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THE NOONER for August 14, 2015

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  • AD36 (Antelope Valley): added special assistant to Speaker Toni Atkins Darren Parker (D)



Happy Friday, the last day before the Legislature returns for its four-week end of the legislative year. I'm guessing that the Capitol and lobbying offices are pretty much empty. Argh, had a computer crisis this morning as the batteries in my Bluetooth trackpad died. Yes, #firstworldproblems to have go back to using a traditional mouse, but it actually was a real pain--things are backword and keeping track of the cursor is much harder. And, while would normally just switch to my MacBook Air and use its trackpad, it just doesn't work in this neck collar (can't look down). Fortunately, the local convenience store opened 8am, where I got to overpay for AA batteries.

Oh, and PG&E continues its gas line replacement next to my place, so I've had a jackhammer in my head all morning. Okay, I will stop whining.

AURAL PLEASURE: Back In Sac: California Politics Podcast - John, Marisa and Anthony talk the end of session.

Speaking of the end of session (or, technically, the year), I'll be doing the annual awards of most effective legislators and advocates. So, start thinking about your votes. 

LAW AND DISORDER: The Fair Political Practices Commission's agenda for its August 20 meeting is out. In it, a is fine of 23,000 is proposed alleging that State Senator Jim Nielsen laundered a contribution through the Tehama County Republic Central Committee. The accusation is similar to one that cost State Senator Tom Berryhill $40,000 in fines for sending money through two central commitees in support of his brother, now-senator Bill Berryhill.

The FPPC is doing its job, so please don't think this is an attack on the commission. Rather, it's an attack on the state's campaign finance system.

Proposition 34 was approved by voters in November 2000 in response to the courts finding that November 1996 campaign finance measure Proposition 208 was unconstitutional, as the contribution limits were considered too low.

While limiting contributions to candidates at $4,200 (or $8,400 for primary and general) for legislative candidates, Prop. 34 allows contributions of $35,200 to political party committees. It further allows contributions without limits from political parties to candidates. See where I'm getting?

Sure, the FPPC bans not disclosing funds as "intermediary" if they are intended to go to another candidate. This is what caught up Nielsen and Berryhill, along with the fact that contributions exceeded the applicable contribution limits by the parties. 

However, let's get serious. If you're a serious political player able to contribute $35,200 to a local or state politiical party, you also know darn well where that money is likely to be spent. We can pretty much all explain the top 5-10 races, and the players at the Assembly Speakers' Cup, which had a price tag of between $30,000 and $70,000 in 2008, are certainly in that knowledable club.

They just can't whisper in the ear of people affiliated with the party "I want $10,000" in a particular district. 

I've evolved over the years, and now truly believe in getting rid of campaign contribution limits and requiring 24-hour disclosure of contributions over $100. This sham of running money through county and state parties and pretending like it's not going to be spent on candidates is ridiculous. They fewer pass-throughs is better for those concerned in money and politics. Knowing where a candidate's money is actually coming from (as they certainly do) is the most effective form of checks and balances.

For now, only the lawyers are benefiting from the current system.

Meanwhile, here are the totals of contributions to county central committees in 2014, along with the registered voters with that party and the "contribution per voter":


Republican Central Committee Of San Luis Obispo County  $1,011,193 59,193  $17.08
Tulare County Republican Central Committee (state Acct.)  $599,183 63,249  $9.47
Sacramento County Democratic Central Committee  $589,490 295,022  $2.00
San Mateo County Democratic Central Committee  $522,472 180,459  $2.90
Fresno County Democratic Central Committee  $441,970 166,447  $2.66
San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee  $412,532 241,480  $1.71
Stanislaus County Democratic Central Committee State  $409,415 78,884  $5.19
Santa Clara County Democratic Central Committee United Democratic Campaign  $373,500 357,873  $1.04
Santa Barbara County Democratic Central Committee  $279,593 79,392  $3.52
San Bernardino County Republican Central Committee - State  $246,826 294,381  $0.84


The amount per voter not seem significant, but remember that only a small percentage of voters contribute to political campaigns.

When I was chair of the Yolo County Democratic Party for five years, our fundraisers were the Annual Bean Feed (no joke!) and selling political memorabilia. Now they are getting $34,000 from labor unions, even though it's not really a competitive county. 

Instead, money went to Tim Sbranti for Assembly ($40,000), Steve Fox for Assembly ($40,000), and Rudy Salas for Assembly ($30,000). None of the districts touch Yolo County. Meanwhile, Davis councilmember Dan Wolk was in a heated battle with Bill Dodd for Mariko Yamada's Assembly seat. Dodd is now running against Yamada for SD03.

CA46 (Santa Ana): If any of you were still skeptical that Loretta Sanchez will continue her U.S. Senate bid, yesterday candidate Lou Correa received the endorsement from Loretta's sister, congresswoman Linda Sanchez.

More Consider the Gov. Race in 2018, but Not the Senate in 2016 [Joel Fox @ Fox and Hounds]



FOLLOW-UP: On Wednesday, I told you dad's sister had a stroke and was in the hospital. Good news...she's home and there apparently is no permanent damage.

#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to League of Cities communications director Eva Spiegel and consultant Pam Woudstra! Weekend greetings to CFT's Kenneth Burt (Saturday). ACSA's Ashley Heatherly (Saturday), Davis city manager and former leg staffer Dirk Brazil (Sunday), Shallman Communications's Dave Jacobson (Sunday), and CA DOJ lawyer Maggy Krell (Sunday)




  • FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF JOHN SUNUNU discusses the Bush 41 presidency, and analysis on how to rebuild the California Republican party in this exclusive interview:
  • "Crisp & entertaining...” “Gasp-worthy twists...” “An irresistible political thriller…” “Reminiscent of House of Cards..."  A beautiful legislative aide is found stabbed to death in the Capitol in this Sacramento-based murder mystery & thriller featuring environmental lobbyist Maren Kane. Will Maren be able to piece together clues and find the killer before she’s the next victim? Author Kris Calvin is a debut fiction author and long-time children’s advocate in Sacramento. ONE MURDER MORE published by Inkshares, Inc. is available in ebook or First Edition hardback on Amazon, in bookstores and at  
  • You're cordially invited to attend the Sacramento LGBT Community Center's 2nd Annual PRIDE Awards on August 18, 2015 honoring Speaker Toni Atkins and local leaders from the greater Sacramento and Capitol region. Join us in recognizing Speaker Atkins as our Person of the Year and Wells Fargo as our Partner of the Year. Review sponsorship and advertisement opportunities, and purchase tickets by visiting or contact Julia Robinson at (916) 442-0185 Ext. 104.
  • Meridian Pacific, Inc. Paid internship involving campaigns for Republican candidates, statewide initiatives and issue advocacy. Those who exemplify strong writing, research, and communications skills will be given preference.  Send cover letter and resume to:
  • Please Join Capitol Network at its Annual Back to Session Reception on Tuesday August 18th from 4:30-7 pm at Chops. Hosted wine and light appetizers will be provided.

    Questions? Please visit or contact Amanda Levy at

  • You're cordially invited to attend the 9th Annual HERO Awards on August 22, 2015 honoring leaders in the LGBT Community. We will be celebrating the recent Supreme Court ruling in favor of Marriage Equality! Honorees include: Former U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, Phill Wilson, and Councilman Bill RosendahlPlease click here to RSVP.
  • FedEx Government Affairs Seeks Administrative Assistant to support the staff and office for the Western Region.
    Candidates with experience in government, public affairs, and/or lobbying are preferred.  Strong office administration skills, ability to multi-task, and interface with executive level management required.  Competitive base salary, plus annual bonus opportunity.

    For more information and to apply, go to:

  • CA Fwd and the Independent Voter Project invite you to attend California’s first Nonpartisan Primary Summit on Wednesday, August 19th at the Citizen Hotel in Sacramento. Three panel discussions will focus on California’s nonpartisan Top­-Two primary and the future of voting rights. Secretary of State Alex Padilla and Senator Steve Glazer are confirmed special guest speakers. 

    Attendees will be treated to a lunch presentation and three panel discussions comprised of representatives from the California state legislature, voting rights experts, as well as academic and professional elections experts.

    Registration and check-in begins at 9:30am and attendance is free. RSVP online here.
  • Office Space for Rent
    Quiet location two blocks away from Capitol.  Share space with a professional services firm.  Up to three offices in six-office suite (2,300 sqft).  Conference room, copy/printer room, reception, kitchenette, janitorial, parking.  Terms are negotiable. 1510 14th Street, Sacramento. (916) 444-7158.

  • Jim Ross Consulting, a political media, public affairs and public relations firm is hiring an account coordinator. The position, located in Oakland, CA, is responsible for supporting accounts on a day-to-day basis, managing outreach and advocate relations, supporting programs and producing plans and reports. Send resumes directly to more information can be found at
  • Job Announcement: RALLY, an issue advocacy firm, is looking for Account Executives both in our Los Angeles and San Francisco offices. We are an issue advocacy firm that works at the intersection of strategic communications and public policy. We collaborate with inspiring partners to create powerful movements that galvanize the public and leave a positive legacy of change.

    Our Account Executives are responsible for client management. That means they are client-facing, are expected to show strong strategic thinking, and are tasked with the development of campaign plans, messaging frameworks, press plans, etc. Too see the full job description and qualifications, as well as to apply, visit


L.A. Taxpayers, Lawyers To Share $92.5-million City Telephone Tax Settlement
Los Angeles could pay $92.5 million to taxpayers and attorneys to settle a lawsuit over a city telephone tax under a settlement proposal vetted by the City Council.

Local Governments Spend Big To Influence Sacramento
Annual scorecards and power rankings rarely take notice of the lobbyists for local governments in California’s statehouse, focusing instead on the brawn of business or labor’s legion of foot soldiers.

Feinstein-Boxer Water Bill Offers Real Drought Relief
Editorial @
It's in many ways a pleasant surprise: The latest water bill introduced by California's two U.S. senators, Democrats Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, offers the state some serious help as the Sierra snowpack becomes a less reliable source of fresh water.

California Senator Proposes Immigration Holds On Felons In Country Illegally
Patrick McGreevy @
Outraged by the recent killings of two California women allegedly by immigrants in the country illegally, a state lawmaker has proposed legislation to require law enforcement agencies to notify immigration officials of the pending release of any convicted felon improperly in the U.S.

The San Quentin Six: How A Wig And A Handgun Sent A Prison Into Chaos 44 Years Ago
Forty-four years ago, a seemingly innocuous jailhouse rendezvous between a California inmate and his lawyer turned one of the nation's most storied prisons into a killing field. George Jackson, the founder of the Black Guerilla Family prison gang who was awaiting trial for the murder of a guard...

Can California Turn The West Green? | The Sacramento Bee
Dan Morain @
A Western regional approach to electricity transmission offers great promise

Update 2: Top 5 Taxes You May See On The 2016 Ballot :: Fox&hounds

Back In Sac: California Politics Podcast
The final sprint of the California Legislature’s work for 2015 is about to begin, and there’s a lot on tap before the final gavel falls in early September.

With $350 Billion Plan, Hillary Clinton Prods Rivals on Student Debt
s ambitious plan to reduce debt in higher education has put pressure on her campaign opponents to propose their own solutions to an intractable problem.

Millions In Turf Rebates Slated For Golf Courses Already Using Reclaimed Water
Mike Reicher @
Oakmont Country Club’s $2.3 million turf removal incentive was the largest the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California paid through mid-June, but it wasn’t just its size that was unusual.

Slain Inmate Hugo Pinell Was A Target Of Prison Gangs, His Lawyer Says
To prison rights activists and black militants on the outside, Hugo Pinell was the imprisoned legacy of a violent movement from the 1970s, one of the San Quentin Six whose failed attempt at a prison break left six people dead.

Sacramento Water Conservation Hit 37 Percent In July
Dale Kasler @
Sacramento-area residents cut their water usage by 37 percent in July, continuing the trend toward water conservation as ordered by Gov. Jerry Brown.

California Right-to-die Debate Heads To Court
Howard Mintz @
A San Francisco judge on Friday is expected to hear one of the leading legal challenges to California laws forbidding physicians from providing medical treatment that helps the dying end their lives.

Sf Bay Area Commuters Make Big Shift Away From Cars | The Sacramento Bee
Dan Walters @
Nearly 70 percent still use private cars to get to work

The Populist Sentiment Fueling Both The Bernie Sanders And Donald Trump Campaigns
If Donald Trump were running against Bernie Sanders in the general election next year, Americans would face a choice between an unabashed capitalist and an enthusiastic socialist. One candidate would rail against the power of the “billionaire class,” while the other once said that “part of the...

Feinstein Officially Backs Anti-Airbnb Measure, Lee Opposes It
Carolyn Said @
Sen. Dianne Feinstein wants San Francisco voters to clamp down on Airbnb, while Mayor Ed Lee wants them to continue the status quo of allowing short-term rentals in private homes.

Uber's Car Leasing Program Might Violate State Rules, PUC Says
Andrea Chang @
The California Public Utilities Commission is looking into whether Uber and other ride-sharing companies are violating state rules by allowing drivers to use leased vehicles on the job.

San Diegans Used 32% Less Water In July; Lowest Since 1975 - Times Of San Diego
Water consumption in the San Diego region was 32 percent less in July than the same month in 2013, the County Water Authority reported Thursday.

Do 'Ballot Selfies' Threaten The Secret Ballot?
Editorial @
The secret ballot has never prevented citizens from telling their friends how they voted and urging them to do the same. But now the ubiquity of mobile phones with cameras allows voters the option of showing as well as telling how they exercised their franchise — by snapping a photo of their completed ballot and posting the image online.

Sheriff's Department Reviewing Video Of Deputies Beating Man With Flashlight
Veronica Rocha and Matt Hamilton @
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department provided new details Thursday about what prompted deputies to strike a man face-down on the ground last weekend, an incident that was partly captured in a 15-second video.

The Riggs Report: Proposition Fever
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