The Changing California Electorate
California’s population nears the 40 million mark, but growth is slowing due to net outmigration to other states. Two of CDT’s priority regions — the Central Valley and Inland Empire — saw some of the greatest population growth in the last year.
California could lose a congressional seat after the 2020 Census as a result of the slower population growth, dropping from 53 to 52. Several CDTF partner regional tables and community-based groups are leading and engaging in Census outreach efforts to historically undercounted populations throughout the state.
The LA Times takes a closer look at a growing movement led by young, Latinx residents of Orange County to push beyond the 2018 congressional victories and make the Democratic Party more progressive.
Los Angeles County Supervisor, District 2 Race
Senator Holly Mitchell — whom CDT has endorsed for her Los Angeles County Supervisor, District 2 race — is criticizing the Los Angeles County Democratic Party’s recent endorsement of LA City Council President Herb Wesson for the seat. In December, the Party narrowly voted (by one vote) to endorse Wesson. Senator Mitchell is questioning the integrity of the voting process and former LA City Councilmember Jan Perry, also running for the seat, is formally challenging the results over ballot irregularities. Senator Mitchell has long-been one of CDT’s closest allies in Sacramento as a powerful and effective champion of new majority communities in LA and throughout the state.
The Western States Petroleum Association — one of the leading oil industry political contributors and lobbyists — has directed more than $200,000 to an independent expenditure in support of moderate, homophobic Democrat Mani Grewal in Senate District 5 in the Central Valley. CDT has endorsed Assemblymember Susan Eggman in this race in an effort to prevent this seat from going from moderate Democrat Cathleen Galgiani to Grewal. This race is an important battle against the growing influence of oil and other industries in the California Democratic Party, and especially in CDT’s priority regions.
CDT-endorsed Senator Melissa Hurtado (SD14 in the Central Valley) announced the hiring of the first Hmong American chief of staff in Sacramento, Shery Yang.
Duncan Hunter will resign from congress on January 13. Governor Gavin Newsom has announced he will not call a special election because the nomination period has closed and it’s an election year, so the seat will remain vacant for the rest of 2020.
Democrat Phil Arballo, endorsed by 2018 candidate Andrew Janz, has now raised over $1 million in his race to unseat Republican incumbent Devin Nunes in Congressional District 22 in the Central Valley. The majority of the funds — $700,000 — was raised in the last quarter of 2019, with 98% of the contributions being less than $200.
Economic and Racial Justice
In Los Angeles, African Americans make up 8% of the population but are 42% of the homeless population. The New York Times explores how “[t]he historic displacement and fracturing of black communities in South Los Angeles have pushed black Angelenos like Mr. Wynn onto the streets at more than eight times the rate of other groups. In interviews with more than a dozen black men who are homeless in Los Angeles, the bitter inheritance of racism came up again and again.”
Capital and Main chronicles the challenges Native Americans living in rural reservations and rancherias in California face, with the challenges stemming from government-mandated genocide and forced relocation. “The federal government and the young state of California grotesquely spent the modern equivalent of millions of dollars paying out per-head bounties to those who murdered Native Americans. And, for their descendants, there are stories of exile from traditional lands with their reliable food and water sources, and relocation onto inhospitable, often infertile terrain.”
The Guardian profiles 37MLK, a homeless encampment started by an organizer in Oakland, that now serves as a potential model for how local governments can address homelessness. CDT ally Oakland city councilmember Nikki Fortunato Bas — who spoke at CDTF’s Powering Up the New Majority luncheon in September 2019 — is advocating for replicating 37MLK on other vacant land in Oakland and will be launching a similar pilot in her own district.
The California State Budget and Policy Center outlines five ways in which ”[t]he state’s policy choices can help more people earn adequate incomes, build wealth, and afford basic necessities that will allow them to live, learn, work, and age comfortably in their homes and communities.”
Criminal Justice Reform
The California Department of Justice released data that shows that Black drivers were disproportionately targeted for stops and searches by police in eight of the state’s largest law enforcement agencies.
ICE signed $6.5M in private detention contracts ahead of California’s new ban on private prisons, active January 1. The contracts will nearly double the number of detention beds to 7,200, especially in the Central Valley and Inland Empire.
The LA Times looks at how the federal administration is re-making the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, long considered a “liberal bastion” of the Bay Area, with the confirmed appointment of two young, conservative judges.
Half of over 5,000 likely California voters recently polled support ending cash bail.
The state Senate and Assembly now have to review over 1,000 legislative proposals introduced in 2019 to determine which to approve by the end of this month for the second half of the two-year session. One of the most prominent and controversial is Senator Scott Wiener’s updated Senate Bill 50 to build more housing around public transit. Though the bill has been renegotiated to give local governments more control, CDT partner “Christina Livingston, statewide executive director for Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, said her group was ‘disappointed’ that Wiener hadn’t adequately addressed its affordable housing and displacement concerns. ‘SB 50, with its amendments, still puts many poor and working class communities in the firing line of real estate developers who are building the housing that makes them millions, not the housing that communities need,” Livingston said.’” (The Sacramento Bee)
CDT ally Assemblymember Rob Bonta and other lawmakers announced “sweeping new goals to reduce homelessness, cut greenhouse gas emissions and improve living standards in poor communities within 10 years” as part of a California Green New Deal.