Capitol Alert AM Newsletter

How to help in a wildfire, according to the Gov + Mayes calls out Trump’s ‘go back’ tweet + Return of the soda tax

Gavin Newsom signs off on $26 billion plan to address wildfire threats

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill Friday to provide up to $26 billion to address wildfire threats. The proposal comes amid PG&E's bankruptcy and aims to give more certainty to victims. Some worry it won't do enough to prevent wildfires.
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California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill Friday to provide up to $26 billion to address wildfire threats. The proposal comes amid PG&E's bankruptcy and aims to give more certainty to victims. Some worry it won't do enough to prevent wildfires.

Top of the Tuesday morning to you, California! Tips, feedback, newsletter or story ideas, your favorite summer bbq recipes? Send ‘em my way!

Here’s my favorite bbq recipe, just to get the ball rolling.


A Monday report from the California Volunteers, Office of Governor Gavin Newsom, highlighted six “opportunity areas for impact” the state can leverage during emergency situations like the multiple wildfires that devastated communities and left dozens dead last fall.

The office reviewed more than 70 Federal Emergency Management Agency and state documents, after-action reports and community organization papers to analyze what worked and what didn’t.

Office members also interviewed nearly two dozen emergency management experts to learn how a “whole community approach” works during a disaster. They hosted more than 40 workshops in Northern and Southern California to hear how nonprofits, faith organizations, private-sector groups and community leaders responded to the emergencies.

From the research came six recommendations on how partnering with local organizers can maximize state emergency financial investments.

  1. Develop nonprofits — Nonprofit organizations could help communities create plans detailing how they can use charitable organizations in an emergency. The report calls them “disaster-wise funders.”

  2. Harness corporate power — The private sector could teach California communities how to effectively leverage their resources. The report calls for a “corporate corps” of volunteers.

  3. Resource county-level coordinating bodies — Local leaders should come together at the same table to form preparation and mobilization coalitions.

  4. Strengthen the state’s role as a coordinator — State officials can improve coordination with local leaders to usefully dispatch volunteers and donations during emergencies.

  5. Nurture community resilience networks with sufficient support and coordination — To better recover, affected communities need to learn how to leverage local assets and effectively utilize state and county resources

  6. Democratize disaster learning and resilience — California needs to “dramatically improve” community disaster plans by “boosting the transparency, accessibility, and community engagement around information about what works.”

Read the full report here.


After President Donald Trump fired off a series of tweets calling for four Congresswomen to “go back” to the “totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” Democrats from across the country pounced on the opportunity to denounce his presidency and condemn his “racist” agenda.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi jumped to the defense of the four representatives — New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Michigan’s Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts — and announced her plan to draft a resolution to formally denounce what she called “disgraceful language.”

Democrats responded as expected. But Republicans? Crickets.

As of Monday afternoon, nary an incendiary response from a congressional Republican, though a handful offered a slight slap on Trump’s wrist. I.e., South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham advised Trump to “knock it down a notch,” per The Hill, but stopped short of criticizing Trump’s Twitter thread.

But out here in California, Assemblyman Chad Mayes, R-Yucca Valley, wasn’t so shy in his rebuke.

“This is beyond unacceptable, it is wrong and abhorrent,” Mayes tweeted on Sunday. “Dear Fellow Republicans, we must speak out and return ourselves to decency. This cannot be who we are!”

Trump continued to defend himself on his social media platform of choice through Monday, saying “this is about love for America. Certain people HATE our Country....”


Don’t judge me, I grew up in the Midwest.

Assemblyman Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica, has unsuccessfully carried bills to impose a soda tax on more than one occasion, but that’s not stopping him from partnering once again with public health advocates and medical professionals to angle for another option.

According to a press release from a group called Californians for Less Soda, Bloom is scheduled to announce a coalition at the Childhood Obesity Conference in Anaheim on Wednesday. Members will include medical powerhouses like the American Heart Association, California Medical Association, California Dental Association, American Diabetes Association, as well as from a handful of grassroots and cultural health networks advocating for an end to overconsumption of sugary drinks.

“The new coalition will announce specific goals that should be included in any statewide legislative or ballot initiative proposal to ensure that consumption of unhealthy sugary drinks declines, and that revenue is invested in creating a healthier future for California’s children and promoting more equitable health outcomes,” a press statement read. “The groups will also launch a new statewide grassroots campaign to ensure accountability and success.”


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Hannah Wiley joined The Bee as a legislative reporter in 2019. She produces the morning newsletter for Capitol Alert and previously reported on immigration, education and criminal justice. She’s a Chicago-area native and a graduate of Saint Louis University and Northwestern.