CAGOP seeks RECALL revival — DEMOCRATS reject BIDEN refugee cap — BECCERA faces WHITE HOUSE heat — FACEBOOK delays TRUMP decision

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THE BUZZ: For the still-rebuilding California Republican party, the recall is about more than Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Don’t get us wrong — the California GOP would love nothing better than to unseat the Democratic governor and replace him with the first GOP statewide officer in years. That wouldn’t just help advance the party’s policy agenda. It would amount to a stunning repudiation of a progressive governor in a deep-blue state, and would signal the party’s viability after years on the sidelines.

But with favorable polling and the state’s demographic reality putting Newsom in a strong position to survive, it’s worth examining the bigger picture of what the California Republican Party stands to gain beyond the recall’s outcome. The burgeoning campaign has attracted national attention and will continue to do so as the main event on this year’s election calendar. Money and volunteers have flowed in as national Republican figures and entities have lent their support. It has become a cause célèbre on Fox News, which has offered the irresistible narrative of voters revolting against unified Democratic governance.

All of that could redound to the California Republican Party’s advantage, even if it’s not enough to flip the governor’s office. Chair Jessica Millan Patterson came in on a mission to rebuild a tattered party that had just been clobbered in the 2018 midterms and now badly lagged Democrats in seats, registration and fundraising. The 2020 election’s outcome — four reclaimed House seats and a flipped Assembly seat — gave Patterson and her ilk something to build on. And Republicans have felt vindicated by voters’ support of conservative positions on ballot initiatives covering rent control, affirmative action, property taxes and the gig economy.

Now Republicans are hoping the recall will further fortify their down-ballot odds. They can make a credible case that a good chunk of the electorate is disillusioned with Newsom’s pandemic record, and could expand that to argue Californians have had it with single-party Democratic control and are willing to entertain a conservative alternative. National attention and resources could help, as would the support of California Republican donors no longer willing to write off the state as a lost cause. Jeremy breaks down why Republicans have high hopes.

YES, BUT … Republicans still have a mountain to climb. Registered Democrats still vastly outnumber Republicans; those four clawed-back House seats still only gave Republicans 11 seats in a 53-member delegation; and the party’s tenable immediate goal in the Legislature is not reclaiming the majority but breaking the Democratic two-thirds majority, which would still require flipping numerous seats. GOP former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 2003 win didn’t exactly usher in a California Republican resurgence, and the likely emergence of a Trump-backed Republican recall candidate could alienate moderates.

So Republicans have a long way to go. The Newsom recall could offer them an opportunity. Will they convert anger at Newsom’s pandemic management into support for their candidates and their agenda? Stay tuned.

BUENOS DÍAS, good Monday morning. Carla’s back! On tap for this week, starting Wednesday: The Legislature is holding confirmation hearings for Assemblymember Rob Bonta’s nomination to be attorney general.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “The government needs to come and meet the black and brown community at a level of where they are, rather than just saying ‘oh, it’s information, go get the vaccination because it’s free,’ but you’re not telling me what I want to know about the vaccination — and then if you choose to it’s in a terminology which I don’t even understand what the f— you just said, so I don’t believe your ass even more now.” Pride of Oakland and NFL veteran Marshawn Lynch in conversation with Dr. Anthony Fauci, whom he called “Dr. Foucheesy.”

TWEET OF THE DAY: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy @GOPLeader, apparently reacting to reports that two of his caucus members have formed an “America First Caucus” focused on “Anglo-Saxon political traditions”: “America is built on the idea that we are all created equal and success is earned through honest, hard work. It isn’t built on identity, race, or religion. The Republican Party is the party of Lincoln & the party of more opportunity for all Americans—not nativist dog whistles.”

WHERE’S GAVIN? Nothing official announced.

MISTAKEN IDENTITY — “Previous home of ex-Bay Area police officer vandalized after defense testimony in Derek Chauvin trial,” by the SF Chronicle’s Vanessa Arredondo.

LONG CON — “A Cautionary Tale for Nearly Everyone,” by NYT’s Gabrielle Bluestone: “Tracii Show Hutsona and Derrell Hutsona showed off the expensive cars they drove, the jets they chartered, the celebrity perks they scored and the fancy properties in Southern California they may or may not have lived in. … But this life was built on millions of dollars in stolen funds, authorities say.”

GOLD IN THEM HILLS — “California gold fever still reigns. New prospectors seek to reopen giant mine,” by the SF Chronicle’s Kurtis Alexander: “For the past four years, a Canadian mining company has been in Nevada County, about 60 miles northeast of Sacramento, collecting samples of what it suspects is one of the world’s highest-grade underground gold deposits, potentially worth billions.”

MAXINE VS. MARJORIE — “Marjorie Taylor Greene to introduce resolution to expel Maxine Waters,” by The Hill’s Marina Pitofsky: “The Republican lawmaker specifically targeted Waters for speaking to protesters at a demonstration in Brooklyn Center, Minn., on Saturday.”

— “‘Dr. Drew’ eyed for homeless commission, angering advocates who wonder: Is this a joke?” by the LA Times’ Jaclyn Cosgrove.

— “Why won’t Gavin Newsom declare a drought? California recall puts him in tough spot,” by the Sac Bee’s Sophia Bollag and Dale Kasler: “By imposing strict rules on consumption, he could anger pandemic-weary voters, who might bristle if told to scale back on watering their lawns — something that happened during the last drought emergency.”

TONY V WATCH — “Newsom recall gives Antonio Villaraigosa risky road to political comeback. Will he take it?” by the LA Times’ Dakota Smith: “Former Democratic Assemblyman Richard Katz regularly talks to Villaraigosa and said he can tell from the sound of his friend’s voice that he enjoys seeing his name being bandied about in the recall talk.”

— “A phone call, a private plane and a cable car conductor: How S.F. rescued 1,000 thawed vaccine doses from 300 miles away,” by the SF Chronicle’s Erin Allday: “Dr. Mary Mercer was just coming off her emergency room shift at San Francisco General Hospital on Thursday night when the call came in: Humboldt County had a ‘pizza box’ of Pfizer vaccine that it couldn’t use. Did San Francisco want it?”

— “As the Bay Area reopens, some step cautiously back into the world,” by the SF Chronicle’s Ryan Kost: “In the context of all those bureaucratic specifics, we make a cautious return to the world. Things that might have felt inconsequential not long ago mean an awful lot today.”

— “LA County Communities With High Car Pollution Also Have High COVID-19 Fatality Rates, Study Notes,” by LAist’s Chris Greenspon.

— “Dragging the family to get a COVID-19 vaccine, one arm at a time,” by the LA Times’ Brittny Mejia and Maria L. La Ganga: “The sign-up process is convoluted. Not everyone has internet access. The vaccine supply has been spotty, and now the Johnson & Johnson offering is on hold because of concerns it may cause blood clots. Some people don’t trust the government. Others don’t trust the science.”

— “Worldwide COVID-19 death toll tops a staggering 3 million,” by the AP’s David Biller, Maria Cheng and Joshua Goodman.

REFUGEE RESISTANCE — We saw some uncharacteristic daylight between the Biden administration and California Democrats on Friday after the president said he would maintain a prior cap refugee admissions. Rep. Zoe Lofgren said the administration had reneged on its commitment to her and failed to “restore our leadership as a beacon of hope” to the world. “Lift the cap, Mr. President,” Rep. Adam Shiff said, adding Biden had missed a chance to reverse former President Donald Trump’s “cruel legacy.” Sen. Dianne Feinstein expressed “deep concern” and said the figure was “difficult to reconcile” with the Biden administration’s pledges. The White House subsequently previewed a new, increased cap in May.

Border fiasco spurs a blame game inside Biden world, by POLITICO’s Adam Cancryn, Sabrina Rodriguez and Anita Kumar: Top White House officials have grown increasingly frustrated with Health Secretary Xavier Becerra over his department’s sluggish effort to house thousands of unaccompanied minors, as the administration grapples with a record number of children crossing the southern border.

— A month into Becerra’s tenure, officials working on the issue have privately questioned his preparedness for managing such a sprawling emergency — and his willingness to take ownership of a historically intractable and politically divisive problem.

GRAIN OF SALT — “California lawmakers taking a softer tone on restoring a tax break Californians lost under Trump,” by the LA Times’ Sarah D. Wire: “Conscious of how it could affect Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s stance in negotiations, California Democrats aren’t drawing the same red line as their East Coast colleagues who are demanding that President Biden’s infrastructure package include a full repeal of the $10,000 cap set during the Trump administration on state and local tax deductions.”

— “Oddsmakers say Harris, not Biden, most likely to win 2024 nomination, election,” by the Hill’s Lexi Lonas: But “Biden has said he plans to run again in 2024, and Harris has given no indication that she would challenge him.”

— “Miami-area woman held by feds after making videos threatening to kill VP Kamala Harris,” by the Miami Herald’s Jay Weaver.

— “Newsom signs right to re-employment bill affecting laid-off hospitality workers,” by the SF Chronicle’s Chase DiFeliciantonio and Michael Williams: “The bill is a somewhat pared-down version of a similar union-backed effort Newsom vetoed late last year.”

FIRST IN PLAYBOOK — COX’S NEW PAC: Former Rep. TJ Cox, the Democrat ousted by Republican David Valadao in 2020, is forming a new PAC dedicated to registering “younger voters, single women, and communities of color” in the historically conservative Central Valley, per a press release provided to POLITICO. In addition to targeting Cox’s own Kings County, Cox’s VoterPAC will specifically work to drive Democratic turnout in Kern and Kings counties — the seats of prominent Trump-era figure Rep. Devin Nunes and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, respectively.

— “House GOP takes cash from casino mogul accused of misconduct,” by the AP’s Brian Slodysko: “A major House Republican fundraising committee overseen by GOP Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy received over $770,000 from Steve Wynn, a Las Vegas casino mogul who stepped down from his company in 2018 after multiple women accused him of sexual misconduct.”

— “QAnon Candidates Are Winning Local Elections. Can They Be Stopped?” by Time’s Vera Bergengruen: “Despite having no political experience, [QAnon believer Tito] Ortiz received the most votes in Huntington Beach history in November’s election. He’s since been installed as mayor pro tem, which in the city’s rotating system puts him next in line to become mayor in 2022. … In November, a 73-year-old retired teacher named Eve Dobler-Drew won a seat on the San Luis Coastal Unified School District’s board, overseeing 7,500 students. She had previously shared QAnon conspiracy videos.”

BLUER AND REDDER — “Here’s where the Democratic and Republican parties are growing most in California,” by the SF Chronicle’s Dustin Gardiner and Nami Sumida: “Political experts say the growth of both parties — with a simultaneous decline in the number of independents — is the result of growing polarization in the state’s electorate and a belief on both sides of the divide that opposing party poses an existential threat.”

Cuomo gets boost from former Google CEO, by POLITICO’s Bill Mahoney.

GOOD NEWS — “Signs of recovery as California adds jobs for 2nd month,” by the AP’s Adam Beam: “Restaurants and hotels, which have weathered heavy losses during a year of stay-at-home orders, accounted for more than half of the 260,600 jobs added in the state since February. Experts said Friday that’s a sign the world’s fifth largest economy is exiting the pandemic-induced recession and entering what’s likely to be a prolonged recovery.”

SONOMA SCANDAL — “Dominic Foppoli says he will step back from an active role’ as Windsor mayor amid sexual assault allegations,” by the SF Chronicle’s Alexandria Bordas and Cynthia Dizikes.

PAGING DIFI — “Alex Padilla is everywhere, but where is Dianne Feinstein?” by the SF Chronicle’s Joe Garofoli: “PaCalifornians are more likely to see a unicorn than thedilla has done 89 interviews since [being sworn in], including 46 with California-based outlets. It’s a Swalwellian pace. … ir senior senator being interviewed on their favorite media outlet or answering questions at a virtual town hall meeting.”

TRADES POWER — “California Needs More Affordable Homes. This Union Stands in the Way,” by the WSJ’s Christine Mai-Duc: “California’s State Building and Construction Trades Council, which represents 450,000 ironworkers, pipe fitters and other skilled laborers, has blocked numerous bills it says don’t guarantee enough work for its members.”

— “California fast-food workers rally behind labor bill with major protests,” by Gabrielle Canon for the Guardian: “Organizers and workers kicked off a week of demonstrations in San Diego on Thursday, and will continue north with stops in Los Angeles, the Central Valley, and the Bay Area.”

PROJECT ROOMKEY — “One Way to Get People Off the Streets: Buy Hotels,” by the NYT’s Conor Dougherty: “The pandemic, which according to a dire early projection could have killed 25,000 homeless people in the state, added two sorely needed ingredients — federal money and an excuse to move fast. With the travel industry hobbled and stimulus money continuing to flow, Gov. Gavin Newsom has since doubled down by creating a program to buy hotels in hopes of creating permanent homeless housing en masse.”

— “5 things you need to know about federal drought aid in California,” by CalMatters’ Rachel Becker and Julie Cart.

— “‘People are dying as we wait’: Bid to tighten California nursing home oversight sputters,” by CalMatters’ Jocelyn Wiener: “Advocates had expected the bill to face opposition from the nursing home industry, which has deep ties to influential players at the Capitol. The CEO of the nursing home industry group, Craig Cornett, was a top aide to two former state Senate leaders and four former Assembly speakers before joining the California Association of Health Facilities in 2017.”

— “Are reparations ‘evil’? Here’s why these Californians say they could be necessary,” by the Sac Bee’s David Lightman: “In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law in September legislation calling for a task force to make recommendations on how reparations could be made. It can also suggest how to end state laws and policies that may encourage discrimination and whether to issue a formal apology for ‘gross human rights violations and crimes against humanity’ to African slaves and their ancestors.”

— “Sacramento leaders promised to listen to the police commission. Then they ignored it again,” by the Sac Bee editorial board: “While the commission’s recommendations to the council are not binding, the City Council owes the 11-member commission a response to the 55 pages of recommendations and observations it has compiled.

— “Hate crimes against Asian Americans in L.A. more than doubled last year, LAPD reports,” by the LA Times’ Leila Miller.

DELAYED — Facebook oversight board delays decision on Trump ban to ‘the coming weeks,’ by POLITICO’s Cristiano Lima: The board, made up of lawyers, scholars and other outside experts, had 90 days to review Trump’s indefinite suspension after Facebook referred his case to the panel on Jan. 21. But the board said Friday it needed to push back the deadline due to the immense public interest in the case.

— “Jina Choi sees the pendulum swinging in Silicon Valley,” by Protocol’s Tomio Geron: “Under her, the agency took action against Tesla and Elon Musk, Elizabeth Holmes and Yahoo on issues ranging from deceptive tweets to investor fraud to data breach disclosures. … She worries that the kind of abuses she checked could happen again.”

— “Facebook plans to go after Clubhouse — and podcasts — with a suite of new audio products,” by Recode’s Peter Kafka.

— “SpaceX wins $2.9-billion NASA contract to help send humans to the moon,” by Protocol’s Hirsh Chitkara.

— “Tech Tent: Bye-bye Silicon Valley, hello global workforce?” by BBC’s Rory Cellan-Jones.

DOOMSDAY SCENARIO — “The Oscars Are a Week Away, but How Many Will Watch?” by NYT’s Nicole Sperling and Brooks Barnes: “As Hollywood prepares for a coronavirus-delayed Academy Awards telecast on April 25 on ABC, it is faced with the ultimate doomsday scenario: that the viewing public is ready to toss its premier showcase into the entertainment dustbin, plopped next to variety shows.”

— “Broadway producer Scott Rudin steps aside amid accusations of abusive behavior going back decades, apologizes for pain he caused,” by WaPo’s Peter Marks:

— “Meghan to watch Prince Philip’s funeral from home in California, source says,” via Reuters.

LIVE FROM SAN DIEGO — “One America News Network Stays True to Trump,” by NYT’s Rachel Abrams: “In interviews with 18 current and former OAN newsroom employees, 16 said the channel had broadcast reports that they considered misleading, inaccurate or untrue. To go by much of OAN’s reporting, it is almost as if a transfer of power had never taken place.”

— The LA Times is launching “The Times,” a daily news podcast hosted by columnist Gustavo Arellano. The first episode airs May 3.

— “Deadly virus in rabbits threatens to upend some Western ecosystems,” by the Palm Springs Desert Sun’s Mark Olalde.

— “Ex-employee alleges Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Hewitt harassed, discriminated against her,” by the Riverside Press-Enterprise’s Jeff Horseman.

— “A Chinatown vendor was attacked at the Ferry Building, raising safety concerns for Asian food workers in the Bay Area,” by the SF Chronicle’s Janelle Bitker.

— “Column: Lost for decades, a World War II hero finally comes home,” by the LATimes’ Gustavo Arellano.

— “San Jose Sharks will allow fans at games later this month: Here’s what you need to know,” by the Mercury News’ Curtis Pashelka.

— “Two Long Beach Grocery Stores Will Close On Saturday After Fight Over ‘Hero Pay,’” by LAist’s David Wagner.

— “From Tijuana to Temecula To LA: A Fronterizo’s Struggle For A Sense Of Belonging,” by Juan Ricardo Gomez for LAist.

SUNDAY: Amazon’s Brian Huseman

SATURDAY: Jackie Whisman of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation … Dean Lieberman of DKL Strategies

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