California election heats up, confusion reigns – CalMatters

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With California’s June 7 primary election just two weeks away, political campaigns are intensifying — and getting more confusing. 
Take this mailer circulating in Southern California, which reads, “We all want to protect the environment, increase recycling and reduce plastic waste, but adding billions of dollars in higher costs on the backs of working families is the wrong way to do it.”
The flier was mailed to constituents of at least five Democratic state lawmakers, and appears to be pushing them to support a legislative alternative to a measure eligible for the November ballot that would, among other things, require reductions in plastic waste and tax producers of single-use plastics, the Los Angeles Times reports. (Another ballot measure was avoided Monday, when Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill to reform California’s medical malpractice system.)
But the mailer doesn’t explicitly mention either the bill or the ballot measure.
Adding to voter confusion, this effort and many like it are funded by “independent expenditure” committees, or IEs, which often sport names so vague as to possibly be misleading.
And that’s where things get really confusing, CalMatters’ Ben Christopher reports: Many of these groups are focused less on supporting the candidate of their choice than on tearing down that person’s opponent — or, paradoxically, lifting up an opponent they believe their preferred candidate has a better chance of defeating in the November general election.
In other election-adjacent news:
The coronavirus bottom line: As of Thursday, California had 8,797,890 confirmed cases (+0.5% from previous day) and 90,382 deaths (+0.2% from previous day), according to state data now updated just twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays. CalMatters is also tracking coronavirus hospitalizations by county.
California has administered 75,709,724 vaccine doses, and 75.2% of eligible Californians are fully vaccinated.
From CalMatters water reporter Rachel Becker: California could enact mandatory statewide water restrictions if local conservation efforts don’t produce the desired results, Newsom warned some of the state’s biggest water suppliers — including the powerful Metropolitan Water District and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power — in a Monday meeting.
California’s economy could see a net loss of nearly 40,000 jobs by 2040 if the state follows through on its proposal to phase out new gas-powered cars by 2035, according to estimates from the California Air Resources Board. No single workforce would be hit harder than auto mechanics, a profession that could lose more than half of its nearly 61,000 jobs statewide if the mandate goes into effect, CalMatters’ Nadia Lopez reports. Electric vehicles need far less maintenance and repair than gas-powered cars, and any fixes would require knowledge in complex areas like electrical engineering — training that could be difficult to afford or access for mechanics who are undocumented, low-income or who lack a college degree.
California’s longstanding debate over police reform and public safety escalated on Monday, when Mayor London Breed announced that she won’t participate in San Francisco’s upcoming Pride Parade due to a policy banning law enforcement officers from marching in uniform. In sitting out the event, the mayor joins the San Francisco Police Officers Pride Alliance and LGBTQ+ members of the fire and sheriff’s departments, who said in a Monday statement: “The board of SF Pride offered only one option: that LGBTQ+ peace officers hang up their uniforms, put them back in the closet, and march in civilian attire. … For LGBTQ+ officers, this brings us back to a time when we had to hide at work that we were LGBTQ+. Now they ask us to hide the fact of where we work.”
CalMatters columnist Dan Walters: Progressive Democrats are vying with the “mod squad” for power in the California Legislature.
California needs to put its money where its mouth is on public transit: Unless Newsom and lawmakers address flaws in the way the state plans for and develops public transit and rail projects, California’s ambitious climate-related goals cannot be realized, argues Jeff Morales, former CEO of the California High-Speed Rail Authority.
Sacramento prosecutors seek death penalty in Land Park slaying. // Sacramento Bee
California parents could soon sue for social media addiction. // Associated Press
California Assembly passes bill to shield against Texas-style abortion laws. // Associated Press
Editorial: Sure, reduce pot taxes. But California needs bigger fixes to its broken marijuana market. // Los Angeles Times
You can cuss, but please don’t clap: The perils of managing public discourse. // San Diego Union-Tribune
Peninsula official likened YIMBYs to Nazis, then deleted her Twitter account. // San Francisco Chronicle
Even Apple’s millions couldn’t pull them out of homelessness. // Mercury News
Stinson Beach, Bolinas could be impacted if Marin County temporarily bans short-term rentals. // San Francisco Chronicle
A customer threw her drink at a S.F. restaurant employee over 25 cents. It’s not an isolated incident. // San Francisco Chronicle
TaskRabbit to close all office locations, including S.F. headquarters, as it moves to remote work model. // San Francisco Chronicle
Study: Cal State system needs to increase staff pay. // EdSource
A billionaire’s gift expands reach of ‘unapologetic’ Oakland parent’s group. // The 74 Million
Gun violence costs Santa Clara County $72 million, according to public health report. // Mercury News
A 17-year-old San Jose boy died by suicide hours after being scammed. The FBI says it’s part of a troubling increase in ‘sextortion’ cases. // CNN
Is 2022 L.A.’s most expensive mayor’s race ever? Yes and no. // Crosstown
Biden administration races to salvage Summit of Americas in Los Angeles. // Los Angeles Times
Who killed California’s high-speed rail? There are many suspects. // San Francisco Chronicle
Why electric cars are cheaper to own in New Jersey than California. // Bloomberg
Health concerns raised over toxicity of gas used at 5 Southern California facilities. // Orange County Register
PG&E is beginning to bury its electrical power lines to prevent wildfire. // Mercury News
Tensions rise as drought worsens and heat surges across California. // Washington Post
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