Around The Capitol

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  • SD32 (Whittier): special election is today, with Montebello mayor Vanessa Delgado (D) the overwhelming favorite. Read the interesting twist below the jump. Results here after 8:00 p.m.


BALANCE OF POWER: Note that I don't list district-specific predictions below, but rather use probabilities in toss-ups to make projections. Individual race ratings are on the ATC district pages.

  • CA congressional delegation:
    • Current: 39 Democrats, 14 Republicans
    • My current projection for 116th Congress: 39 Democrats, 10 Republicans, 4 toss-ups
  • Senate:
    • Current: 25 Democrats, 14 Republicans, 1 vacancy
    • My current projection for 2019-20 session: 26 Democrats, 14 Republicans
  • Assembly:
    • Current: 55 Democrats, 25 Republicans
    • My current projection for 2019-20 session: 55 Democrats, 25 Republicans


AURAL PLEASURE: For the Capitol Weekly Podcast, John Howard and Tim Foster are joined by Mindy Romero of the California Civic Engagement Project to talk June 5 elections turnout and what it portends for November 6.

Happy Tuesday! I'm at the nonprofit Milken Institute's California Policy Summit 2018, which started at 9 and runs through 5:30. The day starts with President Pro Tem Toni Atkins and Treasurer John Chiang. As I type, Atkins is speaking to the full house of business, education, policy leaders, and, of course, lowly media and pseudo-media types.

While addressing key issues such as poverty housing, wildfire, and drought issues and touting investments made in those areas in this year's budget, Senator Atkins noted that there are over 1,000 bills working their way through the process over the next four weeks. Plenty of lobbyists are playing biennial the end-of-session game of Kill Bill, although there is no Uma Thurman and Lucy Liu in this action. That said, there will be plenty of knives in people's backs. 

It's all in the game, yo'.

Treasurer Chiang signed a "green bond" pledge at the podium amid jabs as President Trump. On green bonds, Deputy Treasurer for Public Finance Tim Schaefer told me that the bonds can be for any "environmentally friendly project." While there isn't a significant interest rate differential, that is expected to change as "socially responsible" mutual funds and institutional investing grow. They can be revenue, lease revenue, or general obligation bonds, based on the projects to be funded and market conditions. Chiang's proposal does not an amount of green bonds yet.

Yesterday, President Trump continued tweeting about California's wildfires--criticizing the state's water policy, environmental laws, and failure to clear dead trees. I don't need to rehash all of yesterday's writing on the topic. Of course, the arguments have been widely debunked, although too few people are talking about the fact that the vast majority of the dead trees are on federal land.

Politico's team, including our friend Jeremy B. White who is sitting next to me this morning, writes "Californians are stunned at President Donald’s Trump’s latest tweets on the state‘s catastrophic wildfires — and his insistence that the state is burning because leaders are letting too much fresh water flow into the Pacific Ocean."

Frankly I've talked to lots of GOP folks, including electeds, and they are absolutely cringing at the President's tweeting on the California wildfires. It may play well in today's Ohio special election, but it doesn't among most Californians. 

McClatchy's Emily Cadei and Kate Irby write that experts point out that tree-clearing has not been a federal priority. 

"There’s just one problem. The Trump administration’s own budget request for the current fiscal year and the coming one proposed slashing tens of millions of dollars from the Department of Interior and U.S. Forest Service budgets dedicated to the kind of tree clearing and other forest management work experts say is needed. And it’s just one example of how the federal government is still not prioritizing fire mitigation to the scale that is needed, according to forestry experts."

Stephen Colbert skewered the President over the water and tree clearing arguments, KQED's Amel Ahmed debunks the water argument, Politifact's Chris Nichols fact checks the tweets, while the LAT's Michael Hiltzik writes:

“There have been no issues getting water from them,” Scott McLean, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire, told me.

Cal Fire, which is managing the wildfire battle, has deployed some 200 water tenders to the fire zone and is dispatching air tankers as flying conditions permit.

“The idea that there isn’t enough water is the craziest thing in the world,” says Peter Gleick, president emeritus of the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security in Oakland. “There’s absolutely no shortage.”

Do dead trees need to be cleared? Absolutely. Do we need a rational conversation of water supply and conservation? Absolutely. Do we need to have a conversation about how CEQA is working and where it needs to be fixed beyond state buildings and sports venue exemptions? Absolutely.

Is it solved in a 280-character tweet? Absolutely not. Playing politics amidst a tragedy? Absolutely.

Three tweets blasting California policy. Still no tweet expressing condolences for the four dead firefighting heroes or three civilians.

The President is now on an eleven-day "working vacation" at his Bedminster, NJ golf resort. 

Rankings in California's Top 20 in history from over the last 12 months:

#3 Tubbs (October 2017) - 22 deaths
#10 Redwood Valley (October 2017) - 9 deaths
#13 Carr (July 2018) - 7 deaths
#14 Atlas (October 2017) - 6 deaths
#20 Cascade (October 2017) - 4 deaths

Most Destructive
#1 Tubbs (October 2017) - 5,636 structures
#6 Carr (July 2018) - 1,604 structures
#7 Nuns (October 2017) - 1,355 structures
#8 Thomas (December 2017) - 1,063 structures
#12 Atlas (October 2017) - 783 structures
#18 Redwood Valley (October 2017) - 546 structures

#1 Mendocino Complex (July 2018) - 290,692
#2 Thomas (December 2017) - 281,893
#12 Carr 163,207 (July 2018) - 167,113

FERGUSON (Yosemite Area): Nat'l Park Service: "All entrances and roads in Yosemite are closed except Tioga Pass and part of Tioga Road. Wawona, Mariposa Grove, Glacier Point, Yosemite Valley, Crane Flat, Big Oak Flat, Hetch Hetchy, and Tioga Road west of White Wolf are closed until further notice due to the Ferguson Fire. Tuolumne Meadows is accessible via US 395/Lee Viining."

For CapPubRad, Bob Moffitt looks at the impact on the small towns surrounding Yosemite of the park's closure, which have faced reduced occupancy in the small inns and where restaurants and stores that rely on visitors stopping on their way in and out of the park have lost much of their clientele. For many years, I had an annual conference in Yosemite, and came to a tradition of stopping for lunch Pho Viet in along Highway 99, River Rock Inn & Deli Garden Cafe in Mariposa for sodas and to-go sandwiches on the way in to the park and at Cocina Michoacana in Groveland along Highway 120 on the way out.

All family-owned small businesses.

Of Yosemite's 3.7 million average annual visitors, 32% are in July and August. Thus, while the destruction at one structure is much more limited than the other major fires, there is a huge tragedy beyond just the deaths of two firefighters. This is an economic tragedy for dozens of small businesses. This affects the local residents and will also affect local government's ability to assist them as public resources are strained through the decline in sales and occupancy tax revenue drops.

This is another major issue that needs to be discussed by the Legislature beyond utility liability, water and tree clearing. And of course, the same is true in Shasta and Lake counties, where major summer recreation venues that create the local economies have been hard hit.

CARR (Shasta/Trinity): Carr continues to grow through largely unpopulated areas toward western Colusa and southwestern Glenn County.

  • Acreage: 167,113
  • Containment: 47%
  • Deaths: 7 (2 firefighters, 1 PG&E lineman apprentice, 4 civilians)
  • Structures destroyed: 1,599  (1,077 residences, 22 commercial, 500 other)
  • Structures damaged: 282 (191 residences, 26 commercial, 65 other)
  • Structures threatened: 1,806
  • Personnel: 4,738
  • Engines: 388
  • Helicopters: 16
  • Dozers: 120
  • Expected full containment: Unknown 

MENDOCINO COMPLEX (Colusa/Lake/Mendocino): This complex is now the largest fire in California history. The full containment was pushed back overnight from 08/15 to 09/01.

  • Acreage: 290,692
  • Containment: 34% 
  • Structures destroyed: 143 (75 residences, 68 other)
  • Structures damaged: 26 (12 residences, 14 other)
  • Stuctures threatened: 11,300
  • Personnel: 3,908
  • Engines: 441
  • Helicopters: 15
  • Dozers: 85
  • Expected full containment: 09/1/18

I'm also watching the Orange County "Holy Fire" in the Cleveland National Forest, which had burned 4,000 acres with 0% containment as of last night. No damage or injuries reported. The fire is burning toward the Riverside County line.

More stories below . . .



Classifieds below:

  • Education: Pepperdine Masters of Public Policy (GRE waived for legislative staffers)
  • Education: UOP/McGeorge School of Law: MPP/MPA (full-time or part-time, 3 miles from the Capitol)
  • Event: Capitol Seminars lobbying workshop
  • Job: Attorney General's Office: legislative advocate
  • Job: California School Boards Association: legislative advocate
  • Job: California School Boards Association: regional representatives
  • Job: California Welfare Directors Association: human services policy analyst
  • Job: Cargill Director of Governmental Relations (Newark-Bay Area)
  • Job: Local Health Plans of California seeks a Program Manager
  • Job: OPR Communications Account Executive
  • Job: Serna Center @ Sac City Unified: Chief Business Officer
  • Job: Probolsky Research - Research Analyst - Public Opinion (Orange County)
  • Job: SEIU-UHW – Regional Political Organizer (Los Angeles)
  • Job: SEIU-UHW -- Political Capacity Organizer (Oakland or Sacramento)
  • Training: PDI (Political Data Inc.): weekly online trainings of various skill levels   


SD32 (Whittier): In the Los Angeles Times, Colleen Shelby looks at the strange situation in Tony Mendoza's former State Senate seat, where Montebello mayor Vanessa Delgado (D) is expected to win the special election runoff today. However, she's didn't make the November regular general election ballot.

Friend of the Nooner Alex Vassar emails:

  • Senator Delgado will be the shortest-serving State Senator in more than a century. The last Senator to serve a shorter term was Orrin Z. Hubbell, a Republican who served 15 weeks in 1903 before he died in office.
  • At 17 weeks in office before the end of the term, Vanessa Delgado will be the shortest-serving female legislator in state history, replacing Assemblywoman Laura Richardson (who served 39 weeks in 2006-07).

WHAT GOES UP MUST GO DOWN: Matier & Ross take note of Governor Brown's suggestion that the state will face a recession in the next two years, made during his comments at the Office of Emergency Services last week about the wildfires:

“At some point, the tariffs and the natural cycle will kick in,” Brown said, then flipped back to his time at San Francisco’s St. Ignatius High School when “the good priest Father Clark went to the blackboard and he drew a line up, and he drew a line down — up and down, up and down.”

This is the business cycle, the priest explained, and economists are working very hard to smooth it out.

“That was in 1955, and that zigzag up and down is still with us,” Brown said.

“It’s going to happen,” the governor said of the next slowdown. “We maybe have two years if we are lucky.”

Politico’s Christopher Cadelago tweeted in response to Brown’s comments “Evergreen quote!”

THE GIG "CONTRACTORS": For Bloomberg, Josh Eidelson writes that technology companies are lobbying Democrats to get them to modify the statutes that led to the California Supreme Court's April 31 ruling, whcih would likely move many of their "independent contractors" to "employees." I wrote about the court decision yesterday. Eidelson writes:

“The magnitude of this issue requires urgent leadership,” nine companies wrote in a July 23 letter reviewed by Bloomberg, which warns of the ruling “stifling innovation and threatening the livelihoods of millions of working Californians” and says that without political intervention it will “decimate businesses.” The letter was sent on behalf of Uber Technologies Inc., Lyft Inc., Instacart Inc., DoorDash Inc., Postmates Inc., TaskRabbit Inc., Square Inc., Total System Services Inc. and Handy Technologies Inc. It was addressed to the governor’s secretary of labor and cabinet secretary.

A spokeswoman for the governor’s office declined to comment on whether Brown, whose final term ends in January, was mulling granting the companies’ pleas.

As a big fan of Uber Instacart (used both yesterday), and yesterday was a day ending in "y" so I received an Amazon package, through a third-party contractor delivery driver, who could have been an independent contractor.

I'd hate to see the business model crushed. The bigger issue is about how we provide the "benefits" of being employee to independent contractors and sole proprietors like me. Health care has made some progress through the Affordable Care Act, but is still a challenge. I need 125 full-priced subscriptions to pay for health care for the year (Kaiser). I might get an end-of-year subsidy, but the unpredictability is hard for the up-front subsidy. But, I digress. 

The discussion shouldn't just be about what the legal test for "contractor or employee" is, but rather how the independents--many love the flexibility they have--find the security that employees have. Last night, I had a wonderful Uber back from a meditation meeting with a Vietnam Veteran who is supplementing his Social Security benefits by driving. It's important for him to be a contractor for the flexibility to spend time with his grandkids. Like when you are eating in a restaurant where your server is a aspiring actor, so may be your Lyft, Uber, or Instacart, etc. driver. It's our creative class, students, retirees and others supplementing their aspirations who are benefiting from the "gig" economy. 

There has to be a balance and, yes, SCOCAL may have gone too far. But as we say, "bad facts make bad law." 

NEWSPAPER UN-TAX? Joel Fox writes with criticism of Assemblymember Marc Levine's suggestion (not in bill form) that the sales taxes on newspapers be eliminated to assist ailing print papers. Although Fox has opined against the tax previously, but now writes "Assemblyman Levine has a similar view of a newspaper’s role in the community. However, saving newspapers by having government help fund local papers is something that should be concerning. Whatever proposals he comes up with, Levine should be aware of the dangers government funding could create."

I was in community college when the sales tax on newspapers, magazines, and snack food in the 1991-92 budget. Governor Pete Wilson proposed the expansion of the taxes while facing a large budget deficit.

That led to the remake of the Dead Kennedys's "California Über Alles" by the Disposable Heroes of Hiphopcrisy:

"I'm your governor Pete Wilson, ya know
The baddest governor to ever grab the mic and go
Gimme a budget and watch me hack it !
Gimme a beat and I'll show you how to jack it !
I give the rich a giant tax loophole
I leave the poor living in a poophole
At time when AIDS is in a crisis
I cut health care and I raise prices
Sales tax, snack tax, excise tax
Information attack with a newspaper tax
Hit the pocket books of working families
Increase tuition at the universities
Some day I'll command all o' you
Even your kids are gonna pray to me in school
Soon I'm gonna be the president
You might remember the last one this state sent"

As a community college student, I was totally into it. I then spent years as a state budget geek, and know how complicated that '91-'92 budget was. For the local government geeks in the Nooner community, the next year was when ERAF (education revenue augmentation fund) was created, where money was taken from local governments and shifted to K-14 education to meet the Prop. 98 guarantee.

My problem with Assemblymember Levine's proposal is that I can't find print newspapers without multiple subscriptions in my neighborhood, except for the Bee at Southside Market. Unlike Davis where I could get multiple papers at Newsbeat, there is nothing in retail sales around me (or really around most of downtown). So, it's all digital.

Obviously, as someone who writes seven days a week, I understand the real challenge facing media, and I don't have legacy costs. However, I don't think that the removal of 6.5 cents in state sales tax will stimulate more retail purchases of papers. 

LET THERE BE LIGHT: Congratulations to Department of Finance director Michael Cohen and SEIU Long Term Care Workers president LePhonza Butler on their appointments by Governor Brown to the University of California Board of Regents. 


Probolsky Research

#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Pete Bohn!



Add your classified of up to 100 words by emailing for $40/week.


  • Job Openings – Account Executive
    OPR Communications is seeking account executives for its media relations and public affairs teams. As the leading public relations firm in the Inland Empire, the award-winning OPR team specializes in developing and executing public affairs, media relations, public education and community outreach programs on behalf of a wide range of land-use, transportation, healthcare, energy and government agency clients. Salary DOE. Detailed info here
    Apply at

  • CA School Boards Assn- Legislative Advocate (West Sacramento) Under supervision of the Assistant Executive Director for Governmental Relations, researches, analyzes, and evaluates proposed and current state and federal legislation, legislative issues, statutes, regulations, and policies; communicates and advocates for the Association’s position to influence opinion in favor of public education; develops, summarizes, and maintains reports and records; fosters cooperative working relationships among Association staff and acts as liaison with various legislative, educational, community, public, and government agencies; and performs related work as required.


  • Attorney General's Office is seeking a Legislative Advocate with subject matter expertise in areas such as civil law, criminal law, public rights and law enforcement. The Advocate represents the Department of Justice on legislative matters before the State Legislature. The job can be viewed here.   
  • CA School Boards Assn- Public Affairs and Community Engagement Representative (Bay Area)
    This position serves as CSBA’s liaison to local school and county boards of education, key decision-makers and the community-at-large, and is responsible for implementing CSBA’s grassroots program, establishing relationships, and facilitating local and regional outreach and activation efforts. Communicates about issues in education that require familiarity with educational laws, regulations and trends.  Executes grassroots strategies designed to build relationships with, train, support and mobilize local school board members and communities to advance CSBA’s legislative and statewide ballot measure advocacy priorities. Coordinates and executes fundraising events. BOE. Details:
  • CA School Boards Assn- Public Affairs and Community Engagement Representative (Orange County)
    This position serves as CSBA’s liaison to local school and county boards of education, key decision-makers and the community-at-large, and is responsible for implementing CSBA’s grassroots program, establishing relationships, and facilitating local and regional outreach and activation efforts. Communicates about issues in education that require familiarity with educational laws, regulations and trends. Executes grassroots strategies designed to build relationships with, train, support and mobilize local school board members and communities to advance CSBA’s legislative and statewide ballot measure advocacy priorities. Coordinates and executes fundraising events. BOE. Details:
  •  CA School Boards Assn- Public Affairs and Community Engagement Representative (San Joaquin North)

    This position serves as CSBA’s liaison to local school and county boards of education, key decision-makers and the community-at-large, and is responsible for implementing CSBA’s grassroots program, establishing relationships, and facilitating local and regional outreach and activation efforts. Communicates about issues in education that require familiarity with educational laws, regulations and trends.  Executes grassroots strategies designed to build relationships with, train, support and mobilize local school board members and communities to advance CSBA’s legislative and statewide ballot measure advocacy priorities. Coordinates and executes fundraising events. BOE. Details:

  • WE CAN HELP MAKE YOUR LOBBYING EFFORTS MORE EFFECTIVE. Numerous nonprofits and private sector organizations, lobbying firms, trade associations and government entities use Capitol Seminars as their No.1 training resource -- for new lobbyists, support staff, executives who hire and manage lobbyists. Conducted by 43-year Capitol veteran Ray LeBov, our Lobbying 101 & 201 seminars offer you comprehensive coverage of the Legislative process, along with best practices for Legislative, Budget, and Regulatory Agency advocacy, Lobbying the Administration, and Media Strategies. You’ll refer to the extensive curriculum materials long after the seminars are over. Next dates: August 2-3, October 4-5, December 13-24. More information / registration: or 916-442-5009.
  • The County Welfare Directors Association is hiring a Human Services Policy Analyst focusing on county-run programs serving children and adults. The Analyst supports the advocacy work CWDA is engaged in, at the direction of senior staff, including but not limited to legislative and budget efforts and implementation of policy changes enacted at the state and federal level. Competitive salary, excellent benefit package. Open until 8/1. Details:
    SERNA CENTER Sacramento City USD 5735 47th Ave. Sac, CA 95824
    Salary Range: $157,252 – $197,031 yrly. Medical, Dental and Vision; $4,800 annual travel stipend
    CBO’s role is to create a structure incorporating the District’s annual budget process with the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) and Single Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA) using the SCUSD Guiding Principle and Core Value Statement. The ability to incorporate them into one seamless process could lead to more equitable outcomes for all students.
    Contact: Monica Garland
  • The McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific, in Sacramento offers the Master of Public Administration (MPA) and the Master of Public Policy (MPP) degrees to both full-time students and those earning a professional degree while working. Our focus on the interconnections of law, policy, management, and leadership provides unique competencies for your success. Students gain a deep understanding of statutory interpretation and regulatory processes critical to modern governance. Learn more at or contact us at
  • GRE waived for qualifying government & legislative staffers to apply to the Pepperdine School of Public Policy’s Master of Public Policy program, considered the most unique policy graduate program in the country. Specialization tracks, including State & Local Policy, allow students to personalize their policy studies. Current State & Local Policy courses include, “Advanced Topics in Politics and Budgeting,” “Public Policy for Criminal Justice, Cannabis, and other Drugs,” “Permissions Development and the Environment,” and “Leadership through Public Engagement.” Find out more about this Top 10 in the West/Top 5 in California MPP program located in Malibu:
Los Angeles Voters Picked Different Candidates For The Same Job
John Myers @
The results so far are, to put it bluntly, baffling. And they serve as a reminder that the electoral system depends on voters making careful selections.

Dems Launch Lieutenant Governors Group To Compete With GOP - Politico

Democratic lieutenant governors are forming a campaign group to rival the Republican Lieutenant Governors Association, the latest bid by Democrats to catch up to Republicans in down-ballot fundraising.

A California Special Election Could Put Someone In Office For Just Three Weeks
Colleen Shalby @

Trump Wildfire Tweets Spark Confusion About California Water - Politico

President Donald Trump's tweets about the fires have drawn confusion, since the state's firefighters have said they are not aware of a water supply problem. | Macio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo