Around The Capitol

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  • Political Breakdown (Scott Shafer and Marisa Lagos @ KQED): SF Chron's Joe Garofoli and KQED's Guy Marzorati join Scott and Marisa for a wrap on the year in California political news (2019-12-19)
  • Gimme Shelter (Matt Levin and Liam Dillon): Housing storylines to watch in 2020, with former state housing head Ben Metcalf (2019-12-17)
  • Then There's California (Senate Democratic Caucus): Senator Connie Leyva (D-Ontario) and Jessy Morales discuss SB 24, the 'College Student Right to Access Act,'...and Jessy shares her own, impactful abortion story. (2019-12-17)
  • Look West (Assembly Democratic Caucus): Former San Francisco 49er George Visger on youth and football safety (2019-12-17)
  • Nooner Conversations (Scott Lay): GOP political consultant Mike Madrid on the state of the presidential race in California [Apple Podcasts | Simplecast] (2019-12-16)



  • The draft candidate lists for Congress, State Senate, and State Assembly are out and updates to the district pages are ongoing (and super time-consuming). The official candidate list will be published by the Secretary of State on December 26.



  • Candidate filings final today
  • Money matters - MMA, AB 5, and a typo--purposeful or otherwise
  • Cakeday, and new classifieds

The Nooner for Thursday, December 26, 2019, presented by SYASL Partners 

Happy Kwanzaa!

Happy Boxing Day! Yeah, we all have a crapload of boxes to break down and cram into our recycling bins as we ponder what the Brits meant by that day, which is celebrated in many former parts of the British Empire. Even Canadians who observe it are like, "It's a another day off, eh? Enjoy working and reading your Twitterific President, Uncle Sammie Boys!"

Anyway, I'm back in the Nooner Global HQ today and after arriving home from Portland last night I was heartbroken that the elves on the shelves didn't clean my apartment while away for the week. I shouldn't have used independent contractors. To prove that I don't take sides, I took an Uber to the airport last Thursday and a taxi from the airport last night. I'm ready to objectively cover the continued fight this year.

CANDIDATE LISTS: Later today, we will get the final candidate lists from the Secretary of State's office for the 153 congressional and state legislative offices on the March 3 ballot. There have been some minor changes since they were posted last Friday, but it appears nobody has challenged Young Turks founder Cenk Uyger's ballot designation as a "Progressive Journalist" in his CA25 bid or it was challenged and sustained.

What office should I run for as "Snarky Nonpartisan Pseudo-Journalist"?

All in the game, yo'.

MONEY MATTERS - ALL IN THE NAME, YO': At the aeropuerto yesterday waiting for my flight, I checked to see if any Late Contribution Reports ("LCRs") were filed with the Secretary of State on Christmas Day. Only five were filed compared to 84 on 12/24. Most were standard fare along with a $25,000 contribution to an independent expenditure campaign for Senator Holly Mitchell's campaign for Los Angeles County supervisor by liberal philanthropist Stephen Silberstein.

Another one of the five, however, did catch my eye. Late on Christmas Day, "ZUFFIA, LLC" of Las Vegas reported thirty-six contributions totalling $62,100.

Let's look at who received Christmas/Hanukkah gifts yesterday!

WALDRON FOR ASSEMBLY 2020 SAN DIEGO $2,500 12/20/19 12/25/19
DAVID CHIU FOR ASSEMBLY 2020 SAN FRANCISCO $1,000 12/20/19 12/25/19
RE-ELECT SENATOR ATKINS 2020 ENCINITAS $4,700 12/20/19 12/25/19
RENDON FOR ASSEMBLY 2020 SACRAMENTO $4,700 12/20/19 12/25/19
GROVE FOR SENATE 2022 SAN RAFAEL $2,500 12/20/19 12/25/19
JESSE GABRIEL FOR ASSEMBLY 2020 LOS ANGELES $1,000 12/20/19 12/25/19
BILL BROUGH STATE ASSEMBLY 2020 IRVINE $1,500 12/20/19 12/25/19
TOM DALY FOR ASSEMBLY 2020 SACRAMENTO $1,500 12/20/19 12/25/19
AUTUMN BURKE FOR ASSEMBLY 2020 LOS ANGELES $1,500 12/20/19 12/25/19
PHILLIP CHEN FOR ASSEMBLY 2020 SACRAMENTO $1,500 12/20/19 12/25/19
PHIL TING FOR ASSEMBLY 2020 SACRAMENTO $1,500 12/20/19 12/25/19
LAURA FRIEDMAN FOR ASSEMBLY 2020 ENCINO $1,500 12/20/19 12/25/19
SANTIAGO FOR ASSEMBLY 2020 LONG BEACH $1,500 12/20/19 12/25/19
ROB BONTA FOR ASSEMBLY 2020 ALAMEDA $1,200 12/20/19 12/25/19
BLOOM FOR ASSEMBLY 2020 LONG BEACH $1,500 12/20/19 12/25/19
IRWIN FOR ASSEMBLY 2020 SACRAMENTO $1,500 12/20/19 12/25/19
ASH KALRA FOR ASSEMBLY 2020 NOVATO $1,500 12/20/19 12/25/19
GRAY FOR ASSEMBLY 2020 SACRAMENTO $1,500 12/20/19 12/25/19
TIM GRAYSON FOR ASSEMBLY 2020 SACRAMENTO $1,500 12/20/19 12/25/19
HEATH FLORA FOR ASSEMBLY 2020 HILMAR $1,500 12/20/19 12/25/19
JIM FRAZIER FOR ASSEMBLY 2020 ROSEVILLE $1,500 12/20/19 12/25/19
JIM COOPER FOR ASSEMBLY 2020 SACRAMENTO $1,500 12/20/19 12/25/19
BLANCA RUBIO FOR ASSEMBLY 2020 SACRAMENTO $1,500 12/20/19 12/25/19
STEVEN BRADFORD FOR SENATE 2020 LOS ANGELES $1,500 12/20/19 12/25/19
LING LING CHANG FOR SENATE 2020 HILMAR $1,500 12/20/19 12/25/19
GLAZER FOR SENATE 2020 ORINDA $1,500 12/20/19 12/25/19
JERRY HILL FOR ASSEMBLY 2020 BURLINGAME $1,500 12/20/19 12/25/19
BILL DODD FOR SENATE 2020 SACRAMENTO $1,500 12/20/19 12/25/19
COLONEL (RET.) TOM UMBERG FOR SENATE 2022 LONG BEACH $1,500 12/20/19 12/25/19
SUSAN RUBIO FOR SENATE 2022 SACRAMENTO $1,500 12/20/19 12/25/19

First off, that's a wild, non-ideological collection of folks. You don't find Ash Kalra (D-Fremont) and Bill Brough (R-Dana Point) on a common contributor list very often.

Sorry, "Ceceleoia Aguilar-Curry" (Cecilia Aguiar-Curry), that's how they submitted it. But, that's not their only problem with spelling, which I'll get to below.

Cecilia Aguiar-Curry

I've been watching daily contributions since 2003 when I created "Recall Watch" during the election that led to Arnold Schwarzenegger's governorship. That led to ElectionTrack, the site I had for a long time that displayed the LCRs as they came, provided alerts, and a nightly email summary of contributions that many of you old skoolers received at 11:59pm nightly.

I still have the domain, but the 2014 restructuring of the Cal-Access site broke it and I just haven't had time to recode it nor the money to hire someone to do so. I miss it myself. That was a cool bot and the way I monitor the LSRs daily is far more laborious. 

Here's what ElectionTrack looked like in its heyday in 2012, courtesy of the Wayback Machine. That was all automated and was just coding I would do late at night and in airports as a hobby in my previous life (along with way too much drinking).

Anyway, the point of that is that I have a ridiculously encyclopedic knowledge of the money players in California politics. Beyond politics, it now helps me understand policy dynamics as I expanded my subject areas well beyond a higher education-focused world.

But, "ZUFFIA, LLC" was a new one to me, but it appears as so just because I hadn't pursued it before. The company gave $51,400 in the 2017-18 cycle, the first time it appears to have entered California politics.

So, who are they? Of course I had to turn to Google and some other sources I regularly use. I tried lots of searches to find nada. I next went to the Nevada Secretary of State's corporate filing system. No luck there for "ZUFFIA."

Of course, "ZUFFIA LLC" appears to really be "ZUFFA LLC," a private sports promotion company that owns mixed martial arts brands and previously owned the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC). To be candid, it would take me a couple of days to unravel all of the ownership interests here, which includes casino executives.

IMPORTANT LEGAL NOTE: If there really is a different "ZUFFIA" that surfaces after I post this, I'll send out an immediate clarification. I've taken all of my best efforts with search engines and the Nevada Secretary of State to assure the veracity of this conclusion. The same treasurer, a DC-based campaign finance attorney appears on the same documents for both state and federal filings but was not available to confirm this morning.

ZUFFIA LLC is under FPPC ID 1413671, while ZUFFA is under 1296314. There are no filings under the ZUFFA ID since the year-end statement for 2016. Then, on October 30, 2018, ZUFFIA popped up with twenty-three contributions and a new Major Donor ID. "ZUFFA" reports lobbying activity, while "ZUFFIA" does not. A Federal Elections Commission search only finds ZUFFA.

In the end, it came down to a "typo" that has been around in the California Secretary of State's campaign filing system. Purposeful or not? We'll see how quickly this apparent reporting mess gets cleaned up.

Yes, I am the king of rabbit holes, which can take me on an Alice-like adventure or an elaborate maze that leads to an ending as satisfactory as that of Seinfeld.

I would put this one in the adventure category, particularly when the picture show plays out on Christmas Day.

So, ZUFFA aka ZUFFIA is a Vegas-based company. What do they want from California politicians? Well, for that, we turn to ZUFFA's lobbying reports. The company is represented here by the lobbying powerhouse Platinum Advisors led by Darius Anderson.

There are only two bills reported in activity this year--AB 5 (Gonzalez) and AB 1523 (Low).  If you just fell off the turnip truck, AB 5 was the bill to codify the decision of the California Supreme Court in Dynamex v. Superior Court, limiting how companies can categorize someone performing work as an independent contractor. The bill is politically weird, as all of business wanted something codified to limit the broad, one-size-fits-all reach of Dynamex, but interests emerged as winners or losers either with cogent arguments, political influence, or a combination thereof.

AB 1523 was not nearly as high-profile as AB 5, which along with vaccinations, was among the highest visibility this year. From the floor analysis, the bill signed by Governor Newsom on October 2 extends the operation of the California State Athletic Commission until January 1, 2024, and authorizes the Commission to hire a chief athletic inspector and assistant chief athletic inspector.

Obviously, AB 5 affects "performers" in many creative and athletic arenas and we know that will be a major issue next year as I've written about extensively. It's a lobbying bonanza and we will see plentiful bills introduced after the Legislature returns January 6. ZUFFA, which sponsors fights, obviously doesn't want the liability of having fighters considered employees--in and out of the ring.

From my understanding, they did not get an exemption in AB 5 and will be looking for one in 2020. Therefore, it's time to "reload" the political ammo. Say what you will--it just may be the gift that keeps on giving to both candidates and lobbyists and while ZUFFA and mixed martial arts is today's example because of yesterday's filing, it is playing across many industries.

A cursory glance of the strangely broad list of legislators include several pro-union legislators who are strongly in favor a strong limit to exemptions to AB 5 but also have event centers in their districts that host MMA events and thus likely an ear for ZUFFA.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Let your wallets fill, 
Next year we'll be back in the fight...

All in the game, yo'. And, all in the name, yo'.

The second half of the AB 5 game starts again in eleven days. For now, it's the halftime show and the gift-giving season.

You can't make this ish up that the 36 contributions totaling $62,100 were given on 12/20 and reported at 4:53pm on Christmas Day.

AB 1523 was approved on consent with no votes in opposition and no positions registered in the various committee and floor analyses. It's unclear whether ZUFFA is okay with the new chief athletic inspector or not, but you can understand why they are interested. From the Senate Floor analysis:

The [State Athletic] Commission’s primary function is to protect the public by licensing and regulating combat sporting events. As a result it has sole jurisdiction over all competitions featuring martial arts like boxing, wrestling, and other forms of unarmed fighting. While combat sports may not pose a risk to the public in the way other licensed professions might, state regulation minimizes the inherent risk of harm to its participants, particularly those who may be untrained or would be mismatched. To that end, the Commission licenses or approves anyone that is involved in a combat sporting event. This includes the fighters, their trainers, their managers, their seconds (corner), the promoters, matchmakers, officials, and the ringside physicians. It also establishes the requirements for each license, approves the format of the competition, staffs the events, investigates complaints, and enforces applicable laws by issuing fines and suspending or revoking licenses.

Obviously, the actions of the State Athletic Commission literally can make or break ZUFFA's events in the State of California. For those reasons, the matter will continue to be of interest in both the statutory and regulatory arena and thus they will likely continue to play in California politics for that alone.

The Nooner. We're just a little community who comes together to talk about politics and policy and when we can talk the intersection thereof. If you pay for other publications and haven't read a story like this in awhile, I hope you'll support my work, even if for just a one-month kick-in of $5.

How did you spend your Christmas night?


Cakeday and new Classifieds after the jump... 


Probolsky Research


CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Jonathan Lyens, Gary Patton, and Tiffani Sharp!


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]

Jobs with Expanding Statewide Non-Profit to #EndPoverty

Golden State Opportunity is hiring multiple positions including Field Director, Field Organizers, Operations Assistant, Program Manager, Social Video Producer and part-time mobile organizers.

GSO is a ground breaking non-profit that uses the tools and strategies of political campaigns to reach low-income workers and families to build financial resiliency and security.

Join our growing team and be a part of the most effective anti-poverty organization in the country. Please go to our website for more details.

UDW/AFSCME Local 3930: Communications Consultant

UDW/AFSCME Local 3930, representing 116,000 In Home Supportive Services (IHSS) providers around the state, seeks proposals from an experienced consultant to assist with external communications efforts around our 2020 statewide legislative and local collective bargaining campaigns.

The consultant will work closely with UDW’s Communications Director and staff, and may also work with the Legislative Director and Internal Operations Director.

Consultants may respond to one or both sections of the RFP.

Click here for the full position description and qualifications sought.

CTBA Back to Session Bash XV - 5 p.m. - 1:00 a.m

The biggest political event of the year, The Back to Session Bash, returns on Thursday 1/16 to celebrate its 15th year anniversary. Invitees will enjoy cigars, bourbon, Moscow Mule, Whiteclaws, rosé and cupcake bars; food by Cafeteria 15L; and more. You won't want to miss our live musical guests. By invitation only. Questions: Monique Vieira Huestis at

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:

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: