Western Electrical Contractors Association, Inc.

Already Belong? Login

WECA Political Update, 3-5-2020

Thursday, March 05, 2020

Proposition 13 School Bond

Joel Fox writes in Fox & Hounds “The biggest surprise so far is that it appears the statewide school construction and maintenance bond is going down to defeat. With 93 percent of the precinct counted, it trails 44 percent Yes, 56 percent No. The gap of over half-a-million votes will be hard to close with the votes remaining to be counted. Two political aspects if Proposition 13 fails—Gov. Gavin Newsom’s influence is damaged. He was the face of the bond appearing in television commercials and touring the state on behalf of the proposition. The school issue, which has been assumed to be a sure winner in the state with many polls indicating voters want to support the schools, may not be as powerful as believed. What does that mean to the coming campaign in the battle to raise taxes by altering 1978’s Proposition 13 with schools listed first as beneficiary of the new funds in both the title of the “Schools and Communities First” name and the Attorney General’s ballot label leading with “Increases Funding for Public Schools”…?

Fox neglects to mention the developer fee break or PLA language in Prop. 13, or authority to raise property taxes for local school bonds.

The SF Chronicle observed that “Supporters raised more than $9 million to pass the measure, while opponents listed no campaign contributions or spending. The state Legislature placed the measure on the ballot with bipartisan support. Gov. Gavin Newsom actively campaigned for the measure, making a stop in Oakland to plug the bond on Monday. It appeared it wasn’t enough to overcome what polls found was lukewarm support for the initiative in the weeks and months preceding the election. Early on, supporters feared that voters would confuse efforts to amend the original Prop. 13 passed in 1978 with the facilities bond measure, but efforts to change the number assigned to the initiative failed. It’s unclear how much that affected the tally Tuesday.”

One of the authors of AB 48 (which became Prop. 13), Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell (not thinking voters know what they are voting on – except in the case where he was elected, I guess), said “If it passes, it was because it was a school construction bond, and if it fails, it was because it was named Prop. 13”. O’Donnell has already announced legislation to remove Prop. 13 from the rotation.

There are at least three possible outcomes: 1) as ballots continue to be counted, Prop. 13 could ultimately pass as early votes tend to be more conservative that late votes, 2) the Legislature and Governor could try again in November with a different bond but would the people who contributed $9 million for Prop. 13 pony up the money again – and more importantly – would the teachers’ unions and public employees who want a split roll initiative on the November ballot want a school bond on the same ballot, 3) Prop. 13’s defeat could make passage of split roll more important for the special interest spending lobby and cause them to pour more money into that measure, and 4) the Legislature may finally retire Proposition 13 from circulation once and for all.

Oil industry millions fail to secure clear California wins

From Politico: The oil industry is learning the same lesson in California as former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg is nationally: money isn’t everything.

Energy-producing companies deployed millions of dollars to push chosen candidates into runoffs for the state Legislature, but early returns show those investments aren't yielding great returns. While the results are still shifting as ballots flow in, the early picture has some of the industry’s preferred Democrats running behind.

Modesto City Council Member Manmeet “Mani” Grewal – a Democrat seeking the open SD-5 seat – was 10 points behind in his attempt to land a spot before voters in November, despite an industry PAC spending $750,000 on his behalf. Similarly, former Assemblywoman Nora Campos drew more than $1 million from the industry PAC but trailed two Democrats in the race for an open SD-13 seat.

A brawl for the open AD-57 seat — the most expensive Assembly contest — has centrist oil-backed Democrat Sylvia Rubio effectively in a tie for a November spot with Democrat Lisa Calderon, who drew heavy labor support.

Along with Rubio’s prospects, it remains unclear if the more than $800,000 the industry spent to propel Democrat Carlos Villapudua into November will do the trick. Villapudua was leading two other Democrats for the open AD-13 seat, but Kathy Miller and Christina Fugazi were both within roughly a thousand votes.

And the industry’s chosen Republican was on the bubble in the open SD-23, a potential swing district: Republican Rosilicie Bogh sat in third, behind both Democrat Abigail Medina and Republican Lloyd White, despite some television support from the oil industry PAC. That race also remains too close to call, with about 1,200 votes separating Bogh and top vote-getter Medina.

The NLRA Offers California Tribes a Shield Against State Labor Protections For over 20 years, the State of California has used tribal gaming compacts to accomplish what federal law and tribal sovereignty would otherwise forbid: forcing tribes to follow state labor law in their casinos. Recently however, the Ninth Circuit decided that Congress, not California, has the paramount authority to regulate labor relations in Indian Country, and that the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) applies to tribal casinos. With federal authority confirmed, tribes can challenge state interference in their labor relations as a violation of federal law. More
Presidents have issued 14,215 pardons since 1902 President Donald Trump (R) issued seven pardons and commuted four prison sentences on Feb. 18. Trump has pardoned 25 people and commuted the sentences of 10 others since taking office. So, what exactly are pardons and commutations, and how do they work? What kind of historical data is available? Our elections team has been tracking this for years, so they sent me over some information yesterday. Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution grants the president the power of executive clemency. Executive clemency includes the power to pardon, in which the president overturns a federal conviction and restores “an individual to the state of innocence that existed before the conviction.” Executive clemency also includes the power of commutation, which allows a president to shorten or reduce a federal prison sentence. Clemency can also include the power to postpone a sentence or punishment—known as a reprieve—and the remission of fines. A president’s power of executive clemency is limited to federal offenses. He or she cannot pardon individuals for civil or state offenses. A president may also not use this power to intervene in impeachment proceedings. One of the first uses of the powers of executive clemency in U.S. history came in 1795 when President George Washington pardoned participants in a tax riot known as the Whisky Rebellion. Since 1902, presidents have issued 14,215 pardons and 6,557 commutations. The chart below shows the number of pardons and commutations by president since Theodore Roosevelt (R). This data was taken from the website of the U.S. Department of Justice, which includes information dating back to 1900. Our data starts with 1902 since that's the beginning of the first complete presidency using this information. Also, these numbers do not include instances of mass pardons such as in 1974 when President Gerald Ford (R) pardoned those who evaded the draft during the Vietnam War.

From 1914 to 1981—during all presidencies from Woodrow Wilson (D) to Jimmy Carter (D)—the number of pardons issued by each president was over 100 per year. Since Ronald Reagan (R), the average number of pardons per year has been less than 50. Rachel Barkow, a law professor at New York University, wrote in a New York University Law Review article in June 2015 that "The main reason for fewer clemency grants is the politics surrounding clemency and crime more generally." She stated that elected officials responded to public criticism of the criminal justice system by limiting their use of executive clemency. Barkow also noted in an email to Ballotpedia that beginning in 1978, the U.S. Attorney General delegated supervisory authority over clemency to the Deputy Attorney General who also supervises federal prosecutions.

Flow-Down Clauses To Subcontractors: What Actually Flows? Subcontractors must pay close attention to provisions in their subcontract that refer back to terms in the prime contract. These provisions are commonly referred to as "flow-down" clauses. Most subs are, of course, familiar with these provisions. They attempt to make the terms of a prime contract “flow down” to the subcontract. More

White House Announces EEOC, NLRB Nominees: The White House announced four nominations Monday to the NLRB and EEOC. Trump will nominate Jocelyn Samuels for a Democratic seat on the EEOC; former NLRB member Lauren McFerran for one of two vacant Democratic seats on the NLRB; Marvin Kaplan for an additional term in his Republican seat on the NLRB; and Gibson Dunn lawyer Andrea Lucas for a Republican seat on the EEOC.

Former UAW President Charged with Conspiring to Embezzle Union Funds From WSJ Federal prosecutors have charged former United Auto Workers President Gary Jones with conspiracy to embezzle union funds, making him the highest-ranking ex-union official to be ensnared in the Justice Department’s years long corruption probe. Story (Subscription may be required)

Community Solar Meets Requirements of California Solar Mandate The California Energy Commission (CEC) has approved the first community solar program as a means of complying with California’s solar mandate. Specifically, on February 20, 2020, following a three-hour hearing with many speakers on both sides of the issue, the CEC unanimously approved the Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s (SMUD) proposal to allow homebuilders to use a community solar alternative to the California solar mandate, which went into effect on January 1, 2020. SMUD’s community solar plan is called Neighborhood SolarShares. More