The Steyer bet

Oct 22, 2018

Will billionaire Tom Steyer's big bet on young voters pay off in midterms?


LA Times's CHRISTINE MAI-DUC: "Tom Steyer made his fortune as a hedge fund manager taking risky bets in volatile conditions. In this year’s high-stakes midterm election, the billionaire turned political activist is making another costly wager on one of the most historically unreliable groups of voters: young people."


"Steyer, whose advocacy group NextGen America has pledged $33 million to engage young voters in 11 states — $3.5 million alone in California — insists that his is no quixotic venture. He and others believe that the only hope Democrats have of taking control of Congress is to inspire new and infrequent voters to cast ballots as a check on President Trump."


"Steyer, 61, roamed the Cal State Fullerton campus recently — clipboard in hand, shirt sleeves rolled up. He approached 18-year-old Marina Lieu, who told the graying man in front of her that voting didn’t interest her."


Withered California GOP has little hope in many races


The Chronicle's JOHN WILDERMUTH: "Little known and underfinanced, down-ballot Republicans are struggling for visibility in a state where Democrats hold all the political clout."


"It’s hard to run a winning campaign “when your opponents can spend a virtually unlimited amount of money,” said Republican Steven Bailey, a retired judge challenging appointed Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Nov. 6."


"This isn’t a new problem. A Republican hasn’t been elected to statewide office in California since 2006, when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was re-elected and Steve Poizner won the race for insurance commissioner."


With the midterm campaign in its final weeks, poll signals a Democratic edge for the House and widespread doubts about Kavanaugh


LA Times's DAVID LAUTER: "The last year has seen the enactment of a major tax cut, the first-ever summit between a U.S. president and the leader of North Korea, felony convictions and guilty pleas from two of the president’s former top aides and a bitterly fought battle over confirmation of a Supreme Court justice."


"None fundamentally changed the overall race for control of Congress."


Dianne Feinstein, Kevin de León race to represent California in the US Senate


Daily Californian's JENNY WENG: "In the California race for U.S. Senate, incumbent Dianne Feinstein and California state Sen. Kevin de León are rallying voter support for the upcoming November election."


"At a panel discussion hosted by the Public Policy Institute of California, or PPIC, last Wednesday, the candidates agreed on many issues – including gun regulations, universal health care, immigration reform and addressing allegations against Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh."


"Feinstein has served as a U.S. senator from California since 1992 and has served on numerous committees, such as the Judiciary Subcommittee on Border Security and Immigration."


No front license plate? Fix it or face a heavy fine


OC Register's DAVID WHITING: "In case you like to pretend you didn’t know that a front license plate is required by law in the Golden State, guess what? Your scam is over."


"My buddies in blue assure me they will enforce the law and, according to car chasing attorneys, it can cost you nearly $200 in fines and close to $1,000 in insurance hikes and penalties."


"I realize that some people don’t want to disfigure their amazingly cool front grille with something as silly as a license plate. Well, boo-hoo."


'Progressive no matter what': Barbara Lee, Laura Wells vie for 13th Congressional District seat


Daily Californian's MALINI RAMAIYER: "While the colors of U.S. politics are traditionally portrayed as blue and red, the November ballot for California’s 13th congressional district seat will show a different color palette."


"East Bay voters must choose between blue and green, as the ballot lists both incumbent Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, and Green Party activist Laura Wells. Both candidates’ platforms include education reform, health care accessibility and addressing class inequality."


"You’re going to get a progressive no matter what,” Wells said. “There’s no going wrong in voting Laura Wells. The benefit in voting for me is saying that you’re sick of the status quo."


Think you're seeing a lot of campaign ads? + California's next superintendent debated


Sacramento Bee's BRYAN ANDERSON: "You’d think California would be a hotbed for political ads leading up to the Nov. 6 election. It is the most populous state in the country, and there are several competitive U.S. House races that could determine if Democrats regain control of the U.S. House."


"But a new analysis from the Wesleyan Media Project shows the state airing fewer television ads by comparison."


"Between Sept. 18 and Oct. 15, California residents saw 4,798 ad airings in the governor’s race — just the 18th highest in the country. Florida aired 33,761 ads, followed by 23,551 in Ohio, 18,571 in Wisconsin, 18,362 in Illinois and 15,355 in Michigan."


Motor Voter lives on at DMV, but California adds extra review to prevent registration errors


Sacramento Bee's BRYAN ANDERSON: "With the midterm elections quickly approaching, California officials are taking extra steps to prevent people from being improperly registered to vote."


"The Department of Motor Vehicles, which has been automatically registering customers since the spring, will now complete a manual review of a sample of those registrations each day before sharing them with the Secretary of State’s Office to be added to the voter rolls."


"California’s Motor Voter program came under fire in recent months after thousands of registration errors occurred when customers came to DMV field offices. Non-citizens are among those believed to have been wrongfully added to the voter rolls, and it remains unclear whether any of them voted in the June primary."


Is there interference in the 2018 midterm elections?


AP: "When the Justice Department unsealed criminal charges last week detailing a years-long effort by a Russian troll farm to "sow division and discord in the U.S. political system," it was the first federal case alleging continued foreign interference in U.S. elections."


"At the same time, American intelligence officials released a rare public statement asserting that Russia, China, Iran and other countries are engaged in ongoing efforts to influence U.S. policy and voters in future elections."


"The statement didn't provide details. That stood in contrast with the criminal charges, which provided a narrative of Russian activities. Previous criminal cases have also outlined Russian activities."


#MeToo scandal becomes election strategy for California Republicans


Sacramento Bee's ALEXEI KOSEFF: "Following a tumultuous year at the California Capitol during which half a dozen lawmakers were publicly accused of sexual misconduct, several Republican challengers in legislative districts are using Sacramento’s #MeToo moment as a campaign issue to attack their Democratic opponents."


"In Riverside, Bill Essayli is airing a television ad that slams Assemblywoman Sabrina Cervantes for accepting campaign contributions from colleagues reprimanded for sexual harassment. Alexandria Coronado, running in Orange County, makes a similar critique on a website highlighting Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva’s “scary record on sex crimes.” And in suburban Sacramento, Melinda Avey has repeatedly denounced Assemblyman Ken Cooley on her website and social media for blocking a bill to open up legislative investigation records."


"These candidates have widely varying odds of victory. Essayli is Republicans’ best opportunity to pick up a seat in the Legislature this November, in a district traditionally held by the GOP that Cervantes narrowly won in 2016, while Avey has raised less than a tenth of what Cooley has so far this year."


Colorado River crisis demands focus on farm conservation programs


Water Deeply's HANNAH HOLM: "IF IT HADN’T been for the salt in the soils beneath his farm near Hotchkiss, Colorado, Tom Kay likely would not have been able to fully irrigate his corn field this past summer. Because he has salty soils, Kay was able to get government assistance to replace an old flood irrigation system with a center-pivot sprinkler system several years ago."


"Sprinklers place water more precisely where the crop needs it, so less water soaks below the root zone or runs off the fields. That means less salt from the soil gets carried into the Gunnison River and, subsequently, the Colorado River. Salty irrigation water causes crop losses downstream, which is why government money is available to do things like help Kay buy sprinklers."


"Since 1974, the Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Program has spent tens of millions of dollars each year to reduce salt levels in the Colorado River. It has succeeded in dropping salt levels enough to lower annual economic damages from salt loading by about 38 percent, although damages are still estimated to exceed $350 million."


Ragged, growing caravan of migrants resumes march toward US


AP's MARK STEVENSON: "A growing caravan of Honduran migrants streamed through southern Mexico on Sunday heading toward the United States, after making an end-run around Mexican agents who briefly blocked them at the Guatemalan border."


"They received help at every turn from sympathetic Mexicans who offered food, water and clothing. Hundreds of locals driving pickups, vans and cargo trucks stopped to let them clamber aboard."


"Besi Jaqueline Lopez of the Honduran city of San Pedro Sula carried a stuffed polar bear in a winter cap that seemed out of place in the tropical heat. It's the favorite — and only — toy of her two daughters, 4-year-old Victoria and 3-year-old Elisabeth, who trudged beside her gleaming with sweat."


READ MORE related to Immigration: 11 things you need to know to cross the US-Mexico border -- The Chronicle's SPUD HILTON


Prop. C on SF ballot would tap biggest businesses to raise millions for homeless


The Chronicle's KEVIN FAGAN/DOMINIC FRACASSA: "Oscar Louis Williamson has been living in a graffiti-splattered van in San Francisco ever since he was priced out of his apartment 15 years ago. At 68, he could move somewhere else, he said, but the city has been his home for 40 years, and he’s been hoping that someday he’d get some help with housing."


"That someday may finally come, he said, if Proposition C passes on Nov. 6."


"Opponents of the measure, which would tax the city’s biggest businesses to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for homeless programs, say officials ought to do a better job of allocating the money already earmarked for homeless services. They also say the tax would drive jobs out of San Francisco and hurt the city’s thriving economy."


Four communities in California turn to voters to help fund children's programs


EdSource's ZAIDEE STAVELY: "In the face of compelling research showing the importance of providing services for children before they reach kindergarten, four communities in California are going to voters to ask them for special funding to underwrite a range of early education programs."


"The measures that seek new funding streams for early childhood are in Oakland, nearby Richmond, tiny Capitola, on the Santa Cruz coast, and San Joaquin County in California’s Central Valley. Some of the funds from the measures would also be used for programs serving older children."


"If passed, these measures would serve a tiny fraction of the state’s youngest children. A just-released study by Sean Reardon at Stanford University and several other researchers showed that children from low-income families arrive in kindergarten substantially behind their peers academically nationwide — and the gap is very hard to make up by the time they reach 8th grade."


READ MORE related to Education: 3 UC Berkeley professors elected to National Academy of Medicine -- Daily Californian's CLARA RODAS


BART custodians learning new techniques to clean blood, urine, 'hot lunches'


The Chronicle's RACHEL SWAN: "Sixteen custodians stood in a semicircle on the concourse of BART’s 19th Street/Oakland Station, staring at something brown and clumpy on the tiled floor."


"This time, it was just peanut butter."


"So you spray it with this disinfectant here,” said their instructor, W. Marion Ivey, a soft-spoken man in a navy blue polo who traveled from Portland, Ore., to teach the class that Thursday. He handed one student a squirt bottle filled with cleaning solution to start the demonstration."


READ MORE related to Transportation: Uber, Airbnb could make gig workers par t-owners -- if SEC gives OK -- The Chronicle's CAROLYN SAID


'One of the greatest' or missed opportunities? California influencers assess Jerry Brown


DAN SCHNUR in a Special to the Bee: "It was just 2,286 weeks ago that Jerry Brown was first elected governor of California."


"Californians will soon elect a new leader and say goodbye to Brown, who will have served an unprecedented 16 years since 1975."


"The Sacramento Bee’s California Influencers praised the Democrat’s fiscal restraint and dedication to the environment. But they said he missed opportunities to ease the housing crisis, reduce poverty and rein in California’s public pension liability."

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