One of the California Democratic Party’s elder statesmen suggests that state lawmakers take a “wait and see attitude” toward Donald Trump instead of drawing battle lines before they know what the new Trump Administration’s policies will be.

The Democratic-controlled Legislature, girding for legal battles with Trump, has retained former Obama attorney general Eric Holder. Holder will lead a team from the law firm Covington & Burling to fight expected Trump policies on immigration, healthcare, climate change and more. Meanwhile, some California cities, including Santa Ana, have affirmed their status as “sanctuary cities” for undocumented immigrants.

“As a lawyer I always say fights avoided are fights won and until there’s an injury you don’t have a lawsuit. So it may be a little premature to do this sort of thing,” Bill Lockyer said on “Inside OC with Rick Reiff.”

Lockyer, former California state treasurer, attorney general and Senate Majority leader, said the state has too much at stake, including roughly $20 billion in federal Covered California subsidies, to needlessly antagonize the new administration.

“I think we have to figure out how we can cooperate with the federal government in every way we can,” said Lockyer, who lives in Long Beach and is now a lawyer in the Irvine office of Brown Rudnick.

Lockyer said he did not think Trump would follow through on some of his more incendiary campaign promises, such as deporting two to three million undocumented immigrants.

Instead, he predicted Trump would make highly publicized crackdowns on felons who are in the country illegally while sparing law-abiding persons who have lived here for years. But he acknowledged the fears of many immigrants, including students in his political science class at UC Irvine.

Lockyer was joined on the show by Orange County Register Opinion Editor Brian Calle and Lincoln Club Director Clare Venegas. They agreed with Lockyer that infrastructure could be an area of common ground between Trump, who has said he wants to upgrade the nation’s crumbling roads and bridges, and California, which has roads, bridges and water infrastructure on its “to-do” list.

They agreed that showdowns are looming on other issues, including energy and healthcare, although Venegas speculated that a compromise might be reached on energy, such as the Trump administration continuing green-energy subsidies in exchange for loosened restrictions on fracking.

With California’s GOP Congressional delegation in fierce opposition to the project, there will be no more federal backing for the controversial bullet train, Calle predicted.

Lockyer said new tax policies could be a double-edged sword, hurting California homeowners if the mortgage interest deduction is scrapped, but helping state businesses and creating jobs if corporate taxes are reduced and overseas profits are repatriated.

The show is airing this week on PBS SoCal and Cox channels (all listings here and can also be viewed on YouTube.

YouTube video

Inside OC with Rick Reiff – Trump vs. California

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