KAMALA’s CALIFORNIA fate — NEWSOM: WHITE HOUSE vs. CA worse than UKRAINE scandal — ‘TRUMP insurance’ vetoed — FEINSTEIN wants EPA probe


THE BUZZ: Much has changed for the Kamala Harris campaign in the eight months between an ebullient Oakland launch and yesterday’s opening, a few miles away, of the campaign’s first California office.

“Those of you who were there” at the launch, “we are counting on you to remember” that campaign-opening surge of energy, Oakland City Councilwoman Lynette Gibson McElhaney told the crowd — evoking a moment of maximum hopefulness that’s since dissipated.

Amid an ensuing rough patch, yesterday’s Oakland lovefest conjured a strategic imperative for Harris: A strong showing in California is vital to her presidential hopes — not just so she can claim a sizable share of our large delegate pool, but also as a demonstration of viability. It’s hard to think of a more dire indicator of a terminally ill campaign than defeat in her home state. Team Harris has long been laying the groundwork by staffing up a robust in-state operation and rolling out a cascade of California elected official endorsements.

“California, we moved up our primary. California, we’re going to have early voting at the same time as the Iowa caucuses. That’s a really big deal,” Harris told the crowd. Pressed by reporters later on her California polling slide, Harris noted she came from behind in her last campaigns; she didn’t quite answer whether she has a path that doesn’t involve at least a California plurality.

The latest in-state polling is grim, with Harris mired in the single digits and trailing multiple out-of-state rivals. The ascendant Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) bested Harris by 20 points — this as Warren’s team put out a strategy memo saying they plan to plow resources into California, “where Democrats won a whole bunch of House seats in 2018 in close elections that we’ll need to defend.”

And Sen. Bernie Sanders, who also led Harris by double digits, is making an aggressive effort to win California. His 20-plus staffing operation rivals the Harris campaign, and his camp is planning to launch an East Los Angeles field office — one of five in California — this week. Former Veep Joe Biden will be in San Francisco this week, right on the heels of his Los Angeles sojourn last week and Jill Biden’s weekend Bay Area swing.

SPEAKING OF FUNDRAISING: Today is the third quarter deadline, which means soon we’ll get some helpful metrics for where campaigns stand. We’ll be keeping a close eye on the California breakdown, keeping in mind that last quarter Harris raised less in-state cash than South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg — who also has some end-of-quarter California fundraisers on the schedule and was in West Sacramento on Sunday. Meanwhile, Harris got time with USWNT soccer star and California native Megan Rapinoe at an event in Seattle.

BUENOS DIAS, good Monday morning. Congrats to the Oakland Athletics for sealing a playoff spot. We’d love to see them meet that Dodgers juggernaut in the World Series, though Jeremy would prefer Anthony Rendon’s team (no, not the Assembly Speaker).

— QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Honestly, it makes Ukraine look sort of small in comparison.” Gov. Gavin Newsom on Donald Trump targeting California.

TWEET OF THE DAY: @KamalaHarris on being featured on Saturday Night Live: “That girl being played by @MayaRudolph on @nbcsnl? That girl was me.” Here’s that sketch.

— WHERE’S GAVIN? Nothing official announced.

— “Newsom: Ukraine scandal ‘small ball’ compared to Trump’s treatment of California,” by POLITICO’s Mackenzie Mays: “‘The issues of the president of the United States attacking a state and its people in this country in such rank and gross political terms, it is without precedent and completely unlawful.’”

DEEP DIVE: “Did Republicans Lose Orange County for Good?” by POLITICO Magazine’s Andrew Desiderio.

— “It took two years to arrest Democratic donor Ed Buck despite shocking allegations, red flags. Why?” by the LA Times’ James Queally, Richard Winton and Hailey Branson-Potts.

STAY AWAY: “For this Idaho candidate, the enemy is California exodus,” by the Merc’s Louis Hansen: “Wayne Richey, candidate for mayor in Boise, Idaho, wants to save his native city from an invasive species — Californians.”

GOT NEWS, TIPS? Hit us up via Twitter @cmarinucci, @jeremybwhite or @alexdrnieves, or via email: cmarinucci@politico.com, jwhite@politico.com, anieves@politico.com.

FIGHTING BACK: “Feinstein seeks IG probe of EPA threat,” by POLITICO’s Alex Guillén: “Sen. Dianne Feinstein asked EPA’s inspector general to review the agency’s letter earlier this week threatening to withhold highway funding over outstanding air quality issues in California.”

— “EPA cancels meeting with California after a week of clashes,” by the LATimes’ Anna M. Phillips: “In an email exchange that California’s Environmental Protection Agency shared with The Times, federal EPA employee Charles Lee wrote to state officials just hours after the agency sent California the second of two threatening letters about its environmental oversight.”

DAMMING REPORT: “The Interior Secretary Wants to Enlarge a Dam. An Old Lobbying Client Would Benefit,” by the NYTimes’ Coral Davenport: “For years, the Interior Department resisted proposals to raise the height of its towering Shasta Dam in Northern California…the project is going forward now, in a big win for a powerful consortium of California farmers that stands to profit substantially by gaining access to more irrigation water from a higher dam and has been trying to get the project approved for more than a decade.

— “Maxine Waters Says Mike Pence And The Attorney General Were Involved In The Ukraine ‘Conspiracy,’” by BuzzFeed’s Sarah Mimms and Kadia Goba.

REBUKED: “Federal judge won’t allow Trump to expand family detention,” by POLITICO’s Ted Hesson: “Los Angeles-based U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee ruled that the regulation— set to take effect Oct. 22 — violated the terms of the so-called Flores settlement agreement, according to Peter Schey, an attorney representing plaintiffs in a related lawsuit.”

— “House Intel to work through recess on impeachment inquiry,” by POLITICO’s Andrew Desiderio, Heather Caygle and Sarah Ferris: “‘“We’re going to be trying to schedule hearings, witness interviews, we’ll be working on subpoenas and document requests. We’ll be busy,’” Rep. Adam Schiff told POLITICO.

— “Trump declares war on Schiff,” by POLITICO’s Quint Forgey.

— “Trump campaign launches anti-impeachment blitz on Facebook, repeating falsehoods about four minority congresswomen,” by WaPo’s Isaac Stanley-Becker and Tony Romm: “The ads falsely accused the freshman lawmakers of making ‘pro-terrorist remarks,’ which they have not done, and pressed supporters to join Trump’s ‘official impeachment defense fund,’ which he has also promoted in fundraising appeals sent by email and text message.”

STEYER THE FOIL: Team Harris came out swinging yesterday against wealthy California candidate Tom Steyer, who has caught flack from fellow Democrats for throwing his considerable fortune around. “One candidate — billionaire hedge fund manager Tom Steyer — has spent the overwhelming majority of” TV money so far, a campaign missive read, warning that “80% of the TV ads in this race have come from one candidate trying to buy this primary” and urging Harris supporters to fight back with their wallets.

— “Democratic Presidential Candidates Compete to March to California’s Drum,” by WSJ’s Alejandro Lazo and Emily Glazer: “Inserting themselves into California politics could reap benefits for Democratic candidates as they compete for the state’s nearly 500 convention delegates in its primary that will be held on March 3, Super Tuesday, more than three months earlier than in 2016.”

ONE NIGHT ONLY: “October Democratic debate will be on one night,” by POLITICO’s Zach Montellaro.

OC SPECIAL: “Abolish ICE? For Orange County’s Democrats, the question is risky,” by the OC Register’s Roxana Kopetman: “A resolution to seek the end of ICE was proposed to the Democratic Party of Orange County Central Committee Monday, Sept. 23, in Orange. Instead, worried that Republicans will use the ‘abolish ICE’ language as a political weapon against Democratic candidates, party leaders voted to soften their stance, calling only for reforms to the agency.”

Back Home, House Democrats Tread Carefully on Impeachment and 2020,” by the NYTimes’ Jonathan Martin and Catie Edmondson: “On Saturday night, as three of the victorious Democrats were honored at an annual political dinner, a new battle was on everyone’s minds: How to protect those gains in 2020 by selling voters on the impeachment inquiry of President Trump.”

— “Newsom vetoes ‘Trump insurance’ bill,” by POLITICO Pro’s Debra Kahn: “Newsom echoed his earlier comments in his veto message, touting the state’s defensive maneuvers against the Trump administration that now total 60-plus lawsuits.”

— “No more ‘cowboys and Indians’: Newsom wants Californians to learn Native American history,” by the Sac Bee’s Hannah Wiley: “He did not expand on whether the collection of history would be incorporated in textbooks or whether he’s pushing legislation to reevaluate how students are taught the Native American history.”

— “How a Landmark Plastics Recycling Bill Fell Apart at the Last Moment,” by KQED’s Kevin Stark: “Last-minute language inserted into a measure that would have made manufacturers responsible for the recyclability of their plastic products doomed the bill for the year. Advocates are pointing fingers for the collapse, and some are vowing to put the plan on the ballot in 2020. In the end, we were fighting amongst ourselves because of well-intended but poorly crafted language from the [Newsom] administration,’ [advocate Mark Murray] said. ‘Honestly, it was an amateur move. They needed to get their shit together earlier.’”

AFTER AB 5: “California has a new law for contract workers. But many businesses aren’t ready for change,” by the LA Times’ Margot Roosevelt and Ryan Faughdner: “The upheaval extends far beyond Silicon Valley. Businesses in dozens of sectors, including trucking, entertainment and translating, are scrambling to figure out how the law affects them, whether they must adapt to it, and, especially, whether they can persuade lawmakers next year to add them to a score of carved-out occupations such as doctors and fine artists.”

— SUTTER SHOWDOWN: “Antitrust trial pivots around big hospital chain’s hardball negotiations,” by POLITICO’s Victoria Colliver: “The class-action lawsuit brought by the state of California and unions has made Sacramento-based Sutter Health a poster child for big hospital chains that require insurers to access their networks on an all-or-nothing basis and make it harder for plans to steer patients to lower-cost competitors.”

— “We need to stop treating mentally ill people like criminals,” by LA County District Attorney Jackie Lacey for the Hill: “During a mental health crisis, people are more likely to encounter police than get medical help, and as a result, end up in the criminal justice system, frequently for minor nonviolent offenses.”

VAPE INHALE: “State vaping bans spur a backlash from anti-tobacco advocates,” by POLITICO’s Rachana Pradhan and Dan Goldberg: “While well-intentioned, patient groups worry that the new rules will be hard to enforce and could even lead users to be penalized, although state officials say their aim is to target retailers and sellers and not individual customers.”

EXHALE: “States Target Vaping With Bans. In California, The Action Is Local,” by California Healthline’s Ana B. Ibarra: “In the absence of a statewide ban — and as the number of people getting sick or dying from vaping mounts — California cities and counties are stepping in, including major population centers such as San Francisco and Los Angeles.

— “Outages to deter wildfires burden rural California counties,” by the AP’s Olga R. Rodriguez: “The preventive outages are proving to be a burden to smaller, poorer counties without resources to set up places for people to cool off or mobilize staff to deal with emergencies if outages stretch past two days.”

BOOK OF EXODUS: “Who wants to leave California? Young voters can’t afford housing, and conservatives feel alienated,” by the LA Times’ Sarah Parvini: “Just over half of California’s registered voters have considered leaving the state, with soaring housing costs cited as the most common reason for wanting to move, according to a new poll.”

— “PG&E union mounts formidable opposition to SF takeover attempt,” by the SF Chronicle’s J.D. Morris “San Francisco’s $2.5 billion plan to take over local Pacific Gas and Electric Co. power lines has unanimous support from the city’s top elected leaders — a rare political feat for such an ambitious and expensive endeavor. But a powerful union opposes any transfer, saying it will hurt workers.”

GOOGLE LOBBIES UP: “Rob Portman’s chief of staff to head Google’s D.C. office,” by POLITICO’s Burgess Everett and Anna Palmer.

TESLA TROUBLE: “Tesla Committed Unfair Labor Practices, NLRB Judge Rules,” by Bloomberg’s Joshua Eidelson: “The electric-car maker illegally threatened and retaliated against employees, according to Amita Baman Tracy, an administrative law judge in California. A tweet that Elon Musk sent in May 2018, which suggested employees who chose to join a union would give up company-paid stock options, was among the incidents the judge ruled were in violation of the law.”

— “Tesla’s unvarnished story in electric detail,” by the LA Times’ Russ Mitchell: “In his new book ‘Ludicrous: The Unvarnished Story of Tesla Motors,’ journalist Edward Niedermeyer hews close to the critics’ interpretation, while also giving Musk his due.”

LOOKING TO LA: “Ready for IPO, Postmates needs to win big in L.A. — or else,” by the LA Times’ Sam Dean: “IPOs are meant to be victory laps for investors and early employees, but at first glance, Postmates heads into this one in a less than ideal position.”

— “Journey of a Tainted Vape Cartridge: From China’s Labs to Your Lungs,” by David Downs, Dave Howard, and Bruce Barcott for Leafly: “Ultimately, we were able to identify a contaminated supply chain that begins in the manufacturing centers of China, runs through the wholesale markets of downtown Los Angeles, disperses to regional pen-filling operations, and finally ends up in the hands of unsuspecting consumers like [sickened vape user] Jon Doneson.”

— “The LAPD opens an inquiry into job posting on right-wing Breitbart website,” by the LATimes’ David Zahniser.

— “San Diego’s landmark water recycling program halted by dispute over union workers,” by the SD-UT’s David Garrick.

— “Hate crimes rise in Orange County for fourth straight year,” by the OC Register’s Roxana Kopetman.

— “Someone cut off a puppy’s ears. A nonprofit rescued him from Modesto outdoor shelter,” by the Modesto Bee’s Erin Tracy.

— “Madison Bumgarner’s 25 biggest moments with San Francisco Giants,” by the SF Chronicle’s Steve Kroner.

— “Stinson Beach retreat where Steinbeck and Capone stayed is for sale at $15 million: See it,” by the Sac Bee’s David Caraccio.

Nate Tibbits, SVP of global government affairs and public affairs at Qualcomm Felix Schein is 43 … Gerardo Interiano Mark Drapeau

WEEKEND: Nadia Szold (h/t proud brother Daniel Lippman)L.A. Times’ Del Quentin Wilber Google’s Mattingly Messina Poppy MacDonald, president of USAFacts … Calley Means Warren Lieberfarb turned 76 … Cameron Normand, head of federal affairs for Sony Pictures Entertainment … former Rep. Pete McCloskey turned 92

CALIFORNIA POLICY IS ALWAYS CHANGING: Know your next move. POLITICO California Pro has officially arrived. From Sacramento to Silicon Valley, POLITICO California Pro provides policy professionals with the in-depth reporting and tools they need to get ahead of policy trends and political developments shaping the Golden State. To learn more about the exclusive insight and analysis this subscriber-only service offers, click here.

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