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THE Nooner for October 11, 2017


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  • AD49 (Monterey Park): added law enforcement officer Burton Brink (R)

It's a long one today...if you have had too much fire talk, scroll down. There are some political stories. 

Hello, California

WHERE WE'RE AT: According to Cal Fire, 170,000 acres have already burned. The death toll is now 18 (increased by 1 in Yuba County since the Early-Bird Nooner went out), with 560 missing in Sonoma County among an initial 670 reported--updated at 9:30am presser by Sonoma County Sheriff Rob Giordano. Most are likely to be found safe. The "excavation" teams haven't begun their work to search for victims

  • 18 dead
  • Mendocino: 3
  • Napa: 2
  • Sonoma: 11 dead, 560 missing
  • Yuba: 2 (+1)

Things are looking better in Orange County with the Canyon 2 fire. Most of the mandatory evacuations have been lifted, with the exception of a "sliver" adjacent the Santiago Oaks Regional Park.

Unfortunately, northern California is not as lucky and today is going to be a difficult day. We started getting noticeable smoke yesterday in  downtown Sac as the Atlas Fire that started in Napa County moved east over the Berryessa ridge of the Vaca mountains and down into Green Valley near Fairfield and a mild onshore flow shifted the movement of smoke east.

The Solano evacuations are all north of I-80 and should remain that way unless high winds return to the valley later today. However, Fairfield police have encouraged some residents to pack necessities and be prepared for an evacuation, depending on the winds. The fire is currently about three miles from city limits, but still north of I-80, which is a pretty good fire break, but one which embers can breach in high winds.

Governor Brown has added Solano county to his declaration of a state of emergency.

An aside for the home-gamers: If you are not familiar with this area of the state, the Vaca mountains separate the Sacramento Valley from the Napa Valley and are part of the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument designated in 2005 by President Obama. If you're ever up here and heading to Napa Valley from the Sacramento Valley and have a little bit of extra time, drive from Winters (a beautiful town--stop and eat at Putah Creek Cafe) on Highway 128 to Oakville. Extra 20 minutes, but much more beautiful than I-80. Just watch out for cyclists.

In Napa/Solano, the Atlas Peak fire exploded, growing from 26,000 to 42,000 acres overnight, according to Cal Fire. This is before the anticipate gusty winds have picked up, which is expected this afternoon. While this was largely in areas without residential buildings, the increased geography provides a much larger area for already stretched firefighters to defend. 

The northern part of Calistoga (north of Grant St.) was put under mandatory evacuation overnight and residents of the rest of the city were asked to evacuate voluntarily. Parts of Geyserville have been evacuated. As I write, St. Helena has not been evacuated although residents have been told to pack and prepare.

After lots of questions from people, I put together this list of destroyed/damaged wineries and vineyards, which is only based on printed/broadcast information or that posted on the winery's website (there are lots of wrong Twitter "news" out there). From my perspective, this is not about wine but rather jobs and the economic impact. There will be more and many employees have lost their homes, both on site and around the valleys. I'll be updating the list as more confirmations come in.

I sent you the message about Patrick McCallum and Judy Sakaki. Other familiar faces who have lost property are:

  • former San Francisco mayor Frank Jordan and his wife Wendy Peskin-Jordan (house)
  • former San Francisco district attorney Terence Hallinan (house)
  • former San Francsico supervisor Angela Alioto (horse stables; horses are reportedly okay)

SCHOOLS: Except for some northern coastal districts (including tiny ones like Fort Ross K-8 with 20 students) in Sonoma County, all schools in Napa and Sonoma counties are closed the rest of the week, as are Napa Valley College and Santa Rosa Junior College. Solano Community College and schools in the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District are closed today but haven't announced plans for tomorrow and Friday as I write this. Few schools have been damaged/destroyed, but faculty, staff and students have been displaced, making school operations a real challenge. 

ABSOLUTE DEVASTATION: Darius Anderson links to this downloadable drone video of what the fire left behind. Worth a watch, but grab a tissue.

RESPONSE: Our friend and all-around great person--and deputy mayor to Darrell Steinberg--Kelly Fong-Rivas is working with friends to arrange a Capitol-area donation drive to the victims of the fire. The plan is to drive them to relief collection sites for distribution. The effort will collect items such as blankets, hygiene supplies, socks, clothes are encouraged (food and bottled water are not a problem). 

Specifically, professional clothes in good condition are encouraged. Lots of people will be dropping off casual clothes. However, lots of affected people are professionals who have lost everything. It'll likely be awhile before insurance provides cents on the dollar, and we need to help victims get back to work as soon as they are ready. For many, as much normalcy as possible is good psychologically as they rebuild. 

So, ladies and gents. Admit that you have suits in your closet that are in good condition and that you have kept hoping you'd fit into again (that's me!). Gents, you have far too many ties. Of the 50-100 in your closet, you wear perhaps 20. Consider it fall cleaning for a good cause.

Details are being worked out and will be put in this space as soon as we have them. Thanks Kelly!


  • Do not bring clothing directly to shelters. It takes up valuable space.
  • Do not bring home-cooked items or any open food to shelters. Items must be either in original unopened packaging or delivered by a health department certified food provider. You can order pizzas for delivery, but don't show up carrying one.

RECOVERY: This morning, Darius Anderson, founder and CEO of lobbying powerhouse Platinum Advisors and private equity firm Kenwood Investments that is developing Treasure Island and helped acquire the land for Sacramento's Golden 1 Center, announced that he was stepping aside from his day-to-day responsibilities to lead the private effort to "Rebuild North Bay." He writes:

As a person who has been involved in the private and public sector I know how difficult this task will be and that we will need to build a diverse team to make it successful. Our main goal will be to hold our public and private sector officials accountable. This means every branch of government. Local, State and federal. And once the fires are put out we will need to deal with maintenance of quality of life for those who have been affected. They will need to build a bridge to the future. And once the rebuild starts then will need to hold public officials accountable and make sure that insurance companies deliver on there oath to provide proper funding to all those who have lost everything to be able to rebuild!! I understand that this will be a different task and that we many not make everyone happy but this is not are goal..we must help those that do not have a voice to effect change and to make sure everyone is treated fairly!!! More to come..

He started the accountability aspect by posting "I will be calling on the Head of Cal Fire to come to Sonoma to explain the Macro strategy on how they will put the fire out and why they made the decisions they did in the first 3 and a half days..."

AD51 (East LA): We got an updated count in the race to fill Congressman Jimmy Gomez's former Assembly seat. This latest update includes 375 vote-by-mail ballots counted since Election Night. The remaining around 885 provisional and around 35 vote-by mail ballots should be tabulated by tomorrow. 

That said, unless there was a recount that found grave counting errors, the December 5 runoff is set between Democrats Wendy Carrillo and Luis López.

Here are the numbers. Click to get a larger version.


SIGNIFICANT GUBERNATORIAL ACTIONS (eye of the beholder): With five days left (including today) for the governor to act on bills sent to him by the Legislature, among others, the governor took these actions yesterday:


  • AB 830 (Kalra): repeals the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) which is currently suspended) as a requirement for a diploma 
  • Series of bills on zero-emission vehicle sales and air quality

 Let's try this again, as the need for hugs didn't stop yesterday:


Sully Hugs Boo





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Los Angeles Mayor Opposes Jerry Brown's Water Tunnels Plan | The Sacramento Bee
Christopher Cadelago @
The go-to source for news on California policy and politics

Lawsuit Alleges Fraud By California GOP In Recall Campaign Against State Sen. Josh Newman
Patrick McGreevy @
A group of voters filed a lawsuit Tuesday alleging they were defrauded when they were convinced to sign petitions to recall Democratic ...

California Permanently Eliminates High School Exit Exam Requirement - San Francisco Chronicle
SACRAMENTO — California has permanently scrapped its high school exit exam under legislation signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday.

Santa Clara County, employee union sues Trump administration over DACA
Santa Clara County and a union of its employees sued President Trump on Tuesday for repealing the program known as DACA that provides young undocumented immigrants with reprieves from deportation, arguing that the action broke the government’s binding promises to the youths and was based on racism. The lawsuit, like others challenging Trump’s decision, cited the president’s remarks during the 2016 campaign that Mexican immigrants were “rapists” and that a federal judge who had refused to dismiss a lawsuit against Trump was biased because the judge was of Mexican ancestry.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti Plays Coy On Possible Runs For Governor, President
Melanie Mason @
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Trump Says Health Care Executive Order Will Allow Coverage To Be Sold Across State Lines - Politico
President Donald Trump plans to sign an executive order this week aimed at expanding access to loosely regulated health insurance plans -- a move that could give consumers more coverage options but also destabilize Obamacare markets.

Boe Rushed Hiring To Beat Ca Pension Reform | The Sacramento Bee
Adam Ashton @
Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

Socal’s Water District Just Committed Billions To Waterfix Plan. What Could It Mean For Your DWP Bill? – Daily News
Los Angeles residents and businesses can expect to see their water utility rates go up under a proposed multi-billion dollar project to build water tunnels in Northern California, but by how much is now being questioned by activists and some city leaders.

Senate Democrats worry Russia could jeopardize reelection bids
A warning from the Senate Intelligence Committee has vulnerable lawmakers fretting about election security

Atlas Fire Prompts Evacuations In Solano County | The Sacramento Bee
Cathy Locke @
Covering crime, police and courts in the Sacramento region

With This Crowd, Dianne Feinstein Is Hardly Old Enough
Steve Lopez @
Ability, not age, is what matters to these seniors.

Twitter Reverses Decision, Will Allow Blackburn To Promote Senate Ad - Politico
Twitter is reversing a decision to block Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee from promoting her Senate campaign launch video on the social network.

Bay Area voters to decide whether to raise bridge tolls by $3
SACRAMENTO — Bay Area voters will decide whether to raise bridge tolls to pay for more than 30 road projects that reduce traffic under a bill signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday. SB595 by state Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose, allows voters in the nine-county Bay Area to decide whether to increase bridge tolls by up to $3. The Golden Gate Bridge would be exempted from the toll increase. Beall said the tolls would help reduce “frustrating rush-hour congestion,” with projects including the Dumbarton Corridor, Richmond-San Rafael Bridge; and new direct connectors for the Interstate 680/State Route 4 interchange.

Steve Bullock and the Lost Art of Political Persuasion
He’s one of the most popular governors in the country. Some Democrats think he’d make a great presidential candidate. There’s just one problem: Few outside of Montana have heard of the guy.

Northern California Fires: Extreme Wind, Heat Combine | The Sacramento Bee
Stuart Leavenworth @
By Stuart Leavenworth

Internal Political Turmoil Hits Largest Federal Union As Trump, GOP Target Government Workers

Trump: U.S. Economy Will Soar If Congress Approves Tax Cuts - Politico
President Donald Trump has claimed credit for generally improving economic indicators even though many were already trending upwards under the administration of his predecessor Barack Obama. | Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

The Legal Fallout From The Mushrooming Weinstein Sex Scandal Could Be Big
Daniel Miller, Ryan Faughnder, David Ng @
The mounting sexual assault and harassment claims against Harvey Weinstein could have severe legal consequences for the executive and his already struggling namesake company.

Canyon Fire 2 Threatens 5,000 Homes In Orange County | The California Report | Kqed News
Thousands of homes remained under threat early Tuesday as firefighters aided by more than a dozen helicopters and six air tankers sought to contain a wildfire that quickly spread into an Anaheim Hills neighborhood the day before, burning homes and injuring at least one person.