THE BUZZ: A vital House race could be slipping away from California Republicans.
Controversy has beset CA-10 candidate Ted Howze after POLITICO reported on bigoted, conspiratorial and inflammatory social media posts from his accounts. While Howze issued another denial yesterday, comparing his treatment to that of Brett Kavanaugh, Republican Party figures have publicly reproached the posts and begun backing away from a candidate who’s suddenly smelling toxic.
Last night the big blow fell: the California Republican Party unanimously yanked its endorsement, with Chair Jessica Millan Patterson underscoring a zero-tolerance policy for posts that she called “disgraceful, disgusting” and contradictory to “the values we hold or the Party we are building.” Tasked with rebuilding a party that has struggled to expand beyond its base, Patterson could ill-afford to back a candidate with this kind of baggage, denials or no.
The escalating exodus further scrambles a November political map in which control of the House hinges partly on seven red-to-blue California seats. Democratic CA-10 Rep. Josh Harder had been seen as one of the more vulnerable first-term California Dems after his come-from-behind win against former Rep. Jeff Denham in 2018. But Howze’s woes redound to Harder’s advantage: even before the CAGOP disavowal, Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball yesterday moved the district to “safe Democratic.”
Before the excrement hit the vent, California Republicans were celebrating: new Rep. Mike Garcia had just wrested back CA-25, giving the party its first reclaimed seat in decades and strengthening its hand going into November. Where once the party was preparing to challenge Rep. Katie Hill, a popular rising star, now it had a Republican incumbent on the ballot whose comfortable win energized the base.
But now the picture is murkier. And that’s without getting into the pandemic X-factor. Assumptions of surging liberal turnout have given way to the utter uncertainty of constrained campaigning with all-mail balloting — not to mention how a devastated economy affects voter perceptions.
Both CA-25 and CA-10 are filtering into other California races: Yesterday we saw one Democrat raising funds off of the need to defeat the “extreme, far-right, xenophobic” Howze; vulnerable Democratic freshman Rep. Gil Cisneros exhorted supporters that the CA-25 defeat “reminded us just how competitive Gil’s reelection is going to be in November.”
BUENOS DIAS, good Friday morning. Playbook is off on Monday while we all enjoy our (socially distanced!) Memorial Day weekend. We return on Tuesday.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “You can hear the desperation, the frustration — it’s extreme.” Assemblyman Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale) joins colleagues in hammering the Employment Development Department’s failures to get money to constituents.
TWEET OF THE DAY: Tulare Sheriff Mike Boudreaux @MikeBoudreaux4: “As Sheriff my duty is to protect life and property.This obligation includes protecting rights and freedoms. COVID has become a political tool which is quickly impacting the future of public safety, schools, our children and freedoms. Only your vote/voices will change things now.”
— ISSA V NEWSOM: “Issa sues California over November mail-ballot election,” by POLITICO’s Jeremy B. White: Republican congressional candidate Darrell Issa and a conservative group are suing to block California’s move to an all-mail November election. The complaint charges that Newsom’s order has scrambled Issa’s campaign by compelling him to “reevaluate his electoral strategy” and increasing the cost of running a campaign.
— “Former TV star Lori Loughlin, husband to plead guilty in college admissions scandal,” by POLITICO’s Bianca Quilantan: Loughlin, 55, has agreed to a sentence of two months in prison, a $150,000 fine and two years of supervised release with 100 hours of community service, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Boston.
WRONG NUMBER — “She gets calls and texts meant for Elon Musk. Some are pretty weird,” by NPR’s Bobby Allyn: “There are a lot of people trying to reach celebrity entrepreneur Elon Musk. Sometimes, though, they get Lyndsay Tucker, a 25-year-old skin care consultant.”
— “‘Giant step forward:’ Fresno lifts shelter-in-place next week, sets business reopen plan,” by the Fresno Bee’s Brianna Calix.
PULLBACK — “State tells Sacramento County to back off on allowing gatherings, fitness studios to open,” by the Sac Bee’s Tony Bizjak and Sam Stanton.
— “Virus cases spike in California county on Mexican border,” by the AP’s Elliot Spagat and Gregory Bull: “[T]he surge in the Imperial Valley region could hurt its perpetually struggling economy, which is heavily intertwined with the large industrial city of Mexicali, Mexico.”
ENFORCEMENT — “More than 400 citations issued across San Diego County for violations of COVID-19 orders,” by the San Diego U-T’s David Hernandez.
— “Orange County extends beach hours for Memorial Day weekend, reopens some parking lots,” by the LA Times’ Hannah Fry.
— “The striking racial divide in how Covid-19 has hit nursing homes,” via NYT with LAist and KPCC: “The situation at Gateway (Care and Rehabilitation nursing home in Hayward), which has had a diverse group of residents who are black, Latino, white and Asian, only grew worse once the pandemic hit, interviews with former residents, workers and relatives suggested.”
— “McConnell warns House Democrats over proxy voting on floor,” by POLITICO’s Andrew Desiderio and John Bresnahan: The Kentucky Republican’s comments are the latest GOP salvo against the plan, pushed through the House last week on a party-line vote by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.).
FIRST HIT — “Tech companies launch first ads in fight against AB 5,” by POLITICO’s Jeremy B. White: New digital and television advertisements emphasize those themes. One spot features a real-estate agent talking about supplementing her income with app-based work, and another features a student relating how he earns money while in school.
— “California Democrat called HEROES Act a ‘Democratic wish list’ that would hurt her reelection,” by the Washington Examiner’s Kerry Picket: “‘The HEROES Act is dead on arrival. There was no bipartisan negotiation here and no effort at bipartisan negotiation, which I also think is problematic,’ [Rep. Katie] Porter said.”
— “Time to cut off Gov. Newsom’s blank check,” via the LA Times editorial board: “[N]ow that the state is moving from the emergency response phase into one of recovery, the governor needs to start sharing power again with the Legislature, as the state’s constitution intends.”
— “University of California eliminates SAT/ACT requirement,” by POLITICO’s Alexander Nieves: UC’s new policy, proposed by system President Janet Napolitano, calls for the SAT and ACT to be suspended through 2024 as the university attempts to develop its own testing standard. The tests will be completely eliminated in 2025, regardless of whether a new or modified UC-specific standard has been approved for use.
UNEMPLOYMENT WOES — “California lawmakers blast ‘atrocious’ UI system overloaded with 4.9M claims,” by POLITICO’s Katy Murphy: California state lawmakers unleashed their frustrations about the state’s unemployment system Thursday, demanding answers from an agency director about the problems their jobless constituents have endured trying to access the financial lifeline during the pandemic.
— “Jobless claims climb in California even as it begins to reopen,” by POLITICO’s Katy Murphy: One in five Californians has sought unemployment benefits over the last nine weeks, according to the latest official tally.
WORKER WAYS — “Third-way worker classification bill dies without a vote,” by POLITICO’s Jeremy B. White: The measure sponsored by the Marketplace Industry Association sought to create a novel labor code classification of “independent worker,” which would blend hourly flexibility and a guarantee of some benefits.
ABOUT THAT ARENA — “Without parking fees, Sacramento may have to cut services to pay Golden 1 Center debt,” by the Sac Bee’s Tony Bizjak and Dale Kasler: “If the city uses general fund dollars to help pay off its arena debt, it would take money that otherwise would go for police, street work, parks, libraries, and other basic services.”
BOUNCEHOUSE BRAWL — “Lockdowns crippled his ‘bouncy house’ business. Nearly bankrupt, he’s pushing back,” by the LA Times’ Anita Chabria: “Without work, [Jim] Edmonds, like many others, is fighting through empty and anxious days. Increasingly desperate but feeling powerless, he has turned to political activism, ‘a world that I know nothing about,’ he said, but one that in just a few weeks has shifted from a radical thought to the only reasonable path he sees.”
— “What’s Cooking, Kamala Harris?” by Glamour’s Mattie Kahn: “On Sundays — barring national emergencies — Harris can be found near the stove, sometimes starting her prep work hours in advance. It’s a meditative process she can get lost in.”
MEA CULPA — A story we included in Thursday’s Playbook, “Inside Tesla’s Model 3 Factory, Where Safety Violations Keep Rising,” by Forbes’ Alan Ohnsman, was actually published in 2019. Playbook regrets the error.
A NEW WORLD — “Mark Zuckerberg: Half of Facebook may work remotely by 2030,” by NBC’s Dylan Byers: “That would mean a significant shift in the concentration of personnel that could radically alter how the company operates, as well as have an impact on the San Francisco Bay Area.”
— “Apple whistleblower calls for European privacy probes into Big Tech voice assistants,” by POLITICO’s Laura Kayali.
— “Uber uses Covid-19 as cue to take stock of strategy,” by the FT’s Dave Lee: “The feeling among many employees, particularly those being told to leave, is that Uber is using the pandemic as an opportunity to reshape the company as it tries to keep promises about becoming profitable.”
— “Will Smith and Kevin Hart are betting coronavirus will accelerate a shift toward virtual events,” by CNBC’s Ryan Browne.
— “Inside HBO Max’s scramble to launch a massive bet on streaming,” by the LA Times’ Meg James: “HBO Max’s launch will be a watershed moment as a major Hollywood player for nearly a century attempts a high-wire pivot into a new media powerhouse.”
— “As sheriff defies subpoena on jails, watchdog passes another on Kobe Bryant crash records,” by the LA Times’ Cindy Chang.
— “Arrests made at San Clemente rally fighting stay-at-home order,” by the OC Register’s Erika I. Ritchie.
— “New UC Merced chancellor is a farmworker’s son and UC alum,” by the LA Times’ Teresa Watanabe.
— “More than 50 Sacramento restaurants opening for dine-in service. Here’s the list,” by the Sac Bee’s Benjy Egel.
— “For booksellers in L.A., a partial reopening brings hope and anxiety,” by the LA Times’ Dorany Pineda.
— “Overlooked No More: When Hazel Ying Lee and Maggie Gee Soared the Skies,” by the NY Times’ Katie Hafner.
Anthony Reyes … Jay Carney is 55 … Dustin Moskovitz is 36 … Matt Roman … Jessie Mangaliman … Gene Fynes…David Schenkein
— DROP IN FOR A DRINK at Sacramento Press Club Hacks ‘n’ Flacks Happy Hour: The L.A. Times’ Seema Mehta and POLITICO’s Carla Marinucci — and some very special guests — will join veteran journalist Dan Morain, the president of the Sacramento Press Club, in hosting the first virtual Hacks ‘n’ Flacks Happy Hour, starting at 5:30 Friday, June 5. They’ll be bending elbows and talking politics and news — none of it fake — at the SacPressClub’s Facebook Page. To help the Sac Press Club fulfill their longtime mission of providing scholarships to the next generation of journalists, you can donate now.
— ‘’PELOSI” — Author Molly Ball, Time national political correspondent, discusses “Pelosi,’’ her revealing new biography of Speaker Nancy Pelosi with POLITICO’s Carla Marinucci at the Commonwealth Club of California June 10. 3 p.m. Register here for the online event.
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Gig Worker Attacks a Big Labor Ploy – InsideSources
Uber has announced its intention to merge with Postmates, giving the ride-hailing and restaurant-delivery networking company a foothold in the growing grocery-delivery market.
Since the outbreak of pandemic COVID-19, grocery delivery has surged as travel has collapsed, so Uber saw diversification as its path to survival.
Also seeing diversification as a path to survival is Big Labor, which has, through worker centers like Working Washington — a front group for Big Labor principally funded by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and its local affiliates — opened an all-out offensive against the so-called “gig economy.”
Part of that economy are companies like Uber, Postmates, DoorDash, and GrubHub (to name only a few) that rely on independent contractors to deliver food from restaurants and items from stores to customers; these workers set their own schedules, contribute their own capital, and direct their own work, unlike most conventional employees.
Big Labor sees this as a problem and are engaging in a campaign to undermine the thriving gig economy before it gets any larger.
Under federal law, unions of independent contractors cannot force contracting companies to engage in monopoly collective bargaining. So, as COVID-based restrictions on normal human life and the general consumer benefits of application-based services create growth in the sector, labor unions are going all-out to benefit themselves at the expense of consumers, independent workers, and the companies that support those workers and consumers.
Approach one is a frontal assault, most notably via legislation that characterizes independent contracting workers as true employees.
First enacted through California’s controversial Assembly Bill 5 (AB5), , this type of legislation is poised to all-but-eliminate freelance writing and content creation and owner-operator trucking in addition to the targeted “gig economy” application-based services.
At the national level, union-backed House Democrats passed the PRO Act, legislation that would make several Big Labor-empowering changes to employment law, perhaps foremost among them a nationwide expansion of California’s “classification” law under AB5.
The second approach is the old-fashioned corporate campaign, the SEIU-perfected tactic of harassing a large business into not opposing unionization on the threat of brand damage.
Leading the charge is Working Washington, the SEIU-funded activist “worker center” that fronts campaigns for the union in Washington State. Working Washington has led campaigns against DoorDash and Postmates; for good measure, the Postmates campaign also targeted Chipotle, an SEIU unionization target.
For now, the stated goals are health and safety regulations and higher guaranteed pay, but the SEIU’s ties to Working Washington indicate a clear intention to bring independent contractor delivery workers into the union as dues-paying members.
A majority of Working Washington’s board are current or former SEIU officials; Working Washington and SEIU 775NW, the union’s militant Seattle-area local, reportedly share office space.
And while adding new union members might be SEIU and Working Washington’s ultimate goal, killing the application-based model — a model that has helped keep restaurants afloat and paying workers and helped consumers tolerate otherwise-intolerable “social distancing” diktats — would also serve to increase union power.
If Instacart goes bust because it cannot operate under Big Labor’s employment model, well, then the unionized supermarkets’ in-house delivery services will prosper.
The goal of the attack on application-based services is simple: Big Labor wins; workers and consumers lose.
The Gig Economy: A New Battleground for Cybersecurity
The gig economy, whereby workers are paid for each individual project or job that they do, has accelerated exponentially in the last couple of years. Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, it was estimated to account for more than 4.7 million workers, or more than 10% of working-age adults.
In this era of smart devices, the workforce is becoming more mobile and work can increasingly be done from anywhere. As a result, job and location are being decoupled. That means that freelancers can select among temporary jobs and projects around the world, while employers can select the best individuals for specific projects from a larger pool than what is available in any given area.
The average UK workplace now comprises of a mix of full-time, part-time and short-term workers. Gig economy workers allow companies to ensure they can remain nimble, cost-effective, and able to adapt to changing market conditions in a fast-paced, technology-led environment.
Finding the security vulnerabilities
Businesses’ increasing tendency to employ independent contractors and freelancers instead of full-time workers is making IT contracting an increasingly common gig economy role, with the recent suspension of IR35 due to the pandemic extending this trend.
It’s a development that is line with how modern enterprises approach IT in general. Being able to deploy more or less IT resources as required is considered best practice for using cloud services. It’s quick, it’s versatile, and it meets the changing needs of the business.
It’s not inherently secure, however. The risk model has moved from a model built around controlled environments, i.e. corporate networks. The perimeter – the first line of defense – was a known entity and yes, it had flaws, but IT departments were usually aware of where the weak points were.
In modern IT environments however the perimeter can be described as ‘distributed’ at best, and at worst non-existent. Simply put, the risk is that companies can no longer enforce security on the end device, as they may have no jurisdiction or control over it.
IT workers play fundamental roles in 21st century organizations because every business is reliant on information and technology in order to function. Large amounts of critical data and at least a few critical assets will need to be stored and managed in order for most business to serve customers, meet production deadlines, and more. It is therefore common for permanent IT employees to be subject to strict security supervision. When these roles are performed by remote third parties, short-term contractors or non-permanent staff however, security must also adapt.
Polishing the security armor
Plugging into an organization’s network to access critical company systems from beyond the physical boundaries of the workplace is now commonplace. Companies need to ensure they have stringent security measures in place to better manage the high risk that this entails. They must also limit the access of contractors to only what they need, instead of trusting them with sweeping access to everything. Risk factors include accessing networks from personal devices that lack enterprise-grade security, or from home networks that could be easily compromised.
In this scenario we are a long way from a world where security teams are able to enforce policy on devices within the traditional network. Now, often they will have no control at all over the device being used by the external party to connect in and, similarly, not being able to ensure the security of the location where the device is connecting from; for instance a home WiFi network.
Our previous research indicates that 90 percent of organizations with more than 250 users grant third party vendors access to their critical systems, and 72 percent position third party access in their top 10 security risks, indicating it’s a familiar problem for security teams.
That doesn’t mean it is being acted upon though. The majority of organizations use strategies that are just not optimized for efficiency, and don’t systematically enforce corporate security policies across on-site and cloud infrastructure. Any solution for third party privileged access must provide basic security best practices that mirror established policies for internal employees.
Technical advances also mean the shortcomings of obsolete technologies – such as VPNs – to secure remote workers can now be overcome with relative ease. Usage of biometrics and Zero Trust policies should be employed to reliably authenticate remote vendor access to the most sensitive parts of the corporate network. This can be achieved with the flexibility and ease-of-use that modern remote workers need by using the remote workers’ own mobile devices for biometric and multifactor authentication.
In the world of work today, the physical boundaries of our workplace have become increasingly blurred. This is especially the case as we move into a post COVID-19 workplace, where flexible working is expected to be the new norm. In such environments, endpoint devices may have varying levels of security and the office environment may be a café, car or home office. Hence, cybersecurity needs to match the flexibility of modern working.
The place where organizations can reliably enforce policy is at the point of connection and the access that they require into systems. This needs to be acknowledged and implemented.
DoorDash becomes latest gig app threatened with injunction
San Francisco’s lead prosecutor has filed for a preliminary injunction against DoorDash, the US market leader in food delivery, that would soon force the company to reclassify its workers as employees — days after a judge dramatically granted a similar request in a case against Uber and Lyft.
Chesa Boudin, the San Francisco district attorney, filed the motion, which would apply to all DoorDash workers in California, on Wednesday. The move was another escalation in the state’s battle to bring the gig economy’s controversial business model to a halt.
“We are seeking an immediate end to DoorDash’s illegal behaviour of failing to provide delivery workers with basic workplace protections,” said Mr Boudin in a statement.
“All three branches of California’s government have already made clear that these workers are employees under California law and entitled to these important safeguards.”
The district attorney’s motion follows state attorney Xavier Becerra’s successful effort to have a judge issue a preliminary injunction against Uber and Lyft.
On Monday Superior Court Judge Ethan Schulman said the ride-share companies had until August 20 to reclassify their drivers, though in that time the companies are expected to appeal. Not yet known but set to be discussed in a hearing on Thursday is whether the deadline will be pushed back while that appeal is heard.
If not, Uber and Lyft have said they will be forced to suspend operations in California, possibly for more than a year, while changes to their systems are implemented. Reclassification would mean providing drivers with healthcare benefits, sick pay, paid leave and other benefits not currently available to them.
DoorDash would not comment on whether or not its business would be able to continuing operating if it too was forced by a preliminary injunction to reclassify workers, a decision which could come as soon as early October.
Complicating matters further, the action against Uber and Lyft only applies to ride-share drivers, meaning Uber’s food app, which competes intensely against DoorDash, would continue unaffected. The district attorney’s office was unable to comment on the discrepancy when asked by the Financial Times on Wednesday.
A DoorDash spokesman told the FT: “In the midst of one of the deepest economic recessions in our nation’s history, today’s action by the district attorney threatens billions of dollars in earnings for California Dashers and revenue for restaurants that rely upon sales from delivery to keep their businesses open.”
The company said its internal data suggested the majority of its workers wanted to remain as contractors, arguing — as have other gig economy companies — that flexibility over working hours and location would not be possible under an employee model.
DoorDash contributed $30m to a joint fund supporting Proposition 22, a new measure on November’s ballot that would, for app-based workers, override the law being cited in the current cases against the gig companies. Uber and Lyft have each put in the same amount, alongside other contributions from gig economy groups. The total backing for the “Yes on 22” campaign now stands at more than $110m.
Those opposing the change have, according to latest filings, raised $1.6m — but do have the support of both Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris, herself a former San Francisco district attorney.
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