Presented by:
Perry Communications Group and The Behavioral Health Action Coalition

Good morning, California.

“It was a very quick turnaround.”— Andy Chou to The Sacramento Bee on being hired as a structural engineer days after attending a Caltrans job fair. Caltrans is on a hiring spree as it rushes to spend gas tax revenue to repair roads before the November initiative that would repeal that tax.


California's part in that FDA e-cig crackdown

California public health ad discouraging teen use of e-cigarettes.

Underage use of e-cigarettes is an “epidemic,” the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned Wednesday, directing San Francisco-based market leader Juul and its competitors to explain how they intend to reduce illegal sales to teenagers. Tough talk at the national level, but California is already there.

  • In fact, decisions by Golden State lawmakers over the past several years may have helped clear the path for tough federal action.

Details: California has treated e-cigarettes like tobacco since at least 2016, banning sales to minors, restricting marketing, taxing the devices the same as tobacco products, and banning vaping in bars, restaurants and other workplaces.

  • In June, San Francisco voters approved a ban on flavored cigarettes that included e-cigarettes.

But pro-industry loopholes California lawmakers chose to resist may have been most important.

  • Sacramento Democratic Sen. Richard Pan, a pediatrician, notes that manufacturers tried but failed to get the Legislature to define e-cigarettes separately from tobacco products.
  • The distinction in a major market such as California would have strengthened arguments against FDA regulation.

Instead, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb on Wednesday gave e-cigarette makers 60 days to deliver plans to restrict access to minors.

Gottlieb: “We see clear signs that youth use of electronic cigarettes has reached an epidemic proportion, and we must adjust certain aspects of our comprehensive strategy to stem this clear and present danger.”

Juul, which controls 65 percent of the e-cigarette market: “We are committed to preventing underage use of our product, and we want to be part of the solution in keeping e-cigarettes out of the hands of young people.”

The California Department of Public Health has long had Juul in its crosshairs. “JUUL: TOBACCO’S LATEST SECRET WEAPON,” reads one of the state’s anti-e-cig ads.  


Strategic. Persuasive. Effective. Working at the intersection of business, politics and policy.

Global Climate Action Summit Day 1

Julie Cart, left, with panelists Fran Pavley, Michael Shaw and V. John White.

Gov. Jerry Brown’s global climate summit opened with dozens of side events scattered across the Bay Area, heading into the main events today and Friday.

CALmatters Laurel Rosenhall visited one in a Sausalito convention center where author and New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman interviewed Sen. Kevin de León, who is challenging U.S. Dianne Feinstein.

Friedman: “Can Trump stop you? Because it struck me: California, in so many ways, is the real opposition party in the country. Not to take anything away from Democrats. But you actually have utility—you can actually do this stuff, not just talk about it.”

De León, basking in Brown’s signing of legislation that will require California to have 100 percent carbon free electricity by 2045: “I didn’t just do this for California. I did it for the rest of the country and the rest of the world.”

CALmatters Julie Cart, meanwhile, convened a side event of experts. Among the panelists was former Sen. Fran Pavley, author of some of the state’s most far-reaching environmental laws.

Pavley: “The technologies made in California have made a difference around the world [and] are probably just as important as some of the policies.”

Carve out some time for our videographer Byrhonda Lyons’ video of the event.


It's time to make behavioral health solutions a top priority in California.

One kind of political payback

Cole Harris, former GOP candidate for lieutenant governor.

Republican Cole Harris, a first-time candidate who spent $2.2 million of his own money only to lose his run for lieutenant governor in June, is learning that politics is a tough business.

Someone—apparently a disgruntled consultant—accessed the site recently and wrote in bold red and black capital letters:

“Cole Harris owes his campaign vendors and employees at least $1.1 million dollars in unpaid bills.”

  • Harris is a Glendale investor who posts Instagram photos of himself with yachts, planes and exotic cars, drinking French wine and wearing Rolex watches. He placed third in the top-two primary in June, despite vastly outspending most of his opponents and gaining the California Republican Party endorsement.

For more on this strange story, click here.

Third party? Don’t hold your breath

State Democratic registration has flatlined, Republicans are sinking, and the share of California voters registering no party affiliation is at an all time high.

But political insiders put the odds at slim to nil that California voters will have a viable third party anytime soon.

  • That consensus is the first to come out of CALmatters’ new California Target Book Insider Track Survey, launched this week to get a better sense of what some of the top campaign consultants, lobbyists, and other Capitol players think about the upcoming election.

In our first post, we asked Target Book subscribers whether voter dissatisfaction will translate into the emergence of a viable third party.

  • The 45 who responded felt that, even in California, the Democratic and Republican lock on political power is here to stay.

For details, plus Target Book publisher Darry Sragow’s analysis for Ben Christopher of CALmatters, click here.

Commentary from CALmatters

Dan Walters: Gov. Jerry Brown is considering whether to sign bills that would make for later middle and high school start times and continue the community colleges’ program to offer baccalaureate degrees. “That both have been controversial tells us something about our priorities.”

Proposition 10: Should California expand rent control?

  • Pro: Occidental professor Peter Dreier writes that “Proposition 10 is the only way to provide communities a tool to temper unreasonable rent increases so that nurses, teachers, seniors, and working families can thrive in their communities.”
  • Con: Apartment owner Ilona Clark says “Proposition 10 will result in a housing freeze, as fewer affordable apartments will be built and others, like ours, will simply exit the rental business.”


Please email or call me with tips, suggestions and insights,, 916.201.6281. Thanks for reading, please tell a friend and sign up here.

See you tomorrow.

Sign up for WaltersWeekly, a Friday newsletter for Dan's four columns each week.

CALmatters is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization and depends on the support of individual members, foundations and sponsors to produce quality journalism. Our donors and sponsors have no influence over our content.
Copyright © 2018 CalMatters, All rights reserved.