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Sacramento Report: With Anderson Incident, Board of Equalization Race Just Got Even Weirder

State Sen. Joel Anderson / Photo courtesy of Joel Anderson

Republican state Sen. Joel Anderson’s recent altercation with a female lobbyist [1] is certainly not good news for his bid for the state Board of Equalization [2], but Anderson’s opponent in that race has his own troubling history.

Democratic leaders want nothing to do with Mike Schaefer, a former San Diego city councilman who was indicted – and later acquitted – as part of a Yellow Cab bribery scandal [3] in 1970. The following decade, the Los Angeles Times called him “one of California’s most notorious slumlords [4].” More recently, he was disbarred in Nevada and hit with a restraining order by the brother [5] from “Everybody Loves Raymond.”

Schaefer’s now representing the Democratic Party in an election that spans all of San Diego, Orange and Riverside counties [6] and part of San Bernardino County.

He credited his second-place finish in the June primary to a well-written candidate statement and a disinterested public.

“I don’t think anybody knows or cares about the Board of Equalization,” he said.

He estimated that he’s sent about 80 letters to Democratic donors in recent weeks and got no responses.

Jesse Marx

Gloria Bill Paves Way for Homeless Shelter … in 2038

E-Z 8 Motel
Assemblyman Todd Gloria is pushing a bill that could allow the city to convert what’s now the E-Z 8 Motel in Old Town into a homeless shelter in 20 years. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

Assemblyman Todd Gloria is pushing a bill to provide more shelter for homeless San Diegans – in 20 years.

Gloria’s AB 3061 paves the way for the city to lease the EZ-8 Motel in Old Town from Caltrans for $1 a month and convert it into a homeless shelter when the state agency’s lease with the hotel is up in 2038.

That wasn’t the initial game plan.

Gloria introduced the bill earlier this year after homeless-serving nonprofit Father Joe’s Villages sought help securing a lease with Caltrans, which owns the property. The nonprofit envisioned immediately taking over the motel’s lease and opening a 127-unit permanent housing facility for formerly homeless people. The nonprofit thought it might need legislative action to make it happen. Father Joe’s later scrapped that plan after it learned another state law [7] could allow Caltrans to later take back the property, making a permanent housing project infeasible.

Nick Serrano, a spokesman for Gloria, said the assemblyman decided to stick with the bill and worked with the city to ensure it could take on the property come 2038 when the current lease expires.

“Ultimately, our objective is to (and has been) about providing resources and infrastructure to help deal with homelessness at the local level and this bill does that,” Serrano wrote in an email.

Greg Block, a spokesman for Mayor Kevin Faulconer, said city officials expect to lease the property and contract with a provider.

All bills must pass through the Legislature by Aug. 31.

Lisa Halverstadt

Maienschein Has a Race on His Hands

State and local Democrats are quietly investing in the 77th Assembly District this summer. They’re convinced that changing demographics and President Donald Trump’s dominance over the GOP make Republican Assemblyman Brian Maienschein vulnerable [8].

Seemingly every big-name liberal has offered an endorsement, including Sens Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom. But some of Sunday Gover’s would-be colleagues from San Diego have held out, including Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, and Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez.

Atkins and Maienschein served together on the San Diego City Council and she’s been reluctant to oppose him, Democratic operatives say, because he occasionally comes through on key pieces of legislation – like last year’s SB 2, a measure Atkins wrote to help fund more affordable housing construction.

Earlier this week, San Diego County Democratic Party Vice Chair Melinda Vasquez, who challenged Maienschein in 2016, told me that she struggled to raise money because of an unwillingness among state leaders to challenge Maienschein. She remembered being told that “Brian was a good Republican” and “we don’t want to upset him.”

“He’s able to show up for you on a couple of occasions, but you could get somebody who shows up for you all the time. Which one do you want?” Vasquez said.

Atkins’ campaign consultants did not return multiple requests for comment.

Jesse Marx

Now Playing: Billz 2 Lawz

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a new batch of bills into law this week, including:

The Bills Brown’s Considering

These are among the many bills that got final approval by the Legislature this week and are now awaiting a decision by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Golden State News