Around The Capitol

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California Legislative Directory| Classifieds | Sofa Degree


E-119 - Monday, November 4, 2019, presented by SYASLPartners

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RECENT AURAL PLEASURE: Have a new pod episode related to California politics and policy that you'd like listed? Email Scott.

  • Cap●Impact (McGeorge School of Law): Chris Micheli on the shortcomings of the California Administrative Procedure Act (2019-11-02) [transcript]
  • Political Breakdown (Scott Shafer and Marisa Lagos @ KQED): CA25 and Stanford professor Michael Ware on wildfires and electricity (2019-11-01)
  • Look West (Assembly Democratic Caucus): "Celebrating 100 years of Women's Right to Vote" (2019-11-01)  [Apple Podcasts | Spotify]
  • SacTownTalks by The Nooner (Gibran Maciel and Scott Lay): Russell Lowery on California's electrical system, as well as his time as a top GOP legislative staffer, lobbyist for PG&E, association management, and now running his own firm to help clients tell their message and affect public policy. (2019-10-30) [YouTube | Simplecast | iTunes
  • Gimme Shelter (CalMatters's Matt Levin and LAT's Liam Dillon): Opposites Beverly Hills mayor John Mirisch and Senator Scott Wiener on solving California's housing crisis (2019-10-30)
  • This is California: The Battle of 187 (Gustavo Arellano @ LAT and Futuro Studios): A podcast series on the 25th anniversary of Proposition 187
  • Nooner Bonus (Scott Lay): Former Assemblymember Lloyd Levine, who chaired Asm Utilies and Commerce, on the electricity situation. (2019-10-29)
  • SacTownTalks by The Nooner (Gibran Maciel and Scott Lay): What a Week: CA25, fires, and electricity (2019-10-28) [YouTube | Simplecast | iTunes]


  • AD16 (Tri-Valley): added businessman Joseph Alexander Rubay (R) - likely Dem - challenge to Bauer-Kahan (D)


  • Fires:
    • The Trump blame game
    • Sharing the local cost
    • Capturing the moment
    • PG&E
  • SD28 (Temecula-Coachella-Blythe)
  • iHousing
  • Schiff
  • Privatizing parks
  • Scooters
  • Muni matters
  • Cakeday and Classifieds

Happy Monday! Well, Gmail's on-and-off again approach to timely Nooner delivery was on the off side yesterday. It had nothing to do with anything on my end but the techs continue to work on it.

Congratulations to Donna Lucas and Cassandra Pye on a new professional relationship. Today, Donna announced that Cassandra is joining Lucas Public Affairs, bringing her experience in the Schwarzenegger administration and representing clients across sectors to become Lucas's executive vice president and chief strategy officer.

Before we get to the news, we have to pause with video of President trump copping a feel of Nats' catcher Kurt Suzuki, a Cal State Fullerton Titan.

THE TRUMP FACTOR: For Politico, Carla Marinucci monitors the Twitter threat yesterday by President Trump to cut off emergency funds to California for coping with wildfires and response from Governor Newsom.

COST OF FIRE PROTECTION: For the Bee, Ryan Sabalow reports on why rural communities often vote down taxes to improve fire protection and the cost that brings. Sabalow writes:

"Across California between 2002 and 2018, 151 parcel tax increases went before voters to fund fire and emergency medical services. Seventy-seven of them didn’t pass, a 51 percent failure rate, according to the California Local Government Finance Almanac. During the same period, counties, cities and special districts passed parcel taxes to fund things like roads, libraries, hospitals and parks 54 percent of the time.

The fire-tax rejections often come in communities that have wildfire risks comparable to Paradise, which lost 10,000 homes a year ago to the state’s most destructive wildfire. For instance, voters in rural El Dorado County — home to some of the largest fires to ignite in California in recent decades — soundly rejected a parcel tax this year."

COST OF POWER LOSS: For the Chron, Joaquin Palomino and Cynthia Dizikes write that the public safety power shutoffs are hitting the poor particularly hard. They report:

"The California Department of Social Services estimates that nearly 51,000 households receiving food assistance were in areas that experienced extensive power outages during the Oct. 9 through Oct. 12 shut-off. Roughly 300,000 people on Medi-Cal, a health insurance program for mostly low-income people, were also in the heavily impacted areas."

This is why the tone deaf approach offered by PG&E CEO Bill Johnson came across so badly. It's not as simple as refilling the freezer and refrigerator from area food banks, which are already impacted because of the housing insecurity crisis. After calls for addressing the situation by Gavin Newsom, PG&E is offering $100 for residents and $250 from businesses as a one-time credit on future bills. Officially, the credits are offered because of the communications and website problems due to the mid-October power outage, but the one last week.

Advocates for the working poor, however, note that they need food right now, not next month. PG&E is offering the same relief to those with means as those without, they argue, with the wealthy inconvenienced and able to replenish their fridge through InstaCart, Amazon Prime Now, and other delivery services, while the poor stand in line at overwhelmed food banks.

PG&E: Joe Mathews has a tongue-in-cheek thank you message for Pacific Gas & Electric:

"In these polarized times, you have unified us, in hostility to you. So in return for my thanks, I ask only this: Please don’t change. Don’t clean up your act. Because we Californians need you, just the way you are, if we are ever going to come together and build a new system to replace you."

The LAT's Michael Hitzik makes the case for public ownership in a piece for Governing Magazine.

"The fundamental lesson of the wildfires remains in place. A private company’s responsibilities to the public interest will almost always take a back seat to the profit motive, unless it perceives that its profits are directly dependent on the public interest. But such direct connection is rare. The time may have come to turn over PG&E to government ownership, and see if its culture can be changed."

FIRES AND PENSIONS: For CalMatters, Dan Walters looks at the impact of increases in pension contributions on a small Central Valley fire district.

"Throughout California, local officials have complained loudly about the ever-rising CalPERS assessments, saying they’ll have no choice but to cut services unless local voters are willing to raise taxes.

CalPERS officials, on the other hand, contend that they also have no choice because their investments haven’t fully recovered from the last recession and they must improve their balance sheet to cope with the next downturn."

Steve Maviglio has a problem with Walters's column, tweeting "Huh? @CalPERS returns "below expectations?" @CalPERS recorded an 8.6 percent investment return in the 2017-18 financial year, and 11.2 percent in the 2016-17 financial year."

CAPTURING THE MOMENT: AP photojournalist Marcio Jose Sanchez writes on the experience capturing wildfires and what it's like being on the front line:

"I’m no expert on climate change, but with each passing year I’m more convinced that climatic shifts are driving the fires to new levels. They are more frequent, more intense and more unpredictable.

If there is anything to be optimistic about, it’s that firefighters seem to be getting better at fighting the blazes. They also conduct themselves with a clear sense of mission. At the fire where I was nearly crushed by torched branches, at one point I watched four firefighters boldly take on a giant wave of flames."

In the article, some of Marcio's amazing photos are shared.

SD28 (TEMECULA-COACHELLA-BLYTHE): Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore) will announce her decision about the SD28 special election on Facebook Live at 7pm. Most observers believe she's all in.

iHOUSING: Today, Apple announced that it would invest $2.5 billion to combat California's housing crisis. According to the release, Apple will allocate:

  • $1 billion affordable housing investment fund: The $1 billion commitment to the state of California is a first-of-its-kind affordable housing fund that will provide the state and others with an open line of credit to develop and build additional new, very low- to moderate-income housing faster and at a lower cost.
  • $1 billion first-time homebuyer mortgage assistance fund: Working with the state, this first-time homebuyer fund will provide aspiring homebuyers with financing and down payment assistance. Apple and the state will explore strategies to increase access to first-time homeownership opportunities for essential service personnel, school employees and veterans.
  • $300 million Apple-owned land will be available for affordable housing: Apple intends to make available land it owns in San Jose worth approximately $300 million for the development of new affordable housing.
  • $150 million Bay Area housing fund: In a public-private partnership, Apple is launching a new $150 million affordable housing fund with partners including Housing Trust Silicon Valley to support new affordable housing projects. The fund will consist of long-term forgivable loans and grants.
  • $50 million to support vulnerable populations: Apple will donate $50 million to support Destination: Home’s efforts to address homelessness in Silicon Valley. Apple will focus its contribution on driving systemic change across the many factors affecting homelessness. Apple will also be identifying similar efforts in Northern and Southern California, focusing on strategies that both end and prevent homelessness.

"By putting its $2.5 billion investment to use across multiple initiatives and partners, Apple’s housing initiative offers a comprehensive and multi-pronged approach to address some of the most urgent challenges facing affordable housing in California. This initiative is a major step, and Apple will continue looking for ways to support communities and affordable housing."

SCHIFF: For the NY Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Nicholas Fandos profile Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), who chairs House Intelligence and is among President Trump's favorite punching bags over the impeachment inquiry. They write:

"These are heady but perilous days for Mr. Schiff, the inscrutable and slightly nerdy chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, who is leading the impeachment inquiry into Mr. Trump. Adored by the left, reviled by the right, he has become a Rorschach test for American politics. Depending on one’s point of view, he is either going to save the republic, or destroy it.


Now Mr. Schiff, 59, is poised to take a much bigger stage, as his inquiry moves from a secure office suite in a Capitol Hill basement into nationally televised public hearings. He will make the case against Mr. Trump to a divided nation, in what amounts to an epic courtroom drama meant to unveil evidence of the president’s pressure campaign to enlist Ukraine to smear his political rivals — a moment that is bound to be must-watch TV."

PRIVATIZING PARKS: For the LAT, Louis Sahagun writes on proposals within the Trump Administration to provide more privatized services and reduce discounts in national parks.

"Leaders of the Interior Department’s “Made in America” Outdoor Recreation Advisory Committee say these changes could make America’s national parks more attractive to a digitally minded younger generation and improve the quality of National Park Service facilities amid a huge maintenance backlog. As part of its plan, the committee calls for blacking out senior discounts at park campgrounds during peak holiday seasons.

“Our recommendations would allow people to opt for additional costs if they want, for example, Amazon deliveries at a particular campsite,” said Derrick Crandall, vice chairman of the committee and a counselor with the nonprofit National Park Hospitality Assn. “We want to let Americans make their own decisions in the marketplace.”

But the group’s proposals face angry opposition from conservation organizations and senior citizen advocates, who call them a transfer of public assets to private industry, including businesses led by executives appointed to the Outdoor Advisory Committee."

SCOOTERS: For the San Diego Union-Tribune, Joshua Emerson Smith reports on studies as to whether or not dockless e-scooters are meaningfully helpful to the environment.

"[A] growing body of research suggests that the ongoing scooter craze may not be as green as advertised.

To change that, experts say companies — such as Lime, Bird and Wheels — must manufacture more robust e-scooters while riders need to increasingly use those devices in lieu of driving. According to studies, many people are currently cruising around on e-scooters as an alternative to cleaner forms of transportation, such as biking, walking and taking the bus.

Still, experts say the fast-evolving industry has the potential to revolutionize urban travel and significantly reduce planet-warming emissions."

They are certainly popular around downtown Sac for kiddos doing cool tricks.

MUNI MATTERS, CAKEDAY, and CLASSIFIEDS after the jumpity jump...

Probolsky Research


LA HOUSING, FIRST PERSON: LAT housing reporter Liam Dillon has moved from Sacramento on the housing and government beat to the community housing beat based in El Segundo, meaning he got to experience the housing crunch first-person. Dillon shares his story:

"It worked out. I moved in the last weekend of September. My daily commute is just 20 minutes. I ate the best Indian food I’ve ever had three blocks from my place on Venice Boulevard. When my second rent payment left my checking account, my heart quickened and I felt awash in worry. But soon I realized — and again had to accept — that, in California, this is the cost of living and the cost of what I wanted."

LA HOMELESS: Reuters TV has a video piece on the homeless crisis in Los Angeles and efforts to construct transition housing. In short, there are no quick solutions without significant opposition.

LA-LA VOTES: For EdSource, Michael Burke writes that Los Angeles Unified school board member Kelly Gonez has proposed allowing non-citizens to vote in district elections. To do so, it would require the vote of the LAUSD board and approval of the district's voters.

"San Francisco last year became the first city in the state and one of only a few in the nation to allow noncitizens to vote in a local election. The impact of the change, however, has been limited, as only a small number of non-citizens have registered to vote in the city, likely because of fear of national immigration policy under the Trump administration.

Allowing non-citizens to vote in Los Angeles could have a significant impact. California has more immigrants than any other state and more immigrants live in Los Angeles County than any other region in the state, according to the University of Southern California."

#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Mark MacDonald, Lisa Murawski, and Kris Octabiano!


Add your classified now both in The Nooner and online for $50/week or $150/month by emailing, with a headline, a summary of up to 200 words, and what you'd like the end date to be. You can attach a PDF or provide a link for a bigger job description/info to apply. [Other advertising options]

SEIU-UHW – Government Relations Advocate/Organizer (Sacramento, CA)

The Government Relations Organizer in the Political Department reports to the Assistant Director for Government Relations and is responsible for a broad range of program objectives to advance SEIU-UHW’s strategic goals through legislative advocacy, coalition building, and regulatory advocacy.

SEIU-UHW offers a competitive salary, commensurate with experience, and a generous benefit package. For more information on the position and to apply please visit our candidate portal at

Account Supervisor/Director (Los Angeles) – Fiona Hutton and Associates

Fiona Hutton & Associates is looking for a highly-driven communications pro to join our Los Angeles-based agency as an Account Supervisor or Director (depending on experience).

The position requires a minimum 5-7 years of experience in public affairs, public relations or politics, with agency experience required. Responsible for managing integrated communications and advocacy programs, creative content, media relations & coalitions. Will oversee operational performance of accounts, serve as day-to-day contact with clients and mentor junior staff.

For full qualifications and responsibilities, read the job description at

Interested candidates should submit a cover letter and resume to

Receptionist Position Open - Office of Senator Monning
Senator Monning is accepting applications for a receptionist in his Capitol Office. The ideal candidate will be able to work in a fast-paced, professional environment; be self- motivated to work as part of a team on behalf of Senator Monning; and be able to work extended hours when necessary. Strong oral and written communication skills are essential. Specific duties include, but are not limited to, answering office telephones; greeting visitors; providing basic legislative information; managing mail, office supplies and equipment; using the LCMS system; and tracking and managing FPPC reports for the Senator. Please submit a cover letter and resume to Senator Monning at: with the subject line: Attn: Chief of Staff.
Paid Internship with Meridian Pacific, Inc.

Internship re: campaigns for Republican candidates, statewide initiatives and issue advocacy. At Meridian Pacific, Inc. we have diverse opportunities for the interns that work with us. This internship has the opportunity to work with Republican candidates, statewide initiatives, issue advocacy, local and statewide ballot measures, grassroots activation, public affairs campaigns, political campaigns for local, state and federal candidates, as well as event planning.

Interns will write press releases and other materials, assist with mailings and print production, complete research projects, perform data entry, learn the basics of office functions, work on surveys, compile contact lists, attend/work political functions, etc.

Applicants who have previously held a job/internship and exemplify strong writing, research and communication skills, preferred. Compensation is $12.00 per hour. The days for this position are Tuesday and Thursday plus an additional day during the week. Email cover letter & resume to:

The McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific

The McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific, offers the Master of Public Administration (MPA) and the Master of Public Policy (MPP) degrees to both full-time students and those earning a professional degree while working. Our focus on the interconnections of law, policy, management, and leadership provides unique competencies for your success. Students gain a foundation in statutory interpretation and regulatory processes critical to governance. Learn at a beautiful campus three miles from the State Capitol: or

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: