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MAY NOONER SUPPORT DRIVE: Consider this the equivalent of your public radio pledge break.

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To keep this going, I need to more than double the current number of subscribers to Nooner Premium. Because it's an off year with few elections, subscriptions have dropped off and currently stand at 8% 8.5% of active readers. Meanwhile, my costs go up as newspaper subscriptions and everything else increases in price. 

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Nooner Premium | SacTown Talks by The Nooner podcast
California Legislative Directory| Classifieds | Sofa Degree



SacTown Talks by The Nooner 



  • Saturday: Budget and water fee, the week ahead, the parties, muni matters
  • Sunday: Follow the money in SD01, Duncan Hunter, recycling, muni matters
  • Monday: Water, Santa Anita, gas tax, CA49, ShrimpScam, California Dreamin', Inglewood


  • The agenda this week
  • Budget Conference Committee
  • Rating districts - what do I think about when I do it
  • Harassment
  • Santa Anita 
  • Muni matters - Commerce

Happy Tuesday. Argh, it's almost noon and I have no taco plans yet. While I have some cod defrosting for tonight, I'm currently thinking about finding an ATM (not east on the south side of the Capitol and if I can get cash and grub at Roosevelt Park before the opening gavel comes down in the Assembly. 

As part of the essential May Nooner Premium drive, we have a couple of subscribers who have joined the ranks of those who are sponsoring free student subscriptions. This is what I dreamed of as a pre-med-turned-pre-whatever-the-flip-I-do-today student at Orange Coast. Basically, for those of you who had inanimate relations with California Journal in student government, we have subscribers who will pay for your Nooner Premium annual subscription.

I regularly provide full Nooner Premium subscriptions for students with a current ID card for $10, but they are often underwritten by other subscribers, which I match. So, we have 5 more right now, meaning ten free Nooner Premium subscriptions for students. Just send me a picture of your ID card--with SSN obscured if shown--and I'll hook you up. I am not qualifying it as only full-time students as life gets in the way, but please don't send me your ID card photo as a well-off adult taking History of Rock Music. I don't verify and scrutinize the validity of a curriculum, but please take the trust of the sponsors' money seriously.

After verifying student ID, it is of course destroyed as an image. I ask each sponsor whether they want to be known generally (publicly announced in The Nooner), known only to the recipient sponsored student, or anonymous. No judgment. 

Hey, and don't diss History of Rock Music. That was my art class transferrable to UC. While I love art, I am truly awful at it myself. The aforementioned community college class was amazing for learning The Beatles and seventies music. Community college, I love you.

THE AGENDA: As Friday's "house of origin" deadline approaches, there is still a fair amount of big business to tackle this week. The AP's Andrew Oxford looks at some of the big ones: AB 5 (ind. contractors), AB 1482 (rent control), AB 1481 (eviction rationale), AB 392 (police use of force liability), SB 230 (use of force training), privacy bills, AB 1611 (out-of-network hospital billings), AB 731 (non-exchange health insurance premiums).

While the amendments to AB 392 are in the bill and major law enforcement groups have signed off on the compromise, there is still a lot of suspense if all law enforcement opposition has been removed. Similarly, it's unclear where the bill's most activist supporters stand on the amendments.

The bill is still in Assembly Rules, which could advance it to the floor today. Joel Fox applauds the compromise in the contentious, emotional issue.

BUDGET: The two-house conference committee to iron out the differences between the spending plans of each house to craft a budget to send to the governor by June 15 has been appointed:

  • Sen. Holly Mitchell (chair)
  • Asm. Phil Ting (cice-chair)
  • Asm. Chad Mayes (R)
  • Asm. Kevin McCarty (D)
  • Sen. John Moorlach (R)
  • Sen. Jim Nielsen (R)
  • Asm. Jay Obernolte (R)
  • Sen. Richard Roth (D)
  • Sen. Nancy Skinner (D)
  • Asm. Shirley Weber (D)

The committee schedule has not been announced and the agenda of differences has not been published. Keep an eye out to this page for developments. 

RATING DISTRICTS: When I try to fit a legislative election in one of my seven categories (safe Dem, likely Dem, leans Dem, toss-up, leans Rep, likely Rep, safe Rep), lots of factors go into the totally subjective call. The obvious most subjective one is voter registration. Then it's the consideration of whether it's a presidential or a mid-term, the former of which obviously brings Democratic turnout closer to Republican, meaning there is less underperformance on the Dem side. Anyway, for 2020, the comparison general election next year is 2016--the presidential in which H.R. Clinton won the popular vote and Trump won the electoral college. 

Then, it's the candidate evaluation, which includes incumbent advantage and seriousness of the challengers. At this point it's money and name ID of both the incumbent and challenger(s). You might jump to the conclusion that incumbents have a decisive advantage on name ID, but that's not always the case. For example, a local county supervisor could easily have as much name ID as an incumbent member of Congress, and then a consideration is made as to the overlap of the local government district with the district in which an election is happening.

Obviously, it's too early to know the head-to-head matchups in November 2020. These elections are somewhat like March Madness. Anyone who says they will have a perfect bracket is perfect at one thing--lying. But, we (me and the hamsters) look at possible candidates and other factors that could affect the district come the 2020 general.

This came up this morning as I was looking at CA45 (Irvine) and CA48 (Huntington Beach). In the former, I have a toss-up and in the latter I have a leans Democrat. Both districts have strong incumbent first-term Democrats--law professor Katie Porter in CA45 and businessman Harley Rouda in CA48. In CA45, H.R. Clinton beat Trump by 4.5% while in CA48, Clinton landed only 1.7% above Trump.

So, why do I have CA48 as more favorable for Democrats than CA45 in my "topline" ratings? It's largely guttural and I'm likely to be wrong. Porter in CA45 is a very strong candidate and Rouda has drawn a strong challenge by Michelle Steele, among others, in CA48. 

What has the choice of "toss-up" for CA45 and "leans Democrat" for CA48 come down to?

I would proffer that two issues tilt CA48 more against the GOP than CA45, even while I would move the needle in CA45 just to the left of toss-up toward re-election. In CA48, the Trump tax cut was very popular--until it capped the state and local tax deduction. That hit residential property owners who have had transactions and reset assessment in the last ten years or so particularly hard. California is a relatively low property tax state in aggregate, but Prop. 13 makes things complicated. Let's just acknowledge that after the 2018 mid-terms, the state-and-local tax deduction cap (SALT) price tag of overall tax reform that, justifiably or not, has been seen as a tax break for corporations and the wealthy was a deadly issue in 2018. It was the second highest profile issue behind health care changes voted on when the GOP controlled the House that threatened coverage for pre-existing conditions and other benefits.

The other issue is offshore oil drilling. President Trump and his administration has sought to explore domestic energy resources, including those offshore and on public lands considered sacrosanct to environmentalists. If you've been part of The Nooner game for awhile, I'm closer to environmentalist than an energy carnivore, but my goal is always to boil issues down. As it pertains to these two districts, offshore oil rigs are a big issue in CA48, where while the Jeff Spicoli-types may ignore them for the defining OP Pro scene, the pro-basketball-type players in Newport definitely don't want to see more out their ocean-facing plate glass windows.

So, I would put the Democrats' defense of CA45 and CA48 on essentially the same plane. Both will have great GOP candidates and Republicans are more prepared than 2018, but President Trump appear more disliked in districts that were hit hard by the "SALT" cap that include both CA45 and CA48, but the oil-drilling promotion, even with caveats suggesting exemption, just raises the questions in CA48 a bit more.

Anyway, I just want you to know that I don't throw darts at these races and really think (perhaps overthink) them. Please challenge me and also know that a rating on any district could change tomorrow through innumerable factors--from candidates, to foibles, to tweets from POTUS. It's all in the game, yo'.

HARASSMENT: For CapRadio, Scott Rudd reports that the several state agencies have not ensured that supervisors have received mandatory sexual harassment training. He writes:

"California requires all agency supervisors receive sexual harassment training. Last year, however, nearly 60 percent of agencies surveyed by the State Personnel Board did not provide this training, up from 25 percent in 2016 and 32 percent in 2017. Some larger agencies, like the Department of Corrections, failed to train hundreds of supervisors, while several smaller ones didn’t train any.

Since 2016, the State Personnel Board has identified nearly 1,800 state government supervisors at dozens of agencies who did not receive the required training."

SANTA ANITA: Following the twenty-sixth horse death since 2016 at Santa Anita, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein has again called for a suspension of racing at the Arcadia track, reports John Cherwa in the LA Times. "'I once again call for an immediate moratorium on racing at Santa Anita,' Feinstein said in a statement. 'We need a thorough investigation of practices and conditions at the track before any more races are held.'"

Meanwhile, the AP's Beth Harris writes that track officials are looking in to whether new rules instituted following the spike in horse deaths were followed leading up to the latest euthanization of Kuchees on Sunday following an injury during a race Saturday.

MUNI MATTERS and CAKEDAY after the jump...

Probolsky Research 


MUNI MATTERS: The AP's Kathleen Ronayne reports that it's really no big surprise that a fight broke out among Commerce city councilmembers and then vendors at the California Charter Cities Association. Ronayne writes:

"The AP spoke to five people who either attended this year or have gone before. All described it as a gathering that is more social than business and where alcohol is prevalent, sometimes provided by city vendors who rent out suites and provide open bars.

One called it 'spring break for city council members.'


Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, a Democrat who represents the city of Commerce that is home to the councilors who fought at the meeting, has attended one of the association's conferences. She questioned whether the seminar “is the best way to be using our taxpayer dollars.'

'I've been questioning the culture around Contract Cities — and I don’t think I’m the only one — for a long time,' she said."





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