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THE Nooner for October 13, 2017


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  • U.S. SENATE (statewide): added Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D)

Happy Friday! problems this morning. On a backup computer after my trackpad went all wacky. Tried a couple of tricks to reset settings. Oh well, will try to fix later.

We had good news overnight. The expected pick-up in winds in Napa and Sonoma was not as significant as expected. The threat of high winds continues tonight through tomorrow evening, although fire crews made progress overnight. While the Atlas Fire (Napa/Solano) grew 4,000 acres (to 48,228) overnight, containment rose from 4% to 27%.

The Pocket Fire stayed out of Geyserville and Calistoga last night.

Here's this morning's update from Cal Fire. 

  • Tubbs Fire (Santa Rosa): 25% contained
  • Pocket Fire (Geyserville): 5% contained
  • Nuns Fire (Glen Ellen): 5% contained
  • Pressley Fire (Rohnert Park): 10% contained
  • Atlas Fire (Napa/Solano): 27% contained
  • Partrick Fire (Napa): 18% contained
  • Redwood Valley Fire: 10% contained
  • Sulphur Fire (Lake County): 55% contained
  • Wind Fire (Yuba County): 55% contained


  • 31 dead
  • Mendocino: 6
  • Napa: 2
  • Sonoma: 21 dead, 355 missing
  • Yuba: 2

The Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports that the Santa Rosa home of Charles M. Schulz burned down yesterday.

His widow, Jean Schulz, who evacuated the Upper Ridge Road house before flames could reach it, said she has yet to return to see what remains.

“It’s heartbreaking to lose the place where I lived with Sparky,” said Schulz, part owner of Sonoma Media Investments, the parent company of The Press Democrat.

From the Chron

9:15 p.m. Federal aid for Sonoma County residents: The Federal Emergency Management Agency said Sonoma County residents whose homes or businesses have been damaged or destroyed can apply for federal disaster aid to help cover their losses. The grants, which do not have to be repaid, are for temporary housing, essential home repairs, and property losses not covered by insurance. The Small Business Administration is making low-interest loans available for businesses of any size, nonprofits, homeowners and renters for losses not covered by insurance. FEMA said other counties and possibly other types of assistance would be made available in the near future.

The Chron's update stream also reports that the Sonoma County Assessor's Office plans to automatically reduce assessed valuation on damaged and destroyed property, likely in time for the December property tax payments. My state budget-oriented mind has been thinking about this a lot, although I haven't written about it during the immediate human tragedy.

The state doesn't directly receive property taxes. However, under the Proposition 98 school funding guarantee, the state is obligated to backfill reductions in property tax revenue forecasted, but not received, for schools and community colleges. This could be significant. Obviously, it will also hit the local governments in fire areas when they face significant recovery costs after the fires are out.

The Cal football game tonight against Washington State is a bit uncertain because of the air quality. Right now, the Air Quality Index is right on the border of NCAA regulations that requires "close monitoring" of athletes. 

U.S. SENATE: The LAT's Seema Mehta and Melanie Mason report that Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León is leaning toward challenging Dianne Feinstein next year. "One veteran California politician, who asked for anonymity to freely discuss the matter, said De León considered a campaign launch earlier this week. But the decision was delayed by Feinstein’s Monday announcement that she would run for reelection, which had been expected later in the year, as well as by the wildfires ravaging the state."

The Bee's Christopher Cadelago analyzes the case for de León. "History suggests it can be a beneficial move, even if he loses. Pat Brown in 1946, Alan Cranston (1966), Pete Wilson (1978), Gray Davis (1974, and later in 1992) and Feinstein herself won bigger offices after defeats."

Meanwhile, Sherry Bebitch Jeffe and Doug Jeffe write for Fox & Hounds that the electoral math favors Feinstein, while the Chron's Joe Garafoli looks at the possibility of a Tom Steyer run.

OBAMACARE: This morning, Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced that he will sue the Trump Administration over President Trump's executive order immediately halting cost-sharing subsidies that help reduce insurance costs for low income individuals who buy insurance through exchanges, reports Catherine Ho in the SFChron. "In California, where 1.2 million residents buy insurance through the state exchange Covered California, about 700,000 people benefit from the cost-sharing subsidies. Nationally, the subsidies represent about $7 billion a year; of that, $750 million goes to California."

TUNNELS: In the Bee, Dale Kasler writes that farming members of the Kern County Water Agency indicate that they are willing to help pay for Governor Brown's proposal to ferry water around the Delta. "But the level of support from members of the Kern County Water Agency, which serves much of the $7 billion-a-year farm economy at the southern end of the valley, was less than wholehearted. An estimated 48.5 percent of the agency’s water users said they’re interested in helping pay for the tunnels, which works out to about $1 billion in financial support."

THE MIGHTY PEN: Lobbyist Chris Micheli of Aprea & Micheli gives us the updated bill count:

  • SIGNED:  733
  • VETOED:  65
  • Veto rate: 8.1% 
  • Left to act on by Sunday at midnight: 179
  • Governor received 977 bills this year

AB 168 (Eggman): The OCR's Margot Roosevelt writes that the governor signed AB 168 yesterday, which prohibits employers from asking for a salary history and requires, upon reasonable request, an employer to provide pay scale for a position an applicant is seeking. 

The LAT's Melanie Mason reports that the governor signed SB 250 (Hertzberg), which prohibits schools from withholding school lunches when parents haven't settled outstanding tabs.  

#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Lucy Camarillo, Corin Choppin, and Glenda Corcoran! 




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Killing State And Local Tax Deduction Hits Many Californians Hard. Limiting It Only Affects Top 1%
Jim Puzzanghera @
Limiting instead of scrapping the state and local tax deduction would keep the benefit for all but the top 1% of income earners, but would raise only about a quarter of the revenue for lawmakers looking to offset broader proposed tax cuts, according to a new analysis.

Ca Pensions: Sacramento And Other Cities Face Higher Pension Costs | The Sacramento Bee
Brad Branan @
By Brad Branan

State Employees Caught Snoring On The Job, Riding In Limousines, Holding Illegal Raffles - The San Diego Union-tribune
Morgan Cook @
Federal investigators probing campaign spending by Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, are looking for evidence of fraud, falsified documents and conspiracy in addition to improper personal spending of political contributions, according to a search warrant affidavit.

California Law Enforcement Agencies Will Have To Count And Preserve All Of Their Untested Rape Kits
Jazmine Ulloa @
California law enforcement agencies will have to preserve and count all of their untested rape kits and ensure they inform sexual assau...

Brown Signs Bill That Could Change San Diego County Election Process - The San Diego Union-tribune
Joshua Stewart @

Kern County Agency Votes To Help Fund Delta Water Delivery System
Bettina Boxall @
The Kern County Water Agency, one of the biggest potential users of California WaterFix, is voting Thursday on whether to help pay for the water delivery project.

California Will Provide Free Tampons To Poor Students | The Sacramento Bee
Alexei Koseff And Christopher Cadelago @
The go-to source for news on California policy and politics

Pawar Drops Out Of Illinois Governor's Race - Politico
Sarah Brune, executive director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, said the most troubling aspect of the surge of self-funded, big money campaigns for marquee offices is that the spending tends to impact lower-level offices including mayoral contests and state legislative races. Those who aren't personally wealthy or lack a mega-donor feel they can't compete at any level.

President Trump's full 2017 speech at the Values Voter Summit

President Trump spoke to supporters at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 13.

10 Months After Valley Teen’s Assault, Bill Targeting Social Media-driven Attacks Becomes State Law – Daily News
When Ed Peisner got the call that “Jordan’s Law” had been signed into law Wednesday, he was “moved to tears.”

Moulton Niguel Water District: Innovation to save money, water and power
The public often thinks about water infrastructure as separate and distinct from our energy infrastructure. Yet, water utilities account for roughly 10 percent of California’s electricity demand.

Anderson&#039;s Bill to Provide Transitional Services to Wrongfully Incarcerated Signed by Governor
s (R-El Cajon) Senate Bill (SB) 336 was signed by Governor Brown today. This new legislation will ensure that wrongfully convicted individuals are eligible for transitional services by the California Department of Corrections upon being released. These services include...

Wine Country Fires In Santa Rosa Fought By Aircraft From Mcclellan In Sacramento | The Sacramento Bee
Hudson Sangree @
By Hudson Sangree

GOP Lawmakers May Be Close To Compromise On State, Local Tax Deduction - Politico
Several lawmakers who huddled with GOP leaders Thursday indicated that the talks were going well.

California Fire Update: Death Toll Of 29 Surpasses Oakland Hills Fire | The Sacramento Bee
Sam Stanton, Benjy Egel And Darrell Smith @
By Sam Stanton, Benjy Egel And Darrell Smith

Trump Issues Order To Deregulate Health Insurance, Promising Relief From Obamacare
Noam N. Levey @
Trump directs his administration to come up with new ways to loosen requirements on health insurers, stoking fears of a market collapse.

New York, California Threaten To Sue Over Health-care Subsidies | Thehill
Rebecca Savransky @
"This summer, the courts granted our intervention to defend these vital subsidies and the quality, affordable health care they ensure for millions of families across the country," he said.

Dems Move To Shield Whistleblowers Who Report Pricey Travel - Politico
Lawmakers will offer the proposal as part of a debate over broader whistleblower protection. The goal is to force Republicans to vote on an issue that has drawn increasing scrutiny, as several Trump Cabinet members have faced criticism for regular use of chartered or military jets.