Sacramento Bee: Trump wants to clear trees to stop wildfires. Experts say the Feds must spend more
When it comes to wildfires, California is “not on the side of nature,” Gov. Jerry Brown acknowledged in an Aug. 1 press conference. “We’re fighting nature.”
There are, however, things people can do to mitigate the risk of forest fires, which are growing ever longer and more destructive in the West thanks to high temperatures, drought and invasive species. After years of neglect, California’s government is now stepping up efforts to do just that.
The federal government, however, is not moving with the same sense of urgency.
Over the weekend, President Trump tweeted that California’s multiplying wildfires are “being magnified & made so much worse by the bad environmental laws...“Must also tree clear to stop fire spreading!”
There’s just one problem. The Trump administration’s own budget request for the current fiscal year and the coming one proposed slashing tens of millions of dollars from the Department of Interior and U.S. Forest Service budgets dedicated to the kind of tree clearing and other forest management work experts say is needed. And it’s just one example of how the federal government is still not prioritizing fire mitigation to the scale that is needed, according to forestry experts.
LA Daily News: Democrat Delgado leading LA-area State Senate special election
Democrat Vanessa Delgado appears to have defeated Republican Rita Topalian in a close race in a special election Tuesday for a California Senate seat left vacant after a sexual-harassment scandal last winter.
Delgado, the mayor of Montebello, had 51.7 percent, and Topalian, an attorney from Whittier, had 48.3 percent — a difference of 1,572 votes — with all precincts reporting but some votes still uncounted in state Senate District 32.
It has been a weird, confusing race in the district that covers parts of Los Angeles and Orange counties, including the cities of Artesia, Whittier, Pico Rivera, Downey, Norwalk and Buena Park.
The winner will serve until December, completing the term of Tony Mendoza, the veteran lawmaker who resigned in February as his Senate colleagues prepared to vote on whether to expel him. An investigation had found Mendoza engaged in “a pattern of unwelcome flirtation and sexually suggestive behavior” toward female colleagues and staffers as young as 19.
The Senate district’s representative for the next full, four-year term won’t be chosen until Nov. 6 in an election between Topalian, a Whittier resident, and Bob Archuleta, a Democratic city councilman from Pico Rivera.
The Hill: Dems seek GOP wipeout in California
The shared work space in a suburban office park just across the street from the University of California Irvine bustles with young employees walking between glass-walled conference rooms with purpose.
Some work for tech startups, like a virtual photo booth company. Others work for a gum ball machine distributor.
And still others work for another new type of startup that Orange County hasn't seen in recent years: A serious and professionally run Democratic congressional campaign.
For generations, Orange County has been the bastion of Western conservatism, the foundation on which Republicans such as Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and Pete Wilson built their statewide campaigns. As recently as 2000, the Republican presidential nominee, George W. Bush, spent precious time campaigning here.
But after Hillary Clinton became the first Democrat to win Orange County since Franklin Roosevelt, Democrats now believe several congressional seats in the Los Angeles suburbs and exurbs are critical to their hopes of reclaiming the House of Representatives this November.
They just have to learn how to run a campaign here, in districts where the party has not been seriously competitive for decades — and how to overcome roadblocks Republicans have erected in the lead-up to the midterm elections.
Los Angeles Times: Recalled Sen. Josh Newman 'more than open' to running for the seat again in 2020
A few months after state Sen. Josh Newman was recalled from office by voters, the Fullerton Democrat has scheduled a political fundraiser to collect money for a possible 2020 campaign to reclaim the seat.
In an invitation posted on a new website, bringbacknewman.com, the ousted senator invites supporters to an Aug. 22 fundraiser at the Sacramento Masonic Temple.
“Josh Newman, everybody’s favorite recently recalled Senator, may be out — for now — but he’s not down,” the invitation reads. “Got a little extra dough to help retire the Recall debt and pave the way for 2020? We’ll take it!”
Newman, who was targeted for recall by GOP leaders over his vote to raise the gas tax, said in an interview that the fundraiser is being held to replenish his committee to run for reelection in 2020, which he had formed before the recall. It loaned $260,000 to a separate Newman committee that fought the recall.
“I am more than open to the prospect of putting my hat in the ring to do it again,” Newman said. “I am strongly considering it. Apart from my vote as one of 81 [legislators] who voted for SB 1, I was otherwise acknowledged as being a very good, capable, responsive state senator. I truly liked that part of the job.”
Politico: Trump blows up GOP's formula for winning House races
The vote breakdown in Ohio’s special election this week amplified a trend that's been building in the suburbs during the Trump era — and illustrated how the traditional Republican path to victory has been upended in key congressional districts.
Deep suburban antipathy toward President Donald Trump has turned the old GOP electoral coalition inside-out in many areas in 2017 and 2018 — like Ohio’s 12th District, which for two decades sent former Rep. Pat Tiberi to Congress on the back of his popularity in the Columbus suburbs. His anointed successor, Republican Troy Balderson, took a different path to a small special-election lead, instead building on Trump’s rural strength while Democrat Danny O'Connor cut deeply into Tiberi’s old base.
In Columbus’ Franklin County, where Tiberi regularly received more than 55 percent support, O’Connor held Balderson to just one-third of the special election vote. In Delaware County — a wealthier, whiter bedroom community to the north — Balderson scraped together a majority where Tiberi used to win 70-plus percent. But the further Balderson got from the city, the better he performed compared to Tiberi’s baselines, taking up to 71 percent of the vote in further-flung counties.
It’s a shift that was underway before Trump arrived on the political scene — but the president accelerated it. In 2016, Tiberi and some other Republicans even combined their traditional suburban power with growing rural strength on Trump’s ticket. But that combination has proven unattainable in elections during the president’s tumultuous first term, and Republicans across the country will have to confront the full force of that change in the November elections.
New York Times: Opinion: Why the Midterms Won't Be Won By Playing to the Base
Most strategists and analysts say this November’s midterms will be determined by turnout. According to this view, whichever party more fully energizes its partisans will come out on top. New data, though, shows this common wisdom has it exactly backward. It’s the voters who sit between the two parties, not the party bases, who will choose which party wins.
That’s a surprising finding from the most recent Democracy Fund Voter Study Group poll. This biannual poll, which asks thousands of Americans their views on issues, personalities and voting intentions, has been querying the same people going back to 2011 (in the polling world, this is known as a longitudinal survey). That means it is large enough and has the right sort of questions to do what most polls can’t: report accurately on small groups within the overall electorate.
Two of these groups are of vital import: “Romney-Clinton” voters and “Obama-Trump” voters. Each consists of people who changed which party’s nominee they voted for from 2012 to 2016. Where they go will determine who wins because they are strategically placed in most of the target House and Senate races up for grabs this fall.
“Romney-Clinton” voters are generally the sort of highly educated, affluent, more moderate voters who disapprove of Donald Trump. The most recent Voter Survey shows Mr. Trump had less than a 20 percent job approval rating among them; nearly 70 percent of these formerly Republican voters disapprove of his job performance. And they are taking this dislike with them to the voting booth. Forty-three percent say they will vote for Democrats this fall; only about 20 percent intend to back Republicans.