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Happy Sunday! Today is the close of the first quarter for federal campaign filing. The weather is beautiful. Step away from your email. But, first we've got a few items. 

WHAT A WEEK! Gibran and I sat down yesterday to discuss the week that was. (Simplecast | iTunes | TuneIn)

The following are some of the issues that we talked about. The full rundown with timestamps (thanks Gibran) are in the shownotes on the respective listening platforms.

  • PPIC question on the death penalty - how they landed on a question and what the results might mean. Does the trend of voter opinion over the last nineteen years mean a 2020 constitutional amendment is a possibility?
  • PPIC also asks voters if they support state and local government efforts to protect undocument immigrants. Do they?
  • Special elections in NorEastCal and Long Beach - the independent expenditures and what June 4 runoffs look like
  • PG&E's creditors float a bankruptcy exit--with caveats including "state bonds." What does that mean? Governor Newsome is not very happy with the state's largest utility, but who is? Why are labor and minority chambers of commerce so close to PG&E?
  • Under the Heller v. District of Columbia rubrick, federal judge Roger Benitez blocked Proposition 63's retroactive application prohibiting gun magazines holding more than ten rounds. Does Xavier Becerray appeal to the Ninth Circuit.
  • Voters weigh in on Governor Newsom's proposal revisions to the plans for high-speed rail and water tunnels. What are the revisions and what's at stake?
  • and, much more...we manage to talk for 1:36:00! 

DANNY DOWNER: Dan Walters writes for CALmatters:

"Gavin Newsom coasted into the governorship last year, defeating his Republican rival by more than a 3-2 margin.

It seems a little odd, therefore, that three months into his governorship, he enjoys only tepid popular support.

A new poll by the Public Policy Institute of California found that just 45 percent of all adults, and the same percentage of likely voters, approve of Newsom’s governorship so far."

I don't know if I would call it "three months in." PPIC was in the field from March 10-19. Newsom was sworn in on January 7 and released his budget on January 10. If I were editing Walters's piece, my edit pen would have crossed out "three" and replaced it with "two."

Job Approval Ratings
February 2004
all adults/LVs
November 2010
all adults/LVs
March 2011
all adults/LVs
November 2018
all adults/LVs
March 2019 
all adults/LVs
Approve  55% / 61% 25% / 27% 34% / 41% 51% / 52% 45% / 45%
Disapprove 26% / 22% 62% / 63% 24% / 25% 31% / 40% 26% / 36%
Haven't heard enough to have an opinion [VOL] n/a n/a n/a n/a 16% / 14%
Don't know [VOL] 19% / 17% 13% / 10% 42% / 34% 18% / 8% 13% / 6%

Tell me that Gavin Newsom's approval rating is lower than Jerry Brown's polling--either at the end of Brown's term or certainly at the beginning of Brown 2.0, when voters were in really bad mood, as reflected by the end polling of Schwarzenegger. The promises made of "blowing up the box" and "terminating the budget deficit" from the campaign didn't materialize amid a miserable economy. The state's unemployment peaked at 12.2% in 2010 when Brown was elected to succeed Schwarzenegger.

Approval ratings at the state and federal levels track the voter perception of the economy, barring major policy or personal missteps. Over presumedly eight years in office, Newsom's job approval ratings will likely be lower than they start out. The odds are strong that we will have a recession during that period of time and the question is only how deep. Newsom knows that well and candidly talked about it in his budget presentation, and took steps, such as the pension obligation paydown that I discuss below. Consider this paragraph from the budget summary:

"The Budget assumes moderate growth over the forecast period [through 2021-2022], but as shown in the figure below, even a moderate recession could result in significant revenue declines. A one-year recession in 2019-20 that is larger than the 2001 recession, but milder than the 2007 recession, could result in a nearly $70 billion revenue loss and a $40 billion budget deficit over three years."

But for now, if half of the "haven't heard enough" respondents break Newsom's way, he exceeds Brown's final approval poll among all adults and equals Brown among likely voters. He even nears Schwarzenegger's three-month approval.

I don't write this to attack Dan Walters. He makes some good points in the article and I encourage you to read it. However, the headline of "Three months in, Newsom has only tepid approval" and opening premise is the most possible pessimistic look. 

And, the opening sentence of "Gavin Newsom coasted into the governorship last year, defeating his Republican rival by more than a 3-2 margin" compares apples to oranges. Gavin Newsom received 61.9% to John Cox's 38.1%. In 2010, Jerry Brown received 53.8% to Meg Whitman's 40.9%.

Wait a minute, that doesn't add up. Oh, yes, 2010 was a binary choice because of the top-two primary. There were four other candidates in on the November 2010 ballot who received 5.3 percent of the vote. Whitman really didn't outperform Cox much (2.8%) even after spending $144 million of her own money.

The way I read the above numbers, Newsom is right where we would expect him to be. Define that as "tepid" or not, I'll let you choose the adjective. It's Sunday and I'm on my first cup of coffee. 

Now, can we get some reporters to write about Newsom's proposal to use $5.3 billion in one-time funds to pay down state land local government unfunded pension liabilities. It's a smart use of one-time funds, frees up money on an ongoing basis particularly for local school and community college districts, which will have lower employer contribution rates than if the step isn't taken. That frees up money for the classroom in the amount of 1% of teacher payroll under the current approved CalSTRS contributions.

It's the kind of move that had we made it in the run-up to the 2000 bubble, we wouldn't have had this nearly twenty-year hangover. Instead, we made ongoing budget commitments that later had to be cut with much pain. And, yes, I lobbied for much of that nonsense while the Legislative Analyst's Office was cautioning anybody who would listen.

Newsom's pension proposal should have conservatives applauding but only 21 percent of Republicans support the proposal. Of course, to explain unfunded liability, one-time versus ongoing funds, and how pensions are funded with a blend of employer and employee contributions. Employer contributions are variable, while employee contributions (and the state's in the case of CalSTRS) are fixed. 

Absent Newsom's proposal, employer rates for teachers (and academic administrators) will increase from 16.28% to 18.13% on July 1. Under Newsom's proposal to use one times to literally change the unfunded liability curve, the employer rates would instead increase 16.28% to 17.1%. 

Imagine if we changed the PPIC poll question:


"Governor Newsom's state budget proposes allocating $5.3 billion dollars in additional one-time spending to pay down unfunded liabilities in the state and local public employee pension systems. Do you favor or oppose this proposal?"


"Governor Newsom's state budget proposes allocating $5.3 billion dollars in additional one-time spending to pay down unfunded liabilities in the state and local public employee pension systems, which would free up $700 million for local schools over the next two years and $6.9 billion over the next two decades. Do you favor or oppose this proposal?" [source]

Can you understand how that might yield a different result?

I am not criticizing PPIC as that question that explains the facts is too complex for a polling question and, like I wrote yesterday on the process that led to the death penalty question that was asked. The statewide survey team is great and works hard to craft an instrument that most accurately reflects the mindset of California's adults and likely voters.

But, like on the death penalty question that Dan Walters cites in his article, it's all in the question.


Gas tax and #CAKEDAY after the jump! 

Probolsky Research

THE BIG COUNT: John Myers writes in the LAT this morning that the United States Census is a year from tomorrow, and the stakes are big for California. "The task over the next several months, say state leaders, is to raise awareness in hard-to-reach communities that the census is coming and that being counted is vitally important. California’s diversity, it’s often said, is a strength. The census will put that premise to the test."

Coming up Tuesday is our pod where Gibran and I sit down with Paul Mitchell to talk reapportionment and redistricting. Will California lose a seat and, if so, where? How does the citizens' commission factor in? 

GAS MATTERS: In the Times, Patrick McGreevy writes that although $5.8 billion in new gas and vehicle taxes were approved by the Legislature and sustained by the voters last year, the number of bridges rated as "poor" has continued to increase. McGreevy writes:

"During the three-year period, the number of bridges in “good” condition in the state declined from 16,788 to 14,779, or 57% of bridges.

Caltrans officials blame the worsening numbers on a lag in inspections — which take place every two to four years — as well as the aging of the state’s bridges and the fact that bridge repair projects can take three to five years to complete.

"Due to normal wear and tear on our system, and the gradual and methodical inspection procedures, these reports will not instantaneously reflect the historic and crucial investment of SB 1 funding into our state highway system," said Lindsey Hart, a Caltrans spokeswoman."

COLLEGE ADMISSIONS: For CALmatters, Felicia Mello reports on the concerns that private non-profit higher education institutions have over Assemblymember Phil Ting's bill to prohibit higher education institutions that give preferential admissions to applicants with a relationship with a donor or alumni from participating in the state's Cal Grant system, which provides financial aid to low- and middle-income students. 

"There are serious consequences and potentially a major fallout among especially some of the smaller, more vulnerable institutions in our sector," said Aram Nadjarian, a spokesperson for the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities. The association also released a statement saying that legacy applicants “have a unique connection to the institution” and that colleges should retain the right to consider that as part of their application.

Hey, I don't know about you, but I want to get market awaits! Let's put a wrap on it for today.

#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Congressmember Tony Cárdenas, Lea Darrah, Congressman Mark DeSaulnier, Jennifer Galehouse, Kara Gray, and Sam Mahood!




Add your classified now both in The Nooner and online for $50/week or $150/month by emailing, with a headline, paragraph of up to 100 words, and what you'd like the end date to be.

Deputy Director of Legislation and Regulatory Affairs (CEA-Level A) (Sacramento)

Join the California Gambling Control Commission (CGCC) Executive Team and make a statewide impact as the primary legislative and regulatory advisor. The Deputy Director of Legislation and Regulatory Affairs is responsible for the development and management of the CGCC’s legislative and regulatory program; representing the CGCC before legislators, legislative committees, the Legislative Analyst’s Office, the Governor’s Office, State control agencies, local and Tribal government, and stakeholder groups. The Deputy Director of Legislation and Regulatory Affairs advises the Commissioners and Director on legislative and regulatory matters and is influential in the construction and implementation of CGCC policies and programs.

Excellent written and oral communication required. Free Parking. Salary $7,190-$10,334.

Full job description and application

Associate Director, Government Relations

Take on a high-profile role in an award-winning health organization. Become a strategic advocate for the healing mission of one of the world’s most respected health systems. Take your professional expertise to the next level. UCan do all this and more at UCLA Health.

As the Associate Director of Government Relations, you will be a key member of the team that is driving strategies designed to influence public policy, promote advocacy and build relationships at the federal, state and local government levels. You will be responsible for evaluating complex issues and implementing initiatives and programs in health policy and advocacy by interacting with elected officials, legislative staff, public agency representatives as well as campus administrators, leadership and faculty. This involves collaborating closely with the UCLA Health Marketing & Communications leadership, the University of California, and relevant trade associations. The position is based on the UCLA Health campus in Los Angeles.

Full description and application information

Policy and Government Affairs Associate/Counsel (Oakland)

The Center for Responsible Lending is seeking a Policy and Government Affairs Associate/Counsel to join our team in Oakland, CA. As part of CRL’s State Policy Team, supporting stakeholders throughout the 50 states, the Policy and Government Affairs Associate/Counsel will work with stakeholders in California and other Western states to develop and advance strategies for legislative and regulatory reform at the state level to prevent predatory lending practices.


This position will have a significant focus on California, with responsibilities in supporting other Western states as well.

Full job description and application

SEIU-UHW – Political Coordinator (Oakland or Sacramento, CA)
This position is responsible for directing the work of multiple staff, contractors and member leaders in support of objectives. The Political Coordinator is responsible for strategic planning, developing programs to build and strengthen our infrastructure, and leading on issue and electoral campaigns within the union that empower our members to be a strong force at their worksites, in the legislative process, in their communities and at the ballot box. Under the supervision of the Director, the coordinator collaborates in the overall development and implementation of the department’s strategic organizational plan. For more information on the position and to apply please visit our candidate portal at
SEIU-UHW – Regional Political Organizer (Los Angeles and San Francisco, CA)
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
CCST Expert Briefing: Environmental Impacts of Wildfires in California
Join the California Council on Science and Technology on Thursday, April 4th at Noon in Capitol Room 437 for our latest CCST Expert Briefing: Environmental Impacts of Wildfires in California. A panel of experts from CSU Chico, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, and Stanford University School of Medicine will discuss the impacts of wildfires on air and water quality. RSVP to by 5pm on Wednesday, April 3rd.
Women in Solid-Waste & Recycling Networking Event and Panel Discussion April 2nd
Join State Treasurer Fiona Ma, Assemblymember Susan Talamantes-Eggman, and waste and recycling industry experts for a discussion about how policy is shaping the industry’s future. April 2nd from 5-8pm at the Sutter Club, 1220 9th St, Sacramento. Visit to register and stay connected.
A nonprofit leader on why she attended Capitol Seminars:
"I had read all the generic, glossed-over descriptions of the Calfornia legislative process. I wanted to learn about the nuances or the 'behind-the-scenes' way the legislature actually works, from folks who are real practitioners." -- Amy Vierra, Nonprofit / Environmental Policy and Communications Consultant. "Real practitioners" make Capitol Seminars California's No.1 advocacy training resource. Moderator Ray LeBov, a 45-year Capitol veteran, and all our guest subject matter experts are presently active in governmental advocacy or California state government. Anyone tasked with advocacy in a nonprofit, for-profit, trade / professional association, lobbying / public affairs firm, state or local government agency, will benefit immediately from the unique and valuable training we provide. For complete curriculum information, or to register for our April 4-5 seminars or future dates, visit or call (916) 442-5009.
McKinley + Pillows Fundraising: Administrative Assistant
McKinley + Pillows Fundraising seeks a full time, entry-level administrative assistant /scheduler/receptionist, for our fast-paced office. Must be detail-oriented and possess solid computer and phone skills. Wages DOE. Please send cover-letter and resume to
This annual event is co-sponsored by major California veterans’ organizations. Last year over 65 Assemblymembers attended the event with their veteran honoree. This year the event is open to both the Assembly and Senate to participate. This event will be held at the Sheraton Grand Hotel.


Contact Pete Conaty at 916-768-8940 or, or Dana Nichol at 916-558-1926 or
Future of California Elections Conference on April 11, 2019
Join us on April 11 in Sacramento for the Future of California Elections (FoCE) 2019 Conference “Leading the Way: What Lies Ahead for California's Elections.” FoCE brings together election administrators, reform advocates, civic engagement groups and civil rights organizations each year at its annual conference to discuss and share strategies for modernizing elections and expanding voter participation. Participants at this year’s conference can expect to hear about what happens after election day and updates on California’s voter centric reforms, such as Voter's Choice Act implementation and Same Day Registration. For more information visit
Pruitt Consulting LLC, seeks a part-time Fundraising Associate in Sacramento.
Pruitt Consulting is a consulting firm that specializes in fundraising for Democratic members of the California State Legislature, Constitutional officers, nonprofits, and political action committees. The Political Fundraising Associate assists the Political Fundraising Director and Chief Executive Officers in identifying donors, planning and attending fundraising events, and other business operations. This position requires analyzing political contributions, improving fundraising database, and assisting in various office duties. Email your resume to Gabriel Castellanos Jr, or call at 916-400-4044.
Digital/Social Media Professional
Office of Senate President pro Tem Toni G. Atkins is looking for a digital/social media professional to lead all aspects of the Senator’s presence online – including website, social, SEM and channel strategy. Candidate must be digitally fluent with an understanding of the complex and fragmented digital media landscape and have strong communications skills. Candidate should be able to bring together a cohesive digital strategy that delivers results. Salary starts at $5,910 per month.
Full announcement
Submit Cover Letter, Resume, Writing Sample and Senate Employment Application to:
Political Data Inc.
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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