Around The Capitol

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  • Nooner Conversations (Scott Lay): UC Davis Law professor Carlton F.W. Larson book discussion on constitutional law, impeachment, and other issues at Capital Books (2019-12-09)
  • SacTownTalks (Gibran Maciel): Ray LeBov on Lobbying 101 [YouTube | iTunes | Simplecast] (2019-12-09)
  • 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)
  • Capitol Weekly Podcast (John Howard and Tim Foster): Paul Mitchell on what went wrong with Kamala Harris's presidential campaign (2019-12-04)


  • I'm working on several more analyses and hope to have a couple done by tomorrow.
  • recent new analysis for AD55 (Diamond Bar-Yorba Linda), AD73 (South Orange County), and AD77 (N. San Diego) 


  • AD57 (Whittier)
  • Sister Act 3
  • AD72 (Fountain Valley-Garden Grove-Westminster)
  • Lock them up! Take their money!
  • Speaking of restraining orders...
  • Organics
  • Cakeday and classifieds

¡Buenos dias! This has been a week of early mornings, even by my standards. Monday was 3:30am for writing, impeachment hearings, and prep for the event at Capital Books (audio). Yesterday, it was 4:45 for writing and impeachment hearings.

Today, there was a far higher calling, even though we have more impeachment hearings occurring as I type. It's dia de la virgen de guadalupe, Mexico's patron saint, the Virgin Mary! It's the biggest day of the year for many Catholic churches with large Mexican congregations. It's 6am and as I'm typing, I can hear the drums of the Aztecan dancers two blocks away. For me, it meant getting up at 4:45 to make coffee and go over and pick up tamales from one of my favorite street vendors.

Last night was a bacon-wrapped hot link with fresh guac, eloté, and churros. I might repeat that for dinner tonight, or perhaps a bowl of menudo. My favorite hot dog vendor, who is here every Sunday, has been up all night, and will be there until 8pm tonight. His wife and son, who were there last night and will be back, are napping. He's in a great mood though, as are the people lining the street to watch the dancers and drink Mexican hot chocolate.

I so need a paleo Whole30 after this.

I have a bunch more pics and a couple of short videos from my pre-dawn food and culture stroll that I'll post to my Instagram later.

As I was walking along T Street this morningand smelling the fare, I was thinking about lunch . But, there's a PPIC lunch today with California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye. Of course, I want to be there and hear her take on the court and see if she says anything about Dynamex in particular.

I don't ask questions at these, except some of the policy or poll-specific smaller gatherings. That said, I hope someone asks why SCOCAL unanimously upended the employment and political worlds with an overly broad ruling in Dynamex, leading to AB 5, lawsuits, and ballot measures. They could have had a narrow finding that certified the case fact-specific to Dynamex West Inc. (now owned by Quebecois TFI International) and remanded it to LA Superior, which was actually the defendent in the case over class certification.

AD57 (Whittier): Entering this election cycle, we never would have thought that one of the most fascinating races in March 3 would be an Assembly district with an incumbent southeast of downtown Los Angeles. However, Assembly Majority Leader Ian C. Calderon announced that he would not be running for re-election as his third child is on the way and he and his wife will have three young children and he wants to enjoy these years and be a father. He tells me he has not accepted a job offer with the Motion Pictures Association, despite rumors.

Let's look at the candidates that completed filing by last night's 5pm deadline:

  • Josué Alvarado (D) - Councilmember, Whittier
  • Lisa Calderon (D) - Businesswoman/Mom
  • Primo Castro (D) - Cancer Patient Advocate
  • Jessica Martinez (R) - Educator
  • Gary Mendez (D) - Governing Boardmember, Rio Hondo Community College District, Area 4
  • Sylvia Rubio (D) - Businesswoman/Community Representative
  • Dora Sandoval (D) - Board Member, Little Lake City School District
  • Vanessa Tyson (D) - Professor/Author/Researcher
  • Oscar Valladares (D) - Community College Trustee

One clarification directly from Ian Calderon -- he fully supports his stepmother, Lisa Calderon, in the race for his successor.

The green candidate didn't file and neither did Whittier councilmember Henry Bouchon, leaving only one Whittier councilmember in the race--Josué Alvarado.

This is a safe Democratic seat. Donald Trump received 28.4% of the vote there in 2016. However, there is one Republican and eight Democrats. You can be a law school grad with only the most rudimentary abilities in math to understand that this race will be decided in 82 days at the March 3 primary election.

I wrote about the latest clash between the Calderons and Rubios on Thursday and I need not repeat myself completely. There have been updates to what I wrote, reflected above here today.

For the short recap, 2020 AD57 candidate Lisa Calderon is (or was) an Edison governmental relations professional who is former Assembly member and State Senator Chuck Calderon's wife and Ian Calderon's stepmother. Chuck's brothers--former Assembly member and State Senator Ron and Assembly member Tom--both served time in federal prison following their legislative service on bribery-related charges. Ian has been seen as clean as a whistle and lots of folks around the Capitol are sincerely sad to see him go but also happy he's doing it for the right reasons.

Candidate Sylvia Rubio is the sister of second-term Assemblymember Blanca Rubio and first-term State Senator Susan Rubio. If elected, they would be the first legislative sibling hat trick.

In a messy divorce before she was in the State Senate, Senator Susan Rubio presented evidence of domestic violence at the hand of her then-husband Roger Hernandez, who was serving in the Assembly at the time. She was granted a restraining order and Hernandez, he was stripped of committee assignments and took a leave of absence. He was term-limited in the Assembly and the State Senate seat was occupied by Tony Mendoza. No, we don't need to get into the Mendoza story today as it is not material. Hernandez filed to challenge Grace Napolitano seat, gained a spot in the general, and then ended his campaign.

The restraining order that had been granted requiring Hernandez to stay 100 feet away from Susan Rubio was set to expire July 1, 2019. It was recently extended. Representing Hernandez in that matter was Chuck Calderon (a fellow graduate of mine from UC Davis School of Law).

That's what connects the two biggest political dynasties of my 27 years in politics.

Confused? I made a chart for you.

While the "story" is about Lisa Calderon and Sylvia Rubio, there are other candidates in the race who should not be dismissed and I'm working on gathering information for the Nooner Premium analysis. I have zero clue as to how to analyze this one yet, and you know I'm not one to say that often. I'll be watching the large contribution reports that come in and of course the fundraising numbers for the period closing December 31, with reports due by January 31. This super early primary and the timeline for campaign reporting leaves us flying blind.

The question is whether the special interests will divide and focus on Lisa Calderon and Sylvia Rubio. If so, it would look a lot like the SD22 race that resulted in Senator Susan Rubio over fellow Democrat and former Assembly member Mike Eng in 2018. It's foreseeable that labor and trial lawyers would get behind Calderon and business behind Sylvia Rubio. Then again, Lisa Calderon has been working for Edison.

There are a lot of other twists that several of us have talked about privately in DMs, etc... Believe it or not, I hold back significantly with boundaries I won't cross publicly.

SISTER ACT 3: I figured that this deserved its own header. Yesterday, Sylvia Rubio reported some early Navidad gifts from her sisters. She reported receiving $4,700 from Assembly woman Blanca and $9,400 from Senator Susan. The limit for 2020 is $4,700 each from the primary and general, but of course general money can be returned should a candidate not advance past March 3. Susan is not up for re-election until 2022.

AD72 (Fountain Valley, Garden Grove, Westminster): In another fascinating March 3 primary with former State Senator Janet Nguyen (R) challenging Assembly member Tyler Diep (R) and Democrats Garden Grove councilmember Diedre Nguyen and attorney Bijan Mohseni, there was a question as to whether Janet would actually complete filing. She did last Friday.

The challenge by Janet of Tyler is a double-duel. There's the split within the Vietnamese community and Garden Grove v. Westminster. Conservative Republicans also don't trust Tyler and claim he's a squish, citing votes where he joined Democrats.

I know generally of the split among Vietnamese-Americans and the cities, particularly Republican, and it happens in San Jose among Vietnamese Democrats. However, I don't yet fully understand it completely although am talking to several folks.

However, there is a debate between Republicans representing moderate or possibly swing districts and "true" anti-tax conservatives, who believe the former are Republicans in name only (RINOs). I respect both sides and it's not my job to say who is right. Some of my most loyal readers and Premium supporters are in both categories.

All I can say is that it hasn't worked out well in the last couple of election cycles. The last time it really worked well was riding on the wagon of Newt Gingrich's Contract with America in 1994, when Assembly Republicans gained control of the house for the second year of the two-year session (after Willie Brown held on through registered Republican proxies of Doris Allen and Brian Setencich for the first year). Since then, it's been downhill.

I wrote Sunday in detail on what happened with the Republicans who voted for cap-and-trade, which led to Chad Mayes's ouster as Assembly Republican Leader and last week's disaffiliation from the Republican Party. The eight--7 and the Assembly and 1 in the Senate--were called turncoats as having voted for "tax increases" on business in the manner of tradeable emissions permits. Those permits in turn funded things such as the Clean Vehicle Rebate Program, which is quite popular for folks gobbling up the California-made Tesla's.

Of course, as I wrote, three of the seven reductions in the Assembly GOP caucus voted against the cap-and-trade extension. Dante Acosta and Matthew Harper were defeated and Brian Maeinschein changed to the Democratic Party in January.

In other words, be careful what you wish for. This is in no way me taking sides in AD72 but just writing about interesting stories.

Why am I writing about this today?

Janet Nguyen's first large contribution, reported yesterday, is the primary max of $4,700 from former Assembly Republican Leader Scott Baugh, who was also previously the chair of the Orange County Republican Party.

Baugh was elected to the Assembly in the recall election of the late Doris Allen, who had aligned with Democrats to serve as Assembly Speaker. In the recall election's second question--"If recalled, who should replace Doris Allen?," Republicans feared that Huntington Beach councilmember Linda Moulton-Patterson (D) woud capture the seat because it's the top-vote getter and does not proceed to a runoff.

What could the Republicans do to stop Moulton-Patterson from capturing the one seat that would keep Curt Pringle (R) of the neighboring district from ascending to the speakership? After all, Baugh would be the deciding vote!

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher's campaign manager Rhonda Carmony--who he subsquently married in 1997--recruited Democrat Laurie Campbell, a friend of Baugh's, for the seat to split the vote among Democrats. Carmony and associates, including staff for Pringle later admitted they illegally circulated petitions for Campbell with the purpose of helping Baugh's election.

Later, Carmony and associates pleaded guilty to fraudulently circulating documents. Rohrabacher was fined. Baugh was charged, but the charges were dropped.

In the process, however, Baugh was elected in 1995 in the successful recall of Allen. He would serve until forced out by term limits in 2000, but not before serving as Assembly Republican Leader from 1999-2000.

Why am I bringing all of this up? Is Scott (not Baugh) Lay's crazy brain on a tamale-fueled stroll down memory lane?


Yesterday's first filing by Janet Nguyen with a maximum contribution for the March 3 primary to try to take out Diep is, you guessed it, from now-political consultant Scott Baugh.

The districts have changed both in lines and demographics. The 1995 district had all up Huntington Beach and stretched north to Cypress. The current AD72 has a portion of Huntington Beach and instead of Cypress stretches to the Vietnamese and Korean communities of Garden Grove and Westminster.

The candidates to succeed Doris Allen (and Allen herself)? All white.

The candidates for AD72 in 2020 are two Vietnamese Republicans, a Vietnamese Democrat, and a Democrat whose father immigrated from Iran and mother is from Mexico.

Since Paul Mitchell and I met just south of that Allen district at Orange Coast College in 1992, the county's demographics has changed dramatically. Latino citizen voting-age population has grown significantly and the Vietnamese population that were "Nixon Republicans" because of the war has shifted as the succeeding generation has grown up in the United States, many of whom have gone to college here.

That's bearing itself out in elections and that's why Republicans need to be really concerned about what is happening in AD72 next year.

Yes, I do have a crazy brain.

I really should have saved this for Nooner Premium subscribers, and I apologize to them for sharing it with everyone. It's just too fascinating of a story.

I've written a lot this story today with many sources ranging from news story and a few books. I usually try to link to or otherwise provide furthere explanations, citations and certainly would if this were an article or book. But, readers are asking for fewer words and we're over 3,000 today.

If you have questions about anything, feel free to ask. If you have corrections, please send them and please review DEPT OF CORRECTIONS below Cakeday when it appears. I make mistakes and never want them uncorrected.

If you like these types of stories and more in-depth analysis than simple recitations of other news articles, I hope you'll pay for it. You can start with as little as $5 if this you enjoyed this as much as that venti gingerbread latte. 

A couple more items and Cakeday after the jump...

LOCK THEM UP! TAKE THEIR CASH! On September 11 of this year, the Assembly voted 65-11 on AB 32 to phase out the state's use of private, for-profit detention facilities through 2028. Beginning in 2020, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is prohibited from entering into new or extending existing contracts with such facilities, except to comply with court-ordered population caps at state-operated facilities.

Yesterday, I saw a contribution of $1,500 (chump change) from The Geo Group to Assembly member Adam Gray (D-Merced). From The Geo Group's website:

GEO provides complementary, turnkey solutions for numerous government partners worldwide across a spectrum of diversified correctional and community reentry services. From the development of state-of-the-art facilities and the provision of management services and evidence-based rehabilitation to the post-release reintegration and supervision of individuals in the community, GEO offers fully diversified, cost-effective services that deliver enhanced quality and improved outcomes.

The great biographer Lou Cannon wrote in WaPo on August 6, 1987 about legendary speaker Jesse "Big Daddy" Unruh following Unruh's August 4 death:

Instructing freshman assemblymen on how legislators were supposed to behave in lobby-ridden Sacramento, Unruh would say, "If you can't eat their food, drink their booze, screw their women and then vote against them, you have no business being up here." This doctrine formed the core of Unruh's political theology. He knew that the lobbyists were an eternal fact of life. He believed that the way to deal with them was to accept this fact and use their resources to advance his own agenda.

Adam Gray voted for AB 32 to phase-out the state's use of private detention facilities.

And, yes, I don't think a Speaker could get away with the language Unruh used as Speaker between 1961 and 1969 and I for one am happy for that. Nevertheless, the conclusion applies fifty years later.

SPEAKING OF RESTRAINING ORDERS... Darrell Smith reports in the Bee that on December 6, a Sacramento Superior Court judge granted a restraining order prohibiting anti-VAXX activist Kenneth Austin Bennett from being approaching within a football field of State Senator Dr. Richard Pan, his home, vehicle, office, or committee offices. Smith writes:

On Aug. 21, the fight over vaccination took on a bizarre, new dimension when Bennett approached Pan and Bay Area Assemblyman Ash Kalra, D-San Jose, on L Street as they walked to an Asian Pacific Islander Caucus event at Frank Fat’s restaurant in downtown Sacramento.

Bennett had history with Pan, filing a petition in May to recall the senator. He was a self-described challenger to Pan in 2018, but did not qualify for the November ballot that year.

On the day of the attack, Bennett pointed a cellphone at Pan, challenged his stance on vaccine safety and streamed their exchange on Facebook before shoving the senator in the back.

Pan was not hurt, but described the contact in an interview with Sacramento police after the incident as detailed in a police report contained in the declaration.

The shove in front of Frank Fat's happened three weeks before the last night of this year's legislative session, when blood fell from the Senate gallery to the floor and pushed the end of the year from midnight September 13 to 3am September 14. That night and morning, Bennett must have been thinking--as the kids say "I was the OG." That's "original gangsta" for the home-gamers.

My measuring tape doesn't extend 100 yards, but I'm pretty sure Bennett can't have coffee at Chicory or a drink at the Hyatt, let alone step foot inside the Capitol.

Okay, I really need to hop in the shower and go listen to Chief Justice Tani!

CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Derek Cressman and Ed Espinoza!


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]

California State University: Legislative Administrative Assistant (Sacramento)

Join our team at the California State University, Office of the Chancellor, and make a difference in providing access to higher education. We are currently seeking experienced candidates for the position of Legislative Administrative Assistant. Under the general direction of the Director of State Relations the Legislative Administrative Assistant will perform tasks and duties as assigned. Resumes will be accepted until December 20, 2019 or until job posting is removed. For full application instructions and position description, visit EOE/AA

UCOP State Govt. Relations: Executive Assistant

The University of California Office of the President is seeking an Executive Assistant in its State Government Relations (SGR) office in Sacramento. Primary responsibility for managing SGR AVP/Director’s calendar, scheduling legislative visits, making staff travel arrangements, and writing/editing sensitive materials. Job requires demonstrated experience planning and coordinating logistics, strong organizational skills, and excellent written/editorial skills. Bachelor’s degree and 3-4 years of experience (or equivalent combination of education and experience) in executive assistant role in either the Capitol or in large academic or governmental organization preferred. Salary commensurate with experience. Apply HERE.

California Council on Science and Technology: Senior Program Associate

CCST is seeking a Senior Program Associate to focus on partner engagement and enhance long-lasting, meaningful impact in the California academic and research communities by building and deepening the relationships and strategic partnerships necessary to bring important research and ideas directly from the scientific community to California decision makers. The CCST Senior Program Associate will also manage the performance of key CCST programs and projects including but not limited to updating the CCST Federal Labs Impact Report, coordinating CCST’s annual site visit, and developing and engaging with the CCST Advisory Panel. Full job description can be found on our website.

California Council on Science and Technology: Science Fellows Program Manager

CCST is seeking a Science Fellows Program Manager to manage all aspects of the CCST Policy Fellowship Program by establishing program goals and processes; researching, interpreting and applying program and contract guidelines and requirements; formulating strategies; administrating resources; and continually innovating all aspects of the program. The Program Manager will need to use advanced concepts and organization objectives to resolve complex issues and/or rapidly unfolding events and issues in a constantly changing environment. This position reports directly to the Deputy Director of CCST. Full job description can be found on our website.

Sacramento City Unified School District: Chief Communications Officer

The Sacramento City Unified School District is seeking candidates for the position of Chief Communications Officer. The responsibilities include:

  • Provide leadership and direction for the district’s public relations and marketing programs, cable television operation, media relations, employee communications, and corporate and governmental relations on a local, state, and national basis. Serve as public relations counsel to the Superintendent, Superintendent’s Cabinet, and Executive Staff, and serve as a liaison between the press/media and the district. Communicate the district’s vision, mission, goals, objectives, results, and challenges to parents and the community.
  • Plan, develop, and maintain effective processes and channels of communication with internal and external audiences. Lead the development and delivery of news to broadcast, print, and online media to create media coverage of the school district on a daily basis. Develop and maintain brand image, positioning, and messaging for SCUSD.

Full description, qualifications, compensation range, and application information:

Deadline: January 5, 2020

OPEN POSITION: Public Affairs & Community Engagement Rep – California School Boards Association

4 New positions: Serve as CSBA’s liaison to local schools and county boards of education, key decision makers, and the community-at-large. Execute grassroots strategies designed to build relationships with, train, and mobilize local school board members and communities to advance CSBA’s legislative and statewide ballot measure advocacy priorities. Coordinates and executes fundraising events.
Openings in the following locations: North LA/Ventura, South San Joaquin, SF Bay Area, and North Coast. Salary based on experience.
To apply, please visit:


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