Around The Capitol

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The Nooner for Tuesday, October 13, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners

  • The vote
  • Signature mismatches
  • Third-party returns
  • Ballot measures
  • Money matters
  • Fires
  • PG&E
  • Edison
  • COVID-19
  • Taxing matters
  • CA49 (S. OC-N. SD coast)
  • Cannabis
  • Cakeday and classifieds

Three Weeks Out

Happy Taco Tuesday? What will be your protein of choice (including veggie) today?

Thanks for your patience last week while I took three days off because of asthma. I don't know what caused it, although considering we're being showered with dusty leaves falling with accumulated dust since it doesn't rain anymore, I have a pretty good idea. Anyway, my breathing is much easier and I'm back at my desk and starting sleep a bit better. Of course, ads and subscriptions are extended.

ELECTION PREVIEW: The video of last week's Election Preview by PPIC is now available. Politico’s California Playbook reporter Carla Marinucci moderated the discussion with four other top journalists: Perry Bacon Jr., senior political writer for FiveThirtyEight; Priya David Clemens, host of KQED Newsroom; Tamara Keith, White House correspondent for National Public Radio; and Jennifer Medina, national political reporter for the New York Times.

THE VOTE: Here is the latest from Political Data's ballot tracker. Topline is 21,508,716 ballots mailed, with a breakdown of Dem: 43.4%, Rep: 24.2%, and NPP/other: 29.4%. Thus far, 662,762 have been returned (3%). Partisan breakdown is Dem: 4%, Rep: 3%, NPP/other: 2% of ballots mailed. The PDI site has breakdowns by congressional and state legislative districts (click "Select for Filters") and a list of the top 25 districts searched.

With Prop. 17 and 18 on the ballot, KQED's Guy Marzorati looks at the history of voting rights in California.

SIGNATURE MISMATCHES: In the LAT, Arit John looks at how signature mismatches could disenfranchise voters across America as more people cast mail-in ballots than ever.

A record number of Americans are expected to vote by mail in the November general election because of the pandemic — and a record number may have their ballots rejected over signature issues.

In nearly 40 states, election officials check the signatures on the ballot envelopes that voters send back against the ones on file — usually from voter registration forms or motor vehicle departments. A handful of states require voters to fill out their ballot in front of a witness, who must also sign.

If a signature doesn’t appear to match, or the necessary signatures are missing, what happens next depends on the state — and even the county — a voter lives in. Some states require county election officials to give the voter a chance to verify their identity or fix a mistake; others don’t, and their ballots are tossed out.

In California under SB 759 (McGuire) of 2008, every county elections office is required to notify voters whose ballot could be rejected because of a signature mismatch. 

Anyway, because of signature matching and the prescribed order of ballot counting, don't complain about a long count in California but we have outstanding elections officials around the state.

THIRD-PARTY RETURNS: An issue that consumed a lot of time in the Twitterverse yesterday was whether the third-party attestation lines need to be completed. It came up in the context of the story that the California Republican Party was placing unofficial ballot drop boxes in several counties, frequently near campaign offices. Yesterday, Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Secretary of State Alex Padilla sent a cease-and-desist letter, yet the CAGOP seems to be saying "sue us."

It is indeed confusing. One code section provides for the lines for name, signature and relationship of the third-party return and that hasn't changed. However, AB 306 (Gonzalez) of 2018 amended Elections Code §3011, adding a subsection (c), which provides:

(c) Notwithstanding paragraphs (9) to (11), inclusive, of subdivision (a), a ballot shall not be disqualified solely because the person authorized to return it did not provide on the identification envelope his or her name, relationship to the voter, or signature.

Anyway, it's confusing, but it is what it is. Thus, it is required that the third-party attestation is required to be printed on the envelope, but a ballot won't be disqualified if it is not completed.

BALLOT MEASURES: The Forward Observer ballot measure editorials tracker has been updated.


Independent expenditures

  • SD21 (Santa Clarita-Antelope Valley): $262,020 for TV in SUPPORT of Scott Wilk (R) by Coalition to Restore California's Middle Class, Including Energy Companies who Produce Gas, Oil, Jobs, and Pay Taxes
  • SD23 (Diamond Bar-Fullerton): $24,697 for mail in SUPPORT of Rosalicie Ochoa Bogh (R) by Coalition to Restore California's Middle Class, Including Energy Companies who Produce Gas, Oil, Jobs, and Pay Taxes
  • SD23 (Diamond Bar-Fullerton): $50,143 for mail to OPPOSE Abigail Medina (D) by Coalition to Restore California's Middle Class, Including Energy Companies who Produce Gas, Oil, Jobs, and Pay Taxes
  • SD29 (Diamond Bar-Fullerton): $61,211 for mail in SUPPORT of Ling Ling Chang (R) by Coalition to Restore California's Middle Class, Including Energy Companies who Produce Gas, Oil, Jobs, and Pay Taxes
  • SD29 (Diamond Bar-Fullerton): $61,211 for mail to OPPOSE Josh Newman (D) by Coalition to Restore California's Middle Class, Including Energy Companies who Produce Gas, Oil, Jobs, and Pay Taxes
  • AD59 (South Los Angeles): $34,125 for digital ads in SUPPORT of Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-D race) by Firefighters, Realtors, and Neighbors for a Stronger California
  • AD59 (South Los Angeles): $49,979 for mail to OPPOSE Efren Martinez (D-D race) by Alliance for California's Tomorrow, A California Business Coalition (Cumulative total: 99,957)
  • AD59 (South Los Angeles): $27,421 for polling, consulting, mail in SUPPORT of Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-D race) by Communidades Con Reggie Jones-Sawyer for State Assembly 2020, Sponsored by Laborers' International Union of North America, Local 300
  • AD76 (North San Diego Coast): $9,986 for mail in SUPPORT of Tasha Boerner Horvath (D) by Deputy Sheriffs' Association of San Diego County PAC

Large ballot measure contributions

  • Yes on 15 (split roll): $1,548,465 from 13 donors, including $1 million from Emerson Collective (Laurene Powell) and $525,762 from California Teachers Association
  • Yes on 20 (repeal of public safety reforms): $450,000 from 4 donors, including $225,000 from California Grocers Association and $200,000 from Association of Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriffs
  • No on 15 (split roll): $79,345 from 11 donors, including $50,000 from California Grocers Association
  • No on 22 (transportation network companies): $340,254 from 25 donors, including $250,000 from United Food and Commercial Workers 

Doing the Laundry 
If you're new to this game, this is how special interests can far exceed the $4,700 contribution limit for the November general. I explained the process on 9/15. After passing max $38,800 contributions through party committees, those committees can pass the money along far in excess of the $4,700. It's "washed" as long as the original donor doesn't "direct" the money. Of course, we all know the competitive races. I list them for ATCpro subscribers.


  • Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters: $38,800 to the San Diego Democratic Party 
  • California State Council of Service Employees Small Contributor Committee: $38,800 to the Santa Clara County Democratic Central Committee
  • Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters: $38,800 to the Napa County Democratic Central Committee 
  • CA State Council of Service Employees: $38,800 to the Sonoma County Democratic Party
  • CA State Council of Service Employees: $38,800 to the Mendocino County Democratic Party
  • California Medical Association: $30,000 to the Riverside County Democratic Central Committee
  • CA State Council of Service Employees: $38,800 to the Riverside County Democratic Central Committee
  • Bay Area Legislative Leaders PAC: $38,800 to the Napa County Democratic Central Committee


  • Santa Clara County Democratic Central Committee: $30,000 to Melissa Fox (AD68 - Orange County)
  • The Democratic Party of Mendocino County: $25,000 to Diedre Thu-Ha Nguyen (AD72 - Orange County)
  • San Francisco Democratic Central Committee: $50,000 to Josh Newman (SD29 - LA/Orange counties)
  • San Mateo Democratic Central Committee: $50,000 to Josh Newman (SD29 - LA/Orange counties)
  • San Mateo Democratic Central Committee: $15,000 to Kipp Mueller (SD21 - Los Angeles County)

I don't profess that I caught them all and these are only over the last week which involves hundreds of reports. They also don't include state party money. It's just "fun" to watch the flow.

All in the game, yo'.


  • August Fire (Mendocino, Humboldt, Trinity, Tehama, Glenn, Lake, Colusa counties) 1,029,037 acres, 76% contained as of 8:44am
    • 54 structures destroyed
  • Creek Fire (Fresno, Madera counties) 337,655 acres, 55% contained as of 8:06am
    • 856 structures destroyed
  • SQF Complex (Tulare County) 167,388 acres, 70% contained as of 10/12 9:25am
    • 228 structures destroyed
  • Glass Fire (Napa, Sonoma counties) 67,484 acres, 95% contained as of 10/12 9:16am
    • 1,555 structures destroyed
  • Zogg Fire (Shasta County) 56,338 acres, 99% contained as of 6:55am
    • 4 fatalities; 204 structures 

FORECASTED OUTAGES: PG&E's forecasted outage map for the weather event beginning tomorrow now shows the affected areas, projected at 50,000 customers/households. It is widespread in the Bay Area and northern Sierra.

PG&E: Federal judge William Alsup in San Francisco, who handles the corporate probation case of PG&E originating from the 2010 San Bruno gas explosion, has ordered the company to report to the court by October 26 at noon on several factors related to its equipment and wildfire prevention in the affected areas. The Zogg Fire has taken four lives and destroyed 204 structures in Shasta County while burning 56,338 acres.

SOCAL EDISON: Meanwhile, Southern California Edison has notified the Public Utilities Commission that tree branches hitting power lines may have been responsible for the Bobcat Fire in Los Angeles County, reports Joseph Serna in the Times. The fire has burned 115,758 acres and is 88% contained. It has destroyed 87 residences and 83 other structures.

As part of the U.S. Forest Service’s probe into the fire, investigators took a 23-foot-long line of conductor belonging to the utility, an “H-Frame structure” with two power poles and three tree branches, Edison wrote in its letter to the Public Utilities Commission.

Monday’s letter was a supplement to the utility’s Sept. 15 filing with the CPUC, where the company notified regulators that there was an “incident” on their grid in the same general area and around the same time as the beginning of the Bobcat fire.

COVID-19: California added 18 deaths yesterday for a total of 16,588.

-Immunity: A 25-year-old man in Washoe County, NV has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus twice, raising doubts of whether vaccines will provide broad prevention.

It is the first confirmed case of a U.S. patient becoming re-infected with Covid-19, and the fifth known case reported worldwide.

The resident of Washoe County, who had no known immune disorders or history of significant underlying conditions, required hospital treatment on testing positive for Covid-19 for the second time.

He has now recovered, though the case raises further questions about the prospect of developing protective immunity against the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson has suspended its vaccine trial after an unexplained illness in one of the study's participants.

-Economy: For CalMatters, Lauren Hepler looks at what a failure of economic stimulus in Washington means for California.

California workers and small businesses are trying to stop the financial bleeding before rent moratoriums and an emergency Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program for contract workers are set to expire this winter. The state’s public schools, courts, parks and civil servants are already feeling the fallout after $11 billion in budget cuts and delayed payments took effect this summer, which lawmakers in Sacramento had hoped to reverse by Oct. 15 with funds from a new federal stimulus deal.

The mounting financial uncertainty comes as California grapples with a record year for wildfires and surging inequality, testing how much the nation’s most populous state and the world’s fifth-largest economy can do to save itself. After a historically unproductive year in Sacramento marked by labor groups crusading for new wealth taxes and moderates failing to deliver a promised state stimulus package, it will be up to voters to decide economic issues like a commercial property tax hike (Prop. 15), rent control (Prop. 21) and gig worker pay (Prop. 22).

-Private gatherings guidance: Here is the new California Department of Public Health guidance that allows gatherings of up to three households with masks and physical distancing.

-Hospitalizations: In the LAT, Soumya Karlamangla reports that COVID-19 hospitalizations in California are at the lowest in six months.

The average number of deaths logged daily in the state is 57, the lowest since May, according to a rolling seven-day average calculated by The Times. In addition, fewer patients are in the hospital with COVID-19 — 2,209 as of Saturday — than there have been since April 2.

The state’s positivity rate, a measure of tests for the virus that come back positive, is 2.6%, an all-time low, according to state data.

These figures represent a major improvement following a massive spike earlier this year. During the summer months, the average number of deaths recorded each day reached 140, the number of people in the hospital with COVID-19 topped 7,000, and the state positivity rate crossed 7%.

-Theme parks: During yesterday's NewsomAtNoon, the governor announced that the state would dispatch officials to meet with theme parks to develop a collaboration on reopening guidance. Monica Lam reports for KQED:

With fall holidays around the corner, Gov. Gavin Newsom addressed questions about when theme parks — Disneyland in particular — will reopen by saying his administration is sending teams on “insight visits” for “deeper collaboration” with representatives from other parks, such as Florida’s Disney World, which reopened in July.

During a press briefing Monday, Newsom also said that guidelines for how to celebrate Halloween safely would be released on Tuesday.

-School daze: The Bee's Ryan Sabalow reports on the large COVID-19 outbreak at megachurch Bethel Church in Redding.

They come to Redding from all over the world for instruction in faith healing and raising the dead. They often approach strangers in local parking lots, businesses and hospitals offering prayers.

Now, state and church officials are asking the student body of more than 1,600 people at the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry in Shasta County to lock down at their homes and apartments after 137 students and staff members tested positive for COVID-19. The cases represent 10 percent of Shasta County’s total infections so far.

Bethel Church and local health officials say the Redding megachurch is taking steps to limit the outbreak from spreading. But health officials worry the dozens of infections could set off a wave of infections in this conservative community where a group of activists has angrily pushed back against COVID-19 restrictions and the local health officer has received threats for enforcing state mask mandates and business closures.

more after the jump

TAXING MATTERS: Dan Walters blasts local governments who tiptoe right to the line in hiring consulting firms to help them craft messaging for local tax and bond measures.

Government Code Section 54964 forthrightly declares, “An officer, employee, or consultant of a local agency may not expend or authorize the expenditure of any of the funds of the local agency to support or oppose the approval or rejection of a ballot measure, or the election or defeat of a candidate, by the voters.”

In fact, such violations have become commonplace in recent years. Under the guise of providing “information,” local officials routinely hire campaign management firms to design advertisements, mailers and other material aimed at persuading voters to pass the proposed taxes and bonds.

They have done so because they know that state and local prosecutors just as routinely refuse to prosecute violations of Section 54964 by their fellow officeholders.

CA49 (S. OC-N. SD coast): In the SDUT, David Hernandez looks at the race between first-term Rep. Mike Levin and San Juan Capistrano councilmember Brian Maryott (R). 

CANNABIS: In the Bee, Andrew Sheeler looks at the new law that prohibits cannabis from labeling an appellation of origin unless it was grown naturally in that region.

California cannabis connoisseurs can celebrate — a new law inspired by the wine industry requires that marijuana must be grown in the “sun and soil” of a city or county in order to be labeled with a regional designation.

So when that product says it was grown in Humboldt County, for example, you can know that it was grown in the ground and without artificial light or cover.


The new law, signed late last month by Gov. Gavin Newsom, relies on a wine industry term called “terroir” (pronounced tehr-waar), which according to Merriam-Webster means “the combination of factors including soil, climate, and sunlight that gives wine grapes their distinctive character.”

Now, that applies to cannabis as well. And California is the first state in the nation to legally recognize it.

cakeday and classifieds after the jump...

Probolsky Research

CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Lucy Camarillo, Corin Choppin, Glenda CorcoranAndrea Gutierrez, and Milana Paez!


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]

The McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific

In addition to a well-respected JD, the McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific, offers the Master of Public Administration (MPA) and the Master of Public Policy (MPP) degrees. Both full-time students and those earning a professional degree while working succeed in the program. Our focus on the interconnections of law, policy, management, and leadership provides unique competencies for your success. Students gain a foundation in statutory interpretation and skills in public policy making and implementation. Learn at a beautiful campus three miles from the State Capitol:

California School Boards Association - Public Affairs & Community Engagement Representatives

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 positions based in the following locations: Southeast L.A. and North L.A./Ventura. Salary based on experience. Please apply at:

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:

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: