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FILE – In this Sept. 7, 2019, file photo, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer speaks during the California GOP fall convention in Indian Wells, Calif. Faulconer is forming a committee to begin raising money for a potential run for governor. The Republican’s announcement on Twitter comes as supporters of a possible recall election aimed at Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom continue gathering petition signatures needed to qualify for the ballot. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson, File)

AP

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FAULCONER IN FOR RECALL, OR FOR LATER

via Sophia Bollag

Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced Monday he’s running for governor, making him the second prominent California Republican to jump into a race fueled by an attempt to recall current Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Faulconer joins fellow Republican John Cox, who challenged Newsom in 2018. Cox, a businessman, lost to Newsom by nearly 24 percentage points but says he plans to run again if the recall qualifies for the ballot.

Faulconer said he plans to run, whether in the potential recall election or in California’s regularly scheduled gubernatorial election in 2022.

Political observers have long seen Faulconer as a potential candidate for governor because of his reputation as a moderate Republican elected to lead a Democratic-leaning city. For years, Republicans have had trouble winning big races in California, where 46% of voters are registered as Democrats and only 24% as Republicans.

“I’m running for governor because it’s time for a California comeback,” he said in an interview with The Sacramento Bee. “I’m going to be a voice for Californians who are suffering because Sacramento can’t do the basics.”

Faulconer has endorsed the effort to recall Newsom, which began before the coronavirus pandemic but has gained steam as people have grown dissatisfied with the Democratic governor’s COVID-19 response. Recall organizers have also benefited from an extended deadline to collect signatures after arguing successfully in court that the pandemic interfered with that effort.

Faulconer voted for former President Donald Trump last year, a potential albatross for him as he tries to run in a state that rejected Trump by 29 percentage points in November.

REPARATIONS TASK FORCE GETS APPOINTEES

Via Kim Bojórquez…

Two politicians have been named to serve on a new California task force to examine reparation proposals for Black Californians.

Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins, D-San Diego, announced on Monday, the first day of Black History Month, her appointments of state Sen. Steven Bradford, D-Gardena, and San Diego City Councilwoman Monica Montgomery Steppe.

The purpose of the nine-member task force, introduced through Assembly Bill 3121 by former Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, is to study and develop reparation proposals for African Americans in the state, with an emphasis on those who are descendants of slaves.

“As a result of the historic and continued discrimination, African Americans continue to suffer debilitating economic, educational, and health hardships,” according to the bill.

It will be up to the task force to show their findings and provide compensation recommendations to the state legislature. The task force will also examine existing state laws and policies that disproportionately impact African Americans, according to the bill.

Bradford currently chairs the California Legislative Black Caucus and Committee on Public Safety. He previously chaired a special committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color. Montgomery Steppe is a former ACLU San Diego criminal justice advocate and civil rights lawyer.

The remaining task force seats have not been announced. Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to appoint five members and Assembly Speaker and Democrat Anthony Rendon is expected to select two members.

The group is expected to meet no later than June 1, 2021. The appointments of Bradford and Montgomery Steppe do not require Senate confirmation.

About 6% of the state’s population is African American, according to the Public Policy Institute of California.

STACEY ABRAMS TO SPEAK AT CALIFORNIA CONFERENCE

Former Georgia lawmaker and voting rights advocate Stacey Abrams is set to keynote the inaugural, virtual California Conference for Women.

Abrams, the first Black woman in U.S. history to earn a major party nomination for governor, “will share her own journey of moving from setback to success,” according to a statement from the conference organizers.

After her 2018 Georgia gubernatorial bid failed, Abrams became a vocal voting rights advocate, and her work is widely credited for turning Georgia blue during both the 2020 presidential election and the January U.S. Senate runoffs.

Abrams isn’t the only luminary speaking at the virtual conference, set to take place March 4.

Other keynote speakers include Ursula Burns, the first Black female CEO of a Fortune 500 company; conservationist Jane Goodall; authors Angie Thomas, Glennon Doyle and Adam Grant; and First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom.

The conference will focus on helping women move forward from a pandemic and economic crisis that forced more than 2.2 million women from the workforce last year, according to the statement.

More information about the conference, including how to get tickets, is available here.

DON’T APPOINT SCHIFF TO AG, GROUP SAYS IN LETTER TO NEWSOM

There is intense scrutiny on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s decision to replace outgoing Attorney General Xavier Becerra. And while many names have been proffered to the governor as potential choices, one group is calling on Newsom not to pick someone: Rep. Adam Schiff.

Schiff, who gained prominence during the 2020 impeachment of then-President Donald Trump, is among the names being considered by Newsom for the job of California’s top law enforcer.

But the ReImagine Justice California Coalition has registered its strong opposition to Newsom picking Schiff, citing his record of “tough on crime” bills from his time in the California Legislature.

In his single term of four years, Adam Schiff made increased incarceration and punishment for poor parents the focus of his legislative agenda,” the letter reads in part. “…One person alone is not responsible for California’s incarceration crisis. But Schiff stands out for his extreme punitiveness, particularly against children. Moreover, as a former federal prosecutor, Schiff knew exactly what the consequences of his actions would be; he cannot plead ignorance.”

The letter goes on to point out how Schiff worked on federal legislation to, among other things, strengthen the death penalty for when a law enforcement officer is killed.

“We need an Attorney General who will hold police officers and police departments accountable, not one who has spent his legislative career serving their interests. We are still dealing with the legacy of Adam Schiff in California. We urge you in the strongest possible terms not to appoint Adam Schiff to be California’s next Attorney General,” the letter reads.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“While I am honored to have been unanimously confirmed to serve as Secretary of State, I am committed to earning the voters’ trust and confidence next November at the ballot box. I believe one of the reasons Governor Newsom selected me for this office is because he knows what the millions of Californians will learn during my term of service: I stand firm, I stand straight, and I am unafraid to stand strong to make our state live up to its democratic ideals.”

– Secretary of State Shirley Weber, in a statement formally announcing her intent to run in 2022.

Best of the Bee:

  • California prison officials failed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 when transferring medically vulnerable inmates to two California prisons, according to a new report, via Andrew Sheeler.

  • Monday was the deadline Gov. Gavin Newsom set for California school districts to apply for a portion of the $2 billion in grants he wants the state to set aside to help them safely return to in-person instruction, via Lara Korte.

  • The Sacramento Bee’s state worker pay database has been updated with data from 2020, via Phillip Reese and Wes Venteicher.

Andrew Sheeler covers California’s unique political climate for the Sacramento Bee. He has covered crime and politics from Interior Alaska to North Dakota’s oil patch to the rugged coast of southern Oregon. He attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

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