How concerned are Democrats in California and across the country about a Republican “red wave” cresting in the Nov. 8 election and clinching the GOP’s control of Congress? I’ll give you three hints: 1. Today, President Joe Biden is set to visit San Diego to campaign for Democratic Rep. Mike Levin, who’s facing a tough […]
2. Also Tuesday, analysts for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report said that 10 Democratic-leaning districts across the country had shifted in the GOP’s direction, including three in California. (CalMatters is tracking nine particularly hot House races in California — follow along here.)
3. And when Gov. Gavin Newsom was asked in a Saturday interview with CBS News if it feels like a red wave is coming, he said simply, “Yeah. Of course it does. … Look, I can be the cheerleader” for Democrats, but “I’m also pragmatic. … You feel it. It’s not just intellectualization based on polling.”
The House races most likely to see upsets may be those in blue states where there aren’t competitive statewide races driving turnout, where Democratic governors are underperforming and where GOP candidates have been able to leverage crime and inflation as campaign issues, Dave Wasserman, U.S. House editor for the Cook Political Report, wrote in a blog post.
At least two of those three conditions apply in California, where the most exciting statewide race may be for the relatively obscure office of controller and where the state GOP has repeatedly hammered Democrats for high gas prices and skyrocketing inflation rates.
Jessica Millan Patterson, chairperson of the California Republican Party, said in a Tuesday statement: “Joe Biden and Gavin Newsom have no greater friends than California Democrats in advancing new taxes and reckless policies that make us increasingly dependent on foreign oil. A vote for a California House Democrat candidate is a vote for handing over more of your hard-earned money to pay for higher gas prices.”
Democrats, meanwhile, continue to attack Republicans for their stance on reproductive rights. In a Wednesday fundraising email, Democrat Jay Chen — who’s seeking to oust GOP Rep. Michelle Steel of Orange County — slammed Steel for signing “an amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade” and for voting “against the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would codify reproductive freedoms into law.”
Time to vote: Find out everything you need to know about voting before California’s election ends Nov. 8 with the CalMatters Voter Guide, which includes information on races, candidates and propositions, as well as videos, interactives and campaign finance data.
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Feinstein poised to achieve major milestone
“It’s an incredible honor to become the longest-serving woman senator in our nation’s history,” U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein said in a statement Wednesday — though she won’t actually reach that milestone until Saturday, the day after her 30-year anniversary of representing California in the Senate. “We went from two women senators when I ran for office in 1992 to 24 today — and I know that number will keep climbing,” Feinstein added. “But we still have work to do. … I will continue to advocate for women’s rights in all aspects of life, I will continue to advocate for more women leaders and I will continue to do all I can to represent the people of California.”
The pandemic added an estimated 36 years to the time it will take for women to earn the same as men in comparable roles, pushing that milestone to 135 years from now.
If all working women and working single mothers earned as much as men in comparable roles, California’s poverty rate would fall about 40%.
During the first year of the pandemic, nearly 62% of mothers with kids under 12 reported handling either the majority or the entirety of extra child care work, compared with 22.4% of fathers.
Bonta goes after plastic bag manufacturers
The plastic bags sold for a small fee at California grocery stores are supposed to be recyclable — but, according to Attorney General Rob Bonta, they almost certainly aren’t. Bonta on Wednesday sent letters to the seven manufacturers who supply California grocery stores with most of their bags, demanding they provide proof the sacks are not only recyclable, but also recyclable in the state as required under a 2014 law. Despite the “chasing arrows” symbol or the words “100% recyclable” printed on many of the totes, “there’s a good chance that most, if not all, these bags are not actually recyclable in California,” Bonta said in a statement.
A key reason why, according to Bonta’s office: Plastic manufacturers “have not made efforts” to establish collection systems, processing infrastructure and markets so the bags can be recycled. “Instead, the placement of these bags in curbside recycling bins interferes with the processing of actual recyclable waste, shutting down recycling equipment and increasing the risk of worker injury,” the office said.
Joshua Baca, vice president of plastics at the American Chemistry Council, told the San Francisco Chronicle: “We continue to strongly disagree with the characterization of our industry by Attorney General Bonta … and are aggressively working so that all plastic packaging that is manufactured is remade into new plastics.” (A new state law requires plastics manufacturers to ensure all single-use packaging and foodware is recyclable, reusable, refillable or compostable by 2032.)
This isn’t Bonta’s first time going after the plastics industry: In April, he launched what he dubbed a “first-of-its-kind” probe into the fossil fuel and petrochemical industries’ alleged role in driving a global crisis in plastic waste pollution, accusing them of “perpetuating a myth that recycling can solve the plastics crisis” when “the vast majority of plastic cannot be recycled.”
California now has 3,500 more megawatts of battery storage than it did in 2020, when the state experienced its first rolling blackouts in nearly two decades. Coordination and communication have also improved among state agencies and state and regional utilities (though there’s still room for progress on that front). New state programs have added resources to address extreme events. And “significant conservation” from commercial and residential electricity customers helped reduce demand.
The grid operator needs to improve coordination between day-ahead and real-time use of batteries, handle some software issues and take steps to more accurately report its energy capacity to regional partners.
Newsom applauded the report, saying in a statement, “This is a success story in how we are facing the challenges created by more extreme weather. … We must continue to prepare ourselves amid intensifying climate impacts. That means continuing to build on what we know works as we move to end our dependence on fossil fuels and accelerate our transition to an affordable, clean and reliable energy future.”
Indeed, a new report from state scientists found that “California is experiencing a climate crisis that is increasingly taking a toll on the health and well-being of its people and on its unique and diverse ecosystems.”
Fossil fuel campaigns are subverting democracy: Oil and gas interests are spending big on local and state ballot measures to dismantle laws that protect Californians and the climate, argues Tomás Rebecchi of Food & Water Watch.