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  • Political Breakdown  (Scott Shafer and Marisa Lagos): former Assembly member Mike Gatto on end-of-session fallout, parenting in office and prison realignment (2020-09-11)
  • Capitol Weekly Podcast (John Howard and Tim Foster): Lobbyist Jennifer Fearing (2020-09-11)
  • Political Breakdown (Scott Shafer and Marisa Lagos): Assembly member Buffy Wicks on showing up to vote with her newborn (2020-09-03)
  • If I Could Change One Thing: (Gary Rotto @ San Diego State): Rep. Scott Peters (D-San Diego) on the work of the House Energy and Commerce Committee (2020-09-03)
  • Inside Golden State Politics (Bill Boyarsky and Sherry Bebitch Jeffe): The end of the legislative session and the presidential (2020-09-03)
  • Capitol Weekly Podcast (John Howard and Tim Foster): Republican political strategist Jon Fleischman (2020-09-01)
  • California Nation: (Gil Duran @ SacBee): The impact of COVID-19 on California's economy. (2020-08-29)
  • Nooner Conversations (Scott Lay): State Senator Holly J. Mitchell (2020-08-17) [Apple Podcasts | Simplecast]


  • Election Day: 48 days
  • Ballots mailed to all California registered voters: 19 days (w/in 5 days)
  • RealClearPolitics presidential average: Biden 49.2, Trump: 43.0 (9/3-9/15): Biden+6.2 - updated today
  • RealClearPolitics generic congressional average: Dems+5.7 (8/1-9/15)

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]

The Nooner for Wednesday, September 16, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners

  • Money matters
  • COVID-19
  • Wildfires
  • EDD
  • Becerra
  • Illegal Yes on 21 ad?
  • SB 10 and Prop. 25 (bail)
  • Initiatives
  • SacTown
  • Cakeday and classifieds 

Hello there! This morning is beautiful for two things. I slept until 6 and the AQI is only 8 -- "Good." I am working with my balcony door open and with fresh air for the first time in a month. Fresh, cool air feels so good.

It's one of those crazy mornings where I feel I am just scratching the surface.

I did stay up a little later than usual as I watched noche mexicana and the reading of el grito de Dolores (The Cry of Dolores) last night and the huge fireworks show that followed. While el zócalo was empty, it was adorned with lights, a large flame, and the glorious flag in the center of Mexico City's square was flying in the evening breeze. The video is here, and the pageantry begins at around 10:40. Today marks the 210th anniversary of Mexican's declaration of independence. ¡Viva Mexico!

Firefighters from Guanajuato, Mexico are right now helping with the fires in Oregon.

I don't stay up for late shows, but run them when I am writing in this morning. The opening of A Late Show with Stephen Colbert last night was a parody of Monday's visit by President Trump and meeting with California leaders. In particular, Colbert mocked the President's claim that "science doesn't know" about climate change and "it'll get cooler" in his interaction with California Secretary of Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot with a remake as "The Walking Dumb." Crowfoot gets a second hit on Colbert during the Tooning out the News segment near the end of the show. He's the masked one speaking in the interaction with POTUS.

I thought I would be multi-tasking last night with the livestream from Mexico City and the Giants-Mariners game while reading campaign reports, but alas the game was postponed. However, unlike Friday and Saturday in San Diego, it wasn't postponed for what turned out to be a false positive COVID-19 test, but rather smoke in Seattle. The two-game series is now to be played today and tomorrow in San Francisco. Tonight's game is at 6:45pm at Oracle Park, although Seattle is still the home team. Tomorrow's game is at 1:10pm, on what was to be a day off before a weekend series across the bridge in Oakland.

It's just all so 2020.

Speaking of that, today marks the six-month anniversary of the recess of the Legislature amidst the growing pandemic. Over the weekend preceding that Monday, members, staff, and lobbyists pressured the Legislature to do something and it likely proved to be a wise decision. While there have been a few cases among members, staff, and lobbyists, it likely would have been much worse. Three days after the Legislature's decision, Governor Newsom declared the statewide stay-at-home order.

Tomorrow, Capitol Weekly is hosting an online conference on Zoom: California in Conference: COVID-19. There are three panels from 9am-12:45pm, including ones on health care infrastructure, health equity, and telehealth. There is no charge to attend, but registration is required, and is available for each individual panel. [more info and registration]

Also tomorrow, McGeorge School of Law has a webinar at noon: "55th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act: A Checkpoint," which will be a 30-minute presentation followed by Q&A. Additional information on the McGeorge's Master of Science in Law program will also be available. [more info and registration]

MONEY MATTERS: highlights of filings from the previous day's daily reports.

  • California Democratic Party: $600,000 from Yes on 21 (rent control) - $300,000 listed on same report on both 9/14 and 9/15
  • California Democratic Party: $75,000 from United Food and Commercial Workers
  • California Democratic Party: $50,000 from California Medical Association PAC
  • California Republican Party: $1,200,000 from No on 15 (split roll property tax)
  • California Republican Party: $1,000,000 from No on 25 ("no" overturns SB 10 bail reform law) 
  • California Republican Party: $100,000 from Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, operator of the Cache Creek Casino Resort in the Capay Valley town of Brooks northwest of Sacramento.
  • Yes on 15 (split roll): $66,000 from 4 donors
  • No on 15 (split roll): $1,199,016 from 49 donors
  • Yes on 16 (affirmative action): $679,500 from 7 donors, including $550,000 from California Teachers Association and $90,000 from Sempra Energy
  • Yes on 20 (rescinds certain public safety reforms): $305,500 from the Devin Nunes Campaign Committee (R-CA21) - in-kind television and web expenditures
  • No on 21 (rent control): $178,040 from 14 donors
  • SD15 (San José): Valley Neighborhoods United for Dave Cortese For State Senate 2020: $300,000 from California Realtors Association PAC
  • SD29 (Diamond Bar-Fullerton): $81,324 IE in support of Ling-Ling Chang (R) by California Alliance for Progress and Education, an alliance of business organizations


-The numbers: 147 more Californians reportedly lost their lives to COVID-19 yesterday, bringing the total to 14,614. This is likely a carry-forward from low-reporting over the weekend. Here is the top-line summary from the state yesterday:

California now has 760,013 confirmed cases of COVID-19, resulting in 14,451 deaths. The number of COVID-related deaths increased by 0.5 percent from Sunday's total of 14,385. The number of COVID-19 diagnostic test results in California reached a total of 12,928,170, an increase of 121,981 tests since Sunday. The rate of positive tests over the last 14 days is 3.6 percent. 

-School daze: In the LAT, Paloma Esquivel and Howard Blume write that thousands of Los Angeles County students still don't have adequate computer access or wifi to participate successfully in distance learning.

Six months after schools closed amid the coronavirus crisis and with online learning in full swing, tens of thousand of students remain without adequate digital access and school districts in Los Angeles County report they still need nearly 50,000 computers and Wi-Fi hot spots.

The numbers are a stark reminder that technology access continues to pose a significant barrier to distance learning as schools in Los Angeles County will not be allowed to fully reopen until at least November.

“I’m very concerned if there’s even a small fraction of students who aren’t accessing, especially when we’re talking about students who are already more vulnerable and disadvantaged,” said Debra Duardo, superintendent of the L.A. County Office of Education. “There is already a gap, whether you want to call it an academic gap or an opportunity gap. There is already a gap, and we don’t want that gap to get any larger.”

-Impact on Latinos: In the Times, Gustavo Arellano looks at the impact of COVID-19 on one Mexican-immigrant family who operated Pancho's Mini Market in a barrio near USC. As neighbors lost work, the market lost its customers. Meanwhile, the virus hit all four family members. Another story that brings tears to a readers' eyes.

-SacTown region: For those wondering when Sacramento County might move from the most restrictive "Widespread/purple" tier to the less restrictive "Substantial spread/red" tier, don't get your hopes up unless the rules structure changes again. The threshold in the new four tier system is getting the new cases per 100k residents rate below 7 and the testing positivity rate below 8%. Sacramento is currently at a new cases rate of 8.5  and a positivity rate of 5.7%, so it will likely be awhile before restaurants and movie theaters can reopen indoors with modifications, along with churches. Data are updated each Monday.

Yolo County is also currently purple, although is very close to getting to red. It has a new cases rate of 7.1 and a positivity rate of 5.8%. Placer County is currently at 5.6 new cases and a positivity rate of 4.4%, so it should be safely in the red zone for awhile. That means that restaurants can open for indoor dining at 25% of capacity or 100 or fewer, whichever is less.

-Sandy Eggo: However, San Diego County is currently red and may move to purple because of the case surge at San Diego State University, which apparently had a liberal interpretation of classes allowed to operate in-person and generally students hanging around in the familiar neighborhoods rather than returning home. A team at the SDUT writes:

Data released Tuesday by San Diego County show that positive coronavirus tests among San Diego State University students were a decisive factor in putting the region at risk of becoming the first county in California to drop a level in the state’s reopening tier system.

San Diego County was listed with a new case rate of 7.9 in an updated report from the California Department of Public Health. It is a number far enough over the limit of 7.0 cases per 100,000 residents to trigger a fall, provided a similarly out-of-bounds number appeared in next week’s report.

The state used a seven-day window from Aug. 30 through Sept. 5 to calculate this week’s rates, and an examination of county case counts for those days shows that if the 436 SDSU student cases that occurred were removed, the region’s rate would be 6.0.

More college students will soon begin resuming their studies in San Diego. University of California San Diego will begin repatriating an estimated 7,500 students this weekend with another 500 headed for the University of San Diego this weekend and 500 who arrived at Point Loma Nazarene University last weekend.

Local officials say they are scrambling to do what they can to avoid a second week with a case rate over 7.0, which would move the county into the most restrictive tier.

Such a regression would force restaurants, churches, movie theaters, museums and gyms to cease indoor activity.

The irony is that many of the businesses that would be affected are those that were most encouraged by campuses bringing as many students back as possible.

-Anaheim/Theme parks: Anaheim is clamoring for Governor Newsom to allow Disneyland to reopen as the city faces a $100 million deficit, reports Brady Macdonald in the Register.

Anaheim has called on California Gov. Gavin Newsom to reopen Disneyland and Disney California Adventure after a six-month coronavirus closure that has led to a $100 million shortfall in city coffers.

Anaheim wants Newsom to issue COVID-19 health and safety guidelines that would allow California theme parks to reopen, according to city spokesperson Mike Lyster.

“What we need is guidance and an economic recovery roadmap so we know that we won’t go from coronavirus to a second great recession,” Lyster said.

California theme parks closed in mid-March amid the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. and remain shuttered while they await guidelines for safely reopening from the state.

“Once we have a clearer understanding of when theme parks can reopen from the State of California, we will be able to work with the state and Orange County Health Care Agency towards a reopening date,” according to Disney officials.

I wrote on March 14 -- five days before the statewide stay-at-home order. The city counts on transient occupancy tax ("hotel tax") for 40% of annual tax revenue. It has long counted on out-of-towners to pay for not only the improvements to the resort area, but to subsidize public safety and other services while other cities have scrambled for revenue and sought voter approval for other taxes in recent years. The chicken has come home to roost.


-The numbers: 24 fatalities have been tallied and 5,430 structures destroyed or damaged in the Caliifornia fires. Five of the state's 20 largest fires in California history have occurred in 2020, with 3,154,107 acres burned. (Note: the cumulative acres burned number has not been updated in several days, while individual fires have certainly grown. There's just no easy way to get a total as the data is not downloadable.)

Here are the five biggest currently burning:

  1. August Complex (Mendocino, Humboldt counties): 796,651 acres, with 30% containment as of 9:19am
    - 18 structures destroyed

  2. SCU Lightning Complex (Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Joaquin, Stanislaus counties): 396,624 acres, with 98% containment as of 11:07am
    - 222 structures destroyed

  3. LNU Lightning Complex (Napa, Sonoma, Lake, Yolo, Solano counties): 363,220 acres, with 97% containment as of 09/15/20 10:17am -- not updated today
    - 5 deaths; 1,491 structures destroyed

  4. North Complex (Plumas, Butte, Yuba counties): 273,335 acres with 36% containment as of 10:16am
    - 15 deaths; 865 structures destroyed

  5. Creek Fire (Fresno, Madera counties): 220,025 acres, with 16% containment as of 10:06am
    - 555 structures destroyed

-The worst. Again. The LAT has an outstanding multimedia look at the wildfires of 2020 in historical context as each bad year seems to get worse.

-Berry Creek: Only 44 miles by windy roads (think an 1.5 hours) from the town of Paradise leveled by the Camp Fire in 2018, the town of Berry Creek was largely leveled by the Bear Fire (now part of the North Complex) last week, including its two schools and only market/gas station. Now the town is going through the same reckoning as Paradise -- can it rebuild? Ruben Vivas writes in the Times about the story of the market as a center of the town and the dreams of an immigrant family from a war torn country:

More than 40 miles away in Chico, Carin Dorghalli had trouble sleeping. The 26-year-old journalist had been covering the fire for the Chico Enterprise-Record. While in the field, she managed to check up on the family business — the Village Market.

It was the only gas station and convenience store in the area. Her father had purchased it 2006 and marked his financial success as an immigrant from Syria. For residents, the store was a lifeline and a community gathering spot, especially after the 2018 fire disaster in nearby Paradise, when the Village Market was one of the few stores that stayed open.

But when Dorghalli arrived at the store in the early hours of Sept. 10, she found the store leveled and smoldering. The fire had swept through the area, consuming cars, homes and trees. Ash and embers fell from the sky as if it were snowing. Dorghalli said she couldn’t help but cry.

A firestorm moved through this hamlet and Butte County a week ago. killing at least 15 people and destroying more than 720 structures, including two schools. In this remote region, it was the market that bought people together and has raised hopes that, if rebuilt, it could be a focal point for recovery.


In Berry Creek, longtime residents lamented the loss of the Village Market, curious if the family would rebuild or not.

Vives's story brings tears to the readers eyes about the hopes of immigrants who have lost their dream.

More after the jumpity jump...

EDD: Yesterday, Governor Newsom announced new actions to address the significant issues with the Employment Development Department's processing of unemployment claims, including delays, customer service, and fraud (which I've encountered). David Lightman writes in the Bee about the suspected fraud:

Claims for money from a new federal unemployment benefit program jumped suddenly and dramatically last month in California and state investigators are concerned that the surge is evidence of an increase in fraudulent activity.

The red flags center on claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, the program created by Congress in March so that people who historically do not qualify for jobless benefits, such as business owners, independent contractors and gig workers, can receive help.

“We certainly have legitimate PUA claims in California but we do suspect that a big part of the unusual recent rise in PUA claims is linked to fraud,” said Loree Levy, spokeswoman for the state’s Employment Development Department, which is investigating allegations of fraud in the unemployment system.

As I wrote on September 3, somebody filed under my name and SSN at my dad's house, where I haven't lived for 26 years. Three letters of eligibility and asking whether I wanted a direct deposit or debit card.

BECERRA: On yesterday's very good Sacramento Press Club Facebook Live with Attorney General Xavier Becerra, the obvious question was asked -- if Biden/Harris are elected on November 3, is he interested in being appointed to fill Harris's Senate seat. He would be honored and he said he seriously thought about running for the Senate seat in 2016. Of course, he ended up being appointed attorney general after Harris was sworn in to the Senate. The Bee's Hannah Wiley asks the question at 3:25 in the video.

ILLEGAL YES ON 21 AD? NBC4 in Los Angeles investigates a television ad from the "Yes on 21" (rent control) campaign ad that uses an actor with apparently no military experience to portray a veteran who has earned the Bronze Star. In the NBC4 report, former Assembly member Rocky Chavez, a veteran, says that the if the actor has not served or earned such commendations, that would be a violation of the federal Stolen Valor Act. Campaign ethics expert Bob Stern says that it likely also violates FPPC regulations, which require that if an actor is used in a campaign ad, they must be labeled as such. The ad has been taken down from the online platforms on which it was running, although complaints have been filed with the Attorney General's Office and the FPPC.

SB 10 and PROP 25 (BAIL): In the Bee, Nadia Lopez looks at whether SB 10, last session's bill to replace the cash bail system with pre-trial risk assessment will really make the economic impact of cash bail more economically equitable. The bill is subject to referendum by Proposition 25 on November 3 ballot. ("Yes" means uphold SB 10; "No" means overturn the law.)

INITIATIVES: Steve Clark, the Huntington Beach gent who has previously submitted a couple of initiatives to ban alimony in California (which went nowhere) has a latest target: local government public health orders. In an initiative submitted for title and summary yesterday, he proposes stripping the authority for governor to issue orders during a public health emergency. In his filing, he states that the following title and summary prepared by Legislative Counsel (he didn't pay for private drafting like most initiatives do) is accurate and should be used. Under Gov't Code §10243, Legislative Counsel is required to assist a citizen in preparing an initiative if it is requested by 25 voters and the Leg Counsel determines that there is a reasonable probability that it will be submitted to the voters. To avoid being sued, that "reasonable probability" is widely interpreted and it becomes the perfect job to assign to a summer law clerk.

Title: Limit Government Authority During a Health Crisis - Initiative Statute

Summary: The intent of this initiative measure is to limit the government’s role to an advisory capacity during any health crisis. Allows the government to issue public service announcements and/or health advisories. Does not allow the government to issue any executive orders that impact any private businesses, public beaches, state parks, places of worship or personal freedoms.

Yeah, that's going to the same dumpster as the alimony initiatives. But, it's only $2,000 to file!

SACTOWN: Another popular Capitol-area spot announced on Facebook yesterday that it is closing down. Oblivion Comics and Coffee on 11th just north of K is ceasing sales of coffee immediately and having a final comics sale 9/16-9/20 and 9/23-9/27. This follows the closure of Ambrosia on 11th and K. Both were popular meeting spots for Capitol folks, although that business is completely wiped out.


cakeday and classifieds after the jump...

Probolsky Research

CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Assembly member Lorena Gonzalez, Nick Pappas, Sasha Pérez, Chris Rogers, and Kevin Yamamura!


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]

Automobile Club of Southern California (AAA): Legislative Advocate

Represent and advocate for the interests of Automobile Club of Southern California (AAA) members and policyholders before the Legislature, Administration, state agencies, industry and trade associations, and related forums. Based in Sacramento. Excellent salary and benefits.

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

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