Around The Capitol

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Wharton Executive MBA


FIRES: The number of people missing in the Camp Fire now stands at at least 1,276. The number of structures destroyed in the Woolsey Fire surged past 1,000 last night.

  • Camp Fire: 76 fatalities, 9,700 single-family residences, 191 multi-family residences, 367 commercial destroyed; 15,500 structures threatened; 149,000 acres; 55% contained
  • Woolsey Fire: 3 fatalaties, 1,008 structures destroyed; 98,362 acres; 84% contained 


#1 Camp Fire (Butte): 71 deaths (November 2018) - active fire
#4 Tubbs Fire (Napa/Sonoma): 22 deaths (October 2017)
#11 Redwood Valley Fire (Mendocino): 9 deaths (October 2017)
#14 Carr Fire (Shasta/Tehama/Trinity): 7 deaths (July 2018)
#15 Atlas Fire (Napa/Solano): 6 deaths (October 2017)

(source: CALFIRE plus Camp Fire incident update; as of 11/16/18) 


#1 Camp Fire (Butte): 10,258 structures destroyed (November 2018) - active fire
#2 Tubbs Fire (Napa/Sonoma): 5,636 structures destroyed (October 2017)
#7 Carr Fire (Shasta/Tehama/Trinity): 1,604 structures destroyed (July 2018)
#8 Nuns Fire (Sonoma): 1,353 structures destroyed (October 2017)
#9 Thomas Fire (Ventura/Santa Barbara): 1,063 structures destroyed (December 2017)
#10 Woosley Fire (Los Angeles/Ventura): 1,008 structures destroyed (November 2018)
#14 Atlas Fire (Napa/Solano): 783 structures destroyed (October 2017)
#20 Redwood Valley Fire (Mendocino): 546 structures destroyed (October 2017)

(source: CALFIRE plus Camp Fire incident update; as of 11/16/18)

THIRTEEN MONTH TALLY (only from top 20):

  • Fatalities: 113
  • Structures: 21,267 structures destroyed (excluding "minor structures" i.e. guest houses/"granny" units, barns)


THE START? Taryn Luna reports in the Times that PG&E had canceled a planned power shutoff through the fire zone the morning the devastating blaze broke out, even though customers had been warned that an outage might be forthcoming. "On Oct. 14, the company cautiously shut off power to some 60,000 Sierra foothills and North Bay customers, hoping to prevent any downed power lines from sparking a fire. On Nov. 6, PG&E again began warning 70,000 customers — including those in the town of Paradise — that it might flip the switch in the face of fire danger."

THE FIRE: The team at the Los Angeles Times looks at the timeline of the rapid spread of the Camp Fire through the stories of survivors.  

THE AFTERMATH: In the Chico Enterprise-Record, Andre Byik reports that the retired Chico police chief and his wife, a retired school principal, have sued PG&E over the Camp Fire's destruction of their Paradise home.

"According to the complaint, PG&E “repeatedly notified customers in various areas of Butte County, including Paradise, that PG&E was considering and may de-energize power lines on November 8, but PG&E failed to de-energize the lines despite the extreme fire risk.”

The complaint further alleges that a “witness states she contacted PG&E over a period of two years before the fire about sparks falling from the lines. The day before the fire started, she received an email from PG&E to the effect PG&E would be coming out to make repairs. That never happened.”

[Retired police chief Kirk] Trostle said the utility has shown a pattern of conduct of knowing a problem exists and failing to correct it, leading to the “horrific” deaths of dozens of people." 

IGNORE LOCAL, ACT GLOBAL: The Bee's Tony Bizjak reports that the head of the PUC says not to worry about PG&E's solvency, but rather climate change.

"Speaking to The Sacramento Bee on Friday, Michael Picker, president of the California Public Utilities Commission, said the bigger worry is what to do to stop the onslaught of devastating wildfires the state has seen in recent years.

PG&E’s woes are, he said, “a small slice of a bigger shit pie. That’s a technical term.”

“What is California doing about wildfires?” Picker said. He called climate change a major unanswered issue, and said, “we have to have other solutions.”




Upward Mobility at Cal State LA


SPORTS PAGE: Yesterday in Reno, the UC Davis easily beat their "across-the-Causeway" rivals, Sac State, which has had a tough season. The 56-13 win over the Hornets gave the Aggies a share of their first Big Sky Conference title #6 berth in the Football Championship Series tournament, a first round bye and a second round home game in Davis. The Ags tied conference play 7-1 with Eastern Washington and Weber State. In addition to a loss to Eastern Washington last weekend, the Aggies lost to Stanford in September, which was then a ranked team. Meanwhile, the GOP isn't the only entity in a regrouping mode. After yesterday's 27-34 loss to cross-town rivals UCLA, USC fans want to see a rebuild. After starting off ranked #15 pre-season, the team ended the season unranked, with a 5-6 record, and giving UCLA its third win in an even uglier season.  

Happy Sunday! The President this morning tweeted "little Adam Schitt" when referring to Congressman Adam Schiff's appearance on "This Week." No, it's not because "f" and "t" are next to each other--iPhone changes "Schitt" to "Schmitt." These House Intelligence Committee hearings, which will be chaired by Schiff, will be fun.

His trip to California was generally well received, except for the fact that he referred to the largely destroyed town of Paradise as "Pleasure"--twice. I thought it was just a Twitter meme until I saw the video. Ugh.

BTW, don't joke on Twitter about Sherrod Brown's hair. I made a light-hearted joke tying to mine yesterday on Facebook with a picture of my current mop and a comment that I wasn't cutting it until all votes in California are counted, like some baseball pitchers and shaving. Well, his wife immediately retweeted it (he wasn't even tagged) and the Twitterverse took off. I just needed to joke about my hair amidst updating fire casualty numbers. 


BALLOT UPDATE as of November 16, 2018

  • Vote-by-mail: 1,003,793
  • Provisional: 958,541
  • Conditional Voter Registration Provisional: 55,764
  • Other (i.e. damaged): 56,057
  • Total: 2,074,155


(as of 11/18/18)
  U.S. House of Representatives State Assembly State Senate
As of 11/06/2018 39 Democrats
14 Republicans
55 Democrats
25 Republicans
26 Democrats
14 Republicans
2019-20 45 Democrats
8 Republicans
60 Democrats
20 Republicans
28 Democrats
12 Republicans 


ELECTIONS: Yesterday, Marshall Tuck conceded to Tony Thurmond in the race for Superintendent of Public Instruction. The concession was made just as Democratic Party activists were gathering in Long Beach for the party's executive board meeting. While both Tuck and Thurmond are Democrats, Thurmond was the pick of the party and its biggest benefactor--labor.

In the Times, John Myers looks at the confusion/debate over how county elections officials should handle vote-by-mail ballots received without a signature. "Part of the confusion may lie in a separate state law governing mismatched signatures, one that explicitly allows voters more time to make fixes. Still, the practical lesson from all of this is that candidates may want a fast result in an election, but they’ll work any available options to ensure that every last vote is counted."



  • CA21 (Kings): *David Valadao (R) 51,175 (51.1%), TJ Cox (D) 48,997 (49.1%)
  • SD34 (Westminster-Santa Ana): Janet Nguyen (R) 121,940 (50.2%), Tom Umberg (D) 120,761 (49.8%)
  • AD77 (North San Diego): *Brian Maienschein (R) 86,595 (51.0%), Sunday Gover (D) 83,304 (49.0%) 


In Orange County, the "what happened" conversation and finger-pointing has begun in earnest. The blame runs the gamut. First, let's look at some numbers.

Orange County
(as of 11/18/18 06:30)
Governor - Cox votes 497,002
Prop 6 - Yes 527,874
District Votes for GOP candidate
CA38 (Whittier) 2,417
CA39 (Fullerton/Diamond Bar) 74,742
*CA45 (Irvine) 136,902
CA46 (Santa Ana) 41,645
CA47 (Long Beach) 37,366
*CA48 (Huntington Beach) 124,816
CA49 (South OC/North SD coastal) 36,817
From governor 42,297
From Prop 6 - Yes 73,169
* denotes GOP incumbent


As it stands now, many voters filled out their ballot by starting with governor. They then went through all offices before getting to ballot measures, first state and then local. Thus, 42,797 voters (at this point) voted for Republican John Cox, did not vote for a GOP candidate for the House of Representatives, but then likely "returned" to vote "yes" on the repeal of the gas tax.

Of course, this is a Venn diagram and there is no way to discern the vote of an individual voter, but there is strong evidence of either ticket-splitting among GOP voters, or a willful abstention from their local races. They most likely made it through those races to ballot measures, rather than simple "drop off" that is normally discussed in political circles. The actual drop-off between governor and Proposition 6 total votes in Orange County was 20,183.

House races were neither driven by local issues nor the gas tax. They were national issues, and the Trump factor can't be ignored. This is important for both Democrats and Republicans to understand. There is no denying that the county has undergone significant changes since I grew up there. However, CA38 (Fullerton/Diamond Bar), CA45 (Irvine) and CA48 (Huntington Beach) can easily flip back if Democrats overreach in Washington, if approval of President Trump significantly changes, under a different president, or with a reshaping of the state GOP's message or strategy, as called for by many leaders.

Chance for an upside for Republicans and what should be white knuckles for Democrats.

Meanwhile, Politico's Carla Marinucci looks at the debate under the California GOP tent of what the party should do in the aftermath of Tuesday.

I believe that the party has to die before it can be rebuilt. And by die — I mean, completely decimated. And I think Tuesday night was a big step,’’ says veteran California GOP political consultant Mike Madrid. “There is no message. There is no messenger. There is no money. And there is no infrastructure.”

Mikey has been saying this for years, particularly as it relates to the party's impression on Latino voters. For those who follow him on Twitter, he's been having many back-and-forths with party activists over such things as President Trump's proposed border wall. 

I've known him for 25 years back to when he was the student member of the Board of Governors of California Community Colleges and I was a lowly local student government leader. He's as GOP as my dad is and where my grandfather would be if he were alive. They are true, free market conservatives with a small "l" libertarianism. 

His comments parallel those of former Assembly Republican Leader and state party vice-chair Kristin Olsen (now Stanislaus County supervisor). I've known Kristin for 22 years, first meeting her when she was a State Senate Fellow ("Associate" that year, which was Bill Lockyer's preferred term). She is the real deal.

As I was writing my memo on PPIC's higher ed poll, I noted that lots of voters are self-identifying as "conservative" but not as "Republican." In looking at the crosstabs, it appears that they are on the moderate flank, given their answers on questions such as whether they would support a bond for higher education construction.  

Going back to those college days and reading the tea leaves of Madrid and Olsen, it appears that the current California Republican Party is losing the traditional "College Republican" types and are left with the "YAFfer" types. If you ar unfamiliar with th Young Americans for Freedom, it is the group that challenges the College Republicans as not being "right" enough.

Nowhere in California did you have stronger YAFfer electeds than the overlapping CA48 (Huntington Beach) and AD74 (Irvine), where both Dana Rohrabacher and Matthew Harper were swept out of office.

The races have Democrats leading by 6.4% and 5% respectively and in both cases have Democrats who have never held elective office and were relatively unknown before the race pushing aside electeds. Rohrabacher came from the Reagan administration in 1988, a perfect pedigree for the district at the time. Harper served on the Huntington Beach City Council and school board.

As I've mentioned before, Harper and I go back to Orange Coast College days, around the same time I met Mikey. I consider both friends, but they speak very differently about the California Republican Party's message and strategy. Last Tuesday, Madrid's vision proved true. For this cycle, at least.


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: 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: NorCal Cannabis: Political, Legislative and Regulatory Stategist/Analyst
  • 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)
  • Lobbying: The California Rental Housing Association: lobbying RFP
  • Training: Lobbying Seminars with veteran Ray LeBov: Next dates: December 13-14, February 7-8, April 4-5
  • Training: PDI (Political Data Inc.): weekly online trainings of various skill levels 


Probolsky Research


LA-LA LAND: We've been plenty busy in this space to talk about the contentious race for Los Angeles Sheriff, where retired deputy sheriff Alex Villanueva has a 57,810 (2.66%) lead over incumbent Jim McDermott. Now, the county district attorney's office is looking in to alleged campaign finance violations associated with Villanueva, but not the candidate himself, reports a team at the LA Times. "For several weeks, close observers of the hotly contested sheriff’s election have zoomed in on a series of donations to Villanueva’s campaign from employees of a company owned by a supporter of Villanueva’s. Risling did not confirm that those donations are the subject of the review."

The campaign may have been a local race, but it was centered on the national issue of the degree the Sheriff's Department should cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.


#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Bryan Ha, Carlos Marquez, Dennis Meyers, Susan Naranjo, Martin Radosevich, and Ace Smith!



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

  • The California Rental Housing Association (fresh off a win on Proposition 10) is looking for a lobbyist. For details please contact Russell Lowery at or call 916-710-2872. CalRHA represents 22,000 people who provide 500,000 homes for families across California. Are you interested in working with the Governor and Legislature on real solutions? Contact us today. [full description]

    NorCal Cannabis has been developing and shaping the legal cannabis industry since 2016. We are looking for spirited and motivated individual who will ensure NorCal Cannabis Company is engaged and strategic in its current regulations and future legislative changes affecting the company at the state and local level.


    • Legislative and regulatory tracking and strategy for California cannabis opportunities on a local and state level.
    • Support government relations and public affairs at the local and state level.
    • Follow and examine the legislation and regulations and provide detailed reports about how the legislation will influence the organization's activities.

      Please go to our website for the complete posting at or email with your resume and cover letter. 
  • WHY DOES CAPITOL SEMINARS DRAW PARTICIPANTS FROM ALL OVER CALIFORNIA? Because we offer comprehensive, cost-effective advocacy training you can put to immediate use. Our moderator, 43-year Capitol veteran Ray LeBov, and guest faculty are current practitioners in governmental advocacy or state government, and provide unique inside insights you won't find anywhere else. We're the No.1 advocacy training resource for nonprofits and private sector organizations, lobbying firms, government entities and trade associations. Professionals in government relations, public affairs, public policy, public administration and allied fields know that our training helps advocates, support staff, and execs who hire and manage lobbyists work together more effectively. Next dates: December 13-14, February 7-8, April 4-5. Learn more / register at or 916-442-5009.
  • 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: