a program called compassionate release that allows the courts to grant people who are dying in prison their freedom, but a system of arbitrary delays and denials means that it rarely happens in practice.”

SHAKEN UP — “Residents forced to sell homes as part of earthquake upgrade at largest reservoir in Santa Clara County,” by the Mercury News’ Paul Rogers: “Now, in what may be collateral damage from a $1.2 billion project to rebuild Anderson Dam to bring it up to modern earthquake standards, the Hollers and six of their neighbors along Hoot Owl Way are being forced to sell their homes to the Santa Clara Valley Water District, which owns the dam and the reservoir, the county’s largest.”

— “Dirty water, drying wells: Central Californians shoulder drought’s inequities,” by the Los Angeles Times’ Hayley Smith: “Like a growing number of Central Californians, [Jesús] Benítez is bearing the brunt of the state’s punishing drought, which is evaporating the state’s surface water even as a frenzy of well drilling saps precious reserves underground.”

BATHROOM BLOOMS — “Poop and pee fueled the huge algae bloom in San Francisco Bay. Fixing the problem could cost $14 billion,” by the San Francisco Chronicle’s Tara Duggan: “While scientists suspect climate change played a role in triggering the bloom, what fueled it is not a mystery. Algae blooms need food to grow, and this one had plenty: nutrients originating in wastewater that the region’s 37 sewage plants pump into the bay.”

A message from Clean Air California:

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— Climate chief Gina McCarthy leaving White House as John Podesta returns, by POLITICO’s Zack Colman and Alex Thompson: McCarthy’s exit will leave Biden without one of his climate policy heavyweights as his administration moves on to the next phase of its climate fight: developing executive actions and regulations that can survive the partisan power shifts and Supreme Court scrutiny that have derailed previous Democratic climate plans.

NOT SHOOTING FOR THE STARS — “Leak ruins NASA moon rocket launch bid; next try weeks away,” by the Associated Press’ Marcia Dunn: “After the latest setback, mission managers decided to haul the rocket off the pad and into the hangar for further repairs and system updates.”

FEELIN’ MORE THAN LUCKY — “4,000 Google cafeteria workers quietly unionized during the pandemic,” by Washington Post’s Gerrit De Vynck and Lauren Kaori Gurley: “Unite Here, a 300,000-member union of hotel and food service workers, has been steadily working to unionize Silicon Valley cafeteria workers since 2018, experiencing the most success at Google.”

— “Judge tosses manslaughter charge in boat fire that killed 34,” by the Associated Press’ Brian Melley.

— “Family rejects finding that officers acted appropriately in Angelo Quinto’s custody death,” by the San Francisco Chronicle’s Dominic Fracassa and Joel Umanzor.

— “This Bay Area city saw the biggest pandemic rent decline in the U.S. — and still hasn’t fully recovered,” by the San Francisco Chronicle’s Kellie Hwang.

— “Picnic Time: The Standard Guide to San Francisco’s Favorite Park Hangs,” by the San Francisco Standard’s Maryann Jones Thompson.

— “Plan to bury contaminated sediment in Newport Harbor goes to Coastal Commission,” by the Orange County Register’s Brooke Staggs.

SATURDAY: John Mercurio of the MPA … Michael Huffington … Sunshine Sachs’ Shawn Sachs … Airbnb’s Kim Rubey … Caroline Lehman

SUNDAY: DoorDash’s Chad Horrell …

MONDAY: Girls Who Code’s Tarika Barrett (5-0) …

A message from Clean Air California:

California is on the front lines of climate change, witnessing blistering heat waves, prolonged droughts and catastrophic wildfires. Three of the worst wildfire years on record in California occurred in the last four years. Climate scientists project the problem will get considerably worse.

Wildfires don’t just present a threat to homes, lives and our economy — they ruin air quality throughout the state for months at a time. This poses a serious hazard to the health of more than 38 million Californians, especially children, pregnant women and seniors.

That’s why environmental groups, state firefighters, public health groups, consumer advocates and climate experts are supporting Prop 30 — the Clean Air Act. Prop 30 reduces the top two sources of climate and air pollution, vehicle emissions and wildfires, so Californians have clean, healthy air to breathe. Learn more at www.Yeson30.org.

CALIFORNIA POLICY IS ALWAYS CHANGING: Know your next move. From Sacramento to Silicon Valley, POLITICO California Pro provides policy professionals with the in-depth reporting and tools they need to get ahead of policy trends and political developments shaping the Golden State. To learn more about the exclusive insight and analysis this subscriber-only service offers, click here.

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