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Steve Glazer backs minimum wage bill

Orinda mayor and senate candidate Steve Glazer gives his speech before supporters during an special election night party at a restaurant in Orinda, Calif., on Tuesday, March 17, 2015. Glazer is racing against two major candidates, Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla and former Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan to fill the State Senate seat vacated by Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, who was elected to Congress last year. ( Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)

( Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)

I covered the Steve Glazer vs. Susan Bonilla death match for state Senate last year. Bonilla’s camp accused Glazer of essentially being a Republican — and all sorts of other things. No doubt Glazer courted Republican support. But when it came to the minimum wage vote, Glazer stuck with the Democratic majority — and his friend Jerry Brown. Here is Glazer’s statement from Thursday:

Sacramento – I voted today to support Senate Bill 3, a balanced plan that will lift millions out of poverty with a minimum wage increase while providing long-term stability and predictability for employers.

“The California minimum wage was established in 1916. There have been 27 increases over the past 100 years. Big spikes were followed with pauses, which has resulted in unpredictability and turmoil for businesses and workers.

“These minimum wage jobs are difficult and strenuous, and taking home a paycheck that cannot even cover rent, food and medicine is an unacceptable status quo.

“No bill is perfect, and we will need to carefully oversee its six-year phase-in to be sure it is achieving the desired results.”

SB 3 phases in gradual increases from the current $10 an hour rate to $15 by 2022. It provides an annual cost of living cap at 3.5 percent starting in 2024.

Other Democrats were a little more ebullient. Here is statement from Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom:

“This is a great day for California’s low-wage workers and their families, and I applaud SEIU-UHW’s leadership role helping make this happen,” said Newsom. “Gov. Jerry Brown and state legislators have stepped up to the plate on behalf of working people to make California the national leader for economic equality.”

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CA17: Five statewide officials endorse Honda

Five of California’s eight statewide constitutional officers endorsed Rep. Mike Honda on Monday for re-election over Democratic challenger Ro Khanna in the 17th Congressional District.

Honda, D-San Jose, issued a news release saying he’s humbled to have the support of Attorney General Kamala Harris, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, Treasurer John Chiang, Controller Betty Yee and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.

“I share their deep passion and commitment to solving problems facing many of California’s working families,” Honda said. “They represent the very best of what our state has to offer and I look forward to continuing my work with them.”

Harris, currently the frontrunner for the U.S. Senate seat from which Barbara Boxer will retire at year’s end, said that “from improving public safety, fighting to end human trafficking, and ensuring the civil rights of all people are protected – Mike has always been there.”

Yee said “Honda has been a tireless advocate for the people of Silicon Valley: securing funding for BART expansion, boosting critical research in nanotechnology, and fighting to ensure that every child has access to quality education.”

And Torlakson called Honda “an unwavering ally to California’s students and teachers. As a former science teacher and principal, education has always been one of his top priorities. Mike is working across the aisle to improve science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education in our classroom’s, which will provide our children and country with the skills to stay competitive in this global economy.”

Among the other statewide constitutional officers, Secretary of State Alex Padilla has endorsed Khanna; Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom endorsed Khanna in 2014 but has not yet made an endorsement for 2016; and Gov. Jerry Brown endorsed Honda in 2014 but has not yet made an endorsement for 2016.

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Newsom’s gun-control measure short on cash so far

Two months after Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled his proposal for a gun-control ballot measure, money has come in only at a trickle.

Gavin NewsomThe “Safety for All” ballot measure committee has collected $55,000 in large donations so far, according to records maintained by the Secretary of State’s office. That’s $35,000 this week from gun-control activist Anita Donofrio, a retiree from Ridgefield, Conn.; $10,000 last week from Esprit and The North Face co-founder Susie Buell of San Francisco; and $10,000 in October from heiress and philanthropist Aileen Getty of San Francisco.

Newsom in October had said he already had some offers of financial support and “we’re hoping to get a broad coalition of supporters.” Dan Newman, Newsom’s campaign strategist, said Friday that’s still the aim.

They have “tons of interest including solid commitments from people of all stripes who are fed up with the NRA,” Newman said. “We may never match them (the NRA) dollar for dollar, but I have complete confidence we’ll have what it takes.”

Newsom’s measure should receive its official title and summer from the state Attorney General’s office by the end of this month, and then will be able to start circulating petitions. Paid petition circulation for a statewide measure typically costs a few million dollars.

California’s current assault weapons ban allows those who already owned magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds before 2000 to register and keep them. Newsom’s measure would require owners to turn the outlawed magazines into police for destruction, sell them to a licensed firearms dealer or move them out of the state — just as San Francisco supervisors and Sunnyvale voters chose to require in 2013. New York, New Jersey, Hawaii and the District of Columbia also have such laws.

Newsom’s measure also would require licensing of ammunition sellers and instantaneous point-of-sale background checks for all ammunition purchases to weed out those convicted of a felony or a violent misdemeanor, those with restraining orders against them or those declared dangerously mentally ill. No other state requires background checks for ammunition purchases.

And the measure would require firearm owners to notify law enforcement if their firearm has been lost or stolen. Eleven states and the city of Sacramento already require this, but Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed bills to do just that in 2012 and 2013.

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Might California ban gun sales to terror watch lists?

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy proposed Thursday to use an executive order to ban gun sales to those on federal no-fly watch lists – begging the question of whether California might seek to do the same.

The Democratic governor said state officials are working with the federal government to get access to the lists. “If you cannot fly due to being on a government watch list, you should not be able to purchase a firearm while on that watch list as well,” Malloy told reporters at the Capitol. “This is basic common sense. The American people get it.”

Congress repeatedly over the past two weeks has turned away efforts to enact this as a federal law. Critics say the government’s terrorist watchlists are error-prone and bureaucratically generated, so using them to deny gun purchases could mean violating Americans’ constitutional right to bear arms without due process of law.

Gov. Jerry Brown was just arriving back in California on Thursday after attending an international conference on climate change in Paris. Spokesman Gareth Lacy said he didn’t anticipate commenting on Connecticut’s action.

A spokesman for Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom – who has proposed a ballot measure for next November that would require people to give up their high-capacity ammunition magazines and require background checks for ammunition purchases, among other things – said this might not be practicable at the state level.

“States aren’t able to compel the federal government to share that information,” spokesman Rhys Williams said in an email. “But Lt. Governor Newsom believes it could and absolutely should be a federal action, as simple as adding the relevant information to the NICS (the FBI’s firearm background-check system) – and it should be done today.”

Still, Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles, said Friday he plans to introduce legislation barring individuals on the government’s no-fly list from being able to purchase guns and certain chemicals, the Sacramento Bee reported.

“You are not going to stop every single one of these occurrences,” Gatto told the Bee. “But it does make sense to make sure that the people who have been deemed too dangerous to even board a quick flight to Vegas, that they are not allowed to go out there and buy guns and chemicals en masse.”

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California politicos react to San Bernardino killings

California’s elected officials are sounding off on Wednesday’s mass shooting at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, in which 14 people reportedly were killed and more wounded.

Gov. Jerry Brown cancelled the Capitol Christmas tree lighting ceremony that had been scheduled for Wednesday night. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims’ families and everyone affected by the brutal attack,” he said in an emailed statement. “California will spare no effort in bringing these killers to justice.”

From House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco:

“Today, yet another American community is reeling from the horror of gun violence. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of San Bernardino. As the families of the victims grieve and the survivors focus on healing, the entire American family mourns.

“Gun violence is a crisis of epidemic proportions in our nation. Congress has a moral responsibility to vote on common sense measures to prevent the daily agony of gun violence in communities across America. Enough is enough.”

From U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif:

“Today we add San Bernardino to the long list of communities that have fallen victim to a mass shooting, and my heart is with the victims and their families.

“Details in San Bernardino are still murky, but what we do know is that these deadly shootings aren’t slowing down. Just a week after a deadly attack in Colorado Springs, we’re prepared to mourn more victims today.

“The Washington Post reported this week that in the first 334 days of 2015, there were 351 mass shootings. That’s an average of more than one deadly rampage for every day this year.

“USA Today reported that the National Instant Criminal Background Check System ran more than 185,000 checks for gun purchases the day after Thanksgiving. That doesn’t even count the sales that took place online or at gun shows, where no checks are necessary.

“When a convicted felon can walk into a gun show and buy an assault rifle, that’s a problem. When an individual with a known mental illness can buy an assault rifle online, that’s a problem. When a terrorist who can’t board an airplane can buy an assault rifle in a gun store, that’s a problem.
“Congress also has a problem—a debilitating fear of upsetting the gun lobby. Congress refuses even to require background checks on all firearms purchases, an action supported by the vast majority of Americans.

“Each time I see breaking news of yet another mass shooting, I feel it in the pit of my stomach. Congress can’t stop every shooting, but we can help reduce their frequency. I remain hopeful that enough of my colleagues will join me to make that a reality.”

More, after the jump…
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Nurses’ union endorses Gavin Newsom for governor

The California Nurses Association/National Nurses United, one of the Golden State’s most politically active unions, has endorsed Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom – almost three years before 2018’s gubernatorial general election.

Gavin NewsomNewsom, a Democrat, received the endorsement Wednesday morning while addressing a CNA/NNU conference in Los Angeles.

“Gavin didn’t even have to go through a questionnaire with us because he was 100 percent on all our issues – he’s part of the nurses’ family, just like Jerry Brown,” CNA/NNU Executive Director RoseAnn DeMoro said in an interview before Wednesday’s conference. “This was the easiest endorsement we’ve ever made, besides Jerry and Bernie Sanders.”

DeMoro said Newsom “has substance, he’s very bright, he’s deeply studied on policy, he’s a risk taker, he’s a leader” who has worked closely with the nurses’ union ever since his days as San Francisco’s mayor on issues such as housing and homelessness, marriage rights, education, and – perhaps nearest and dearest to the nurses’ hearts – advocating for single-payer health care.

Newsom issued a statement before his speech Wednesday saying “the nurses stood with me when I was mayor and brought universal healthcare access to the first major city in the country, and I’m thrilled and honored that they continue to stand with me in my campaign.”

Though other major Democratic candidates might enter the race – perhaps including former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, former state controller Steve Westly, and hedge-fund billionaire turned environmentalist Tom Steyer – “there is no better candidate” than Newsom, DeMoro said.

“We want to see Tom in the political world, but not against Gavin … We would love to be able to support Tom on something else,” DeMoro said of Steyer. “But this race is Gavin’s to lose – he’s going to win this.”

The Oakland-based CNA/NNU represents about 90,000 nurses in California, part of a national NNU membership of 185,000 RNs nationwide. The union was very active in 2010’s gubernatorial election, not just supporting Brown but haunting Meg Whitman’s campaign stops with “Queen Meg” street-theater shtick to paint the GOP nominee as out of touch with everyday Californians.