Around The Capitol

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  • SD12 (Monterey-Merced+4): move from "Leans Democrat" to "Likely Democrat"
  • SD12 (Monterey-Merced+4): updated analysis [available to Nooner Premium subscribers - subscribe now]

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 (D after Delgado is sworn if certified returns are as currently stand)
    • My current projection for 2019-20 session: 27 Democrats, 13 Republicans (I've been waffling on SD12 - analysis coming soon)
  • Assembly:
    • Current: 55 Democrats, 25 Republicans
    • My current projection for 2019-20 session: 55 Democrats, 25 Republicans 


AURAL PLEASURE: Tickle your ears with a discussion by Scott Shafer and Marisa Lagos on KQED's Political Breakdown Podcast with Senator Kevin de León, as they talk about his U.S. Senate bid, his childhood, fatherhood, his legislative battles and much more.

Happy Friday! You made it! It's going to be a toasty day in Sac today, although the smoke is not expected to be as bad. As I write, I think there is a discernable shade of blue in the sky. 

The 49ers had a comeback win 24-21 over the Cowboys last night in their first pre-season game. I didn't watch, but not because the President told me not to (tweet 1, tweet 2 this morning). I just was just working and watching the Giants get their butts kicked by the Pirates. 

That said, a friend from law school posted on social media that she won't be watching this season because of the concussion-related brain damage issue and what it does to retired players later on. She would know, as she's married to a former NFL player.

Movies I saw over the last week that I found good for my post-writing, pre-researching afternoon (re: matinee) break and found good/great:

  • Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot (Tower)
  • Eight Grade (Tower)
  • Mission Impossible: Fallout (Century DOCO)
  • Sorry to Bother You (Century DOCO)

All are still playing over the upcoming week. Today is BLACKkKLANSMAN, which is getting rave reviews.

Then it's back to work. Recording a podcast at 8pm tonight. Yes, my Friday night's are totally wild. Fer sure.


On to the fires . . .

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) - 8 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) - 1,599 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) - 305,152
#2 Thomas (December 2017) - 281,893
#10 Carr 163,207 (July 2018) - 178,752


FERGUSON: The Yosemite-area fire has burned 95,5544 acres and is 80% contained. Here is the latest on Yosemite National Park (same as yesterday), which remains closed:

"Yosemite Valley, Wawona, Glacier Point, Mariposa Grove, and Hetch Hetchy are closed due to fire. - Yosemite Valley, Wawona, Mariposa Grove, Glacier Point, and Hetch Hetchy are closed. Tioga Road and Big Oak Flat Road west of Crane Flat are open. Big Oak Flat Road east of Crane Flat remains closed. Limited services in Big Oak Flat and Crane Flat areas."

A brutal summer for the small businesses around the park, as I've written about before. Those areas are not directly affected, 

CARR (Shasta/Trinity): Carr continues to grow through largely unpopulated areas toward western Colusa and southwestern Glenn County, and moves up to the 10th largest wildfire in California history. 

  • Acreage: 178,752
  • Containment: 49%
  • Deaths: 8 (2 firefighters, 1 PG&E lineman apprentice, 1 CAL FIRE mechanic, and 4 civilians)
  • Structures destroyed: 1,599  (1,077 residences, 22 commercial, 500 other)
  • Structures damaged: 282 (191 residences, 26 commercial, 65 other)
  • Structures threatened: 528
  • Personnel: 4,710
  • Engines: 352
  • Helicopters: 16
  • Dozers: 118
  • Cause: Vehicle equipment malfunction
  • Expected full containment: Unknown 

MENDOCINO COMPLEX (Colusa/Lake/Mendocino): The Mendo Complex continued to burn although in largely unpopulated areas on the Ranch Fire side of the complex. The River Fire on the west side is 87% contained, while the Ranch Fire is at 49% containment.

  • Acreage: 305,152
  • Containment: 52% 
  • Structures destroyed: 229 (119 residences, 110 other)
  • Structures damaged: 27 (12 residences, 15 other)
  • Structures threatened: 9,300
  • Personnel: 3,826
  • Engines: 356
  • Helicopters: 20
  • Dozers: 83
  • Cause: Unknown, but suspicious
  • Expected full containment: 09/1/18

HOLY FIRE (Orange/Riverside counties): Firefighters were able to hold the line yesterday at the ridge to keep the fire from moving downslope into the populated area around Lake Elsinore.

  • Acreage: 10,236
  • Containment: 5% 
  • Structures destroyed: 12 
  • Structures threatened: 9,300
  • Personnel: 1,206
  • Engines: 30
  • Helicopters: 10
  • Dozers: 3
  • Cause: Suspected arson (suspect in custody)
  • Expected full containment: 08/15/18


Repeating this from the Small Business Administration--forward to anyone you know in Shasta County:

The Disaster Recovery Center opened at 9:00am this morning and will be open 7 days/week from 9:00am to 7:00pm.
Former Kmart
2685 Hilltop Dr.
Redding, CA 96002
The SBA Office of Disaster Assistance also opened a Business Recover Center this morning at 8:00am with the location below. It will be open 8:00am to 5:00pm Monday through Friday to assist any businesses affected by the Carr Fire.
Superior California Economic Development office
350 Hartnell Avenue
Suite A
Redding, CA 96002

LOOK BEYOND SHASTA, AS LAKE AND MARIPOSA SMALL BUSINESSES NEED HELP TOO: Although not directly damaged, if this area in Mariposa County and the resort area Lake County were included in a major disaster area by President Trump after a request from Governor Jerry Brown, the Small Business Administration could help as it is in Shasta County by:

  • For small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations, SBA can also offer low-interest Economic Injury Disaster Loans as well as loans for physical damages. These EIDL’s provide working capital to help businesses through the recovery period (to pay staff, rent, other ongoing expenses, etc). The business/nonprofit DOES NOT need to have suffered physical damage. 
  • Rates are as low as 1.938 percent for homeowners or renters, 3.61 percent for businesses and 2.5 percent for private nonprofits with terms up to 30 years

If we don't get an expansion of the major disaster from the feds, California should do it as a state and the Legislature should enact it immediately. The same model could be done in the state using either its healthy General Fund reserves or through revenue bonds. The state's very good credit rating would allow a much lower interest rate than small businesses could get from private banks, ends up cash neutral, and helps families and towns in these areas survive. 

Let's do this folks!

UNLOCKED UP AND ON THE CHEEP: For Capitol Weekly, Chuck McFadden looks at the inmate fire crews, who have been fighting the wildfires for $2/day plus $1/hour while actively firefighting. Mostly, they are the diggers on the containment lines. 

There are about 3,900 of them, all state prison inmate volunteers from 44 fire camps spread across California. They are providing vital reinforcements to the army of men and women battling a host of fires from Oregon to Mexico. The fires include the largest blaze in nearly a century.

The inmates earn $2 a day and $1 an hour while firefighting. In addition, they earn two days off their sentences for every day in the fire camps. Volunteers come only from minimum-custody inmates. Those convicted of sex crimes, escape attempts — and arson — are not eligible. Inmates have been known to put in 72 hours straight on a fire line.

While this is nothing new, it raises many questions, such as--if they are safe enough to be allowed to work out in the quasi-free world, why are we paying to house them in state prison when they have demonstrated good behavior and little public safety risk? Should they earn at least the minimum wage? Are they taking jobs from non-incarcerated residents?

UTILITY LIABILITY: KQED's Marisa Lagos looks at the ongoing discussions in the waning days of the Legislature around if and how utility liability for wildfire damage to private property should be capped when negligence by the utility is not proven. It may be the toughest vote lawmakers have to cast this year. I've written about the discussion a couple of times before and don't need to rehash it, but the politics are very tough to navigate.


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
  • Event: Workforce development celebration: Tuesday, August 28th from 6pm to 8pm at the Citizen Hotel
  • 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   


Senate District 32 Special General Election
  Los Angeles Orange County Total Election Night Results
Vanessa Delgado (D)         21,899           1,540         23,439 51.7%
Rita Topalian (R)          20,188           1,679         21,867 48.3%
Unprocessed Ballots

VBM: 3,560
Prov: 1,200
Misc: 365

First update expected Friday afternoon

Total: ~85    



POTUS? The MercNews's Casey Tolan writes that three-term Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-Livermore) has visited Iowa ten times since Donald Trump assumed office. Iowa raises eyebrows over the congressman's plans, who has become somewhat of a media darling on the boob tube. The events are a mix of fundraisers for would-be congressional colleagues as well as public events such as the famous "soap box" at the Iowa State Fair.

Unlike the other candidates spending a lot of time in The Hawkeye State, he can just proclaim a fondness for Iowa, where he was born.

CA22 (Tulare): A farmer and two others have challenged Congressman Devin Nunes's ballot designation of "U.S. Representative/Farmer," reports Rory Appleton in the Fresno Bee. The challenge was filed in Sacramento Superior Court Thursday morning, which is the forum for all such challenges since the Secretary of State is the final clearance for ballot designations.

Section 13107(a)(3) provides "No more than three words designating either the current principal professions, vocations, or occupations of the candidate, or the principal professions, vocations, or occupations of the candidate during the calendar year immediately preceding the filing of nomination documents."

The plaintiffs, whose lawsuit is backed by super PAC Fight Back California, argue that Nunes has not actively farmer in the calendar year prior to filing. Nunes has invesments in wineries, but doesn't get his hands dirty (at a farm, at least), opponents argue.

SD29 (Fullerton): In the Times, Patrick McGreevy writes that recalled state senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton) is "more than open" to running in 2020 against Ling Ling Chang (D-Diamond Bar) to reclaim the seat he held for a nineteen months. Chang was elected by voters on June 5 on the second requestion on the recall which "If recalled, who shall serve the remainder of the term?"

I think "more than likely" is very likely, given the top ad that started running this week for an August 22 event. Remember that ads are paid for and there is no editorial discretion on my part, although I occasionally provide classified space for small non-profits doing great work.  

EXTERMINATED: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that the Trump Administration violated federal law by keep the pesticide chlorpyrifos on the approved list even though there is substantial evidence, including from EPA scientists, that it leads to brain damage in infants, reports Michael Biesecker for the Associated Press. The Obama Administration started the process to ban it given the evidence, but that was stalled by the legal challenge. After President Trump gained office, he sought to reverse the Obama plan. The court ordered the cessation of all sales within 60 days.

Chlorpyrifos was created by Dow Chemical Co. in the 1960s. It remains among the most widely used agricultural pesticides in the United States, with the chemical giant selling about 5 million pounds domestically each year through its subsidiary Dow AgroSciences.

Dow did not respond to an email seeking comment. In past statements, the company has contended the chemical helps American farmers feed the world “with full respect for human health and the environment.”

On behalf of California, Attorney General Xavier Becerra  joined the lawsuit as did several other attorneys general, which was originally brought by the League of United Latino American Citizens ("LULAC") and farm labor groups.  

DMV: I've been working around the Capitol scene for 23.5 years. Do you know how many times I've read the story about the "secret DMV office" that serves legislators and staff? Well, Alexei Koseff and Bryan Anderson at the Bee get the task of dusting off the old story amidst the anger of lengthy weight lines and news of a DMV processing (not local office) staffer who slept for up to 3 hours on the job for years.

No criticism of Alexei and Bryan, who are great reporters. It'll be an issue for a few weeks, but don't expect any changes.

ONE CALIFORNIA: For AP, Kathleen Ronayne writes that billionaire venture capitalist Tim Draper does not plan to pursue the "Three California's ballot measure for 2020."

I met Kathleen for the first time at Tuesday's policy summit. Welcome to California!


Procedurally, I'm not sure where this goes from here. The case is technically still before the Supreme Court of California, which basically said that they didn't have time to review the law before the printing deadline for the November 6 ballot. The plaintiff in the case ("Petitioner" in appellate law) is the Planning and Conservation League, and the defense ("Respondent") is Secretary of State Alex Padilla, in his ministerial role. The actual legal work was of course done under the California Department of Justice, which is led by Attorney General Xavier Becerra

They all hate the concept of three Californias, and I would go out on a whim to say that a majority, if not all of the SCOCAL justices do as well. Draper was a Real Party of Interest in the case, but was not represented by counsel. Now, how to make the case disappear out of the legal system? 



Probolsky Research


#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Dominic DiMare, Steve Glazer, Alexander Gurfinkel, Lisa Matocq, Kimi Shigetani, and Buffy Wicks!


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


  • Join the California Workforce Development Board, California Community College's Chancellor's Office, and the California Workforce Association for an evening of celebration, as we herald the best that regional workforce development has to offer on Tuesday, August 28th from 6pm to 8pm at the Citizen Hotel in Downtown Sacramento.

    This is your opportunity to network with the leaders of workforce development from across the state, and discover the ways that regional economies are coming together to put California forward as the leader in innovative, sustainable workforce strategies for the entire nation!

    Please register to attend the event here:

  • 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: October 4-5 and 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:
Waging A Desperate Fight To Save Homes As Holy Fire Explodes To 18,137 Acres
Ruben Vives, Alene Tchekmedyian @
By Thursday evening, the blaze had ravaged more than 10,200 acres through Cleveland National Forest and into Riverside County. Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency for the area.

Russian Embassy Mocks Trump’s Space Force Logos - Politico

Using Trump's favorite mode of communicating, the embassy tweeted "Good Morning, Space Forces!" along with a graphic of a rocket being launched and features the Russian flag. | Chris Kleponis/AFP/Getty Images