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Essential Politics: Talking Trump from coast to coast

Essential Politics: Talking Trump from coast to coast
(Los Angeles Times)

The presidential race may be in the rearview mirror, but the political and policy implications in the Golden State are still on the horizon.

California's top elected leaders, it seems, aren't quite ready for the era of President-elect Donald Trump.

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Good morning from the state capital. I'm Sacramento Bureau Chief John Myers, and this week marks the first time that the state's Democratic leaders have finally joined the national conversation about what lies ahead in the era of Trump.

GOV. BROWN CHOOSES HIS WORDS CAREFULLY

Perhaps no Democrat is urging caution more than Gov. Jerry Brown, whose caution over a "California vs. Trump" narrative stands in stark contrast to more firebrand members of the state's dominant political party.

Even on Brown's signature issue of climate change, the words seem to be chosen carefully.

"If our new president takes that as his proposition," Brown said on Tuesday of Trump's professed skepticism of climate science, "I believe that the reaction will be negative and very powerful throughout the world."

On Monday, in a meeting with statehouse reporters, I asked Brown twice to address the fear and anger some still harbor over the Republican's election day victory. And twice, he offered cautious, careful answers.

"We'll have to watch to see what moves the federal government makes," the governor said as he sat alongside his choice for attorney general, Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Los Angeles).

'WE NEED TO FIGHT'

On the other side of the state Capitol, the Legislature's leading Democrats are eschewing Brown's measured tone.

"Californians do not need healing. We need to fight," said Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) in his surprisingly blunt prepared remarks on Monday after the oath of office for new lawmakers.

And as the California Legislature convened its new two-year session, the marquee moment was the unveiling of proposals intended to fight Trump's promise to take a harder line on those in the country illegally.

"California will never appease those who threaten to undermine our prosperity or deprive our people of their most fundamental human rights," said Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles).

It's been an awkward couple of days in Sacramento, as legislative Republicans saw many of the comments as over the top. Chances are that this is only a preview of what's in store for 2017.

AND SPEAKING OF THE PRESIDENT-ELECT

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Trump continued his post-election celebration tour Tuesday night in North Carolina, where Mark Z. Barabak reports the president-elect channeled former President Ronald Reagan's vision of "peace through strength."

Earlier in the day, Trump threw some jabs at the projected price tag of a new Air Force One, calling it "ridiculous." The president-elect had earlier tweeted an exaggerated cost of the project, which aircraft manufacturer Boeing said — so far — has totaled $170 million.

Meantime, the Trump transition has picked up speed. And one key player, writes Evan Halper, is a longtime critic of the nation's renewable power efforts who now is part of the effort to set up new leadership for the Department of Energy.

A LONG UNWIND OF OBAMACARE?

Two years or more. That's what Republican congressional leaders now envision as how long it will take from the vote to formally repeal the Affordable Care Act to actually kill it.

Still, the symbolic first blow appears now less than a month away.

"The Obamacare repeal resolution will be the first item up in the new year," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday.

HATE CRIMES AGAINST COPS, DAKOTA PIPELINE DIVESTMENT: THE BILLS START ROLLING IN

Our Times team in Sacramento took a close look on Monday and Tuesday at the 111 proposed state laws introduced by legislators this week.

They include a proposal to add an attack on a law enforcement officer to the list of possible hate crimes in California. And even then, a proposal to create a public database that can be searched for the names of felons who commit hate crimes.

A new Democratic legislator, who traveled to North Dakota after election day to see the showdown at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation for himself, wants the state's pension funds to divest from investments in the company building the controversial oil pipeline.

They offered new ideas on how to shed more sunlight on the role of money in politics and the wealth of those who run for office.

And a returning GOP legislator wants the state to offer grants to any California National Guard member who had to pay back those enlistment bonuses we've been telling you about in recent weeks.

As always, we'll be covering these and other state politics and government stories on our Essential Politics news feed.

ENLISTMENT BONUS SHOWDOWN HAPPENS TODAY

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And speaking of the controversy, the California scandal will be the focus today of a congressional hearing, even as there are new questions about suspicious activities regarding the bonuses as far back as 2008.

David Cloud reports that lawmakers will be told of "gross mismanagement and fraud," according to prepared remarks for Maj. Gen. David S. Baldwin.

TODAY'S ESSENTIALS

— Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will join President Obama to mark the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor today, becoming the first sitting Japanese leader to visit the Hawaiian naval base after the 1941 attack that killed more than 2,400 people and led to America's entry into World War II.

— Michael Flynn Jr., the son of Trump's pick for national security advisor, has been let go from the president-elect's transition team after spreading online conspiracy theories on Twitter.

— There's friction between California's two U.S. senators over late legislation focused on the Golden State's ongoing drought.

— California's governor and legislators are now the highest-paid state officials in the nation.

— The Orange County city of Santa Ana has declared itself a sanctuary city in defiance of Trump.

— Newly elected Republicans in the Legislature say their focus will be on California as President-elect Trump assumes office.

— The latest report from the UCLA Anderson Forecast found that Trump's plans for the economy have potential risks and rewards for California.

— A hotline and extra support are being offered for Los Angeles high school students who are feeling anxious about Trump as president.

LOGISTICS — AND SOME CHANGES

You may have noticed we've shifted to a Monday, Wednesday and Friday schedule. It will be the same great newsletter, just not every day. You can keep up with breaking news on our politics page throughout the day for the latest and greatest. And are you following us on Twitter at @latimespolitics?

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Follow me on Twitter at @johnmyers and listen to the weekly California Politics Podcast.

Please send thoughts, concerns and news tips to politics@latimes.com.

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