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SPORTS PAGE: Well, California's college football season has wrapped and we are all Bulldogs today. From the meaningless file, the Raiders were at the Bengals this morning and the Niners host Seattle (1:05 on FOX). The 11-2 Rams host the Eagles for the evening game (5:20 on NBC). Ugh, the Broncos are worse than the Browns.
EAR TICKLER: On the Gimme Shelter podcast, CALmatters's Matt Levin and the LAT's Liam Dillon talk to Senator Scott Wiener about the renewed push for higher density housing near transit. On the return of Wiener's legislation, the senator from San Francisco says "To build three and a half million homes, which is our housing deficit, you’re never going to do that without zoning reform.”
BILLS BY THE NUMBERS: From Noonerite lobbyist Chris Micheli:
Through Friday, December 14, there have been 205 bills introduced in the 2019 Legislative Session:
The deadline for introducing new bills is Friday, February 22, 2019
WASHINGTON WATCH: On the Sunday shows was Adam Schiff (D-Burbank).
BALLOTPALOOZA: California GOP pundits have been split to explain the avalanche of ballots on November 6 that led to far more losses than they were prepared for, splitting blame to strategic blunders to outright fraud.
As I wrote last week, Congressman Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) alluded to fraud to explain a differential between internal polls and the final result, in which he lost 47.7% to 53.3%. Internal polls, he claimed, showed him up 7 points. Public polling was closer (2-5 points). All polling results in weighting of who is expected to actually turn out. Different methodologies are used--from objective such as past performance in similar elections and recency of registration to subjective questions in the poll among individual respondents about their motivation and interest in voting.
In most cases, it appears that public polls underweighted likely voters by about 3-5% against Democratic candidates, leading to a change in result from polls by about that amount. That is not saying pollsters failed, but rather amplifying the fact that it is an imperfect science.
Polling relies on steadiness of underlying trends, such as past performance. However, there was a lot of noise to adjust for in this election.
We had a surge of new voters, many of whom registered while at the DMV. No, it was not automatic as some people have claimed. Someone at the DMV had to say "Yes" to the question "Do you want to register to vote?" and answer whether they wanted to be affiliated with a party and then "Would you like to vote by mail?" Anyway, no campaign or independent observer knew whether or not these "casual registrants" would actually vote.
It appears they did.
Another metric we look at is return rates of ballots mailed to voters. I was reporting them here, courtesy of Political Data Inc. (PDI). In the last report before Election Day, 13,026,007 ballots had been mailed by counties to voters. Of these, 1,781,734 were in Voters' Choice Act (VCA) counties, which mailed ballots out to all voters registered as of October 22. Another two counties--Alpine and Plumas--were already all-mail counties given their geographic dispersion and mailed out 13,238 ballots.
While we saw yesterday that Voters' Choice Act counties exceeded statewide average in share of VBMs as total votes, I didn't save the data as to whether ballots in such counties were returned earlier. Perhaps Paul Mitchell can run that for us when he and his family are back from a deserved break in Mexíco.
Let's look at the performance data of vote-by-mail ballots sent out.
So, of the 13,026,007 ballots mailed out, 77.9% were returned. Note that the mailed out number may not be exact, as it relies on the data reported to PDI by counties. Those are different data than the return number, which is from the Secretary of State, but should be close. That does not mean that 22.1% of people who received a vote-by-mail ballot did not cast a ballot. I know some here in Sacramento who wanted to go to a physical voting space to cast a ballot with their kids. In doing so, they ended up casting a provisional ballot and the VBM was reported as not returned.
What is important in understanding the shifting election results and why the count took so long is another data point we get here--56.5%. That's the share of ballots mailed to registered voters received on Election Day, the two postal days prior and the three postal days after all were likely not counted until after Election Day. And, only after a county counts every one of these can they move on to provisional ballots. Why? Well, if Joe is in a received a ballot in the mail and his kids are up to it on Election Day, he goes to a polling place (Vote Center in VCA counties), and casts a provisional ballot. Therefore, the county can't count that ballot until all VBMs have been tallied to ensure he doesn't vote twice.
Ballots that arrive at a county clerk's office don't hop out of the stacks and count themselves. Under law, the signatures on the outside of the envelope have to be validated and only after that are they put in the stacks of legit ballots to be opened and tallied. It's a laborious process and there has been no real proposal for a secure replacement. It's not like your credit card receipt where you sign Mickey Mouse, as the "validity" is handled on your monthly statement. Once a ballot is counted, there is no similar check of validity.
Meanwhile, this 56.5% number is very important for campaigns. Election Day is no longer about turning out polling place voters, which was the case when I was growing up around campaigns. Equally important is ballot chasing/harvesting/whatever you want to call it. 36.9% of all votes cast were on mailed out vote-by-mail ballots received at the end of the voting period. We used to call these "late absentees" but that characterization is flawed. "Absentee" connotes that they are vacationing, whereas it is now just the preferred manner of voting for a large majority (65.31%) of voters.
Voters are like many of us--many need reminders of birthdays, anniversaries, and term paper due dates. Yes, I had one of those term paper dreams last night. Voters aren't necessarily lazy or indecisive. They just need a swift kick in the ass to actually send/turn in their ballots, many of which are already filled out on the proverbial kitchen table. For most Noonerites, November 6 was hard-wired into our heads. For most voters, however, it was just another Tuesday. Of all the campaign ads I saw this cycle, I don't recall any that said "vote November 6." And, we've already talked about the questionable value of traditional outreach.
Democrats outfoxed Republicans this cycle on mastering this shifting landscape and much of the credit goes to many affiliated but independent groups who took the bull by the horns. Would a better GOP ballot strategy have changed the results in all of the 15 state and federal California races that changed from the GOP to Dems? No--the issues were just too brutal this cycle. Some of the races? Yes.
My inbox is already being pounded with groups organizing for 2020 with this change in turnout strategy clearly in mind. Both parties are having organizational troubles. Whether they can get that past them and execute the new playbook of voting in California is up to them and their candidates.
HOME ALONE: John Myers reports in the Times on the tough job ahead for the shrunken Republican caucuses in the Legislature.
"There are 22 standing committees in the state Senate, plus at least a dozen more subcommittees or special committees. And after November’s election, only 11 Republican senators will be left to divvy up the work.
To the victors go the spoils. To the vanquished go the extra assignments.
“We’re going to have to cover a lot of bases,” Senate Minority Leader Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) said. “It’s not going to be an easy task.”
Nor will things be much easier in the Assembly, home to 32 standing committees and just 20 Republicans. And through those panels are funneled an enormous amount of legislation — more than 4,600 bills in the two-year session that ended in August."
The 19 staff let go from the Assembly GOP Caucus also includes several assigned to staff serving on committees. While majority Democrats have staff to each committee to provide analysis on their side, GOP members serving on thoe 32 committees rely on caucus staff for a GOP analytical take. That's going to be a big challenge to navigate.
HOUSING: For CALmatters, Dan Walters writes that the state's housing shortage is not just resulting in personal tragedy. "It’s hurting the state’s overall economy as employers face increasing shortages of skilled workers, especially in coastal areas where the housing squeeze is the tightest and local resistance to housing construction is the most implacable."
More after the jump...
THE VIETNAMESE VOTE: The Trump Administration's plan to deport Vietnamese refugees who are not U.S. citizens, arrived before July 12, 1995 when diplomatic relations with the country was established, and were convicted of crimes during their time in the U.S. is raising the ire of the political powerhouse communities in Orange County and San Jose. Those subject to the plan, if agreed to with Vietnam, would include those who committed minor crimes and served jail terms.
The LAT's Anh Do reports on a rally yesterday in OC's Little Saigon and the overall situation.
While only potentially affecting an estimated 8,000 people, it's immensely personal to many of the estimated 300,000 Vietnamese-Americans. While many are happy about the economic advances that have been made in the country, the haunting of the horrors of the Viet Cong still is present among families. The suggestion of involuntarily sending back any Vietnamese is abhorrent to them.
Little Saigon is split between the current CA46 (Correa), CA47 (Lowenthal), and CA48 (Rohrabacher-outgoing). CA48 should be a Republican district, particularly in midterm years. The other two are safe Dem as currently drawn. Democrat Harley Rouda won CA48 with 53.6% of the vote and Dana Rohrabacher is retiring to Maine (not joking). While anything can change in 23 months, with President Trump on the ballot in November 2020 and these developments, Rouda is a strong favorite to win re-election regardless who Republicans put up against him.
In 2020, it could have an impact on State Senate District 37 (Irvine): John Moorlach won the seat with 57% of the vote in 2016 and, while not covering Little Saigon, there are 19,300 voters with Vietnamese surnames in the district. He just saw neighboring GOP senator Janet Nguyen fall. Nguyen won the seat in 2014 with 58.1% of the vote.
The Chron's Sarah Ravini and Steve Rubenstein report on the reaction to the Administration's immigration enforcement proposal in the San Jose area.
LA-LA LAND: The roosters have come home to roost for the cost of lavish pensions for some former Los Angeles city employees, reports Jack Dolan in the Los Angeles Times.
The list of recipients is dominated by former cops and firefighters whose million-dollar payouts from a separate retirement program drove their incomes well over the $220,000 annual limit the IRS allows pension funds to pay.
The top recipient of excess benefits last year was former LAPD Assistant Chief Earl Paysinger, whose $251,000 pension alone would have put him over the limit.
But an additional $1.3-million lump sum payment Paysinger got through the Deferred Retirement Option Plan when he retired in 2016 catapulted him way over the top, requiring the city to pay more than half of his pension from the Excess Benefit Plan.
I lived with the last name "Lay" growing up, so I can raise the issue that the first cite in this story is "Paysinger."
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Politico Playbook: Knowing The Next Chief, And What’s Coming Up On Health Care - Politico
White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney has spent several months openly lobbying for the job of chief of staff, POLITICO reports. | Evan Vucci/AP Photo
Health-care law ruling puts Republicans on the defensive after campaign promises
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Democrats are seizing on a Texas judgeâÂÂs decision to amplify their argument that the GOP wants to deny protection for millions of Americans with preexisting medical conditions.
Iowa Poll: Biden, Bernie Lead Democratic Caucus Field - Politico
Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the University of Utah on Thursday in Salt Lake City. | Rick Bowmer/AP Photo
Schumer pushes for Senate vote on Obamacare case
Democrats are trying to put RepublicansâÂÂ feet to the fire on the contentious issue.
Durbin To Lawmakers: ‘park Yourselves On The Sidelines’ Until Mueller Probe Ends - Politico
Health Law Could Be Hard to Knock Down Despite Judgeâ
Legal scholars on opposite sides of previous Obamacare court decisions find the legal argument in this one shaky.
Trump Adviser: We Will ‘do Whatever Is Necessary To Build The Border Wall’ - Politico
White House senior adviser Stephen Miller is a well-known immigration hard-liner in the Trump administration. | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Sen. Susan Collins on GOP primary in 2020: â
The Maine senator declined to endorse the president's 2020 re-election bid.
Giuliani On Trump Interview With Mueller: ‘over My Dead Body’ - Politico
Giuliani also slammed former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, who was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to a series of eight federal crimes, including making or helping carry out hush money payments to women who claimed to have had affairs with Trump. The longtime Trump attorney said he did so out of loyalty to the real estate mogul.
A holy mess: Churches, other nonprofits confront parking tax
Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the parking benefits that churches, synagogues, hospitals, colleges and other nonprofits offer their employees are suddenly taxable.
Trump Makes First Trip To Arlington National Cemetery Since Veterans Day Criticism - Politico
President Donald Trump on Saturday made an unannounced trip to Arlington National Cemetery to pay his respects to deceased veterans.
Mulvaney Called Trump a â
Mick Mulvaney, President TrumpâÂÂs pick to be acting White House chief of staff, made the comment in a debate, and offered similar remarks in a post on his campaign Facebook page.
SNL imagined a world without Trump as president. Trump was not amused.
Trump called the show a "Democratic spin machine."
Giuliani: 'i Can Produce 20 Witnesses' To Defend Hush Money Payments - Politico
Susan Walsh/AP Photo
Welcome To Rosslyn, Team Trump. Here’s All You Need To Know. - Politico Magazine
DON ALEXANDER HAWKINS @
In the 1980s, a pair of aluminum and glass airfoil-shaped office towers by the architectural firm Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum should have led the way in construction of higher quality architecture that acknowledged its position in the regional landscape, but most developers were slow to follow their lead towards better quality design. The increasing price of land eventually brought better architecture into the development mix. Developers justified the necessary rise in price per-square-foot of rental space by the up-to-date overall appearance and feeling of specialness in the lobbies that a design-oriented architectural firm could provide. Much of the recent construction in Rosslyn has been first rate, and projects on the boards are even better, but market fluctuations have always held Rosslyn development on a shortish leash, and several projects are currently looking for optimistic buyers.
Melania Trump Spox Slams Critical Op-ed, Says Media Focus On 'trivial And Superficial' - Politico
GOP feels heat in wake of Obamacare ruling: 'It's all the downsides'
The decision spells bad news for Republicans by allowing Democrats to replay a potent health care message that helped them flip 40 House seats.
Hard-Line U.S. Tactics Will â
North Korea said that if Washington continued to escalate its sanctions and rights campaign, it could shatter any chance of denuclearizing the country.
After Skipping Events Honoring Fallen Soldiers, Trump Visits Arlington Cemetery
The visit was a studied contrast, and an implicit atonement, to the presidentâÂÂs decisions last month to forgo a ceremony in France and the traditional visit to Arlington on Veterans Day.
Trump makes unannounced visit to Arlington National Cemetery
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The president has faced criticism since skipping a visit to a cemetery in France where American military are buried and not going to Arlington on Veterans Day.
Incoming House Oversight Chair Wants Cohen To Testify In January - Politico
"I certainly would like to see him come in the month of January," Rep. Elijah Cummings said of Michael Cohen. | Win McNamee/Getty Images
DNC Chair Tom Perez goes to war with the state parties
âÂÂI donâÂÂt know how you put the genie back in the bottle at this point,âÂÂ said one Democratic state chairman.
Trump Says He Will Review Case of Soldier Charged With Murdering Afghan Man
The Army major has admitted shooting a man believed to be a bomb maker in 2010, in a case that has become a cause among some conservatives.
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Giuliani also criticized former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, calling him a âÂÂserial liar.âÂÂ
Anti-abortion clinics tapping into federal funds under Trump
Buoyed by Trump administration, faith-based clinics want to get federal funds.