Mother Jones features a look at how California is faring compared to other states on income, health, crime, education and other measures. And CalMatters takes a look at who is coming into California and to where people are leaving.



Racial Justice

Governor Newsom issued a formal apology to Native Americans for state-led genocide that devastated the Indigenous population, which fell from 150,000 to 30,000 between 1846 and 1870. His executive order also establishes a Truth and Healing Council to “clarify the historical record … in the spirit of truth and healing.” Newsom is only the third governor to issue a formal apology to Native Americans.


Environmental Justice

CDT partner California Environmental Justice Alliance conducted their annual California Environmental Justice Agency Assessment of state agencies and found that “a number of state agencies are not successfully integrating environmental justice into their decision-making and continually fail to prioritize long-standing health and quality of life needs of constituents.”


Contra Costa County

Per CDT partner Smart Justice California (SJCA), CDT- and SJCA-endorsed “District Attorney Diana Becton launched the office’s first conviction integrity unit to review wrongful conviction claims, cases where there is evidence of a significant integrity issue, and cases that require review in light of new changes in the law. She also established Contra Costa County’s first restorative justice program for youth, joining only three other counties in California with similar programs.”


Los Angeles

The New York Times contrasts the different criminal justice approaches led by District Attorneys in San Francisco (George Gascón) and Los Angeles (Jackie Lacey), “pushing to reform mass incarceration versus a more traditional get-tough-on crime tact,” respectively, and their effect on communities of color. CDT is exploring ways to support a reformer challenger to LA DA Lacey with several partners, including Smart Justice California (quoted in the article) and LA-based groups. Polling data from a sample of LA voters shows that Lacey is vulnerable.


The Los Angeles County Homeless Services Authority’s 2019 Homeless Count documented a staggering increase in homelessness in Los Angeles, and now Public Counsel and the UCLA School of Law are directly connecting the rise in homelessness to the equally staggering increase in renter evictions. In this new report, the authors argue that rent control is critical to stemming evictions and homelessness. Last November, the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors implemented a temporary rent control ordinance that expires this December 31.


Orange County

Democrats flipped all of the Orange County congressional seats in 2018 and they have their eye on flipping the remaining four (out of seven total) Republican-held Assembly seats in 2020. We are tracking these races closely with our partner regional table, Orange County Civic Engagement Table Action (OCCET Action), and will consider them for our state legislative endorsements later this summer.


Republicans are looking to take back the congressional seats they lost in Orange County in 2020 by changing their tactics: endorsing candidates earlier, focusing on digital marketing and voter identification, and recruiting non-white, non-male candidates (emphasis mine). “Still, it’s unclear if such changes address the underlying issues that turned Orange County from red to blue. The GOP’s challenge might run deeper than tactics, and some analysts argue that the party’s support of Donald Trump and a border wall and rolling back environmental rules, among other policies, will make it hard to capture the county’s increasingly diverse, liberal and anti-Trump voting population.


‘It’s part of a broader problem that Republicans have: They’re just not very good at voter mobilization, said Jack Pitney, politics professor at Claremont McKenna College.


‘Republicans were great at turning out white people,’ Pitney added. ‘But they’re not so great at turning out other folks.’”


In other words, they have yet to learn the winning strategy that CDT has invested in year-round with our partner regional tables and community groups for over 10 years….


San Diego

Republican Representative Duncan Hunter’s wife has entered a plea deal, pleading guilty on a single count of conspiracy (of 60 total charges) in exchange for her full testimony, cooperation with prosecutors and other concessions. This leaves Duncan Hunter even more vulnerable when he faces trial in early September.


Per Scott Lay’s The Nooner: “The congressman really doesn’t want to go to trial as salacious details such as hotel rooms with others not his wife would be publicly disclosed. The trial is scheduled for September. If he doesn’t get a continuance, look for him to resign.


If Hunter resigns before August 21, a special election will be called. After that date the special will likely be consolidated with the March 3, 2020 primary. In the race, 2018 Democratic challenger Ammar Campa-Najjar has filed, as have Republicans Temecula councilmember Matt Rahn, El Cajon mayor Bill Wells, and retired Navy Seal Larry Wilske.” Additionally, there is speculation that former Republican congressmember Darrell Issa may run if Hunter resigns.



The state legislature passed a $215M 2019-2020 budget deal, which includes increases for public schools, health insurance for undocumented children and youth and affordable housing.


CalMatters features two articles on the legislative influence of corporations and corporate-backed moderate Democrats in the age of the Democratic supermajority: “If voters expected last year’s blue wave to upend policymaking-as-usual in Sacramento, it seems, at least for now, that the old rules still apply. Why? Moderating forces are still at work: swing-district Democrats remain tax-wary, lobbying and campaign money still wield a lot of influence, and virtually no one wants to burn through the state’s $21 billion budget surplus or its nearly $16 billion rainy day fund.”


CDT is tracking several key opportunities for progressive candidates to challenge moderate Democrats in 2020 and working with our California Dream Alliance partners on advancing progressive policies.


The California Budget and Policy Center analyzes how Trump’s proposal to change federal poverty level would impact Californians: “…changing the method for updating the poverty line as proposed would threaten low-income Californians’ ability to meet their most basic needs.”