Capitol Alert

PG&E ramps up ad campaign; EMILY’s List endorses Morse; Sample voter guide released


Amid concerns over the company’s role in spreading wildfires throughout California, PG&E is mounting a campaign to gain public trust and explain what it is doing to address the problem. On Tuesday, PG&E took out a full-page ad in The Sacramento Bee. It has also recently purchased ads on television.

“These ads are part of our ongoing Community Wildfire Safety Program, which we announced in March, and aim to keep customers and communities safe during extreme weather,” said James Noonan, a PG&E spokesman. He was unable to provide spending specifics on the ad campaign.

Aside from the media spending, PG&E has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars recently to influence lawmakers and political parties. In 2017, it gave $390,000 in campaign funds to the state’s Republican Party and $290,000 to the Democratic Party.

The ad campaign, which began in May but appears to be ramping up recently, comes as a two-house committee on wildfires holds its initial hearing at 10:30 a.m. today in Room 4202 of the State Capitol. Noonan said PG&E will not be speaking at the hearing but added that the company supports “commonsense reform” aimed at protecting customers and wildfire victims.

The hearing will focus on strategies to best protect Californians from ongoing wildfire threats. Gov. Jerry Brown sent a letter to the committee’s co-chairs on Tuesday, urging them to lower PG&E’s liability for wildfire damages.


From Washington, D.C., Emily Cadei emails...

California’s 4th congressional district remains fairly low on national Democrats’ target list of Republican-held congressional seats in 2018. But the district, which includes Sacramento suburbs Roseville and Placerville, is climbing onto the radar. The latest sign: the influential political action committee EMILY’s List is announcing its endorsement of Democratic challenger Jessica Morse on Wednesday morning.

In a statement, EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock said the group is prepared to help Morse, a former budget analyst at the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development, oust six-term Republican Rep. Tom McClintock.

“GOP special interests will be fighting hard to save his seat,” Schriock said. “But Jessica has shown she’s putting up a tough fight — one she’s prepared to win, too.” EMILY’s List, which is dedicated to electing female Democrats who support abortion rights, “is eager to show Jessica our full support and help her do what it takes to flip this seat.”

Republicans have a sizable registration advantage in the district, but Morse is hoping her fundraising — on par with McClintock’s — and the liberal energy this election cycle can help close the gap. Adding EMILY’s List’s financial firepower could make things even more interesting.


We’ve got 104 days until the general election and neither gubernatorial candidate has reached an agreement on debates.

On Monday, Republican John Cox agreed to participate in a third debate, which would be hosted by The New York Times and National Public Radio. He may soon agree to additional ones, according to a campaign spokesman. Democratic candidate and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom has agreed to a CNN debate but declined other invitations. Cox is considering the CNN invitation, but he is not expected to reach a decision in the near future.


With the California Legislature now in recess, I took the liberty of compiling a list of lawmakers’ Twitter accounts. The list is publicly available, so you can track what lawmakers are saying at any given time. Session resumes on Aug. 6.


California’s Secretary of State office released a draft public copy of its general election voter information guide on Tuesday, which will remain available through Aug. 13. The sample guide provides a list of arguments for and against all ballot measures heading to voters in November, excluding the proposal to divide California into three states — which the Supreme Court struck down last week.


Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense James Mattis visited Stanford University’s Hoover Institution on Monday and Tuesday for this year’s Australia-U.S. Ministerial Consultations. They hosted Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop and Minister for Defense Marise Payne and discussed issues facing the Indo-Pacific region.

During a news conference on Tuesday, a reporter asked Bishop to assess its relationship with the Trump administration in light of recent clashes between President Donald Trump and European allies.

“We have already established a very close working relationship with the Trump administration right from the outset,” Bishop said. “As we’ve often said, the relationship is so deep and so enduring that changes in the White House…don’t dent the strength of that relationship.”


Pablo Lopez (@beecourts) — “The guy on the phone is going to get arrested by the two ICE agents. The ICE man just took my photo. The ICE woman just walked up to me and said do not take my photo I said it’s a Public hallway. I gave her my business card. She said she was going to report me.”


Keep fighting or fold to Trump? California Influencers speak out on sanctuary state posture.

“We are a state built on the backs of immigrants. More than 10 million Californians are immigrants. Our workers our immigrants. Our students are immigrants. The government is to be held accountable to the people. When federal policy contradicts the well-being of our state, California must be steadfast in doing what is right. We need to protect Californians by upholding the sanctuary state posture.”

Kim Yamasaki, Executive Director of Center for Asians United for Self Empowerment

MUST-READ: California DMV worker slept on the job for three years, audit says