Newsletter: Essential California: Change Prop. 13? It could happen in 2020


Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Wednesday, Oct. 17, and here’s what’s happening across California:


For four decades, the most potent brand in California politics has been Proposition 13, the 1978 ballot measure that limited property tax increases and prompted a nationwide revolt against government taxation. Now, the legacy of Proposition 13 stands on the verge of a its biggest test yet, one that could lead to a hard-fought campaign for November 2020 and dismantle its protections for business. Will things really change for Prop. 13, which, despite all the criticism, is one of the political sacred cows of California? Los Angeles Times

Decision California


Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom enters the final weeks of California’s 2018 governor’s race with a solid lead over Republican businessman John Cox, according to a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll. The survey’s findings provide little hope to Cox’s long-shot campaign in the left-leaning state as vote-by-mail ballots begin arriving at homes and Newsom, with an immense fundraising advantage, seeps in to televisions and cellphones across the state with a steady stream of campaign ads. Los Angeles Times

-- The latest campaign finance reports show a yawning gulf between Democrats and Republicans as the seemingly boundless energy on the left translates to a torrent of campaign cash three weeks before the midterm election. Los Angeles Times

-- A shocking amount of money — more than $7 million so far — has been raised by Democrat Andrew Janz, who is challenging incumbent Republican Rep. Devin Nunes. Los Angeles Times

-- Here’s how to register to vote. Los Angeles Times

-- For better or worse, Nancy Pelosi is hitting the campaign trial. Politico

Get more election coverage on our Decision California page.

Halo, good-bye?

The Angels opted out of their lease with the city of Anaheim on Tuesday, setting the stage for another round of negotiations over whether the team remains in its longtime host city or finds a new home in Southern California. Angel Stadium, which opened in 1966, is the fourth-oldest ballpark in the major leagues, but it’s unclear whether the move is designed to get a better deal from Anaheim or is a serious signal that the team could move out. Los Angeles Times

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An advertisement for the final season of Netflix’s “House of Cards” is featured on a Netflix-owned billboard along the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)


Not going smoothly: Teachers union leader Alex Caputo-Pearl and L.A. Unified Supt. Austin Beutner are operating in different universes when it comes to diagnosing what ails local schools and how best to go about fixing them. The result could be a teachers strike. Los Angeles Times

Interesting timing: When Los Angeles City Councilman Mitchell Englander announced he would soon step down to join a sports and entertainment firm, the news stunned many in and around City Hall. His decision was especially surprising to some who had shown up to a fundraiser advertised at $800 per person that Englander staged the night before. Some call the move outrageous. Los Angeles Times

What a finish: After five hours and 15 minutes of agonizing baseball, the Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger ripped a single. Manny Machado hustled from second base. And Dodger Stadium shook as Machado slid across home plate for the winning run in the 13th inning of a 2-1 victory over Milwaukee in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series. Los Angeles Times

Retro approach: Netflix is once again crashing the party to the chagrin of Hollywood studios, but this time in an old-school way — by acquiring billboards along the Sunset Strip. Los Angeles Times

On the streets: “It’s weird. There is so much growth. I’m mixed. Growing up all the buildings used to be ugly but that was the beauty and now all the new buildings are so pretty yet kind of ugly.” — Chef Roy Choi on what L.A. has become. L.A. Taco

Believe it: Yes, there are a few Los Angeles commutes that are getting better. Crosstown Traffic


Sad story: A death at the hand of police shakes Silicon Valley and leaves many questions. New York Times

Unorthodox: Questions about how the Long Beach Police Department polices itself. Long Beach Post

It wasn’t easy: The long road a newspaper took to get information about police actions. Sacramento Bee

Self-driving cars: The ugly battle brewing between to tech titans: Google and Uber. The New Yorker


Schiff-shape: Once a well regarded but little-known representative, Adam Schiff catapulted into the national spotlight as the highest-ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, becoming a ubiquitous figure talking about the Russia investigation on cable news. The White House was apparently so annoyed by Schiff that officials kept a spreadsheet about how much time he spent on air and shared it with reporters. But where does he go from here? Los Angeles Times

Make it stop: Relief might finally coming for robocalls. Mercury News

“Not in my back yard”: How the fight over homelessness in Fullerton reverberates with pain, generosity and fear. KPCC

Future watch: A growing number of California elites think we need to tap the brakes on high speed rail. What happens when Gov. Jerry Brown steps aside? Sacramento Bee

Brown’s unwanted legacy: Department of Motor Vehicles dysfunction. Cal Matters

Uh, #BeBest: President Trump called porn actress Stormy Daniels “Horseface” in a tweet Tuesday, an extraordinary provocation even for a man whose habit of denigrating the appearance of women draws frequent accusations of misogyny. Los Angeles Times


How not to be a gentrifier: The first step is accepting you didn’t “discover” something. “Don’t treat the place like it was a blank slate before white people or gentrifiers arrived.” SF Gate

“The Conners”: Can there be a “Roseanne” without Roseanne? It’s both an artistic and political questions in the age of Trump. Los Angeles Times

Stuck in traffic: New evidence that ridesharing is further clogging San Francisco’s already jammed streets. San Francisco Chronicle

Warrior Nation: Oakland and its basketball team. San Francisco Chronicle

Small world: Two days, two coasts, six Disney parks. This couple did what seemed like the impossible. Associated Press

Trend alert: Shared kitchens are the latest thing in new developments in San Francisco. Wall Street Journal


Los Angeles area: Sunny, 81, Wednesday. Sunny, 84, Thursday. San Diego: Sunny, 79, Wednesday. Sunny, 80, Thursday. San Francisco area: Sunny, 70, Wednesday. Partly cloudy, 68, Thursday. San Jose: Sunny, 80, Wednesday and Thursday. Sacramento: Sunny, 82, Wednesday. Sunny, 84, Thursday. More weather is here.


Today’s California memory comes from Larry Hoffman:

“I left Vietnam in 1968, and my plane landed in Seattle. I had just left a sweaty, hot climate and ended up in a freezing climate. After a day of freezing, I was on a flight back to North Hollywood. I landed at LAX, and the weather was about 75. When I arrived at my house, it was about the same, with a nice comfortable breeze. It was then I realized what a special place I live in. And I thank my parents every day for having the foresight to settle here.”

If you have a memory or story about the Golden State, share it with us. Send us an email to let us know what you love or fondly remember about our state. (Please keep your story to 100 words.)

Please let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful to you. Send comments, complaints and ideas to Benjamin Oreskes and Shelby Grad. Also follow them on Twitter @boreskes and @shelbygrad.