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): Assembly members 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):

  • I'll have more district election analyses tomorrow after taking some time for myself (deferred chores) this weekend. 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 Sunday, June 21, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners

  • The political landscape
  • The Ting Thing
  • LA-LA Land DA
  • Utilities and wildfires
  • Walters on CalPERS
  • Summer travel and COVID
  • OakTown
  • Cakeday and classifieds



  • Meet the Press: Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank)

Happy Fathers Day!

Happy Father's Day!

The above picture is from several years ago when I, my dad, my cousin Mogan, and my uncle Robert were on a fishing trip out of San Felipe, Mexico. It was a great time and we don't get to see each other nearly enough. Thank you dad for everything!

Meanwhile, at farmers market this morning, there was nearly 100% compliance with the statewide mask order. There were a few unmasked individuals and I didn't ask them if they had a medical reason as allowed under the order, but it was far better than what I saw in Southside Park BBQs yesterday, pictures of the Midtown Sac bar scene this weekend, not to mention the rally in Tulsa that many of us had on our teevee last night. I watched it on Fox News without the play-by-play of CNN "analysis." I really try to absorb the spectrum.

What an embarrassment it must be for Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale to get TikTok'd by a bunch of K-Pop (Korean pop) stans, who bragged about the attendance in advance and spent a bunch of money for an outdoor overflow stage (including security staffing), only to have thousands of seats inside the arena left empty. Meanwhile, thousands of masks were available and very few attendees wore them.

Anybody in politics (including policy rallies) knows the basics from the time we learned to walk. Use a room that will fill up and never overhype your numbers before, during, or after your event.

It has nothing to do with party and I would criticize the small socially distanced event by Biden earlier this week as well. A nightly "fireside" chat on Facebook Live, etc. would be better than that visual. Both could (or should be able to) answer moderated questions and not just give a teleprompter speech. That would go a long way toward endearing Americans who are still skittish about large public events and not in the mood for red meat politics like we saw last night. The base is the base and they'll be there for you regardless.

Not a good week for either presidential candidate by their words or actions, but President Trump had more unfortunate quotes and politically damaging actions than Biden. Of course, the polls continue to tick up for Biden because of the general political atmosphere (Fox News: Biden+12), which we also see in congressionals.

In the Fox News poll released Thursday night, Biden had 91% to Trump’s 3% among Democratic voters. Trump had 85% to Biden’s 6% among Republican voters. Among independents, 39% side with Biden and 17% with Trump. The share of undecided independents was 19%. (June 13-16; registered voters; landline/cellphone random digit; MOE ±2.5%.

I use the Fox News poll because it is within the margin of error of the CNN/SSRS poll that found Biden+14. The Trump campaign sent a written demand for apology to CNN after the poll's release. However, a Quinnipiac poll of registered voters also released Thursday found Biden +8, with a much different results among independents of Biden 43%, Trump 40%.

The independent voters reflect the ultimate margin of +12 when combined and statistically weighted with Democrats and Republicans. Assuming Biden doesn't lose his current dominant share of decided independent voters or his Democratic voters, he could lose over half of the undecided independents and still win the popular vote. Of course, as Hillary Clinton knows, presidents are not elected by popular vote. However, Biden is leading in a majority of states considered battlegrounds and has put several others unexpectedly in the toss-up category (Georgia, Iowa, Ohio, Texas).

The most recent national poll of likely voters was conducted by Change Research for CNBC and found Biden +10 (51/41%). (June 12-14; online; MOE ±2.77%) During the same period, they also conducted a battleground state poll (Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin) which found Biden+3 (47-44%), with a margin of error of 2%.

Moving on to the congressional outlook, on this date in the 2016 presidential general, Democrats had a +3.2 advantage over Republicans on the generic congressional ballot RealClearPolitics polling average. Today Democrats have a +8.5 advantage. On this date in 2018 during the election that brought the Speaker's gavel back to Nancy Pelosi's hand, the average was Dems+6.

To my Republican friends, it's still 135 days before the November election, which is an eternity in politics. Last night was not good, however, to capture the growing number of independents needed to win back the 7 California congressional seats and most of the state legislative seats lost in 2018 and opens the door for Democrats to add to their numbers, particularly in the State Senate.

It's going to be a wild four months.

THE TING THING: I don't write about rumored affairs of folks and I hear them all the time, unless they intertwine with official business or involve a crime. For example, the rumors about affairs by Duncan D. Hunter (R-Alpine) were plentiful but I only wrote about them when they became a campaign finance issue that ultimately led to his conviction, resignation, and forthcoming prison sentence.

Since it was addressed by both Assembly member Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) and Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) and includes accusations of impersonation of a colleague, I'll link the background and response since everyone is/will be talking about it. If I don't, I'll be accused of burying it because it's about a Democrat. If I give it too much digital ink, I'm accepting allegations by someone published by a right-wing website and apparently a forthcoming book. Damned if I do, damned if I don't.

On Friday, Communities Digital News published this story in what it claims to be the first in a series, alleging that Ting used a photo of fellow Assembly member Phllip Chen (R-Yorba Linda) in a dating app that led to a long-term affair. The woman claiming the affair with Ting and misrepresentation of who he was, a white South African immigrant, testified in support of AB 5 (Gonzalez) on independent contractors as a domestic worker and landed campaign jobs. Ting responded with this tweet, acknowledging an affair and apologizing but denying that it had any effect on his role as a lawmaker. Speaker Rendon tweeted that he accepts Ting's apology. I have not seen a comment by Phillip Chen yet.

The author of the bill is clearly anti-AB 5 on her Twitter account.

I write this paragraph only because I've been asked by several people over the last 24 hours. If Ting resigns, his name will still be on the November ballot. He can't be replaced as the candidate (same as if a candidate dies -- see The West Wing series of episodes on the California 47th). He received 82% of the vote against a single Republican candidate in March. He will easily win again in the very liberal AD19 whether or not he stays.

I showered before bed last night but feel like I need another one now.

LA-LA LAND DA RACE: As the debate over policing and prosecutorial reform continue to dominate the national conversation, one of Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey's most prominent supporters has backed off after Mayor Eric Garcetti appears to have done the same. James Queally reports in the Times that Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) has dropped his endorsement of her reelection. Her endorsement page hasn't been updated, but when it is, I'm guessing lots of names on there will also be withdrawn for the November face-off with former San Francisco DA George Gascón as the national politics theme is clearly different than it was before the March 3 primary where she had been favored to win reelection outright and everyone jumped on the bandwagon.

UTILITIES AND WILDFIRES: In the Union-Tribune, Jeff McDonald writes that state and federal officials have taken different paths in preventing future utility-caused wildfires.

Most notable for customers of San Diego Gas & Electric, Newsom created a new multibillion-dollar fund, largely paid for by customers of SDG&E and other power companies to cover claims for wildfires that have not yet happened.

“Strengthening our state’s wildfire prevention, preparedness and mitigation efforts will continue to be a top priority for my administration and our work with the legislature,” Newsom said last summer, when he signed the bill that will cost ratepayers an extra $900 million each year for 15 years.

Nowhere in Newsom’s wildfire-prevention efforts is PG&E being required to proactively comply with safety regulations the company skirted before the Camp Fire — or other deadly fires it caused in recent years.

Instead, that strategy is being pursued by U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup, who is overseeing the five-year probation sentence PG&E received after being convicted of six felonies related to a pipeline explosion in San Bruno that killed eight people a decade ago.

BALLOT BONANZA? With Thursday the official (but malleable) deadline for the Legislature to place measures on the November ballot, Chris Micheli lists the measures currently in the mix.

  • ACA 4 (Mullin) Elections: Voting Age – amended in Senate on June 20; set for hearing in Senate Elections & CA on June 23
  • ACA 5 (Weber) Government Preferences – set for hearing in Senate Appropriations on June 23
  • ACA 6 (McCarty) Elections: Disqualification of Electors – set for hearing in Senate Appropriations on June 23
  • ACA 11 (Mullin) The Home Protection for Seniors, Severely Disabled, Families, and Victims of Wildfire or Natural Disasters Act – amended in Senate on June 20; set for hearing in Senate Elections & CA on June 23
  • ACA 25 (Mullin) State of Emergency: Remote Legislative Proceedings – passed Assembly
  • SCA 6 (Dodd) Gambling: Sports Wagering – set for vote in Senate Appropriations on June 23

On the gut-and-amend on ACA 11, it appears to be an alternative to the property tax base valuation transfer initiative sponsored by the California Association of Realtors that is eligible for the November 3 ballot. Thursday is also the day the last day for proponents of measures to have found to have sufficient valid signatures to qualify for November to withdraw the measures, although that too is statutory (Elections §9604) and can be extended by a two-thirds vote (urgency) of the Legislature.

On SCA 6, the sports betting measure that has online betting sites and cardrooms on in favor and tribes with opposed, I am told that a deal to remove the opposition of most tribes is not forthcoming. While amendments have been offered, they were rejected in this Thursday letter.

WALTERS ON CALPERS: Dan Walters writes for CalMatters on the plan by CalPERS to borrow money to "fatten" its investment portfolio to meet the goal of an annual 7% return.

CalPERS desperately needs an escape route [from the volatility of the stock market] and has chosen the perilous path of debt. It plans to borrow billions of dollars — as much as $80 billion — to fatten its investment portfolio in fingers-crossed hopes that earnings gains will outstrip borrowing costs. It mirrors the recent and risky practice of local governments borrowing heavily to pay their pension bills via “pension obligation bonds.”

“More assets refers to a plan to use leverage, or borrowing, to increase the base of the assets generating returns in the portfolio,” the system’s chief investment officer, Ben Meng, wrote in the Wall Street Journal recently. “Leverage allows CalPERS to take advantage of low interest rates by borrowing and using those funds to acquire assets with potentially higher returns.”

What could possibly go wrong?

The new scheme is an implicit admission that CalPERS can’t meet its 7% mark without increasing its exposure to the vagaries of the market. “There are only a few asset classes with a long-term expected return clearing the 7% hurdle,” Meng wrote.

SUMMER TRAVEL AND COVID: For CalMatters, Rebecca Sohn looks at what the summer travel scene looks like with leisure travel reopening while COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

Now some Californians are slowly emerging from their homes, and traveling to other parts of the state for short vacations and road trips.

Many epidemiologists warn that taking leisure trips could cause COVID-19 infections to surge. State health department guidelines still recommend against all but local, essential travel.


If cases do spike, health officials won’t know for at least another week, or two weeks from the June 12 reopening.

“We’re going to have to see what happens,” saId Dr. Lee Riley, an epidemiologist and infectious disease specialist at the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health. 

In April, more than 7.7 million jobs were lost nationwide in the hotel and leisure industries, including 200,000 in California plus another estimated 400,000 indirectly related to hotels, according to the American Hotel and Lodging Association. The industry is on the “brink of collapse” and 2020 is expected to have the lowest hotel occupancy ever recorded, the association said.

In order to open up again, hotels are taking precautions outlined in state guidelines for their industry. Employees are required to wear masks, provide temperature screenings before and after each shift and frequently clean rooms and common areas. Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday ordered masks to be worn at all times, with a few exceptions, in public.

OAKTOWN: For the Chron, Phil Matier reports that the City of Oakland is exploring selling its half of the 155-acre Coliseum site after the loss of the Warriors from the arena the Raiders from the Coliseum, and uncertainty whether any baseball will be played in the stadium this year. The other half of the Coliseum property is owned by Alameda County, which had been trying to sell it leading to a lawsuit by Oakland to block it. The lawsuit was subsequently withdrawn by Oakland at the urging of Major League Baseball. The A's have proposed a waterfront ballpark and development project at Howard Terminal..

cakeday and classifieds after the jump...

Probolsky Research

CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Vito Imbasciani, Shawna McKnight, and Luis Sanchez!


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]

Offices available for sublease: Meridian Plaza

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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