Around The Capitol

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Let's start today's Nooner with our national anthem as sung by our late great Queen of Soul. 


Aretha Franklin

Aretha Louise Franklin

March 25, 1942 – August 16, 2018 



  • AD74 (Huntington Beach): changed from Safe Republican to Leans Democrat
  • AD74 (Huntington Beach): updating analysis to be available for Nooner Premium subscribers by 2:00 p.m.
  • DISCLAIMER: Assemblymember Matthew Harper is a friend that goes back to Orange Coast College where Paul Mitchell and I had a friendly partisan political rivalry with Matthew. I have to be extremely objective on this one.

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: 26 Democrats, 14 Republicans
    • My current projection for 2019-20 session: 27 Democrats, 13 Republicans 
  • Assembly:
    • Current: 55 Democrats, 25 Republicans
    • My current projection for 2019-20 session: 56-58 Democrats, 22-24 Republicans


SCOREBOARD: Congratulations to the Dodgers, who in the twelfth inning broke the tie, winning 3-2 and avoiding being swept by the Giants. Both teams are off today, as is Oakland hoping to hold on to that wild card berth. Dodgers and Colorado are tied for second in the NL west. The struggling Padres host the Diamondbacks at 7:10, while the Angels take the field at 5:05 in Arlington, TX.

END THE SUSPENSE! Well, hello there, Nooner folks. Today, the Senate and Assembly Appropriations Committees meet to clear their "Suspense" files. Both committees meet upon adjouRnment of the floor sessions of each house, which began at 9am. Senate Approps has 430 bills to decide the fate of, while Assembly Approps has 205. For home gamers, bills are put on suspense file if they have a price tag believed to be over $150,000. Supporters of the process argue that it allows the committees to evaluate the totality of spending proposals at one time, while critics argue that it allows the majority to kill bills without voting on the substance of the bill.

Again, and correctly unlike Tuesday:

  • "A roll call" - All committee members vote "aye" - measure passes
  • "B roll call" - All Democrats vote "aye," all Republicans vote "no" - measure passes
  • "C roll call" - All Republicans vote "aye," all Democrats vote "no" - measure fails

As always, thank you to friend of the Nooner lobbyist Chris Micheli for giving us the bill counts. 

While it will be hardball today inside the Capitol, it was all softball between Democrats and Republicans at Raley Field last night in the 16th annual Legislative All-Star Softball Game. On the beautiful evening, Democrats reclaimed "home field advantage" for next year with a 25-20 win. The Most Valuable Player was Assemblymember Ian Calderon, who had two inside-the-park homeruns and two triples. 

The "socks of the night award" goes to Assemblymember Marc Berman (D-Palo Alto):

Marc Berman


There were definitely folks who "got game" on both sides along with legislators whose highlight reel should come from under the dome instead. There was plenty of humor, particularly over the announcer's pronunciation of those coming up to the plate. Sabrina Cervantes had about four different pronunciatons of her last name and the announcer seemed to give up and just said "Sabrina." BTW, that woman got game. 

Senator Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica) was introduced repeatedly as Travis Allen., so the roster submission by Democrats must have jokingly listed Ben as Travis. Travis, the outgoing Huntington Beach Republican, was not at the game. 

The event of needed levity and comity in the brutal end-of-session sprint was to support the Mustard Seed School at Loaves and Fishes, a private school that serves homeless youth 3-15 in providing not only education, but services including immunization updates, counseling, and other services to prepare them to return to public schools.

If you were unable to attend, I hope you will join me in donating to the Mustard Seed School. The form is here. Use the drop-down menu to pick Mustard Seed School. You can do a one-time donation or monthly.

Thank you Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) and Brian Maienschein (R-San Diego) for being team captain and to McCarthy staffer Karla Mendoza for pulling it off!

Moving on, we have more yucky news today.

S. RIDLEY-THOMAS: As a caveat, these are a mix of facts and allegations, reported by others or in government documents I have reviewed. They are all allegations, but you do not have permission to quote them without such disclaimer because there are allegations of civil, and perhaps criminal, activity.

Late afternoon yesterday, the Los Angeles Times's Melanie Mason, Harriet Ryan, and Matt Hamilton reported that, when former assemblymember Sebastian Ridley-Thomas (D-Los Angeles) resigned last December, he was being investigated for sexual harassment. The Times's team reviewed documents related to the case. Assembly Rules will not release documents until the investigation is concluded, which is there current policy on all such investigations, a change that is more consistEnt than in the pass but clouds situations such as Ridley-Thomas's.

If you're a newbie to this situation, don't worry as we all were once, we'll catch you up on this. Sebastian was elected to the Assembly in 2012 and served two-and-a-half terms representing South Los Angeles. His father Mark Ridley-Thomas is a Los Angeles County supervisor who served in the Assembly and State Senate in the same area.

It was no secret in the Capitol that Sebastian had health problems. However, in consulting with the great friend of The Nooner Alex Vassar, communications manager for the California State Library who is our best historian on legislators, S. Ridley Thomas is the only one in recent history (since 1969 at least) to resign for health reasons. 

More from Vassar:

The following legislators declined to run for reelection due to health reasons:

  • Bill Greene (in 1992)
  • Rose Ann Vuich (in 1992)
  • Kathleen Honeycutt (in 1994)
  • Nell Soto (in 2008)
  • Pat Wiggins (in 2010)

Others were sick but left due to term limits. And 18 legislators have died in office in the past 50 years, but I know of only one who resigned due for health reasons in recent history.

So, yes, S. Ridley Thomas's resignation was very strange. Legislators, including those seriously ill. Nell Soto and Pat Wiggins were during my time up here. Soto died three months after the end of her final term, while Wiggins died within three years of doing so. While they were largely excused at the end of their terms when they decided not at the end of their terms, they continued to receive a paycheck and benefits and their staff continued to serve their constituents. 

As S.Ridley Thomas's health issues were well known, they were never seen in the category of those necessary of leaving office. Also widely talked about were allegations of sexual harassment and the possibility of formal complaints to have been filed. 

The LAT's team reports that, after his December 31 resignation, S. Ridley-Thomas was hired a "professor of practice of policy and social work" at the University of Southern California. This is a position that is not tenure-track and can be offered to those without a graduate degree in a subject area. S. Ridley-Thomas has a bachelor's degree in sociology from the legendary historically black college Morehouse. 

Honestly, you know how much I love community colleges, but Sebastian couldn't get a part-time teaching job a a community college with a B.A. degree.


I wrote previously on the campaign finance issue that connects USC, nonprofits engaged in voter engagement, and a new private consulting firm owned by Sebastian. I'm working getting it together where it's easy to follow the bouncing ball, but I don't have enough time this morning to feel good enough about what I have to include it in readable detail. Hopefully, more tomorrow. It is quite complicated.

Here are the LAT stories on the matter: 

DABABNEH: There were lots of questions on the story of former assemblymember Matt Dababneh yesterday after his complaint against Pamela Lopez and 1-10 DOES for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress was publicly released. I have some more research to do before I'm willing to include much more discussion today. 

Both causes of action for (1) defamation and (2) intentional infliction of emotional distress are against both Lopez and 1-10 DOES.

For defamation, Dababneh has the burden of proof to prove that Pamela and DOES (unnamed complainants):

  1. made an oral (slander) or written (libel) public allegation and that was false;
  2. was made by the defendants who knowingly named it was false at the time it was published; and
  3. that it was made with malicious intent or was at least negligent;
  4. that harm was, or is likely to be, incurred by the plaintiff.

Well, 1 and 4 are pretty easy. For Lopez, 2 and 3 are he-said, she-said. For the DOES, those elements of are very difficult to prove. I believe the inclusion of the DOES were people that told the media and others that Lopez had told them about the alleged incident long before Lopez came forward after the #METOO movement took off. Whether it happened or not, and it's not my job to evaluate that, the Vegas "incident" was not breaking news when it, well, broke. It was not unlike many other stories those of us in this biz for a longtime have heard or even witnessed before.

As we proceed to intentional infliction of emotional distress, Dababneh has the burden of proof that Lopez and DOES:

  1. Had intent to cause emotional distress;
  2. acted with the probability that their behavior would cause emotional distress;
  3. that he (Dababneh) incurred emotional distress;
  4. that the Lopez and DOES conduct was a substantial factor in causing the emotional distress.

Element 3 is obvious. He was pushed out of the Assembly and is unlikely to hold elective office again any time soon. He undoubtedly lost sleep, anxiety of depression. Dabaneh has lived the political world since his times at UCLA and the 37-year-old was highly ambitious.

However, I believe 1 relies on proving the defamation in the first cause of action. Again, that's he-said, she-said. And for DOES who publicly supported Lopez, they are mostly witnesses that would testify that Lopez told them stories long before she came forward, as well as those who have come forward with accusations of a pattern of conduct of sexual harassment by Dababneh, but for whom the civil statute of limitations on harassment/employment discrimination has run out. I don't see how you can catch any of the DOES we have seen on the alleged causes of action. 

To make it clear, I am not an attorney. I graduated law school and passed the bar. I love the law and my legal education at King Hall, but I have never practice. Thus, I invite any of my many attorney friends who have different or additional legal insights on either side from above to share them so that I can share them with the rest of the Nooner community.

The issues I am looking at in particular are 1) the limits on defamation causes of action by a public official; and, (2) whether Lopez and DOES have a legitimate counter-complaint against Dababneh, since he not only filed the lawsuit but also engaged public relations firms against Lopez and DOES alleging that that their publications (oral or written) were knowingly false.

And, we thought the session ended on August 31 and that all we had left were November 6 elections.

Obviously, it's been a busy morning for me. Writing about these issues is far more complicated than writing about softball. I'll leave it at yesterday's lunch with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) and will send out anything I run across that's critical later today. Meanwhile, we have tomorrow and the weekend.

McCARTHY: John Myers and Jazmine Ulloa report on the fun we had at the Sheraton yesterday. I had three "undercover" protestors at my table. 

The headline is accurate: House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy greeted by protesters who interrupt his GOP sales pitch in Sacramento

The only thing that was discussed that was anything other than you hear on your news channel of choice was that he believes the twin water tunnels and high-speed rail are dead, although he wants to find ways of ferrying more water to farmers.

Update on the fires 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: 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: Climate Resolve: Communications Director (Los Angeles)
  • Job: Climate Resolve: Outreach Program Coordinator (Los Angeles
  • Job: Local Health Plans of California seeks a Program Manager
  • Job: OPR Communications Account Executive
  • 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   



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) - 366,067
#2 Thomas (December 2017) - 281,893
#8 Carr (July 2018) - 211,038


Pretty much across the board, cooler weather and fewer windy conditions have slowed fire growth and increased containment.

FERGUSON: The Yosemite-area fire has burned 96,810 acres and is 87% contained. There have been two firefighter deaths associated with the fire, which has now burned for over a month.

Yosemite Status: Wawona Road (Hwy 41) between Wawona and Yosemite Valley, and Glacier Point Rd are closed due to fire
Yosemite Valley is open, but only accessible by entering Yosemite via Highways 140 or 120. Glacier Point Road and Merced Grove remain closed. Other areas of the park, including Wawona/Mariposa Grove, Hetch Hetchy, and Tuolumne Meadows are open.

CARR (Shasta/Trinity): The Carr Fire continued to burn at a slower pace and no new destruction or deaths or serious injuries have been reported.

  • Acreage: 214,527
  • Containment: 71%
  • 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: 3,831
  • Engines: 245
  • Helicopters: 12
  • Dozers: 44
  • Cause: Vehicle equipment malfunction
  • Expected full containment: Unknown 

MENDOCINO COMPLEX (Colusa/Lake/Mendocino): 

The River Fire component of the complex on the west side is now 100% contained and the River Fire on the east side is 68% contained.

  • Acreage: 366,067
  • Containment: 76% 
  • Deaths: 1 firefighter
  • Structures destroyed: 265 (147 residences, 118 other)
  • Structures damaged: 36 (13 residences, 23 other)
  • Structures threatened: 1,025
  • Personnel: 3,483
  • Engines: 225
  • Helicopters: 33
  • Dozers: 61
  • Cause: Unknown, but suspicious
  • Expected full containment: 09/1/18

HOLY FIRE (Orange/Riverside counties): 

  • Acreage: 22,986
  • Containment: 78% 
  • Structures destroyed: 18 (12 Orange County residences, 6 Riverside County residences)
  • Structures threatened: 9,300
  • Personnel: 1,065
  • Engines: 103
  • Helicopters: 10
  • Dozers: 3
  • Cause: Suspected arson (suspect in custody)
  • Expected full containment: 08/17/18 



Probolsky Research


#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Dave Jacobson and Gustavo Medina!



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


  • Communications Director - Climate Resolve (Los Angeles)
    Reporting directly to the Senior Operations Director while working closely with the Executive Director, the Communications Director will lead the communications and media activities for the organization. This position will develop a vision and strategy to support policy, project-based, and funding/development initiatives, as well as maintain day-to-day communications for social media. The Communications Director will generate a workplan that elevates Climate Resolve’s brand in the public sphere and grow the organization’s audience. 4+ years experience desired; Knowledge of environmental and CA policy landscape preferred. 401K, medical benefits, dental/vision stipend. $69-78K DOE. Candidates with sense of humor, please apply here:
  • Outreach Program Coordinator - Climate Resolve (Los Angeles)
    Reporting to the Senior Operations Director, the Outreach Program Coordinator will assist the programmatic staff to uphold the mission of the organization via public-facing projects. The Outreach Program Coordinator will perform assignments promoting climate solutions related primarily to energy efficiency and water conservation, including online and in-person outreach, public speaking engagements, and media and communications generation while contributing to additional policy work and projects as needed. Willingness to drive for outreach work throughout both LA County and adjacent counties up to [3] days per week + automobile required (Reimbursement provided). 401K, medical benefits, dental/vision stipend. $48-52 DOE.
  • TBW Media/TBWB Strategies -  Seasonal campaign staffers needed for a variety of roles on campaigns for Democratic elected officials and nonpartisan ballot measures for the fall 2018 cycle. Looking for hard working day-to-day managers, communications, finance directors and staff, field directors and organizers. Also will be hiring for seasonal positions at our consulting firm. Send resume and cover letter indicating availability to No Phone Calls.
  • 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:

  • 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:
  • 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:
Rich Business Owners Are Using Pension Plans To Stash Money And Get A Tax Break
Ben Steverman @
Pensions, also known as defined-benefit plans, can be used by doctors, law partners and wealth managers to stash hundreds of thousands of dollars in income a year. By doing so, they’ll get around the income limits Congress created to bar them from a generous new tax break for pass-through entity owners, who report the firms’ income on their individual tax returns.

Labor Leaders Demand UC End Contracts With Ice-collaborating Businesses
In response to concerns raised by labor leaders, Napolitano said in a June letter that GDIT has said it plays no role in the construction or operation of ICE detention centers or the family separation policy and that GDIT leadership has assured her that it provides services to support unaccompanied children.

First Came The Proclamations Against Trump's Offshore Drilling Plan. Now Comes The Legislation
Rosanna Xia @
With the Trump administration proposing to open California waters to drilling on an unprecedented scale, state lawmakers are trying to close one more loophole to fight a threat that for decades had not seemed possible.

Trump Says 'democrats Give Up When I Turn Out' On Campaign Trail - Politico

President Donald Trump said Wednesday that his involvement in the midterm elections "de-energizes" Democrats, according to the Wall Street Journal, once again forecasting a wave of GOP success in November's races.

UC Berkeley Study Shows Role Of Environmental Laws In Reducing Pollution
Grants from the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation partially funded the study, which will be published in the American Economic Review.

Trump Scraps Obama Rules On Cyberattacks, Giving Military Freer Hand - Politico

The guidelines approved by President Barack Obama required high-level discussions between many agencies before the military could conduct significant cyber operations. | Getty Images