Around The Capitol

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ATCpro SUBSCRIBER UPDATES[A full list of recent election analysis is on the subscribers home page. If you have forgotten or haven't set a password, use the forgot password tool]

*=today's updates

  • CA21 (Coalinga-Lemoore-South Bakersfield/strong> updated analysis and rating change from Leans Dem to Toss-up (2020-08-15)
  • CA25 (Santa Clarita-Palmdale/strong> updated analysis (Toss-up) - money update
  • CA39 (Diamond Bar-Fullerton-Yorba Linda): updated analysis (Leans Democrat) - money update
  • CA45 (Anaheim Hills-Tustin-Irvine/strong> updated analysis (Likely Democrat) - money update

The Nooner for Monday, August 17, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners

  • COVID-19
    • The numbers
    • School daze
    • Special ed
    • No shirt, no dice (shoes optional)
    • Detention facilties
    • Homeless
  • Weather, power, and fire
    • Nothing to see here...
    • Rolling blackouts
    • Fire tornadoes
  • Gavin's smiling for Kamala, but...
  • Crisis of competence?
  • New voter registration data
  • cakeday and new classifieds

Well, hello there and happy first day of Virtual Politicalpalooza 2020! It is the six-month anniversary of Governor Newsom's shelter-in-place order that began (statewide) the roller coaster that has come to define our 2020. On this day seven months ago, I was on my last morning in Mexico City and booking a return trip for next month at this time during Mexican Independence Day to see El Grito in El Zócalo. Obviously for COVID health and COVID-caused financial reasons, I won't be writing from CDMX next month and will instead be camped out here at Nooner Global HQ.

Tonight, the Democratic National Convention launches on the interwebs from 6pm to 8pm PDT. Tonight's lineup includes Kasich, Cuomo, Klobuchar, Sanders, and Michelle Obama. If you want to watch wall-to-wall without commentary (and skipping undercard speeches) on your favorite newschannel, you can watch on C-SPAN or via several other options. Here is the schedule. Interestingly, former Ohio governor John Kasich is not listed, although his team had an email blast this morning that he will be speaking tonight in the 7-8pm PDT hour.

Long Beach mayor Robert Garcia, who recently lost his mother and stepfather to COVID, will be part of a 17-person "rising stars" keynote tomorrow night.

The virtual Republican National Convention is next week, Monday through Thursday.

I got to my desk at 5 this morning to find a flurry of tweets about a big thunderstorm in SacTown that apparently passed around 1am. I'm happy to say that after so many nights of COVIDsomnia, last night continued a four-night stretch of 6-hour solid sleep, and I'm happy I wasn't awakened by the thunder.

I attribute the sleep to two things -- my shift to all tea (yea, Allspicery) and decreasing caffeine consumption significantly and the fact that I closed all three rings on my watch yesterday. No, I didn't go to an outdoor gym and certainly not a jog. I walked to a from farmers market, but that's only three blocks. The rest was all housekeeping. I got a lot done, so much that it resulted in a two-shower day.

I have Nooner Conversations podcast recordings this afternoon and tomorrow afternoon, so be on the lookout for two great legislative guests!

I'll likely be a bit short this morning. I errantly clicked save without entering the password about two hours in, resetting it to the last saved version. Additionally, Senate Approps started at 9am and listening to all the AB 5 opponents call during other bills and chair Anthony Portantino's exasperation has been distracting me.

In reality, there are several bills for which I'm listening to hear support/oppo.

Let's get to it after the jumpity jump...


- The Numbers: California added 15 confirmed COVID deaths yesterday for a total of 11,246. Of these, 31 were in Los Angeles County and 20 were in Orange County. The usual caveat of underreporting over the weekend and overreporting in the early weekdays applies, although the hospitalizations and positivity trends both look good.

- School daze: In the LAT, Howard Blume and Laura Newberry report that Los Angeles Unified is embarking on the nation's most ambitious testing and contact tracing efforts for staff, students, and families in an effort to identify a path to return of in-person instruction. They write:

If the plan unfolds as described, it could be one of the most detailed to date for an American school district, involving nearly 500,000 students and 75,000 staff members. It appears to be the most sizable, at least until the larger New York City school system clarifies how it will manage testing and contact tracing.

The L.A. testing program is not an immediate prelude to reopening campuses. No date has yet been set, and plans for offering distance learning will proceed as the school year formally begins this week.

From the LAUSD press release:

Superintendent Austin Beutner announced today the launch of a program that will provide regular COVID-19 testing and contact tracing to school staff, students and their families. As part of this plan, research will commence to study the impact and effects of reopening and this data will be available to the general public.

The testing and contact tracing program and its corresponding research are a groundbreaking collaboration between Los Angeles Unified School District and leading scientists from the University California Los Angeles (UCLA), Stanford University and the Johns Hopkins University, Microsoft, testing experts, and healthcare companies Anthem Blue Cross and Health Net. Together, they will be part of a task force co-chaired by Beutner and former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

Reportedly, some (or all) of the partners are working with the district pro bono.

- Special Ed: For EdSource, Carolyn Jones looks at how school districts are trying to improve special education distance learning after many acknowledged shortcomings when schools haphazardly shifted from in-person to distance learning this spring.

Special education has been a challenge for school districts since March, when campuses closed due to the pandemic. Many students in special education receive occupational, speech or physical therapy — services that are nearly impossible to provide virtually. And some students, such as those with developmental disabilities or attention deficit disorder, have difficulty following lessons online.

The result was that some districts provided no online instruction for any students, for fear of getting sued by families of students in special education who believed their children weren’t receiving equal treatment.

That changed in April when the state and federal governments both mandated that districts with shuttered campuses provide online learning for all students, including those in special education. But services have been spotty in some districts, which prompted the new state law requiring all districts to adopt distance learning plans for special education students.

Meanwhile, many parents are concerned that distance learning will never adequately meet the needs of their children with special needs.

- No shirt, no dice (shoes optional): A Silver Creek High School special education math teacher in San José's East Side UHSD who taught class shirtless has been placed on administrative leave while the district investigates.

- Detention facilities: In the Times, Doug Smith reports that a federal judge has ordered immediate testing for all staff and detainees at a Bakersfield privately run immigration detention facility where it was known the virus was spreading while officials refused to test:

After receiving results on Friday showing that nearly half of the detainees tested earlier in the week were positive for the illness caused by the coronavirus, federal District Court Judge Vince Chhabria ordered the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to conduct quick-result testing of everyone who remained in the Mesa Verde ICE Processing Facility.

“I’m ordering that it be done immediately, and nobody stop working until they’re completed,” the judge told lawyers for ICE and the private contractor that runs the facility, according to Deputy Public Defender Emi MacLean of the San Francisco public defender’s office. The office represents detainees at the facility in San Francisco Immigration Court.

MacLean said the judge cited the “deliberate indifference” of ICE and GEO Group, the private company that manages the facility, saying, “There’s no question that this outbreak could have been avoided.”

- Homeless: For the AP, Janie Har reports that the nation's homeless has not been as devasted by COVID as many people feared, although tracking the actual numbers and impact is very difficult.

WEATHER, POWER, AND FIRE: The heat wave across the state continues, leading to fires and the prospect of more power outages.

- Nothing to see here... The Times's Laura Newberry writes that Death Valley hit 130 degrees yesterday, possible the highest temperature on earth since 1913. Here is the tweet sent out by the National Weather Service:

Per the climate data in xmACIS2, this is the first time since 1913 that Death Valley has reached 130F. In July 2013, it last reached 129F. If valid, it would be the hottest August temperature at the site by 3F.

- Rolling blackouts: In the Bee, Tony Bizjak and Daniel Hunt report that the PG&E auto-calls warning customers of likely blackouts last night turned out to be a false alarm.

Three hours after putting out tens of thousands of automated phone calls to Bay Area customers Sunday, warning of yet another set of mandatory power outages, Pacific Gas and Electric acknowledged at 8 p.m. that the threat of a third night of rolling blackouts had passed.

“Based on current forecasts for electricity supply and demand, the state’s electric grid operator, the California Independent System Operator, has communicated to PG&E that the utility does not need to employ rotating power outages in the early to late evening Sunday,” the utility said in a Twitter press statement.

Today looks okay as of this morning, but who knows?

- Fire tornadoes: Alex Wigglesworth reports in the LAT on the National Weather Service precedent-setting warning issued yesterday for "fire tornadoes" in the fire north of Lake Tahoe.

Multiple videos posted to social media showed twister-like formations in the path of the Loyalton fire, which started Friday evening in the Tahoe National Forest near California’s border with Nevada. The fire quickly grew to 20,000 acres and was 0% contained as of Sunday morning. Authorities were performing updated flight mapping and expected the acreage to rise, said Joe Flannery, public affairs officer for the national forest.

“Our resources on the ground are facing extreme fire behavior, rugged terrain and warm temperatures,” Flannery said.

Evan Bentley, severe weather meteorologist with the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center, wrote on Twitter that radar data showed at least four “distinct anticyclonic circulations” associated with the fire on Saturday. One was present for more than an hour and traveled about four miles, he wrote.
The extreme weather phenomenon is believed to have been sparked by the rapid growth and intensity of the blaze.

“It was hot; it was very unstable atmospherically,” Snyder said in an interview, “and that allowed the fire, which is burning very hot and [through] lots of fuel, to really explode up in a vertical sense, up into the atmosphere.”


The weird NorCal weather of record temps along with thunderstorms is reportedly attributable to moisture bands from former Tropical Storm Fausto, and the LAT has a pretty cool image showing how the storm sent moisture NorCal's way.

GAVIN'S SMILING FOR KAMALA, BUT...: Dean of the press corps George Skelton writes for the LAT that Joe Biden's selection of Senator Kamala Harris throws a wrench in Governor Gavin Newsom's future plans.

Since Newsom was elected governor in 2018, the expectation has been that he would seize the first opportunity after this year to run for president.

Newsom, 52, wasn’t ready this year. But if President Trump won reelection, the Oval Office would be open in 2024. And if a Democrat ousted Trump, there’d be another opportunity in 2028.


But now you can forget about any liftoff for Newsom. His potential route to the White House has been abruptly blocked by Harris’ ascent to the Democratic vice presidential slot.

“Kamala is smart. She’s tough,” presumptive presidential nominee Joe Biden told a TV audience of millions in explaining why he chose her as his running mate. “She’s ready to do this job ….

“As the child of immigrants, she knows personally how immigrant families enrich our country, as well as the challenges of what it means to grow up Black and Indian American in the United States …. Her story is an American story.”

That’s a priceless public introduction by the man who’s likely to become the next president.

It isn’t like Newsom to run against her. He and Harris have been political stablemates, operating as a team, dividing up California’s top offices. In running for governor and the Senate, they shared the same political strategist, Ace Smith.

When former California Sen. Barbara Boxer retired in 2016, then-Atty. Gen. Harris and then-Lt. Gov. Newsom quickly agreed: She’d seek the Senate seat that year and he’d run for governor in 2018.


In 2022, Newsom will run for reelection. Winning should be a snap, assuming some big “ifs” — if he can bring the spread of the coronavirus under control, reboot California’s economy and fix state government’s computer mess that has plagued seemingly everything, including COVID-19 data collecting, DMV renewals, payment of unemployment benefits.

Then he should take a hard look at running for Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s Senate seat when she’s up for reelection in 2024. Feinstein will be 91 and it’s a good bet she’ll retire.

By taking a "hard look," I think Skelton means "Make sure Adam Schiff is not running." While the most high-profile member of the California delegation beyond Speaker Pelosi, he won't be appointed to Harris's seat should Biden-Harris prevail in November. Nor will first-term Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine), among the most high-profile nationally among the Frosh class and a prodigious fundraiser, with . That seat is almost certainly going to a Latino, with SOS Alex Padilla and AG Xavier Becerra topping the list.

Or maybe Harris can find Newsom a Cabinet job.

A new parlor game!

CRISIS OF COMPETENCE: For CalMatters, Dan Walters looks at the recent LAT article by Ralph Vartabedian on the troubled bridge project over BNSF and future high-speed rail tracks in Madera County and writes that it's part of a bigger Sacramento problem:

The underlying syndrome is the obsession among bureaucrats and their political overseers with short-term actions to get public attention while ignoring consequences and long-term issues.

The bullet train is a prime example. It was launched without a well-thought-out plan, without complete financing, without an effective organizational structure — and without a valid factual need. The folks in charge have been making it up as they go along and the result has been a disaster.

It’s something to ponder every time a politician proposes some grand scheme, such as the universal health care system that Newsom often touts. Why should we believe it would be any more functional than the DMV, EDD or the bullet train?

VOTER REGISTRATION DATA: Several readers asked about a couple of congressional districts that I didn't include in yesterday's item on new voter registration data. As I wrote yesterday, the voter registration trends and sortable voter registration statistics are still outside the ATCpro paywall but will likely move to subscribers only soon. Like district-level election analysis, these features take up my afternoon and evening time after my usual 6 hours on The Nooner each morning. I hate to be a jerk and want to continue to provide free resources like The Nooner, but I also have plenty of bills to pay. As I've written before, sponsored subscriptions are available to students, graduates of the Class of 2020, or those unemployed because of COVID. Email me for details.

CA04 (Roseville-Foothills):

  • Registration as of 07/03/2020: Dem: 30.47%, Rep: 42.18%, NPP: 20.23%, Other: 7.12%
  • Change from 10/24/2016: Dem: +1.22%, Rep: -1.58%, NPP: -0.15%, Other: +0.51%

CA08 (SB High Desert-Barstow-Eastern Sierra):

  • Registration as of 07/03/2020: Dem: 33.61%, Rep: 37.15%, NPP: 21.13%, 8.11%
  • Change from 10/24/2016: Dem: +0.41%, Rep: -1.43%, NPP: -0.41%. Other: 1.43% 

cakeday and NEW classifieds after the jump...

Probolsky Research

CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Diego González and Lauren Kimzey!


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]

California State University: Legislative Advocate

The California State University, Office of the Chancellor, is seeking a Legislative Advocate to accept primary responsibility for subject matter expertise, analysis, political strategy and advocacy in the areas assigned. In collaboration with the DSR, the Legislative Advocate will help identify and define issues that may impact the CSU; coordinate with Chancellor's Office (CO) staff and the DSR to develop comprehensive analysis of proposed legislation; and participate in the formulation of approaches and strategies for assigned issue areas.

For additional information and to apply, visit:


Voices for Progress: Membership Associate

Voices for Progress (V4P) galvanizes the advocacy of business leaders, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and other prominent individuals who unite to protect our climate, strengthen our democracy, and ensure economic and social justice for all. The Membership Associate will support the Membership team with activation of members for participation in public policy advocacy and other programmatic activities; ongoing member maintenance; maintaining data integrity within the membership and activities database; and assisting with the smooth functioning of the team. This position reports directly to the Membership Engagement Manager. The Membership Associate is a Non-Exempt position. Non-exempt employees are paid an hourly rate for hours worked and are eligible for overtime pay.

Full description and application info

Research Analyst, Full-Time (remote)

Probolsky Research is a market and opinion research company based in Newport Beach, California. We are woman and Latina-owned. We are non-partisan, independent researchers passionate about accuracy, data security, and using storytelling to make data usable.

The Research Analyst is responsible for facilitating market and opinion research projects from instrument design to project fulfillment, final research deliverables and presentation to client.


  • Competitive salary commensurate with experience
  • Company-funded medical insurance
  • Paid vacation

Location: We are a virtual company – work from anywhere

California School Boards Association - Public Affairs & Community Engagement Representative (LA North/Ventura)
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. Remote position based in the following location: LA North/Ventura. Salary based on experience. Please apply at:
Between 1-3 unfurnished offices are available for sublease in the Wells Fargo office building, 400 Capital Mall Sacramento, CA 95814. The offices are approximately 12’X10’ each. Internet, gym. 24/7/365 key card access; professional offices. One year lease preferred. $1,500 per office. Contact Tricia Horan at or 415-919-7990 with questions.
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.

Photos: 1 | 2 | 3

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: