Around The Capitol

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  • Political Breakdown (Scott Shafer and Marisa Lagos @ KQED): Politico's Christopher Cadelago on the end of Kamala's candidacy and Angela Glover Blackwell on her career and new podcast on "radical" policy ideas. (2019-12-05)
  • Then There's California (Senate Democratic Caucus): Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) on safe water in the Central Valley (2019-12-05)
  • Look West (Assembly Democratic Caucus): Assemblymember Phil Ting, Mark Salazar the Executive Director of Mental Health Association of San Francisco, and Sherrel Cross Assistant Manager for the California Peer Run Warm Line discuss the disparities in access and stigma of mental health (2019-12-05)
  • Bonus episode of SacTown Talks by The Nooner: Scott talks with GOP political consultant Mike Madrid on the departure of Kamala Harris from the race for the Democratic presidential nomination (2019-12-03) [iTunes | Simplecast
  • SacTown Talks by The Nooner (Gibran Maciel and Scott Lay): What a Week with guest fmr Assemblyman Mike Gatto on his homelessness initiative. (2019-11-29) [YouTube | iTunes | Simplecast]
  • SacTown Talks by The Nooner (Gibran Maciel and Scott Lay): Noel Kammermann, executive director of Loaves and Fishes (2019-11-26) [YouTube | iTunes | Simplecast


  • AD55 (Diamond Bar-Yorba Linda): updated analysis
  • updated most competitive congressional, State Senate, and State Senate races


  • CA39 (Fullerton): changed from Leans Democrat to Toss-up (2018 was 51.6%-48.4%; impeachment effect uncertainty)
  • AD55 (Diamond Bar-Yorba Linda): changed from Leans Republican to Toss-up (reg, voting behavior shift)
  • Too many changes on the district pages to list; work continues for several days and counties are still updating their filing lists (or providing them at all).


  • Filing notes
  • PG&E
  • AD42 (Yucaipa)
  • Filing deadlines and party changes
  • Duncan NoVotes
  • Ninth Circuit on means testing for non-citizens
  • Homeless students
  • Cakeday and classifieds

MONDAY EVENT NOTE: Make sure you saw my message Thursday about the change in format in Monday night's event at Capital Books with UC Davis constitutional law professor Carlton F.W. Larson! More information and registration.

Happy Saturday! Great win by Oregon in the PAC-12 championship game last night, while the Kings threw away another game. Anyway, Oregon will be playing in Pasadena on New Year's Day!

What a day yesterday. Several of us political geeks were poring over candidate filing reports in 153 races in 58 counties--well, sort of. Not all counties post their reports, often small counties with tiny staffs and elections budgets. Others, such as San Diego County, have a list up but didn't update yesterday. Of course, there's nothing going on down there for March--CA50 (although filing isn't closed yet), CA53 (closed), mayoral election, etc.).

However, Kern County also doesn't post its list until after filing and hadn't yet as of this morning. While an irritation to those of us who watch elections, it's also fundamentally unfair to expect would-be candidates to travel in the third largest county by area (8,142 sq mi) and eleventh by population (893,119) to look at physical forms in an elections office in the era of the internet. Try calling the office in the last couple of days of filing. I know a lot of great people from the county, but there is no denying that parts of it have a history of racial discrimination.

Back to the filings. It'll take the weekend and early next week to get through all of the filings, which are in more than a dozen formats. Some are dynamic while others are by office. Different information is provided among counties on the forms. But we'll shake it all out.

There are three congressional races and eight Assembly races for which the filing deadline is extended until Wednesday at 5pm because an eligible incumbent did not file. Here is the list of extended filing deadlines from the Secretary of State's Office. There were no last-minute surprises.

CA25 is not extended because there is no incumbent who did not file since Katie Hill resigned, while CA50 is extended to Wednesday because Duncan Hunter doesn't plan to resign "until after the holidays" and thus there is an incumbent who did not file for re-election. If this has confused you, I too have mixed it up a couple of times.

Here are some quick notes (*=incumbent), with a glimpse of what I'm starting to write in analysis for Nooner Premium:

  • SD11 (San Francisco): It looks like Senator Scott Wiener (D) will face Jackie Fielder (D) on the left and Erin Smith (R) on the right. Given that it's San Francisco, the two Democrats will likely face off next November in somewhat of a repeat of 2016, when Wiener defeated supervisor colleague Jane Kim (D) 51%-49%. I need not tell you that the divide in San Francisco has only increased and the "progressives" have gained power, as evident by Chesa Boudin's win in the DA race "against the establishment" last month.

    Wiener is perhaps the third most endangered incumbent in the State Senate after Scott Wilk (R) in SD21 and John M.W. Moorlach in SD37. I might re-order that top three after we see Fielder's performance as a candidate.
  • SD25 (Pasadena): In a cycle with plentiful challenges, this is the only race I've seen I have seen so far this year in which an incumbent that is not facing a challenge. In this case, Senator Anthony Portantino (D) may be benefiting from the attention to Rep. Adam Schiff (D) in the overlapping CA28. Challengers to Schiff include four Democrats, two Republicans, and one no party preference candidates.

    That doesn't mean Portantino won't have a challenger next November. Between January 6 and February 18, registered voters can file as a write-in candidate by filing certain paperwork and collecting between 40-60 valid signatures. There are no longer write-ins for voter-nominated offices in the general election after the top-two primary, but with only one candidate filing (in this case Portantino), it's an easy ticket to appear in November right next to the incumbent without paying the $1,104.59 filing fee or collecting 2,000 in-lieu signatures in lieu of the fee. 
  • AD72 (Seal Beach): All four candidates completed filing: *Tyler Diep (R), Bijan Mohseni (D), Diedre Nguyen (D), Janet Nguyen (R) making the race one of the most interesting ones in March as well as November.

Lots more after the jump...

PG&E: Late yesterday, Pacific Gas & Electric Company announced that it reached a settlement with victims of wildfires, which the investor-owned utility hopes will head off a takeover by debt holders that previously had worked with victims on a deal as well as local government leaders who were angling to change the company into customer-owned.  Here is the press release.

In the Bee, Dale Kasler reports:

The deal will pay $13.5 billion to victims of the November 2018 Camp Fire in Paradise and the October 2017 wine country fires. That includes payment to victims of the Tubbs Fire in Napa and Sonoma counties, the worst of the 2017 fires, even though state investigators had declared PG&E wasn’t at fault.

PG&E made the offer last month. It’s a mix of cash, PG&E stock and “other considerations,” according to a statement from a committee representing fire victims. The deal represents an increase of $5 billion over PG&E’s initial offer earlier in the fall.

The settlement also covers the deadly 2016 Ghost Ship Fire in Oakland, and the 2015 Butte Fire in Amador and Calaveras counties. PG&E said it won’t admit fault for the Tubbs or Ghost Ship fires.


Fire victims called the agreement their best hope for a fair settlement. “The (victims’ committee) reached this agreement with PG&E, in part, to give fire victims and other tort claimants the best chance at being fully compensated for their harms,” said Kirk Trostle, member of the victims’ committee and a fire victim, in a prepared statement.

The company is on a tight timeline to exit Chapter 11 bankruptcy by June 30, 2010 to qualify to participate in the "Wildfire Fund" to pay claims in a qualified wildfire under AB 1054 (Holden). The legislation extended an existing rate component for a set-aside available for claims for utilities that met certain safety and operational criteria. For PG&E, that includes the bankruptcy exit.

AB 1054 was the legislative compromise instead of eliminating "inverse condemnation," which the utilities have sought in both the Legislature and courts. The principle, which I have written about several times perhaps most detailed on May 3, treats the investor-owned utilities akin to governmental entities, imposing strict liability for equipment-caused property or life damage, even if negligence can not be proven. Such liability is imposed on governmental entities under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

The California approach is that such protection from governmental takings is appropriate apply to investor-owned utilities for their franchised traditional governmental services. The utilities argue that government has taxing power to address such liability but for the regulated parts of their business, they are subject to rate approval from inherently political bodies, such as the Legislature and Public Utilities Commission.

AD42 (Yucaipa): For the Desert Sun, Sam Metz looks at the scramble by Republicans to get San Jacinto mayor Andrew Kotyuk on to the March ballot after incumbent Chad Mayes switched from Republican to No Party Preference. Metz writes:

Kotyuk, 44, said the last-minute entry wasn’t something he had planned, but he felt called to duty after hearing from state party leaders and GOP chapters in Riverside and San Bernardino County. He said he was just starting to think about his campaign, but would focus on quality-of-life issues facing district residents, including education, jobs and transportation.


Mayes said he planned to govern and vote consistent with his record, but didn’t say whether he intends to caucus with Republicans following the change in his registration to "no party preference."

"As an elected official, your job isn't representing parties, it’s representing people," he said.

The 42nd Assembly District, which spans from the San Jacinto and Hemet through the Coachella Valley up to the high desert, has long been a Republican stronghold. In October, Democrats surpassed Republicans in voter registration for the first time. They now outnumber Republicans 88,119 to 87,950. 57,431 voters in the district are registered as "no party preference."

FILING DEADLINES AND PARTY CHANGES: I understand why Mayes did what he did. He was ousted as Assembly Republican Leader after voting for cap-and-trade along with four other Assembly Republicans. The district is clearly changing and while still leaning conservative, is now 22.91% no party preference voters who will likely decide the November 2020 election.

However, nobody can recall an incumbent changing parties the day before the filing deadline. As we've talked in this space about frequently, if an incumbent doesn't run for re-election, the filing deadline by five days to let other candidates time to consider a bid, come up with filing money, and gather nomination signatures.

My question is whether the same five day extension under Elections §8022 should occur if an incumbent changes political parties or disaffiliates from the one held within five days of the deadline. I would proffer that it should to give the same equal chance for other possible candidates to mobilize.

Before we jump to our partisan corners, there are likely Republicans and Democrats alike who may have liked to have considered the race following Mayes's disaffiliation over the weekend. Instead, the fourth-place finisher was picked by Republican party leaders to get someone on the ballot with the late notice. I don't know Mozingo and she gave Mayes a good challenge in November 2018, but would others have jumped in on the news about Mayes?

I don't know, but I know that party leaders shouldn't decide and the law is written to give everyone a fair shot.

So, to my legislative friends who profess fair elections, I've done the work for you and it's really only a few words to change the statute:

8022. Notwithstanding Section 8020 or any other provision of the law, if nomination documents for an incumbent state Senator, Member of the Assembly, state constitutional officer, Insurance Commissioner, Member of the United States House of Representatives, or United States Senator are not delivered by 5 p.m. on the 88th day before the direct primary election, or if such incumbent has changed political party preference following the 93rd day before the direct primary election, any person other than the person who was the incumbent on the 88th day shall have until 5 p.m. on the 83rd day before the election to file nomination documents for the elective office.

However, if the incumbent’s failure to file nomination documents is because he or she has already served the maximum number of terms permitted by the California Constitution for that office, there shall be no extension of the period for filing the nomination documents.

Easy-peasy fix, right? Who could oppose such as fair elections provision?

More after the jump...

DUNCAN NOVOTES: After stripped of House Floor voting rights and being told ironically in the circumstance by at least one colleage that he deserved time to "get his affairs in order," Charles T. Clark writes in the SDUT that Duncan D. Hunter now says that he will resign after the holidays. Apparently, he wants to hang around for the impeachment and continuing resolution votes that he can't participate in because he has convicted of a crime facing a prison sentence of greater than two years.

You may think I'm being cruel toward his staff, but congressional and legislative staff remain on payroll working for the constituents of the district until a successor is elected. So, nobody would be affected by a quick resignation other than the felon himself.

Of course, he may not be welcome anywhere for Christmas other than places where he's getting his affairs in order.

I shouldn't be so hard on Duncan, as it's his Cakeday. Under House Rule XXIII 10(a), however, he can neither vote or be recognized below for such.

MEANS TESTING FOR NONCITIZENS: Yesterday, a three-judge panel of the Ninth District Court of Appeals held that the Trump Administration's proposal to means test noncitizens for legal residency and work permits has enough legal questions to issue a stay of the preliminary injunctions granted by two district courts. The states and localities--including California, San Francisco, and Santa Clara counties--challenge means testing on Fifth Amendment Due Process and Administrative Procedure Act grounds.

The plaintiffs (appelees) in the case will likely seek en banc review of the decision by all sitting judges of the Ninth Circuit and the issue will almost certainly go to the United States Supreme Court.

I think we have another issue to talk about with Professor Larson on Monday night!

HOMELESS STUDENTS: In the Bee, Hannah Wiley reports on a new analysis by the California Student Aid Commission looking at the impact on demographics and success of college students facing homelessness. Wiley writes:

California’s Black and Hispanic college students are most likely to face homelessness while in school, according to a new California Student Aid Commission analysis.

Thirty-five percent of the students surveyed reported an experience with homelessness, according to the California Student Aid Commission’s 2018-2019 Student Expenses and Resource Survey.

More than half of them, 61 percent, were either black or Hispanic, despite representing only 49 percent of the students surveyed.

Meanwhile, Steve Lopez looks at how students on California's campuses are feeding their peers with food insecurity.

CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Senator Jim BeallOdysseus BostickSara Bachez Campos, Julia Spiess Lewis, and Kassy Edgington Perry!


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