Jeremy B. White and Lara Korte’s must-read briefing on politics and government in the Golden State
Jeremy B. White and Lara Korte’s must-read briefing on politics and government in the Golden State
You will now start receiving email updates
You are already subscribed
Something went wrong
By JEREMY B. WHITE, LARA KORTE, SAKURA CANNESTRA and OWEN TUCKER-SMITH
THE BUZZ: It took six hours, then six months, then another six hours — but Robert Rivas prevailed in the end.
Assembly Democrats finally cemented a speakership transition last night, resolving a power struggle that has divided and frustrated the caucus for months. The plan is for sitting Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon to serve through late June — allowing him to oversee a final budget cycle, in addition to a special windfall oil tax session — and then to hand off power to Rivas.
Rivas and allies hoped they would accomplish something similar in May, when Rivas secured commitments from a majority of members and approached Rendon to initiate a succession plan. But Rendon balked. The speaker and his loyalists worked through a long weekend to peel off votes, and a protracted caucus meeting concluded with both sides dug in and no clear resolution in sight.
The protracted standoff profoundly divided the caucus. That went beyond bruised feelings and mutual distrust. It manifested in an unprecedented campaign break, with a parallel Rivas-aligned operation challenging the speaker-centric system. The Rivas team seeded a PAC to shore up prospective Democratic allies, prompting Rendon-world grumbling about wasting resources on safe seats. Frontline Democratic candidates would get visits from Rendon allies one weekend and Rivas’ people the next.
Surrounded by members of the Assembly Democratic Caucus, Assemblyman Robert Rivas, D-Hollister, center, smiles as he meets with reporters after being elected Speaker-Designee on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022. | Rich Pedroncelli/AP Photo
Now they have a deal, although we should note nothing is official until the caucus formally votes. Rivas told reporters he was ready for “the incredibly hard work and the exciting work of unifying our caucus.” Assemblymember Kevin McCarty, a self-described “ardent supporter of Anthony Rendon,” stressed that he presented the compromise motion. Rivas ally Jesse Gabriel said members “need to put our internal politics behind us so we can do the policy work.”
The duration of yesterday’s meetingunderscored the fluidity of the situation. Both camps spent months maneuvering and parsing the Assembly rules governing leadership selections. Parliamentarians arrived and conferred with Rivas’ people around the four-hour mark yesterday. People watched election returns come in Tuesday and Wednesday with an eye toward who would show up in Sacramento on Thursday (they cheered audibly when a late-afternoon update put Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva in the lead).
At one point, multiple sources told us, Rendon floated making Assemblymember Evan Low his successor in exchange for Rendon staying on — a surprising move, given that Rendon last year punished Low for seeking the speakership by stripping him of his influential committee chairmanship. Low then joined the Rivas coalition and was, at one point, widely viewed as the likely next Appropriations chair.
Term limits made Rendon’s 2024 departure inevitable. Rivas ascended with the help of numerous members who have been elected in the last couple of cycles, just as Rendon did when he compiled the votes in 2016. Many of Rendon’s longtime lieutenants departed this year. Soon Rivas will preside over a transformed caucus: At least 15 incoming members were in Sacramento yesterday to choose their next speaker. Soon enough they should see him in power.
BUENOS DÍAS, good Friday morning. Speaking of leadership elections, House Democrats have scheduled theirs for Nov. 30. That helps clarify the potential Speaker Nancy Pelosi succession timeline, although the number of undecided House races — including in California — is keeping things fluid.
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: “What he’s doing isn’t just raising his visibility nationally, it’s helping him with Californians, who appreciate that when Fox News shits on us, and mainstream media … repeats these tropes that they develop about how California is some dystopia, the way to defend it is to fight back.” Sean Clegg, one of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s political consultants, during a Capitol Weekly postmortem.
BONUS QOTD: “Bankruptcy is not out of the question.” Twitter CEO Elon Musk to employees, via the Information.
TWEET OF THE DAY
Today’s Tweet of the Day | Twitter
Today’s Tweet of the Day | Twitter
WHERE’S GAVIN? Nothing official announced.
NEW AND IMPROVED POLITICO APP: Stay up to speed with the newly updated POLITICO mobile app, featuring timely political news, insights and analysis from the best journalists in the business. With a fresh look and improved features, the sleek and navigable design offers a convenient way to access POLITICO’s scoops and groundbreaking reporting. Don’t miss out on the app you can rely on for the news you need, reimagined. Already a POLITICO app user? Upgrade today! DOWNLOAD FOR iOS – DOWNLOAD FOR ANDROID.
THE NEWEST CRYPTO CRASH — Crypto kingpin bet a fortune on Democrats. Now he’s lost it all, by POLITICO’s Sam Sutton: Bankman-Fried’s Washington influence — as well as billions of dollars of his personal wealth — nearly vanished in the span of 48 hours, after it emerged that the giant crypto exchange he founded was insolvent and unable to meet customer withdrawals.
RUNNING RAGGED — Bass closing in on Caruso in LA mayor’s race, by POLITICO’s Alexander Nieves: Billionaire developer Rick Caruso’s lead over vRep. Karen Bass in LA’s mayoral race shrank to less than 3,000 votes Thursday, after county election officials released a small batch of results in a contest that was still too early to call.
— “SF Jail Inmates Get So Little Sunlight They’re Prescribed Vitamin D Supplements,” by the San Francisco Standard’s Jonah Owen Lamb: “Though the city won’t say how many are given the supplements to make up for a lack of natural light, most of San Francisco’s 800-plus inmates do not get direct sunlight—save for when they are transported to and from court—because of pandemic health orders and staffing shortages that cut outdoor and recreation time.”
— “BURNED: As California wildfires threaten rural communities, Forest Service prevention efforts stall out,” by CapRadio’s Scott Rodd and KCRW’s Caleigh Wells: Listen to Rodd and Wells discuss “how the U.S. Forest Service is struggling to complete the work it knows it must do to keep Californians safe from wildfires” on this podcast.
LONG COUNT: Some significant race updates yesterday as counties continued posting votes: Rep. Young Kim officially won another term. In CA-41, GOP Rep. Ken Calvert leapfrogged Democratic challenger Will Rollins, who had previously led; Democratic Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva moved into a narrow lead after starting the day behind by two votes.
And two Los Angeles contests tightened: in the mayoral, Karen Bass drew within half a point of Rick Caruso, and in a supervisor race Bob Hertzberg’s lead over Lindsey Horvath shrunk to half a point. We also learned California has about 4.8 million ballots left to count.
ONTO THE NEXT ELECTION — “Which Gavin Newsom Will Run for President?” by the San Francisco Standard’s Josh Koehn: “To better understand what kind of presidential candidate and—gulp—actual president Newsom could be in the future, The Standard interviewed almost a dozen people who have worked with and against him during his time as mayor of San Francisco and governor of California.”
— “How being an L.A. City Council member became political poison in year of scandal, voter rage,” by the Los Angeles Times’ David Zahniser, Emily Alpert Reyes, Jeong Park and Brittny Mejia: “With corruption scandals, a protracted homelessness crisis and — in the campaign’s final weeks — a secret recording of racist remarks by city leaders, council members found they were repellent to a significant share of the electorate.”
— “California installs first lesbian Supreme Court justice,” by AP’s Don Thompson: “Two days after voters approved Patricia Guerrero to become California’s first Latina Supreme Court chief justice in January, a state panel on Thursday approved Kelli Evans to be the high court’s first openly lesbian justice.”
CATCHING SMOKE — R.J. Reynolds files complaint against California over flavored tobacco ban approved by voters, by POLITICO’s Katherine Ellen Foley and Victoria Colliver: Industry was hoping to shortcircuit or at least delay the ban, according to industry critics who said one of the companies’ goals in getting the referendum on the ballot was to prolong sales.
— California energy regulators drop ‘solar tax’ from proposal, by POLITICO’s Camille Von Kaenel: California’s energy regulators dropped the fee from their latest proposal to update the program known as net metering, giving solar companies a win in the contentious debate. But the proposed changes still include reduced incentives for solar panel owners.
ANY STEPS FORWARD? — “Fatal shootings: California’s bid to police its police is lagging,” by CalMatters’ Nigel Duara: “In the aftermath of George Floyd’s death in Minnesota at police hands, California stepped up with a plan: Put the state in charge of investigating police shootings of unarmed people. CalMatters is tracking these cases and, so far, the Justice Department is struggling to keep up.”
— “L.A. County sheriff’s deputy charged in shooting death of suicidal man,” by the Los Angeles Times’ James Queally: “Prosecutors filed one count of assault with a firearm and one count of assault under color of authority against Remin Pineda, 40, in the March 2021 killing of David Ordaz Jr. in East Los Angeles. Although Ordaz, 34, was armed with a kitchen knife and had talked to his sister about “suicide by cop” before the incident, the charges signal prosecutors’ belief that Ordaz did not pose an imminent threat to deputies when Pineda opened fire.”
LEGAL LAW TROUBLES — “California union alleges state illegally outsourced work in lawsuits against video game makers,” by the Sacramento Bee’s Wes Venteicher: “The California state attorneys’ union filed a lawsuit Thursday objecting to a state department’s hiring of outside lawyers in high-profile cases against video game companies Riot Games and Activision Blizzard.”
DON’T MISS POLITICO’S 2nd ANNUAL DEFENSE SUMMIT ON 11/16: The United States is facing a defining moment in the future of its defense, national security and democratic ideals. The current conflicts and developments around the world are pushing Washington to reshape its defense strategy and how it cooperates with allies. Join POLITICO for our second annual defense summit, “At a Crossroads: America’s Defense Strategy” on November 16 in person at the Schuyler DC or join online to hear keynote interviews and panels discussing the road ahead for America’s national security. REGISTER HERE.
STALLED OUT — “Get ready for gridlock: Here’s how Republican control of the House would affect California,” by the San Francisco Chronicle’s Joe Garofoli and Shira Stein: “With little other than congressional investigations and infighting happening in Washington through 2024, that means politically deep blue California — where there are twice as many registered Democrats as Republicans — would step into the national spotlight as a Democratic bulwark.”
SPEAKING FOR THE SPEAKER — House Freedom Caucus ties itself in knots over challenging McCarthy, by POLITICO’s Olivia Beavers and Jordain Carney: How real of a rebellion the Freedom Caucus can muster when it has no alternative candidate yet, however, is another question entirely.
SF’S STEADY OUTPUT — “Data suggests San Francisco’s tech industry has been losing jobs for months,” by the San Francisco Chronicle’s Adriana Rezal: “The sectors with the biggest job losses in the metro area from August to September were ‘information’ and ‘professional and business services’ with declines of about 1,900 and 1,800 jobs respectively. These sectors encompass most of what is considered tech.”
VERIFYING THAT — Musk’s Twitter loses key executives, triggers sharp FTC warning, by POLITICO’s Rebecca Kern and Alfred Ng: Last night’s rollout of a new policy in which Twitter users could purchase “blue check” verifications for $8 a month uncorked a wave of bogus accounts, each bearing a blue “verified” check, impersonating a swath of public figures — former President Donald Trump, former President George W. Bush, Rudy Giuliani and President Joe Biden.
— “Elon Musk is putting Twitter at risk of billions in fines, warns company lawyer,” by the Verge’s Alex Heath: “The FTC reached a settlement with Twitter in May after the company was caught using personal user info to target ads. If Twitter doesn’t comply with that agreement, the FTC can issue fines reaching into the billions of dollars, according to the lawyer’s note to employees.”
— We’re bidding farewell to our beloved colleague Victoria Colliver, who has covered health care for POLITICO’s California team.
— Scott Rodd announced he is leaving Capital Public Radio
— Federal judge strikes down Biden’s student debt relief program, by POLITICO’s Michael Stratford.
— “Can Transit Ambassadors Make the Subway Safer Just by Being There?” by the New York Magazine’s Alissa Walker.
— “Warning: Flatworms, other dangerous parasites likely in Southern California fish,” by the Desert Sun’s Janet Wilson.
A HOP, A SKIP AND A JUMP OFF — “Opponents seek to end a bungee-jumping venue, citing environmental and safety concerns,” by the Los Angeles Times’ Louis Sahagún.
STAYING REMOTE — “Elon Musk’s message to Twitter’s remote workers: ‘Resignation accepted’,” by SFGate’s Joshua Bote and Sam Moore.
— “It’s time to panic about the Warriors,” by SFGate’s Alex Siquig.
former Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) … Tucker Bounds
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.
Want to make an impact? POLITICO California has a variety of solutions available for partners looking to reach and activate the most influential people in the Golden State. Have a petition you want signed? A cause you’re promoting? Seeking to increase brand awareness amongst this key audience? Share your message with our influential readers to foster engagement and drive action. Contact Jesse Shapiro to find out how: [email protected]
© 2022 POLITICO LLC