California Voters

Fourteen counties — including Fresno, Los Angeles and Orange Counties — have now opted into the Voter’s Choice Act (VCA), and “more than half of the state’s voters will automatically receive a ballot for next November’s elections in the mail. …. Madera, Napa, Nevada, Sacramento and San Mateo first used the model in 2018, and reported turnout numbers higher than the statewide rate of 64.5 percent” (Sacramento Bee). The San Diego Board of Supervisors — led by CDT-endorsed Supervisor Nathan Fletcher — voted on Tuesday to approve a study of a pilot of the VCA in the county. 


The youth voter turnout tripled in California and in San Diego in 2018 (compared the the 2014 midterm election), and experts — including CDT ally Mindy Romero, director of the California Civic Engagement Project predict that San Diego youth voters will play a large role in the 2020 elections. CDT partners Engage San Diego Action Fund and Alliance San Diego Mobilization Fund are mobilizing youth voters for the 2020 election. 


The Sacramento Bee analyzes how the political make-up of California cities is changing, including how “[t]he largest percentage point drops in Republican registration mostly took place in towns in the Inland Empire and in Orange County.” CDT partners Inland Empire United and Orange County Civic Engagement Table Action, with our support, have long been leading this sea change in the regions.


2020 Census

There will be no citizenship question on the 2020 Census. However, the damage has already been done in immigrant communities: “The very people who are being told by activists to keep their doors closed if I.C.E. agents pay a visit are also being told to open their doors for government census workers, so they can be counted. That presents enormous political and logistical challenges in California, the nation’s most populous state, with a large immigrant population. … ‘There’s still potential for all of this to turn around,’ [Diana Elliott, a senior researcher at the Urban Institute] said. ‘But it really depends upon communities getting out the count and encouraging people to trust the census bureau, participate in the census. There’s still time for really important community engagement to happen.’”


Several of CDT’s partners — like Communities for a New California Education Fund and AAPIs for Civic Empowerment Education Fund— are leading Census outreach work in our communities. 


Racial Justice

On a very related note, the LA Times looks at the effect of threat of raids in immigrant communities, especially heading into this weekend when raids are expected. The article features the voice and work of CDT partner, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA)


Governor Newsom recently issued a formal apology to Native Americans in California, and The Guardian takes a look at what Native activists see as the next steps for action for Indigenous Peoples, including reparations.


Criminal Justice

Essence explores why progressive women of color district attorneys are facing more scrutiny than their white, mostly male predecessors, especially when they push reforms and challenge norms. CDT endorsed and supported Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton with our partner Lift Up Contra Costa County Action in 2018, and she has since enacted some reforms.


CDT has endorsed Chesa Boudin for San Francisco district attorney (elections this fall 2019) and is actively working to identify a progressive Los Angeles district attorney challenger. 


Our support of progressive district attorneys and candidates is a continuation of our strategy we initiated for the 2018 election, and has important ramifications for the decriminalization of new majority communities. The SF Chronicle profiles the role of district attorneys in implementing a California bill that reformed how people were prosecuted under accomplice liability law: “Previously, anyone who participated in a crime that resulted in a homicide could be held criminally liable for murder, even if they were not present for the actual killing. Sen. Nancy Skinner, the Berkeley Democrat who carried the bill, and other advocates argued that prosecutors wielded the law disproportionately against women and minorities.”


New research by the Public Policy Institute of California demonstrates that there was no rise in crime after the release of prisoners from overcrowded prisons starting in 2011.


Inland Empire

As CDT/F goes, so goes California…. The case for investing in the Inland Empire is catching on…. 


Congressional Races

Progressives are targeting centrist Democratic congressmembers, including Jim Costa in CD16. CD16 is a priority for CDT partner Communities for a New California Action Fund (CNC), especially now with the entrance of progressive Fresno City Councilmember Esmeralda Soria to challenge Costa. Per Pablo Rodriguez at CNC, “Rep. Jim Costa — who has never been endorsed by the local labor councils — might as well be a Republican. He is consistently wrong on issues – especially related to farmworkers and immigration. Esmeralda Soria has an opportunity to reflect the actual faces and values of the district, which are now significantly Latino and people of color.” We will be tracking this race closely. 


Representative Eric Swalwell dropped out of the presidential race and announced his run for re-election in CD15. CDT-supported Hayward Councilmember Aisha Wahab will make a decision about her strategy soon. 


A link to fundraising updates on congressional protects of recently flipped seats. Official fundraising reports are out Monday, July 15.



Governor Newsom signed the 2019-2020 budget into law. CA Budget and Policy Center dives into early analysis. 


CDT-endorsed Assemblymember Shirley Weber’s amended police deadly use-of-force bill was passed by the Senate and Assembly and is expected to be signed into law by Governor Newsom. 


Governor Newsom recently signed CDT-endorsed Senator Holly Mitchell’s bill banning discrimination based on Black hairstyles, Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair Act. “Dove, the manufacturer of hair care products, recently conducted a national survey that found black women are 80 percent more likely to change their hair to meet social expectations at work. The company also found that black women were more likely to report being sent home or knowing a black woman sent home because of their hair.”


Two bills have been introduced to have California local governments redistrict more fairly and in time to impact the process following the 2020 Census.