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Sacramento Report: San Diego Might Side With Trump Over State on Sanctuary

Photo by Sam Hodgson

San Diego County leaders might decide to throw in with the Trump administration in its fight with the state over sanctuary policies.

As VOSD’s Maya Srikrishnan reported this week, San Diego’s all-Republican County Board of Supervisors will discuss in closed session later this month whether to follow Orange County’s lead and get involved in the lawsuit. County supervisors will also discuss whether to get involved in the state of California’s suit against the Trump administration over whether to ask about citizenship on the 2020 census.

Unsurprisingly, San Diego’s Democratic state lawmakers feel differently.

Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins supports state Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s decision to sue over the census question, which she argued will deter immigrants from responding and hurt communities.

Atkins, a San Diego Democrat, issued a joint statement this week with state Sen. Richard Pan, a Sacramento Democrat and chairman of the Senate Select Committee on the Census, opposing the administration’s move.

“Using the Voting Rights Act as a pretense to intimidate immigrants is shamelessly cynical — an undercount will worsen underrepresentation of the very communities that law was meant to protect,” Atkins and Pan said in the statement. “Playing politics with the Census to undermine California is an attack on American ideals.”

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, whose husband Nathan Fletcher is running for a seat on the Board of Supervisors, wrote on Twitter that the supervisors’ move to consider joining the suit “is why we need new leadership at the county.”

Becerra’s suit against the Department of Commerce and U.S. Census Bureau argues the question is illegal and will limit the census’ ability to obtain a complete count of the nation’s population by instilling fear among immigrants.

“California simply has too much to lose to allow the Trump Administration to botch this important decennial obligation,” Becerra said in a statement. “What the Trump Administration is requesting is not just alarming, it is an unconstitutional attempt to disrupt an accurate Census count.”

There may be political implications. Politico reports the state could lose a congressional seat for the first time in its history.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said this week that he chose to include the citizenship question based on the U.S. Justice Department’s request for better enforcement of the Voting Rights Act, which was enacted to protect minorities’ voting rights. Trump officials contend that the citizenship question is not an additional burden for respondents and has been used in other census surveys.

New York and other states also announced plans this week to file lawsuits against the Trump administration over the census addition.

Gloria Wants More Oversight on Law Enforcement and Military Equipment

If San Diego Unified wanted to acquire another armored teddy bear delivery vehicle, it’d need to jump through an extra hoop under a bill being pushed by Assemblyman Todd Gloria.

Gloria’s bill would require all state and local law enforcement agencies to gain approval from local entities before acquiring military-grade equipment.

Back in 2014, the school district acquired a large, expensive mine-resistant armored vehicle but ultimately returned it after being subject to widespread ridicule.

AB 3131 proposes a new process where law enforcement agencies must submit public documents outlining how and why the military equipment would be used, participate in a public hearing and receive majority approval from their local governing body. Examples of the types of military equipment that would be covered by the bill include manned and unmanned aircraft, firearms and ammunition of .50 caliber or greater, explosives and long-range acoustic devices.

“State and local law enforcement are a public safety service, not an occupying force. Militarization is not necessary in order to keep our neighborhoods safe,” Gloria said in a statement. “If law enforcement determines it needs military-caliber equipment, I believe the public has a right to know. Not only will this create more transparency, but I believe it will ultimately help build trust between law enforcement and the people they are sworn to protect.”

Gloria, a San Diego Democrat, is a co-author with Assemblyman David Chiu, a San Francisco Democrat, on the bill.

The proposal comes after President Donald Trump rescinded an order by former President Barack Obama that limited the acquisition of surplus military equipment by local police departments through the Department of Defense’s 1033 program, which allowed surplus military equipment to be donated to local law enforcement agencies.

The bill has been referred to the Assembly’s Standing Committee on Local Government and then the body’s Standing Committee on Public Safety.

Water Supply Concerns Voters

Many Californians are worried about the water supply in their part of the state, which bodes well for a statewide ballot measure facing voters in June.

About 46 percent of adults in Orange and San Diego counties say the water supply is a big problem where they live, according to a poll this month by the Public Policy Institute of California.

That’s lower than the 53 percent of likely California voters who say the water supply is a big issue in their region amid rising drought concerns, the poll found. Similarly, about 66 percent of likely voters say they would vote in favor of a state bond measure for water projects.

Voters will get their chance to weigh in on just such a measure: Prop. 68, which would fund water infrastructure projects statewide, will appear on the June 5 ballot.

And Finally …

Equality California, an LGBTQ civil rights organization, is showing its devotion to inclusion in a strange way: The group endorsed both candidates in the race for the 77th Assembly District, Republican Assemblyman Brian Maienschein, and his Democratic challenger Sunday Gover.

It also endorsed Assemblywoman Catharine Baker, a Republican from Dublin.

The group noted in a statement Thursday the Maienschein and Baker endorsements “represent the first time that incumbent Republican legislators have earned the group’s endorsement” for re-election.

Golden State News

  • In analyzing the U.S. Senate race, George Skelton calls state Sen. Kevin de Leόn “the Energizer bunny” but says “that doesn’t necessarily mean he should oust” Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Former Vice President Joe Biden endorsed Feinstein this week. (Los Angeles Times, The Hill)
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