Around The Capitol

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THE Nooner for December 15, 2017


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  • AD45 (West San Fernando Valley): removed councilman/attorney David Shapiro (D)
  • AD45 (West San Fernando Valley): removed district director Barri Worth (D)


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Can this really be mid-December? There is just way too much going on. 

And, as we get to below...2018 is shaping up to be a very crazy year, and it starts before you put your holiday decorations away.

It's a crazy morning and I haven't gotten to all the stories as I focus on the elections situation. I will this likely have a Nooner Nightcap. 

FIRES: Thomas Fire - 35% contained, 252,500 acres, 728 houses destroyed, 121 houses damaged, $88.8 million cost to fight [CalFire]

  • Today should be a good day, as winds should be blowing inland. However, Santa Anas are expected to return tomorrow. The Sacramento region is also expected to have high winds tomorrow creating a large fire risk. 

Speaking of fires, Sonoma County was the hardest hit with 5,130 homes lost. Today, SirenSeaSA based in Petaluma is having a special on its Dungeness Crab Cioppino Kits with $20 off and free shipping to NorCal (overnight shipping is available elsewhere as well). It's fresh, not frozen, and comes in a cooled box with 2 Dungeness crabs (cooked, cracked, and cleaned), 1 pound of rock cod fillets (skin removed), 1 pound of live mussels, 1 pound of live clams, and a cioppino recipe. 

This is an unsolicited public service announcement because I love them and this product and I love to support our local fishermen and businesses that have been hit so hard this year. 

On to politics...

CA49 (Carlsbad): When I shared in the closing graf of my new analysis of the congressional seat held by Darrell Issa that Sara Jacobs is now a slight favorite, I got expected blowback from Mike Levin supporters. I talked about Jacobs because of national rumblings I've received over the last couple of weeks. She joined the race late after the last finance filing deadline, so we won't know until January 31 what her cash position relative to Levin's healthy cash balance. 

Whether Jacobs or Levin emerges in the top-two primary, the district stays Leans Democratic unless the political climate changes and either would be a slight favorite in November.

SD32 (Whittier): Well, it's not like conversations weren't happened before Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León yesterday called on his friend and former roommate Senator Tony Mendoza to take a leave of absence pending an investigation by outside law firms into harassment allegations, but it has obviously now picked up.

Mendoza has refused to heed the call to take a leave of absence of his friend and former housemate, reports Patrick McGreevy in the Times.

“I am very disappointed that certain Senate Rules Committee members are apparently asking me to take a leave of absence or resign before any investigation has even begun and without giving me an opportunity to defend myself,” Mendoza said in a statement. “This is contrary to the very concept of due process, which is a pillar of our American system of fairness and judicial prudence. These actions bypass any process in a rush to judgment.” 

This will likely lead to a suspension or expulsion motion in January.

Senator Mendoza's seat is up next year. An investigation will likely take a couple of months to have legitimacy. The law firms will have to determine the veracity of the corroboration of the allegations by Mendoza's former Senate Fellow. Any findings of the law firm are protected by attorney-client privilege, with the client being the Senate Rules Committee, chaired by de León. Of course, clients have the right to waive attorney-client privilege. 

Assuming there is no special election, here are the key dates for the June 5, 2018 primary:

  • 12/14/2017-02/07/18: Signatures-in-lieu of filing period
  • 02/12/17-03/09/17: Declaration of candidacy and nomination period
  • 02/12/17-03/09/17: Candidate statement period
  • 03/10/17-03/14/17: Extension of nomination period if incumbent doesn't file
  • 04/09/17-05/22/17: Write-in declaration period

Basically, candidates can't wait for an investigation to be complete to decide whether they are running in June, whether or not Senator Mendoza is on the ballot.

So, who would be running? Historically, we would look at the "nested" members. For those who arrived on the political scene after 2001, not only do we envy your youth, but the fact that you don't have to remember the "easier" days when Senate and Assembly districts were nested. That meant that each of the 40 Senate seats were comprised of two Assembly districts. However, that was legally suspect under the federal Voting Rights Act and thus the 2001 redistricting ended that tradition.

Mendoza's SD32 currently is represented by four Assemblymembers--Ian Calderon, Cristina Garcia, and slivers of Sharon Quirk-Silva and Anthony Rendon. The first map is the SD32 and the second has the Assembly district overlaps. Click here or on either map to go online and you can play with the layers.

Senate District 32 (Mendoza)




Assembly Overlays of SD32

Green=C. Garcia, Yellow-I. Calderon, Blue=Rendon, Orange=Quirk-Silva

SD32 AD Overlays


Of the four overlapping Assembly districts, only Ian Calderon lives in the district, in Whittier. That blue pin you see is Bell Gardens, where Cristina Garcia lives. Anthony Rendon lives in Paramount and Sharon Quirk-Silva lives in Fullerton.

Calderon is very unlikely to run. He would be forfeiting a likely two years in the Legislature to move to the red carpet with no pay increase and no seniority. That is because will have served in the Assembly for six years next year and election to a four-year term in the Senate would total 10. The new(er) term limits law limits all legislators to a total of twelve years in either house or a combination thereof. So, he couldn't run for two terms in the Senate.

Further, he's #4 on the Democratic side as Assembly Majority Floor Leader. While he's unlikely to move up unless there is a shake-up as Rendon and Kevin Mullin (Speaker Pro Tem) were in the same class with Calderon in 2012, and Asst. Speaker Pro Tem Autumn Burke was elected in 2014, it's still better than one term in the Senate where capturing a committee chairmanship could be difficult. He also has lucrative seats on the Assembly Appropriations and Insurance Committees.

Thus, the focus is likely on non-current legislators in the district. 

It is widely known that former Assemblymember Rudy Bermudez has been looking for a path back to the Capitol and would be a formidable and likely candidate. However, some of his lobbying/consulting work on the local level has raised eyebrows, and not in a good way. Additionally, there will be a strong push for a woman to be elected from the district following Mendoza, regardless of the outcome of the investigation. The same pressures are present in AD39 (Bocanegra) and AD45 (Dababneh).

A name that is being bandied about is Cerritos College trustee Sandra Salazar, who is daughter of a gardener and domestic worker who was the first in her family to go to college--to Wellesley no less, and then went on to get her M.D. at the St. Louis University of Medicine. She works as a  family physician at Kaiser in Downey. She was appointed by Darrell Steinberg to serve on the State Bar Committee on Bar Examiners so has been through vetting. 

I have never met her nor has anybody contacted me about her, but if I were a political consultant looking for an ideal candidate in 2018 for SD32, a Latina with a ballot label of "physician/college trustee" is pretty darn good.

Another possible candidate is Angela Acosta-Salazar, a former two-term Rio Hondo Community College trustee and now a adjunct faculty member at Los Angeles CCD. She has a doctorate in education from Cal State Long Beach. She previously was director of the well known Hispanas Organized for Political Equality Leadership Institute. While she's been out of office for awhile, she has an extensive network from the five years directing the institute that trained lots of Latina women in leadership.

Assemblymember Cristina Garcia, while not resident in the Senate district, represents nearly half ot it. Garcia is a vocal leader on the sexual misconduct issue in the Capitol and lists only endorsements of women on her website. I have no idea if she has someone in mind but obviously she would be very influential. Nor do I know if Calderon has someone in mind.

There are undoubtedly more likely candidates, and I'm sure I'll have more names by C.O.B. today. That gives me content to feed you as you stare at your phone waiting in line as you shop this weekend.

To make the situation more volatile/awkward, there are whispers that Assemblymember Cristina Garcia may be planning a challenge to Speaker Anthony Rendon from her neighboring district, depending on how the process of changing how the house handles harassment and other misconduct complaints. Anyone in the Capitol circle is whispering about the next shoes to fall.

In fact, even the guy whose Hmong family runs the convenience store across the street from me where I was buying ice cream yesterday has names and he's never been involved in politics. That's how much chatter there is going on in this town this holiday season.

Well, now we have a heckuva lot more to chatter about for the weekend.

AD45 (West San Fernando Valley): Lots of moving pieces this week in the district currently held by Matt Dababneh, who is scheduled to resign on January 1, likely triggering a special primary election on April 3. That's not much time to organize endorsements and raise money, as few people other a few people in the district will be paying attention for the next month. 

Lots of questions of whether for LA City Controller Wendy Greuel will jump in and, if so, what that would do to the field. Based on conversations, I think it is less likely that she runs than doesn't. She has a successful business career and is an executive-in-residence at Cal State Northridge and people say that she is pretty content and also doesn't want to repeat the pain of a loss like her race for mayor.

Here is the timeline for April 3 special elections (confirmed for AD39 and likely for AD45)

  • 12/11/2017-01/09/18: Signatures-in-lieu of filing period
  • 01/20/17-02/08/17: Declaration of candidacy and nomination period
  • 01/20/17-02/08/17: Candidate statement period
  • 02/09/17-03/20/17: Write-in declaration period

HARASSMENT: California Democratic Party regional director Craig Cheslog has resigned following allegations from observers of him "acting “in an inappropriate and sexually aggressive manner” toward a member of the party in a public area of the Westin San Francisco Airport Hotel, following a Nov. 18 executive board meeting," Jazmine Ulloa in the Times.

And, Dababneh's situation just gets worse in his last month of pay before he resigns effective January 1, reports Melanie Mason in the Times.



AIN'T OVER UNTIL IT'S OVER: For Fox & Hounds, Joel Fox looks at who might still jump in to statewide races. "We pretty much know the fields in the big races in California next year for governor and the U.S. Senate—or do we?"

MONEY MATTERS: In the Times, John Myers unravels the interesting financial machinations that fund Consumer Watchdog, one of the largest commuter advocacy groups in California politics and policy.

Between 2012 and 2015, Consumer Watchdog accepted $260,000 in donations from [Chris] Lehane’s group, a nonprofit called Main Street American Values. One $45,000 payment was made only weeks before Consumer Watchdog lent public support to one of Lehane’s clients, Airbnb.

. . . 

Main Street American Values gave nearly $1 million to another group during the years it was led by Lehane, the nonprofit Tides Foundation. Over the same period, Tides gave a similar-sized contribution to Consumer Watchdog.

According to Lehane, 50, none of his nonprofit’s money came from Airbnb. But he declined to identify the sources of his organization’s contributions.


THE REALLY BIG HOUSE: In the Bee, Christopher Cadelago looks at gubernatorial candidate John Cox's proposed initiative for neighborhood legislatures.

“California has the largest legislative districts in the world,” Cox says of the need for his reforms. Under his plan, 99 lawmakers would stay home in the district and advise the 120 who would travel to the state Capitol to cast votes.

wrote about the initiative on November 5, and the measure's signatures are currently being reviewed by county election offices. The random sample count is due December 20 and would require validity of 81% of the raw count signatures to avoid a full count. At a current validity of 74.1%, it appears to be headed to a full count. During the full count, it needs 73.67% validity to qualify, so it could be close. 

Cox has spent $2.4 million thus far to qualify the initiative.

[text | signature count]


Probolsky Research



#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to former Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, Senate Republican Leader Pat Bates, David Zay Latt, Tricia Lipper, Josh Pulliam, Jennifer Quan, and Laura Velkei!



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Tweaks To Tax Plan Would Help Some Californians As Bill Heads For A Vote - San Francisco Chronicle
WASHINGTON — House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Thursday he had secured three changes in the $1.5 trillion tax bill that would help California as Republicans worked on last-minute revisions to the legislation scheduled for final votes in the Senate and House next week.

Three More Women Accuse California Assemblyman Of Sexual Misconduct
Melanie Mason, Seema Mehta @
A Los Angeles woman has filed a police report alleging Democratic Assemblyman Matt Dababneh had sex with her without consent four years ago, adding new allegations of sexual misconduct to those that led the politician to announce his resignation last week. He says her claims are false.

California PUC Rules Against Utility In Wildfire Case | The Sacramento Bee
Dale Kasler @
By Dale Kasler

California State Senator Pledges To Bring Back Net Neutrality Rules Just As Fcc Votes To Repeal Them
Jazmine Ulloa @
Moments after the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday voted to roll back net neutrality regulations, a state senator pledged ...

Jerry Brown Has His Work Cut Out In 2018 | The Sacramento Bee
the Editorial Board @
By the Editorial Board

Fcc Votes To Repeal Net Neutrality Rules, A Milestone For Republican Deregulation Push
Jim Puzzanghera @
Federal regulators on Thursday voted to repeal Obama-era net neutrality rules for internet traffic in a major victory for telecommunications companies and another milestone for the Republican deregulation push under President Trump.

Caltrans, Pavers Feud Over Road Smoothness | The Sacramento Bee
Adam Ashton @
Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

DeVos Delays Rule on Racial Disparities in Special Education

The Education Department delayed an Obama-era regulation pressing school districts to address the disproportionate number of minorities in special education.

Sacramento-based Auto Dealers Group, Online Car-buying Site Settle Lawsuit | The Sacramento Bee
Mark Glover @
By Mark Glover

Covered California Extends Deadline To Enroll In Health Plans To Take Effect Jan. 1 - San Francisco Chronicle
Covered California is extending its deadline to Dec. 22 to enroll in health plans that take effect Jan. 1, the agency announced Thursday.

UC Davis Has Record Year Of Applications | The Sacramento Bee
Ellen Garrison @
By Ellen Garrison

Gov. Brown Met With Edison Over San Onofre Costs, Weeks Before Warsaw Pact - The San Diego Union-tribune
Jeff McDonald @
The following month, Peevey was singing a different tune. He met with a top Edison executive during a policy-makers trip to Poland. Their undisclosed discussion at the Hotel Bristol Warsaw reviewed a hand-written framework for settlement of the San Onofre matter.

Rep. Maxine Waters Asks Justice Department To Investigate Fake Letter Tweeted By Republican Opponent
Sarah D. Wire @
Share this update

Federal Judge In Sf Under Investigation Over Sexual Misconduct Allegations - San Francisco Chronicle
A judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco is under a formal misconduct inquiry after several of his clerks accused him of inappropriate behavior, the court said Thursday.

California Issues Historic First State Permits For Recreational Marijuana Sales - Green State
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Get 2018 Health Coverage. Health Insurance Marketplace |

With Billions at Stake in Tax Debate, Lobbyists Played Hardball

The rapid pace of the tax bill moving through Congress left lobbyists with little time and few lawmakers to press for changes in the $1.5 trillion overhaul.

For A Prominent California Consumer Group And Savvy Political Consultants, Documents Reveal A Close Financial Relationship
John Myers @
A prominent California group whose mission is fighting for consumers was paid by a Democratic strategist's unheralded nonprofit, at the same time the two collaborated on several public policy campaigns.

Governor Brown should release bond money to repair our schools
Senator Andy Vidak @
Growing up in a family that is deeply rooted in the education community, I learned at a young age that there are a variety of things that can influence students at school and affect how they learn. One of those variables is the school itself. Providing a safe learning environment is one step towards providing the quality education that our children deserve.

FBI Agent Removed From Special Counsel Probe: There Should Be An 'insurance Policy' For A President Trump
Throughout the primary season in 2016, Strzok and Page appeared to dread a Trump victory, according to the messages reviewed by CNN.

Nearly 100 Firefighters And A Water-dropping Helicopter Tackle Brush Fire Near Occidental College
Richard Winton @
brush fire consumes hillside near Occidental College

With Concession to Rubio on Child Credit, G.O.P. Is Set to Release Compromise Tax Plan

Republican lawmakers have agreed to expand the child care tax credit so that it benefits more low-income Americans, a move intended to win back the support of Senator Marco Rubio of Florida.