Around The Capitol

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REMINDER: My email address is still in DNS hell. (where that other email usually goes anyway) is working just fine.



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: 40 Democrats, 10 Republicans, 4 toss-ups (Toss-ups of Denham, Rohrabacher, CA39, and Walters; loss of CA49)
  • 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, 24-22 Republicans


AURAL PLEASURE: On the Political Breakdown Podcast, Scott Shafer and Marisa Lagos sit down with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, talking the Duncan Hunter indictment, legal troubles of Trump's allies, her outlook on California's congressional races, and more. On, the Capitol Weekly Podcast, John Howard and Tim Foster chatting it up with Environment California's director Dan Jacobson about the straw bill (read below), among other pending issues.

TGIF! What a week. 

In case you were unaware, anything I have published orally or in writing about former assemblyman Matt Dababneh are allegations and that Mr. Dababneh denies all such allegations. That may not have been clear between my writings and appearance on the SacTown Talks Podcast. If anybody felt left unclear that it was an allegation, I apologize. The point on the podcast was about surplus campaign funds and whether they could be used for lawyers and PR. That campaign finance issue doesn't change with the veracity of the allegations.

His attorneys wanted to me make that more definitely stated. Allegedly, those attorneys are paid from campaign funds as reported in campaign reports (i.e. page 9).

A SQL query in my database of "SELECT date FROM `noonersearch` WHERE TEXT LIKE '%dababneh%' AND TEXT LIKE '%alleged%'" returns:

  • 12/4/17
  • 12/5/17
  • 2/15/18
  • 6/6/18
  • 8/13/18
  • 8/14/18
  • 8/15/18

Anyway, I try to report on what's going on and use public documents and reporting of others to tell the story. Everyone deserves their side of the story, and conclusions are decided by arbiters.





VBM SIGNATURES: During my write-up on the problem of matching signatures on vote-by-mail envelopes to the voter file, I failed to discuss Senator Mike McGuire's (D-Healdsburg) bill (SB 759) that would help the problem. The bill would require county elections office to notify voters when they determine there is a mismatch and allow the voter to appear to in the office to prove that they are the voter who intended to cast the ballot.

Senate Approps scored it as a cost of less than $50,000 to counties. While there is no formal opposition to the bill, Republicans members have consistently voted against it

It is not a perfect solution, but it's a step forward.

On a related note, according to PDI's data, my vote wasn't counted in June. Fortunately, no race was decided by one vote, but my unblemished record has been ruined. I'm not casting blame on either the US Postal service or the county elections office because I just don't know.

SIGN YOUR NAME, ACROSS MY BOARD: In other elections news, Assemblymember Evan Lowe's AB 1947 passed the State Senate yesterday and is headed to the governor. The bill makes it a misdemeanor for an individual or organization to compensate signature gatherers by money or other thing of value provided to a person on a per-signature basis for state and local initiative, recall, or referendum petitons.

Under the bill, a political party or organization could still pay under a "bounty" program on a per-signature basis, as long as the end person doing the actual signature gathering is not being paid on a per-signature basis.

Thus, Monsters Inc. State Central Committee could not pay Sully by signature for his collections. However, Monsters Inc. State Central Committee could provide a bounty for collecting 1,000 signatures Boo County Monsters Inc. Central Commitee, but the county committee couldn't pay local activist Mike Wazowski for collecting the signatures.

It was a party-line vote, except Steve Glazer (D-Orinda) joined Republicans voted no and Tom Berryhill (R-Ceres) did not vote.

Governors Brown and Schwarzenegger have previously vetoed similar bills arguing that per-signature compensation is the most cost-effective means of signature gathering, and by requiring hourly compensation would increase the overall cost to qualify measures, thus favoring efforts with wealthier backers.  

SLURP! The bill to prohibit providing plastic straws to restaurant guests unless specifically requested passed its final hurdle yesterday and is on the way to the governor. The bill was narrowed earlier this month to apply the new law, if enacted, only to full-service restaurants, which watered it down significantly from the previous language of "food facility."

So, two of my favorites a few blocks away--Coconut on T and South--would have different rules. The new law would apply to Coconut on T because you order after seated and the check is delivered to the table. At South, you order and pay at the register, and then the food is brought to you. The latter model is growing in popularity for restaurants that are faster food (or perceived as such), but are not fast food. Of course, that model also means fewer servers, who are replaced by food runners.

Largely because of the narrowing of the bill, the California Restaurant Association did not oppose the final bill. Oddly, the consistent opposition has been from the California Right to Life Committee, which states "Our objective is to foster a pro life mentality through education." 

For those following the issue, the issue is about marine life, as straws often find their way into waterways and break into microplastics that are harmful to marine life. What the hell a pro-life organization has to do with this is totally lost on me. The committee doesn't have reported lobbying activity, its "links and contacts" web page refers to other organizations, and uses a P.O. box. While it claims to be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the last Form 990 reported on GuideStar was in 2006 as a 501(c)(4).

It's really easy to get on committee analysis with the name of an organization. I'm not blaming the overworked committee staff, and it's a reasonable to debate which organizations meet the definition as such, but this one goes into this week's theme of "WTF."

Of course, we have Duncan Hunter news after the jump.


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: 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: Southern California Association of Governments: Legislation Analyst (Los Angeles)
  • Training: PDI (Political Data Inc.): weekly online trainings of various skill levels


THE WHEELS ON THE BUS GO ROUND AND ROUND, ROUND AND ROUND, OVER THE WIFE... After pleading "not guilty" in San Diego federal court yesterday, Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine) blamed his wife for the questionable expenditures. 

First, in the San Diego Union-Tribune, Daniel Wheaton provides a breakdown by category of the expenditures cited in the indictment.

In an interview with Fox News, Duncan Hunter said...“My campaign did make mistakes. There was money spent on things, not by me but by the campaign, and I paid that back before my last election. I paid back $60,000 dollars after I did an objective audit. This is pure politics.”

Whoa. When you are under federal indictment, the assertion "I did an objective audit (of my own campaign funds)" doesn't hold muster. 

Fox News reports:

He also said that his wife handled most of the family expenses when he was first deployed to Iraq in 2003 and that she continued to manage them when he joined Congress.

“When I went away to Iraq in 2003, the first time, I gave her power of attorney. She handled my finances throughout my entire military career and that continued on when I got into Congress... She was also the campaign manager so whatever she did, that’ll be looked at too, I’m sure, but I didn’t do it.” 

Of course, the indictment alleges:

"On or about December 31, 2012, after being advised that the Campaign could not pay its outstanding bills, DUNCAN HUNTER told his Treasurer that he would raise $11,000 to $15,000 from Campaign donors by mid-January in order to make up for the shortfall. He also stopped paying MARGARET HUNTER's salary and took away the Campaign credit card."

Margaret Hunter has serious legal issues in front of her, but to the extent the U.S. Attorney proves that allegations in the indictment, there is absolutely no way that Duncan Hunter can be absolved of wrong doing, either through negligence or willfully. 

You recall all the detail I listed on Wednesday, and that was just a portion of the indictment.

Just take a few of the most savory:

  • On or about June 21, 2011, in Washington, D.C., DUNCAN HUNTER spent $162.02 in Campaign funds for a personal stay at the Liaison Capitol Hill hotel with Individual 14.
  • [DUNCAN] HUNTER spent $1,008.72 in Campaign funds at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa and Casino for food, drinks, and three nights lodging during a personal ski trip with Individual 14. On this day, the HUNTER family bank account had a negative balance and incurred six separate insufficient funds fees (totaling $198). 

    Also on this same day, DUNCAN HUNTER withdrew $20 from his personal bank account, leaving a balance of $15.02.
  • On or about October 27 to 28, 2015, in Washington, D.C., DUNCAN HUNTER spent $42.36 in Campaign funds for an Uber ride to and from the home of Individual 17.
  • On or about September 15, 2016, at 7:40 a.m., in Washington, D.C., DUNCAN HUNTER spent $32.27 in Campaign funds for an Uber ride from Individual 18 's home to DUNCAN HUNTER's office.

Don't blame your wife on these. Unless the Republican U.S. Attorney has made up an elaborate story, she's already going to prison as are you. Don't run to Fox News. Don't blame anybody. Run to the U.S. Attorney's office and man up. That's what you learned to do at the Officer Candidates School at Marine Corps Base Quantico. It's time to not just say Semper Fi ("Always Faithful"), but to practice it.

Sure, more stories below . . .



NOPE, NO WRITE-IN: Despite continued speculation about a write-in campaign given the Duncan Hunter allegations, it simply can't happen under California law. For the Los Angeles Times, John McCain explains why:

"In the hours before sunrise on Feb. 19, 2009, sleep-deprived members of the California Legislature approved a deal erasing a $41-billion budget deficit. The decisive vote was cast by a Santa Barbara GOP state Sen. Abel Maldonado after Democrats agreed to his demand for a new kind of statewide primary.

I remember that night. Oh, how fun, and how few people were using Twitter. At 6:30 am, President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg proclaimed it the longest session in the Senate's history--45.5 hours.

At 6:35am, my great colleague Theresa Tena, who was tag-teaming the Twitterverse with me that night/morning, tweeted "TT: Assembly passes Maldo's "open primary" constitutional amendment pass 54-19."

At 6:36am, I tweeted: "SL: Steinberg: Senate is shutting down through the weekend.  "Take some pride in the moment in the fact we solved a problem of this magitude"

Today, I tweeted: "What wasn't said: 'You'll be debating this top-two primary and write-ins while I am mayor.'"

Fun times. Anyway, back to Myers:

California's major political parties feared the top-two primary but emerged as powerful as before Maldonado’s proposal, drafted by a bipartisan group of election reformers, would allow only the two candidates with the most votes to advance to November. Legislators placed the proposal on the June 2010 ballot.

Little noticed in the hoopla, though, was a second bill approved that night that was sold merely as a statute to implement the primary rules. It included this provision: “A person whose name has been written on the ballot as a write-in candidate at the general election for a voter-nominated office shall not be counted.”

Write-in candidates are still allowed in June primaries; they were only banned in November elections. Steve Peace, a Democrat who termed out of the Legislature in 2002, was part of the group that drafted both documents. He says reformers were not united in the decision to exclude write-in candidates.

“I disagreed with that,” Peace said Wednesday. “I think it’s the fundamental right of a voter to be able to write somebody’s name in.”  

PELOSI: Sherry Bebitch Jeffe and Doug Jeffe look at whether, if Democrats capture the majority of the House of Representatives, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) would become Speaker. The answer is, of course, is muddled.

CA22 (Tulare): For the Fresno Bee, Rory Appleton writes about the challenging split for Congressman Devin Nunes (R-Tulare) between being an influention member of the Republican leadership and being a down-to-earth dairy farmer in the district.

SD32 (Whittier): For Capitol Weekly, Chuck McFadden reports on the strange situation in the district that followed the resignation (and subsequent candidacy) of Tony Mendoza. While former Montebello mayor Vanessa Delgado (D) won the August 7 special election and is now in the State Senate, she is not on the ballot for the regular general election on November 6. That race will between Pico Rivera mayor Bob Archuleta (D) and businesswoman Rita Topalian (R).

THEN THERE ARE FACTS... For his Ballot Access News, Richard Winger writes that insurance commish candidate Steve Poizner was casual with the facts in a recent talk in Denver before Unite America, which promotes the election of independent candidates. Winger writes:

"[Poizner] said that before the top-two measure took effect in 2011, it was not possible for an independent to run for office in California. That statement comes in the first eight minutes. He also said that he is the first independent candidate in California history to get on the general election ballot. That is also in the first eight minutes. Finally, he said that when he was elected as a Republican in 2006, California had closed primaries.

Actually, California voters elected independent candidates to the legislature in 1986, 1990, 1992, and 1994. Three of those four wins were by Quentin Kopp, who is still living in San Francisco and still very active in politics. It is stunning that Poizner seems unaware of Kopp."

Nobody can forget Quentin!

That's it. I'm off to a PPIC luncheon conversation with the duo running for Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Thurmond and Marshall Tuck. While the office is non-partisan, but are Democrats, although demonstrate the large fissure in the world of public education.'


Probolsky Research



#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Angela Lai, Adrian Lopez, and Jesse Switzer!

DEPT OF CORRECTIONS: Yes, I ran out of time yesterday to do a final read through, even though I got to spell checking. I've made corrections on the online version.

  • CA50: The pre-indictment FiveThirtyEight projected voe for Ammar Campa-Najjar should have been 43.1%, not 33.1%. The post-indictment numbers were correct. 
  • HUNTER/CA50: "What Republicans don't want right now is for progressive Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar to be elected in November..." I think that was pretty clear by the overall write-up.
  • This year's primary was in June, not March. It just feels like it was five, rather than two, months ago.
  • And, of course, Paul Ryan was first elected to Congress in 1998.

I'm wiped out after this week!



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


  • Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) is seeking an experienced Legislation Analyst with excellent writing and communication skills to assist the Legislation Department with advancing SCAG's policy interests and planning priorities through regional, statewide, and national engagement and advocacy. Under general direction of the Manager of Legislation, the Legislation Analyst III will navigate high-level policy discussions and communicate emerging issues to SCAG's staff and Regional Council. This role will assess the impact of proposed legislation and work with the Manager to coordinate a response to all applicable legislative proposals. This role requires a legislative expert who can navigate complex political environments to increase the visibility of SCAG's legislative efforts. This role requires an understanding of transportation, housing, and air quality legislation and policy and an ability to communicate how those issues will affect the SCAG region. To apply please visit
  • Enough about California politics, how about some Arizona politics?  Everything you need to know about Tuesday's Arizona primary election, discussed on ARIZONA POLITICS THIS WEEK.  Watch and subscribe for free at
  • 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.

    Details 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 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:
Irs Moves To Block California And Other States From Helping Residents Avoid New Tax-deduction Limit
Jim Puzzanghera @
The proposed rule targets legislation that would allow taxpayers to claim a charitable deduction for state-and-local tax payments above the $10,000 limit set in the tax cuts passed by Congress last year.

For Female Candidates, Harassment and Threats Come Every Day

The abuse already common in many women’s everyday lives can be amplified in political campaigns, especially if the candidate is also a member of a minority group.