Around The Capitol

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  • Then There's California (Senate Democratic Caucus): Senator Henry Stern (D-Canoga Park) talks about wildfire and climate change on the 2nd anniversary of the disasterous Woolsey Fire (2020-10-20)
  • Capitol Weekly Podcast (John Howard and Tim Foster): UFCW Western States Council legislative and political adviser Caitlin Vega (2020-10-19)
  • Political Breakdown (Scott Shafer and Maris Lagos @ KQED): The political fight over voting with Dan Schnur (2020-10-15)
  • Inside Golden State Politics (Bill Boyarsky and Sherry Jeffe): Bob Stern joins to talk about the GOP ballot box issue and some of the ballot measures on the November ballot (2020-10-15)
  • SacTown Talks (Jarhett Blonien): Assembly member Lisa Calderon Apple Podcasts | YouTube (2020-10-14)


The Nooner for Thursday, October 22, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners

  • The vote
  • Ballot boxes
  • Money matters
  • COVID-19
  • Poll position
  • Adam Gray's backdoor fund
  • State budget and ACA
  • Cakeday and classifieds 

Buenos dias! ¡solo quedan 12 días! My goal of learning conversational Spanish may be realized during this pandemic.

Today is the last state campaign finance deadline before the election. I'll work to get numbers out on the closest races to ATCpro subscribers tonight, although 24 hours still don't seem enough in a day. The kiddoes think that my work is done at noon when the truth is that I work 16-19 hours a day. It's really not different from my time as CEO of the Community College League, although I spend less time in airport security queues. Those were not fun days.

The Dodgers decided to make the World Series interesting and slept though the game last night, making the World Series 1-1. We now get a day off to debate whether we have the right to declare the game as the "world series." NorCal folks are once again flummoxed as Californians seek any economic stimulus with another Los Angeles championship. Yes, Lakers and Dodgers haters around me, you secretly want anything that could fill hotel rooms and restaurant patios this October.

Below we have the latest PPIC poll numbers. They only polled on propositions 15 and 16. Of course, 15 is the hotly contested measure to assess most commercial and industrial property at market value and not constrained under Prop. 13 (1978). Proposition 16 would repeal Prop. 209 and would allow affirmative action in state hiring, contracts, and university admissions and is DOA (which I don't understand as this white guy transferred into UC Davis during affirmative action). Prop. 15 is a very tight race (simple majority is required), while Prop. 16 is dead even with no discernible campaign. 

I'll be a bit short today (ignoring your thankful exhales) as we have a PPIC Zoomtastic briefing at 11am.

On to the numbers and news...

THE VOTE: Here is the latest from Political Data's ballot tracker. Top-line is 21,508,716 ballots were mailed, with a breakdown of Dem: 43.4%, Rep: 24.2%, and NPP/other: 29.4%. Thus far, 4,521,142 have been returned (21%).

Partisan breakdown of returned ballots is:

  • Democratic: 2,543,256 (25% of mailed)
  • Republican: 946,316 (18% of mailed)
  • NPP/other: 1,031,570 (16% 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.


Independent expenditures

  • AD36 (Antelope Valley): $34,348 for mail to OPPOSE Steve Fox (D) by California Alliance for Progress and Education, an alliance of business organizations (Cumulative total: $167,542)

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

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.


  • Tobacco: $25,000 each from Philip Morris and RJ Reynolds to Adam Gray's (D-Merced) ballot measure committee

Wow, that is quite a coincidence and suggests no antitrust whatsoever! The dollars may be identical, but the fight over lighting the dough among brands continues.


  • Del Norte County Democratic Central Committee: $50,000 to Cottie Petrie-Norris (AD74 - Orange County) 
  • The Mendocino County Democratic Party: $50,000 to Cottie Petrie-Norris (AD74 - 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 77 deaths yesterday for a total of 17,066.

-Theme parks: Large theme parks are considering legal action following the "unworkable" state COVID-19 guidance issued Tuesday, reports Brady MacDonald for the Register.

California issued long-awaited theme park reopening guidelines on Tuesday, Oct. 20 as part of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy after state officials visited Disneyland, Universal Studios Hollywood and Pacific Park to review COVID-19 health and safety measures.

“Our number one goal is to be allowed to reopen responsibly,” Guerrero said during the news conference. “Obviously, we’d love to keep that conversation going and come up with a reasonable timeline for reopenings, but at this point any options are viable.”


Theme park officials said the new reopening guidelines issued by the state are “unachievable” and will keep the parks “closed indefinitely.”

California officials issued separate reopening guidelines for smaller and larger theme parks in the state. Small theme parks can reopen in the orange/moderate tier 3 while large theme parks must wait to return in the yellow/minimal tier 4.

The new guidelines mean Disneyland, Universal Studios Hollywood and other large theme parks won’t be able to reopen for months — and possibly until early 2021 or next summer — when their respective counties reach the least-restrictive “minimal” risk level.

Yes, I have an advertising issue, but it's the same as the big papers. I always try to reflect both sides regardless of advertising or subscriptions.

poll position and more after the jump...

POLL POSITION: The Public Policy Institute of California is out with a new poll today.(Crosstabs: All adults |Likely voters) Let's all acknowledge that polls in 2020 are as unpredictable as the year itself. Nevertheless, below are some digits.

Here are the key PPIC numbers:

Job approval ratings (likely voters/all adults):

  • Gavin Newsom overall job approval
    • Approve: 57/58%
    • Disapprove: 39/33
    • Don't know (volunteered): 4/9
  • Gavin Newsom on coronavirus outbreak
    • Approve: 59/61
    • Disapprove: 37/33
    • Don't know (volunteered): 4/7
  • California Legislature
    • Approve: 45/51
    • Disapprove: 42/35
    • Don't know (volunteered): 14/14
  • President Donald Trump
    • Approve: 34/35
    • Disapprove: 64/63
    • Don't know (volunteered): 3/2
  • President Donald Trump on coronavirus outbreak
    • Approve: 32/32
    • Disapprove: 67/66
    • Don't know: 1/2
  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi
    • Approve: 46/48
    • Disapprove: 50/44
    • Never heard of/haven't heard enough to say (volunteered): 2/3
    • Don't know (volunteered): 2/5
  • House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy
    • Approve: 31/35
    • Disapprove: 46/38
    • Never heard of/haven't heard enough to say (volunteered): 15/17
    • Don't know (volunteered): 7/10
  • United States Congress
    • Approve: 26/36
    • Disapprove: 70/57
    • Don't know (volunteered): 3/7


  • Biden/Harris: 58
  • Trump/Pence: 32
  • Jorgensen/Cohen: 3
  • Hawkins/Walker: 2
  • Would not vote for President: 1

Direction of things generally in California:

  • Right direction: 50/55
  • Wrong direction: 46/39
  • Don't know (volunteered): 4/5

Direction of things generally in the United States:

  • Right direction: 25
  • Wrong direction: 72
  • Don't know (volunteered): 3

Generic House:

  • Democrat: 58
  • Republican: 37
  • Don't know (volunteered): 5

Generic House competitive districts (likely only):

  • Democrat: 47
  • Republican: 49
  • Don't know (volunteered): 5

Proposition 15 (split roll property tax for schools and local government):

  • Yes: 49
  • No: 45
  • Don't know (volunteered): 6

Proposition 16 (affirmative action, repeal Prop. 209)

  • Yes: 37
  • No: 50
  • Don't know (volunteered): 12

Would you get a COVID-19 vaccine if it were available today?

  • Definitely get the vaccine: 23/26
  • Probably get the vaccine: 31/31
  • Probably not get the vaccine: 22/20
  • Definitely not get the vaccine: 20/20
  • Don't know (volunteered): 3/2

Approval of a COVID-19 vaccine will move...

  • too fast without fully establishing it is safe and effective: 73/68
  • too slowly, creating unnessary delays in providing access to a vaccine: 21/26
  • don't know (volunteered): 6/6

Judge Amy Coney Barrett confirmation:

  • Should confirm: 41/41
  • Should not confirm: 54/47
  • Haven't heard enough to have an opinion: 3/6
  • Don't know volunteered: 2/6

Overturn Roe v. Wade?

  • Yes, overturn: 17/25
  • No, do not overturn: 79/70
  • Don't know (volunteered): 4/5

Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) favorability:

  • Generally favorable: 61/60
  • Generally unfavorable: 36/34
  • Don't know (volunteered): 3/6

ADAM GRAY'S BACKDOOR FUND: The California Democratic Party and most Dem legislators eschew money from big tobacco, but not Adam Gray (D-Merced). To be clear, I've known Adam a long time and have nothing against him personally. Moving on, Gray chairs the "sin committee" -- Assembly Governmental Organization that oversees among other things alcohol, tobacco, and firearms. Like many members, he has a "ballot measure committee" that allows contributions unlimited by the rules that apply to candidates. Yesterday, he took $25,000 each from Philip Morris and RJ Reynolds in his ballot measure account, as well as the dialysis companies and tribes and the omnipresent liquor distributor Young's Market Company.

Gray's committee has spent $23,304 this cycle, with $18,149 for digital ads for Proposition 19, the California Association of Realtors measure to ease property tax base valuation. If you read his campaign finance reports as most of you charge me to do, you'll understand.

Gray's committee has received $176,400 since July 1. The committee has a $494k balance, in the majority of expenses spent on a cadre of political consultants in the September 30 report.

In the last quarter, this important committee spent $14,546 at the French Laundry in Yountville, when it was supposedly closed. (I've eaten at Keller's masterpiece once and it's worth it.)  

It's legal and I don't allege anything nefarious. I just try to explain the system. It's not just on Gray, chair of G.O., but the entire Democratic Caucus who wink when this is done.

STATE BUDGET AND ACA: California state revenues came in $4.12 billion above projections, which is leading we geeks scratching out heads.

Meanwhile, the Legislative Analyst's Office reports on the impact on California of the elimination of the Affordable Care Act.

In November 2020, the Supreme Court will hear a challenge that the ACA is unconstitutional. A Supreme Court finding in favor of the challenge potentially could result in the ACA being overturned in its entirety or in some components of the ACA being struck down. In order to restore legally permissible components of the ACA, Congress would need to pass alternative legislation.

According to the Legislative Analyst, California receives $25.2 billion in federal funds through the ACA.

As I write this Wednesday morning, the issue of state and local federal government is still completely up in the air.

cakeday and classifieds after the jump...

Probolsky Research

CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Geoffrey Baum, Karen Jones, and Mike Shimpock!


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: