Around The Capitol

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  • Inside Golden State Politics (Bill Boyarski and Sherry Bebitch Jeffe): The protests, LAPD, Garcetti, and the budget (2020-06-19)
  • KQED's Political Breakdown (Scott Shafer and Marisa Lagos): Former Assembly Speaker and UC Regents chair John Pérez on a Historic Week at the Supreme Court and the Push to Bring Back Affirmative Action in California (2020-06-18)
  • Capitol Weekly Podcast: (John Howard and Tim Foster): Joe Rodota discusses his new podcast The Oppo File, where he looks at the history of opposition research (2020-06-18)
  • Inside Golden State Politics (Bill Boyarski and Sherry Bebitch Jeffe): Are Latinos being ignored in the debate over police brutality? (2020-06-18)
  • Look West Podcast (Assembly Democratic Caucus): Assemblymembers Patrick O'Donnell (Chair of the Education Committee), Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, Cristina Garcia and local school officials about the day the schools were shut down, how to reopen the schools safely and addressing the inequities in the school systems that have been magnified by the coronavirus crisis. (2020-06-16)
  • Capitol Weekly Podcast (John Howard and Tim Foster): Maeley Tom, a longtime legislative staffer and Democratic Party stalwart who played a pioneering role as one of the first Asian women in California’s capitol about her new memoir I'm Not Who You Think I Am. (2020-06-16)
  • Cap•Impact Podcast (McGeorge School of Law): Lobbyist and adjunct professor Chris Micheli talks about how advocates are conducting business in the Legislature during the COVID-19 pandemic (2020-06-15)

ATCpro UPDATES (subscriber feature):

  • A full list of recent updated analyses is available at the subscribers home page along with my top races to watch rankings. If you have forgotten your password or never set one, click "Forgot Password" on that login page.

The Nooner for Saturday, June 20, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners

  • Clean up aisle Nooner! - budget and ballot measures
  • Suicide or lynching?
  • "Bad cops"
  • State employees/furloughs
  • Employment
  • Housing crisis and black California
  • The two John Sutter legacies
  • Cakeday and classifieds


Capitol on Juneteenth

State Capitol illuminated for Juneteenth

Happy Saturday! While I don't work a conventional five-day work week, it's nice to have the news firehose ease up a bit after a wild week and to not have to multi-task while writing.

Last night, I strolled over to the Capitol to take the above picture of the building lit up in recognition of Juneteenth. I didn't know that there was also a march planned. A few hundred people followed a bus with a platform on top where leaders led marchers in chants. They stopped in front of the Capitol for several minutes and then moved on to Cesar Chavez Plaza two blocks from the Capitol and the location of a rally earlier in the evening. With special police units closing off lettered streets leading to 10th, it was clearly permitted and peaceful. It was also very diverse, with as many as non-black marchers yelling "Black Lives Matter" as black marchers.

Sorry about last night's This Week in The Nooner updates. It had been a twelve-hour day and I made both technical and substantive mistakes. Thus, some of you got two (beyond just two different addresses), some ATCpro users received the correction that was intended only for non-subscribers, etc.

On the substantive front, not only did I screw up the date for non-subscribers, I screwed up the correction. The actual 12-day deadline for Governor Newsom to act on the Legislature's budget bill is June 29 as California Constitution Article IV, Section 10(b)(5) provides that if the 12th day falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday, the deadline is the next day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday.

There's a buzz that a deal may be nearing on the budget front that would include flat funding for K-12 and could advance three constitutional amendments on the ballot. Officially the deadline for the Legislature to place a measure on the November ballot is Thursday, but as I've written before, that's a function of statute and is a bit flexible. It comes down to operational issues like getting a ballot label and summary, pro/con arguments, and printing deadlines.

On December 3, 2003, ACAX5 5 was approved by the Legislature placing Proposition 2 (Budget Stabilization Account or "Rainy Day Fund") on the March 4, 2004 presidential primary ballot as Proposition 2. That was 82 days prior to the election.

We're currently 136 days before the election, although while the red ink may look similar in 2020 as it was in 2004, things are quite different for this November's election. Nevertheless, Thursday's legislative deadline to place a measure on the ballot 131 days is not a "drop-dead" date. Elections Code §9040 can easily be waived unlike the hard 131-day deadline for voter-submitted ballot measures.

Anyway, it is possible that a deal comes together this week on the state budget and also SCA 6, the sports betting constitutional amendment that card clubs like and tribal casinos don't. If that happens, it needs to still go to the Assembly, as it's still in the State Senate, the measure's house of origin.

The 72-hour in print/online requirement before a final vote on the floor comes in to play. The State Senate is scheduled to meet Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and on call of the Pro Tem on Friday. Watch for amendments those days that could be a budget deal, add 72 hours, and that might give you a hint as to when the Assembly might return on call of the Speaker. In other words, if you thought last week was cray-cray, rest up this weekend for the week ahead.

At least I've broken COVIDsomnia.

"BAD COPS": For the AP, Don Thompson reports that black California police chiefs are calling for the Legislature to make it easier to fire bad cops.

Black police chiefs representing departments from across California on Friday called for changing state law so they can immediately fire officers for egregious behavior, with due-process appeals only after the fact.

California has some of the nation’s toughest police disciplinary rules and until last year the nation’s most secretive police privacy law.

Coupled with collective bargaining agreements, the chiefs said that prevents the rapid dismissal of officers, in contrast to recent cases in Atlanta and Minneapolis where officers were fired in the deaths of Black men even before criminal charges were brought.

The eight chiefs from cities including San Francisco and Sacramento support officers’ rights to due process as required by California’s strict Peace Officers Bill of Rights, said Seaside Police Chief Abdul Pridgen, speaking for the group at the state Capitol.

But he said the law, augmented by union agreements, gives some officers “extraordinary due process rights.”

“Uncommon rights and lengthy arbitration, then appeals, make it extremely difficult to terminate an employee who exhibits abhorrent behavior,” Pridgen said.

“Police chiefs should be provided the latitude in statute to summarily terminate an officer for an egregious use of excessive force that violates policy or meets the elements of criminal statute. The officer would be afforded their due process during a formal appeal and a full evidentiary hearing post-discipline,” he said.

SUICIDE OR LYNCHING? In follow up to the item I wrote about on Monday, of the two cases of black men found hanging from trees over the last month, the Victorville death of Malcolm Harsch appears to conclusively be a suicide according to video and circumstantial evidence shared with reporters, writes Brian Rokos for SCNG. The more recent death of Robert Fuller in Palmdale is still being investigated.

MASKS: While the California Department of Public Health issued a statewide mandatory mask order for most instances in public, it is pretty clear that enforcement by police officers is highly unlikely. In the Bee, Alexandra Yoon-Hendricks and Michael McGough report that the Sacramento County sheriff does not plan to ask his officers to write citations to those wearing masks but rather remind residents not wearing masks of the statewide order.

“Due to the minor nature of the offense, the potential for negative outcomes during enforcement encounters, and anticipating the various ways in which the order may be violated, it would be inappropriate for deputies to criminally enforce the Governor’s mandate,” a statement from Sheriff Scott Jones said.


The Placer County Sheriff’s Office will not be enforcing Newsom’s new order, according to spokeswoman Angela Musallam.

“We do hope (people) will take the rule to heart, but we have no interest in arresting or penalizing people who aren’t wearing masks in any way,” she said.


The Placerville Police Department, in a Facebook post Thursday shortly after the government’s announcement, asked residents not to call police dispatch to report mask violations and to “use common sense and keep yourself safe.”


“This is not a police issue,” the Placerville Police Department wrote.

The mask order, as issued Thursday by Newsom and the state Department of Public Health, does not list or recommend any criminal penalties or enforcement protocols for violators.

What the statewide order does do is take the heat off county health, county/city code enforcement officials, and businesses. While police are not enforcing as a criminal manner, businesses can post the state order (as I saw at the entrance to Market 5-ONE-5 yesterday) and refuse entry of patrons not wearing a mask while saying that it's not just store policy but a statewide order.

For the Bee, Benjy Egel writes that Sacramento-area restaurants and bars are enforcing the ban unevenly..

At the march I stumbled across last night, most people were wearing masks, as were those who gathered to take pictures of the Capitol lit up. That was not the case when I walked around Southside Park in my post-writing walk yesterday, where several multi-generational families were celebrating Juneteenth. Out of dozens of folks barbecuing and socializing, I saw few masks, even when folks weren't eating.

STATE EMPLOYEES/FURLOUGHS: SEIU Local 1000 reached agreement on two furlough days per month for the next two fiscal years, which equates to a 9.23% salary cut for employees in the state's largest bargaining unit, reports Wes Venteicher in the Bee. The salary reduction will be partially offset by temporary suspensions of payments to the retiree health benefit fund. The union agreed to postpone the 2.5% salary increase scheduled to take place July 1, 2020 to July 1, 2022, making that year's increase 5%, according to SEIU 1000's statement on the agreement.

The structure of achieving savings sought by the governor to mitigate the current budget crisis works well for most SEIU 1000 state employees as it maintains base salaries, rather than reduces them, which would affect the calculation of retirement benefits.

EMPLOYMENT DATA: Yesterday, we got the state numbers for the May jobs report. In May, unemployment dropped from 16.4% in April to 16.3%. Of course, we have the statistical problem the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has acknowledged relating to classification of unpaid furloughed workers as on voluntary unpaid leave, meaning the top line 16.3% number is actually likely higher (nationally, BLS estimates that the 13.3% national unemployment number is really around 16.3%. In May, an estimated 141,600 nonfarm jobs were added in California compared to a revised loss of 2,415,000 in April.

HOUSING CRISIS AND BLACK CALIFORNIA: For CalMatters, Matt Levin writes that data show that the state's housing crisis disproportionately affects black Californians.

The legacy of New Deal-era redlining — which deemed Black neighborhoods undesirable for federally-backed mortgages — is demonstrably visible not only where Black Californians live now but where gentrification and displacement pressures across the state are most acute.

Article 34, a still unrepealed clause in the state Constitution that requires local referendums before lower-income housing can be built in a California city, kept subsidized housing disproportionately utilized by Black and brown residents out of affluent, predominantly white communities for decades.

And while state leaders champion the strides the state has made toward diversity and equality relative to other parts of the country, evidence of overt racial bias in California’s housing market persists, including in its progressive coastal bastions. A home in a Black-majority part of the Bay Area is worth about $164,000 less than an equivalent home — same size, same quality of school system, same access to parks and other neighborhood amenities — in a neighborhood with very few Black people.

THE TWO JOHN SUTTER LEGACIES: For CapRadio, Sammy Caiola looks at the two very different versions of the legacy of John Sutter that have emerged over time.

[M]any Sacramentans don’t know much about Sutter’s life and legacy, beyond what they may have learned on a school trip to the fort. And trying to find out is like reading two completely different versions of history. Some experts say that’s because the written record of John Sutter, penned almost entirely by white men, leaves out much of the violence found in the oral histories of California’s tribes.

All I know is that over the last few weeks, I've learned more through reading the last few weeks than I did in California history classes from grade school to university.

cakeday and classifieds after the jump...

Probolsky Research

CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Theo Cline, former Assembly/BOE member Diane Harkey, Robert Harris, and Manolo Morales!


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Between 1-3 offices are available for sublease in the Meridian Plaza office building, 1415 L Street, two blocks from the Capitol. The offices are approximately 150 SF each. Internet, gym, partially furnished (desk, chair, bookcases) are included. 24/7/365 key card access; floor-ceiling windows facing Sierras; professional offices. One year lease preferred. $1,500 per office. Contact Jane at or (415) 577-9734 with questions.

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