Friday, February 21, 2020

Publication: CalMatters

Dale Carnegie could have been talking about Phil Ting when the positive-thinking guru said, decades ago, “Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.”

Ting is that person. Sometimes he’s the California Assembly’s Don Quixote, chasing seemingly impossible dreams. He has tried to persuade skeptical colleagues to punish companies that do business with the Trump administration and to tell Californians to park their gas-fueled cars forever — even as he performs the more practical task of managing the Assembly’s purse strings as chairman of the powerful budget committee.

For some practitioners, political accomplishment is a zero-sum proposition, with success measured by wins ­— legislation signed into law — and losses — bills that may die a lonely death in committee.

But Ting doesn’t see his work that way. He’s playing the long game. It’s a win, says Ting — a  key figure in California’s fight to slash auto emissions in the battle against climate change and — if his legislation does nothing more than start a conversation.

“I’d much rather raise the issue and have people pay attention,” he says. “Sometimes behavior changes.” 

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Publication: Los Angeles Times

California lawmakers will gather Wednesday to hear Gov. Gavin Newsom deliver his annual State of the State address and will no doubt applaud any promise he makes to zero in on homelessness. But that doesn’t mean they’ll agree with him.

There is a growing rift in Sacramento political circles over how best to address a crisis that has swelled so much in the past year that more than 151,000 people are now living on the streets and in shelters across the state.

Newsom has already proposed spending an additional $750 million to get people into housing this year — on top of the more than $1 billion that the state is still doling out from previous allocations — and $695 million to expand homeless services under Medi-Cal.

On Wednesday, the governor also may elaborate on a new plan that, he says, will create more accountability by carving the state into still-undecided regions. State officials would then pick an entity in each region to distribute the $750 million, bypassing the existing reliance on allotting money directly to cities and counties, and other local organizations. The details are vague.


There are signs that Newsom’s plan might not get quick approval. At a committee hearing last week, lawmakers were skeptical.

“It wasn’t clear what the new approach was addressing,” said Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) after the hearing. “People already feel like we have plenty of state employees. Why do we need more state employees to administer a new pot of money?”


Monday, February 17, 2020

Publication: CNN Wire

On Feb. 19, 1942, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt gave the Secretary of War the authority to evacuate to designated military areas anyone deemed a U.S. security threat.

For about the next four years, more than 100,000 people of Japanese origin — most of them US citizens — were forcibly removed from their homes and incarcerated in concentration camps across the country during World War II.

Almost 80 years later, California will apologize formally to Japanese Americans for its role in what became the largest single forced relocation in U.S. history.

The California state assembly is expected to approve a resolution later this week apologizing for supporting the “unjust exclusion, removal, and incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, and for its failure to support and defend the civil rights and civil liberties of Japanese Americans during this period.”

“Given recent national events, it is all the more important to learn from the mistakes of the past and to ensure that such an assault on freedom will never again happen to any community in the United States,” the resolution reads.


Muratsuchi introduced the resolution last month, along with Anthony Rendon and Marie Waldron. The bill also lists Ed Chau, David Chiu, Todd Gloria and Phil Ting as co-authors.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Publication: San Francisco Chronicle

Big-city mayors and several Assembly members got their first good look Thursday at Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposal to create a system of regional administrators to oversee $750 million in new homeless funding, and they didn’t like it.

Newsom’s plan is largely unformed and being introduced far in advance of the mid-June deadline for the state to pass its budget. But the mere mention of regional administrators — an idea lambasted as inefficient this week by the state Legislative Analyst’s Office — raised hackles at an informational hearing in San Francisco of a California Assembly budget subcommittee.

All the mayors and almost all of the subcommittee members said they appreciate the new homeless program money Newsom proposed for the coming year’s budget, which would be at least $100 million more than last year, but not the extra buffer between state coffers and local programs.

Currently, homeless funding from the state is handed out to cities and counties, which then use it in governmental and nonprofit programs, and there is a growing call among elected leaders and managers around California to cooperate more regionally on homelessness. But this concept doesn’t seem to be helpful, most of those at the hearing said.

“Layering more bureaucracy and bypassing cities and counties is counterproductive,” San Francisco Mayor London Breed told the committee.


“Having unnamed regional bureaucrats be in charge of homeless funding doesn’t sound like a good idea to me,” said Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, chairman of the subcommittee. “But that having been said, I think we had a really robust discussion. We’ll see where it leads.”

Friday, February 7, 2020

Publication: Los Angeles Times

California is falling perilously short of its targets for issuing Real IDs and will have to more than double the number issued each month to reach the millions of drivers still without the federally required identification card before an Oct. 1 deadline, officials said Thursday.

With eight months to go, the state Department of Motor Vehicles has issued Real IDs to just 25% of California’s 27 million drivers since it began providing the new licenses in January 2018. The DMV would have to issue at least 1.1 million Real IDs each month to get them to all licensed drivers expected to apply for one by October.

The problem took on new urgency on Thursday when the DMV reported issuing an estimated 381,570 Real IDs in January, a drop from the number issued in each of the previous six months, including December’s total of 485,000 cards.


Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), who has held hearings on the Real ID crush as chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee, said it was “disappointing to see the Real ID numbers trend down last month.”

“We are less than eight months away from the Oct. 1 start date, and I remain worried we’ll see an uptick in wait times, especially as we get closer to summer when the added resources we’ve given DMV will be put to the test,” Ting said.


Friday, January 31, 2020

Publication: NBC Bay Area

More than 400 California retailers owe the state of California a combined $12.2 million in CRV "opt-out" fees, according to records obtained by NBC Bay Area.

That discovery comes as California legislators are working on a number of proposed overhauls to the state's troubled recycling program, as more consumers find themselves unable to get back their five- and ten-cent deposits paid for every canned and bottled beverage.


Meanwhile, lawmakers in Sacramento are running out of patience. Assemblymember Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, said he expects CalRecycle to hold all those stores accountable.

“People may say, ‘Hey, these fines, I haven’t had to pay them; it’s okay,’" Asm. Ting said. "But unfortunately, when the state calls, they’re going to have to pay all of it.”

Asm. Ting is pushing the California Legislature for a total CRV overhaul. It could take years, but Ting says it's necessary.

"The program is stuck in the mud," he said. "We really need to re-think this program, and completely redesign this program."


Monday, January 27, 2020

Publication: San Francisco Chronicle

State legislators have revived a bill to ban gun shows at the Cow Palace, even though the venue ended the events last year.

The bill, SB281 by Democratic Sen. Scott Wiener and Assemblyman Phil Ting of San Francisco, would prohibit the sale of firearms and ammunition at the state-owned event center in Daly City, with the exception of gun buybacks hosted by police. The measure passed the Senate on Monday by a 27-11 vote and moves next to the Assembly for consideration.