Newsletter: Essential Politics: One person, one vote, nine justices


Good morning from the state capital. I’m Sacramento bureau chief John Myers, today’s Essential Politics host.

For sheer drama when it comes to the future of politics in California and across the nation, you’d be hard pressed to beat Tuesday morning’s oral arguments in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.

It’s a case with enormous political implications in California and around the country. It essentially asks whether the time-honored practice of drawing political boundaries to roughly balance the population — the "one person, one vote" principle — is constitutional.

For five decades, that maxim has meant political boundaries for local, state, and congressional offices that are generally blind to how many of a politician’s constituents are children or legal citizens. But this case, hailing from Texas, argues districts should hew to the size of the eligible electorate.

If five justices ultimately agree with the Texas plaintiffs, it could mean huge changes in the political maps for states with large populations of children and those illegally in the country — states like California.


Columnist Cathleen Decker may have said it best when she tweeted on Monday afternoon that Donald Trump’s latest eyebrow-raising pronouncement "obliterates all non-Trump messages from other GOP candidates, in keeping him controlling whole campaign."

The Republican candidate’s call for a ban on Muslims entering the United States sent shock waves through the body politic that was still debating the effect of President Obama’s Sunday night national speech from the Oval Office.

Trump, in a campaign speech in South Carolina on Monday night, also criticized reports from San Bernardino that neighbors of Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik didn’t see any warning signs before last week’s fatal shootings.

"Give me a break," Trump said to applause. "We’re like the stupid country so many ways."

In some ways, Trump’s idea was the latest in a steady escalation of his rhetoric about Muslims and immigrants in general.

Over the weekend, he said that at least some Muslims already in the U.S. should be "tracked," and he has previously suggested that the U.S. should consider requiring Muslims to register in a national database.

In San Bernardino, Trump’s call was met with outrage, Sarah Parvini and Sonali Kohli report.

Reaction from California Democrats was swift and to the point. "Appalled by Islamophobia in the national dialogue," tweeted Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland).

"Next," tweeted Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez (D-Los Angeles), "Donald Trump will call 4 Americans who are Muslims to be put into camps."

The presidential candidates, including GOP hopeful Carly Fiorina, were not interested in signing on to Trump’s plan. Fiorina said on CNN his statement was an "overreaction" that is "as dangerous as President Obama’s under reaction."

Right to Rise USA, the super PAC supporting former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is seizing on the timing by running a new television ad starting Tuesday on national cable broadcast on Fox News Channel and in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.

The narrator says the person behind the Oval Office desk “when the attacks come here” will need to protect “your family,” and asks, “Will he be impulsive and reckless like Donald Trump?” It also goes after Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.

Watch the spot.


It will be interesting to see if Trump’s comments affect Tuesday’s scheduled debate in the U.S. House of Representatives on whether to impose new rules for U.S. visitors who have also recently traveled to Syria, Iraq, Iran or Sudan.

Lisa Mascaro reports that there’s been bipartisan work on the plan in the aftermath of the Paris attacks, but that one roadblock could be the leading legislator who wants to crack down even harder: California’s own Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

Don’t miss Sarah Wire’s November story on tourism groups fearing this could hurt California’s economy.


As Gov. Jerry Brown jumps into another busy day at the U.N. summit on climate change, the gathering highlights the rising importance of California as an incubator of ideas on the issue. Chris Megerian writes from Paris that leaders from other countries and scientists say that the Golden State "basically has a foreign policy" of its own.


Leave it to former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to put a little drama into the news from Paris.

"To use one of the four-letter words all of you commenters love," wrote Schwarzenegger on Monday on his Facebook page, "I don’t give a damn if you believe in climate change."

As I wrote for our live blog covering the Paris conference, his comments came just one day after offering a relatively measured tone in a joint interview with Brown.

Watch the video.

Schwarzenegger insists that climate change skeptics should set aside their criticism in favor of thinking more about what the future holds once fossil fuels start to be used up.

"I, personally, want a plan," he wrote on the subject of finding ways to move beyond the use of oil and gas. "I don’t want to be like the last horse and buggy salesman who was holding out as cars took over the roads. I don’t want to be the last investor in Blockbuster as Netflix emerged."


Fresh off two fundraising events in the Bay Area on Monday, Sen. Marco Rubio does a north-south dash in California today.

Rubio is scheduled to attend a breakfast event at the private Sutter Club with Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale), who recently endorsed Rubio in his presidential bid. From there, the Floridian heads to Beverly Hills for a fundraiser at the home of Hyatt Hotels heir Tony Pritzker.

On Monday Rubio was in Mountain View and San Francisco. Don’t miss our candidate endorsement tracker.


-- Jerry Brown weighed in on the gun debate from Paris.

-- California Democrats sprang into action on President Obama’s call for stricter gun regulations, but face an almost impossible climb.

-- Patrick McGreevy has the details on a hefty campaign ethics fine for opponents of a 2012 Los Angeles ballot measure requiring the use of condoms by actors in adult films.

-- The field narrowed on Monday in the 2016 race to replace the retiring Rep. Sam Farr (D-Carmel). Assemblyman Luis Alejo (D-Watsonville) announced he won’t be running for the seat, choosing instead a run for the Monterey County Board of Supervisors. That seems to leave Jimmy Panetta, son of the former secretary of Defense, as the most prominent early contender.

-- The governor, statewide elected officials, and all members of the Legislature are cashing in on a pay raise just in time for the holidays. Last spring’s vote by the California Citizens Compensation Commission means a salary boost beginning this week. Brown’s paycheck goes up by 3% to $182,789 a year. And for the first time since their pay was cut in 2008, rank-and-file legislators will see a bump up to six figures, an annual salary of $100,111.

-- You’re invited to join Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez for a conversation with outgoing Los Angeles Unified School District Supt. Ramon C. Cortines. We’ll cover the state of local education, Cortines’ legacy -- and some of your questions about what’s next for L.A. schools. The free event is Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Chandler Auditorium at the Los Angeles Times. RSVP here.


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