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THE NOONER for December 25, 2015

Subscribe to The Nooner to access exclusive election analysis | Follow @scottlay




Capitol Christmas Tree


Merry, merry Christmas! And, I know that can be offensive to some. But, I'm Buddhist, and feel fine saying it as a non-religious greeting. I'm getting ready for my Christmas Day Jewish tradition of going to the movies and eating Chinese food. Unfortunately, the two movies I want to see are across town.

It's not a day for politics. It's a a day to relish in what we have. Despite everything we are hearing in the boisterous presidential campaign, we live in the most prosperous and improving economy on earth. America is already great. Yes, we have our problems, but we don't need politicians talking our country down. 

And, California is the most vibrant economy in the country. Silicon Valley, Silicon Beach, and San Diego are rocking it. Yes, we have problems in the Central Valley because of the draught (and historic problems), but they are dwarfed by what's happening in other parts of the state. It leads to economic segregation, which needs to be the main conversation. Fortunately, this week's amazing snowfall should help the drought somewhat.

Let's remember that the respected non-partisan Public Policy Institute of California estimates that one half of California's children live in poverty or near-poverty. Most of them are world's away from us, but those of us of all faiths need to think about that on this very special day. I don't know the solution, but we have to collectively think about the problem.

I love you all, thank you for your readership, and wish you the merriest of Christmases or happiest of Holidays,

Your friend,
- Scott


#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Julle Sandino-Areias!




  • SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West Regional Political Organizers (Los Angeles and Bay Area). 85,000 member California healthcare union seeks strategic, progressive, motivated political organizers, 3-5 yrs political/union experience. Competitive salary and benefits package. Resume, letter, 3 references:

  • Planned Parenthood Affiliates of CA seeks two experienced Senior Campaign Organizers to work with the seven California Planned Parenthood affiliates  on campus  and electoral organizing through the November 2016. Three to five years and two election cycles experience as full time campaign staff required. Prior management experience preferred. Excellent salary (DOE) and cellphone/laptop stipend and reimbursement of healthcare up to a cap. Positions located in the south and north. Details here.

Bay Area Cities Racing To Ban Sale, Delivery Of Marijuana
Karina Ioffee @
Earlier this fall, Gov. Jerry Brown signed three bills into law, collectively known as the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act. The law goes into effect Jan. 1 and is an attempt to create guidelines for the industry nearly two decades after California voters legalized medical marijuana.

Folsom Lake Adds 18 Billion Gallons In Two Days | The Sacramento Bee
After falling to historic low depths, Folsom Lake came back with a vengeance this week, adding nearly 18 billion gallons on Tuesday and Wednesday, state figures show.

San Jose: Proposed Ballot Measure Could Alter City's Business Tax
Ramona Giwargis @
Advocates argue the city's high-tech giants that helped give Silicon Valley its name aren't paying their "fair share" of taxes to help patch up pot holes, hire more police officers and clean up city parks.

Gov. Jerry Brown Pardons Robert Downey Jr. For 1990s Drug Offenses
Gov. Jerry Brown pardons Robert Downey Jr. for 1990s drug offenses

Orange County Employees Get Approval For Nearly 10 Percent Raise Over Next Three Years - The Orange County Register
SANTA ANA – Employees with Orange County’s largest union are heading into the holidays assured of their biggest salary raise since the recession, under a three-year contract the Board of Supervisors approved Wednesday morning.

City Stadium Consultant Costs Mount |
Populous Inc. has been paid $124,000 for conceptual design work such as this, on a proposed new stadium for the San Diego Chargers.

Kangaroo Imports To Again Be Illegal In California | The Sacramento Bee
Jeremy B. White @
Ban returns despite late lobbying effort by Australian kangaroo industry

First Draft: Bernie Sanders Criticizes Hillary Clinton on Health Care and Campaign Finance
Senator Bernie Sanders said, suggesting that he is stronger on such issues than Hillary Clinton.

San Diego Breaks Records In Tourist Spending And Overnight Stays. |
Share Photo

Goofy, Friendly Guy, Or Aspiring Terrorist: Clashing Portrayals Of Enrique Marquez, Friend Of San Bernardino Shooter
To the people around him, Enrique Marquez Jr. seemed like a straightforward guy with a silly streak and a shaky laugh. He was the suggestible type — always eager to fit in.

As Raiders Season Winds Down, Oakland Puts Its Faith In Nfl
Although talks continue on a new Raiders football stadium at the Oakland Coliseum complex, the two sides remain far enough apart that the city's lead negotiator questioned whether an agreement could be reached before the NFL decides the Raiders' fate.

Paul Grabowicz, â
Paul Grabowicz could have been a character in a pulp novel — the surly, chain-smoking, foul-mouthed newspaper reporter with a big heart. [...] Mr. Grabowicz was real, a veteran cop reporter at the Oakland Tribune who smoked while he typed, drank after deadline and earned a private-eye license just in case he needed a career back-up plan. Not stuck in the past though, he embraced the digital age and began a second career as a digital journalism teacher at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, guiding the next generation of reporters into the profession. Grabs, as he was known to most everyone, was something of a cult figure at both the Tribune and UC Berkeley, a large man, slightly stooped and grouchy, according to many who knew him. “You look back at the stories he wrote, the issues he covered, I think he was one of the best investigative reporters I’ve ever worked with,” Harris said. After 20 years as a newspaper reporter and editor, Mr. Grabowicz headed to UC Berkeley in 1995 and founded the New Media Program. “I always experienced him as one of the most decent, hardworking and responsive people to students,” said Orville Schell, a former UC Berkeley journalism dean and now Arthur Ross director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations at the Asia Society in New York, in a statement released by the university. When his illness prevented him from attending an annual conference in September, students attached his photo to sticks and carried them around at the event. Funeral arrangements were pending, and a memorial service at the journalism school will be in January, officials said.

Trump Campaign Compares Clinton To '9-year-old Little Girls' - Politico
Martin O'Malley and Bernie Sanders both express outrage over DHS's plan.

World’s only female scorpion expert on lookout for new species Esposito, a scientist who arrived at the academy in September, stands alone as the world’s only official female scorpion expert. Today she catalogs arachnid specimens, analyzes venom and plans expeditions to search for new species around the world. On a recent day in her academy lab, she shined a black light onto a scorpion in its tank below. Beyond that, scientists have found arachnid venoms to be useful in an array of health treatments — from a mechanism for brain cancer treatment to a cure for MRSA, a type of staph infection that has become resistant to many of today’s antibiotics. [...] from a purely greedy standpoint, it benefits us to document species and not let them go extinct. “I feel a personal sense of responsibility to be a steward for the planet and do my best to document what’s here and figure out how not to lose it,” Esposito said. To do this, she lightly strokes the scorpions’ backs, causing them to strike a piece of wax paper that’s been stretched over a wire frame with their stinger, which then releases the venom. For the most part, though, she spends her time at the academy digitizing previously recorded information on scorpion species, collecting genetic information from already collected species that sit in jars, and planning trips to biodiversity hot spots to search for more species. Esposito said humans have a responsibility to understand what organisms are out there, to document them before they are lost, and to use that information to try to understand how to stop further loss. Only two spiders in the United States — the black widow and brown recluse — and about 2 percent of scorpions in the U.S. really pose any significant danger, she said. In addition to her work at the academy, Esposito teaches a field biology course at Columbia University, where she was first given her nickname through student comments that read “All hail the Scorpion Queen.”

How L.A. School Board Members Would React To Another Bomb Threat
First there was confusion. Then came the robocalls, telling parents the Los Angeles Unified School District was shutting down on Dec. 15 because of a threat. There were missed days at work, scrambles to find child care, inspections at over 900 schools and sniping from New York. A teen on his way to a charter school that was closed was struck while crossing the street and killed by a city service truck.  

The POLITICO Caucus' best predictions
Insiders spotted Walker's and Carson's decline but were as stumped as anyone by Trump.

Brown Sees Stories Of Redemption In His 91 Christmas Eve Pardons
Unlike his immediate predecessors, Gov. Jerry Brown has routinely acted to grant pardons to hundreds of men and women who he believes have turned their lives around.

U.S. Plans Raids in New Year to Fight Surge in Border Crossings
The action follows a rise in illegal immigration by children and families, and comes as the topic becomes a central issue of the presidential race.