With the country still reeling from Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential race – protestors have taken to the streets, California is already pushing back on his administration and political experts are trying to figure out how they missed the signs – little attention has been paid to many other important things that happened in last week’s election.
As expected, Kamala Harris became our next U.S. Senator, while Californians legalized marijuana and voted once again to uphold the death penalty. And though there are millions of ballots left to be counted, it also appears that Democrats will regain a two-thirds supermajority in at least one house of the state Legislature.
What should we make of it all? Mark DiCamillo, director of the Field Poll, and Mark Baldassare, president and CEO of the Public Policy Institute of California, are here to help with their biennial election debrief hosted by the Sacramento Press Club, 11:45 a.m. at the State Building and Construction Trades Council building on I Street.
WORTH REPEATING: “That seems like the most miserable job in the world ... No. I have no, zero, don’t even talk about it.” - Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, asked by the tech website Recode if he would ever want to run for president
JETSETTER PRO TEM: Dozens of California lawmakers are traveling overseas this week on informational trips, including Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, who is leading a trade delegation to China to discuss economic collaboration. You can now add his Senate counterpart to the list: President Pro Tem Kevin de León left yesterday for Marrakech, Morocco, where he will head up a California contingent at the United Nations 22nd Conference of Parties. In a statement, de León said he is attending the event, the first international follow-up to last year’s Paris Agreement on climate change, to “assure global partners that California remains committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and building a clean energy future.” His office said the trip is being paid for by The Climate Registry, a nonprofit collaboration of U.S. states and Canadian provinces that tracks greenhouse gas emissions, and that de León will return this weekend.
FISCAL OUTLAOK: Before Gov. Jerry Brown unveils his first budget plan in two months, the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office offers up its annual take on the state’s fiscal outlook. The report, projecting the condition of the General Fund for fiscal year 2017-18 and two possible economic scenarios for the years ahead, will be released this morning. The LAO generally has a rosier view of the budget than Brown’s Department of Finance, so look at this an upper limit for Brown’s January proposal.
TUITION TROUBLES: California’s public universities already have an eye on the end of their multiyear budget deal with Brown, which provided funding increases in exchange for holding tuition flat through next summer. With costs rising and growing pressure to enroll more students, the University of California and California State University are considering smaller annual fee hikes tied to inflation in order to provide campuses with greater financial stability. Nothing is certain yet; both systems have said they won’t vote on any plan until at least January, after they have a better sense of what their state appropriation looks like for next year. But students, sensitive to tuition levels that have more than doubled over the past decade, are already raising objections. A small group protested Tuesday outside the CSU Board of Trustees meeting in Long Beach, and another protest is planned for today at the UC Board of Regents meeting in San Francisco, where tuition hikes are on the agenda as part of a broader budget discussion.
MADAM AUTHOR: She may have left the capital, first for Hungary and then San Francisco, but former ambassador Eleni Tsakopoulos Kounalakis remains a booster for her native Sacramento. Last fall, preparing to host a fundraiser in town for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Kounalakis pitched a coffee break en route from the airport that she thought would create a viral moment for the campaign and the city. She’ll be back today for Sacramento State’s Author Lecture Series to discuss her 2015 memoir, Madam Ambassador: Three Years of Diplomacy, Dinner Parties, and Democracy in Budapest, 3 p.m. at the University Library Gallery.
CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Dublin, who turns 36 today.