Around The Capitol

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Here are the current tallies of the picks of contest participants. These are all percentages of participants who predict the candidate will win, of course not how much candidates will win by. The page is updated live as participants join and make or update picks.

With 405 participants as of this morning, here are a some of the closest (<60%) projected wins:

IC Steve Poizner (N) 52.93%
IC Ricardo Lara (D) 47.07%


CD39 Gil Cisneros (D) 58.71%
CD39 Young Kim (R) 41.29%


SD14 Andy Vidak (R) 56.40%
SD14 Melissa Hurtado (D) 43.60%


SD22 Susan Rubio (D) 55.20%
SD22 Michael Eng (D) 44.80%


AD72 Josh Lowenthal (D) 58.31%
AD72 Tyler Diep (R) 41.69%


I previously announced the awards:

  • First: $100 Amazon card or charitable contribution of your choice (pot in case of tie)
  • Second: $50 Amazon card or charitable contribution of your choice (pot in case of tie)
  • Third: $25 Amazon card or charitable contribution of your choice (pot in case of tie)

In addition, any Nooner Premium subscriber will have a $25 bonus applied to their prize in thanks for their support.

Here is your unique link. If you forward this message, remove the link since it belongs to you. New Nooner email subscribers (paid or unpaid) will be get their own link between now and the contest close.


You can come back to change your picks any time up to 12pm on Election Day--November 6.

Only the top 25 participants will be shown, but the individual race answers will not be listed. As I've done in the past, I will have a "Wisdom of the Crowds" page showing the percentages of each of the answers after there is a sufficient sample size of participants. 







  • CA congressional delegation:
    • Current: 39 Democrats, 14 Republicans
    • My current projection for 116th Congress: 44 Democrats, 9 Republicans
      - Dems hold 39; Reps hold 9
      - Dems pick up 5 leaners/likelies -- Denham (CA10), Knight (CA25)Walters (CA45), Rohrabacher (CA48), and Open/Issa (CA49)
  • Senate:
    • Current: 26 Democrats, 14 Republicans
    • My current projection for 2019-20 session: 27 Democrats, 13 Republicans
      - Dems pick up Open/Cannella (SD12)
  • Assembly:
    • Current: 55 Democrats, 25 Republicans
    • My current projection for 2019-20 session: 57-59 Democrats
      - Dems hold 55, with guaranteed pick-up AD76 Chávez/Open seat
      likely pick-up in Open/Steinorth (AD40)
      - tough holds for Dems in Salas (AD32) and Cervantes (AD60)
      - tough holds for Reps in Acosta (AD38) and Open/Allen (AD72), Harper AD74 and Reps holding in Baker (AD16).



GENERIC CONGRESSIONAL BALLOT: The current Real Clear Politics generic congressional ballot average of polls from 9/27-10/9/2018 has Democrats+6.9. (change from yesterday: no change) 

For comparison purposes only: In the same period in 2014, Republicans had an edge of +2.4. 


  • US Senate control: 18.8% D, 81.2% R (Change from yesterday: R-0.2)
  • Senate seats: 48 D, 52 R (Change from yesterday: R+1)
  • CA US Senate projected vote: Feinstein: 59.8%, de León 40.2% (Change from yesterday: no change)
  • House control: 78.4%% D, 21.6% R (Change from yesterday: D+0.3)
  • House seats: 230 D, 205 R (Change from yesterday: no change)
  • Popular vote margin: D+8.3% (Change from yesterday: D+0.1)
  • California delegation: 45 Democrats, 6 Republicans, 2 toss-ups (Change from yesterday: no change)


EAR TICKLER: In this week's SacBee California Nation Podcast, hosted by Bryan Anderson, the topics of the continuing travails of the DMV and the battle for CA04 (Foothills). 

SPORTS PAGE: Well, the Dodgers tried a late comeback, but the deficit proved too much to overcome. After the 6-5 loss to the Brewers, Dodgers return for Game 2 today at 1:09 on FOX. At the same time (12:30 on ABC), #7 Washington heads to Eugene to face #17 Oregon for the PAC-12 game of the week. UCLA heads to Berkeley to try to get their first win at Cal (4:00pm on PACN), and the #19 Colorado Buffs head to the Colisseum to face USC (7:30 on FS1)

Well, happy Saturday. Some wonder why I often start with sports, as fans already generally know it. Well, it's my way of easing in to politics as the coffee brews. And there it goes, it just annunced its readiness. I ran out of Pepper Peddler yesterday, so I'm drinking the milder Southside Blend from Insight, roasted three blocks away. Let's see if my writing is milder today.

FOR THE LEGAL EAGLES: I discuss judicial elections and opine on the SCOCAL retentions down below, just above #CAKEDAY.

THE BENCHES ARE COMING BACK: After several Capitol insiders raised holy hell over the removal of benches from K Street, they are coming back at the direction of Mayor Darrell Steinberg, reports Cynthia Hubert for the Bee. The benches were a respite for the weary pedestrian awaiting a movie at the Crest, light rail, or to meet up with someone. And, OMG, homeless or near-homeless people would sometimes sit on them. Of course, the worst off are not sitting, they're curled up in the entryways of vacant spaces. 

The benches were removed by the Department of Public Works. Hubert writes:

"Public works director Hector Barron told The Sacramento Bee that the bench removals had nothing to do with the city’s growing concerns about homelessness. But some lashed out at the move on social media, calling it a blatant effort to chase homeless people from the area. Others said the benches are necessary for elderly and disabled residents."

In the article, Barron explains that it's part of a larger remodel of the K Street landscape and the benches needed to be replaced. Barron says Steinberg was not consulted on the move. 

For those who spend time on K Street, homelessness is still a problem, although it has "gotten better" over the years. I put that in quotes because a lot of the people attributed as being "homeless" were occupants of single-room occupancy hotels that are no longer downtown, for both good and bad. That was most of the panhandling, generally not people sitting on a bench facing the street.

As of late yesterday, lobbyist Caity Maple and others were bringing chairs from thrift stores to K Street to provide a temporary respite before the benches come back. A win for the good folk.

VOTER REG: Speaking of the Dodgers game, I spent the time working on some scripts with voter registration data. This was after making calculations on my phone as I write. Once the data was in and the code was written, there should be fewer fat finger mistakes.

It's open to everyone now, but may go behind the Nooner Premium paywall after the election. It's not as simple as downloading data and putting it into a database. Over time, parties come and go. After the No Party Preference (NPP) category was created, most counties moved "Decline to State to "Unknown," while most did to NPP. Anyway, there's a fair amount of manual work behind it. 

These are also link from the district pages

Let me know if you see anything that looks strange and I will investigate. The data conversion has manual elements to it and I'm the first one to admit that I make mistakes.

U.S. SENATE: In the aftermath pf the Kavanaugh hearings, DiFi told a Fresno audience that she's going to be a stronger voice against sexual assault, reports MacKenzie Mays for the Fresno Bee.

GOV: For CALmatters, Byrhonda Lyons takes a video look at the candidates for governor in eight minutes.  

PROP 8 (kidney dialysis clinics): For Capitol Public Radio, Sammy Caiola gives a 'splainer why we can't explain to our non-political family and friends what the inside gamer fight between dialysis clinics and labor is all about.

OMG! LIKE (not) FER SURE: For Capitol Weekly, Paul Mitchell looks at the possibility of a Democratic wave in California, based on the polling from LAT/Berkeley IGS. Paul writes:

"These are dire straits for Republican incumbents.  And, when these polls came out, most political observers had been hearing about this possibility for so long that it was treated as a given.

"But we shouldn’t see this as some kind of obvious outcome for a gubernatorial election in California. We should actually take a moment, a month away from the election, to reflect on just how surprising this all is.

Paul I were talking about this wild fact: "Not one of the  Democratic candidates in competitive seats has been elected to any office — not so much as a school board or city council."

In 2016, two candidates elected to Congress also didn't have prior elected office experience--Ro Khanna (D-CA17) and Jimmy Panetta (D-CA20).

BUT...BUT...THE GAS! For KQED's California Report, Guy Marzorati reports that Orange County Republicans are counting on the tried-and-true (in the past, at least) anti-tax, anti-Sacramento fever to be the seawall to hold back that possible Democratic wave. 

Regardless of your position on Proposition 6, you have to appreciate the irony of this monstrosity driving around the Capitol in repeated circles opposing the gas tax. They have been doing it for years.

The Monstrosity Truck


I mean, at least try a Prius... Seriously, the worst place in California to find persuadable voters in either direction is 11th and L in Sacramento.

CA45 (Irvine)/CA48 (Huntington Beach): For the LA Times, Michael Finnegan and Mark Z. Barabak write that the Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF), the SuperPAC closest to House GOP leadership, omitted the races to defend incumbents Mimi Walters and Dana Rohrabacher from its latest round of broadcast ad buys. 

As Rob Pyers notes on Twitter, CLF is on the air, I mean through the cable, with ads opposing opponents of both Walters and Rohrabacher. Frankly, I don't know the differentiation anymore. My broadcast television is pretty much limited to late night shows, run in the background in the morning as I write. Even most sports I have on are on cable. I know, I am unusual--in more ways than television.

Two groups are being missed in broadcast television advertising--new young voters who skew independent but lean Dem and immigrant voters who turn to non-English television. The latter in particular are also likely underrepresented in polling. In CA39 (Fullerton), both groups are key. Cal State Fullerton is a campus of over 40,000 students. Not all are traditional college students--my mom went there to complete her degree as I was a tot. However, if there is a Kavanaugh effect and if the normal mid-term drop-off is not as big as usual, reaching those voters is key. 

Older immigrant voters often don't watch broadcast English-language news where most campaign ads are aired. Instead, they turn to their native language. In the Orange County congressional battleground, stations are available via cable/satellite in Cantonese, Mandarin, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Tagalog, Vietnamese, and, of course, there are several Spanish-language stations.

This has implications on both candidate persuasion and turnout. These communites mostly need to be reached on the ground and no amount of money spent during the weather forecast on broadcast television. 

Prop. 10 (rent control): The AIDS Healthcare Foundation added another $3 million to the Yes on Prop. 10 campaign. Steven Maviglio (who consults for the "no" side) notes on Twitter that CEO Michael Weinstein has spent $76 million of the nonprofit's money on ballot measure campaigns.

Tax-exempt nonprofits are allowed to play in ballot measure campaigns, which are treated in the same test as lobbying. There's a complex IRS formula to ensure that it is not a "substantial" part of the organization's expenditures. As I've written before, the foundation's wealth is not from philanthropy but rather through running very large mail-order pharmacy operations. Still, many are questioning the nexus of its mission to rent control.

Dan Morain looks at the organization's spending on Prop. 10 for CALmatters. 

"Sacramento lobbyist Rand Martin, who represents the foundation, explains that Weinstein’s nonprofit began as the AIDS Hospice Foundation, adding: “Housing has always been a primary objective of the organization.”

Martin said the organization seeks to address the need for affordable housing by “preventing evictions and displacement; preserving neighborhoods by fighting luxury towers in working-class areas; and producing housing through the acquisition and rehabilitation of buildings for low-income and homeless people.”

Martin notes that Internal Revenue Service regulations prohibit nonprofits from supporting or opposing candidates but are “fairly vague about what percentage of a nonprofit’s budget is allowed to be spent on issue advocacy.”

I have spent a lot of time on the IRS test for nonprofit advocacy spending and, it is indeed complex and somewhat vague. 


More 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)
  • 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)
  • Lighthouse Public Affairs: Legislative Assistant (Sacramento)
  • 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: Lobbying Seminars with veteran Ray LeBov: Next dates: October 4-5, December 13-14, February 7-8
  • Training: PDI (Political Data Inc.): weekly online trainings of various skill levels 



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PARDON ME? In the LA Times, Patrick McGreevy reports that Governor Brown has asked the California Supreme Court to review the pardon application from former State Senator Rod Wright (D-Inglewood), who was prosecuted and found guilty of living outside of his district at the time of filing for candidacy and lying about it on said paperwork. This is a no-brainer. The Los Angeles County DA has prosecuting this issue as a priority, while other counties ignore it. A candidate in a very competitive congressional race was widely and publicly known to have been doing the same thing, but was never prosecuted for it. 

The governor recently signed a bill to make it a bit clearer and more flexible. State lawmakers, once elected, are not required to live in the district. Per the U.S. Constitution, members of Congress are only required to have state residency to run and serve. The only question is whether Ami Bera (D-Elk Grove) will be dropping lit at Tom McClintock's house (R-Elk Grove).

DMV: The Department of Motor Vehicles "has decided to implement new quality control on its voter registration process" reports John Myers in the Times. 

“This will ensure that only those persons who have attested to their eligibility to vote under California law are transmitted to your office,” DMV Director Jean Shiomoto and California Department of Technology Director Amy Tong said in a letter on Friday to California Secretary of State Alex Padilla.

DMV officials said they will begin checking representative samples of voter registration documents to ensure accuracy before those applications are processed.

“If any error or inconsistency is discovered, it will be thoroughly investigated and immediately addressed before any transmission of information,” Shiomoto and Tong wrote.

I'm not sure that critics are going to be happy with spot checks. Many are the same people who are saying "the polls are all wrong." Just sayin'.

STEEEERIKE: People have asked me what the UNITE HERE strike against Marriott hotels is all about. This article in yesterday's Chicago Tribune has a pretty good rundown of the issues. In short, some of the things you may love about your next hotel stay (kiosk check-in, upcoming cell phone key apps, GrubHub instead of room service) is hurting union employees--both in hours and tips.

And, more after the jump...not just #CAKEDAY.


Probolsky Research


JUDICIAL ELECTIONS AND SCOCAL (WARNING--OPINION): This is the time of the mid-term election season where those in the legal community are called or emailed by family and friends are called and asked about "Why am I electing judges and who are these people?"

Generally, in the legal community, for the state Supreme Court and its courts of appeal, these are us often referred to as "retention" votes, rather than "elections" as we usually think about them. The governor makes an appointment for twelve years to these courts, or for the remainder of the twelve-year term of the vacancy. 

For county superior courts, the governor makes the appointment for the six-year term, or the remainder of such six-year term left vacant. These are called "elections" within the legal community.

The differentiation between the Supreme Court and courts of appeal is that they are "Yes/No" votes on election, in contrast to superior court, where an otherwise qualified candidate can file for election in a vacancy unfilled by the governor or to challenge a sitting judge. While often assigned to a specific court, they are judges for the county holding an office number for the six-year term. 

Los Angeles County has 489 judges. Most run unopposed, and automatically are elected for a six-year term. I believe there are four contested ones in the county this November. Obviously, challenging a sitting judge can be quite a quagmire, although here in Sac County, an assistant DA ran against the sitting DA and lost, left the county's Democratic party in awful infighting (a majority supported the challenge) and had to show back up to the office.

I don't like elections for judges, period. California is better than a lot of states (i.e. Texas, ugh--overview of states), many of which have partisan elections to wear the robe. The bigger issue is campaign finance. We can talk with disgust about money in politics, but it's covered by media and is generally transparent for state and federal offices. We know who the big players are, even when it takes many of us hours to unravel the Rube Goldberg-esque legal money laundering to attribute where that $50,000 from a small county in far northwestern California really came from.

For judicial elections, the money comes from attorneys who give it directly and bundle it to channel to candidates, whether an incumbent or a challenger. While we know Phillip Morris giving to a state legislative candidate, you know that the candidate took tobacco money, whatever your perspective. If a Lay Lady Lay law firm bankrolled a judge or challenger court, how many voters are going to research if the firm is a plaintiff firm or one primarily doing defense work?

That disgusts me. Should there be a mechanism to recall a judge for abuse of discretion? Sure. Santa Clara County judge Aaron Persky deserved to be recalled for the six-month sentence given to Stanford student Brock Turner after he was found guilty of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman.

The Commission on Judicial Performance handles complaints of judicial incompetence or incapacity, but under the constitution doesn't have purview over judicial discretion. Thus, the voters of Santa Clara County had the opportunity to intervene and they did. That said, without a costly challenge (with funds raised from/through attorneys) or very good journalism, voters have no idea who to vote for.

The California Supreme Court is made up of seven members. There are currently six, as Jerry Brown has kept retired Kathryn Werdegar's seat open for a year to ensure that a new appointee wouldn't have to stand for a retention election next month. There are three Republican-appointed justices and three Democrat-appointed justices. Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye (GO Sac City/AGS/King Hall! -- I am biased) and Carol Corrigan were appointed by Schwarzenegger and Ming Chin was appointed by Pete Wilson. Jerry Brown has appointed Mariano-Florentino CuéllarLeondra Kruger, and Goodwin Liu

Corrigan and Kruger are on the ballot for retention. If either is not retained, the next governor would make the appointment for twelve years. The third seat that otherwise would be up is the Werdegar seat.

There is an active campaign to vote no on Corrigan, as she voted in favor of the re-hearing of in re: marriage cases, or as popularly known, the challenge against Proposition 8's ban on same-sex marriages. She was joined in that unsuccessful vote for re-hearing by retired justice Marvin Baxter and Ming Chin, who is not up for retention until 2023.

In law school, I was a research assistant for the great, late constitutional law professor Gary Goodpaster. We had many discussions on equal protection analysis as I was updating his publications with the current year cases. 

I am happy that Gavin Newsom kicked California in the ass on marriage equality. He admits that it was, as I might call it, extra-legal under questionable discretion of the state's one charter city and county. Ultimately, I'm happy with Obergefell and Windsor. Am I fearful that without the author of the 5-4 opinion that the principles of stare decisis could be thrown in the trash now that Sacramento's Justice Kennedy has been replaced? Absolutely.

But, I also recognize that the overwhelming majority of people voting yes or no on Justice Corrigan's retention have no idea what a suspect class is under the Equal Protection Clause, let alone the gradiation of scrutiny used to evaluate such class. Further, try explaining the difference between the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment in the United States Constitution from the inalienable rights clause of the California Constitution and equal protection guarantee therein. If you reach a conclusion on the state's right, then you enter the domain of federal obligations for other states to recognizes rights and privileges granted by this state.

Same-sex marriage is a passionate, personal issue. There aren't many "don't knows" in the polling, and voters in California overwhelming support it since the sky hasn't fallen.

That said, it was a complicated legal path that needed the strong statement under the United States Constitutiton handed down by the Supreme Court of the United States in Obergefell and Windsor.  

It stands, for now. I found no reason for voting "no" on Corrigan solely because this legal gray area existed.

#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Corin ChoppinGlenda Corcoran, and Milena Paez!

#FAREWELL: As mentioned yesterday, former Assemblyman Tom Hannigan (D-Fairfield) passed earler this week. Capitol Weekly's John Howard also has a great remembrance of his legacy.




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


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  • 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
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    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:
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    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.
  • 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.
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    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:
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