Around The Capitol

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From the Capitol


Happy Humpday! Appreciate the California weather today and your heat, which continues despite PG&E's bankruptcy. It's bitter cold in the Midwest. At 6:45 PST, it's -20 in Chicago with a windchill of -48. Amtrak was laying kerosene-soaked ropes and lighting them overnight to avoid the tracks from being ruined. That's just wild. F 

Pacific Gas Electric stock climbed 16.5% yesterday after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Market analysts don't know if the jump is because short sellers were covering their shorts or whether it was long buyers who don't believe shareholders will be wiped out in bankruptcy. It's a high-voltage gamble.

Meanwhile, fire victims are furious, report Dale Kasler and Tony Bizjak in the Bee.

"Doreen Zimmerman lost her hillside home in the Camp Fire last November, fleeing with a dozen puppies in the family car as flaming embers rained down on Paradise. Now she feels she’s been made a victim again — by PG&E’s decision to file for bankruptcy Tuesday.

“The survivors — I call myself a survivor — we have been shorted,” said Zimmerman, who’s living in a rental home in Yuba City. “PG&E is going to go to victims and say, ‘We are going to pay you 60 cents on the dollar, or 50 cents or whatever.’ They are going to twist this and cry ‘Oh poor me,’ and go back in the boardroom and laugh their butts off. They are still going to get bonuses in high management.”


Citing $30 billion in potential liabilities from the 2017 and 2018 wildfires, utility officials contended the filing is the only way to keep the company going — and insisted that their decision will actually benefit fire survivors.

Bankruptcy can resolve wildfire lawsuits “more quickly and more equitably than ... the state court system,” PG&E Chief Financial Officer Jason Wells said in court papers. Bankruptcy isn’t “a strategy or attempt to avoid PG&E’s responsibility for the heartbreaking and tragic loss of life, devastating damage and destruction to homes and businesses.”

"Trust us." That's the company that was running television ads bragging about its fire prevention efforts when the Camp Fire broke out. It's pretty clear that it started near Paradise under a high-voltage line, witnessed by a CAL FIRE fire chief across the canyon. I don't know of examples of companies in bankruptcy that had potential claims of $30 billion, but the only ones helped are the bankruptcy lawyers. They are typically the first claimants to get paid.

Meanwhile, the bankruptcy filing requests approval of $130 million in employee bonuses  for last year to motivate them to stay on the leaky ship. The debts listed total $51.7 billion. Bloomberg's Brian Eckhouse writes: 

"About 14,000 employees are eligible for the short-term incentive plan cash awards for 2018, for achieving performance targets and individual goals. The payouts range from about $5,000 to $90,000 per person, not including senior officers and directors."

Meanwhile, The Utility Reform Network (TURN) is calling on the federal judge overseeing criminal probation of PG&E to take the corporation into federal receivership. TURN executive director Mark Toney  called for the action in an op-ed in the SFChron today. PG&E is on federal probation for the 2010 San Bruno gas pipeline fire. Toney's op-ed calls on a prohibition against PG&E lobbying and making campaign contributions, like a criminal sent to San Quentin.

By the way, since I started writing before the sun came up this morning, the federal judge got the po-po cuffs out for PG&E. Yes, it's a corporation under federal police custody. That said, thank you PG&E for keeping me warm this morning. Honestly, I don't have an opinion on the business. It's a huge employer with very good employment for tens of thousands of NorCal residents. Bein a utility with strict liability is not enviable.

AURAL PLEASURE: People have asked why I don't do a podcast. Like many, I never liked the sound of my recorded voice.

Nevertheless, I'm happy to announce that Gibran Maciel and I are launching SacTown Talks by The Nooner. This expands on his great podcast that has featured Mayor Darrell Steinberg (go King Hall), Stanislaus County Supervisor Kristin Olsen, Christopher Cabaldon, the CALmatters Dans, and many more. Gibran, a former staffer, and Haley recently moved downtown and the stars aligned for a Capitol podcast.

Gibran and I look forward to interviewing key players in state politics. I didn't do one before since there is great content, but for those of us who listen to podcasts, we know there is room for more to fill our ears. I literally talk to Alexa all night long. The first one will be launched in the next couple of weeks and it's going to be good once the three of us ink a time to get in Gibran's studio. 


#CAKEDAY after the jump...

Classifieds below: all job listings are in Sacramento unless noted (submit at $40/week)

    • Event: California Health Benefits Review Program (CHBRP)'s annual legislative briefing: 2/6 free
    • Job: Aaron Reed and Associates: Administrative Assistant
    • Job: Asian Pacific American Leadership Foundation: full-time program manager (Los Angeles)
    • Job: Attorney General's Office: External Affairs Associate (San Francisco)
    • Job: County Welfare Directors Association of California: senior-level Executive Assistant
    • Job: Health Plan of San Joaquin: Government Affairs Representative (French Camp, CA)
    • Job: NorCal Cannabis: Legislative and Regulatory Strategist to Public Policy Strategist
    • Job: Pruitt Consulting LLC: fundraising associate


Probolsky Research

#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Assemblymember Kevin Kiley, Brent Perumal, and Senator Jeff Stone!


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

  • Attend a free briefing at the Capitol to learn more about health insurance in California, and learn about how a key contributor to the Legislature's consideration of health insurance-related legislation supports policymakers. All interested parties and the public are warmly invited to the California Health Benefits Review Program (CHBRP)'s annual legislative briefing on 2/6/2018 from 10:30 – 11:30 am. The briefing will provide information about CHBRP’s methods and our role in providing independent evidence-based analysis.

    Please RSVP to this free event.

  • SEIU-UHW – Regional Political Organizer (Los Angeles)
    The Political/Community Regional Organizer is responsible for a broad range of program objectives to build and strengthen our infrastructure and engage our members to be a powerful force at their worksites, in the legislative process, in the community and at the ballot box. Proven track record is a must. Competitive salary and excellent benefits. For more information on the position and to apply please visit our candidate portal at
  • The Attorney General's Office is seeking an External Affairs Associate with experience in community outreach and public relations, who will act as the representative for the Attorney General by attending events and meetings on his behalf. The External Affairs Associate will also, identify community and business partners and build lasting partnerships to promote the work and mission of the Attorney General's office. The job can be viewed here. (San Francisco)
  • SEIU-UHW – Regional Political Organizer (San Francisco)
    The Political/Community Regional Organizer is responsible for a broad range of program objectives to build and strengthen our infrastructure and engage our members to be a powerful force at their worksites, in the legislative process, in the community and at the ballot box. Proven track record is a must. Competitive salary and excellent benefits. For more information on the position and to apply please visit our candidate portal at

  • SEIU-UHW – Regional Political Organizer (Fresno) The Political/Community Regional Organizer is responsible for a broad range of program objectives to build and strengthen our infrastructure and engage our members to be a powerful force at their worksites, in the legislative process, in the community and at the ballot box. Proven track record is a must. Competitive salary and excellent benefits. For more information on the position and to apply please visit our candidate portal at

  • LOBBYING SUCCESS BEGINS HERE. And what an "interesting time" to be a lobbyist, with a whole new set of players in Sacramento. So, send us your new lobbyists, support staff, and anyone else who manages or collaborates in the process of advocacy, and they'll come back with invaluable information and inside insights they can put to immediate use. Capitol Seminars is already the No.1 training resource for numerous nonprofits, private sector organizations, lobbying and public affairs firms, trade associations and state and local government entities. Conducted by 45-year Capitol veteran Ray LeBov, our seminars cover the processes, points of influence and best practices for success across these key areas of advocacy -- Legislative, Budget, Regulatory, Lobbying the Administration, and Media Strategies. Next dates: February 7-8, April 4-5, June 6-7. Curriculum information and registration: or 916-442-5009.

  • Health Plan of San Joaquin is recruiting a Government Affairs Representative in French Camp, CA. This position is responsible for identifying, researching and evaluating public policy, including state and federal legislation, assisting with proactive and responsive public policy communications to internal and external stakeholders, and representing HPSJ’s interests in various industry associations and public forums. Bachelor’s Degree in Business, Healthcare Administration, Political Science, Communications or similar is required along with at least four years’ experience in healthcare advocacy, public affairs or government relations. Apply with confidence at:
  • County Welfare Directors Association of California seeks senior-level Executive Assistant to support CWDA Executive Director and his team. Duties include scheduling, meeting/event planning and logistics, conference planning, member support, contract management. Our office is fast-paced, busy and fun. Competitive salary DOE; excellent benefits. More information here.
  • TrattenPrice Consulting – Office Manager/Admin Assistant
    Government affairs firm seeks an office manager/assistant for two lobbyists. Candidate must have experience working in a lobbying office including scheduling, bill tracking, and administrative support. Candidate will have a min 2-3 years direct experience, be well-organized, a self-starter and flexible. Salary BOE. Submit resumes to Lea-Ann​

  • Cal State Student Association seeks Legislative Policy Analyst
    The position is responsible for researching and analyzing legislative policy issues. Additionally, the position will be responsible for externally representing the organization in legislative meetings and committees. Lastly, the position will be responsible for advising our board of directors and legislative affairs committee. For more information and to apply, visit

  • Aaron Reed and Associates: Administrative Assistant
    Experience working in governmental affairs office, working knowledge of the legislative process, calendaring, arranging travel, proficient in Microsoft Outlook, Excel and Word, outstanding communication skills. Salary BOE. Please send your resume to Joelle (1/15)

      • 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: 
      • For 30 Years PDI has been California’s premier data vendor. Now, you can get live online trainings on the newest PDI software every week:

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