By Doug Porter
New polling from the Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group indicates increased voter awareness of Assemblywoman Toni Atkins willingness to ease environmental challenges to a proposed publicly subsidized NFL stadium in San Diego may be her Achilles heel.
The September 24-26 survey of a representative sample of 401 likely 39th Senate district primary voters was, according to a summary issued by Hart Research, fully representative of the district by geography, inclusive of variables such as race and partisanship, and has a margin of error of ±5.0 percentage points.
The summary indicated Atkins name recognition and favorability rating are higher among voters on first blush. When voters were presented with positive, similarly long descriptions of both candidates, incumbent Senator Marty Block gained ground. A shorter comparative description mentioning Atkins’s willingness to ease CEQA challenges to the proposed NFL stadium, voter preferences shifted to give Block a 46-to-35 advantage over Atkins.
This new batch of data comes just two weeks after unidentified supporters of Assemblywoman Atkins passed around a poll showing her with a nearly 2-to-1 advantage over Senator Block. The latest report from Hart was also provided with the condition its sponsors remain anonymous.
Neither poll was leaked with cross-tabs or supplemental data, so it’s impossible to say just how much of what’s being claimed is true. It’s October, 2015, and the election is many months away. Most of what’s going on is posturing, so take all this “research” with a big dollop of skepticism.
We Need This Like Another Hole in the Head
The Dem vs Dem contest is highly unusual in California. Atkins says she had a deal with Block dating back to 2012 that he’d allow her to be the nominee for the seat once she was termed out in the Assembly. Block says that isn’t so.
After months of not-so-subtle maneuvering in the background, Atkins went public in mid-September.
From the Los Angeles Times:
Atkins complained that Block “has put me in a position that is really unfair.”
“What is most offensive is, of course, the whisper campaign that makes me out to be some big bully that wants to push him out of his rightful seat,” she said.
Atkins’ leadership role has put her in a strong fund-raising position. She has more than $600,000 in cash on hand in an account for a 2020 Senate run that she can legally put toward this 2016 run. She also has more than $900,000 leftover from her 2014 run, some of which she could use.
Block, who has just under $80,000 in the bank, said he was confident De León and Senate Democrats will help overcome the money gap. In fact, Block said the Senate leader has told him “he’ll do what’s necessary to win this race.”
Dan Walters at the Sacramento Bee delved further into the Senate vs. Assembly split:
The current Senate president pro tem, Kevin de León, is also duty-bound to defend Block, saying, “He deserves to be re-elected and Senate Democrats are resolutely united behind him.”
It’s likely to be a high-dollar race with overtones of gender conflict that will divert millions of dollars from Democratic interest groups, such as unions, that otherwise would be spent on battling Republicans.
Regardless of who prevails, these kinds of political civil wars create personal rifts that can last for decades – as demonstrated by the Democrat-vs.-Democrat clashes during a struggle over the Assembly speakership in 1980.
Oy! Democrats have battles to fight in 2016 and this shouldn’t be one of them. We’re talking about a $3 million contest at the same time as important initiatives (#Fightfor$15) and a battle for control of the San Diego City Council are taking place.
As Mickey Kasparian, president of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, told John Lamb at City Beat:
“Hopefully it works out,” Kasparian said, “but I mean, it could be a bloodbath. I’m hoping it’s not. We don’t need that shit, but it may.”
Getting back to the stadium, the Times of San Diego reports no decisions were made during an NFL owners meeting on Wednesday.
Cheering for Cheerleaders
Former Stanford Cheerleader and now Assemblywomen Lorena Gonzalez has done well by her old avocation.
Earlier this summer Gov. Brown signed legislation she authored recognizing California’s professional cheerleaders as employees who are entitled to minimum wage and overtime.
Yesterday he approved another Gonzalez bill making competition cheerleading a high school sport.
Assembly Bill 949 requires the state Department of Education to develop guidelines, procedures, and safety standards with the California Interscholastic Federation for high school cheerleading no later than July 1, 2017.
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, said high school cheerleading has not enjoyed its own competition system like other high school sports. “Cheer athletes” and their teams are forced to rely on private businesses to run competitions, which can be prohibitively expensive for the athletes and their families, she said.
“For two decades, I have been baffled that young women and men cheerleaders in our high schools are denied the right to officially participate in their chosen sport,” said Gonzalez, who was a cheerleader in high school and at Stanford University.
Gonzalez is now close to using up her quota of mentions in this column for the month. Gov. Brown better hurry up and sign Motor Voter….
Black Workers Matter
A paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research makes the case for just how pervasive racism is in the workplace.
The short version of this research was published yesterday in an Atlantic article, Black Workers Really Do Need to Be Twice as Good:
For decades, black parents have told their children that in order to succeed despite racial discrimination, they need to be “twice as good”: twice as smart, twice as dependable, twice as talented. This advice can be found in everything from literature to television shows, to day-to-day conversation. Now, a new paperfrom the National Bureau of Economic Research shows that when it comes to getting and keeping jobs, that notion might be more than just a platitude.
There’s data that demonstrates the unfortunate reality: Black workers receive extra scrutiny from bosses, which can lead to worse performance reviews, lower wages, and even job loss. The NBER paper, authored by Costas Cavounidis and Kevin Lang, of Boston University, attempts to demonstrate how discrimination factors into company decisions, and creates a feedback loop, resulting in racial gaps in the labor force.
Department of Delusions, Drudge Edition
I guess there must be an alternative universe Republicans only can perceive. It’s the only explanation I can come up for the kind of fantastical tales coming from the right these days.
A case in point would be right-wing aggregater Matt Drudge, who joined radio host Alex Jones <<tin foil alert>> for a rare interview on Tuesday.
Standing in the dark so his face would not appear on the accompanying video, he spoke about his latest conspiracy theory.
From Talking Points Memo:
He said that the Obama administration began referring to the Islamic State as “ISIS” so that the group would be confused with Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), the former chairman of the House Oversight Committee.
“We never heard of ISIS until recently,” Drudge told Jones. “Do you know it was designed to be confused with Darrell Issa?”
According to Drudge, President Obama decided to do that “because Darrell Issa was the enemy at the time of this administration.” He noted that Obama could have been impeached over the IRS scandal, which Issa investigated as chairman.
“They came up with the name ISIS to be confused with Darrell Issa. I’m really being honest with you,” Drudge said.
Department of Delusions, Drug Testing Edition
An integral part of the GOP program to end poverty is to shame poor people. In states like Tennessee every welfare applicant is asked three questions about drug use and if they answer yes to any of the questions, they have to take a drug test.
From Think Progress:
With 55 people testing positive for drugs out of an applicant pool of nearly 30,000, Tennessee’s testing system uncovered that a whopping 0.19 percent of those who applied for aid were drug users. Ultimately, 32 applicants were denied benefits for failing to complete the state’s mandatory drug rehab process for those who test positive.
Tennessee officials say the year of testing cost $11,000, or $200 per failed drug test. But that only accounts for what the state paid to the outside vendor who conducted the actual tests, excluding staff hours that went into processing the new application materials and managing the logistics of testing those who gave an affirmative answer to a screening question.
Seven states that drug test welfare recipients have now spent about $1 million on the tests, according to previous ThinkProgress research. Each state has found drug usage rates among welfare applicants to be far below the national average of 9.4 percent for all Americans.
Department of Delusions, Planned Parenthood Edition
From Joan McCarter at Daily Kos:
There will be a select committee to “investigate” Planned Parenthood after the House voted on Wednesday, 242 to 184, to create a 13-member panel. This after House Oversight Committee Chairman (and would-be Speaker of the House) Rep. Jason Chaffetz admitted that Planned Parenthood had broken no laws. Nonetheless, the resolution creating the committee came to the floor and passed.
During that debate Republicans admitted they have a hard drive with the unedited version of the infamous tapes allegedly targeting Planned Parenthood. And they’re not planning on letting Democrats on the committee to gain possession of the footage, which critics say was selectively edited.
From The Hill:
“Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz has in his possession right now, a computer hard drive that contains videos produced by David Daleiden, the head of the group that tried to entrap Planned Parenthood,” Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) declared from the House floor, interrupting the chamber’s debate on legislation expanding the investigation into Planned Parenthood.
Chaffetz, who is running for House Speaker, received a copy of the videos on Sept. 25, and has since declined to share a copy with the Democrats, according to a Democratic committee aide.
Instead, Chaffetz has said he will set up a “viewing room” for Democratic members and staff to view the videos. Republicans have not yet hosted a screening, the aide said, calling the move a “direct violation” of the Democrats’ recent subpoena of Daleiden’s unedited footage.
NOTE: Due to technical difficulties–our server went down–we’re publishing late today. #Frustrated
On This Day: 1871 – Thirty of the city’s 185 firefighters were injured battling the Great Chicago Fire, which burned for three days. 1956 – New York Yankee Don Larsen pitched the first perfect game in the history of the World Series. 1992 – The Postal Service announced commemorative stamp booklets including Bill Haley, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, Clyde McPhatter, Dinah Washington, and Otis Redding.
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