Good morning and happy Monday! Let’s get right into the news.
TRUMP TO SACRAMENTO
Fresh off a weekend of campaigning in Nevada, President Donald Trump is scheduled to touch down in Sacramento today for a briefing on West Coast wildfires.
He’s expected to meet with Gov. Gavin Newsom at McClellan Park, the business park and former Air Force Base that now houses California’s Office of Emergency Services and hangars for Cal Fire aircraft.
Trump is also hosting a round table, and at least one of the reported experts has a law enforcement background. That’s Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims, a Republican who has met with Trump on past visits to California.
Trump likely will be greeted by some protesters. The Democratic Party of Sacramento County on Sunday put word out that it’s organizing a rally outside McClellan Park this morning.
Over the weekend, Trump’s allies took swings at Newsom over fire policy. following the governor’s visit to Butte County. Newsom bluntly connected the deadly fire season to climate change when he spoke at a news conference on burned-out land.
“We’re in the midst of a climate emergency,” Newsom said. “We’re experiencing what so many people predicted decades ago… I’m exhausted that we have to continue to debate this issue.”
Republicans, including Rep. Doug LaMalfa, countered that the region needed help, “not a lecture.”
“Getting them out of the smoke, into shelter, and extinguishing the fires is my number one priority. The President has extended his support to alleviate our suffering. Mr. Governor, what are you doing?” LaMalfa said in a press release.
Since mid-August, thousands of fires have raged across California, killing 22 and burning more than 3.3 million acres, an area nearly the size of Connecticut.
Most of the fires were sparked by lightning, perpetuated by triple-digit heatwaves and spread by wind through the state’s parched forests, vulnerable and full of tinder after years of drought.
Trump previously visited a fire-stricken California in November 2018 in the wake of the Camp Fire, the state’s deadliest wildfire yet, to meet with Gov.-elect Newsom, then-Gov. Jerry Brown and fire management officials.
During that visit, Trump made his infamous allusion to the “forest nation” of Finland, which he praised for spending “a lot of time raking and cleaning and doing things, and they don’t have any problem.” Prior to his trip, the president blamed California’s wildfires on mismanagement of state forests.
Those comments led to an early backing for Democrat Joe Biden from the president of California’s largest firefighter union, Brian Rice.
Rice of California Professional Firefighters told us last year that Biden called him after Trump’s disparaged the the state’s fire policy. Rice then appeared in ads for Biden leading up to Democratic primaries.
“I received a call from Joe Biden and he said, ‘Brian, thank god for what you and the firefighters are doing,’” Rice recalled when we asked him about. “That’s the difference in leadership. You’ve got a president that wants to create controversy and demonize and go to war with his own states and another leader who sees a disaster for what it is and calls me.”
NOT SO FAST, FLAVORED TOBACCO BAN
Just when you thought SB 793 was in the the rearview mirror…
Gavin Newsom may have signed the bill banning the sale of flavored tobacco into law, but that ban might be put on pause. Opponents of the bill have been cleared by the Attorney General’s Office to begin circulating petitions for a referendum against the law.
Politico noted in its reporting that all three listed proponents of the referendum — Aaron Agenbroad, Jaime Rojas and Beilal Mohamad-Ali Chatila have ties to the tobacco industry.
They have to collect 623,212 signatures by no later than Dec. 10 in order to get the referendum on the ballot, likely in 2022. If they succeed, the law will not go into effect until it is approved by a majority of state voters.
Needless to say, supporters of SB 793 aren’t happy.
“Every day that the tobacco industry stalls this lifesaving law from doing its job, it makes money and California kids suffer,” said Lindsey Freitas, advocacy director for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, in a statement. “We already know Big Tobacco likes to fight dirty and lie to make a buck, but this is truly a new low. We must not allow Big Tobacco to cloud this life-saving victory in smoke.”
SUPPORT FOR PROP 15
Proposition 15, the so-called “split roll initiative” which would see commercial and industrial properties taxed by current market value, is supported by a majority of likely voters, according to a newly released poll from the firm David Binder Research.
The firm found that 54% of likely voters supported the measure after reviewing the official title and summary, while 39% opposed it. The poll also found that 7% of voters are undecided.
The firm surveyed 800 likely November 2020 voters between Aug. 30 and Sept. 1, in both English and Spanish, with surveys conducted by landline, cell phone and online.
“Polling has consistently shown that California voters support Prop. 15 because it closes these corporate tax loopholes to bring resources back into our communities while cutting small business taxes,” said Yes on 15 spokesman Alex Stack in a statement.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Flames came within 500 feet of my home less than two years ago. PLEASE POLITICIZE THIS TRAGEDY, and every fossil fueled fire onward.”
– RL Miller, political director of Climate Hawks Vote, via Twitter.
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