Around The Capitol

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THE Nooner for December 5, 2017


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  • SD06 (Sacramento): added voting rights activist Derek Cressman (D)
  • AD45 (West San Fernando Valley): updated analysis [subscription only]


FIRST OFF: A big Nooner hug to the people of Ventura County near Ventura, Ojai, and Santa Paula as a wildfire burns out of control. At 5am, there were 150 structures reported burned. It's 7:40 a.m. as I update this, and a live shot on CNN shows multiple additional homes burning and the total acreage burned is reportedly 45,000. 

Another fire has broken out to the southeast near Sylmar. My sister reports that driving to work was like doing to slalom to avoid tumbleweeds and a flying trash can on the freeway.

Can 2017 just end please?

MOVIE TIME: If you haven't seen "Lady Bird" yet, it is a must see. I had no idea that it was set in Sacramento until last week; I just knew that it is the highest rated movie ever on Rotten Tomatoes with 100% positives by critics. It was directed by Sacramentan Greta Gerwig in her debut. For those here in town, see it at the Tower Theatre, which appears in the film. It's heartening that people across the country are embracing the film.

ELECTION DAY: Today is the special general election in AD51 (East L.A.) between Democrats Wendy Carrillo and Luis López. The back and forth yesterday was particularly ugly, with gay and lesbian organizations and lawmakers accusing SEIU-UHW, which is conducting an independent expenditure campaign in support of Carrillo, of homophobia. I have no position in the race (that isn't my job), but nothing I saw demonstrated homophobia, but rather a contentious campaign and the continued fight between SEIU-UHW and City of Hope hospital, where López is director of governmental affairs. 

NAMING NAMES: Yesterday, Speaker Anthony Rendon announced that Assembly Rules will be hiring a law firm to review the allegations found in the letter regarding Assemblymember Matt Dababneh (D-45) by accuser lobbyist Pamela Lopez. In the letter, Lopez clarified that the alleged incident happened on January 16, 2016 in a private venue in a Las Vegas hotel, not at a Sacramento spot as reported in some press accounts.



Rendon announced that Dababneh was temporarily stepping down as chair of Assembly Banking and Finance while the investigation takes place. 

Also yesterday, Senator Bob Hertzberg, whose district overlaps with Dababneh's, suspended his Of Counsel position with the law firm of Glaser Weil Fink Howard Avchen & Shapiro, which represents Dababneh as well as Harvey Weinstein.

Upon learning of Lopez's intention to make public the allegations against Dababneh, named partner Patricia Glaser, who chairs the firm's litigation department, sent a cease-and-desist demand letter on Friday to Lopez, including a categorical denial of the allegations by Dababneh. 

The Reporter's Cheryl Miller reports:

Lopez’s attorney, Leslie F. Levy, hit back with her own letter, warning that any defamation suit brought by Dababneh would lead to extensive discovery into his reputation around the Capitol.

“While we understand that many lawmakers and others who work in the Capitol might not volunteer their opinions regarding your client,” Levy wrote, “we are confident that they would testify truthfully under oath if questioned about the subject.”

I have no knowledge of the veracity of the stories, but I've heard corroborating accounts from the days when Dababneh was district director for Congressman Brad Sherman. These extend beyond the allegations made yesterday during the press conference by Jessica Yas Barker who  worked for 18 months with Dababneh in Sherman's D.O. I've heard from multiple people that campus Democrats were cautioned to avoid the office during Dababneh's tenure.

Some have asked me why Lopez didn't go to the police, as there is alleged criminal activity--false imprisonment and assault at minimum. Beyond the professional issues of rational fear that Lopez and other women have offered, the practical situation made it worse. This happened in Vegas, most likely on the Strip. Lopez would have had to have gone to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, which is a joint venture of the LVPD and the Clark County Sheriff's Department, which patrols the Strip. 

Nevada law would be controlling, which is not as generous as California law. And, you can guess how many cases the Clark County District Attorney's office sees, and how many are passed over. It was a three-day weekend and allegations like these likely wouldn't have been considered by the DA expeditiously. Upon returning to Sacramento, Lopez faced the challenge expressed in last Tuesday's hearing--there is no formal way for people that are not employed under the Dome to file a complaint.

It moves on to an outside investigation, and Assemblymember Dababneh has the right to due process and to make his own decisions about his future.  



GOV: For Fox & Hounds, Joe Mathews writes that the gubernatorial candidates are missing three big agendas:

  • An agenda for the next recession
  • An agenda for tax reform
  • An agenda for post-election 2021

CA48 (Huntington Beach): Congressman Dana Rohrabacher will testify before the House Intelligence Committee this month on his meeting with Julian Assange relating to stolen DNC emails in the 2016 presidential campaign, reports Sarah D. Wire in the Times.

AD39 (East San Fernando Valley): Where are the candidates for a yet-to-be-declared special election for the Assembly seat vacated by Raul Bocanegra? The governor has until December 11 to call the special election, but it's widely speculated to lead to a special primary on April 3 with a special general, if necessary, consolidated with the statewide primary election on June 5. While they can't file a statement of intent and fundraise for the likely April 3 special primary, they can do so for the June 5 regular primary and then shift money to a new committee when the special election is called.

THE CLEAN GREEN MONEY MAN: The Bee's Christopher Cadelago looks at how the pick-up of the impeachment chatter is drawing more attention to billionaire activist Tom Steyer, with many California Democratic electeds expressing unease. "On Monday, he again responded to elected members of his own party who argue his impeachment push, given that Democrats lack the votes to move forward, amounts to an unhelpful distraction."

LAT: Los Angeles Times newsroom employees have taken the first step to form a union.



Probolsky Research


NOM NOM: Gordon Ramsay makes over 19-year-old downtown Sacramento BBQ joint [Kalin Kapling @ SacBee]

#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Jesse Aguilar, Marc Aprea, Lara DeLaney, and Samantha Draper



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  • Hepatitis A: Expert Briefing hosted and moderated by the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST), Thursday, December 7th, 11:45am-1:15pm, Capitol Room 2040. Please join us for a conversation with experts in infectious disease, vaccination, and local public health efforts to learn how hepatitis A is spread, how at-risk populations are identified for vaccination, what local actions are being taken and can be taken to address or prevent outbreaks, and what policymakers can do to help. Organized in partnership with Senate Health Committee, Senator Hueso, Assemblymember Gloria, Assemblymember Maienschein, Assemblymember Wood, and the Health Officers Association of California. Please come with any questions you have. For a lunch box, reserve by Noon on December 6th by emailing
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Governors Howl: Why Tax Plan Would Hammer Blue States - San Francisco Chronicle
The governors of California and New York and governor-elect of New Jersey joined forces Monday to attack GOP plans to do away with the state and local tax deduction — calling it a possibly illegal or unconstitutional transfer of wealth from predominantly Democratic states, which tend to have higher income taxes, to predominantly Republican states, which generally have lower or no state income tax.

Neo-nazi Turns Down 4-year Deal In Capitol Assault | The Sacramento Bee
Darrell Smith @
Covering crime, police and courts in the Sacramento region

Politico-harvard Poll: Democrats And Republicans Still Fixated On Health Care - Politico

Demonstrators against the Republican tax reform bill hold a "Peoples Filibuster to Stop Tax Cuts for Billionaires," protest rally outside the U.S. Capitol on Nov. 30. | Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Rallies Planned Across California As Activists Pressure GOP House Members On Tax Vote
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Trump Pressuring Congressional Republicans To Speed Up On Tax Reform - Politico

The White House would like to ensure the lawmakers negotiating a compromise on the House and Senate legislation do not veer off the main differences between the two bills, Short said. Specifically, some of the outstanding questions include the best way to handle individual tax brackets and the corporate alternative minimum tax.

L.A. Lawmakers Are Close To Setting Ground Rules For Marijuana Industry
Emily Alpert Reyes @
Los Angeles lawmakers took another step Monday toward imposing new regulations on the marijuana industry, as California gears up for the legalization of selling recreational pot.

How The Senate Tax Plan Affects San Diego Housing - The San Diego Union-tribune
Phillip Molnar @

Tax Reform And The 2018 Ca Elections :: Fox&hounds
ron de Arakal @

Two Women Say California Assemblyman Matt Dababneh Sexually Harassed Them - San Francisco Chronicle
U.S. Senator Cory Booker, Founder of Michelson Found Animals Gary Michelson and California Assemblyman Matt Dababneh attends Michelson Found Animals Hosts 5th Annual Gala Honoring Leaders In The Animal Welfare Community at W Hollywood on October 8, 2016 in Hollywood, California.

Tom Steyer's Trump Impeachment Push Gains Momentum | The Sacramento Bee
Christopher Cadelago @
The go-to source for news on California policy and politics

Top Seven Ways The GOP Tax Plan Will Affect Californians
Californians are bracing as GOP tax-plan details begin to emerge.

Less Choice, Higher Prices Feared In Cvs' Takeover Of Health Insurer Aetna
David Lazarus @
CVS Health says that its $69-billion takeover of insurance giant Aetna will be good for consumers. That, of course, is unlikely.

Ppic Statewide Survey: Californians And Their Government - Public Policy Institute Of California
All Adults [PDF] Likely Voters [PDF]

Will The GOP Tax Bill Lower Home Prices In California?
A prominent group of realtors over the weekend slammed the GOP's tax plan -- which passed Saturday in the Senate -- over its potential to reduce home values in California and beyond.

Uber Broke California Law By Concealing Massive Data Hack, L.A. City Attorney Says
Laura J. Nelson @
Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer sued Uber Monday on behalf of the state of California, saying the ride-hailing giant's failure to disclose a massive hack violates state law.

House conservatives almost topple tax vote

In a dramatic political stunt, more than a dozen members of the Freedom Caucus withheld support for a crucial procedural vote on the GOP’s tax bill.

Arctic Ice Loss Could Spell More Drought For California, Livermore Lab Study Finds - San Francisco Chronicle
Californians may have another reason to keep an eye on melting sea ice in the Arctic — at least if they’re concerned about the state’s propensity for plunging into damaging droughts.

I Finally Understand Why Male Politicians Have Been Able To Sexually Harass Women With Impunity
Robin Abcarian @
During the course of a nearly six-hour California Assembly subcommittee hearing, it became painfully clear that there is virtually no system in place to rein in, stop or punish sexual harassment by male elected officials, which leaves women, particularly interns and younger staff, vulnerable.

UC Berkeley Student Group Sues University For First Amendment Violation
Courts, Regional, UC Berkeley

How New Yorkers Would Lose Under the Republican Tax Bill

The legislation could send home prices tumbling, increase the region’s tax burden, and make it harder for local governments to pay for infrastructure.