Around The Capitol

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  • SacTown Talks (Gibran Maciel): What a Week with Ed Howard and an Assemblymember Jim Wood call-in [YouTube | Simplecast | iTunes] (2019-01-13)
  • Political Breakdown (Scott Shafer and Marisa Lagos at KQED): Assembly Budget Chair Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) (2019-01-10)
  • Capitol Weekly PodcastReporter Scott Soriano joins John Howard and Tim foster to talk about his detailed, three-part series in Capitol Weekly on California’s rape crisis centers. (2020-01-09)
  • Political Breakdown (Scott Shafer at KQED): Inside the Political Mind of Jerry Brown -first of an eight-part series (2019-01-09)


MONEY MATTERS: Particularly interesting campaign finance transactions in the last 24 hours. (Independent expenditures, big ballot measure dough, and pass-through contributions.)

  • SD07 (Contra Costa County): The California Dental Association added $100,000 to the independent expenditure committee to boost Senator Steve Glazer (D-Orinda). On Saturday, I wrote that the committee was opened with $100k from the California Medical Association and $50k from the Hospitals and Health Plans. They're trying to get him to to capture a large enough share of the vote to keep labor-backed fellow Dem Marisola Rubio off the November ballot.
  • AD45 (West San Fernando Valley): Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel picks up $4,700 from the GFC Courage Committee -- San Fernando Valley Chapter (see Sunday's Nooner for the interesting story about what GFC is)
  • AD74 (Huntington Beach-Irvine): Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris picks up $4,700 from the GFC Courage Committee -- San Fernando Valley Chapter (ditto)

ATCpro UPDATES (formerly Nooner Premium):

  • Posted final downloadable candidate list for March 3 primary (subscriber home page)
  • First weekly ATCpro update coming Friday through election 

The Nooner for Tuesday, January 14, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners

  • Nooner/ATC improvements
  • Poll position, prez style
  • Homelessness
  • Evan Low's "new political adventure"
  • Cakeday and new classifieds 

Happy Taco Tuesday folks! As I'm tackling another Whole30 to compensate for my tamale overload through the holidays (I'm one big ole masa ball right now), I need to go pick up some bibb lettuce for debate night carnitas with a great pork shoulder I cooked Sunday that I got from Riverdog Farm at farmers market, which is one of my favorite Capay Valley farms. I know many other Sac-based Nooner readers are also fans as I've bumped shoulders there with you scrambling for those limited first-of-the-season asparagus stalks that we're all waiting for.

The debate from Des Moines is 6pm PST on CNN and on stage from inside-out will be Biden, Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, and Steyer.

As I wrote to you in December, I had to pull back from SacTownTalks to focus on tackling several Nooner/AroundTheCapitol issues as that's what pays my bills. Gibran continues to do great work and has a new What a Week episode as listed under Recent Pods above. I'll continue to do Nooner Conversations as time allows, but my first priority is writing and data.

Here are some of the things I've been working on in the New Year beyond the words you see in this space:

  • I finally have my email address working again, which was both very complicated and very simple. Thank you to former Assemblymember Eric Linder for his help by sharing our common experiences with the issues on similar platforms. 
  • I've also solved an issue that limited my ability to upload large database updates, such as voter registration data uploaded to the district pages. VR data is a challenge because the data have changed since I started to import this data in 2012 (drop of Americans Elect and change from DTS to NPP and drop of "Other"). Thus, it's not as simple as downloading and importing a spreadsheet. I'm changing that whole table structure and hope to have the latest data available in the next 48 hours.

    When people say "well, so-and-so has it," I remind them that they have people that do just that. At the Nooner Global HQ, it's just me, my MacBook, and a server in San José.
  • As noted above, I've added the downloadable candidate list and data for each district on district performance and voter registration to the ATCpro subscribers home page (formerly Nooner Premium--still changing the name throughout to better reflect the purpose).
  • I am redesigning the ATC homepage to have the latest Nooner up front, key links, a random member profile, and other information. The headlines used to be really cool and helpful for me, but without newspaper RSS feeds and the paywalls, it's as useful as a 2019 advent calendar today.

Thank you for your patience. I still have a lot of work to do, but I think I've answered the oft-asked question of "What do you do after 12pm Scott?"

Most importantly, thank you for your readership and support.

Let's get to it after the jump!

POLL POSITION, PREZ STYLE: Late yesterday, the Public Policy Institute of California released the results from a question on its Statewide Survey that will be released tomorrow on the Democratic presidential primary in California. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Since PPIC uses a telephone-only survey methodology in English and Spanish and conducts its Statewide Survey on many issues (November's had 34 questions), it's important to manage question quantity and length, as well as understandability to the person on the other end of the line. If a survey is too long, people quit mid-interview, wasting both sides time. If a question is too long, the veracity of the respondent's answer is unreliable.

Live interview polling is VERY expensive particularly these days when few of us answer unknown calls. This month's Statewide survey includes interviews with 1,707 adult respondents, of whom 525 were identified as likely Democratic primary voters. The average interview took 18 minutes to complete.

We're talking a huge number of person-hours, even with advances beyond the rotary telephone.

The goal of the question was to determine how Californians will vote in the Democratic presidential primary on March 3, which includes registered Democrats and No Party Preference voters who have requested a Democratic Party presidential ballot. That alone complicates any polling in California as counties are wildly different in how they are handling the NPP outreach and some NPP voters I've talked to said that they'll wait until Election Day and go to a Vote Center and request a Democratic presidential ballot. This is a pollster's nightmare.

Also a pollster's nightmare is that there are 20 "generally recognized presidential candidates" who are registered Democrats on the March 3 ballot for voters in that primary to choose from. Of these, Booker, Castro, Sestak, and Williamson have dropped out. Of course they will still be on the ballot and undoubtedly will get votes albeit under the 15% threshold at the state and congressional-district levels to earn delegates.

Of the remaining 16, I have no clue who three of them are (Boyd, Ellinger, and Greenstein). I only know Roque "Rocky" De La Fuente III because he is the son of perennial candidate Rocky De La Fuente, who is running in CA21 and in the Republican presidential primary. Dad also ran in the 2016 primary--as a Democrat. And, of course, the other son, Ricardo, is running in CA21 as a Democrat, in the same race as dad is running now as a member the GOP.

You can't make this crap up. What's a pollster to do?

Every candidate on the ballot wants their name to be polled. However, SurveyUSA can't do that because there aren't 20 buttons on a telephone.

The top-notch pollsters at PPIC decided in December on their January poll construction for the Democratic presidential primary question. Candidates who qualified for the January debate stage with criteria set by the Democratic National Committee, would be listed in the poll question. There was no editorial discretion.

There was a problem, though. To obtain the results on schedule for the Statewide Survey, they needed to start the polling interviews on January 3 after the holiday polling blackout. As usual, they stayed "in the field" until they reached the desired margin of error, and that turned out to be January 12. The problem is that the DNC's debate qualification was open until December 10. Thus, one candidate who will be on the stage tonight, Tom Steyer, was not included in the polling question. The other five (Biden, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Sanders, Warren) in the debate were.

Here are the results (full crosstabs and methodology):

If the March 3, 2020 Democratic primary for president were being held today, and these were the candidates, who would you vote for?
Likely Democratic primary voters
Joe Biden 24%
Pete Buttigieg 8%
Bernie Sanders 27%
Elizabeth Warren 23%
(VOL) Andrew Yang 3%
Amy Klobuchar 4%
(VOL) Michael Bloomberg 1%
or someone else (specify) 5%
(VOL) don't know 7%

Supporters of Andrew Yang immediately took umbrage and that's understandable. He's likely around 6% if a listed candidate as reflected in other state polls, including the tracking poll Paul Mitchell is doing in conjunction with Capitol Weekly. In that poll's latest, there were 13 candidates, including Williamson and Booker who have since dropped out.

Thirteen candidates is too many for a live interview, multi-subject telephone poll that is expected by the nonprofit foundations and Donor Circle that fund PPIC. I have not seen their poll coming out tomorrow, but I expect we'll see approval ratings of Governor Newsom and the Legislature. We may see the top issues Californians want state lawmakers to address this you (guarantee "housing and homeless" is at the top). The poll was in the field while the Governor's January Budget was released, so we won't see the proposals rolled out leading up to it in the poll.

Frankly, I care about the other questions on the PPIC Statewide Survey far more than the Democratic presidential primary. Lots of folks will move around after Iowa and New Hampshire as our mail-in ballots sit on our kitchen tables. Honestly, and you know I am with you about pretty much everything, if polled, I would have been soundly in the "don't know" category.

Should Andrew Yang, Michael Bloomberg, and Tom Steyer been included? Absolutely. But point to the DNC's debate qualifications thresholds rather than the experts at PPIC. Bloomberg and Yang are not at 15% in recent national or early-state polls, and Steyer only reached that because of a last-minute South Carolina poll, after the survey was being conducted.

Should they have polled on the Democratic presidential nomination at all? That's debatable.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

more after the jump...

HOMELESSNESS: Yesterday, the task force appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom and co-chaired by Sacramento mayor Darrell Steinberg and Los Angeles supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas released recommendations, including creating a constitutional mandate that cities and counties address the issue. For CalMatters, Matt Levin and Jackie Botts report:

Declaring that moral persuasion and economic incentives aren’t working to bring people in from the sidewalks, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s task force on homelessness called Monday for a “legally enforceable mandate” that would force municipalities and the state to house the growing number of homeless Californians. 

The proposal, which came as Newsom kicked off a weeklong tour of the state aimed at drawing attention to the homelessness crisis, urged the Legislature to put a state constitutional amendment on the November ballot that would force California cities and counties to take steps to provide housing for the more than 150,000 Californians who lack it, or face legal action. 


“California mandates free public education for all of its children and subsidized health insurance for its low-income residents. It requires its subdivisions to provide services to people with developmental disabilities and foster children,” the commission wrote in a letter signed by both elected officials.

“Yet everything that state, county and city governments do to alleviate this crisis is voluntary. There is no mandate to ensure people can live indoors, no legal accountability for failing to do so, no enforceable housing production standard and no requirement to consolidate and coordinate funding streams across jurisdictions. The results speak for themselves.

The council’s recommendation stops short of Steinberg’s and Ridley-Thomas’ initial call for a “right to shelter,” which would not only have required cities to provide immediate beds, but also obligated people experiencing homelessness to come inside. But it adds momentum to the strategy of elevating litigation as a tool to accomplish what compassion and money haven’t been able to do.

The problem is that obligating people experiencing homelessness to come inside without reasonable alternatives was recently held by by the Ninth Circuit in Boise v. Martin as a violation of the Eighth Amendment fo the United States Constitution as "cruel and unusual punishment."

Surprising a lot of legal watchers, the Supreme Court of United States declined to review what is seen as a landmark case. UC Davis law professor Carlton F.W. Larson and I talked about this at the December 9 event at Capital Books. As we geeked out on constitutional law, we both thought SCOTUS would take up the case. Larson is a Harvard/Yale JD and clerked for a Ninth Circuit judge so he is far smarter than me.

EVAN LOW'S "NEW POLITICAL ADVENTURE": All I have right now is Assemblymember Evan Low's (D-Campbell) tweet yesterday. "Excited to pursue a new political adventure... I will work hard to earn your trust and support. Stay tuned this week! 🙏"  [h/t David Vazquez]

The speculation ranges for a major tech advocacy job for 35-year-old Low to a retirement announcement by his congresswoman, Anna Eshoo, who turned 77 in December. Low, a former mayor and councilmember of Campbell, is very close to Silicon Valley and represents the western side--home of Apple and many of the wealthy foothills that executives call home.

Probolsky Research

CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer and Esthela Pacheco!



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]

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The California Democratic Party is seeking a self-driven and highly competent Executive Director to lead our organization who will design and implement strategies that support and enhance our organizational and political operations. Duties for the Executive Director will include providing leadership to all staff, establishing and executing strategic electoral and financial goals, overseeing and streamlining daily operations, improving staff performance, ensuring fiscal compliance, and maintaining positive relationships with internal and external partners. More Info here. Please respond to

California Health Benefits Review Program (CHBRP)'s annual legislative briefing

Attend a free briefing at the Capitol. All interested parties and the public are invited to the California Health Benefits Review Program (CHBRP)'s annual legislative briefing on 1/23/2020 from 11:30am-12:30pm. The briefing will provide information about CHBRP’s methods, and its role in providing objective evidence-based analysis that supports California policymakers. This year, we will also give a brief review of California's Essential Health Benefits (EHBs), as well as the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendations and related benefit coverage requirements.

Please RSVP to this free briefing by clicking here The registration page will provide the room number for the briefing.

California Special Districts Association

Central Coast Public Affairs Field Coordinator. Serve as key liaison to hundreds of local government agencies from Ventura to Santa Cruz. Promote grassroots legislative advocacy, public affairs, and other association activities. Regularly meet with and present to local agency executives and elected officials. Work from home w/frequent in-state travel. Salary range $68,336 - $102,503. Benefits include CalPERS pension. Send Resume and Cover Letter to

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Ray LeBov, a 45 year Capitol veteran, has been teaching how to successfully navigate the legislative terrain for more than a decade. Ray’s Lobbying 101 and 201 are a must-attend for anyone looking to learn the complex issues that are involved in legislative advocacy. Capitol Seminar's next sessions are February 6 and 7th. Those interested in learning how to prosper in the complex legislative environment won’t want to miss attending! Click here for further details (including registration and pricing) OR feel free to call (916) 442-5009.
Fiona Hutton & Associates: Account Supervisor or Director (Los Angeles)

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Interested candidates should submit a cover letter and resume to

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

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: