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CONGRESSIONAL/LEGISLATIVE OFFICE SUBSCRIPTIONS: A few existing Premium subscribers have asked what it would cost for a legislative or congressional office (and constitutional, you get the picture) subscription. For any current office, I'm offering $100 for up to five Nooner Premium subscriptions through 01/01/20. It would normally be $249.95. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to request an invoice.
For other offices with 5 or more would-be Nooner Premium users, email me for a quote. Please don't share passwords, which could avoid a lock-out if there are too many accesses from different IP addresses in a short period of time. I know, like me, use different devices on different networks, so I haven't cracked down on this. But, please respect my time and those who are paying.
SPORTS PAGE: The Los Angeles Chargers beat the Ravens 23-17 yesterday my mom tells me. Seriously, I didn't know there was a game today and was listening to Alexa's selections of Eighties and Nineties songs while mom was cheering on Philip Rivers and crew. Anyway, the Chargers head top Foxborough to face the Patriots in the AFC semi-finals on Sunday at 10:05am. Meanwhile, the Rams will host Dallas at 5:15pm on Saturday.
WELCOME, WELCOME, WELCOME: Lots going on today but we have a whole week ahead.
For many of you, today is the first day of the rest of your...whoops, wrong speech. Rather, today is the beginning of the terms of office for constitutional offices, with nine ascending to a new office from Board of Equalization to Governor, two beginning a second term and one, Attorney General Xavier Becerra, dropping the "Appointed" from his title and beginning his first term as the state's top cop.
Lots of staff changes also take place today, from veterans moving from one office to another to fresh faces to the Capitol scene. Since there have been hundreds of new Nooner subscribers in the last six months, a quick intro on this "first day of school" for those who may wonder who puts this together.
Here is a little background on me that is old stuff for seasoned Noonerites. I was going to send to just the newbies, but I couldn't get the query just right. For those who have been around awhile, feel free to scroll down.
I have been around the Capitol for over 25 years, from a student legislative director for the statewide community college student association to an intern and through three positions before becoming CEO of the association representing California's community college districts. The last stop was for eight years and I greatly enjoyed it. During the years before becoming CEO, I received a BA in political science-public service and juris doctor, both at UC Davis. Of course, it was all possible for this high school dropout because of Orange Coast College.
While The Nooner became something of substance during redistricting in 2011, it was a pre-workout endeavor during the workweek in the wee morning hours. My friend Anthony York and I had co-founded and wrote The Roundup, and I continue to work closely with the team at Capitol Weekly. After leaving the Community College League in 2014, this became a full-time and seven-day-per-week endeavor. It grew beyond essentially a clipping service and news about redistricting and interesting political developments to have more long-form discussions on policy and political trends. Some people are here just for the politics and some just for the policy, and I like that.
I have a background in Democratic politics. When I began The Nooner full-time, I stopped contributing to and endorsing political candidates. I have lots of friends on both sides of the aisle. My personal politics are fairly in line with likely voters in the Public Policy Institute of California polls. I'm a pragmatic liberal who, after living through highs and lows of the state budget as an advocate for community colleges, is quite cautious with long-term obligations always on my mind.
While I may express opinions like community colleges are awesome on occasion, I receive no compensation other than Premium subscriptions and the advertisements you read in The Nooner. If I did, I would not opine on it in this space and would disclose it. I don't exercise any editorial discretion over advertisements except if I sincerely believe they run afoul of the law or encourage others to do so. I have never needed to censor.
I make mistakes. Some days, I write straight until the 11:30 distribution to Nooner Premium and don't read through and catch grammar or spelling errors. I correct substantive errors below in DEPT OF CORRECTIONS beneath the birthday announcements. For critical errors that could injur someone's cause or reputation, I correct it with a follow-up message.
A frequent question I get is how people get listed in #CAKEDAY. Obviously, I have all birthdays of legislators, which are listed in the California Legislative Directory for Nooner Premium. Others are Facebook friends or from individual tips. Please don't send me tips more than a day or two before, because I don't keep a database beyond electeds.
So, that's that. I welcome feedback, questions, and tips at any time at email@example.com. I read every message and try to go through the spam box to find them. I try to at least send a quick note so the sender knows I read it. If you don't hear back from me, send it again.
Let's have a great session! California has its challenges, but it also has immense wealth. That wealth is found not just in the state's reserves, but in the people who have been elected to serve and the people who work for them. For those of you new to the building, know that several of the people who arrived here around the same time I did those 25 years ago are still around, working on both sides of the aisle and in the Capitol and "across the street." Treasure the friendships you will make and find ways to use them to continue to enable our state's residents realize the California Dream.
CLOSING TIME: At 9:17 last night, Governor Jerry Brown, Colusa, and Cali left the suite of for the final time (or at least that's when it was tweeted). As LAT reporter Melanie Mason tweets, "One of the pups appears to have left a panda toy behind and I am v distressed about it."
HE'S NOT DONE YET: In his exit interview with Politico, Brown doesn't dawdle on his accomplishments and the relatively very good state he leaves state government in. Rather, he is focused on the climate and the bigger issues on the world stage. He and Anne Gust Brown are looking for office space near the house they have built on the family ranch in Colusa County. He's looking at an Al Gore-esque legacy that extends far behind The Golden State even as he leaves what is very likely his last elective office.
CALIFORNIA RISES: Amidst a stomy Sacramento night where power was out through much of downtown, the inaugural concert at the Golden 1 Center last night raised nearly $5 million net for the California Fire Foundation to help fire victims and the foundation's other activities, as announced from the stage by Governor-elect Gavin Newsom.
MORE AGGRESSIVE AND IN YOUR FACE: Politico's Carla Marinucci previews the Newsom governorship:
"Gavin Newsom sweeps into the California governor’s mansion Monday hinting that he’ll take a more confrontational posture toward Donald Trump in Washington, but his biggest challenge may be dealing with a friendly Democratic supermajority in Sacramento.
A former mayor of San Francisco who served as outgoing Gov. Jerry Brown's understudy for eight years, Newsom takes office as the golden boy of the California Democratic Party's self-styled resistance, promising “Courage, for a Change.” And while the penny-pinching Brown was comfortable wielding his veto pen against the Democrats who lead California’s Legislature, Newsom has made potentially costly promises to powerful California groups. He will now face pressure from state Democrats to make good on them — and more — despite volatile economic headwinds that could quickly rein in his ambitions in the nation’s largest economy.
In Washington, Newsom has a powerful ally in fellow San Franciscan House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, but a president eager to use California as a foil. Days before Newsom’s inauguration, Trump on Friday signaled he is ready for confrontation. “California always complains through their great governors,” Trump said Friday of disputes over border infrastructure and building. “They always complain.”
BUDGET PREVIEWS: Thus far, the major proposals that we know will be in Thursday's budget release (which could occur sooner):
CADEM: This morning, Daraka Larimore-Hall announced that he is a candidate for chair of the California Democratic Party. The race is to complete the term of Eric Bauman through 2021. Larimore-Hall currently serves as second vice-chair of the party and brought the sexual harassment allegations against Bauman to the public. Bauman resigned, apologized and sought substance abuse treatment.
Larimore-Hall has been the chair of the Santa Barbara Democratic Party and is a graduate student at UCSB. He has worked as a political organizer for labor and issue campaigns.
Already in the race are Oakland activist and former Emerge California executive director Kimberly Ellis and Orange County attorney Lenore Albert. Also considering a bid is former State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, who captured the party's endorsement last year for his run against Senator Dianne Feinstein.
The election will be held at the party's state convention, which is May 31-June 2 in San Francisco.
CAGOP: On the other side of the aisle, SCNG's Kevin Modesti tweets that former Assemblymember David Hadley has suspended his campaign for chair of the California Republican Party. It is widely expected that the party's executive board will choose former Assemblymember and gubernatorial candidate Travis Allen next month. Hadley was seen as the more moderate, pragmatic candidate and previously represented the swing Torrance Assembly district. He beat incumbent Democrat Al Muratsuchi in 2014 and then Muratsuchi reclaimed the seat in 2016 and easily held it with a 21-point win against Republican Frank Scotto, a former Torrance mayor.
Allen is a red meat Republican who has "launched a campaign" to recall Gavin Newsom, even though he hasn't taken office yet. Omnipresent political watcher and research director for the California Target Book Rob Pyers tweets that it the apparent Allen capture of the chair role "hasten(s) the party's assisted suicide in California."
Veteran GOP political consultant Mike Madrid tweets in response "I have to believe that what remains of the donor community will have to find another candidate. It’s that or acknowledge the party is dead." Madrid is leaving SacTown for a bit to teach a class at the University of Southern California titled "Race, class and partisanship: America in the Great Transformation" Lucky Trojans, as that would be fascinating to hear from Mikey...
Former Assembly Republican Leader and current Stanislaus County supervisor Kristin Olsen hasn't responded to the news yet, but we will likely hear from her soon with a similar message.
Allen certainly has his fans on the executive board and in the party's grassroots, but his candidacy (inevitability?) does not bring joy to most GOP professionals, both elected and otherwise. I have yet to hear from any on his bandwagon across the Republican political spectrum. Rather, I'm hearing a belief that the whole party chair race is irrelevant at this point.
THE PARTY ROLE CONTRAST: There are two major contrasts between the Democratic and Republican Party chair races. First, the Democratic Party will continue to have far more money. Major donors are still giving through the Democratic Party while many on the GOP side have either stopped giving or are doing so through independent efforts, such as Charles Munger, Jr. While Munger stepped in to unsuccessfully save Catharine Baker in the AD16 race, he did not play to the extent of previous cycles.
The California Republican Party spent $357,936 directly and in-kind to support Frank Scutto in the above-cited AD66 race to try to flip a seat and lost by 21 points. Meanwhile, they lost 8 legislative and 7 congressional seats in a mid-term drubbing. It spent $434,984 to support Baker. Number one rule of party and caucus leadership is to ensure incumbents are safe and then move on to try to pick up seats. I don't know who to blame and I still believe that outgoing California Republcian Party chair Jim Brulte is one of the best political tacticians in the state but triaging limited money down the stretch to lose a "pick-up" race by 21 while also losing an incumbent race by 2 points raises big questions. That can't be explained on bad polling unless it was conducted pro bono for a Cub Scout badge.
Allen will say that Baker wasn't courageous enough to tout President Trump's agenda, or at least from the messaging I get directly from Allen. That certainly does not fly in the Tri-Valley seat that Baker, and now Democrat Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, represent.
There simply was neither enough money nor enough central coordination of multiple money streams within the Republican Party than used by the Democratic Party. There are fine legal lines about candidate coordination and "earmarked" contributions and the Democrats just played the game better, largely because their donors had trust in common priorities. When the California State Association of Electrical Workers gave the party $1 million two weeks before the Legislature approved SB 901 that likely saved thousands of jobs of the association's member unions, they knew quite well the state party's priorities, which were in sync with the Democratic caucuses of both houses.
As the GOP chair race next month quickly approaches, the small caucuses of 20 Assembly and 11 Senate Republicans and major interest groups are divorced from the discussion of who the next party chair is and time is running out.
In the California Republican Party, the chair is chosen by the executive board. In the California Democratic Party, it is the full convention. There is a spirited scramble to fill those convention seats in Assembly District caucuses this weekend and January 26-27. Major interest groups, particularly unions, are very influential in those caucuses as are current elected officials. The vote at the Democratic convention is a public vote and those who are elected through the organizational efforts of others are expected to vote in their interest. I never liked the public vote, but it is what it is. Advocates for the public vote say that those who have been elected by their fellow Democrats at caucuses or to county central committees must be held accountable, while critics argue that it leads to bullying. The GOP uses secret ballot.
The importance is that the Democratic party's process is more favorable to an insider or at least someone who has been given the "okay" by the Sacramento establishment including electeds, labor, and major donors. The GOP's process is more open to outsiders, for good or bad.
I don't know whether Daraka Larimore-Hall is the insider candidate, whether Kimberly Ellis can win over a small number of votes in addition to what she received in 2017, or whether Lenore Albert can gain any traction this time around. And, of course and most importantly, does Kevin de León jump in with both the insider nod as well as a chunk of progressive voters who supported his endorsement and election last year against the moderate Dianne Feinstein?
Or, do either the Democrats or Republicans have someone else waiting in the wings? Time is running out.
¡HASTA LUEGO! The AP's Jonathan J. Cooper is returning to his hometown of Phoenix for another beat after providing great coverage of the Capitol and Melanie Mason is returning to the Los Angeles Times mothership, which is now in El Segundo, to cover the presidential. Mason did a fantastic job during her assignment in Sacramento and brought most of the Capitol harassment complaints to light. We should know by the end of the month whether or not a Californian (e.g. Garcetti, Harris, Steyer) will be in the hunt for the White House for Mel to cover.
#CAKEDAY after the jump...
#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Micah Ali and Kelly Fong Rivas!
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