Around The Capitol

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THE Nooner for October 19, 2017


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  • LGadded businesswoman Marjan Fariba (D)
  • CD52 (San Diego): added physician Jeff Cullen (R) 

Thank you for your thoughtful comments after my apology yesterday.


  • AP: "Authorities say nearly 7,000 homes and structures were destroyed in Northern California's deadly wildfires, and the number is expected to increase."
  • 15,000 people are still evacuated, but things are looking better.
  • The governor signed an executive order yesterday to speed up the process of recovery from the fires, reports BANG's Jason Green. "The order includes provisions that suspend planning and zoning requirements and state fees for manufactured homes and mobile home parks to help displaced residents in need of housing."

POTUS: President Trump currently has no plans to visit the fire ravaged wine country, report Ken Thomas and Sudhin Thanawala for the AP. FEMA is on the ground.

KDL: Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León formally announced his bid for U.S. Senate yesterday in Los Angeles. For the Times, Christine Mai-Duc writes "The event, held at a community college in downtown Los Angeles, paid homage to De León’s humble upbringing and alluded to chief complaints De León has had about [Dianne]  Feinstein, who at 84 is making her sixth run for the Senate." 

George Skelton writes that, while Feinstein is the favorite for reelection, she can't be seen as a shoo-in. "My guess is California voters will stick with Feinstein. She has been an exceptionally effective senator. But I won’t be shocked if voters want to shake it up."

The Bee's Christopher Cadelago reports that many elected Democrats are rallying around Feinstein.

Support for Feinstein, 84, has poured in from across the state, and includes former Sen. Barbara Boxer, Sen. Kamala Harris, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Secretary of State Alex Padilla and Reps. Adam Schiff and Ted Lieu. Most have accentuated her positives, with some drawing attention to the need for an experienced Democrat who has cultivated deep relationships with her Republican colleagues that could be useful during a time of great tumult for the country.

 POLL POSITION: Capitol Weekly and Sextant Strategies have a poll out. (n=1,554; online survey from voter file)

  • de León: 17%
  • Feinstein: 36%
  • Neither: 28%
  • Not sure: 19%

THE MIGHTY PEN: For CALmatters, Laurel Rosenhall looks at what the governor's vetoes tell you about his current thinking.

Gov. Jerry Brown is famously enigmatic, a difficult-to-predict politician who said decades ago that he likes to “paddle a little bit on the left side, then… a little bit on the right.”

But every year he drops clues to his governing approach in a raft of letters he writes to the Legislature detailing why he’s vetoed certain bills. Veto messages are required by state law; most of Brown’s are simple notes of five or six sentences, straight and to the point.

THE GOLDEN DIVIDE: Nicholas Riccardi and Michael R. Blood report for AP that the divide among California Democrats complicates the Democric hopes of retaking the House.

The Republican civil war has been on full display, with forces aligned with former White House adviser Steve Bannon challenging the GOP establishment and incumbent lawmakers. In California, where Democrats control all levers of power in state government and no Republican has won a statewide election since 2006, the party is feuding over who is doing a better job resisting Trump.

GUNS: For CALmatters, Dan Walters looks at a couple of gun bills acted on by the governor.

SCUM: "The California Assembly has agreed to pay $100,000 to a former legislative staff member to settle a claim of harassment, discrimination and retaliation against former Assemblyman Steve Fox," reports Alexei Koseff in the Bee. That's $210,000 in payouts to the one-term member from the Antelope Valley. 

What sucks is that it was known in the Capitol, but people are afraid to raise their voice, both inside and outside the Capitol. Hopefully, #MeToo carries forward in the legislative session. 

KQED has a sketch of the Capitol situation.

Meanwhile, the OCR's Scott Schwebke reports on allegations of sexual harrassment at the Orahge County Democratic Party and the Orange County Labor Federation, which came to light during #MeToo.

THE GAVEL: The California Supreme Court will not be lowering the passing score required, writes Bob Egelko in the Chron.

In a letter signed by all of its justices, the court, which oversees the State Bar and its 261,000 lawyers, said the downward trend appeared to be part of a “broader national pattern” and did not show a need to lower the standards in California. 

Only 43 percent of those who took the July 2016 bar exam passed it, the lowest rate in 32 years, and lower than the success rates in most other states. The results fueled long-standing protests that the exam’s passing score, the nation’s second-highest, was unduly restrictive and tended to reduce the numbers of low-income and minority lawyers.

THE MOD SQUAD: For Capitol Weekly, Nik Bonovich looks at the influence of the "New Democrats" in the Assembly:

The New Democrats – also known as the “Moderate Democrats” or “Mod Dems” — have a loosely organized list of members. According to organizers of the group, they count upwards to 20-to-25 members of the Assembly who cycle in and out, depending on issues.

The group functions by the so-called “Dutra Rule,” named after former Democratic Assemblyman John Dutra of Fremont: “We should be talking to everyone and have an open door policy, and any member who has something to offer should be allowed to participate.”

EYE CANDY: The LAT's John Myers sits down for a chat with Sen. Robert Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys), Republican strategist Luis Alvarado, UCLA political scientist Lynn Vavreck and Alma Hernandez, executive director of SEIU California. Before the state panel, House Democratic Leader Nany Pelosi addressed those gathered at the event as part of the Times and the Berggruen Institute Summit series.

#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to former Assemblyman Mike Gatto and Controller Betty Yee!



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  • The California Workforce Association, representing the local workforce development boards of California as well as 70 other partners in education, industry, labor, community organizations, and government, have released an RFQ for legislative advocacy.  To apply, click here: .  Submissions Due 10/30.

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  • The Sacramento LGBT Community Center seeks a Community Resources & Respite Coordinator that will have overall strategic and operational responsibility for the development, maintenance, evaluation and delivery of community resources and respite-based drop-in center, a vital component in our ability to provide mental health support to the region’s LGBTQ community.

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Calif. GOP Rallies Around Measure To Repeal New Gas Tax - San Francisco Chronicle
SACRAMENTO — Organizers of a campaign to qualify a ballot measure that would repeal the state’s gas tax and new vehicle fees unveiled their growing coalition Wednesday at the state Republican Party headquarters, where GOP gubernatorial candidate John Cox said he will make a “substantial” donation to the effort.

Calif. GOP rallies around measure to repeal new gas tax
SACRAMENTO — Organizers of a campaign to qualify a ballot measure that would repeal the state’s gas tax and new vehicle fees unveiled their growing coalition Wednesday at the state Republican Party headquarters, where GOP gubernatorial candidate John Cox said he will make a “substantial” donation to the effort. Cox, a wealthy businessman, declined to give specifics about how much he will donate to the campaign, which named him honorary co-chair. To qualify for the November 2018 ballot, organizers of the measure have to collect 584,000 signatures, a hefty lift for any effort.

Think Feinstein Is A Shoo-in For Another Term? Don't Be Shocked If Voters Shake Things Up
George Skelton @
Anyone who thinks U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein has a lock on reelection is ignoring history. It’s rare, but it happens: An esteemed, powerful, senior politician is booted from office.

Kevin De Leon Speaks At LA Senate Campaign Launch
Christopher Cadelago @
Kevin de León, at a public launch of his brazen challenge to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, avoided direct mention of her Wednesday, instead casting the campaign as a referendum on President Donald Trump and the “go-along-to-get-along” culture of Washington that facilitated his election.

Trump: Senate Budget Vote 'first Step Towards Massive Tax Cuts'
Louis Nelson @
President Donald Trump said Thursday morning that the Senate’s scheduled vote on budget legislation is a “first step towards massive tax cuts,” but cautioned that a successful floor vote is not necessarily assured.

Mystery Name On List Of Possible Feinstein Challengers - San Francisco Chronicle
There’s another wealthy, progressive California Democrat besides billionaire San Francisco environmentalist Tom Steyer mulling a 2018 Senate challenge to incumbent Sen. Dianne Feinstein. His name is Joe Sanberg.

Democrats Worried About Feinstein Challenges
Christopher Cadelago @
While de León is praised by allies and activists starved for a liberal firebrand, the Democrats are concerned about a nasty personal feud that exposes deepening rifts and saps resources from their efforts to win Senate and House races across the country. They argue that focusing on Congress will provide the real bulwark against President Donald Trump’s agenda.

Trump To Address Senate Republicans At Capitol - Politico
Tuesday will be the first time President Donald Trump has come to the Capitol to address senators. | John Minchillo/AP

CA Assembly Settles Harassment Suit Against Lawmaker
Alexei Koseff @
The California Assembly has agreed to pay $100,000 to a former legislative staff member to settle a claim of harassment, discrimination and retaliation against former Assemblyman Steve Fox.

California Lawmaker Wants To Ban Secret Settlements In Sexual Harassment Cases After Weinstein Scandal
Melanie Mason @
A California state senator says she intends to introduce a bill next year to ban confidentiality provisions in monetary settlements ste...

San Jose Trustee Faces Fine For $13,000 Campaign Violation
K-12 Education, Politics, San Jose Elections

California And Other States Seek Emergency Order To Stop Trump Administration From Cutting Off Healthcare Subsidies
Patrick McGreevy @
California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra asked a federal court Wednesday to issue an emergency temporary restraining order to block the Tru...

The Finance 202: Democrats want to make budget vote all about GOP's tax headaches

Chuck Schumer seeks message discipline in today's vote-a-rama.

Wine Country Fires: Rebuilding Could Be Hindered By Labor Shortage | The Sacramento Bee
Stuart Leavenworth And Anita Chabria @
By Stuart Leavenworth And Anita Chabria

Gov. Brown Passes Bill Prompted By San Bernardino Terrorist Attack – Press Enterprise
Assemblywoman Eloise Gomez Reyes on Wednesday announced new legislation, spurred by the Dec. 2, 2015 mass shooting in San Bernardino, expanding treatment services for victims injured in terrorist attacks while on the job.

How the Senate Judiciary Committee grilled Jeff Sessions

The Senate Judiciary Committee grilled Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a Department of Justice oversight hearing on Oct. 18, asking him about issues from Russian meddling to immigration enforcement.

Facebook, Google Defend Role In Anti-muslim Ad Campaigns
Facebook, Google, ads, advertising, politics, political advertising, videos, Islam, Muslim, immigration, technology, Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg, Sundar Pichai

Ex-L.A. Sheriff Lee Baca To Stay Out Of Prison While He Appeals His Conviction
Joel Rubin @
Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca won a reprieve Wednesday when an appeals court ruled he could remain free while he appeals his conviction on charges of obstruction of justice and lying.

California Supreme Court Says No To Loosening State Bar Exam Requirements - San Francisco Chronicle
California’s bar exam sets its passing score higher than almost any other state — and it will stay that way for now, the state Supreme Court said Wednesday, despite plunging success rates and complaints that potentially good lawyers are being needlessly screened out.

Governor Issues Order To Speed Up Fire Recovery Efforts
Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday issued an executive order aimed at speeding up recovery efforts in areas devastated by a spate of ferocious wildfires, including Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino counties.

Trump to meet with Senate Republicans on Capitol Hill next week

The meeting will come as the president tries to gain support for a tax cut plan.

New Hampshire Republicans Express Early Skepticism About Trump Reelection - Politico
Forty-seven percent of likely Republican primary voters say they will vote for President Donald Trump in the next presidential primary. | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Obama Returns to Campaign Trail to Rally Black Voters

Democrats are facing a test of their ability to inspire black voters, with elections in Virginia and Alabama hinging on black turnout.