Around The Capitol

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THE Nooner for May 22, 2017

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If you enjoyed the extra coverage over the weekend, now would be a great time to become a paid Nooner subscriber if you are already not one! I debated sending the extra updates to only the 500 or so paid subscribers, but there was just too much going on that I didn't want to leave folks out. Anyway, thank you to existing subscribers who paid for my late night 7-11 hot dog and lots of coffee.

As I noted before, I'm running an election year special right now that extends an annual description through 01/01/2019 with a 20% discount. Of course, the regular annual subscriptions are still available. Both are on the subscription page.

I'm working on race analysis now, which will only be available to paid subscribers.

Anyway, we have a lot to get through today . . .




  • CA22 (Visalia): added prosecutor Andrew Janz (D)
  • CA22 (Visalia): changed from Safe Republican to Likely Republican
  • CA48 (Huntington Beach): changed from Safe Republican to Leans Republican
  • CA50 (East SD County): changed from Safe Republican to Likely Republican
  • AD15 (Berkeley): added Kimberly Ellis (D)


The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee added 20 races to its target list today, including CA22 (Nunes) and CA50 (Hunter).

Here's the current list of DCCC targets:

The NRCC's current list is:

Just another manic (and hot) Monday! Today is Harvey Milk Day. The gay rights activist would be 82 years old today.



SINGLE-PAYER: Speaking of hot, the single-payer health care bill--SB 562 (Lara and Atkins)--is up in Senate Appropriations today (committee started at 11am). The bill was a key focus point in the state party chair's race, even though the party's platform already calls for such a plan. Nevertheless, advocates--particularly the California Nurses Association--argue that elected officials from the party have not prioritized it enough.

The fiscal analysis came out this morning and it's not pretty, reports the Bee's Angela Hart. "It would cost $400 billion per year to remake California’s health insurance marketplace and create a publicly funded universal heath care system, according to a state financial analysis released Monday." Of this, it is assumed (but not assured) that existing federal, state and local funds would offset about one-half that cost, but even the $200 billion remaining is larger than the entire state budget.

Holy cow. The state's portion of the K-12 budget is $50.8 billion in the current year.

While the pressure on Dem legislators and party leaders on single-payer was intense over the weekend, the big question wasn't answered. If the bill made it through both houses, WWJD? Jerry Brown did not attend convention, as he had a family reunion at his Colusa ranch. Nevertheless, many folks I talked to who are regular observers of Brown were skeptical that he is ready to sign a California-only single-payer plan.

That is intensified by this morning's analysis by the Senate Appropriations Committee. Democrats likely could have avoided a lot of fighting over the weekend had this analysis been available sooner.

The current iteration of the bill requires the state to obtain many federal waivers to redirect existing funds received from under federal health care programs through the Healthy California account. Of course, these waivers would have to come from the Dept. of Health and Human Services, and current secretary Dr. Tom Price, who holds many health care stocks, would be unlikely to grant them. 

Longtime Democratic political consultant Steve Maviglio looks at the loss at the convention of the California Nurses Association with its intense pressure on leaders for single payer.



GUBER 2018: The odd thing about this weekend's convention was that the chair's race overshadowed the biggest race next year--governor. While the four announced candidates (John Chiang, Delaine Eastin, Gavin Newsom, and Antonio Villaraigosa) spoke and worked the halls, the energy was all directed to the internecine fight between Kimberly Ellis and Eric Bauman for party chair. Only Newsom had an attentive and relatively full hall to speak to, as Chiang was pushed back into the lunch hour and the slots for Eastin and Villaraigosa were pushed back into the time when the 2,300 delegates were lining up to vote in the party officer elections. All four candidates gave strong speeches, with few discernible policy differences.

Observers paid a lot of intention to Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León and billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer to see if there were signs that one or both were going to throw their hats in the ring. Now, party conventions is not where you announce your candidacy, but behavior sends strong messages.

de León preceded his speech with a well produced video that sought to highlight his policy leadership, rather than just his role as top cat herder on the upper house's red carpet. Some noted that the video disclaimer said "Paid for by de León for Lieutenant Governor," but that's just one of three committees in which he has money parked. de León will not be running against Ed Hernandez, a member of the caucus he leads. Steyer fed delegates with breakfast burritos and coffee before the Saturday general session began. Both gave strong speeches.

As for money, Steyer is a billionaire and a self-financed campaign would be easy to ramp up quickly. However, California's electoral history is littered with self-financed wealthy candidates who found it as more of a liability than asset. Joe Mathews writes for Fox&Hounds that Steyer should stay out of the race.

de León has a few committees, from which money can be transferred to a gubernatorial campaign with an aggregate limit of $28,200 per donor (for each a primary and a general). Here are the balances of his committees as of 12/31. The next report--activity through June 30--will be filed by July 31:

  • Believing in a Better California: $20,144
  • de Leon for Senate 2014: $918,338
  • de Leon for Lieutenant Governor: $1,652,259

So, should we expect an announcement in the next couple of weeks? Well, it is s*** or get off the pot time. With several high profile Dem candidates for governor already declared, it's very likely that only one will advance to November in the top-two. Whichever Democrat advances to November s/he will win the general. That means that the next governor will essentially be decided in a year and two weeks from today (June 5, 2018).

Some observers speculate that they are waiting to see if Dianne Feinstein follows through on her planned reelection campaign. Feinstein is a very high profile senior U.S. Senator, but she will also be 85 next November and both she and her husband--UC regent Richard Blum--have had health problems. Of course, anyone who might be eyeing a Feinstein retirement has to consider the rising star Adam Schiff, whose presence was very much felt at the convention on Saturday, when he keynoted the fancy party dinner. Feinstein would likely to be happy to have Schiff as a successor as a measured voice already in key intelligence roles.

At the last report through 03/17, Schiff had $2.1 million on hand. 

BACK-UP PLAN: Now that the state party chair's race has passed, the question is what is next for Kimberly Ellis. It's widely speculated that she'll capitalize on the large network she has built and run for the East Bay's AD15, which is being vacated by Tony Thurmond, who is running for Superintendent of Public Instruction. As indicated above, I've added Ellis to the probable candidates for the seat.



CA48 (Huntington Beach): Rumors that Congressman Dana Rohrabacher may retire, opening up a free-for-all top-two primary in an increasingly competitive district. A 2020 retirement is more likely, as he continues work the community with events.

AURAL DISPLEASURE: On Saturday, I sat down for a brief chat with Capitol Weekly's John Howard to talk about convention happenings.

Finally, I have to include this photo I took Saturday morning while observing a rally for Jenny Bach, who won the election. Dennis Bach came up to me, introduced himself and proudly said "I'm Jenny's dad." He's a Vietnamese immigrant who never imagined the possibilities to be found for his family here. Elected to a party statewide office at age 25, Jenny has a big future ahead of her.


Jenny Bach's father



#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Jessica DuongEd Manning, Ron Nehring, and Anthony Reyes

DEPT OF CORRECTIONS: Over the weekend, I wrote that the state party opposed Proposition 61, which would have imposed caps on the cost of prescription drugs. Of course, the party stayed neutral after a floor fight, despite a recommendation to support from the Resolutions committee.



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Election Of New California Democratic Party Leader May Face Legal Challenge
Phil Willon @
Share this update

Borrowing scheme for CalPERS deserves more scrutiny
Dan Walters @
However, given the history and Brown’s linear leanings, one should look askance at a new proposal in his 2017-18 budget to borrow $6 billion from an obscure state fund and give it to the California Public Employees’ Retirement System to whittle down rapidly increasing state pension obligations.

Debate Over Sex Offenders Moves To Court As California Undertakes Prison Parole Overhaul
Jazmine Ulloa @
Inmate advocates have filed a lawsuit against the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation over their treatment of sex offenders in the new Proposition 57 regulations.

John Burton Flips Off Donald Trump At California Democratic Convention
Angela Hart @
The anti-Trump fervor at California’s Democratic Party convention this weekend can be summarized in choice words from outgoing chair of the California Democratic Party, John Burton: “F*%! Donald Trump.”

How L.A.'s School Board Election Became The Most Expensive In U.S. History
Howard Blume, Ben Poston @
Charter school supporters and unions spent record sums in last week's L.A. board of education races. Charters spent more. They won.

Small Business Owners Oppose Border Adjustment Tax
Alex Daugherty @
The group that’s organizing the efforts of small business owners is Americans for Affordable Products, a coalition of over 500 businesses and trade associations in favor of overhauling the tax code but opposed to the border adjustment tax. They plan to meet with four or five of the Ways and Means committee members this week, with a larger push on Capitol Hill in June.

A Battle Of Liberal Versus More Liberal Exposes A Divided California Democratic Party At State Convention
Seema Mehta, Christine Mai-Duc and Phil Willon @
A blistering contest to lead the California Democratic Party and near-constant protests during its weekend convention provided proof that schisms between party factions at the national level are also pulling apart the ranks at home, where the group has long prospered.

Supreme Court rules race improperly dominated N.C. redistricting efforts
Robert Barnes @

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that North Carolina’s Republican-controlled legislature unlawfully relied on race when drawing two of the state’s congressional districts.

Calfiornia Irrigation Districts Are Breaking Law Intended To Track Farms' Water Use | The Sacramento Bee
Ryan Sabalow and Phillip Reese @
By Ryan Sabalow and Phillip Reese

Democratic Divisions On Display As Bauman Wins California Party Chairmanship
Carla Marinucci and David Siders @
Former state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, who introduced Perez and was on stage for the protests, downplayed the significance of divisions within the rank-and-file.

Trump's Message To Arab Leaders: Do More To Fight Extremism
Michael A. Memoli @
President Trump urged Arab leaders to do far more to fight extremism and terrorism, refining his harsh anti-Muslim campaign rhetoric.

Oroville Dam: Feds Order Review Of Spillways, Inspections | The Sacramento Bee
Ryan Sabalow @
By Ryan Sabalow

New Silicon Valley Flood Project At Risk Due To Red Tape
Santa Clara Valley Water District, flooding, Berryessa Creek, Army Corps of Engineers

Mycapture | The Union Democrat

Trump Seeks Delay of Ruling on Health Law, Prolonging Uncertainty
Robert Pear @

The administration asked a court to delay a decision on whether the government would keep subsidizing out-of-pocket costs for low-income Americans on the Affordable Care Act's exchanges.

Louisiana Man Charged In Attempt To Look Up Trump's Tax Records - Politico
Donald Trump has refused to release his tax returns because he says he is under IRS audit.

Barbara Lee Brings John Dean, Malcolm Nance To Town Hall Meeting - San Francisco Chronicle

White House pitches budget as welfare reform
The White House budget will suggest taking an ax to safety net programs like food stamps and popular family benefits like the child tax credit.

Trump to propose big cuts to safety-net in new budget, slashing Medicaid and opening door to other limits

The president will deliver his most detailed look at how he wants to change government.