Around The Capitol

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  • Look West Podcast (Assembly Democratic Caucus): In the second of the two-part series with Assemblymember Ed Chau (D-Monterey Park), they chat with Elizabeth Gettleman Galicia, Vice President of Common Sense Media about the California Consumers Privacy Act. (2019-01-14)
  • 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)



ATCpro UPDATES (formerly Nooner Premium):

  • Posted downloadable spreadsheet voter registration for each state legislative and congressional district
  • Posted downloadable spreadsheet of 2016 presidential and 2018 gubernatorial results for each state legislative and congressional district
  • Posted final downloadable candidate list for March 3 primary
  • First 2020 ATCpro update coming this Friday and weekly through election 
The Nooner for Friday, January 17, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners
  • SB 50 (Wiener): zoning
  • Public safety power shutoffs
  • Tobacco
  • PG&E
  • PPIC poll: changes in top issues over time and what it means
  • Cakeday, farewell, and classifieds  

¡Felíz víernes! Sorry I didn't run into you at last night's Back-to-Session Bash. I hope you all had a fun and safe time. I've been up early and working late this week and continued the trend yesterday so I didn't head over. Like your average 47-year-old, I was sitting at Nooner Global HQ and living the event vicariously through your social media posts. Yes, I knew the guest was Lil Jon and have had Alexa "spinning" his tunes for the last month. As an oldie, I often know the songs but not the artists. I'm sure it was a blast!

Meanwhile, I got a few hundred more lines of coding done.

If you find me under a tree in Capitol Park (I wrote "Capitol Party" on Twitter--Freudian slip), it's because I'm trying tea over coffee today with some great Morning Brew that I picked up at allspicery yesterday after the PPIC luncheon with Leon Panetta.

Panetta was one of the best speakers I've heard at a PPIC luncheon and I've heard many. He talked about the serious threat to both countries of the escalation of tensions with Iran, impeachment, California's government, and political leadership generally. If you missed my preview yesterday and the coincidence of the event the day senators were sworn in for the President Trump impeachment trial, I think it's still worth a read.

The video of Panetta's talk is on PPIC's Facebook and should be on this PPIC page soon.

Let's get to it after the jump!

SB 50 (Wiener): Planning and zoning: housing development: streamlined approval: incentives.: Well, the agenda Senate Appropriations Committee hearing to consider bills introduced in 2019 before the January 31 do-or-die deadline has been set for January 21 and noticeably absent is Senator Scott Wiener's (D-San Francisco) bill on residential zoning near transit and job corridors. Because the deadline for bills to be referred to the floor is January 24, it would appear that the vehicle is dead. However, as I've written previously, Senator Wiener has plenty of vehicles left to introduce in 2020 to start the process all over again. Clearly, Approps chair Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada-Flintridge) continues to be a hurdle and Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) won't force his hand. The bill was amended on January 6, but apparently not enough to let the conversation continue.

PUBLIC SAFETY POWER SHUTOFFS: Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez (D-Pomona) has introduced AB 1936 to apply the state's anti-price gouging laws to areas affected by a public safety power shutoff (PSPS). Currently, the law requires the declaration of an emergency the President, governor, or specified local officials under certain criteria that doesn't cover disaster avoidance such as a PSPS. There were reports last year of some scrupulous merchants taking advantage of the situation as folks tried to stock up on supplies or seek alternative shelter.

TOBACCO: The Bee blasts legislative Democrats for "allowing" tobacco money to kill bans on flavored tobacco products last year and calls for passage of Senator Jerry Hill's SB 793 this year noting that Governor Newsom has now weighed in with support for the ban.

This year must be different. With both the governor and the lieutenant governor vocally supporting SB 793, this year’s showdown over flavored tobacco will reveal who really wields the power in the State Capitol: those who seek to protect California’s children from Big Tobacco’s strategies, or those who would sell our children into a lifetime of addiction in exchange for easy money.

It’s time for California’s leaders to pick a side.

PG&E: Acting like the biggest homeowners association board in the state, the federal judge overseeing the San Bruno probation of Pacific Gas & Electric warned yesterday that he may order the investor-owned utility to hire more tree-trimmers. Michael Liedtke reports for AP:

A federal judge on Thursday threatened to force Pacific Gas & Electric to hire more tree trimmers to reduce the chances of its electrical grid igniting fires in Northern California and adhere to a requirement imposed after the utility’s natural gas lines blew up a neighborhood a decade ago.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup notified PG&E that he expects more precautions to be taken, which comes a day after the San Francisco company acknowledged in a court filing that as many as 22,000 trees in its sprawling service territory may still be creating fire hazards.


The company said it will respond to Alsup by his Feb. 12 deadline. In its disclosure Wednesday to the judge, PG&E asserted it’s unrealistic to expect it to be able to ensure all trees are maintained in a way that ensures all the branches, leaves and other vegetation remain a safe distance from its transmission lines.

“Perfect compliance would require nothing less than round-the-clock surveillance” of the tens of millions of trees that it estimates could come into contact with its lines in an expanse covering about 70,000 square miles (181,300 square kilometers), PG&E wrote in the filing.

But Alsup was apparently unswayed, noting that PG&E had blamed some of its problems on not being able to find enough contractors to do the work. Now, he is mulling whether he should issue an order that would require PG&E to hire and train more people to do the tree-trimming work.

more after the jump...

"First, which one issue facing California today do you think is the most important for the governor and state legislature to work on in 2020?"

all adults; volunteered answers

  Jan 2000 Jan 2005 Jan 2010 Jan 2018 Jan 2019 Jan 2020
homelessness       5 6 20
housing costs, availability 2     3 5 10
jobs, economy   15 35 9 10 8
environment, polution, global warming 3     5 8 7
immigration, illegal immigration 4 8 3 20 15 7
health care, health insurance 4 5 6 5 5 6
education, schools, teachers 26 22 14 8 11 5

energy/electricity prices, electricity

state budget, deficit   20 23 7 5 5
infrastructure       6 4 3
crime, gangs, drugs 3 2 2 2 3 2
taxes, cutting taxes 3          
poverty, the poor, the homeless, welfare 2          
traffic and transportation 2          
gay rights, same sex marriage     2      
driver's licenses for immigrants   2        
government in general, problems with elected officials, parties       3 5 2
water, drought     2 3 2 2
wildfires           2
other (specify) 10* 17 9 10 13 15
don’t know 12 9 4 14 8 6
* in the 2000 poll, responses with 1% and less were broken out but I've grouped them here for consistency

Maybe I'm just a total geek, but I find this fascinating to watch the trends over time. In the last few years, obviously, homelessness and housing have vaulted to the top. Of course, as I always caution with the "top issue" volunteered answer questions, you can't discern which perspective the respondent is coming from. "Homelessness" could be calling for more help for the people on our streets or greater enforcement and locking them up. Same thing with immigration.

In the crosstabs of all adults, homelessness is the top issue across every cross-section, with Republicans naming it as top issue most (28%). Dems were at 20% and independents 22%. The difference is that only 4% Republicans named "housing costs, availability" as their top issue, while Democrats (15%) and independents (11%) named it as theirs. Some of this can be the way the answer was provided and thus categorized by the interviewer. But, I think it does say something about the perspective on solutions that will be reflected in the legislative discussion and campaigns this year.

What's surprising to me is how long crime has been off the radar as a top issue. Of course, I grew up politically in the 1990s, when it was all about immigration, crime, and affirmative action. Of course, PPIC wasn't founded until 1994 and the the Statewide Survey came later.

PPIC first asked the question in December of 1998 on the eve of Gray Davis's first year as Governor. You'll note one thing off the top. The question number is 14, whereas the question in January 2020 starts with "First." The Statewide Survey has gotten better over the years and the survey crafters recognize that this is a very important question to ask before you start asking about approval ratings and issues that might affect what should be an instinctive answer from the respondent. (You should be able to click the image to make it larger.)

PPIC December 1998

Over twenty years, we have gone from Californians naming schools/education and energy/electricity as the top issue for legislative attention in the year ahead to housing and homelessness. Now, it is important to look at the December 1998 results as energy and electricity popped on the radar screen immediately after the rolling blackouts began in June 2000. Before then, is was education, education, education--an issue that only 5% of respondents list as a top priority today. Part of this is demographic, as the K-12 public/private enrollment as a percentage of population is smaller now than it was then.

But look to the December 1998 and January 2000 polls, and only 1% and 2% respectively named housing costs and availability as the top issue. Homelessness didn't even land on the radar.

I've used a saying way too frequently in my career that "In politics, the whole world can change in any given three months."

A month after Gray Davis took office, Californians were focused on education, with side orders of crime and immigration. Cynics could say that Davis actually played up crime with his campaign, claiming that he'd be "death on violent crime." My, how things have changed with a governor issuing a moratorium on the death penalty and 58% of likely voters preferring life without the possibility of parole. (Don't think that means that voters would approve a constitutional amendment to ban the penalty.)

Electricity deregulation was approved in AB 1896 (Brulte) in 1996 unanimously in both houses as a conference report. Could Davis have handled the electricity crisis caused by market manipulation by out-of-state players better? Likely. Were many of the "yes" votes on the bill that made it possible happy to jump on the bandwagon to recall Davis? Yes.

It is what it is. Gray and Arnold get along and are wiser for both of their less-than-illustrious governorships. Schwarzenegger left office with a 27% approval rating. On the eve of Davis's recall, his approval rating was 26%.

Newsom is at 51% approval and his lowest point was in September when he dipped to 43%. However, homelessness and housing are critical issues and everybody is watching. This is a make or break year.

Cakeday, farewell, and classifieds after the jump...

Probolsky Research

CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Jackie Bowland-Koenig and Andrew Lachman!


  • Former San Francisco district attorney Terence Hallinan (1939-2020)
  • Former state senator H.L. Richardson (1927-2020) - I arrived in Davis one cycle after his last race for public office, against Vic Fazio in 1992



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

[full position description]

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Fiona Hutton & Associates: Account Supervisor or Director (Los Angeles)

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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.

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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: