THE BUZZ:It wasnt so long ago that former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and his homelessness agenda were expected to occupy the 2022 campaign spotlight.
The moderate Republican will be on hand this morning when state Sen. Brian Jones unveils legislation to ban camping near schools and other sensitive areas. Its the first time in a while weve seen Faulconer out throwing his weight behind a political project. The event both echoes the growing political support across California for moving unhoused people off the streets, including among Democrats
, and allows one to conjure an alternative political timeline for Faulconer.
Cast your mind back to early 2020: the coronavirus had yet to engulf California, upending the political landscape and ultimately fueling an attempted recall of Gov. Gavin Newsom, and Faulconer was widely perceived as the Republican best positioned to deny Newsom reelection 2022. He was mayor of Californias second-largest city and was floating a statewide ballot initiative
to tackle the homelessness crisis.
Neither of those things happened, of course. The Newsom recall frenzy ended up drawing Faulconer into a statewide run a year earlier than expected, and he placed a distant third among would-be successors after conservative talk show host Larry Elder enthralled the Republican base. Faulconer then bowed out of 2022, lamenting that the recall circus had demolished his chances although GOP donor exhaustion
and Faulconers anemic showing undoubtedly played a role too.
Homelessness was a critical component of Faulconers planned ascent. He was able to boast a rare year-over-year drop during his San Diego stewardship. Faulconer both bolstered shelter and service offerings and got more aggressive on enforcement and sweeps. While critics argued Faulconer only acted meaningfully after a Hepatitis A outbreak and accused him of merely shuffling the problem around, widespread voter dissatisfaction on the issue created an opening to take on Newsom.
Now Newsom is expected to cruise to a win over Republican state Sen. Brian Dahle. Thats not to say Faulconer would have had an easy path in profoundly Democratic California. But voter frustration with homelessness continues to burn hot and to drive the agenda, including in Los Angeles a city whose contentious camping ban offered a model for Jones legislation. Faulconers successor, Democratic Mayor ToddGloria, has penalized unhoused people who dont accept available beds.You can envision how those dynamics may have colored a different gubernatorial matchup.
BUENOS DÍAS, good Friday morning. Californias task force examining reparations for slavery is holding full-day meetings in Los Angeles today and tomorrow. You can get more details here
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QUOTE OF THE DAY: I think if we are going to have a woman governor of California, that she shouldnt be coy in her ambitions. I have found my first four years as lieutenant governor to be a very good training ground for the bigger job. Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis makes clear to CalMatters
shes interested in the top job.
TWEET OF THE DAY
Today’s Tweet of the Day | Twitter
WHERES GAVIN? Back in California and back to signing bills at least for now. Hell be in Texas tomorrow to speak at TribFest.
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Lawsuit claims SMUD illegally gave user data to police, enabling discriminatory pot enforcement
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