THE BUZZ DEMOCRATS DILEMMA:Today is a big day for legislation to create Americas first comprehensive public health care program.

A legislative deadline means Assembly Bill 1400 must clear the Assembly floor today the last possible day or it will advance no further. And progressive activists are escalating the pressure on elected officials: As Fox40s Ashley Zavala scooped last week, the California Democratic Partys left wing is vowing to block endorsements for members who dont vote in favor of the single-payer plan.

That ultimatum is fracturing and frustrating Assembly Democrats. The threatened political repercussions were the topic of a lengthy and fierce caucus debate last week. It 100 percent is carrying huge weight, one Democratic lawmaker told us, influencing some of the members entering tough reelection cycles and fanning fears of challenges from the left.


Does it create an opportunity and a real fear that Ive heard members mention with other candidates? Yeah, it does, another Democratic lawmaker said. Meanwhile, a deep-pocketed business-medical coalition is intensifying its lobbying against the bill, as ardent California Nurses Association supporters push members to get on board.

HOW IT WORKS: California Democratic Party endorsements are important primarily because they unlock party money and other campaign resources. Pre-endorsement votes loom in a matter of days. Given the threshold for endorsements 70 percent for pre-endorsement and 60 percent in the next round progressives are projecting confidence they have the numbers to deny some members. Members who vote against the bill and dont get the endorsement, they are free to go get money from corporations and explain to their voters why they take corporate money and vote against the bill, state progressive caucus Chair Amar Shergill told us.

Every cycle, the party channels millions of dollars to promising challengers and to vulnerable incumbents and the latter category comprises centrist lawmakers warier about voting for a policy that would require huge tax increases. Three of the Assembly incumbents who got the most party support last cycle Sabrina Cervantes, Cottie Petrie-Norris and Tasha Boerner-Horvath, who collectively received some $3.3 million last cycle are closer to the partys center than its left. These are also districts where progressive activists tend to have fewer numbers and less clout.

The choice for members: incur the bases wrath by withholding support, or vote yes and invite attack ads about tax hikes. Some incumbents may hedge their bets and vote for the policy bill, knowing they may never need to vote for a separate, tougher constitutional amendment raising taxes, or some other funding mechanism. And even if such a mechanism does surmount the odds and hit the Assembly floor, party endorsement votes could be in the rearview mirror by then. Its totally valid for someone to say, I want to vote on AB 1400 and Im not sure about the financing bill, which comes later, Shergill told us.

ANGST REMAINS: Its not a conversation about the bill, its a conversation about the political threats, said Bill Wong, whose job as Speaker Anthony Rendons political consultant revolves around guarding and picking up Assembly seats. Do you want to look like you got bullied into voting on a bill?

Wong predicted that incumbents will win reelection even if they dont get that endorsement. Either way, this is conjuring flashbacks to a 2017 schism over single-payer that made national news. Well see how divisive this round gets.

BUENOS DÍAS, good Monday morning. The Los Angeles Rams are headed to the Superbowl after defending their turf and repulsing the San Francisco 49ers, earning the chance to represent their city as L.A. hosts the big game. And in Sacramento, in addition to single-payer, were watching bills to create a fast food industry regulator and make it harder for landlords to invoke the Ellis Act to evict tenants. Complicating matters on the Assembly floor today is the fact that Democrats are down four members due to vacancies.

Got a tip or story idea for California Playbook? Hit [email protected] or follow me on Twitter @jeremybwhite.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: I dont believe in recalls. I think we have a regular election system. People need to follow the money. Many of the backers of this recall dont even have kids in public schools, and this is clearly an attack on democracies. San Francisco School Board member Alison Collins on a looming recall vote, via the SF Chronicle.

TWEET OF THE DAY: @MayorOfLA on the hometown heroes: Whose house?! #RamsHouse @RamsNFL are going to the Super Bowl here in Los Angeles, and we couldnt be more excited to cheer them on in our own backyard

WHERES GAVIN? Nothing official announced.

BECOME A GLOBAL INSIDER: The world is more connected than ever. It has never been more essential to identify, unpack and analyze important news, trends and decisions shaping our future and weve got you covered! Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, Global Insider author Ryan Heath navigates the global news maze and connects you to power players and events changing our world. Dont miss out on this influential global community. Subscribe now.

Top Talkers

TIMES ARE CHANGING Is the Tenderloin healing? This is what its like to live and work under an emergency declaration, by the SF Chronicles Kevin Fagan and Alexandria Bordas: As for the people who live, work and get by in the TL, as locals call it, the political drama obfuscated a street-level truth: The gritty district has been slowly changing visually at least since the summer.

ERASING THE EMAILS Facing public records suit, CA insurance chief drops plans to auto delete emails by the San Diego Union Tribunes Jeff McDonald: Last year, while California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara promoted his commitment to government transparency and defended a lawsuit accusing him of withholding public records, the agency he oversees adopted a plan to automatically delete most of its emails after 180 days.

FBI and San Bernardino County Sheriffs Department accused of illegally seizing marijuana cash, by the LA Times Michael Finnegan: The cash seizures and another from the same trucking company in Kansas raise questions about whether the Justice Department under President Biden is moving to disrupt the operations of licensed marijuana businesses in California and other states where pot is legal.

A Militia-Led Recall Is Targeting a Shasta County Supervisor Whos a Republican, by KQEDs Scott Shafer: The outcome of the Feb. 1 election could determine how far right the local government in this deeply conservative county will move.


FIRST IN PLAYBOOK ZINGALES NEXT GIG: Daniel Zingale, a state political veteran who most recently served as Gov. Gavin Newsoms senior communications adviser, has a new gig as strategic adviser to the lobbying and communications firm Sacramento Advocates, POLITICOs Victoria Colliver reports.

Zingale, who retired from his position in the Newsom administration and from politics altogether in early 2020, has no plans to jump back in the fray. He plans to work part time and continue living on a ranch in Northern California, hours away from Sacramento. He will provide periodic advice, working with the firms partners Gareth Elliott and Panorea Avdis. Zingale and Avdis first worked together back in the days of former Gov. Gray Davis, when he served as Cabinet secretary in the administration and Avdis was the governors special assistant.

I know how hard it is for anyones voice to be heard in government, Zingale told POLITICO. How we can make government better is by bringing a diversity of voices into government.

RESIGNATION Leader of California unemployment benefits agency steps down, by the APs Adam Beam: Saenz, who led the California Department of Social Services in the early 2000s and is a former executive with Xerox Corp., came out of retirement to lead the department in 2021 as it was plagued by fraud and a backlog of payments.

SO, WHAT NOW? The baton has been passed: Newsom, local leaders could make or break infrastructure bill, by the SF Chronicles Tal Kopan and Dustin Gardiner: Combined, the funding gives the Golden State a once-in-a-generation opportunity to repair crumbling roads and bridges, install thousands of electric-vehicle charging stations, clear vegetation from wildfire-prone forests, expand congested airports, built new water distribution projects and improves access to high-speed internet, all of which will also create jobs.

HERE TO STAY Californias net neutrality law can keep standing, 9th Circuit says, by POLITICOs Susannah Luthi: The ruling is a victory for California policymakers and will likely have ripple effects across other states that might want to take action on the net neutrality issue.

California bottle deposit program sitting on at least $100 million more than it told lawmakers by SF Chronicles Dustin Gardiner: Californias bottle recycling program has a surplus thats at least $100 million larger than the department previously reported to state legislators and the public adding to an unprecedented windfall that has ballooned as recycling centers across the state close in droves.

SCHOOLS OUT These 15 Oakland schools could close or merge in the next two years under fast-track proposal, by the SF Chronicles Jill Tucker: In addition to the proposed closures, the school board recently voted on $40 million in cuts next year to balance the budget, yet the districts financial future is still in the red, officials said.

LA, NYC killings spark anger, raise risk for homeless people, by the APs Stefanie Dazio and Camille Fassett: Last year, homeless people were suspects in 43 of the citys 397 homicides, nearly 11%. They were victims more than twice as often 90 fatalities, nearly 23%. In 27 of the killings, homeless people were the victim and the alleged perpetrator.

OUT FOR LUNCH The omicron effect: What happens when city halls and state agencies close their doors? by CalMatters Julie Cart: But as face-to-face interactions give way to reliance on computer literacy to navigate government services, problems arise about reaching disadvantaged people those without a computer or internet access, fluency in English or disabilities that make it difficult to function online.

L.A. Countys daily coronavirus cases continue dramatic decline, but death rate remains high by LA Times Rong-Gong Lin II.

FINDING HOME In an abandoned Koreatown building, homeless Angelenos create a community, by the LA Times Jaimie Ding: In a city with homeless encampments popping up in parks, on sidewalks and under overpasses, a tiny and mostly unnoticed community took hold here, two blocks away from sleek Wilshire Boulevard apartments, finding shelter within the derelict buildings dusty, wire-exposed walls.

California bottle deposit program sitting on at least $100 million more than it told lawmakers by SF Chronicles Dustin Gardiner: Californias bottle recycling program has a surplus thats at least $100 million larger than the department previously reported to state legislators and the public adding to an unprecedented windfall that has ballooned as recycling centers across the state close in droves.


HERE WE GO AGAIN Another recall petition against L.A. County D.A. George Gascón approved, by the Los Angeles Blades Brody Levesque: KTLA reported that organizers halted their first recall attempt last fall after they were unable to gather the necessary signatures by the end of October.

Mike Feuers office is dogged by DWP corruption scandal. Will voters care? by the LA Times James Rainey: His public standing appeared somewhat resilient before the latest news, with his favorability rating in August of 31% second among the major candidates then pondering a run for mayor, behind only U.S. Rep. Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles), who was viewed favorably by 42% of those surveyed.

Buscaino: Dock L.A. leaders salaries if sufficient progress isnt made on homelessness, by the LA Times Julia Wick: Buscainos proviso would theoretically apply to the mayor and city attorney, as well as the council, but it may run into legal trouble because of conflicts with the Los Angeles City Charter.


Senators Target Google With New Bill to Break Its Grip on Murky Ad Tech Market, by The Informations Josh Sisco, Sarah Krouse and Mark Di Stefano: The draft bill comes amid growing outrage over allegations that Google deceived advertisers and news publishers about ad auctions and hurt their businesses in the process.

ROAD BUMPS Waymo sues state DMV to keep robotaxi safety details secret, by the LA Times Russ Mitchell: The wider issue: how to handle the explosion in trade secret claims in an age of artificial intelligence, robot technology, the internet of things and pervasive data collection.

Suicide hotline shares data with for-profit spinoff, raising ethical questions, by POLITICOs Alexandra S. Levine: Both entities say their goal is to improve the world in Loris case, by making customer support more human, empathetic, and scalable.

TBD Theranos trial: Legal experts agree Elizabeth Holmes is bound for prison, but for how long? by the Mercury News Ethan Baron: Judge Edward Davila, who has set Holmes sentencing hearing for Sept. 26, has put big-money fraudsters into prison for lengthy terms. She remains free on bail pending her sentencing hearing.

STEP INSIDE THE WEST WING: What’s really happening in West Wing offices? Find out who’s up, who’s down, and who really has the presidents ear in our West Wing Playbook newsletter, the insider’s guide to the Biden White House and Cabinet. For buzzy nuggets and details that you won’t find anywhere else, subscribe today.


BLUE Joni Mitchell removes her music from Spotify, joining Neil Young in protest, by the LA Times August Brown: Mitchell, who like Young survived polio as a child, also linked to an open letter signed by hundreds of doctors and medical professionals who said that Spotifys top podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, promotes baseless conspiracy theories and has a concerning history of broadcasting misinformation, particularly regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

TROUBLE AT THE THEATER Los Angeles Is Changing. Can a Flagship Theater Keep Up? by the New York Times Adam Nagourney: Theaters across the country are struggling to find the balance between pleasing and challenging their audience as they confront declining ticket sales and the threat of competition in the form of a screen in a living room.


CLEAN SLATE New California bill aims to clear cannabis convictions, by POLITICOs Juhi Doshi: The bill from Assemblymember Mia Bonta (D-Alameda) would automatically recall, dismiss, or seal cannabis-related convictions for activities decriminalized under Proposition 64, the 2016 ballot initiative that legalized recreational marijuana.


Jackie Botts is moving on from CalMatters for a TBA gig in Mexico.


SF FATALITY WITH RIPPLES US cities mark 1st anniversary of Thai grandfathers killing, by the APs Janie Har.

A New State Bill May Help Unhoused People With Furry Friends, by the LAists Ethan Ward.

  Biden to meet Qatar leader as Europe energy crisis looms by the APs Aamer Madhani.

MONEY MOVES Chevron Rakes in $15.6 Billion in Annual Profits as Oil Prices Climb, by the Wall Street Journals Christopher M. Matthews.

Rail line in southeast L.A. County approved as leaders seek to speed up construction, by the LA Times Rachel Uranga 

BIG BUCKS Fresno Police Will be Highest Paid in Valley Under New Labor Deal, by the GV Wires David Taub. 

BATHROOM BREAK Answering Natures Call, BART Finally Reopens Powell Street Bathrooms, by the SF Standards Nick Veronin.

COPS ON CAMPUS This L.A. School Called the Cops on Unvaccinated Teens Who Showed Up for Class, by Reasons Liz Wolfe.


Gary K. Hart, charter school architect and former California education secretary, dies at 78, by the LA Times John Myers.

Cheslie Kryst, former Miss USA, dies at 30, by the AP.

Esteban Torres, Congressional Advocate for Latinos, Dies at 91 by the New York Times Katharine Q. Seelye.


Robert Rooks, CEO of Reform Alliance

SUNDAY: Max Taves L.A. Times Mackenzie Mays CNNs Maeve Reston Barrett Williams Jeffrey Earle Stone 

SATURDAY: Maureen Mo Elinzano of Rep. Doris Matsuis office Amazons Mary Kate McCarthy Googles Stephanie GunterCALIFORNIA POLICY IS ALWAYS CHANGING: Know your next move. From Sacramento to Silicon Valley, POLITICO California Pro provides policy professionals with the in-depth reporting and tools they need to get ahead of policy trends and political developments shaping the Golden State. To learn more about the exclusive insight and analysis this subscriber-only service offers,click here.

Want to make an impact? POLITICO California has a variety of solutions available for partners looking to reach and activate the most influential people in the Golden State. Have a petition you want signed? A cause youre promoting? Seeking to increase brand awareness amongst this key audience? Share your message with our influential readers to foster engagement and drive action. Contact Jesse Shapiro to find out how: [email protected].