THE BUZZ: Democratic political strategist Roger Salazar is no stranger to crafting crisis communications scripts, media plans and killer quotes for oversized personalities and high profile causes. But Salazar — who has represented the Clinton White House, Al Gore, John Edwards, former Gov. Gray Davis, the Hillary Clinton campaign and venture capitalist Tim Draper, among others — sparked a real buzz in Sacramento on Thursday when his new gig was announced. “My Twitter blew up,’’ he told POLITICO, as his newest client — Stormy Daniels' attorney and potential 2020 candidate Michael Avenatti — tweeted the news.
-- SALAZAR tells POLITICO: “I like the guy. He’s got the kind of fire that’s been lacking on the political scene lately. ... [Democrats need someone who] has a fighter mentality. People are hungry for that kind of fighter, someone who says, “We’re not going to take it. ... He’s sharp. He know what he wants to say. He doesn’t need a message guy.”
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-- WHAT’S HIS NEW CAUSE ABOUT? From the website: “The Fight PAC is focused on defeating Donald Trump’s Republican cronies and enablers across the nation, up and down the ballot. We are fighting for Democrats in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and the territories. Our ask is simple: join us and be a part of the #FightClub.’’
-- WHAT WE KNOW: Salazar is a master of the soundbite. This oughta make things interesting on the Democratic side. Stay tuned.
TWEET OF THE DAY: Former Steve Poizner strategist Stuart Stevens @stuartpstevens Oct 17: “So when your daughter comes home from school crying because boys called her names the president routinely uses to denigrate women, just explain to her that we cut marginal tax rates for corporations and everything will be fine.”
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Overall, it just came across as de León espousing his Christmas list and Feinstein trying to explain that mommy and daddy don't have enough money this holiday season and, even if they did, the Grinch was blocking the path to Whoville.”
-- Scott Lay in The Nooner analyzes the U.S. Senate debate.
It’s FRIDAY -- Got a tip? Feedback News to share? Let us know.
-- UH OH...“Cox Goads Newsom On Marital Affairs -- But is Silent About His Own” by Annie Gilbertson and John Sepulvado for KQED: “[John] Cox’s first wife, Nancy Cox, stated in a court filing that she discovered a home that she claimed he purchased to support another woman and her family while the two were still married. …
---- “Ms. Cox also said that Mr. Cox wanted to remain married with the ‘understanding he would continue to maintain a relationship with the other woman in Massachusetts,’ according to the court filings.
-- “‘I’m not interested in gutter politics,’ Mr. Cox said when asked about the alleged affair. ‘I was separated from my wife. That’s all been resolved.’”
-- "I'm focused on affordability," he said. "I'm focused on building homes. I'm focused on a gas tax." Mr. Cox gave that response at a campaign event on L.A.'s Skid Row this week. He walked away without answering additional questions. His campaign manager wouldn't address Mrs. Cox's claim that her husband wanted to stay married to her while he continued another relationship.” >Story.
-- THE BIG QUESTION: “Why didn’t Kevin de León go after Dianne Feinstein? By SFChronicle’s Joe Garofoli: De León had two ways to make his last stand: challenge Feinstein aggressively on everything from her support for the Iraq War to her handling of the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation — or play nice and not risk offending Feinstein, an icon of California’s political establishment.
-- “De León played nice. It’s hard to see any explanation other than the termed-out state senator’s desire to preserve his post-Nov. 6 career options. If he came off as too aggressive and alienated Feinstein’s supporters — and her donors, whom he’s been unable to peel off in this campaign — they might not support the 51-year-old in his next race.” >Story.
-- TRENDWATCH -- SF’s first Amazon Go store approved for Financial District, by SFChronicle’s Roland Li: The future of retail — one where smartphone apps take the place of the familiar rows of cashiers and registers — may soon touch down in San Francisco’s Financial District. >Story.
-- KAMALA'S NEW IDEA: "You could get $6,000 a year under this California senator’s new plan,'' by Andrew Sheeler via SacBee: American families making less than $100,000 a year could be eligible for a monthly tax credit of up to $500, or $6,000 a year, under new legislation announced Thursday by Democratic U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California. Individuals making less than $50,000 would be eligible for up to $250 a month, $3,000 a year.
-- TOUGH NIGHT -- "Residents erupt in anger at Garcetti's town hall for planned homeless shelter in Venice,'' by LATimes' Dakota Smith and Doug Smith: " For four hours, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti took the heat from a crowd in Venice. Locals booed, catcalled and criticized the city’s plans to build a 154-bed homeless shelter on an abandoned Metropolitan Transportation Authority yard in the heart of the seaside community.'' Story.
-- TRUMP CONSIDERING CONTROVERSIAL CALIFORNIAN as U.N. ambassador: >POLITICO's Andrew Restuccia is reporting that former Fox News commentator Richard Grenell of Palm Springs is being considered by the Trump administration to replace Nikki Haley despite controversial comments that have ruffled feathers in the EU. > NPR reported in June that “Richard Grenell has been the U.S. ambassador to Germany for barely a month, but already politicians on both sides of the Atlantic are demanding he be recalled.”
But "Grenell is close to Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton,' ' Restuccia reports. "The two men worked with each other when Bolton served as ambassador to the United Nations during the George W. Bush administration."
-- “Feinstein says she would ‘absolutely’ favor reopening Kavanaugh investigation next year,’’ by Washington Post’s John Wagner: >Story.
-- THE CALIFORNIA QUESTION -- on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" by Joe Scarborough -- How long will it take before Silicon Valley firms, major universities and major pension funds here start asking the serious question about investments in Saudi Arabia: "You cannot cut up a Washington Post journalist while he's alive,'' and murder him in cold blood in a consulate, and then try to cover it up without serious repercussions. And here's what you'll be hearing: "Are those the values of California?"
-- "GOP lawmakers who voted for years to repeal Obamacare now campaigning to save popular parts of it,'' by LATimes' Jennifer Haberkorn: "A handful of Republican lawmakers and candidates, including Costa Mesa Rep. Dana Rohrabacher and Missouri Senate hopeful Josh Hawley, have filmed ads about their children’s medical conditions — the kinds of health problems that without Obamacare’s protections would make insurance coverage unaffordable. Others have made promises in videos and debates. Rohrabacher filmed an ad with his daughter, who was diagnosed with leukemia at age 8." Story.
-- FIREBALL -- "
California officials respond after Pres. Trump blames state for wildfires,'' by ABC7's Wayne Freedman: ROHNERT PARK, Calif. (KGO) -- "Across California, there's more condemnation in response to comments by President Trump essentially blaming the state for recent wildfires.
-- Trump: "It's costing our country hundreds of billions of dollars because of incompetence in California.''
"He is politicizing disaster," said Sonoma County Supervisor Susan Gorin. "Clearly he is lacking knowledge about federal policy and federal funding." Story.
-- A BIG DEAL IN THE VALLEY -- H1-B spouses work-ban rule coming next month,'' by MercNews' Ethan Baron: " Time appears nearly up for an estimated 100,000 foreign citizens working in the U.S. under a special authorization for spouses of foreign workers here on the controversial H-1B visa. The federal government, which has been promising since late 2017 to ban these H-4 visa holders from working, has just put out a notice that the new rule will be issued sometime next month. Story.
HOW THEY SEE US -- "Why California is home to straw bans and mandated meatless Mondays — and Iowa isn't,'' by Zlati Meyer, USA TODAY: "Conventional wisdom is it's weird, wacky, sick, perverted, grotesque, immoral. Cultural critics present us as a fun house mirror that distorts and brings out the worst of the country," said Glen Gendzel, a history professor at San Jose State University. "California is America only more so. Instead of a fun house mirror, it’s more of a magnifier." Story.
-- Quake Insurance? California Wants People To Say Yes To Coverage,'' via NPR: Nearly 90 percent of California homeowners do not have earthquake insurance. And barely 1 out of 10 commercial buildings is insured for quakes, according to the California Department of Insurance.
The stakes are huge: About one-fifth of the nation's mortgage debt is held in California. Story.
-- “California housing measures offer hope for high-cost Salinas” by AP’s Kathleen Ronayne: “California politicians can't ignore the issue as they try to balance people's needs in a state that's home to extreme riches and the world's fifth-largest economy but also places like Salinas, where multiple generations pack single-family homes, people turn backyard sheds into illegal bedrooms and families worry over how to pay their bills.” >Story.
-- “In California’s Central Valley, A Supersize Fight For A Senate Supermajority” by Bill Whalen for the Hoover Institution: “As such, it makes for this oddity in California’s 2018 election: in a state of 40 million residents, the 340,000 registered voters in the 12th State Senate District hold enormous sway over what transpires in the near term in the state capitol.” >Column.
-- OC DRAMA: The brawl over Rep. Mimi Walters’ battleground congressional district continues to attract big bucks and generate criticism of the money melee. Democrat Katie Porter’s campaign was blasting “special interest dark money” after a PAC linked to Florida Gov. Rick Scott lined up $1 million worth of TV ads aimed at defeating Porter, arguing that the pro-Scott entity’s support was another example of the us-versus-Trump-allies dynamic the Porter camp has used to try and bind Walters to the president.
-- Porter used the occasion to again trumpet her massive $3 million haul in the third quarter, some three times what the incumbent Waters collected. But Porter’s boast of not “accepting corporate PAC money” applies to direct donations — not the massive outside spending benefiting the Democrat, like the millions the real estate industry has recently marshalled for her.
-- It’s all part of an independent expenditure flood that’s approaching $9 million and has included heavy investment from the DCCC and the GOP-linked Congressional Leadership Fund. CLF is dropping its fourth ad in the district today, a spot that touts Walters’ support for the GOP tax bill and ties Porter to Nancy Pelosi’s “liberal agenda.” >Watch “Grow” here.
LARA GOES AFTER POIZNER -- with POIZNER ADS? via SFChronicle’s Joe Garofoli: “Candidates often use a snippet of something embarrassing that their opponent said in a past campaign. However, you never see a candidate running another candidate’s entire campaign ad. But that’s what’s happening in the race for state insurance commissioner.'"
-- “Democratic state Sen. Ricardo Lara of Bell Gardens (Los Angeles County) is running an online ad that consists of a TV commercial that his opponent, Steve Poizner, ran in 2010 when he was a Republican running for governor. In the ad, Poizner promised to cut “taxpayer-funded benefits” for “illegal immigrants.” But Poizner is now running as an independent and would prefer that voters not be reminded of views he held waaaaay back in 2010 — many of which he says he no longer holds. >Story.
-- HEADED THIS WAY: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) will be hitting California as part of a “12-day >@GOP "Remember Justice Kavanaugh" campaign tour to support Republican candidates in races around the country. h/t Dan Nowicki
-- GOOD ELECTION DATA ...h/t Scott Lay’s The Nooner: “The >PDI Absentee ballot tracker is now live. This includes daily reports from counties. No, no ballot counting is going on, but the ballots rather are scanned as they are returned by voter ID and marked as return. While tabulation can begin October 23, no results can be released until 8:00 pm on November 6. That said, these absentee numbers will likely account for 65-70% of ballots and are going to give a lot of intel about the competitive races.”
-- ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS -- “Billionaire Tom Steyer to donate another $2 million to Andrew Gillum in Florida governor's race” by CNN’s Ryan Nobles: “Through his organization, ‘Need to Impeach,’ he is directing a massive direct mail pitch to 300,000 Florida voters that have signed up to support his effort to impeach President Donald Trump. The mail piece makes specific reference to Gillum's support of impeachment.” >Story.
-- “How a campaign event with Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Lee went terribly wrong-- Shalala walks into anti-Castro buzz saw” by POLITICO’s Marc Caputo: “There’s a simple rule in running for Congress in Miami: Don’t campaign with someone who praised Fidel Castro and fought sanctions against Venezuela’s dictatorial regime. But Donna Shalala didn’t figure it out until it was too late.” >Story.
“San Jose bishop names 15 priests accused of child sex abuse,” by SFChronicle’s Kimberly Veklerov and Ashley McBride: >Story.
-- “Record number of East Bay jail inmates likely to vote in 2018 midterms,” by SFChronicle’s Megan Cassidy: >Story.
-- “Man accused in gruesome double murder walks free, charges dismissed in ’09 killing” by FresnoBee’s Pablo Lopez: >Story.
-- DREAM HOME -- “The Century-Old Estate That Wants to Be Silicon Valley’s Priciest Home” by WSJ’s Katherine Clarke: >Story.
-- “A simple earthquake flaw can invite financial catastrophe. Most California homeowners ignore it” by LATimes’ Rong-gong Lin II: >Story.
-- “Builder sues over $2 billion San Francisco transit center” via AP: >Story.
-- “What Will the Lakers Look Like With LeBron James?” by NYT’s Scott Cacciola and Adam Nagourney: >Story.
-- “A fire near a California natural gas pipeline has forced 4,000 to evacuate” by CNN’s Joe Sutton and Jason Hanna: >Story.
-- DOWN ON DESLEY -- “Hey Oakland, it’s time to give the boot to Desley Brooks” by SFChronicle’s Otis R. Taylor Jr: “” >Column.
-- “Google’s fired ‘diversity memo’ engineer exits lawsuit for arbitration: report” by MercNews’ Ethan Baron: “The former Google engineer whose firing inflamed America’s culture wars is abandoning his lawsuit against the company in favor of arbitration, according to a new report. Two men who joined the suit will continue the court fight, the report said.” >Story.
-- VALLEY AND SAUDI TIES -- “Silicon Valley hoped the Khashoggi story would go away; instead it may end an era,” by TechCrunch’s Connie Loizos: “If SoftBank or other recipients of Saudi Arabia’s capital are hoping for a surprising turn of events, they should watch what they wish for. If there’s a twist at all, it may well be that a journalist who many in Silicon Valley had never heard of until two weeks ago causes its long economic boom to bust.” >Story.
-- THE WAR ROOM REDUX -- “Bracing for the midterms, Facebook builds a 'war room'” by CNN’s Donie O'Sullivan and Laurie Segall: “The room is designed to bring leaders from the company's policy, legal, and security teams together as political campaigning ramps up in the final weeks before November's midterm elections.” >Story.
-- “Remove Mark Zuckerberg as Facebook chairman, public officials in four states urge” by LATimes’ James Rufus Koren: “They argue that separating Facebook’s chairman and CEO roles is ‘in the best interest of shareholders, employees, users, and our democracy.’” >Story.
-- “Pot CEO pleads for Trump to help America's marijuana industry as Canada gets a head start on legal weed” by CNBC’s Kevin Breuninger : “Entrepreneurs like Peterson, whose company Terra Tech operates six stores in California and Nevada, say America must either catch up quick — or let its nascent cannabis market wither.” >Story.
POLITICO’s Nerdcast Podcast crowd is once again taking the stage at POLITICON, for a live taping on October 20 & 21, at the L.A. Convention Center. POLITICON brings together some of the biggest names in politics and entertainment for an unconventional and highly entertaining weekend of political discourse. >Get your tickets now
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