Around The Capitol

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  • Political Breakdown (Scott Shafter and Marisa Lagos): California Secretary of Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot on confronting President Trump over climate change (2020-09-17)
  • Inside Golden State Politics (Bill Boyarsky and Sherry Bebitch Jeffe): Trump and Newsom, Strange Political Bedfellows and a Strange Political World (2020-09-17)
  • 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)


  • Election Day: 45 days
  • Ballots mailed to all California registered voters: 16 days (w/in 5 days)
  • RealClearPolitics presidential average: Biden 49.3, Trump: 43.1 (9/3-9/17): Biden+6.2
  • RealClearPolitics generic congressional average: Dems+5.7 (8/1-9/17)

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The Nooner for Sunday, September 20, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners

  • Money matters
  • COVID-19
  • Wildfires
  • EDD
  • Turnout
  • Cakeday and classifieds 

Happy Sunday! My fridge is bare and the air quality index suggests that it is safe to go to farmers market, masked of course because of that other thing that is still out there. So, I'm hoping to get over to the market when it opens at 8 and also have wishes that the street tacos at Our Lady of Guadalupe will return today. Of course, I still have the Thai beef curry in my Instant Pot that I wrote about yesterday. My doctor, however, would note that there's nothing green in that pot and I really need to start a Whole 30 after eating like crap for the last few months and gaining my COVID+19. (Well, I haven't stepped on the scale...)

...back from farmers market and I found that Our Lady of Guadalupe tacos and other food are now available on a parking lot behind the church adjacent to the school's soccer field. On the soccer field, you will find the Spanish-language church's services! I only found it because I heard music coming from behind the church. #2020

While the Buddhist Church of Sacramento remains virtual, I'm looking forward to some blessed tacos of my selection of a variety of proteins most of you may not have tried as well as a mangonada from the street vendor on 7th/T. While the other five or so vendors haven't come back (some likely returned to south of the border while others I know have other employment and it's just not worth it), the mangonada guy (occasionally with his sister) keeps showing up, regardless of smoke or temperature. I call him the mangonada guy, but he also has esquité (street corn in a cup), chipas con salsa, etc.

I really don't know his entire menu. You sort of just have to try to ask the quite affable guy in Spanglish. Come to think of it, I really should ask for his name. I know where he comes from but not his name. How inconsiderate of me.

America. I love it. And I love Mexíco, obviously.

Meanwhile, if you haven't seen the RBG documentary on CNN and missed it last night (as if you were at the movies or a concert or dining in a fine restaurant), it will be on again tonight at 7pm PDT. I'm working on a podcast with law professors to talk about the legacy of RBG and what happens next to be recorded this week.

I'll be short today since I have so many other projects beyond restocking my fridge.

MONEY MATTERS: highlights of filings from yesterday's daily reports. These do not include regular contributions to candidates or significant in-kind expenditures from the political parties, which are primarily for mail.

Legislative races - independent expenditures

  • AD42 (Cathedral City, Twenty-Nine Palms, Yucaipa): $46,180 for digital ads IE in SUPPORT of Chad Mayes (NPP) by Keep California Goldenwith most recent contributions from the California Association of Realtors and California Correctional Peace Officers Association


-The numbers: 77 more Californians reportedly lost their lives to COVID-19 yesterday, bringing the total to 14,987. The usual caveat about weekend reporting applies, with lower numbers reported over the weekend and higher numbers midweek. The 14-day average positivity rate statewide is 3.3%.


-The numbers: 26 fatalities have been tallied and 6,546 structures destroyed or damaged in the Caliifornia fires. Five of the state's 20 largest fires in California history have occurred in 2020, with 3,472,947 acres burned. (The acreage number is updated occasionally and not daily like the individual fires.

Here are the five biggest currently burning:

  1. August Complex (Mendocino, Humboldt counties): 833,967 acres, with 34% containment as of 7:33am
    - 51 structures destroyed

  2. SCU Lightning Complex (Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Joaquin, Stanislaus counties): 396,624 acres, with 98% containment as of 09/19 8:42
    - 222 structures destroyed

  3. LNU Lightning Complex (Napa, Sonoma, Lake, Yolo, Solano counties): 363,220 acres, with 98% containment as of 09/19 8:38
    - 5 deaths; 1,491 structures destroyed

  4. North Complex (Plumas, Butte, Yuba counties): 292,200 acres with 62% containment as of 8:15am
    - 15 deaths; 1,393 structures destroyed

  5. Creek Fire (Fresno, Madera counties): 278,368 acres, with 25% containment as of 8:50am
    - 846 structures destroyed

-Bobcat Fire: When people think of Los Angeles County, they rarely remember that the county has wide expanses of open space, reaching north through the Angeles National Forest to the Antelope Valley cities of Lancaster and Palmdale. The LAT's Alex Wigglesworth and Louis Sahagun report that the Bobcat Fire, burning through that area in between the metropolis and high-desert cities is nearing 100,000 acres.

The fire is no longer bearing down on foothill communities like Arcadia and Monrovia, but it is moving into some remote areas in the Antelope Valley, destroying homes and prompting numerous evacuations, officials said.

There were flare-ups overnight around Mt. Wilson, but firefighters on the ground and in the air were able to prevent any losses there, officials said.

The fire has burned nearly 94,000 acres and is only 15% contained, officials said. Winds could kick up again Sunday, but fire officials said with lower temperatures and calmer winds expected Monday and Tuesday, this might give them a chance to get the upper hand on the blaze.

EDD: The LAT's Patrick McGreevy writes on the report of a "strike team" appointed by Governor Newsom to look at the state's Employment Development Department, and it ain't pretty.

California’s antiquated unemployment benefits system requires a complete overhaul to overcome significant problems that have delayed getting money to many left jobless during the COVID-19 pandemic, a strike team appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom said Saturday.

The 45-day review by technology and government experts found that the backlog of unresolved claims at the state Employment Development Department is growing rapidly, by 10,000 a day, and — although Newsom wanted it eliminated by the end of this month — will take several more months to be cleared.

The report was requested by Newsom in July after months of complaints from unemployed Californians frustrated with the state agency for failing to process claims, leaving them without the benefits needed to pay their bills. The EDD has also come under fire from state legislators, who last week approved an emergency audit of its performance in response to the criticisms and following reports of widespread fraud in the unemployment system.

I guess now is not the time to complain about the ugly peeling paint on the sign for the agency on a post on 7th and N which I walk by frequently. Meanwhile, I haven't heard a response about the fraud case where somebody was using my name at my dad's house, where I last lived 26 years ago.

Meanwhile, in The Bee, Adam Ashton reports that EDD is halting new unemployment claims for two weeks for a staff and technology reboot.

California will not accept new unemployment claims over the next two weeks while the state’s Employment Development Department adopts new fraud prevention technology and works to clear out a backlog, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration announced late Saturday.

Employment Development Department Director Sharon Hilliard announced the pause on new claims in response to recommendations from the unemployment “strike team” Newsom appointed in July.

During the two-week pause, people filing new claims until Oct. 5 will be asked to provide contact information to the state. Hilliard wrote that they will be contacted to file claims when processing resumes.

Hmmm...can folks ask for a two-week pause in rent and mortgage payments? Anyway, Ashton continues...

“New claimants should not see a delay in benefit payments, and in fact many of them will actually get their payments faster as they avoid the older time intensive ID Verification process,” EDD Director Hilliard wrote.

The pause on new claims is not expected to interrupt payments for people already in the system. Last month, California’s unemployment rate fell to 11.4%, down from 13.5% in July. About 2.1 million Californians were out of work last month, according to the department.

Congrats to Governor Newsom and others for tackling this monster.

TURNOUT: In the Times, Melanie Mason and Mark Z. Barabak note that while the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg will likely drive voter turnout, it's unclear if it will help one side more than another.

A presidential contest that had largely been a referendum on President Trump and, in particular, his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has suddenly broadened into something more: a fight over control of the Supreme Court.

Both sides claim their base will be more energized than ever by the vacancy created with the death of liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday. The GOP has historically had more success in using the judiciary to rally its voters and push the courts to the right.

But the Democrats’ angst over losing a progressive luminary and fear of a solidifying conservative majority may be enough to turn this court opening into a political advantage.


cakeday and classifieds after the jump...

Probolsky Research


CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Beth Broome, Senator Brian Dahle, Van Jones, my old friend Lisa Sohn, and Assembly member Dr. Shirley Weber!


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]

Communications Director

The 2020 California Citizens Redistricting Commission, is seeking applications for a Communications Director with at least 7 years’ experience ($11,500-$13,600/mo.). The Communication Director provides executive leadership over the design, development, and execution of the Commission’s strategic communications and public relations strategy. The ideal candidate will have experience doing outreach and building relations with diverse racial and ethnic communities and stakeholder groups and familiarity with the specialized media sources related to these communities. The Commission is charged with drawing the State’s legislative, Congressional, and Board of Equalization electoral lines.

Job Bulletin:

California School Boards Association - Legislative Director

CSBA is seeking a Legislative Director to lead our Governmental Relations team to shape legislative and political strategy for CSBA’s statewide agenda. You will act as a liaison between legislative, educational, and public communities. If you are interested in leading a team of legislative advocates to influence opinion in favor of public education, please apply through our website. Position is located in West Sacramento. Learn more and apply here:

Steinberg Institute is Expanding Our Team

Leading mental health advocacy organization seeks articulate, strategic, and passionate full time advocate. 3+ years' legislative/budget experience required. Knowledge of mental health/substance use issues strongly preferred. Sacramento-based. $75,000 - $90,000, depending on experience, with excellent benefits. Deadline: October 2, 2020. Details.

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.

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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