Presented by the Auto Alliance
THE BUZZ: Happy Tax Day. Did you make more money than Kamala Harris?
We can know the answer now that Harris released 15 years of returns, reporting that she and her husband jointly made about $1.9 last year — including about $320,000 from her candidacy-framing book. POLITICO’s Chris Cadelago reports it’s part of an effort to promote the Harris campaign as superlatively transparent: Story.
That’s a substantially bigger haul than a number of other presidential contenders, the NYTimes’ Thomas Kaplan, Jasmine C. Lee and Denise Lu report in a helpful graphic that also illustrates Harris’ annual income soaring around 2013: Graphic.
The openness of some Dem candidates is in contrast to Donald Trump’s financial opacity, which you can expect to be highlighted on the train as House Dems continue working to pry loose the president’s returns. Harris said she supports federal legislation to force that disclosure, as did Speaker Nancy Pelosi on 60 Minutes last night.
Much of Sacramento is on the same page: A bill that makes releasing returns a prerequisite for appearing on California’s ballots is back after Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed last year’s version, citing legal concerns. Supporters are hoping for a different result with a new governor who has so thoroughly defined himself as the alternative to Trump. (And the LATimes‘ George Skelton reminds us that the tax return tug-of-war’s centuries-old roots run through California oil fields.)
SPEAKING OF TAXES: A reminder that California’s income-tax-heavy budget means the fiscal picture for Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first budget will depend heavily on the incoming numbers. John Myers broke down what that means in the LATimes.
BUENOS DIAS, Good Monday morning. Tuckered out from multiple months of policymaking, state legislators are on recess this week (some of them in Europe). But the policy news continues, including the introduction of a critical California Consumer Privacy Act carveout.
— QUOTE OF THE DAY: “He’s clearly in the lead. So he’s the one to aim at.” Sen. Dianne Feinstein on preferred presidential candidate Joe Biden, who has some heavyweight allies.
— TWEET OF THE DAY: Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger @Schwarzenegger tests his axe-throwing arm: “Once a barbarian, always a barbarian.”
Our customers want it all – better mileage, cleaner and safer technologies and affordable new vehicles, and automakers have our own roadmap to move forward. Learn more about our cleaner, safer, more energy-efficient vehicles at www.AutoAlliance.org.
— LOMBARD LEVY: San Francisco tourism could get a little more expensive under a bill Assemblyman Phil Ting plans to unveil today letting SF create a reservation and fee program for iconically tortuous Lombard Street.
— PAYBACK: “Trump threatens to send undocumented immigrants to sanctuary cities,” by POLITICO’s Rebecca Morin: “Framing his proposal as calling the bluff of leaders in sanctuary cities, he posed the idea as a potential motivating factor to get Democrats to strike a deal on immigration reform.” Story.
— Trump lashed out specifically at California this weekend, demanding immigrants be taken in “especially by the State of California, which is well known or its poor management high taxes!” And he renewed his animus toward Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf — who attracted national attention for warning of an ICE raid, drawing threats from the Trump administration and an eponymous bill seeking to allow her prosecution — tweeting that “the Mayor of Oakland and other Sanctuary Cities NOT WANT” detained immigrants.
— THE VIEW FROM CA: The idea played unsurprisingly poorly in California’s “sanctuary” cities that limit interaction between cops or jails and ICE. Schaaf responded to Trump that Oakland “welcomes all, no matter where you came from or how you got here” after having told CNN Trump’s idea was “an outrageous abuse of power and public resources.” Similarly, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said “we welcome any families willing to endure such extraordinary hardships and to take such tremendous risks to be a part of our great country.” SF Mayor London Breed dismissed it as “just another scare tactic” and LA Mayor Eric Garcetti dismissed as a “hateful idea.”
— LOOK AHEAD: “Trump’s new attorney general launches fresh changes to immigration courts,” by SFChronicle’s Tal Kopan: “The Trump administration bills the moves as efficiency measures to help fix a delay-plagued immigration court system, at a time it is being inundated by asylum seekers at the southern border….But advocates for immigrants and attorneys who work in the system fear the efficiency tools could be used to dramatically reshape immigration law to fit President Trump’s political goals.” Story.
— LOOK BACK: “Family separations a year later: The fallout — and the separations — continue,” by LATimes’ Molly O’Toole: “Now, he and some of his closest advisors talk of bringing it back in a new form. But the impact of the first go-round still reverberates from Central America to the White House, from detention centers in Texas to committee rooms in Congress.” Story.
Disaster Relief in an Era of Extreme Weather: Join POLITICO on Wednesday, April 24, for a high-level conversation on how extreme weather is prompting a renewed look at disaster relief and response in Washington and in affected communities.
“For California consumers with bad credit and few options, a certain type of loan has increasingly become a source of ready cash. Borrowers seeking a quick infusion have turned to a product that has exploded in prevalence over the last decade, with lenders often concentrated in low-income and minority communities: loans for greater than $2,500 that, because of a decades-old exemption in California law, often carry interest rates exceeding 100%.
“The companies issuing those loans call them lifelines to customers who otherwise would be unable to access credit. But a number of California lawmakers see unscrupulous players who are preying on the disadvantaged, and they want to halt the practice even it means putting those lenders out of business.” Read the full story in POLITICO here.
— ONLINE AD CARVEOUT: Targeted advertisements are both a pillar of the online economy and one of the most concrete ways consumers see their data being monetized, as anyone who’s been followed by an ad for cat food or engagement rings will attest. So as tech companies and advertisers have lobbied to blunt the impact of California’s new privacy law, we’ve been watching for an ad carveout.
Behold, here it is: Sen. Henry Stern’s AB 753 has been amended to exempt targeted ads from the California Consumer Privacy Act’s definition of selling personal information — a category that’s subject to the law’s sweeping disclosure requirements.
This gets at a key dynamic of online commerce. When Facebook asserts — contra concerns about privacy invasions — that it does not sell your data, that’s both accurate and a bit of a semantic trick. It sells ad placements that draw on reams of aggregate data to precisely put appeals in front of desired audiences. Privacy advocates are urging Sacramento to rein in that practice too, invoking the specter of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
— JUNKET SEASON: It’s that time of year — well, one of them — when lawmakers are whisked away to foreign lands courtesy of interest-group-backed nonprofits. This week, Sen. Bob Hertzberg and nine legislators are traveling to Europe to see how Switzerland and France are working to tackle climate change with carbon-free energy infrastructure.
The California Foundation on the Environment and the Economy is paying their way, continuing a longstanding annual tradition (in recent years, CFEE has organized sojourns to Chile, Australia and Singapore, among others). Joining lawmakers on the trip will be representatives of an A-list of Sacramento interest groups, including the Western States Petroleum Association, the California Medical Association, the State Building and Construction Trades Council, Sempra and other labor and energy industry groups.
— CALIFORNIA CLIMATE: “The Problem With Putting a Price on the End of the World,” by David Leondhardt in NYTimes Mag: “On energy, California is a good case study. Its cap-and-trade program has been disappointing. Its performance standards have worked better… The state met its goal four years early, by 2016. The costs to consumers were modest and hard to notice. John Podesta told me he considered California’s approach a model for future federal action.” Story.
— “SFPD releases first secret police files under new transparency law,” by the SFExaminer’s Michael Barba: “The documents, from a July 2010 shooting outside a strip club in North Beach in which an officer fired a single shot, are among the first disclosures that the San Francisco Police Department has made under Senate Bill 1421.” Story.
— “Harris building support in South Carolina,” by POLITICO‘s Christopher Cadelago: “Sen. Kamala Harris is making inroads with elected officials and leaders in South Carolina ahead of her fourth visit to the crucial early-voting state this week — snagging the much-sought endorsement of former state Rep. Bakari Sellers on Monday.” Story.
— “Kamala Harris is the early favorite among Hollywood donors in the 2020 race,” by Michael Finnegan and Maloy Moore in the LATimes: “More than a dozen of the senator’s White House rivals have traveled to Los Angeles in recent months in a scramble for entertainment industry money, a pillar of Democratic fundraising. … None, however, can match the bonds that Harris forged with Hollywood political players as she ran twice for state attorney general and once for U.S. Senate.” Story.
— “The Many Reasons to Run for President When You Probably Don’t Stand a Chance,” by Matt Flegenheimer in the NYTimes: “There is no discernible mass groundswell for an Eric Swalwell presidential campaign. …But at the very least, if recent history is a guide, a run is likely to yield better things, perpetuating the victory-in-defeat incentive structure endemic to modern presidential politics.” Story.
— SWALWELL SCRAMBLE: There will be no shortage of candidates to claim Rep. Eric Swalwell’s Bay Area seat now that Swalwell is abdicating to run for Congress. Hayward City Councilmember Aisha Wahab was first out of the gate, announcing her candidacy with a statement focusing on people struggling for good wages and healthcare.
— DUNCAN DENOUNCED: As we reported would happen, multiple San Diego-area House Democrats are lambasting Rep. Duncan Hunter’s error-riddled donor appeal, asserting — without evidence — that Democratic opponent Ammar Campa-Najjar was getting money from Palestinian Liberation Organization supporters.
Rep. Mike Levin said in a statement that “Hunter’s racist line of attack against a fellow American is beneath the office that he holds,” and Rep. Susan Davis slammed “attacks based on bigotry and fear.” The DCCC, meanwhile, is steadily assailing the indicted Republican incumbent as the party seeks to expand its California gains.
— WILDFIRE RECKONING: “Newsom strike team offers solutions to reduce utility wildfire liabilities,” by POLITICO Pro’s Colby Bermel: “Three possible solutions unveiled Friday by the governor are part of a comprehensive energy strategy authored by a Newsom-convened strike team, including a reinsurance fund and a change to California‘s inverse condemnation legal doctrine that forces utilities to shoulder enormous financial risk.
“Potential antidotes to the inverse condemnation issue might not come quickly enough to fend off impending events — be it more catastrophic fires exacerbated by climate change or credit rating downgrades that would make it harder for utilities to pay for mitigation measures in the first place.” POLITICO Pro content.
Newsom also gave lawmakers a deadline to get something done, Bermel reports on POLITICO Pro, and Wall Street reacted favorably to the governor’s message after a year in which PGE’s stock has plunged on news of massive fire liabilities.
BEN WHITE AND MORNING MONEY HEAD TO #MIGLOBAL: POLITICO is partnering with the Milken Institute for this year‘s global conference in Beverly Hills, Calif., from April 28 to May 1. Ben White will once again write a special Morning Money newsletter for the conference, detailing all the happenings, highlights, major conversations, evening festivities and buzzy VIP gatherings. Sign up today to receive exclusive coverage and everything you need to know direct from #MIGlobal in this special-edition, pop-up newsletter.
INVESTIGATION: “Tracking Phones, Google Is a Dragnet for the Police,” by Jennifer Valentino DeVries in the NYTimes: “Technology companies have for years responded to court orders for specific users’ information. The new warrants go further, suggesting possible suspects and witnesses in the absence of other clues. Often, Google employees said, the company responds to a single warrant with location information on dozens or hundr of devices.” Story.
— “Activists Couldn’t Get Facebook to Tackle Its Discrimination Problem—Until the Russia Scandal Hit,” by Mother Jones’ Pema Levy and Tonya Riley: “As the problems multiplied, some advocates and watchdogs came to believe that the repeated civil rights violations on the platform were rooted in a deliberate decision by Facebook to ignore evidence of advertising discrimination, voter suppression, and the proliferation of hate speech and extremism.” Story.
— GIG ECONOMY GRIND: “He Has Driven for Uber Since 2012. He Makes About $40,000 a Year,” by NYT’s David Streitfeld: “Uber’s public stock offering next month will make a bunch of people remarkably rich. Peter Ashlock is not one of them, although he has toiled for the ride-hailing company almost since the beginning.” Story.
— “Silicon Valley Housing Crisis Ensnares Stanford,” by Noor Malas in the WSJ: “Stanford University is locked in a dispute with regional officials over whether it is providing enough affordable housing as part of a major planned expansion, drawing one of America’s most prestigious institutions of higher education into Silicon Valley’s housing crisis.” Story.
— “Netflix CEO Reed Hastings to depart Facebook board of directors,” by CNBC’s Salvador Rodriguez: Story.
— “How Big Tech’s rise fuels income inequality,” by Axios’ Jim VandeHei: Story.
— “In the age of legal marijuana, many employers drop ‘zero tolerance’ drug tests,” by Margot Roosevelt in the LATimes: “With a growing economy and a low unemployment rate of 4.2%, many California companies face a shortage of qualified workers. Legal marijuana is making hiring even harder for those who take a strict stance on screening for drugs. So, increasingly, they’re not testing — or ignoring some of the results.” Story.
— “’Uncharted Waters’: Union Tells Hollywood Writers To Fire Their Agents,” by NPR’s Sasha Ingber: “The abrupt directive on Friday followed a breakdown in negotiations over proposed changes to the agreement that has guided the basic business relationship between writers and agents for the past 43 years.” Story.
— “As Hollywood Embraces Diversity, Jobs for Female Directors Remain Sparse,” by Brooks Barnes and Cara Buckley in the NYTimes: Story.
— “Disney shares surge after unveiling streaming service that’s cheaper than Netflix,” by CNBC’s Michael Sheetz: Story.
While we continue urging all stakeholders to work together toward a national program for fuel economy standards, automakers have our own roadmap to move forward while continuing to meet the ne and expectations of consumers. Learn more about our cleaner, safer, more energy-efficient vehicles at at www.AutoAlliance.org.
— “Gene-Edited Babies: What a Chinese Scientist Told an American Mentor,” by Pam Belluck in the NYTimes: Story.
— “Stephen Curry has a popcorn problem,” by Marc Stein in the NYTimes: Story.
— “Former West Covina Mayor Mike Spence found dead in motel room,” by Christopher Yee in the SB Sun: Story.
— Former Rep. Howard Berman, now a senior adviser at Covington, is 78 … Rajan Trivedi … Belatedly: former Rep. Laura Richardson turned 57… Janet Ritz … Hannah Shtein … former Rep. David Valadao turned 42.
OUT AND ABOUT — Pool report: “Sasha Issenberg and his wife Amy Levin hosted a book party Sunday afternoon at their writerly, airy Santa Monica apartment for Jon Ward’s tome, ‘Camelot’s End,’ on the 1980 primary battle between Ted Kennedy and incumbent President Jimmy Carter. SPOTTED: Christina Bellantoni, Erika Masonhall, David Nott, Ben and Tracy Austin, Andrew Romano, Chris Scott, Nicole Fossier, Jasmine Joseph, Grant Gregory, Eli Attie and Tim Burger.
CALIFORNIA POLICY IS ALWAYS CHANGING: Know your next move. POLITICO California Pro has officially arrived. 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.
WE’RE HIRING! Politico is looking for a California consumer regulation reporter, a beat that would encompass consumer privacy, weed rules and the nationally influential regulations emanating from the Department of Consumer Affairs. Job posting 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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
View all our political and policy newsletters
Jeremy B. White co-writes the California Playbook and covers politics in the Golden State. He previously covered the California Legislature for the Sacramento Bee, where he reported on campaigns, myriad nationally significant policy clashes and multiple FBI investigations of sitting lawmakers.
He has a bachelor’s degree in English from Tufts University and a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. A native of Bethesda, Maryland, one of his life dreams is to throw out the first pitch at a Washington Nationals game — although he would settle for winning a playoff series. He lives in Oakland with his partner and his cat, Ziggy Pawdust.
About The Author : Carla Marinucci
Carla Marinucci, POLITICO’s California Playbook reporter, has been consistently named one of California’s leading political writers and top political bloggers. Prior to joining POLITICO last year, Marinucci was senior political writer for the Hearst flagship San Francisco Chronicle, and before that for the Hearst-owned San Francisco Examiner. She has covered presidential elections since 1996, and six California gubernatorial elections, including the historic recall with Arnold Schwarzenegger, as well as the administrations of four California governors. In 2013, she was honored by the Society of Professional Journalists with a lifetime achievement award for her coverage of California politics.
Internationally, she has covered major developments including the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the opening of business markets in China to the U.S. in the 1980s, border politics including the visits of U.S. Presidents and California governors to Mexico. As an award-winning investigative reporter at both the Chronicle and the Examiner, she reported on a wide range of issues including the abuse of immigrant laborers in California, and the rise of drug trafficking and organized crime in Oakland and the Bay Area, including the Hells Angels.
Fluent in Spanish, she graduated from San Jose State University and studied at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico in Mexico City and has traveled by bus, truck and train from the U.S. Border to the tip of South America.
She has been named a Casey Journalism Fellow at the University of Maryland and has been twice honored as a Media Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. She has been a featured analyst on CNN, MSNBC, Al Jazeera, Fox News, Irish Newstalk Radio, the BBC, and Australian Broadcasting, and is a regular political analyst on KPCC Los Angeles, an NPR station; ABC7 television in the Bay area, as well as KCBS, KGO, and SIRIUS XM’s POTUS Press Pool.
How Mayor Pete Started to Look Presidential
By Adam Wren
Amazon’s D.C. Move Threatens the Founders’ Vision for America
By David Fontana
What Will Really Matter in the Mueller Report
By Renato Mariotti