'The Issue Is': Rain water, reparations and the RNC

This week on "The Issue Is," California at the center of the political world.

First, President Joe Biden visited the state, surveying damage caused by recent deadly storms. The President approving a major disaster declaration, opening up federal aid to the recovery efforts and to those impacted by days of heavy rains and flooding.

To discuss, Elex Michaelson is joined on "The Issue Is" by Brian Ferguson of the Governor's Office of Emergency Services.

Ferguson explains what that emergency declaration means for Californians, while also diving into the subject of stormwater capture, as well as the lessons learned from the storms to combat the state’s years-long drought.

SUGGESTED: LA County collects more than 33 billion gallons of water from recent storms

California also making headlines this week for a controversial proposal out of San Francisco. The city’s African American Reparations Advisory Committee causing quite a stir with its recommendations to pay all qualifying longtime Black residents $5,000,000 in reparations.

With more on that, Michaelson is joined by that committee’s chair, Eric McDonnell, who explains the proposal, why he believes San Francisco acted complicity despite the fact that California was a free state, and what’s next in the fight for reparations.

Next, a conversation with attorney and Republican National Committee Committeewoman Harmeet Dhillon.

Dhillon is currently running for RNC Chair, looking to unseat three-term leader Ronna McDaniel. Dhillon makes her case to delegates, explains why the RNC needs new leadership heading into the 2024 election, and discusses President Donald Trump’s current place in the GOP. All this, before the RNC elects their new leader next week in, where else, California.


FERGUSON’S CENTRAL TAKE: "It really reaffirmed the partnership that California has with our federal government, both the president, Senator [Alex] Padilla, Congressman [Jimmy] Panetta, you know, really bringing the full weight of the federal government behind the people of California as we've experienced these storms. You know, it's not going to be a short recovery, but the resources that were announced this week during the visit will bring tens of millions of dollars and really support those communities to get back on their feet to rebuild and recover…"


FERGUSON’S CENTRAL TAKE: "You know, we really, throughout our state, are experiencing weather whiplash where we have years of drought followed by rain that all comes at the same time. And, you know, under Gov. [Gavin] Newsom, the state's really made historic investments in things like groundwater recharge so that we can collect that water and help our aquifers. He's also expedited the construction of the storage projects that worked on the Delta conveyance. And so, you know, these long term infrastructure projects take time, but there's really been historic investments just in the past couple of years under Governor Newsom that are going to help us capture it…"


McDONNELL’S CENTRAL TAKE: "How it will work will be determined over time by how the city, if they actually adopt this and approve this, how it will be implemented. But how we determined it is that the work of the committee has focused most primarily on assessing the harms experienced by Black San Franciscans over history, and based upon that, what would it take in terms of an investment of initial capital that would allow them to climb out of, maintain, and sustain a level of viable income and then build a path forward towards building and accumulating wealth as, arguably, what was most disruptive by the history of chattel slavery in the United States is just that, a path to viable wealth creation for Black families…"


McDONNELL’S CENTRAL TAKE: "I won't make a case, an argument, for fairness, because that's subjective and there are many points of view. Why we believe it is right and appropriate to do so is that, while you are absolutely correct, as a historical point, there was not active slavery, that said, San Francisco did harbor slaves. San Francisco did enable the continuation of the treatment, or mistreatments, of Black folks in San Francisco. So there is there was a record of, and a certain level of complicit behavior by the city, that justifies some repair against that harm…

"I appreciate and understand why the $5 million stuck out so much and folks are reacting to that. I would argue that the other recommendations that invest in the economic future of Black San Franciscans is even more significant and equally as important…"


DHILLON’S CENTRAL TAKE: "From a moral perspective, I think there's no price you can put on an individual's losing their liberty and being enslaved. I think that's horrible, and I think it's actually happened to many cultures throughout history. But in terms of San Francisco, not exactly, I think, the epicenter of discrimination in our country today, or historically, frankly, although, you know, certainly in the 1800s, our state discriminated a lot against Asian-Americans, and, you know, people with my ethnic heritage, I don't see where the $5 million number comes from. I don't see where the money will come from. I don't think it is just or fair, given all the oppressed groups in the world and in our city specifically, and I think it's a pie in the sky gimmick and I hope not likely to go anywhere. I think we should focus on fixing quality of life here in our city, which is very bad…"


DHILLON’S CENTRAL TAKE: "Ronna's had her run for the last six years and in the last three election cycles, during those six years, we haven't won elections the way that we promised the voters we would. Specifically during that time, we've lost the White House, the Senate, the House, and several governor's races, and while that's no one person's fault, when you're a leader, you do take responsibility, and normally when you lose the White House, there's a turnover in leadership. And so at this point, we really do need new leadership in order to be able to win in 2024. And what I'm coming with is a specific plan to immediately change the way that we deliver ballots to ballot boxes as Republicans, to better communicate the reasons why people should support Republicans instead of Democrats in our elections, to regain the confidence of our donors and our fiscal responsibility and supervision of how we spend their money, and to give confidence to voters and to candidates that we are the lean, mean winning machine that we promised the voters we would be. And what's at stake here is not just our party and its leadership, it's our country, which is suffering tremendously under one party rule right now with little effective pushback from the Republicans…"

"The Issue Is: with Elex Michaelson" is California's only statewide political show. For show times and more information, go to TheIssueIsShow.com.