San Francisco Chronicle - (Sunday)
Follow money to find Pelosi’s retirement date
The question of whether House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will retire after next year is a momentous one for more than just Washington. Her decision has farreaching implications in her San Francisco district, where everyone and their chihuahua is likely to run when the seat opens up.
Two years ago, as part of a deal she cut with Democrats who threatened to oppose her for the top job in the House, Pelosi promised not to serve as speaker beyond this term. She said in November, “I will abide by those limits.”
So what does Susan Page, author of a new Pelosi biography, “Madam Speaker: Nancy Pelosi and the Lessons of Power,” think she will do? Page had 10 sitdown interviews with Pelosi while researching the book.
“I don’t know the answer to your question, but I’ll tell you what I think: I think this is her last term. I think this is her valedictory term,” Page said on my “It’s All Political” podcast. “She’s working hard to get Joe Biden’s big legislative agenda through the House, but I would be surprised if she ran again.”
Congressional Progressive Caucus chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal, DWash., told me on my podcast that “whether it’s her last or not, I can’t say. But she is looking at this (session) as a crucial moment and perhaps a legacymaking moment for her.”
The reaction from Pelosi spokesperson Drew Hammill: “The speaker is not on a shift, she’s on a mission.”
Part of that mission — after trying to pass Biden’s agenda — is raising money. And no Democrat is better at that than Pelosi.
In the first quarter of this year, she raised $32.4 million for Democrats, according to her campaign office. Since entering House leadership in 2002, she has raised more than $1 billion for the party. Yes, billion.
When Pelosi stops working to raise money, then we’ll know the end is nigh. Until then, keep your chihuahua on a leash.
Grow up, California: Losing one congressional seat next year for the first time in the state’s history is more than a political story in California. It is a sign of a sad reality that nobody hitting middle age wants to hear:
We’re not as young and hip as we used to be. So it’s time for California to act its age and stop worrying about being the fresh new thing.
“We’re a more mature state than we think,” said Manuel Pastor, author of the book “What California’s Dizzying Descent and Remarkable Resurgence Mean for America’s Future.”
“A mature state starts looking at how it’s going to care for its elders, starts looking at its housing issues and affordable housing,” said Pastor, a professor of sociology at the University of Southern California and director of its Equity Research Institute. “It looks at whether or not its educational structures are educating the young in a way that would allow them to earn higher wages and be able to stay here.”
Our elected leaders don’t do that now, Pastor said. Instead, they play cheerleader for growth metrics that mostly benefit the wealthiest Californians, like, say, home prices. They need to think more about everybody else.
“When the economy feels like it’s booming and you’re the center of innovation, you can watch housing prices go up and view that as a sign of success rather than a risk to your sustainability,” Pastor said.
Nor is losing a House seat a harbinger that Silicon Valley will no longer be the capital of tech innovation and California’s dominant economic engine. Venture capital poured into the region in the first quarter of this year.
“I am not especially concerned — for the time being — about the Bay Area continuing to being the hub of innovation,” said Micah Weinberg, CEO of California Forward, a public policy advocacy organization that is focused on sustainable economic equity. “We are Hoovering up venture capital. I’m not worrying about millionaires leaving the state, because we’re minting them faster than they’re leaving.”
But, Weinberg said, “I do worry a tremendous amount about economic opportunity.” Home ownership rates declined by 11% for Black Californians and 6% for Latino Californians over the past decade, according to California Forward. It dropped 3% for whites and rose 2% for Asian Americans.
In the Bay Area, the home price that an average Black, Latino or Native American buyer can afford is $519,000, according to a study the group released in April. That’s roughly half what a typical home around here costs.
“People in the Bay Area talk until they’re blue in the face about their values,” Weinberg said. “But it is not consistent with our values to cut off the access to opportunity for so many people who live here.”
A mature state wouldn’t let that happen.
Jenner boosts GOP: You’d think that the Republicans hoping to replace Gov. Gavin Newsom in the likely recall election would be ticked off at all the media attention reality TV show star Caitlyn Jenner is getting. The “CBS This Morning” show — which apparently needs to get out of the house more — called Jenner “the most concerning candidate” to Newsom. The Republican isn’t, as we’ve written. Not by a long shot. Or at least not until she has more policy proposals on her website than “Caitlyn for California” merchandise for sale there. (Check out the matching whiskey glasses for $35.)
But Jenner’s GOP rivals don’t begrudge her the spotlight. Yet. Instead, they’re happy that Jenner, who has never run for office, is bringing more attention to the race.
After the Secretary of State’s Office said organizers had gathered enough valid signatures of registered voters to qualify the recall for the ballot, former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer did national interviews on Fox News and the conservative One American News Network.
Nor has Jenner cut into the airtime of John Cox, the wealthy San Diego County businessman whom Newsom defeated by 24 points in 2018.
Jenner’s candidacy “has raised the attention of the casual viewer, not necessarily the political junkies,” Cox spokesperson Anthony Rodriguez said. “The more attention we can have on this race, the better.”