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E-127 - Monday, October 28, 2019, presented by SYASLPartners
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IN TODAY'S NOONER:
Writing on a deadline in this environment seems silly, but I figured I'd go ahead and let the hamsters get this much out to you. I really don't know how to start today after the weekend we just had. As a caution, I have about 30 browser tabs open and am literally all over the place this morning. I hope I have the facts right and I have done a cursory spellcheck, but we're far from Pulitzer today. Well, I'm not looking for that on any given day.
Anyway, join me for a deep breath, and then let's dive in.
24/7 Emergency Updates
Obviously, these data will change throughout the day. I will try to keep the latest at www.aroundthecapitol.com/alerts, including links to evacuations, fire info including shelters and resources, and other relevant information. Things such as damage assessments are often not updated overnight, as they come from experts other than the firefighters battling the blazes. In short, after putting out a fire on a damaged house, firefighters don't report it on the radio. During daylight, team members drive through to get reported tallies.
Kincade Fire (Sonoma, Napa counties), as of 10/28 0700:
Obviously, the fire continues to roar south although the two top priorities of avoiding a westerly jump over Highway 101 and Russian River. It appears they also have stalled a progression to the critical telecommunications site of Mt. Saint Helena. Today it is cooler and the winds in the region are expected to subside midday before returning tomorrow, albeit not as forceful as over the weekend and with cooler temps and slightly higher humidity.
As for destruction, the most notable is the complete loss of the Soda Rock Winery in the Alexander Valley, which dates back to 1869. All employees were believed to have been evacuated before the destruction early Sunday morning.
However, like we saw with the Tubbs Fire in 2017, the destruction of the winery does not necessarily mean the loss of the vineyards. Because they are irrigated and generally have clearance, vineyards are very resilient to wildfire. Most of the berries have already been picked from the vines, possibly with the exception of some late harvest varietals. Even those might be okay, as the fears in 2017 of smoke damage to grapes still on the vine are generally believed to have not come to fruition.
Getty Fire (Los Angeles County), as of 10/28 0820: The fire that blew up this morning on the 405 corridor beneath the Getty Center has shifted the attention from the largely controlled Tick Fire to a hard-to-battle area of the world class museum and, while they are no more important than a trailer, let's face it like we did in last year's Woolsey Fire, multi-million dollar homes and art collections.
Tick Fire (Los Angeles County), as of 10/28 0700: Good news is that overall acreage in the fire in the canyons in northern Los Angeles County has not expanded and containment continues to increase amid a better weather forecast.
OTHER FIRE NOTES: For those of you following through the day yesterday, the California Maritime Academy in Vallejo was affected when the Sky Fire that started south of Crockett burned crossed I-80 and burned under the Carquinez Bridge. While a full damage assessment has not yet been conducted of the specialized campus of the California State University, it sounds like one relatively minor building and some cars were destroyed. The campus had been evacuated in advance of the public safety power shutoff and only a few folks remained and helped firefighters defend the campus, including the training ship Golden Bear that travelers on I-80 see and which serves as dorms for first-year students.
The cluster of fires in Contra Costa County that occurred throughout yesterday certainly create the suspicion of arson, as they were in areas where power had been cut off.
ELECTRICITY: Obviously, yesterday was a literally dark day throughout much of California, both because of proactive public safety shutoffs (PSPS) and wind-caused outages in areas not subjected to PSPS. At points, as many as 22,000 customers in the Sacramento Municipal Utility District were without power and lingering outages continue.
Like with the fires, it's impossible to convey the most current information in The Nooner, particularly when email delivery times vary by incoming email servers. I'll keep trying to get the latest information on my alerts page.
CA25 (Santa Clarita-Palmdale) after the jump...
CA25 (Santa Clarita-Palmdale): As I wrote to Nooner Premium last night, first-term congresswoman Katie Hill (D) tweeted at 4:01pm yesterday that she would resign her seat in Congress by the end of the week. Hill was part of the slate of seven Democrats who had not held public office who flipped seats in 2018 and the 32-year-old was seen as a promising addition to a California House delegation likely to see several senior members retire as early as 2022.
In the end, neither salacious photos leaked by an angry husband she is divorcing nor her open bisexuality and relationship with a female campaign staff member brought her down. Rather, she broke House Rules, specifically a new rule adopted in 2018.
Here is House Rule XXIII 18(a):
"18. (a) A Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner may not engage in a sexual relationship with any employee of the House who works under the supervision of the Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner, or who is an employee of a committee on which the Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner serves. This paragraph does not apply with respect to any relationship between two people who are married to each other.
(b) A Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, officer, or employee of the House may not engage in unwelcome sexual advances or conduct towards another Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, officer, or employee of the House.
(c) In this clause, the term 'employee' includes an applicant for employment, a paid or unpaid intern (including an applicant for an internship), a detailee, and an individual participating in a fellowship program."
The provision was added to the House Code of Conduct in February 2018 during the height of the "me too" movement on a voice vote on H.Res.724. Is it fair to Representative Hill when Duncan D. Hunter is under federal indictment, with allegations that include a female member of his congressional staff, and when other members are known to have also engaged in such behavior? No, it is not. However, she was elected after the new rule when into effect and the allegations against Hunter and others precede the new rule.
As Mike Madrid and I talked about on the podcast Friday afternoon with his insight and information I had from Dem sources in Washington. Nancy Pelosi couldn't let this linger with the impeachment inquiry proceeding. Love or hate Pelosi, nobody denies her masterful political adeptness. Katie Hill has publicly denied any activity violating the above House rule. However, I'm told that the Ethics Committee investigation could turn up something otherwise and further ethics or campaign finance violations. Therefore, Hill resigned.
Katie is only 32 and has lots of time for recovery and the events of the last week does not mean her political career is over. Lots of folks who run into the tragedies of addiction and depression don't have that luxury and go on to very successful careers building on strengths gained from the past.
People are very forgiving and she has a bright future if she takes care of business. Remember, John Burton resigned Congress because of addiction and other transgressions when his brother was one of the most powerful members of the California delegation. He went on to be President Pro Tem of the State Senate and chair of the California Democratic Party.
As Jed Bartlet would say, "Okay, okay, what's next?"
First-term Assembly woman Christy Smith (D), who was elected in 2018 after serving on the Newhall Unified school board, has announced on social media that she is in the race. This was brewing before Hill's announcement, and I have reports that someone was poll-testing Smith Friday-Saturday. Also now in the race is former congressman Steve Knight (R), who served in the seat for two terms following Buck McKeon's retirement in 2014. Knight is the son of the late William "Pete" Knight, who served in the State Assembly and State Senate from 1993 until his death in 2004.
The younger Knight had not planned to challenge Hill, but posted on Facebook last night that he's in the race for 2020 now that it is an open seat. "After serving my community and country for nearly three decades, I will always answer the call when needed. At this point, we are entering uncharted waters. I am looking to run and am thankful for all the calls encouraging me to return to Congress."
Local Democrats were elated last night with the news, as they fought with Knight long before Katie Hill came on the scene for the 2018 election. It's bad news for businessman Mike Garcia, who had been the leading GOP candidate for the seat. Garcia is an aggressive conservative who is seeking the support of voters in the district of the tradition of Ronald Reagan, who is buried there, with a bit of Trumpian style.
Democrat attorney Bryan Caforio, who ran against Knight in 2016 and placed third in the 2018 primary has sold his house in the district and moved to Los Angeles, is not expected to make another bid (although residency is not required for congressional bids).
I moved CA25 to "Toss-up" last week and we'll watch who all jumps in before considering if that's where the race should stay. The district was Clinton+6.7 in 2016 and Newsom+2.2 in 2018.
The special for CA25 will be between 126 and 140 days from when Governor Newsom calls a special election, which will happen within 14 days of Hill's actual resignation, which most folks think will be Friday. A few of us geeks were scrambling to read the complicated special law under Elections Code §§10703-10704, but it looks like the special will likely be March/June. You might be able to read 10703 as allowing the special general/runoff on March 3, but that creates the problem of the primary 9 Tuesdays before March 3 landing on New Year's Eve. Interestingly, state law prohibits a special election on the day after a state holiday, but not the day before. Even if that were the case, the law provides for a special primary 10 Tuesdays prior to the special general, which would be Christmas Eve.
Assuming you're reading this and had power last night, I'm guessing you had a more exciting Sunday evening than those of us reading the Elections Code.
As for Smith's AD38, Newsom won the district in 2018 by 0.6% and Smith defeated incumbent Dante Acosta (R) by 3 points. Acosta, who was liked in Sacramento and known as someone who largely voted his district, is now district director for the Small Business Association in El Paso, Texas and is not expected to return to The Golden State for a run.
I'll keep AD38 as a "Leans Democrat" for now until we see what the field looks like.
CAKEDAY and NEW CLASSIFIEDS after the jumpity jump...
#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Assemblywoman Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, Marilyn Grunwald, Senator Richard Pan, and Yong Salas!
Belated birthday greetings to Darius Anderson, former Secretary of State Debra Bowen, Steve Castellanos, Assemblymember Kansen Chu, Laura Fitzgerald, and Lesli Stein!, who missed a shout out because of yesterday's craziness!