Around The Capitol

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THE NOONER for March 9, 2015




U.S. SENATE: @cmarinucci - "CA @RepAdamSchiff again on @CNN, this time to talk about Clinton emails; does increased presence on nat media mean interest in #CASen2016?"

ROARING 10s:  California unemployment rate falls to 6.9 percent [Dale Kasler @ SacBee] - "California unemployment fell to 6.9 percent in January as the state's economy generated 67,300 new payroll jobs, state officials said Friday. The Employment Development Department said the unemployment rate dropped two-tenths of a percent from December."

California job boom stronger than first thought; jobless rate improves to a six-year low [George Avalos @ MercNews] - "'This was a blowout report,' said Steve Levy, director of the Palo Alto-based Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy. 'It could push the Bay Area past its all-time peak for total jobs pretty soon.'"

FAMILY MATTERS: Could Anne Gust Brown be the next governor? [Dan Walters @ SacBee] - Dan Walters raises the possibility of Jerry Brown appointing his wife--perhaps the most influential person, unpaid, in the administration--to the office of attorney general if Kamala Harris wins the U.S. Senate race. And, from the position of AG, she would then be well positioned to run for governor. Walters: "Far-fetched? Perhaps, but Jerry Brown is always difficult to predict. And he would have much to gain and almost nothing to lose."

THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM: California GOP lawsuit claims unlawful use of elephant logo [Laurel Rosenhall @ SacBee]:

The California Republican Party has filed a lawsuit against a group that appears, at first blush, to be an ally: A PAC that spent $68,000 to promote a Republican in an upcoming legislative race.

But in its suit in federal court, the party claims the Asian American Small Business PAC – which is run by a Democratic political consultant – unlawfully used the trademarked elephant logo in mailers that went out to East Bay voters promoting Republican Michaela Hertle in the race for the 7th Senate District. Though Hertle’s name will be on the ballot March 17, she announced weeks ago she will not campaign and threw her support behind Steve Glazer, one of three Democrats vying to fill the seat that represents Concord, Walnut Creek and Pleasanton.

It's time to do our best Paul Harvey imitation and ask about the story behind the story.

SD07 (Tri-Valley) is the seat vacated by Mark DeSaulnier, who was elected to congress to succeed George Miller. Initially it was a five-way race with Susan Bonilla, Joan Buchanan, Steve Glazer, Terry Kremin--all Democrats--and Michaela Hertle, a Republican. Republicans knew that, even though they could probably get their candidate into the runoff, a 14.9% Democratic voter registration margin and a heavily Democratic-leaning NPP vote (22% of voters), the effort would be futile. 

But, with independent L.A. businessman Bill Bloomfield and the Charter Schools Association putting independent money behind Glazer--who openly bucked labor in the 2014 race for AD16--a window of opportunity was opened to get at least a contrarian Democrat into the runoff. Most prominently, he publicly campaigned to ban BART workers from striking. The two biggest representatives of BART employees are SEIU and the Amalgamated Transit Union.

There are a lot of independent expenditures on both sides, but today we're focusing on the Asian American Small Business Action Committee. The PAC is run by former legislative staffer and political consultant Bill Wong.

The recent contributions to the Asian American Small Business Action Committee are: 

  • American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Workers - $25,000
  • California Nurses Association - $10,000
  • California Professional Firefighters - $25,000
  • California State Council of Service Employees - $40,000

All four unions have endorsed Bonilla, although AFSCME has dual-endorsed, also giving a nod to Buchanan. The California Teachers Association, which hasn't contributed to the Asian American Small Business Action Committee, has endorsed Buchanan.

The real story is not about the Asian American Small Business Action Committee nor Bonilla or Buchanan. It's about labor doing everything possible to keep Glazer out of a likely runoff. Asian American Small Business Action Committee's play is to work to split the conservative voters between a candidate still running (Glazer) and one who has dropped out (Hertle), but whose name is still on the ballot. 

BLURRED LINES: Potential redistricting reset could tighten California Democrats' grip [Phil Willon @ Melanie Mason @ LAT] -  Political consultant Michael Wagaman says don't expect dramatic changes even if the court throws out the Citizen's Commissions: "The Republicans are at the lowest percentage of the congressional delegation since the New Deal," Wagaman said. "Anybody expecting a 'Girls Gone Wild' scenario from California Democrats is going to be sorely disappointed."

Well played, sir. A "Girls Gone Wild" reference to California politics.

DOUBLE-X FACTOR: Another female name floated for the 2016 race for governor is Congresswoman Jackie Speier. While members of Congress have rarely given up safe seats for a state office bid in a multi-candidate field, Democrats in the House are dispirited with little hope of a majority before 2022, if then.

HARDBALL: AEG, falling behind in fight for NFL stadium, takes the gloves off [Tim Logan and Nathan Fenno @ LAT] - "Not long ago, AEG was the front-runner in the race to return a National Football League team to the region with the Farmers Field project in downtown Los Angeles. Now it lags behind rival proposals in Inglewood and Carson, both of which, unlike Farmers Field, have the backing of an NFL owner. AEG is pushing back."

CH-CH-CH-CHANGES: Whitman, Kashkari among Republicans backing gay marriage in court brief [David Siders @ SacBee] - "California's last two Republican gubernatorial candidates – including Meg Whitman, who once supported the state's same-sex marriage ban – are among more than 300 conservatives who have filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of gay marriage."

CELEBRATE GOOD TIMES: Equality California is hosting its Sacramento Equality awards tonight at 5:30 at the Park Tower. Being recognized are Speaker Toni Atkins, PG&E's Brandon Hernandez, and Sac Unified Trustee/CMA Chief Strategy Officer Jay Hansen.

It'll be particularly nice to see Jay Hansen recognized. Jay was the mentor that brought Paul Mitchell, Dustin Corcoran, and me into politics. Here's a 1992 LA Times article about me, where I was so baby-faced--and so much of a Kool-Aid drinker!

EXTRALEGAL: Airbnb spawns vacation rental confusion [Lois Weisberg] @ UTSD] - "Vacationers longing for a coastal getaway in Coronado but who can’t afford pricey hotel rates may inevitably find their way to Airbnb where there are plenty of private rooms to rent, yet without the budget-busting price tag. Trouble is, many of those rentals are also skirting the law."

AWESOME: Kevin Spacey to produce 'Race for the White House' series for CNN [Kendall Breitman @ Politico] - "The network announced Monday that the 'House of Cards' actor will be producing and narrating 'Race for the White House,' a series dedicated to highlighting some of the 'most famous campaigns' for executive office."

WWII: Yo, Aaron Sorkin, when can we have a The West Wing 2 covering President Santos's administration?

TUBULAR: Jeff Spicoli couldn't have pulled this surfing off. [real time | slowed down]

#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Victor Arrañaga!

NOTE: Effective today, classifieds will be $30/week. This will be the first price increase, as readership has increased 50% since I started running classifieds. It's still cheap compared to other sites! Also, since The Nooner is currently my "full-time job," I'm sure you can understand. Early Bird/Ad-free subscriptions remain at $3.99/month or $39.99/year.





  • Job opening: Executive Director
    The Democratic Party of Orange County (DPOC) is seeking a committed individual to serve as Executive Director. The applicant must possess strong organizational skills and demonstrated leadership ability. In coordination with the Party Chair, the Executive Director will implement the DPOC's strategic plan and oversee the administration and programs of the Party, including political activities, personnel, fundraising, communication and technology.  
    For more information, visit:
  • California Special Districts Association Legislative Representative, advocate on behalf of members on legislation and regulatory proposals. Prior lobbying/legislative experience and knowledge of employee relations and public governance preferred. Salary range $65,797 - $98,696.  Details.
    Resume w/cover letter to

  • ROSALIND WYMAN--the youngest woman elected to the Los Angeles City Council---discusses 60 years in Los Angeles politics in this exclusive interview:

    Know a current or former elected official in Southern California we should interview? Our TV program reaches California's #1 zip code for campaign contributions. Send suggestions to:

  • Learn about the Pacific McGeorge Master of Science in Law (M.S.L.) program for working professionals who seek the benefits of advanced training in legal reasoning and analysis but who do not require the J.D. degree at an upcoming evening information session. Register for March 17 at the State Capitol or April 22 on campus (3200 Fifth Ave.) today at

  • Executive Assistant for Progressive Organizations - Full or Part Time - Two progressive and very pragmatic political non-profit organizations (Progressive Kick and Progressive Punch) are seeking a joint executive assistant for a very small office. One of the organizations deals with informing people about Congressional voting records, the other, running issue messaging campaigns designed to get more progressives elected to Congress and state legislatures around the country. Our ideal candidate for this position would have a progressive perspective, a commitment to social change efforts and a personal interest in the worlds of government and politics. View the full job description at

  • Legislators and staff are invited to attend the launch of the The Copia Institute at the San Jose Tech Museum on March 12th and 13th. Copia is a network of future-focused innovators dedicated to addressing some of the most consequential and intriguing issues of our time, from health data ethics and 3D printing, to intellectual property, privacy, surveillance, broadband, drones and autonomous vehicles.  To RSVP for the conference or for the Thursday evening reception, please call For more information about Copia, please visit

  • Open Position:  Senior Program Officer, California Democracy Program, James Irvine Foundation. Position can be based in San Francisco or Los Angeles.  Initial grantmaking focus will be on Voter & Civic Engagement and Immigrant Integration. Minimum of eight years of work experience in policy-making institutions or nonprofit organizations, including five years of experience in a senior leadership role; substantive experience on key California policy issues and processes; and the ability to work across the political spectrum. Master’s degree is preferred. More information:

  • California Council on Science and Technology is now hiring an Executive Assistant for our Sacramento Office.  This position will act as administrative support for Sacramento senior staff members and their designees, as well as office manager, coordinating all aspects of the Sacramento office, and meeting coordinator/planner for all CCST Board and Council meetings. Will provide project support for program managers.  $36,600 minimum salary.  Looking for a highly organized self-starter with strong communication and technical skills.  Must apply through UC Merced.  See more at


State GOP sues Dem group for 'deceptive' tactics in East Bay race
Carla Marinucci @
In a contest dominated by three veteran Democrats, the Asian American Small Business Political Action Committee, funded generously by unions, has paid for mailer attack ads that complain there are "too many Democrats in the state Senate causing partisan gridlock” who kowtow to "special interests that are paralyzing our state government." It urges a vote for "real reform" in the form of Republican Michaela Hertle while never mentioning that she withdrew from the race weeks ago and endorsed Orinda Mayor Steve Glazer, a centrist Democrat. It’s a ploy to turn Republican voters away from Glazer.

Brown Plan May Cut State Retiree Health Payment | Calpensions
How many would choose the option is unknown. But the low-cost plan may have the potential to soon slow some of the rapid growth in health care costs, unlike other parts of the proposal that have delayed impact and require bargaining with labor unions.

GOP Senate Wannabes: A Vicious Attack On Calbuzz
If Rocky Chavez confounds conventional wisdom to run a stronger-than-expected race for U.S. Senate, it most certainly will not be due to the efforts of his asshat press secretary, Christopher Pickard.

GOP Dream Candidate Condi Rice Says No Thanks To U.S. Senate Bid
Condoleezza Rice — Stanford professor, Soviet specialist, former U.S secretary of state — once said her dream job was commissioner of the National Football League. So she knows a Hail Mary pass when she sees one.

State Senate Hopeful Wagner Holds Huge Lead In Fundraising
Former Supervisor John Moorlach continues to suffer from lackluster fundraising in his bid to win the special election for state Senate on March 17, with chief opponent and fellow Republican Don Wagner bringing in nearly four times as much as of the filings due Thursday.

Opinion: Could Anne Gust Brown Be The Next Governor?
Dan Walters @
Far-fetched? Perhaps, but Jerry Brown is always difficult to predict. And he would have much to gain and almost nothing to lose.

Some Supreme Court Justices Cite 2012 Argument Against Health Care Law as Defense for It Now
In 2012, the justices said it would be unconstitutional for Congress to cut off all Medicaid payments to states that refused to expand eligibility, and this ruling instantly transformed the expansion of Medicaid into a state option.

Cantua Creek: Taps May Run Dry In Western Fresno County Town After Residents Vote To Oppose Rate Hike
Marc Benjamin @
Residents of this tiny western Fresno County town recently told Fresno County supervisors that they don’t want to pay higher bills for water service to their tiny community — even if it means having their water shut off.

Gov. Brown Offers $50 Million Carrot For College Innovation
The governor has pledged $50 million to reward campuses with creative and cost-effective approaches to getting more students to earn degrees in less time. A seven-member committee chaired by Brown's finance director is scheduled to name the winners of the California Awards for Innovation in Higher Education later this month.

Political Calculus: Hillary Clinton Is More Vulnerable in 2016 Than You Think
The presidential election is likely to be close, based on current evidence, despite early polls suggesting Mrs. Clinton is a strong candidate.

Why The Gap Between Huizar And Molina Became A Canyon
David Zahniser @
Six hours before the polls closed in last week's City Council election, candidate and former L.A. County Supervisor Gloria Molina had a dozen people inside her Boyle Heights campaign office, calling up voters and urging them to get to their polling places.

GOP Politicians At Odds With Most Of Silicon Valley On Net Neutrality
Josh Richman @
But when Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, recently called "net neutrality" -- keeping Internet service providers from favoring some content over others -- "Obamacare for the Internet," he was uttering what probably sounded like fighting words to valley giants such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, eBay and Netflix.

Republican senators warn Iran in open letter
Republican senators want to give the president a refresher on the constitutional balance of power.

Drones Are Latest Tool In Conservation Science
Edward Ortiz @
When the rain finally came to Sacramento in early February, Nature Conservancy scientist Chris McColl needed to quickly assess whether water had overflowed the banks of the Cosumnes River and filled a floodplain the organization is trying to restore.

GM plans $5-billion stock buyback, avoids showdown with hedge funds
General Motors has headed off a potentially divisive proxy fight by agreeing to buy back $5 billion in stock by the end of next year.

Dried And Confused: Some Get Water, Many Won’t — What’s Wrong With This? | Water And The Valley |
Mark Grossi @
A guide to things to do in the Fresno region in March, including concerts, theater, arts, movies...

Hundreds Rally For Women's Causes In Downtown Los Angeles
Marisa Gerber and Frank Shyong @
More than 500 people gathered Sunday afternoon in front of LAPD headquarters to march across the city for women's causes in recognition of International Women's Day .

Scott Walker signs 'right-to-work' law, burnishing conservative credentials
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill Monday aimed at restricting the strength of private-sector unions, the latest in a series of moves this winter to accentuate his conservative policies as he pursues the Republican presidential nomination.

Marco or Jeb? Florida governor may pick neither
Will Gov. Rick Scott endorse one of the four potential GOP candidates who live in Florida.

Sen. Feinstein: Hillary Clinton Needs To 'Step Up And Come Out' On E-mail Firestorm
Sean Sullivan @
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) called Sunday on Hillary Clinton to "step up and come out" to explain in more detail why she used a personal e-mail account to conduct government business during her time as secretary of state.

Weekend cleanup in Dolores Park a job for 'heroesâ
“Friends ask me who would mess up a park and I tell them, 'People who can buy expensive drinks,’” said one gardener, a 23-year employee who only gave his first name of Byron. The remnants of revelry included at least one drained bottle of Veuve Clicquot, a Champagne that retails for more than $40, amid the empties of more pedestrian bubblies such as Cook’s and Korbel. Debris was scattered across the lawn; the surroundings of each 96-gallon refuse bin was clumsily stacked with the remains of picnics and parties and who knows what else. Both neighbors and park workers say the crowds and the trash have intensified during the past two years, in tandem with the Mission District’s status as the epicenter of San Francisco’s hipster and high-tech cultures. In 2014, Dolores Park was cleared of 14,921 cubic yards of garbage — 75 times the amount at the tourist mecca of Alamo Square. The good news is there was no damage akin to the vandalism incident in late February where crews showed up and discovered the playground’s sandbox defiled by more than a dozen shattered beer bottles. Four custodians-in-training moved along the park’s perimeter, using claw-like “pick-up sticks” to transfer the leavings one by one into large plastic bags. Two gardeners commanded a small truck to tackle the most visible piles within; a third concentrated on scouring the wide concrete walkway with water. The goal on mornings like this isn’t to pick up every last cigarette butt and bottle cap — more than a few of them embedded into the lawn — but to get rid of the obvious stuff, return the lawn to a presentable state. The six-cubic-yard dumpster was full, so Byron and Rich were stacking sealed black bags in the beds of two pick-up trucks parked in the Dolores Street median.

Clippers Lose Again At Golden State, Falling 106-98 On Sunday
The Clippers lost again to the Golden State Warriors in Oakland, falling 106-98 on Sunday afternoon.

Pg&e Overlooked Key Seismic Test At Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant - San Francisco Chronicle
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