Essential Politics: Fallout from colossal coastal clash

Good morning from the state capital, I’m Sacramento bureau chief John Myers.

With the ink barely dry on the termination letter of former California Coastal Commission Executive Director Charles Lester, legislators under the state Capitol dome are vowing to take action.

The ouster of the panel’s top staffer has a number of powerful narratives — developers versus environmental activists, permanent staff versus politically appointed commissioners, political muscle versus government transparency.

And it’s that last one that came up on Tuesday, as Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) led a group of legislators to introduce a bill that would require paid lobbyists to file disclosure reports, the same way they do when advocating in front of the Legislature.

Later this week, another bill is expected to be introduced in reaction to last week’s colossal coastal clash: a one-year cooling-off period before a former coastal commissioner can lobby his former colleagues.

This, by the way, is the final week for lawmakers to introduce legislation for 2016, and on Tuesday alone we saw proposals on school bus safety and outlawing bullhooks for handling elephants. As always, follow statehouse and statewide tidbits on our Essential Politics news feed.


The unpredictable race for the White House is keeping us political journalists on our toes, and watching our style guides.

On Tuesday, Donald Trump had everyone talking about his comments about former President George W. Bush. And for some diehard Trumpians, it’s no big deal. Case in point: the used-car dealer who told Noah Bierman that Trump’s outlandish statements are part of what makes him the right guy.

"We’re voting with our middle finger," said John Baldwin, a voter in Greenville, S.C.

Meantime, Kate Linthicum looks at the Democratic candidates' efforts to capture the votes of coveted millennials. She writes that last year, around 800,000 Latinos turned 18 and become eligible to vote and tells the story of a Nevada college student who is a rabid Bernie Sanders supporter. His views reflect a growing generational divide in the Latino community that mirrors the wider electorate, she found, and while many young Latinos in Nevada are flocking to the Sanders campaign, their parents are backing Hillary Clinton.

We’ll be covering the first of two Republican town halls from South Carolina Wednesday night. A reminder that you can track all the latest from our presidential team, from South Carolina to Nevada and beyond, on Trail Guide.


Everyone wants to know whom President Obama will choose to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia and when he’ll choose this person.

Neither question was really answered on Tuesday, but Obama told reporters the eventual choice will be someone who’s "indisputably qualified," as Christi Parsons and Michael Memoli report.

That comment came as the president was in Rancho Mirage, at the end of a summit with leaders from Southeast Asian nations.

And on what he expects of the United States Senate and its GOP leadership: "I expect them to hold hearings. I expect there to be a vote."


Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris found herself answering the same question, over and over again, on Tuesday: Does she want to be on the U.S. Supreme Court?

In the wake of Scalia’s death, Harris’ name was floated by media pundits as a fine choice for the high court. And as Phil Willon reports, she again on Tuesday tried to put the idea to rest, once and for all.

"I’m not putting my name out there," she said at a previously scheduled campaign event in San Jose. "I’m running for the U.S. Senate."

Of course, the political parlor game was a fun one. Harris still has more than two years left in her term as attorney general, and any change in her employment status — be it the Senate race or anything else — means Gov. Jerry Brown would have to appoint someone to fill out the remainder of her term until the next statewide election in 2018.


Javier Panzar introduces readers to the candidates for one of the most competitive open seat races in the state. There's a charming career politician with establishment backing, a 27-year-old former UCLA football player, just one woman, the quiet, quirky state Assemblymember who is planning his campaign with the help of his twentysomething daughter out of his second-floor office above a gas station, and an actor-turned-hay farmer running as a mini-Bernie Sanders on the issue of campaign finance reform.

And, thanks to California's top-two primary system, any of them stands the chance of making it to the general election ballot.


— Los Angeles-area nonprofits were slapped with $47,000 in fines on Tuesday by the city’s ethics commission, reports Emily Alpert Reyes, for failure to disclose lobbying efforts.

— Sarah Wire reports that a bipartisan pairing of California members of Congress — Reps. Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin) and Darrell Issa (R-Vista) — has introduced legislation in Washington, D.C., to allow federal employees to be reimbursed for using rideshare services like Uber and Lyft.

— California’s top-two primary system was designed to encourage centrist candidates who could woo a broad swath of voters. But one analyst’s number crunching suggests that’s not happening in a number of races for the Legislature.

Here's why Secretary of State John Kerry was meeting with Hollywood studio executives.


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