Gonzalez on KQED website
Surrounded by controversies – from authoring anti-gig Assembly Bill 5 to a fiery tweet attacking Tesla's Elon Musk for reopening his car factory in the face of COVID-19 restrictions – Assembly Democrat Lorena Gonzalez may be cruising for a new round of political intrigue.
But meanwhile, Gonzalez seems positioned for some fallout of the vindication variety regarding her May 9 online castigation of Tesla's reopening in which she tweeted “F*ck Elon Musk” .
McLaughlin: “I'm thrilled to begin work on one of the most important elements of our democracy.”
Three days later, Alameda County officials announced they had cut a deal with Musk to reopen the plant with beefed-up anti-virus protections.
"We reviewed the plan and held productive discussions today with Tesla's representatives about their safety and prevention plans, including some additional safety recommendations," said a tweet, though the county took no questions.
Now the Washington Post is reporting the appearance of COVID-19 at the plant. "Two workers, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of fear of retaliation, told The Washington Post that supervisors held meetings with their teams to disclose the company had reported several cases of the coronavirus, and the employees affected were told to stay home," says a June 9 Post report.
"As part of the agreement struck allowing Tesla to reopen on May 18, Tesla would have to report all positive cases to the Alameda County Public Health Department," added the account, which noted none had yet surfaced.
"But because Tesla restarted production a week earlier, there could have been cases that were never reported to the county because Tesla was 'not required to directly report known cases' before the agreement, county officials said."
Meanwhile, the June 8 announcement that Gonzalez's chief of staff Evan McLaughlin – an ex-political and legislative director at the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council and her onetime Assembly campaign manager – is leaving to become vice president of Redistricting Partners, is raising new questions.
“I'm thrilled to begin work on one of the most important — but least understood — elements of our democracy,” said McLaughlin said in a news release.
"Redistricting Partners has been an innovator in the space, both working directly with local governments conducting redistricting and assisting organizations and communities outside of the official process to influence the drawing of lines."
In December 2011, ProPublica reported that Redistricting Partners, founded by Sacramento consultant Paul Mitchell, had outwitted state Republicans by creating a friendly district for House Democrat Jerry McNerney, an effort called OneSanJoaquin.
"The author of OneSanJoaquin's maps was not identified on the Facebook page, but ProPublica has learned it was Paul Mitchell, a re-districting consultant hired by McNerney," said ProPublica.
"OneSanJoaquin described itself as a nonprofit, but records show it is not registered as such in any state. It has no identifiable leadership but it does have a Facebook page, called OneSanJoaquin, created by the Google account OneSanJoaquin.
"McNerney announced he was moving to the newly created San Joaquin district to run for re-election. It was a huge improvement for him," the piece noted.
"Summing up the story, an internal Democratic memo said the GOP had been decisively out-maneuvered. 'Their hope was to create a Republican Congressional seat,' the memo said. 'Their plan backfired.'"
Among the firm’s other revenue, state campaign disclosure records show that Redistricting Partners was paid $23,000 in campaign consulting fees by the California Dental Political Action Committee in June 2011, during the state last redistricting round.
According to the website GovSalaries.Com, McLaughlin got annual pay of $90,000 from the Assembly Rules Committee in 2016.
A May 31 roster of staff salaries posted online by the Assembly shows McLaughlin currently making $5,178 a month, for a total of $62,136 a year in a half-time position as Gonzalez's chief of staff.