Note: The newsletter will be suspended until Tuesday, November 29th for the holiday weekend. Happy Thanksgiving!
And then there was one.
Only one California U.S. House race remained too close to call Tuesday, two weeks after the Nov. 8 election: With about 335,000 raw ballots left to be counted, Republican farmer John Duarte led the Adam Gray’s Democratic caucus by less. more than 1,000 votes in the new, open 13th District anchored in the middle of the Central Valley.
Two more California House seats went to Republicans this week: On Tuesday, GOP Assemblyman Kevin Kiley defeated Democrat Kermit Jones for the new 3rd District, which stretches from suburban Sacramento to Sierra to Death Valley.
And on Monday, Republican Rep. David Valadao — the only member of California’s current House delegation to vote to impeach former President Donald Trump — defeated Democratic Assemblyman Rudy Salas to win the 22nd District, centered on the fiercely contested political ground of Bakersfield.
Key takeaway: If Duarte defeats Gray for the House seat, it will mark the most successful push in blue California this election cycle, according to a Los Angeles Times analysis. But otherwise, California’s House races were largely messy: Neither party managed to unseat any of the other’s vulnerable incumbents.
We will move to the prosecutor’s office: Although seven Assembly seats and two Senate races have yet to be called, one thing is clear: The group of lawmakers sworn into office on Dec. 5 will be the most diverse in state history, with a record number of women and LGBTQ+ members. However, the impact of the policy remains to be seen.
Other important election news:
- Los Angeles voters sent mixed messages, handing key wins to both progressive and centrist Democrats, reports the Los Angeles Times. However, one issue they don’t seem to be doing is homelessness. Nearly 89% of city voters expect Mayor-elect Karen Bass to cut homelessness by at least half during her four-year term, according to a poll Tuesday by Loyola Marymount University and the Committee for Greater LA. And nearly 61% of voters said they would support a recall if the mayor “fails to effectively address homelessness” in her first two years in office. “These results show that Angelenos did not vote for Mayor-elect Bass to do more of the same,” Fernando Guerra, director of the Center for the Study of Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University, said in a statement.
- Sheng Thao, a union-backed progressive Democrat, was elected mayor of Oakland. Thao will be the first Hmong-American woman to lead a major American city, and at age 37, she will also be Oakland’s youngest mayor in 75 years, according to her campaign. “Fifteen years ago, I was living in my car with my child,” Thao said in a statement. “Going forward, we will work to make Oakland the most proactive city in California on housing and homelessness. … I have never felt more hopeful about Oakland’s future or more determined to fight for it.”
Other stories you should know
California Income Check
California collected more than $7 billion in taxes in October, 179% more than projected — but much of the money is a “one-time windfall,” the state Department of Finance announced Tuesday. The result: “For the fifth consecutive month, cash receipts related to fiscal year 2022 … continue to indicate significant continued weakness.” Due to lower-than-expected receipts amid a potential recession, California could face an estimated $25 billion budget deficit in the coming fiscal year, according to the nonpartisan Fiscal legislative advisor. And tech layoffs continue to roil California’s economy, with more than 6,000 Bay Area tech and biotech jobs set to go by February 2023, according to a Mercury News analysis.
In other financial reports: The California Film and Television Tax Credit — a once-controversial program that has since become a budget mainstay with $330 million in annual funding — has generated $6.2 billion in state spending as of July 1, 2020, according to a California progress report Tuesday . Film Commission. Among the 106 projects accepted for recognition as of that date, 22 were feature films, including “The Gray Man” and “Bullet Train,” and nine were television projects that moved filming to California. But 16 of the 28 projects that didn’t receive the tax credit ended up being built outside of California, accounting for $951 million in lost revenue, according to the report.
- the commission wrote: “With production costs rising, many companies rely heavily on tax incentives to maximize return on investment, so the availability of incentives is one of the primary factors when it comes to determining where to film projects.”
- Another obstacle: California is the only major production center without a separate visual effects tax credit and has pushed $6 billion worth of work out of the state over the past five years, according to the report.
- However, as CalMatters reported, Policy analysts say there is conflicting evidence that the tax credit pays for itself.
Castro teaching job sparks controversy over ‘retreat’ rights.
California State University executives will now have a harder time “stepping back” into faculty positions once they leave their administrative roles — the result of the system’s board of trustees last week approving the second of two measures limiting their use, Oden Taylor reports for CalMatters. ‘ College Journalism Network. But the changes aren’t retroactive — meaning they don’t affect Joseph Castro, who resigned as Cal State chancellor in February after allegations he mishandled sexual assault and workplace bullying complaints against a former colleague while he was president of Fresno State University. Castro used his right to “retreat” to accept a professorship in leadership and public policy at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, which he plans to start in spring 2023. That angered some students and faculty, including Cal Poly’s Academic Senate, which represents faculty.
- Thomas Gutierrez, President of the Academic Senate: “People are very nervous that someone who has a potential history of not handling Title IX issues very well is now being put in the classroom as a designated reporter.” (Title IX is the federal anti-sex discrimination law that governs the handling of sexual harassment claims on campuses.)
- The Fresno State Academic Senate passed a resolution of no confidence in Castro’s ability to teach at CSU, which Castro disputed in a letter obtained by the Fresno Bee: “The statement in your resolution that I am not qualified to be a professor at Cal Poly is erroneous and misleading.” … As scholars, we are trained to look at all issues with a critical eye and base our conclusions on the available evidence. The Academic Senate resolution trusts that media reports are true without the benefit of documentary evidence of what happened.
Thanksgiving travel returns to near pre-pandemic levels
Relatively high gas prices and expensive plane tickets aren’t stopping Californians from traveling for Thanksgiving: About 7.3 million are expected to travel more than 50 miles by plane or car for the holiday, according to AAA estimates shared with the Mercury News. Drivers will see some relief at the pump — gas prices in California have fallen 18 cents in the past week, according to AAA — although the national average Thanksgiving Day prices are the highest the association has seen since it began tracking them in 2000.
Airports are also expecting high passenger numbers: About 5 million people are expected to travel through San Francisco International Airport between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the busiest holiday travel season since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Oakland Airport is poised to reach 90% of pre-pandemic travel levels, while San Jose Airport and Los Angeles International Airport will see their highest Thanksgiving travel volume since 2019.
Southern California, meanwhile, is bracing for Thursday’s dry, strong Santa Ana winds and warm weather that could increase the risk of wildfires after a relatively quiet season.
Comment by CalMatters
CalMatters columnist Dan Walters: Democrats had hoped to make some big gains in California’s congressional elections this year, but the result was a virtual tie — and an indirect win for Republicans.
And as a Thanksgiving gift, here’s another column from Dan: California has recovered millions of jobs that disappeared during the COVID-19 recession, but the future of employment in the state is cloudy.
Other things worth your time
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Editor: State guardian of political ethics loses its bite. // Los Angeles Times
‘Deeply disturbing’: How police unions worked to undermine California’s landmark law on police shootings. // San Francisco Chronicle
California launches first state-funded program basic income program. // Sacramento Bee
State employment officials bow to unfair union complaints against UC. // San Francisco Chronicle
“We pay for not going to class”: Amid the UC instructors’ strike, some students feel left behind. // San Francisco Chronicle
Housing shortage, worst in California, is moving into the heart of America. // News about Mercury
The culture of working from home has taken root in California. // California Healthline
A Chinese developer is selling a luxury tower in Los Angeles with a significant discount. // Wall Street Journal
“Health and safety are at risk”: Only one California safety inspector is bilingual in Chinese or Vietnamese. // KQED
The US Supreme Court rejected the suit in California via COVID nursing home suits. // Reuters
Baby dies in Eastern Riverside County from diseases associated with RSV. // Desert sun
Federal regulator issues warning for Onewheel of Santa Cruz. // News about Mercury
How you can ride Waymo’s new robo-taxi for free as it rolls in the Bay Area. // San Francisco Standard
Robots authorized to kill in the San Francisco Police Department’s draft policy. // Local mission
Delayed whales off the coast of California commercial crab season. // Associated Press