Around The Capitol

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  • Vote-by-mail: 3,459,665
  • Provisional: 1,032,942
  • Conditional Voter Registration Provisional: 55,036
  • Other (i.e. damaged): 81,285
  • Total: 4,628,928


Iwo Jima

Thank you to those who have served this wonderful country.




  • Camp Fire: 23 deaths, 6,453 residences, 260 commercial destroyed; 15,000 structures threatened; 105,000 acres; 20% contained
  • Woolsey Fire: 2 deaths (believed to be related), 177+ structures destroyed ("we are confident that that number will rise" -LA County fire chief); 57,000 structures threatened; 83,275 acres; 10% contained

Malibu Mayor Pro-Tem Jefferson "Zuma Jay" Wagner lost his home and is in ICU. 

After a respite yesterday, high winds are forecasted to return today and as I write, the flare-ups in Woolsey have already begun as the winds pick up. Interesting point by Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby this morning is that in the past, late season fires in Southern California used to get assistance from Northern California mutual aid as snow and rain has moved in taking away NorCal fire risk. Obviously, Northern California actually has a bigger fire right now.

Breathe easy folks. People were smart and braved farmers market here early this morning to get an amazing array of "shoulder season" produce amidst very chilly (for SacTown) temperatures to avoid the deteriorating air condition. Here's a great live map for the sensor closest to you. After clearing out overnight, it's picking up again as temperatures rise. Also, avoid driving/leaf-blowing/etc. if you can. 

It sounds like both of these fires will be eventually be determined to be started by power transmission equipment. SB 901, the wildfire liability bill that allows utilities in certain cases to seek approval for ratepayer-shared long-term borrowing for liability costs, does not apply to 2018 fires. It covers 2017 fires and then again starting on January 1, 2019. For 2018, the same inverse condemnation rules apply and shareholders bear the responsibility. The rationale was that neither causation nor the criteria for negligence had been established.

As I've written in this space before, both causation and negligence in wildfire cases is very difficult to prove. 

Obviously the human tragedy in the Camp Fire is far more grave. Lives can not be replaced and property can. But, policy leaders and interests are already looking at a multi-billion cost--regardless of who is ultimately liable. Paradise, CA wants (and should) rebuild, but it's an immense challenge. Santa Rosa is still struggling to, and it is a much wealthier community (Paradise has lots of retirees). In 2016, the median income in Paradise was estimated at $48,402. In Malibu, it was $123,734 and that's somewhat deceptive as many retirees in Malibu have much greater accrued wealth than those in Paradise.

While the Legislature left town on the last day of session with a putative victory, nobody envisioned a November tragedy that we're seeing before our smoke-filled eyes. Both are immense personal strategies, but also huge financial ones. That said, the Thomas fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties occurred in December 2017. At 1,063 structures destroyed, it is in the top ten most destructive fires in history. A home is a home, but from a financial liability sense, 150 homes in the Woosley Fire could equal the valuation of the 6,453 in the Camp Fire.

We now have a year-round fire season. Seven of the most destructive fires in California recorded history have occurred in the last thirteen months. The SB 901 deal, which passed 49-14 in the Assembly and 29-4 in the Senate, seemed to put the liability issue behind us. Nope, it was a band-aid. And liability is one of many issues that were brought up in the conference committee on the bill, many of which weren't solved in the final deal. They are very complicated and I can't profess to know solutions. I see both sides. 

On the liability issue, the Woolsey Fire involved many multi-million dollar homes, including some that were in the tens of millions in liability. Many of the mansions destroyed are also believed to hold significant art collections and personal memorabilia from the professional lives of Hollywood stars. That adds a lot in liability to a $30 million mansion.  

Make no doubt about it, when the Legislature returns and in the first days of the Gavin Newsom governorship, the "B-word" will again be front and center--bankruptcy. We'll get there when we get there, but the immense fight is between investor-owned utilities and their union employees versus ratepayers and insurance companies.

During an election year, the Legislature knew that they had to find a solution, and SB 901 was that compromise. That deal was eased by a $1 million contribution to the California Democratic Party from electrical workers two weeks before the final vote on the bill. That $1 million was out of $1.8 million total from the union for the entire year. In 2016, it made a total of $795,776 in contributions. 

However, 2019 will be different with new lawmakers, and it will test a new governor. 

The policy issues as I see them in the middle of this crisis are:

  1. Fire and life safety
  2. Human resources - housing and necessities
  3. Education stability - several reports of burned schools in the fires; ensuring kids get back into classrooms will help them heal
  4. Financial relief for local governments to ensure continued public safety and other essential services (this is both for firefighting costs/overtime, rebuild of necessary infrastructure, and loss of property tax revenues)
  5. Liability/negligence determination and cost-shifting of rebuilding costs
  6. Housing location policy about building in wildlands

I'm sure I'm missing things, but it's been another crazy morning and the situation is developing.

ELECTIONS: Yesterday, only a few candidates were counting, and even those that not all those that did transmit their updates to the Secretary of State. Because of the uneven counting, don't read too much into results in districts that are in multiple counties, such as AD15 and AD16, both of which are in both Alameda and Contra Costa. Alameda counted yesterday and Contra Costa did not. In many cases, one county (or in these cases, portions of counties) is more partisan in one direction or the other.

Yesterday, Democrat Harley Rouda declared victory in CA48 (Huntington Beach). His opponent, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher has not conceded and his camp says that he's waiting for all votes to be counted.

Superintendent of Public Instruction: Marshall Tuck (nonpartisan race) 3,486,384 (50.3%), Tony Thurmond (nonpartisan race) 3,448,135 (49.7%)

Insurance Commissioner: Ricardo Lara (D) 3,873,530 (50.9%), Steve Poizner (NPP) 3,736,394 (49.1%)

House of Representatives - The current California delegation is 39 Democrats and 14 Republicans. With the first significant late ballot returns last night, most analysts add four for the Democrats--CA10, CA25, CA48, and CA49. The remaining two in play are CA39 and CA45, which predictably with late ballots, are trending toward the Democratic candidates. Thus, the range for Democrats is 43-45, and correspondingly for Republicans it is 8-10. CA39 is more difficult to predict than CA45, as CA45 is pretty much partisan-predictable. CA39 adds ethnic issues that motivate candidate support, possibly in a way that supersedes party.

  • CA04 (Foothills): *Tom McClintock (R) 145,361 (55.2%), Jessica Morse (D) 118,052 (44.8%)
  • CA10 (Stanislaus): Josh Harder (D) 88,961 (50.9%), *Jeff Denham 85,743 (49.1%)
  • CA21 (Kings): *David Valadao (R) 39,475 (53.1%), TJ Cox (D) 33,844 (46.2%)
  • CA22 (Tulare): *Devin Nunes (R) 81,543 (55.2%), Andrew Janz (D) 66,277 (44.8%)
  • CA25 (Santa Clarita-Palmdale): Katie Hill (D) 90,298 (51.7%), *Steve Knight (R) 84,272 (48.3%)
  • CA39 (Fullerton): Young Kim (R) 87,924 (50.7%), Gil Cisneros (D) 85,501 (49.3%)
  • CA45 (Irvine): *Mimi Walters (R) 107,132 (50.5%), Katie Porter (D) 105,123 (49.5%)
  • CA48 (Hunt. Beach): Harley Rouda (D) 105,047 (52.0%), *Dana Rohrabacher (R) 109,591 (48.0%) 
  • CA49 (S. OC/N. SD Coast): Mike Levin (D) 106,052 (54.2%), Diane Harkey (R) 89,458 (45.8%)
  • CA50 (E. SD County): Duncan Hunter (R) 89,002 (53.7%), Ammar Campa-Najjar (D) 76,662 (46.3%)

State Senate  - Democrats went in to the cycle with 26, and will pick up two seats for 28. That is supermajority plus one. 

  • SD12 (Salinas-Merced): Anna Caballero (D) 72,034 (52.2%), Rob Poythress (R) 65,853 (47.8%)
  • SD14 (Fresno-Bakersfield): Melissa Hurtado (D) 46,248 (52.2%), *Andy Vidak (R) 42,268 (47.8%)
  • SD22 (San Gabriel Valley): Susan Rubio (D) 71,323 (52.3%), Mike Eng (D) 65,042 (47.7%)

State Assembly - Democrats start the cycle with 55, pick up two in AD40 and AD76, and are likely to pick up AD16, AD38, and AD74. If they hold on to their defensive plays in AD32 and AD60, they will enter the 2019-20 session with 60 votes. 

  • AD15 (Berkeley): Buffy Wicks (D) 72,247 (55.6%), Jovanka Beckles (D) 57,722 (44.4%)
  • AD16 (Tri-Valley): *Catharine Baker (R) 75,907 50.4%, Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D) 75,143 (49.6%)
  • AD32 (Kings): *Rudy Salas (D) 23,154 (51.8%), Justin Mendes (R) 21,504 (48.2%)
  • AD38 (Santa Clarita): *Dante Acosta (R) 68,518 (50.1%), Christy Smith (D) 68,305 (49.9%)
  • AD40 (Redlands): James Ramos (D) 50,901 (57.9%), Henry Gomez Nickel (R) 37,058 (42.1%)
  • AD60 (Corona): Bill Essayli (R) 28,687 (50.2%), *Sabrina Cervantes (D) 28,511 (49.8%)
  • AD72 (Seal Beach): Tyler Diep (R) 61,008 (53.4%), Josh Lowenthal (D) 53,286 (46.6%)
  • AD74 (Irvine): Cottie Petrie-Norris (D) 70,558 (50.7%), *Matthew Harper (R) 68,741 (49.5%)
  • AD76 (Oceanside): Tasha Boerner Horvath (D) 52,986 (55.7%), Elizabeth Warren (D) 42,137 (44.3%)

 More below 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: Asian Pacific American Leadership Foundation: full-time program manager (Los Angeles)
  • Job: California Medical Association: Director of Communications & Public Affairs (Sacramento)
  • 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: The Council of State Governments: Policy Committees and Programs Coordinator (Sacramento)
  • Job: Local Health Plans of California seeks a Program Manager
  • Job: OPR Communications Account Executive
  • Job: Reed and Davidson: Associate Attorney (Los Angeles)
  • Job: Southern California Association of Governments: Legislation Analyst (Los Angeles)
  • Job: The University of California Office of the President: Associate Director of Strategy, Planning & Operations in its (Sacramento). 
  • Job: University of California Office of the President: Administrative Services Manager (Sacramento)
  • Training: Lobbying Seminars with veteran Ray LeBov: Next dates: December 13-14, February 7-8
  • Training: PDI (Political Data Inc.): weekly online trainings of various skill levels 




RECOUNTS IN CA? The LAT's John Myers reports that while there is a lot of attention/criticism of California's lengthy voting tabulation, recounts in The Golden State are rare. "Here, a formal do-over of the tallying is exceedingly rare. A review of election records and news archives finds perhaps only about a half-dozen formal recount efforts in legislative, congressional or statewide contests since 1980."

MONEY MATTERS: For CALmatters, Dan Walters asks, that while Gavin Newsom will enter the governor's office with a great budget situation, will it last?

"[S]ooner or later he must put up or shut up on that and other items on the expansionist agenda that pleased liberal voters.

In that sense, a recession would almost be another lucky break for Newsom, allowing him the fudge on his promises without bearing the political onus for reneging."

BAGHDAD BY THE BAY: Just how different is San Francisco? It is the only county in the state to vote for Prop. 10 (rent control) and in favor of Prop. 11 (meal breaks for private ambulance companies).


Probolsky Research


#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Jenny Kao, Senator Richard Roth, and Ron Varasteh!

DEPT OF CORRECTIONS: Ann O'Leary, Newsom's chief of staff is divorced from Goodwin Liu. Don't believe what you read on the Interweb.



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

  • The University of California Office of the President is looking for an Associate Director of Strategy, Planning & Operations in its Sacramento Office. The position serves as a key member of the office’s management team, facilitates issue management across legislative, budgetary and advocacy portfolios, produces briefings, memos, reports and presentations on a variety of matters affecting the University, and directs special projects. Job requires strong knowledge of UC, the executive and legislative branches of California government and higher education policy. Bachelor’s or advanced degree in public policy-related fields and 7 years of related experience is preferred. Salary commensurate with experience.
    To apply, visit:
  • Asian Pacific American Leadership Foundation seeks a full-time program manager in Los Angeles. The program manager will reach out to, educate, and involve key constituencies, including state and local elected officials, leaders of community groups, and their respective constituencies. A full job description can be found at Email cover letter and resume to
  • Small, downtown Los Angeles boutique law firm is looking for an associate attorney with a demonstrated interest and/or experience in political, election, and nonprofit organization law, as well as a broader interest and/or experience in business law and civil litigation. [full job description]
    Email resumes to Ana Simeonova, Office Manager, 
  • The University of California Office of the President is looking for an Administrative Services Manager for its Sacramento Office. The position manages the office’s human resource administration, budget development and tracking, account, fiscal and inventory controls, space planning and technical support services, among other administrative duties. Bachelor's degree in related area or equivalent experience is required, plus five years of experience performing a range of administrative functions. Salary commensurate with experience. To apply, visit and search for requisition 20180461. 
  • Director of Communications & Public Affairs – California Medical Association (Sacramento)
    Reporting directly to the VP of Strategic Communications, this position will develop/execute earned media and public affairs strategies in support of physician-focused health care advocacy. Seeking an assertive and tactful self-starter with the ability to effectively generate and shape media coverage. Must be driven with the ability to adapt to evolving priorities and deadlines. On-the-record experience required; health care or political experience strongly desired. Great culture and amazing benefits with 401k match. $85-100k DOE. View the full description and apply at:

  • The Council of State Governments is seeking a Policy Committees and Programs Coordinator in Sacramento, CA.
    Position contributes to the organization's policy objectives and engagement with regional policy-makers and other stakeholders. This includes coordinating and providing policy committee and program support.

    • Provides administrative, logistical and communications support to policy committees and programs staff.
    • Conducts entry-level policy research, follow-up activities, and provides information to members.
    • Maintains communication, conducts outreach and establishes rapport with committee staff, legislators, representatives of the private sector, and with federal, state and local government officials.

    View full posting at CSG is an Equal Opportunity Employer (Minorities/Females/Veterans/Disabled)

  • Administrative Assistant for Lobby Firm
    Qualifications: Experience working in a governmental affairs office, outstanding communications skills, working knowledge of the legislative process, calendaring and arranging travel, proficient in Microsoft Outlook, Excel and Word. Salary based on experience.

    Send resume to For questions, call Joelle at (916) 448-3444.

  • POSITION YOURSELF FOR LOBBYING SUCCESS IN JUST TWO DAYS. Conducted by 43-year Capitol veteran Ray LeBov, Capitol Seminars' Lobbying 101 & 201 courses offer you cost-effective, comprehensive coverage of California's Legislative, Budget and Regulatory processes, Lobbying the Administration, and Media Strategies, along with an inside perspective on best practices for navigating these processes. You’ll refer repeatedly to our valuable curriculum materials long after the seminars are over. Next dates: December 13-14, February 7-8. More info / registration: or 916-442-5009.
  • 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. 
    Apply at
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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: