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A Snapshot of California Public Policy and Politics

California Policy and Politics Saturday

Updating . . .

Live updates: Shooter dead, rally attendee killed and Trump whisked off stage after gunshots ring out at rally -- Donald Trump was whisked off the stage at a rally in Butler, Pennsylvania after apparent gunshots rang through the crowd. Trump was showing off a chart of border crossing numbers when bangs started ringing through the crowd. Trump could be seen reaching with his right hand toward his neck. There appeared to be blood on his face. Ebecca Santana, Lindsay Whitehurst and Peter Orsi Associated Press -- 7/13/24

Election 2024 live updates: Trump says he is ‘fine’ in statement after being escorted off stage during rally -- Donald Trump was whisked off the stage at a rally in Butler, Pennsylvania after apparent gunshots rang through the crowd. Trump was showing off a chart of border crossing numbers when bangs started ringing through the crowd. Trump could be seen reaching with his right hand toward his neck. There appeared to be blood on his face. Rebecca Santana, Lindsay Whitehurst and Peter Orsi Associated Press -- 7/13/24

First wildfire death of 2024 season reported as California heat wave continues -- Human remains were found in a structure that burned Monday in the Mina fire near Covelo, Mendocino County officials confirmed. The body is still being identified by the coroner’s office but is believed to be a 66-year-old woman who was reported missing by her family. Summer Lin in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/13/24

Skelton: Column: Instead of just criticizing Biden, maybe George Clooney should take his place -- OK, my choice to replace President Biden as the Democratic nominee is George Clooney. Yes, I am semi-serious. No, I don’t expect anyone else to take me seriously — let alone the Oscar-winning actor. George Skelton in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/13/24


Strike during Comic-Con averted as union reaches ‘unprecedented’ deal for convention workers -- 'I've never seen money like this before,' union leader says of tentative contract that will deliver pay raises of 55 percent or more over four years. Lori Weisberg in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 7/13/24

DWP union sues city of L.A. over pension double-dipping -- The union representing Los Angeles Department of Water and Power workers is suing the city for allowing employees who retired from other city departments to work at the utility while collecting a pension. Dakota Smith in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/13/24

Top of the Ticket

Biden and the Democrats who fear he can’t win are at a standoff. What’s next? -- The president is dug in, confident that he can withstand calls to quit his reelection race, but doubts remain, leaving the Democratic Party immobilized as the days tick by. Dan Balz in the Washington Post$ -- 7/13/24

Unbowed by Jan. 6 Charges, Republicans Pursue Plans to Contest a Trump Defeat -- Their wide-ranging and methodical effort is laying the groundwork to contest an election that they argue, falsely, is already being rigged against former President Donald J. Trump. Jim Rutenberg and Nick Corasaniti in the New York Times$ -- 7/13/24

A Fiery Biden, Ignoring Critics, Attacks Trump to Chants of ‘Lock Him Up’ -- Facing rising frustration in his party, the president brushed it off in an energetic speech in Michigan. Inside the room, at least, the Democratic mood was defiant, with cheers of “Don’t go, Joe.” Nicholas Nehamas and Reid J. Epstein in the New York Times$ Myah Ward Politico Ken Thomas and Aaron Zitner in the Wall Street Journal$ Yasmeen Abutaleb and Cleve R. Wootson Jr. in the Washington Post$ -- 7/13/24

‘It’s over’: Democrats remain in panic over Biden’s reelection -- As President Joe Biden’s support continues to crumble, his party is reckoning with the possibility of a punishing defeat in November — a potential GOP wave that would not only elect former President Donald Trump but also sweep away Democrats from power in Congress. Liz Crampton, Sarah Ferris, Ally Mutnick, Jeff Coltin and Jeremy B. White Politico -- 7/13/24

Republicans put Milwaukee on lockdown. Protesters fumed -- Demonstrators will be kept blocks from the main convention site, relegated to an area outside of the fenced-off perimeter around the complex. Shia Kapos Politico -- 7/13/24

Democrat Confronts Biden Over His Determination to Stay in Race -- Rep. Mike Levin (D., Calif.) told Biden in a video call for Hispanic lawmakers Friday that he should step aside, issuing a formal statement afterward in which he said he believed the “time has come for President Biden to pass the torch.” Natalie Andrews and Tarini Parti in the Wall Street Journal$ -- 7/13/24

McManus: The members of Congress pushing Biden to step aside are nearly all white. Reasons for a racial divide -- A small but growing number of Democratic members of Congress — about 20 as of Friday afternoon — have publicly called on President Biden to withdraw from the presidential race. Doyle McManus in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/13/24


Former top LAPD official found guilty of tracking a fellow officer with AirTag -- Former Los Angeles assistant police chief Alfred “Al” Labrada has retired from the department after a disciplinary board found that he secretly tracked a fellow officer he was romantically involved with and then tried to cover his tracks, according to three sources familiar with the case. Libor Jany in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/13/24

As inmates swelter, California prisons remain unprepared for extreme heat -- The potential heat-related death of a prison inmate in California’s Central Valley this week is focusing renewed attention on conditions within correctional institutions as extreme heat, wildfire smoke and flooding pose increasing threats to incarcerated people. Hayley Smith in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/13/24


California’s COVID positivity rate is now just shy of record high from the past 12 months -- Statewide, the COVID positivity rate continues to skyrocket, with Friday’s update showing the percent of all COVID tests that come back positive is just one tenth of a percent shy of the high from the last 12 months. There have been only a handful of weeks in the past three years that have had a positivity rate over 13%. Harriet Blair Rowan in the East Bay Times$ -- 7/13/24


Judge Dismisses Involuntary Manslaughter Charge Against Alec Baldwin -- A New Mexico judge threw out an involuntary manslaughter charge against the actor Alec Baldwin in the fatal 2021 shooting of a cinematographer on the set of the movie “Rust,” ending the star’s yearslong legal saga. Itzel Luna in the Wall Street Journal$ Meg James in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/13/24


California Policy and Politics Friday

Updating . . .

Meta rolls back restrictions on Trump’s social media accounts -- Meta announced Friday it’s rolling back heightened restrictions on former president Donald Trump’s social media accounts — an effort to give the Republican presidential contender more leeway to share content in a heated campaign season. Naomi Nix in the Washington Post$ -- 7/12/24

Biden Pushes Back as Worried Democrats Take Their Case Directly to Him -- After the House minority leader visited the White House to share Democrats’ concerns over his candidacy, the president held a tense virtual session with lawmakers in which he resisted a call to step aside. Annie Karni in the Washington Post$ -- 7/12/24

As Kamala Harris rises, Gavin Newsom’s presidential prospects fall — but only in the short term -- As rising stars in the California Democratic Party, Kamala Harris and Gavin Newsom dodged a potentially bruising campaign battle in 2015 when she chose to run for U.S. Senate and he announced his candidacy for governor. Taryn Luna in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/12/24

Barabak, Chabria: What should Democrats do now? Two columnists slug it out -- It seems as though we’re at a hinge point in our country’s history. Or, at the least, living through some very strange and scary times. Mark Z. Barabak and Anita Chabria in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/12/24

Vista fire scorches more than 2,700 acres in San Bernardino National Forest -- Hundreds of people were evacuated from nearby recreational areas, said Nathan Judy of the U.S. Forest Service. An estimated 416 structures were threatened by the flames. Summer Lin in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/12/24

California Highway Patrol presence in East Bay will increase four-fold starting next week -- Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday that he will be quadrupling the number of shifts of California Highway Patrol officers to Oakland and will deploy prosecutors from the California National Guard starting Monday to target organized crime, carjackings and sideshows. Anabel Sosa in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/12/24


Elon Musk’s X to sublease entire S.F. headquarters, tech company’s future in city unclear -- When X Corp., once known as Twitter, leased a converted furniture mart covering the length of a city block on Market Street in 2011, the deal ushered in a new era for a long undervalued San Francisco neighborhood. Laura Waxmann in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 7/12/24

S.F.’s secretive, all-male Bohemian Club facing new wage theft accusations -- In a lawsuit seeking class-action status, former cook Ron Roussell accused the men-only club, which owns a clubhouse in the city and the 2,700-acre Bohemian Grove campsite in Sonoma County, of withholding both normal and overtime wages and of doctoring time sheets. Aviva Bechky in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 7/12/24

Intuit's shift toward AI could have big economic impact in San Diego -- About a third of the jobs expected to be cut by Intuit in a pivot to artificial intelligence, or AI, are in San Diego. The company behind QuickBooks and TurboTax announced Wednesday it would lay off 1,800 people — roughly 10% of its workforce. Alexander Nguyen KPBS -- 7/12/24


The battle to save Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch from destructive Lake fire -- Tucked into a hillside in the Santa Ynez Valley, surrounded by rolling grasslands and wineries, Neverland Ranch has been for years one of the Central Coast’s most notorious properties. Hannah Fry in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/12/24

‘A fire year’: California wildfires have burned more than 20 times as much land as last year -- So far, more than 3,500 wildfires have eaten up at least 219,247 acres across the state, according to California fire officials. Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated, dozens of structures have been damaged or destroyed, and officials say at least one person has died. Keri Blakinger in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/12/24

California Forever

Bay Area group says California Forever’s new city could help Solano County grow jobs, housing -- The report delves into Solano County’s economic track record and concludes that the county’s inability to produce housing and jobs has led to a lackluster economy with long commutes, low wages and families that struggle to earn enough to keep a roof over their heads. J.K. Dineen in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 7/12/24


L.A. officials continue to stall homeless housing project in Venice, new lawsuit claims -- A lawsuit filed this week by affordable housing advocates in Los Angeles County Superior Court alleges that Mayor Karen Bass, Councilmember Traci Park and City Atty. Hydee Feldstein Soto are stallling a 140-unit low-income housing development in Venice. Liam Dillon in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/12/24

Top of the ticket

Donors Tell Pro-Biden Super PAC Roughly $90 Million in Pledges Is Frozen -- Some major Democratic donors have told the largest pro-Biden super PAC, Future Forward, that roughly $90 million in pledged donations is now on hold if President Biden remains atop the ticket, according to two people who have been briefed on the conversations. Shane Goldmacher in the New York Times$ -- 7/12/24

Clyburn Opens Door for Change While Saying He’s ‘All In’ for Biden -- Rep. James Clyburn (D., S.C.), a longtime supporter of President Biden who helped save his campaign during the 2020 primaries, said Friday he was “all in” for Biden but left open the possibility the president could decide not to continue his re-election bid. Natalie Andrews in the Wall Street Journal$ -- 7/12/24

Jeffries met privately with Biden to relay electability concerns -- It is not clear whether Jeffries called on Biden to withdraw from the race, an outcome that many of his members are publicly and privately seeking. Sarah Ferris and Nicholas Wu Politico -- 7/12/24

Democrats Fear Safe Blue States Turning Purple as Biden Stays the Cours e -- Lingering worries about President Biden’s age could make Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico and Virginia competitive, party operatives believe. Nicholas Nehamas and Kellen Browning in the New York Times$ -- 7/12/24

Biden at his press conference: See, I’m up to the job -- President Joe Biden, his reelection bid imperiled by his own party, defiantly declared Thursday in a press conference-turned-referendum on his candidacy that he is still the “best person” to defeat Donald Trump. Jonathan Lemire and Myah Ward Politico -- 7/12/24

After Biden’s news conference, doubters and defenders weigh in -- More representatives called for the president to end his re-election bid after a session with reporters, while others highlighted his firm grasp of foreign policy after a NATO summit. Nicholas Nehamas in the New York Times$ -- 7/12/24

Trump allies view Biden’s press conference as ‘best of both worlds’ -- They say Biden performed well enough to stave off calls to drop out but managed to provide campaign ad fodder. Meridith Mcgraw, Natalie Allison and Lisa Kashinsky Politico -- 7/12/24

Trump seeks dismissal of N.Y. charges, verdict after Supreme Court ruling -- Immunity decision should invalidate Donald Trump’s conviction in hush money trial, his lawyers argued in a motion in Manhattan criminal court. Shayna Jacobs in the Washington Post$ -- 7/12/24

Trump’s Team Plans to Go After Kamala Harris at Republican Convention -- His advisers are eager to define the vice president and drive down her approval ratings in case President Biden drops out of the race and she becomes the nominee. Jonathan Swan and Maggie Haberman in the New York Times$ -- 7/12/24

Trump allies at Heritage declare 2024 election illegitimate in advance -- A “war game” presented at the right-wing foundation imagined far-fetched scenarios for election interference to justify preemptive measures. Isaac Arnsdorf in the Washington Post$ -- 7/12/24

Economists Say Inflation Would Be Worse Under Trump Than Biden -- In a Wall Street Journal survey, economists see Trump’s plans to raise tariffs and crack down on illegal immigration as putting upward pressure on prices. Paul Kiernan and Anthony DeBarros in the Wall Street Journal$ -- 7/12/24

What Obama and Pelosi are doing about Biden -- Two of the party’s most prominent figures have served as sounding boards for people seeking to push the president aside. Rachael Bade Politico -- 7/12/24

The Night President Biden Lost George Clooney’s Support -- Hollywood fundraiser meant to turbocharge the president’s re-election bid was the beginning of the end for one of his staunchest supporters. Erich Schwartzel and Sarah Krouse in the Wall Street Journal$ -- 7/12/24

Rep. Scott Peters Asks Biden to Withdraw From the Presidential Contest -- Rep. Scott Peters (D., Calif.) added his name to the list of Democrats urging President Biden to end his re-election bid. More than a dozen other House lawmakers have made a similar call. Siobhan Hughes in the Wall Street Journal$ -- 7/12/24


San Diego County increases testing, UCSD Health workers return to masking as COVID surges -- UC San Diego Health became the first major local medical provider to reinstate masking requirements for employees as the county added free coronavirus testing Thursday, responding to a summer COVID-19 surge that started building steam in June. Paul Sisson in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 7/12/24


Cal Poly Humboldt president steps down months after bitter campus confrontation -- Jackson presided over the transformation of Cal State Humboldt, located in Arcata in the far north of the state, into California’s third polytechnic college. But he came under pressure this spring when the campus was convulsed by protests over the Gaza conflict and students occupied university buildings. Elizabeth Wilson in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 7/12/24


As copper-wire thefts plunge Pico-Union into darkness, locals fear what lurks in the dark -- Once the sun sets in the Pico-Union area, workers and residents approach the streets with trepidation. Here, and in other parts of Los Angeles, copper-wire thieves have stripped them of their sense of safety. Jireh Deng in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/12/24


Convicted in 34 deaths, Conception boat fire captain remains free, restitution still unpaid -- A U.S. District Court judge delayed ruling on restitution owed by Capt. Jerry Boylan, who still has not begun his prison term after his conviction in the 2019 deaths of those aboard the dive boat. Richard Winton in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/12/24


Arellano: Reparations for Chavez Ravine families? Not so fast, say some descendants -- Larry Herrera-Cabrera offered an alternative narrative I had never considered — one where Chavez Ravine families took the money the city gave them, bought homes elsewhere and went on with their lives. Gustavo Arellano in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/12/24

In one L.A. neighborhood, the prospect of losing ‘our little Vons’ hits hard -- A merger between two grocery giants could lead to the sale of many Vons stores in California. One in Westchester has served as a gathering place for the community since 1952. Caroline Petrow-Cohen in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/12/24

How Death Valley National Park tries to keep visitors alive amid record heat -- Extreme heat is both one of Death Valley’s greatest intrigues and its most serious safety concern. It’s not uncommon for a few people to die in the park from heatstroke in any given summer. Noah Haggerty, Brian van der Brug in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/12/24