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The Nooner for Saturday, October 17, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners

  • The vote
  • Ballot boxes
  • Census
  • Money matters
  • COVID-19
  • Fires
  • PG&E power shutoffs
  • Prop. 15
  • Prop. 16
  • Oh, Duncan
  • Wine industry
  • Cakeday and classifieds

ATCpro SUBSCRIBERS: I'm still working on a campaign finance update for the most closely watched races this afternoon. I wanted to have it done yesterday, but Cal-Access was having none of it. I get a few done, and then the server starts throwing errors. The daily reports work fine (thus the updates below), but it's the individual committees that aren't working right. I'm halfway done, so hopefully later today! I'm also working on the closely watched federal races from Thursday night's reports.

FREE VERSION READERS: these are long days (14-16 hours is not exaggerating with all these campaign finance reports). Advertising revenue (particularly classifieds) is still down. Consider contributing to The Nooner tip jar or subscribing. Anything helps pay the bills!

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Well, hello. I hope you're having a pleasant Saturday. Can the Dodgers come back from a 3-1 deficit after winning last night to make it 3-2?

On this date thirty-one years ago, many of us were tuned in to pre-game commentary for Game 3 of the Bay Bridge Series between the A's and Giants. The game was the first in the series at Candlestick and was scheduled to start at 5:35pm. At 5:04pm, Al Michaels gave a play-by-play instead of the Loma Prieta earthquake. The quake killed 63 people, the most of my lifetime, with the second being the Northridge earthquake in 1994 that took 57 lives.

After the World Series resumed ten days laters, the A's completed the sweep of the Giants

We're just getting started...

THE VOTE: Here is the latest from Political Data's ballot tracker. Topline is 21,508,716 ballots were mailed, with a breakdown of Dem: 43.4%, Rep: 24.2%, and NPP/other: 29.4%. Thus far, 2,947,941 have been returned (14%).

Partisan breakdown of returned ballots is:

  • Democratic: 1,675,35 (17% of mailed)
  • Republican: 614,288 (12% of mailed)
  • NPP/other: 658,218 (10% of 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.

BALLOT BOXES: The state yesterday backed off its demands that the California Republican Party stop using non-governmental "ballot boxes," as long as the boxes meet certain conditions. Jeremy B. White reports for Politico:

In an earlier response to [Secretary of State Alex] Padilla, the California Republican Party said it would continue to accept mail ballots at boxes but promised some safeguards: The boxes will be attended to whenever the public has access to them, and ballots will be secured and then delivered to elections officials within the required 72-hour frame, the party said. The party pledged to not represent those boxes as “official,” saying a volunteer had done so in error, while arguing that the process was legal due to a 2018 law that loosened collection requirements.

"If they want to continue ballot collection activity, that is legal in California, but they must abide by state law around the ballot collection program," Padilla said.

Republicans said they had been vindicated Friday after facing a barrage of criticism from Democrats, some of whom suggested Republicans should be prosecuted for election crimes. The party says it intends to keep boxes at venues such as churches and gun shops. The boxes materialized in counties that span competitive House districts.

“The Secretary of State and Attorney General didn’t know the facts and didn’t bother to learn them before accusing us on Monday," spokesperson Hector Barajas said in an emailed statement. "We can't agree to not do something we weren't doing to begin with. They could have shortened this press conference by simply saying ‘Sorry.’"

Meanwhile, subpoenas have been issued for the state and local parties to provide information about the box-collection program. One thing is clear after all this is that the Legislature needs to provide clean-up in this area of law. We've had lots of discussions/debates on Twitter about exactly which provision of law applies in this case and it is vague. I'm guessing that is why the Attorney General Xavier Becerra didn't march into Sacramento Superior Court for a temporary restraining order.

Secretary of State Padilla said on NPR's Morning Edition today that they have been assured that the offending boxes that don't meet the above criteria have been removed.

CENSUS (UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS): Yesterday, the Supreme Court of the United States announced that it would expedite oral arguments to Monday, November 30 in Trump v. New York. The case originates in the Southern District of New York in which several states and local governments sued the Trump administration challenging the Trump's Presidential Memorandum announcing that it is the policy of the United States to exclude undocumented immigrants from the calculation of congressional seats in reapportionment. The policy change is limited to reapportionment and not federal formulas for distribution of funds for health, human services, and education.

The Trump Administration appealed directly to SCOTUS citing the need for a quick decision, bypassing the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court uses the practice of putting the appellant's name first, which is why New York v. Trump becomes Trump v. New York.

The Court will hear the case on November 30 and there are two issues. First is the question of whether the plaintiff state and local governments have standing to challenge a Presidential Memorandum. If standing is found, the substantive issue of whether Article I, Section 2, ¶3 of the Constitution allows the discretion to exclude of undocumented individuals. Here is the relevant first sentence of paragraph three:

Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several states which may be included within this union, according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons, including those bound to service for a term of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. 

Of course, the "three fifths" compromise for slaves was rendered moot by the Thirteenth Amendment. Are undocumented immigrants included in "whole number of free persons"?

You can guess where I would come down on the plain reading of the Constitution and it makes for an interesting test for Court proponents of plain reading, which generally are on the President's side.

Amy Howe has a write-up on SCOTUSblog.


Independent expenditures

  • SD15 (San José): $58,136 for mail to SUPPORT Dave Cortese (D-D race) by Opportunity PAC (labor) (Cumulative total: $957,030)
  • SD15 (San José): $19,379 for mail to OPPOSE Ann Ravel (D-D race) by Opportunity PAC (labor) (Cumulative total: $986,313)
  • SD21 (Santa Clarita-Antelope Valley): $75,000 for digital ads to SUPPORT Kipp Mueller (D) by California School Employees Association 
  • SD23 (Rancho Cucamonga-Redlands-Hemet): $44,891 for mail to SUPPORT Rosalicie Ochoa Bogh (R) by California Correctional Peace Officers Association (Cumulative total: $83,767)
  • SD27 (Ventura County): $30,753 for mail to SUPPORT Henry Stern (D) by Californians Allied for Patient Protection
  • SD39 (San Diego): $31,081 for mail to SUPPORT Toni Atkins (D) by Californians Allied for Patient Protection
  • AD35 (San Luis Obispo): $26,122 for mail to OPPOSE Dawn Addis (R) by California Alliance for Progress and Education, an alliance of business organizations (Cumulative total: $228,548)
  • AD55 (Diamond Bar-Yorba Linda): $78,188 for polling, web to SUPPORT Phillip Chen (R) by California Alliance for Progress and Education, an alliance of business organizations (Cumulative total: $281,530)
  • AD59 (South Los Angeles): $7,147 for polling, web to SUPPORT Efren Martinez (D-D race) by Padres y familias por Efren Martinez para Assembly 2020 patrocinado por EdVoice (Cumulative total: $63,148)
  • AD59 (South Los Angeles): $21,200 for phone banks to SUPPORT Efren Martinez (D-D race) by California Correctional Peace Officers Association (Cumulative total: $593,300)
  • AD59 (South Los Angeles): $75,000 for online ads to SUPPORT Efren Martinez (D-D race) by Coalition for Safe Communities Committee, supporting Martinez for Assembly 2020, committee major funding from Peace Officers Research Association of California (Cumulative total: $488,209)
  • AD59 (South Los Angeles): $78,193 for mail to SUPPORT Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-D race) by California African American PAC (Cumulative total: $195,495)
  • AD68 (Irvine): $27,862 for mail to SUPPORT Melissa Fox (D) by California Professional Firefighters (Cumulative total: $55,724)

Large ballot measure contributions - cash only excluding in-kind contributions

  • Yes on 14 (stem cell bond): $50,000 from William S. Price III (while I don't normally include in-kind in this list, Robert Klein reported a jaw-dropping $1 million for text messages)
  • No on 15 (split roll): $6,373,820 from 41 donors, including $6 million from California Business Roundtable
  • Yes on 16 (affirmative action): $83,600 from four donors 
  • Yes on 20 (criminal justice): $540,000 from three donors, including $300,000 from PORAC and $235,000 from California Grocers Association
  • No on 21 (rent control): $1,934,500 from six donors, including $1,462,500 from AvalonBay Communities and $237,500 from Sares Regis
  • No on 22 (transportation network companies): $50,000 from California Professional Firefighters
  • Yes on 25 (bail reform - uphold SB 10): $1,000,000 from two donors, including $500,000 each from Steve and Connie Ballmer

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.


  •  California Teachers Association: $38,800 to Napa County Democratic Central Committee
  •  California Teachers Association: $37,300 to San Mateo County Democratic Central Committee


  • Riverside County Democratic Central Committee: $38,800 to Andrew Rodriguez (AD55 - LA, Orange counties)
  • Sonoma County Democratic Central Committee: $40,000 to Diedre Thu-Ha Nguyen (AD72 - Orange County)

These don't include state party money. It's just "fun" to watch the flow if you like reading hundreds of campaign finance reports each day. The Republican Party doesn't have much of this activity which would be a good panel discussion to explore why. I have my thoughts. Of course, California's GOP has far less money to go around these days, although there's lots of business-side money found in independent expenditures.

All in the game, yo'.

COVID-19: California added 76 deaths yesterday for a total of 16,905.

-San Diego: In the SDUT, Lyndsay Winkler reports that San Diego County officials cautioned residents that the case positivity rate is going in the wrong direction and could return the county to the most restrictive tier.

San Diego County officials came to the podium during a surprise press conference Friday with a warning: the region’s COVID-19 case rate is headed in the wrong direction, and residents need to be especially vigilant if they want to stay out of the state’s most-restrictive purple tier.

The county’s case rate is a reflection of how widespread the coronavirus is across San Diego. Over the last week, officials have watched as that seven-day metric has creeped up from an average of 6.8 daily cases per 100,000 residents on Sunday to 7.8 daily cases on Friday.

That’s bad news, because anything higher than 7 qualifies the region for the purple tier, but only if scores cross the threshold for two weeks in a row. If that happened, as it almost has a handful of times, many businesses that just started welcoming customers indoors would be ordered to move operations outside again.


  • August Fire (Mendocino, Humboldt, Trinity, Tehama, Glenn, Lake, Colusa counties) 1,032,209 acres, 80% contained as of 7:38am
    • 54 structures destroyed
  • Creek Fire (Fresno, Madera counties) 346,477 acres, 60% contained as of 8:20am
    • 856 structures destroyed
  • SQF Complex (Tulare County) 167,913 acres, 70% contained as of 7:11am
    • 228 structures destroyed
  • Glass Fire (Napa, Sonoma counties) 67,484 acres, 95% contained as of 10/12 9:16am
    • 1,555 structures destroyed

-Just kidding: The Trump Administration has reversed its denial of California's declaration of a Federal Disaster for six California fires, reports Chris Nichols for CapRadio.

On Thursday, FEMA rejected the state’s request for disaster relief for six major wildfires, including the Creek Fire near Fresno, marking the first time the Trump administration had declined to help the state despite President Donald Trump’s repeated threats to block assistance. 

“We are appealing this,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom wrote on Twitter on Friday morning in a curt statement linking to news of the rejected aid.

Later on Friday morning, GOP Congressman Tom McClintock indicated Trump would reverse FEMA’s decision. McClintock wrote on Twitter that Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield had informed him the president had “committed” to reversing FEMA’s decision to deny the disaster relief.

About two hours later, Newsom confirmed Trump had approved the request.

Somehow, it seems that someone forgot that there are still are elected Republicans in California and that the fires affected their districts.

PG&E POWER SHUTOFFS: All but one of the public safety power shutoffs this week have been restored. The one remaining is in Monterey County and PG&E states that it can't access the affected equipment.

more after the jump...

PROP. 15 (split roll): For CalMatters, Matt Levin looks at the impact of Proposition 15 -- the split roll property tax measure for schools and local governments -- on the state's housing crisis.

The changes proposed by Prop. 15 are the most meaningful alterations to Prop. 13 proposed in decades. Backed by teachers’ unions and high profile Democratic elected officials like Gov. Gavin Newsom and Sen. Kamala Harris, Prop. 15 would raise property taxes on commercial properties to their market value, generating billions annually for cities and schools.

Not only could California cities then receive sales taxes from commercial properties — they could receive higher property taxes too. If weighing approval of a new Target or a new apartment complex, the financial scales might be even more tilted against housing.

“Housing production is death by a thousand cuts, and this could be one of those thousand cuts,” said Micah Weinberg, chief executive of California Forward, an advocacy group that pushes good governance and economic development reforms.

“(Prop. 15) will raise billions of dollars for local governments and schools, that’s not imaginary,” said Weinberg. “That is something we may decide as a state is worth the tradeoffs.”

Some Prop. 15 supporters counter the reform will only serve to boost housing supply, as it will push developers to finally do something with vacant land.

“Prop 15 would clearly incentivize underutilized and underdeveloped property to be developed, and some of those developments are going to end up being multifamily housing, which is what the data is telling us,” said Alex Stack, communications director for the “Yes on 15” campaign.

PROP. 16 (affirmative action): In the Times, Margot Roosevelt looks at whether Proposition 16 could expand opportunities for minority- and women-owned businesses.

In practice, affirmative action in contracting never completely disappeared in California. Under U.S. law, federally funded projects such as highways continued to allow the targeting of “disadvantaged enterprises,” defined as Latino-, Black-, Asian- and women-owned businesses.

But Proposition 16 could lead to reinstating extensive state and local programs to encourage racial and gender equity. Proponents calculate that Black-, Latino-, Asian- and women-owned businesses — including many small companies, such as Hale’s — have lost out on hundreds of millions of dollars in state-sponsored contracting opportunities over the last two decades.

The loss of state programs “was devastating to our communities,” said [Gardena businessman Gene] Hale, who serves as chairman of the Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber of Commerce.

This year’s measure doesn’t propose new language. It would simply erase the section of the California constitution that now reads: “The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.”

In the Bee, Kim Bojórquez also writes today on Prop. 16:

The measure is trailing badly in public polls, but advocates are mounting a late campaign for the initiative and are outspending opponents.

“I think people don’t understand,” said Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, who supports the ballot initiative. “People of color are afraid of this because they’re not sure if it’s government doing something to keep them down.”

OH, DUNCAN: Former Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine) will spend his 2021 in west Texas, reports Andrew Dyer for the Union-Tribune.

Former Rep. Duncan Hunter will serve his 11-month sentence for conspiring to misuse campaign funds at a West Texas prison camp, his attorney said Friday.

Hunter is due to report to Federal Correctional Institute La Tuna on Jan. 4. The prison is in the El Paso suburb of Anthony, on the Texas-New Mexico state line. He will serve in its adjacent minimum-security satellite camp, according to CQ Roll Call.


FCI La Tuna also is where former Los Angeles County Sherriff Lee Baca is serving a three-year sentence for obstruction of justice, conspiracy to obstruct justice and making false statements.

Hunter’s criminal charges in August 2018 came two-plus years after the Federal Election Commission and The San Diego Union-Tribune questioned Hunter in April 2016 about expenditures his campaign had reported — a series of video-game purchases and a payment to his children’s private school.

According to the indictment, the Hunters relied for years on campaign contributions to pay routine family expenses like dental bills, home repairs and fast-food meals. They also used it for exotic vacations, private-school tuition, plane tickets for Margaret’s mother to to and from Poland and for flight for a pet rabbit.

WINE INDUSTRY: Many Napa and Sonoma wineries won't be making wine this year, particularly reds that harvest later, because of wildfire smoke. Esther Mobley reports for the Chron:

Just how much California wine will go unmade in 2020 is impossible to quantify right now, as many farmers and winemakers are still assessing the impact of wildfire smoke, which can imbue wines with unpleasantly smoky flavors and aromas, a still scientifically murky phenomenon known as smoke taint.

But early anecdotal reports from individual vintners paint a dramatic picture. Philippe Melka, consulting winemaker for about 25 high-end California wine brands, most in Napa Valley, said that he harvested just 35-38% of the red grapes he’d planned to. He determined that that wildfire smoke had compromised the balance of the crop. Napa and Sonoma wineries including Spoto, Neal, Garden Creek, Trombetta, O’Shaughnessy, Somerston, Reeve and Lamborn have indicated they might make little or no wine.

Other estimates suggest the overall damage to grapes could be lower, though still significant. Atlas Vineyard Management, which manages 3,500 acres of vines, has seen 60-65% of its grapes harvested, said CEO Barry Belli. Linda Reiff, president of the Napa Valley Vintners, a trade association representing 550 wineries, said 80% of her organization’s members will make some amount of wine.

cakeday and classifieds after the jump...

Probolsky Research

CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Sergio Carrillo, former Senator Ed Hernandez, Brad Torgan, and Alejandra Valles!


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]

CCST Report Release: The Cost of Wildfires in California

How do you put a price on the devastating impacts of wildfire in California? As California endures its most destructive wildfire season to date, a new study from the California Council on Science and Technology assesses what we do and do not know about the societal costs of wildfire impacts. The study’s steering committee chair Michael Wara of Stanford and the lead authors will discuss the report’s findings and recommendations to help the state meet this challenge. Thurs, Oct 29, 12:30-1:30pm REGISTER.

Legislative Analyst – The City of Ontario

The City of Ontario is seeking a Legislative Analyst to play a critical role in navigating the City through the legislative process. This position will keep City officials up to date on pending and proposed legislation and any related issues that may impact City operations. In addition, the Legislative Analyst may assist the Assistant City Manager through attendance at meetings of federal, state, and local agencies, associations, organizations, committees, or other forums. Duties also include preparing statements of support or objection for proposed legislation and working with the City's state and federal lobbyists to craft successful strategies for legislative advocacy. Learn more and apply here:

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: