Around The Capitol

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From the Capitol



  • SOS: added state senator Holly J. Mitchell (D) (2022)
  • SD13 (San Mateo): added philanthropist Josh Becker (D)
  • SD15 (San Jose): added San Jose councilmember Johnny Khamis (NPP)
  • SD29 (Fullerton/Diamond Bar): added Joseph Cho (D)

Cho ran as the Bustamante-style candidate in the 2018 recall of Josh Newman - "No on recall, yes on me." He is a former Buena Park councilman. 

Secretary of State could be interesting. There are only two statewides open in 2022--Controller and Secretary of State. Lorena Gonzalez is also interested in SOS, although she hasn't filed anything and is up for re-election in 2020. The Senate Budget and the Assembly Appropriations chairs could be facing off. That's also a cycle where Toni Atkins could be looking for a statewide jump. Senator Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) also has a Secretary of State committee, as does Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont). Of course, Wieckowski could run for Congress in 2020 if Eric Swalwell continues his longshot presidential bid. 

Happy Filing Day! Campaign reports ending December 31 are due. How much money does Gavin have? He had $15.3 million on hand at the last filing ending October 20. And, how much does Jerry have? He had $14.8 million on hand at the June 30 close.

I'll be interested in the SD13 and SD15 candidates. In SD13, we have Redwood City Councilmember Shelly Masur (D) and she reported yesterday having $48,537 at the end of the year. Josh Becker, a former venture capitalist and Burlingame councilmember Michael Brownrigg, both Democrats, had not filed as of this morning.

In SD15, we have three--former assemblymember Nora Campos and Santa Clara supervisor Dave Cortese, whose dad served in the Assembly. As noted above, San Jose councilman Johnny Khamis is mounting an independent bid and just launched his campaign. Madison Nguyen is not running, as she took a job as a nonprofit executive.

Cortese's father Dom Cortese was a moderate Dem who registered with Ross Perot's Reform Party. In the standoff over the Assembly speakership in 1995, Jim Brulte tried to get Cortese to join with Republicans but he instead voted with Republican Paul Horcher to be the 40th vote for Willie Lewis Brown, Jr. after successfully expelling Richard Mountjoy, who had been elected to the State Senate. Mountjoy's expulsion elected Willie on a 40-39 vote and then Doris Allen and Brian Setencich crossed over after Horcher's recall. Curt Pringle finally got the gavel after Allen was recalled. He would be Speaker for 11 months before Democrats regained the Assembly in the 1996 presidential election and Cruz Bustamante was elected Speaker. That's two Cruz mentions I got in today.

Dom is 86 and living in San Jose where he is represented by his son.

In SD05, Modesto councilman Mani Grewal (D)  turned in a net ending cash of around $300,000. If elected, Grewal would be the first Sikh American elected to the Legislature. Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) is the first Indian-American legislator. Dalip Singh Saund (D) was the first Indian-American elected to Congress from Riverside and Imperial counties. A Democrat born in Punjap, India, he came to California to study agriculture at Berkeley. After defeating Republican Jacqueline Cochran, he served from 1957-1963. 

The Bill Lockyer for Controller committee turned in a balance of $1.395 million. He raised no money and spent $17,250.14. It's good to be retired! He spent $461.96 on Southwest at attend the swearing-in. That's an expensive LUV flight!

PG&E: Yesterday wasn't a happy day for PG&E, as the bankrupt investor-owned utility was lambasted in the courtroom of federal judge William Alsup, who oversees the corporation on its probation for the 2010 San Bruno gas pipeline explosion. Richard Gonzales reports for NPR:

"To my mind, there's a very clear-cut pattern here: that PG&E is starting these fires," Alsup said. "What do we do? Does the judge just turn a blind eye and say, 'PG&E continue your business as usual. Kill more people by starting more fires.' 

The judge was not done. He said he is concerned about the possibility of more wildfires in 2019.

"Will we be seeing headlines: 'PG&E has done it again?'" asked Alsup. "Started another fire and some other town burned down because you didn't turn the power off or you didn't cut the trees?"

However, the judge did not order the company to comply immediately with a series of proposals he made requiring it to inspect its entire power grid and "remove or trim all tress that could fall onto its power lines." Alsup also suggested that PG&E temporarily shut off power in some circumstances to avoid igniting fires. The company responded saying the judge's safety plan was not feasible and could cost as much as $150 billion.

 $150 billion? That's the size of California's state budget. Gonzales continues:

The judge said he wants to see a wildfire mitigation plan the company is expected to send to state regulators next month.

In Wednesday's hearing, PG&E attorney Kevin Orsini said the company is taking steps to reduce the wildfire danger, but that it would not be able to find enough qualified tree trimmers to do all the work the judge has proposed.

"The people don't exist," said Orsini.

Mmmmkay...I guess that woman talking about cutting trees on the teevee when the Camp Fire broke out was an actress. Those "do good" ads were part of a $3 million court-ordered ad campaign to talk about safety. 

In all seriousness, this is a life and death situation and there is a very deep hole. Fire victims held a rally this morning at the Public Utilities Commission, which ironically met at the Victims Compensation Board at 400 R Street.

Meanwhile, federal disaster aid is being held up in the federal budget standoff over a "physical barrier" on the border, reports Emily Cadei in the Bee. 

"The House has twice passed disaster aid funding bills, once in December, when the chamber was controlled by Republicans, and once in January under Democratic control. The funding would go to government agencies like FEMA, the Federal Highway Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help communities rebuild from disasters, as well as funding for the U.S. Forest Service and Army Corps of Engineers to help prevent future fires and flooding. The Senate, however, has not passed its own disaster legislation.

California, alone, requested more than $9 billion for wildfire recovery in November to help with tasks like debris removal and rebuilding homes, schools and roads destroyed by the fires in Butte County and Southern California last year."

And, San Francisco's Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution calling for the repeal of the SB 901 provisions that allows PG&E to seek rate recovery for 2017 wildfires. While the Tubbs Fire was found by CalFire to not be caused by PG&E equipment, there were 17 others that year that took 22 lives. Supervisor Hillary Rosen wants the city to buy PG&E's infrastructure, possibly through eminent domain. However, PG&E's powerful union isn't crazy about becoming public employees. 

In the Wall Street Journal, Alejandro Lazo writes that PG&E is not finding many friends in the State Capitol these days.

BUDGET: Here are the mid-year budget proposals--AB 72 (appropriations) and AB 73 (statutory provisions), including the "Rapid Response Reserve Fund" to assist asylum seekers.

BOSS GAVIN: For the Bee, Wes Venteicher looks at how Gavin Newsom's previous roles affect his approach to unions and pensions. "California public employees will soon get a sense of his priorities for labor. Six union contracts are open or expiring in July and Newsom at a January press conference hinted strongly that he won’t be a pushover."

Gavin is in San Diego this afternoon to highlight his budget proposal of $25 million to assist asylum seekers through an "immigration rapid response system." He'll be joined by Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins and Assembly Appropriations Chair Lorena Gonzalez. Meanwhile, DHS is now turning around asylum seekers at the Tijuana border crossing to wait on Mexican soil until their court date. Court dates are currently in March in a backlog to see immigration judges. But, being back in Mexico is better than being incarcerated pending a hearing.

MOTOR VOTER: The Bee's Bryan Anderson reports on the mess with the rollout of California's motor voter registration last year. Basically, it was well known that the DMV wasn't ready to implement the program, where eligible citizens are automatically registered unless they opt out. County clerks and the DMV tried to get it delayed but were under pressure to roll it out in the spring of 2018. Paul Mitchell notes on Twitter that the law is called the 2015 Motor Voter Law, so it wasn't really rushed.  

KDH and #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


FROM THE DESK OF THE DEAN: George Skelton gives a thumbs up to Kamala Harris's campaign rollout, although her suggestion of Medicare for all without insurance companies misstated how Medicare works.

For Politico, Steven Shepard writes that a new Politico/Morning Consult poll finds Harris in third place behind Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders among Democratic primary voters. "Harris is at 10 percent, up from 3 percent earlier this month. That puts her ahead of the next two candidates: former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), both of whom are at 6 percent in the poll. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) is in sixth place, at 3 percent — while no other candidate earns more than 2 percent."

Meanwhile, Laura Barrón-López and John Bresnahan write for Politico that Cory Booker and Kamala Harris are jockeying to win over their black congressional colleagues. "But Joe Biden could complicate their plans: The former vice president is a longtime ally of the CBC and has been reaching out to veteran black lawmakers to talk about the race, according to multiple members."

Bill Scher writes for Politico Magazine that Kamala won the rollout primary while Kirsten Gillibrand lost it:

"[B]ecause of early voting and changes to the still-unsettled primary calendar, candidates can’t just camp out on the cheap in bucolic Iowa throughout 2019, shaking the most hands and hoping for a late break. Well before the first Iowa caucus-goer stands in a high school gymnasium corner, candidates will need enough coin to bankroll an ad campaign in megastates like California and Texas. A campaign that cannot get sufficient media attention is likely to dry up and close down before we even get to 2020."

Mail-in ballots start to go out the date of the Iowa caucus, February 3, 2020. In addition to the five counties that were Voters Choice Act in 2018 with ballots mailed to all registered voters, other counties can join in 2020. That means a majority of California voters could vote before New Hampshire's primary on February 11. 

And ballots will be postage paid now so the delay to find a stamp is no excuse. These changes to California elections are huge and most campaigns are ignoring them.

HOUSING: Liam Dillon writes in the Times that there's a problem with Gavin's goal of seeing 3.5 million homes built over 7 years--there's not enough land set aside. "Cities and counties have zoned land to allow for the construction of 2.8 million homes, according to research from UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs. Because not all that land can be developed quickly for home construction, the state would probably have to double or triple the amount of land zoned for housing for the governor to reach his goal, said Paavo Monkkonen, an associate professor of urban planning and public policy at UCLA."

Meanwhile, Joel Fox argues that the split roll property tax proposal would incentivize local governments to approve commercial developments rather than more housing. The initiative would allow non-residential commercial and industrial property to be taxed at current assessed value.

LA-LA LAND: Now that Eric Garcetti is no longer teasing a presidential bid, the LAT's Dakota Smith writes that the mayor now gets to face real challenges in the City of Angels.

"Garcetti faces a new and complex set of issues at home that will test his “mayors get things done” mantra. He also must deal with a changing City Council, with several seats up for election next year.

Homelessness remains the most immediate problem for Garcetti, and there are questions about the rising costs of the shelters and affordable housing meant to ease the crisis.

At the same time, gentrification has made the mayor a target of left-wing activists, as has the frequent arrests of homeless people. Hecklers blocked him from giving a speech last month at USC.

Relations between police and L.A.’s African-American community are also under scrutiny following a Times report showing that Los Angeles Police Department’s Metro officers stop black drivers at a rate of more than five times their share of the population."

And there's the FBI nastiness involving his former deputy mayor, Raymond Chan.

CALIFORNIA'S IN DA HOUSE: For the LA Times, Sarah D. Wire writes that California is the first state to have a Speaker and Minority Leader at the same time.  "A Californian now sits on all 20 of the House committees named so far. They chair four of those panels and lead another 20 subcommittees. No other state can claim such a reach, including the next three largest delegations, from Texas, New York and Florida."

Speaking of the House, a delegation from the State Assembly was in DC this week during the bitter cold snap.

THE NATIONAL VOTE: Kyle Kondik tweets: "Crystal Ball: Democrats won the national House vote by an adjusted seven points if you account for unopposed races, and they translated those votes fairly efficiently into seats gained."

GANJA GREEN: The North Bay Credit Union in Santa Rosa is serving marijuana businesses at risk of federal prosecution, reports the North Bay Business Journal. It's not sharing the names of its clients. “I am concerned that the government is going to take a turn and start bearing down on financial institutions that are trying to create solutions for this industry,” credit union CEO Chris Call said.

California legislative home-gamers. There's a rule that you can't amend a bill just to add co-authors. So, we change a bill from "some or all" to "all or some." 

Probolsky Research


#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Amy Braden, Kelly Calkin, Andrea Jones, Louise Larsen, and Joshua Walters!


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.
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