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THE Nooner for January 3, 2018


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  • Insurance Commissioner: removed real estate agent Doug Vigil (L)
  • BOE1 (Inland): added former assemblymember Connie Conway (R)
  • BOE1 (Inland): removed state senator Tom Berryhill (R) - running for Stanislaus supervisor
  • CA32 (West Covina): updated analysis [available to subscribers]
  • CA32 (West Covina): removed Mary Anne Lutz (D)
  • CA32 (West Covina): removed El Monte mayor André Quintero (D)
  • AD05 (Foothills): added Carla J. Neal (D)

CA14 (San Mateo): In response to Willie Brown's suggestion that Jackie Speier is mulling a run for governor, she offers: “Consider the source! The only thing Willie got right was that I was in Palm Springs with my family over the holidays. Willie was smoking something before it became legal on January 1st. I still have a lot of work to do in Washington” [@davidsiders]

Well, there goes all that time making the overlay maps that kept me from editing yesterday.

UMBRELLA, ELLA, ELLA, EH, EH, EH: Forecast for the beginning of rain--showers moving to full rain--for today as of 11:30 a.m.

  • Sacramento: 7:00 p.m.
  • San Francisco: 10:00 a.m.
  • Los Angeles and San Diego: fifty shades of gray

WELCOME BACKThe Bee's Alexei Koseff previews the early days of the second year of the session.

  • Assembly Floor Session - 1:00 p.m.
  • Senate Floor Session - 2:00 p.m.

HARASSMENT: On the eve of the Senate's return, a former aide of Senator Tony Mendoza filed a formal complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing against the Senate for retaliation, supporting the previous complaint by the senator's former fellow, reports Taryn Luna in the Bee:

Adriana Ruelas, a longtime Capitol employee and Mendoza’s former legislative director, alleges that the state Senate fired her and two others in September after they complained to superiors and human resources workers about Mendoza’s inappropriate behavior toward a young woman assigned to his Capitol office through a prestigious Sacramento State fellows program.

The Senate has denied any connection between the complaints and the firings, arguing that employees complained about Mendoza’s alleged behavior only after they were fired.

For Capital Public Radio, Ben Adler reports that the Senate knew of the complaint by the fellow, but took no action for six weeks.

The Senate says its HR office first became aware of allegations that Mendoza engaged in inappropriate behavior on September 22, the same day it terminated three staffers who worked in the office of the Los Angeles-based senator.

The Daily News's Kevin Modesti lists the anticipated bills to be introduced on the harassment issue, while Jon Fleischman writes that the issue of "secret settlements" (particularly with tax dollars) will be a major issue in Sacramento and DC this year.

DEPT OF CORRECTIONS: I usually put corrections below #CAKEDAY, but this one is particularly important. The Sacramento Police Department did investigate Devon Mathis (R-AD26), but did not recommend charges. I made a strikethrough in the online version of The Nooner upon being informed of this. My apologies to Assemblymember Mathis and his staff.

Advocates for changes to policies and procedures on harassment note that the Sac PD investigates criminal actions and that does not necessarily exonerate the employer or individuals from civil claims. Harassment is usually a civil issue under employment law, rather than criminal. But, I have no interest in getting involved in the contentious AD26 race.

Speaking of corrections, I'm sorry for the typos yesterday. I just ran out of time for spellcheck as candidate filings were coming in.

Once those hamsters start running at 11:30 a.m., I'm stuck and many days I write up to that moment as I watch my computer's clock--11:28, 11:29... An anonymous person with a fake Twitter account "Scott_Lame1" attacked me last night for my errors and some of you have asked about it under the guise of helping to "improve Scott Lay's Nooner." The person called for me to employ an editor.

I currently provide The Nooner to 94% of readers for free and thank all who have answered the recent annoying calls for paid subscriptions. I’ve thought about following virtually every other publication by charging for it, but that’s just not who I am.

With the number of articles I read each day, I catch errors all the time in professionally edited articles. I email the writer.

No, I don't know who Scott_Lame1 is and I'm dropping it, but I wanted to answer those who have emailed me about this. All I can say is that I'll try to do better for you all, whether paid or unpaid.

BUDGET: The governor's budget proposal is due a week from today, and Joel Fox offers his thoughts in Fox & Hounds.


  • Last night on CNBC's "The Profit," Marcus Limonis visited Humboldt County to look at the county's marijuana economy and the shift to legalized grow farms, beginning with medical marijuana and now that for recreational use. Catch it if you can, it's under "The Profit in Marijuana Country." 

LITE GOV: It may be an office with few responsibilities, but the lieutenant governor race has become an intense race. While for a long time, most observers thought that Senator Ed Hernandez would suck all the air out of the room with his fundraising ability as chair of the Senate Health Committee, there are now three leading candidates for the office and a dark horse. 

However, two candidates emerged from the vote-rich Bay Area to challenge Hernandez--Jeff Bleich and Eleni Kounalakis. Bleich was a senior counsel to President Obama and ambassador to Australia, while Kounalakis is a businesswoman and former ambassador to Hungary. The dark horse candidate at this point is Asif Mahmood, a Muslim-American physician born in Pakistan. 

Kounalakis yesterday put out a release stating that she has raised a total of $2.3 million and will report $2 million cash on hand as of December 31.

While we won't have full year-end financial reports until closer to the reporting deadline of January 31, here's a glimpse of what we know:

CandidateCash on hand 6/30$5,000+ contributions since 6/30Self contribution/loanNon-self contributions over $7,300
Jeff Bleich $611,909 $254,800 $0 
Ed Hernandez $1,572,118 $202,900 $8,000  21 
Eleni Kounalakis $1,391,396 $351,113 $527,520
Asif Mahmood $846,997 $179,000 $50,000 19 


I include "self-contribution/loan" not as a criticism, but know that I'll be criticized if I don't include it. The nice thing about self-contribution/loans is that obviously there are no limits under the U.S. Constitution and thus the funds don't have to be segregated between those eligible to be spent in the primary and general election. 

For the primary and general elections, the contribution limits are $7,300 each per election. So, the final column indicates how many contributions will have to be split and can only be completely used if the candidate proceeds to the general. I include these because it can distort cash on hand for the all-important primary election.

Mahmood is a long-shot, but what's impressive is the broad fundraising he's capturing from the Muslim community, which is likely more motivated by national political issues than California issues. 

This is similar to the broad fundraising from the Indian-American community that propelled Ami Bera and Ro Khanna to Congress. Bera is Unitarian Universalist and Khanna is Hindi.

SLOWDOWN: The LAT's Patrick McGreevy reports that the signature gathering for the DeMaio gas tax repeal has slowed down--intentionally. The campaign says that it's necessary not because of money but rather because there is a backlog of the validation of the signatures. Campaigns try to verify signatures before submitting them to avoid having to go to a full count of signatures, which delays the process of qualification. 

WORK-AROUND: The MercNews's Katie Murphy reports on Pro Tem Kevin de León's plan to introduce legislation to create a work-around to assist the state and taxpayers in California to offset the impact of the elimination of the federal state and local tax (SALT) deduction.


Probolsky Research


HOUSING: While there were major steps toward dealing with the state's housing crisis last year, the Legislature isn't done yet, reports Angela Hart in the Bee. For CALmatters, Matt Levin offers five things Californians should know about rent control.

ICE-ICE BABY: Immigrations and Customs Enforcement acting director Thomas Homan warned on Fox News yesterday that California "better hold on tight" for increased enforcement in response to the state's "sanctuary state" bill. [h/t David Siders and Carla Marinucci]

SOMETHING'S FISHY: Despite evidence of shrinking fish populations in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the Trump Administration wants to pump more water around the Delta to Southern California, reports Dale Kasler and Ryan Sabalow in the Bee.

EMPTY CLIP: The Bee's Ryan Sabalow and Dale Kasler explain the administrative delay that kept Walmart stores from selling ammunition for a day because of a state permitting backlog. The permits were issued to Walmart mid-afternoon yesterday and, as soon as they are distributed to the stores, they'll be up and gunning. 

HOTEL HARASSMENT: Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi plans to introduce legislation requiring hotels to install "panic buttons" so that hotel employees can summon help if threatened by a guest, reports Patrick McGreevy for the Times.

UNION? The LA Times's newsroom employees hold a vote tomorrow on whether or not to join the NewsGuild-Communications Workers of America.

Finally, I do follow the legal Bluebook for possessives for non-plural words ending in "s." Deal with it and have a beautiful first day back to school.

#CONGRATS: Senator Ben Allen (D-SD26) and Melanie Luthern Allen, who got married over the break!

#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Assemblymember Dante Acosta and Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin! 



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Latino Vote, Chiang Unleashed: Preview Of California Politics In 2018 | The Sacramento Bee
Christopher Cadelago @
The go-to source for news on California policy and politics

California Lawmakers Return To Sacramento Today. Three Resignations Have Cost Democrats Their Supermajority
John Myers @
Both houses of the California Legislature will convene Wednesday afternoon for the formal beginning of an eight-month session to craft ...

Senator Andy Vidak | 14th Senate District
State Capitol, Room 3082Sacramento, CA 95814Phone: 916.651.4014Fax: 916.651.4914 Fresno

Money, Republican Malaise And Tom Steyer: These Are The Things To Watch For In California's 2018 Statewide Elections
Seema Mehta @
Who will be California's next governor? And will voters send Sen. Dianne Feinstein back to Washington?

Former Mendoza Employee Pursues Lawsuit | The Sacramento Bee
Taryn Luna @
The go-to source for news on California policy and politics

A Renewed Brawl Over Single-payer Healthcare In California Is On Deck For 2018
Melanie Mason @
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California Housing Legislation To Watch In 2018 | The Sacramento Bee
Angela Hart @
The go-to source for news on California policy and politics

Senator Tony Mendoza | Proudly Representing California Senate District 32
7-year-old Sofia Garcia from Senate District 32 helped the Governor Jerry Brown and First Lady Anne Gust light the Capitol Christmas tree in front of the State Capitol on Thursday, December 7. Sofia also presented the Governor and the First Lady with a special holiday card created at El Cerrito Elementary, La Habra.

2018 Elections: Can Democrats Win If All They Do Is Oppose Trump? | The Sacramento Bee
Alex Roarty @
By Alex Roarty

State Pot Bureau Ready To Enforce California's New Marijuana Laws As License Applications Flood In
Patrick McGreevy @
The state has issued 104 licenses for retail stores to sell marijuana for recreational use in California and 239 other applications for...

Trump Tries To Increase Pumping Through Sacramento Delta | The Sacramento Bee
Dale Kasler And Ryan Sabalow @
By Dale Kasler And Ryan Sabalow

This Dispute Over Candidate Endorsements Is Dividing The California Democratic Party
Seema Mehta @
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Sacramento Adds New Area Code, 279, To Existing 916 Phone Code | The Sacramento Bee
Tony Bizjak @
By Tony Bizjak

White House: Trump 'very Sad To See' Hatch Retire - Politico

His departure opens the door for a potential run by Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, who sparred with Trump during the 2016 campaign but was briefly considered to be secretary of state during the transition.

Driver Charged In Crash That Killed Rookie California Cop | The Sacramento Bee
A 22-year-old man who killed a rookie California Highway Patrol officer on Christmas Eve after slamming his car into the back of the officer's parked patrol car was charged Tuesday with second-degree murder.

L.A. Prosecutors Consider Charges Against Harvey Weinstein In Beverly Hills Sex Crimes Cases
Richard Winton @
L.A. sex crimes task force prosecutors are reviewing two investigations of Harvey Weinstein by Beverly Hills police.

The Health 202: Hatch's retirement means the Senate could get even less bipartisan on health care

(And other things.)

Trump Approves Disaster Funds For Thomas Fire Victims
Nicole Santa Cruz @
President Trump on Tuesday declared that a natural disaster exists in California and ordered federal assistance to help local agencies in recovery efforts in areas affected by the Thomas fire.

Governor Commutes Sentence Of San Diego Man From 70 Years To 8, Over Objections From Da - The San Diego Union-tribune
Greg Moran @

California Lawmaker Proposes Requiring Panic Buttons For Hotel Workers In Response To Widespread Sexual Harassment
Patrick McGreevy @
Alarmed by a survey indicating sexual harassment of hotel housekeepers is widespread, a California state lawmaker on Tuesday proposed r...

Gallup Ends Daily Presidential Approval Tracking Poll - Politico

Gallup had been tacking a presidential approval question onto polls it was conducting for the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index since 2008. | Carolyn Kaster/AP