LA Teachers’ Strike and the Future of CA Education

The Los Angeles teachers’ strike is over, but what does it mean for the future of education in the city and the state? The strike was a microcosm of what plagues California, a state with great wealth and great disparities, magnified with the passage of Proposition 13 in 1978, which devastated the LA school district and public school budgets statewide. While the teachers were successful in getting most of their demands met, we still need to resolve many structural problems to improve public schools.


One solution: CDT partner, Million Voters Project, is leading the campaign for the Schools and Communities First ballot initiative for 2020 to close the corporate property tax loophole in Proposition 13 (a strategy known as the “split roll,” since protections for homeowners, residential renters, agricultural land and small businesses would still stand). This tax reform would “[restore] $11 billion [per year] for schools, community colleges and other vital community services, including emergency responder services, parks, libraries, health clinics, trauma centers, affordable housing, homeless services, and roads.” (emphasis mine)


Though the ballot initiative is gaining supporters, there will be a lot of corporate opposition to the initiative. We will keep you updated as the campaign develops.


PG&E and Climate Change

There is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding PG&E’s bankruptcy, and many are very concerned that it could put California’s climate change plans in jeopardy.


State Legislature

State Assemblymember Brian Maienschein — who was re-elected to Assembly District 77  in 2018 by only a 0.4% vote margin (607 votes) over CDT-endorsed progressive candidate Sunday Gover — left the Republican party to join Democrats. Maienschein has long been a moderate Republican, and will likely also be a moderate Democrat. We will be tracking his record as a Democrat, as well as the effects of his party switch in the San Diego political landscape.


Democrats now hold 61 of the 80 seats in the Assembly, which has business interests leaning even more into the strategy of courting moderate Democrats to vote with them and against worker rights, environmental protections and other communities’ priorities.


Maienshein attributed his switch partly to the Republican party’s direction under Trump, which is evident in the State Senate Republicans’ choice of socially conservative Senator Shannon Grove (Senate District 16 – Bakersfield) as their new leader.


California Congressional Races

California’s 2020 presidential primary is March 3 (Super Tuesday): three months earlier than in previous cycles. And while all eyes are on the 2020 presidential race, we’ll also be keeping an eye on our state races.


First up (and not too surprising): After coming within 4% (9,000 votes) of embattled Republican incumbent Duncan Hunter, Ammar Campa-Najjar will be running again for the CD50 seat in San Diego. CDT did not endorse in any of the congressional races, but we did advocate for funding for our San Diego partner, Alliance San Diego Mobilization Fund, because they did voter engagement work on behalf of progressive candidates and priorities up-and-down the ballot, including for Ammar.



The initiative to overturn the bail reform bill (SB10, passed in 2018 and meant to go into effect as of October 1, 2019) has qualified for the ballot, preventing the implementation of the bill until after voters decide in the 2020 general election. The bail industry spent over $3 million to qualify the initiative.


CDT ally Assemblymember Rob Bonta (AD18 – Oakland) is leading a bill that would allow candidates and elected officials to use campaign funds to pay for child care.


2020 Census

A federal judge in New York ordered the Trump administration to remove the citizenship question from the upcoming 2020 Census. The federal Justice Department is asking the Supreme Court to review the question. California is home to a large number of people who are historically undercounted — people of color, low-income people, immigrants and rural populations — even before taking the harmful citizenship question into account. “California would lose about $2,000 from the federal government for every uncounted person.”


Also, per The Nooner:

“There is a whole other wrinkle to the 2020 Census, particularly in Butte County. Many residents that evacuated from the Camp Fire hope to return, particularly to the largely destroyed town of Paradise. Many are living in other counties with relatives, old friends, new friends, or hotels. Even if they hold title to land in the fire-affected areas, for Census purposes, only their current domicile counts. This will likely have a significant effect on the 2020 count that could last for a decade. Policy leaders from the areas are scrambling to minimize the effect, but there are no easy solutions.”



CDT co-founding members Susan Sandler and Steve Phillips — through their Sandler Phillips Center — “[offer] rigorous research and analysis, strategic investments and collaborative opportunities to improve the effectiveness of progressive politics and enhance the return on investment of political giving.” They are conducting an anonymous and confidential survey on people’s giving to national Democratic entities for 2018 election. Please participate if you gave to any of these entities in 2018.



California Budget and Policy Center Webinar: Investments in Young Children and Families in the 2019-20 State Budget Proposal

In light of Governor Gavin Newsom’s plans to significantly invest in young children and families, the Budget Center will host a webinar on Monday, January 28 from 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. to discuss what these investments mean for low-income Californians. This webinar will feature First 5 California’s Camille Maben and the Budget Center’s Kristin Schumacher and Esi Hutchful discussing key context and insights on programs included in the 2019-20 state budget proposal that impact children and families, such as home visiting, subsidized child care, paid family leave, and the CalWORKs program. Following the presentation, there will be plenty of time allotted for questions and discussion. Register here.


Institute of Governmental Studies: Post-Mortem on the 2018 Election

CDT partner Institute of Governmental Studies is hosting a free, day-long post-mortem on the 2018 election on Friday, February 1 at UC Berkeley. The event will feature panels on the California electorate and the races for governor and congress. CDT co-executive director Nicole will be speaking on a panel about Democratic women running in 2018 (and beyond). Register and see the full agenda here.