Republican National Committee member Shawn Steel is bullish on President Trump and, despite some skepticism about his rocky start, thinks his tenure in the White House will pay dividends for the California Republican Party.
“He knows he has 100 or 200 days to make these changes. I say you embrace him because there’s a lot more beneficial things he can do for California than vice versa,” said Steele, a former state GOP chairman who was in Sacramento on Friday for the kickoff of the party’s annual convention.
Steele also believes California Democrats fighting Trump’s new policies may face serious consequences, especially in areas defending so-called sanctuary city policies.
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a leading supporter of Proposition 64, sent a letter to President Trump on Friday, urging him not to carry through with threats to launch a federal enforcement effort against recreational marijuana firms that will be legalized in California.
The letter, which was copied to Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions, came a day after White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters, "I do believe that you'll see greater enforcement” against recreational-use marijuana.
Newsom’s letter attempts to persuade the president that a regulated market for adult-use marijuana is preferable to what has existed in the past.
Gov. Jerry Brown's press conference on Friday wasn't just a chance to talk about the problems plaguing an increasingly soggy California. It was also a window into the complicated dance between the governor and and President Trump.
Brown leads one of the country's most diverse and Democratic states, with a large population of immigrants in the U.S. illegally who have concerns about the new president. He also has sharp disagreements with Trump on climate change, which the governor views as an existential threat.
But Brown is also counting on help from Washington on other issues, such as financing the bullet train from Los Angeles to San Francisco. On Friday he asked Trump to expedite environmental reviews for repairs to the Oroville Dam spillway, as well as several other highway and public transit projects.
Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday unveiled a $437-million plan for shoring up some of California’s most pressing water and flood-control needs, saying the storms of January and February have made clear the state has substantial needs that have gone unmet for years.
“We have our aging infrastructure and it’s maxed out,” Brown said during a news conference at the state Capitol.
The plan, largely an acceleration of existing plans to fund infrastructure needs, requires approval of the Legislature. In addition, Brown asked President Trump for expedited environmental review of a handful of repair projects, including fixes to the spillway system at the Oroville Dam.
As the California Republican Party looks ahead to a high-stakes governor’s race and midterm elections in 2018, it faces a grim reality: A Republican hasn’t been elected to statewide office here in more than a decade, and the Democrats hold a powerful supermajority in the state Legislature. The GOP’s share of registered voters in California is just 27.3%, its lowest since 1980, and it has yet to field a prominent candidate in the 2018 governor’s race.
State GOP Chairman Jim Brulte vows that the party’s fortunes will improve in the 2018 election, including one or two top-shelf candidates running for governor.
Donald Trump’s election provides an opening, Brulte said. California’s Democratic leadership is so focused on battling the new Trump administration that they are ignoring growing concerns at home over the state’s crumbling infrastructure and rising poverty, he said.
A group of activists who went to Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher's home Thursday night asking for a meeting say they found a closed door and, soon after, the sprinklers turned on.
Activists with the Service Employees International Union, Courage Campaign and other groups tried to visit the California homes of half a dozen Republican members of Congress that night.
A group of about 100 Costa Mesa residents met at the Newport Public Library and held candles as they walked to Rohrabacher's home. Costa Mesa police partially stopped traffic in front of Rohrabacher's home, and the group held a candlelight vigil outside.
California Republican activists and state party leaders have descended on Sacramento for their annual convention, which runs Friday to Sunday.
While it's not expected to be quite as eventful as last year's event in Burlingame, when an appearance by Donald Trump was met with protests, there are a few key things on the state GOP's agenda as the party looks to rebound in 2018.
Party delegates will decide on their top party leaders, including whether chairman Jim Brulte should be granted a third term. Members will also consider proposed party rules and a slate of resolutions, including one supporting the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and another condemning sanctuary cities.
Bracing for protests, the California Republican Party is spending thousands of dollars to heighten security at its annual convention that begins Friday.
On the opening day of the three-day event, at least a half-dozen Sacramento police officers and four private security guards milled around the Hyatt Regency and the Convention Center, the two venues where most of the convention events are scheduled to take place. Four patrol cars were parked near the two facilities.
"The security at this convention is unprecedented — even tighter than when we have had presidential candidates attend," said former state party chairman Ron Nehring.
Taking the national stage as a leading foe of President Trump's policies, California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra on Friday told a meeting of the Democratic National Committee in Atlanta that his state is fighting federal efforts to roll back protections for immigrants and the environment.
The large audience at the DNC's winter meeting cheered as Becerra verbally attacked Trump, using a baseball metaphor to say the Republican president will strike out if he continues to try to undermine important policies of the states.
"Sooner or later the imposters strike out," Becerra said. "When you play fast and loose with the Constitution and you call for a Muslim ban, the umpire calls you out."