Welcome to the AM Alert, your morning run-down on California policy and politics. To receive it regularly, please sign up for it here.
Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Elk Grove, made headlines earlier this month when he was escorted out of a meeting with constituents by police – and then again at a follow-up this week when he talked for so long he outlasted many of the people who showed up to protest him.
But the biggest news about congressional town halls coming out of California lately has been the absence of them. As frustrated liberals nationwide showed up en masse to confront their Republican representatives, part of the broad movement to “resist” President Donald Trump and his agenda, California lawmakers largely avoided the fray.
Activists are jumping on the opportunity. The Courage Campaign and SEIU have organized a series of “Have you seen my Congressperson?” rallies across the state today, calling out members for refusing to conduct town hall meetings with local residents to discuss their support for the Affordable Care Act and opposition to increased deportations.
The “search parties” are planned for the districts of Reps. David Valadao of Hanford, Jeff Denham of Turlock, Devin Nunes of Tulare, Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield, Steve Knight of Lancaster, Ed Royce of Fullerton and Dana Rohrabacher of Costa Mesa. All but Nunes and McCarthy are top Democratic targets in the 2018 midterm elections after their districts were carried by Hillary Clinton in last year’s presidential election.
WORTH REPEATING: “Frankly, that’s appalling.” - Assemblywoman Anna Caballero, D-Salinas, on estimates that it will take 27 years to eliminate a 20.5 percent gender pay gap in state government
LUNCHTIME LEARNING: Looking for some food for thought to go with your lunch? You’ve got two options today. The latest She Shares conversation features veteran Rep. Doris Matsui, a Sacramento Democrat whose journey to Congress began at a Japanese internment camp in Arizona. Following a reception at 11:30 a.m., the event begins at noon at the Citizen Hotel on J Street. John Rogers, a professor at UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, will present his research on how inequality and poverty are addressed in high school economics classes, noon at the UC Center Sacramento on K Street.
BY THE NUMBERS: One-quarter of all California children ages five and under – a staggering 754,000 – live in poverty, according to a new report from the Public Policy Institute of California. But while there are pockets of high child poverty throughout the state, researchers found, some of the contributing factors varied by region. In coastal areas with more jobs and higher wages, parents are more likely to be working, but housing costs often overwhelm families’ resources. Inland communities have higher unemployment, but social safety net programs have a greater effect at reducing child poverty there because of the lower cost of living.
ABOVE THE FRAY: The emergency is not over yet at Oroville Dam, but officials insist the badly damaged spillway is finally “stable.” As repairs continue on the deteriorating concrete, the dam will get a visit from Sen. Kamala Harris, who will take an aerial tour of the facility at 12:20 p.m. She will be joined by California Secretary for Natural Resources John Laird and Cal Fire Director Ken Pimlott. Gov. Jerry Brown made an unannounced stop for an aerial tour and briefing on Wednesday.
MUST READ: For more than 20 years, Randall Koroush spent his days tidying up Capitol park and his nights homeless, until he died under mysterious circumstances earlier this month. Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, will adjourn in memory of Koroush during the Senate floor session today.