Around The Capitol

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THE NOONER for April 20, 2015




Well, happy 4/20, a day full of bad jokes, Seth Rogen movies, and the munchies.

SMOKIN! And, just in time for this day, a contribution of $1 million was made by toward the qualification of a marijuana legalization effort. The measure hasn't been identified yet, but that's a healthy sum for the historically low signature requirements following last November's embarrassing low turnout. For initiative constitutional amendments, the valid signature requirements are now 585,407, and 365,880 for statutory amendments.

BTW, anybody besides me notice that CNN has become the 420 network in recent days?


  • Antonio Villaraigosa spent the weekend in the Central Valley, appearing in Fresno and Modesto. "I'm here to listen and learn."  Sounds like Hillary's tour in New Hampshire...
  • Rep. Sanchez set to announce decision on Senate bid [Martin Wisckol @ OCR] - "Sanchez also said she'd announce whether she’d be running by the end of this week. She's the featured speaker today at a luncheon of the Democratic Foundation of Orange County, which has been a staunch supporter of hers, beginning with her landmark 1996 campaign and upset of incumbent GOP Rep. Bob Dornan."
  • Loretta Sanchez seen as unscripted alternative for U.S. Senate [Christopher Cadelago @ SacBee] - "'Kamala Harris has no federal experience,' Sanchez replied to the crowd of Democratic activists in San Francisco, looking and sounding like a candidate. She then criticized Harris for her inability to speak Spanish."

Neither has opened a committee, and with contribution limits of $2,700, time is of the essence. Harris has already raised $2.5 million. Sanchez has $539k on hand in her House reelection account, which could be transferred to a Senate bid. 

Meanwhile, another would-be statewide candidate, billionaire investor and climate change crusader Tom Steyer, appeared in Oakland last week at a labor rally calling for a "fair living wage." With sleeves rolled up, he sure looks like a candidate. 

CA21 (Bakersfield-Fresno): There's an interesting buzz about the Central Valley seat held by David Valadao (R), the seat with the largest Democratic margin (+16.4%) held by a Republican. Some in Washington are hoping that Michael Rubio (D) will get in the race. Unlike Amanda Renteria, who lost in 2014, Rubio has been an elected official in the district (Board of Supervisors, State Senate). He resigned his senate seat in 2013 to take a job in government relations for Chevron. And, this maybe the only congressional seat in California where that is a true asset.

But, there's more. With Florida Senator Marco Rubio a leading candidate for the GOP nomination, could there be a down-ticket advantage for Michael Rubio? After all, the congressional seat will be third on the ballot after President and U.S. Senate. Rubio has opened a committee with the FEC, but hasn't raised any money yet. That said, the DCCC is in pretty good financial shape. 

However, Fowler councilmember Daniel Parra makes a move today in announcing a bid. His team includes Joe Trippi, John Shallman, and John Fairbank. Of course, Rubio comes out of the Florez camp, which has had a long feud with the Parra camp.

CA31 (Redlands): There are rumors that former congressman Joe Baca is eyeing another congressional bid back in CA31 against incumbent Pete Aguilar. The twist? Rumors are he may run as a Republican.

NICKLED AND DIMED: L.A. restaurants push for tips to count toward minimum wage [Emily Alpert Reyes] - "As L.A. leaders weigh raising wages for businesses across the city, scores of local restaurateurs argue that the city should count tips toward the added amount they would have to pay workers to reach the proposed $13.25 or $15.25 minimum wage."

FROM UC DAVIS: Dollars and drops per California crop [Josué Medellín-Azuara and Jay Lund @ California WaterBlog]

The Drought Not Likely To Cause Higher Grocery Bills [Lesley McClurg @ CPR] - "Even though the price of water is skyrocketing in California and experts predict farmers will fallow about a million acres this year, your grocery bill is not likely to go up."

OOPS: The Worst Voting Machine in America - "Its password? 'Admin.'" Also, "The encryption key for the wireless connection is 'abcde,' and that key is unchangeable."

GAVIN'S ON BOARD: For Hillary Clinton’s running mate: Gov. Jerry Brown" [Willie L. Brown @ SFChron] - "Think about it. Brown has a command of national, international, economic and environmental issues that is equal to or greater than almost any other Democrat. There's no learning curve needed for him. He has the independence that independent voters will be excited about, and he’s run for president more times than anyone I know."

While that might be far-fletched, the conversation about who the governor would appoint as attorney general should Kamala Harris win the Senate seat. In my talk with the New Leaders Council on Saturday, we had a fun time speculating who might be on the short list. 

KNOW WHEN TO FOLD 'EM: Jon Stewart: why I quit The Daily Show [Hadley Freeman @ The Guardian]


#CAKEDAY: Happy Birthday to Scott AlonsoJaime Huff, Sam Oh, Molly Parnell, and Garry South!





  • Join the California Museum and The California Endowment to celebrate the opening of a new exhibit, We Are All Californians, with a hosted reception on Tuesday, April 21 from 5:30pm-7:30pm. The exhibit is the first to open in the new California Unity Center Gallery, and brings emotional first-person stories of California immigrants to life through a 20-foot-high multimedia wall. The reception will feature powerful presentations highlighting the significant contributions immigrants have made in California. Please RSVP at For more information, visit

  • STATE SENATOR HOLLY MITCHELL discusses her legislative priorities 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:
  • Harbage Consulting, a health policy consulting firm with expertise in public programs and delivery system reform, is seeking a Communiations Coordinator for its Sacramento office. [more info]
  • Join Capitol Network for its Spring Luncheon featuring Debbie Manning, the first female California State Senate Chief Sergeant-at-Arms. April 23 at 11:30am at Cal Chamber 1215 K Street, Suite 1400, California Room. Click here to register: For more info, email

  • Corporate & Individual Sponsorships - Available for 8th Annual Assembly Veterans of the Year Luncheon, Wednesday, June 24th.  Event co-sponsored by major veterans groups.  Last year 75 Assemblymembers honored district veterans, 350 people attended.
    Contact Pete Conaty, 916-492-0550,
  • Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California seeks experienced lobbyist to work on policy issues related to reproductive health, health care, ACA,  Medi-Cal and women’s health. Competitive salary and excellent benefits package. Details here.
  • Senior, progressive California member of congress seeks state and local political director for active campaign operation.  Candidates must be politically savvy, with excellent communications skills and ability to work with all forms of media including social, ethnic and traditional. Candidates should have at least two cycles of campaign or related political experience in a leadership/management role and a Strong understanding of local political landscape.  The right candidate will have a proven ability to organize and mobilize grassroots, coordinate volunteers and run all aspects of campaign is required. Diverse candidates encouraged to apply.  (Read More)

  • California Nurses Association seeks Regulatory / Policy Specialist to help improve healthcare for California patients.  Do you have firsthand Sacramento experience helping to develop laws, policies, or regulations? Permanent full time position.  Excellent benefits -  family healthcare, pension, 401k.  If needed, will help the right person making a long term commitment learn more about health care, and nursing regulations.
    Details  Here 

  • Seeking Diverse Applicants and Progressive Minded Vendors for 2016 Democratic CampaignsInclusv is seeking a diverse pool of talented professionals and vendors for a one of kind repository of staff, consultants and vendors of color. There are commitments from partner organizations and institutions to utilize these resources in hiring, contracting and vending opportunities within Democratic Campaigns for the 2016 Electoral Cycle. Looking for individuals with various levels of political campaign experience, roles range from entry level to senior positions. There is a rigorous screening process to place the right people in the right positions. People of color, women, LBGTQ and those with disabilities are highly encouraged to apply. To submit your resume or join the vendor database, please visit:

  • Democratic Congressman seeks highly-motivated individual to serve as Member's DC Scheduler, who will evaluate and respond to meeting requests among other duties. The office’s atmosphere is supportive with opportunities for professional growth. Spanish-speaking candidates preferred. Please send resume to
  • Harbage Consultancy is seeking Outreach Coordinators -  full-time and temporary positions available in Los Angeles and Orange Counties. [more info]
  • Redwood Pacific Public Affairs seeking professional with 5+ years’ experience. Includes public relations, public affairs and issue campaigns. Exceptional writing skills essential. Legislative/campaign/corporate experience helpful. Salary and title commensurate with skills and experience. Email: or Fax to (916) 329-7404

  • California Department of Insurance (Commissioner Dave Jones), Community Programs & Policy Initiatives Branch, is seeking an energetic and dynamic Community Programs Assistant.  The branch focuses on priority initiatives of the Insurance Commissioner and programs that benefit underserved communities.  Serve as project coordinator on various internal and external programs, assist on national/statewide policy issues, and provide daily administrative support to the CPPI Branch Deputy Commissioner.  Duties include meeting coordination, travel, database and tracking systems, writing, and research.  The ideal candidate has prior experience with administrative systems and scheduling; strong organizational, interpersonal, and project management skills; and the ability to thrive in a fast-paced environment.  Salary: $2,873 - $5,618.  To apply, click here: 

  • Learn the legislative process and best practices for effective lobbying. Cover the complete spectrum of governmental advocacy in two days, including the legislature, budget advocacy, regulatory agencies, the administration, and media relations. Capitol veteran Ray LeBov presents "Lobbying 101" and "Lobbying 201" seminars April 23-24. $250 each. Essential for lobbying firm principals / support staff, organizations / public agencies that employ lobbyists. Complete info / registration: or 916 442 5009.
  • Southern California Democratic Member of Congress seeking full-time finance director. Applicant should be self-starter, able to work independently as well as in consultation with senior staff. Responsibilities include planning fundraising events, organizing call time, pledge collection and compliance with campaign finance regulations. Must also be available to attend political events and assist local Party efforts. Finance director works out of Los Angeles-area political office. Candidate should have at least one year of campaign/government/fundraising experience. Salary commensurate with experience. Email resume to
  • 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:
  • Add your 100-word classified for $30/week. Email me at

Money Shapes Power Of Capitol Committees
Marisa Lagos @
A KQED and analysis of data, along with interviews with current and former lawmakers, shows that the most powerful committee chairs in the state Assembly share a knack for prolific fundraising and a propensity to funnel this money to the Democratic Party and other Democrats running for office. Our analysis looked at campaign finance contributions from when each current member entered office through the end of 2014.

Loretta Sanchez Seen As Unscripted Alternative For U.S. Senate
Christopher Cadelago @
Loretta Sanchez, a congresswoman from Santa Ana, paused briefly and then smiled after taking a question recently on what distinguishes her from fellow Democrat Kamala Harris, the early favorite to succeed U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer.

What You Need To Know About The State's Proposed Water Restrictions
Matt Stevens @
The state water board has modified its proposed conservation regulations  in an attempt to incorporate feedback from urban water suppliers, interest groups and members of the public who had roundly criticized its framework.

Bill Would Require Water Submeters On New Apartments -
California lawmakers are considering a bill that would require the installation of water meters in each unit of newly constructed apartments. 

Small CalPERS Fund On Autopilot 1,736% Funded
Ed Mendel @
A small CalPERS fund that provides payments to the survivors of workers who die before retirement has a surplus rarely if ever seen in the pension world — 1,736 percent of the funds needed to pay future obligations.

South O.C. Water Customers, Missing Targets, Face Tighter Rules
Water regulators in southern Orange County have tightened restrictions on potable water use to comply with Gov. Jerry Brown 's order to reduce water use across California.

Nonprofit Hopes $25,000 Prize Lures L.A. Schools' District 5 Voters
Howard Blume @
A nonprofit voter group has a plan to turn around traditionally abysmal turnout for a key election to the Los Angeles Board of Education: It's going to pay one lucky voter $25,000.

Mirkarimi tries to wipe domestic violence conviction from books
Mirkarimi tries to wipe domestic violence conviction from books San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, facing a tough re-election battle this year and grasping for any advantage he can find, will send his attorney into court Monday seeking to have his domestic violence-related misdemeanor conviction wiped clean from his record forever. Neither Mirkarimi nor his attorney Betsy Wolkin responded to our requests for comment, but they apparently figure there’s no reason for the sheriff to be treated any differently from others with misdemeanor convictions. For nearly a year, it was a media soap opera — a compelling legal and political drama from which the sheriff has never fully recovered. “It’s a positive step, but I think some will see this as an attempt by Ross to whitewash the record,” said San Francisco political consultant Jim Stearns, who ran Mirkarimi’s 2011 campaign for sheriff but is not involved in his re-election effort. The challenge for Ross is not to take his record to the courts,” Stearns added, “but to the court of public opinion and to ask the voters for a second chance. The neighbor, without telling Lopez, called the law and turned over the video, prompting the Police Department to open a criminal investigation. After much publicity and legal wrangling, an apologetic and tearful Mirkarimi cut a deal with prosecutors, pleading guilty to false imprisonment so he could avoid jail time. San Francisco judges hear about 50 expungement cases a week for felonies and misdemeanors that range from drunken driving and burglary to prostitution, drug offenses and robbery. District Attorney George Gascón, whose office prosecuted Mirkarimi and who has made fighting domestic violence a top priority, has no plans to oppose Mirkarimi’s request. [...] Lindsay Sweetnam, program director for La Casa De Las Madres — the group that launched an anti-domestic violence billboard campaign at the height of the Mirkarimi scandal — said that even if it is expunged, it doesn’t change what happened. [...] part, Mirkarimi’s wife, Lopez, is turning the whole affair into a one-person show, “What Is the Scandal?,” which she intends to premiere at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts next month.

Letter From Washington: Finding a Modern Balance in the Tradition of Tax Cuts
A tax-cut proposal by the Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio has significant family-centric provisions but is also a bonanza for the rich, Albert R. Hunt writes.

Wealthy Woodside Is Among State's Top Water Wasters
Scott Shafer @
The rural town of Woodside combines the leafy luxury of Marin County with the remoteness of Mendocino. Woodside is nestled in the heart of Silicon Valley, but its rustic setting off scenic Highway 280 south of San Francisco is anything but high tech.

BART Looking To 2016 Voters For Property Tax Increase To Fix Ailing System
Daniel Borenstein @
The vision of commuters sinking into soft seats, opening a book or newspaper and relaxing for quiet trips to work has been replaced by the reality: Tightly packed standing riders with ear buds connected to their smart phones hanging onto handrails as late trains lurch and screech from station to station.

L.A. Restaurants Push For Tips To Count Toward Minimum Wage
Emily Alpert Reyes @
The battle over boosting the minimum wage in Los Angeles has turned to the dollar bills tucked under an empty coffee cup, the spare change dropped into tip jars and the hasty calculations jotted down on meal tabs.

Ophidia In Herba: Thoughts On Gov. Snake Wrangler
The last we checked, Jerry Brown had 3,563 likes, 218 shares and scores of comments on the Facebook photo he proudly posted on Saturday of himself overpowering a snake.

Opinion: California-Texas Economic Rivalry Still Rages
Dan Walters @
California tops all states in economic output at $2.3 trillion, while Texas is second at $1.6 trillion. Their economic drivers are similar in many respects – technology, medical care, agriculture and energy.

Drought Provides Opportunity For L.A. To Get Gray Water Right
Editorial @
Not just during drought but even in times of normal precipitation, there is something absurd about taking precious drinking water — imported at great cost from environmentally fragile areas hundreds of miles away, pumped over the mountains using enormous amounts of energy, filtered, treated and tested so as to be safe for human consumption — and spraying it on lawns and flowers. It doesn't make much more sense than sprinkling the garden with Perrier or Fiji water, yet that's how about half of urban water in Los Angeles is used.

Rep. Sanchez Set To Announce Decision On Senate Bid
Meeting with Latino leaders in San Francisco on April 11, she was even more direct in framing herself as superior to fellow Democrat Harris.

Can The GOP Learn From California?
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Sidebar: In Brief to Justices, Former Military Officials Support Same-Sex Marriage
Their message is that the patchwork of marriage laws around the country hurts military families and threatens national security.

Little Oversight Of Restraint Practices In Special Education
Jane Meredith Adams @
Under the California Education Code, physically restraining special education students or isolating them in rooms they can’t leave, known as seclusion, are to be used only as measures of last resort when a student’s behavior poses a serious risk. Malik’s, Andrew’s and Sydney’s cases are rare instances in which details of restraint became public.

Sex Education Quietly Disappears From Fresno Unified Schools
Hannah Furfaro @
In California, where schools are not mandated to offer comprehensive sex education, its history is patchy and difficult to track. The state Department of Education doesn’t keep hard numbers on whether districts offer comprehensive sex education, although spokeswoman Tina Jung says the state has anecdotal evidence showing the “vast majority” of middle and high schools do.

Truckee River's Level Drops After Flow From Reservoir Halted
With the start of summer two months away, the Truckee River's level already is dropping around Reno after flows into it from a Sierra Nevada reservoir were halted last week.

Prior Clashes May Factor Into San Bernardino County Beating Inquiries
Paloma Esquivel And Richard Winton @
Before he found himself being beaten earlier this month by San Bernardino County sheriff's deputies in view of a hovering news helicopter, Francis Pusok and law enforcement had clashed more than once.

Drought Restrictions May End Era: Bye-bye Front Lawn
Richard Scheinen @
They knocked down the split-level and replaced it with a 7,000-square-foot "Old World" house, co-designed by Jules, who is half-French. They ripped out the swimming pool. And perhaps most controversially in this tony town, they tore out all the grass, including the front lawn, installing Provence-style drought-resistant gardens instead.