Good morning and welcome as always to the A.M. Alert!


Via Lara Korte…

As the U.S. Senate drags its feet scheduling a confirmation hearing for Health and Human Services Secretary-nominee Xavier Becerra, California attorneys are continuing to muster up for his old job, Attorney General.

The pressure is on for Gavin Newsom, who is already feeling the heat from a stunted state vaccine rollout, unpopular school reopening plan and a mounting recall effort. The governor’s pick for AG is likely subject to the same diversity concerns that surrounded his decision for Kamala Harris’ Senate Seat and the Secretary of State.

Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, has already gained the support of several Asian Pacific Islander groups and criminal justice reform advocates. Within the last week, a slough of labor groups also endorsed Bonta, including the California Federation of Teachers.

“Rob Bonta has been a champion for students, California school communities, and teachers and classified professionals,” CFT President Jeff Freitas said in a statement. “In Sacramento, he has fought to ensure all of our kids, regardless of their zip code, get a fair start in school and in life, and that teachers and school workers have the tools to meet their students’ needs.”

Other endorsements include United Teachers Los Angeles, Southern California’s Teamsters Council 42 and the AFSCME Joint Council 57, which represents 35,000 workers in the Bay Area and Central Valley.

By the way, Bonta’s 2022 Assembly campaign reported last week that it had $2.38 million in cash on hand, if money is any indication of popularity.

In late December, members of the Legislative Latino Caucus sent a letter to the governor, imploring him to choose one of four Latina lawmakers for the job: Sen. Anna Caballero, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, Assemblywoman Eloise Gómez Reyes or former Senator Martha Escutia.

Rick Chavez Zbur, president of Equality California and a longtime LGBTQ+ advocate in the state has also received notable endorsements, including from state and national LBGTQ+ groups.

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg is rumored to still be in the running as well. Steinberg has worked with Newsom on the city’s homelessness problems in the past, and spent time in both chambers of the Legislature.


While it’s unclear whether Gov. Newsom is a betting man, but if he is, he probably won’t like the odds of the Recall Gavin Newsom campaign collecting enough signatures by the March 17 deadline.

Betting website, which allows people to wager on such things as whether President Joe Biden will be impeached or what year Kamala Harris will become president, is currently running tabs on whether the Newsom recall effort will be successful.

So what are the odds?

On Friday afternoon, “Yes” — that is to say, yes the recall campaign will collect enough signatures — was pegged at -130, while “No” was pegged at -110. The negative number is how much you would have to bet to win $100.

Before you pop on over to make a wager, be sure to check out Sophia Bollag and Lara Korte’s latest on the recall effort that’s underway.


Several gun violence survivors are set to appear at a panel tonight, kicking off National Gun Violence Survivors Week.

The panel, hosted by Everytown for Gun Safety, California Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, will feature nine survivors from across California, as well as a pastor from Ohio.

“By early February, more people are killed with guns in the United States than are killed with guns in any other high-income country in an entire year. And millions more are shot and wounded, threatened with a gun, or witness an act of gun violence. Gun violence in any form leaves an enduring mark on the lives of those who are personally impacted. 58 percent of adults in America, including 68 percent of Black and Latino Americans, are survivors of gun violence, either experiencing gun violence themselves or caring for someone who has experienced gun violence in their lifetimes,“ according to a statement from Everytown for Gun Safety.

The panel discussion, which begins at 7 p.m., will be held on Zoom. You can register to attend by visiting here.


“Congratulations to California’s new — and first African American — Secretary of State (Shirley Weber)!”

– Gov. Gavin Newsom, via Twitter.

Best of the Bee:

  • National Guard leaders in California and Washington state want the Defense Department to consider expanding the size of the force as troops are increasingly called upon to respond to the crises across the country, via Tara Copp.

  • California’s Latinas tend to earn less than other Californians and are over-represented in industries especially hard hit by the pandemic, via Kim Bojórquez.

  • The trust established by PG&E Corp. to pay California wildfire victims is “more than $1 billion short” of what’s needed to pay anticipated claims, the trust’s overseer said, via Dale Kasler.

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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