Around The Capitol

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  • SacTown Talks (Jarhett Blonien): Senator Tom Umberg (D-Villa Park)  Apple Podcasts | YouTube (2020-10-14) (2020-10-29)
  • Inside Golden State Politics (Bill Boyarsky and Sherry Jeffe): The U.S. Supreme Court and competitive California congressional races. (2020-10-29) 
  • Capitol Weekly Podcast (John Howard and Tim Foster) Ten days left with Paul Mitchell (2020-10-25)
  • 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 Boo-ner for Saturday, October 31, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners

  • COVID-19
  • The vote
  • Prop. 16
  • Voting ballot measures
  • EDD
  • PG&E
  • The OC
  • Cakeday and classifieds 

Happy Halloween and three days before the madness ends. Are we there yet?

Which madness -- is it 2021 yet (although I don't know if the año nueva will be measurably better)? PDI is having fun with the day.

Sorry that I dropped plans for The Nooner Election Contest for this year. Technical problems were keeping me off the server for a majority of the last two weeks, which the IBM techs have subsequently fixed (once again). The contest requires an amount of programming that I just couldn't complete with no access to the server.

Daylight savings is at 2am tomorrow and we gain an hour of COVIDsomnia 2020. Tonight, the Wisconsin Democrats are hosting a Live Rocky Horror Picture Show with Tim Curry, original cast members and musical guests including Fall Out Boy, Bob Weir & Wolf Bros, Mike McCready of Pearl Jam, The Dresden Dolls, Miss Peppermint — plus, Lance Bass in a gold speedo!

I don't contribute to candidates or parties, but I figure $10 won't affect my independence and it's cheaper than the movies. Even though I don't make contributions, I think I'm getting at least 50 emails a day, including everyone in the Trump family. "Thanks" to whoever subscribed me.

Día de los muertos is mañana although celebrations are expected to be muted here and in Mexíco even though we have more reason to honor the dead this year than in any war of the last 50 years. And there will be no Oingo Boingo Dead Man's Party at Irvine Meadows Amphitheater (which is also no more), although "all dressed up with nowhere to go" is quite apropos for 2020. Fun fact, after the band broke up, Danny Elfman went on to score several movies, including my favorite movie Good Will Hunting. Of course, that movie was produced by Miramax, so creep-in-chief Harvey Weinstein likely gets a royalty for each view. Fortunately, I have the DVD, one of only a few nowadays.

20/20 had a great special two-hour episode on the "Golden State Killer," "East Area Rapist" or "Original Night Stalker" last night. Joseph James DeAngelo is a former Auburn and Exeter (near Visalia) cop and Vietnam Vet who committed at least 13 murders, 50 rapes, and 120 burglaries across California between 1973 and 1986, including the rape of a UC Davis student. He graduated from Sac State with a degree in criminal justice with post-graduate classes in law enforcement at the College of the Sequoias.

He was sentenced on August 21, 2020 to life without possibility of parole after the cold case got a break through a citizen sleuth. He entered a plea agreement to avoid the death penalty. Absolutely horrifying.

He left the Sacramento area after Sacramento County Sheriff's Office started active helicopter surveillance of areas considered probable to be hit. Further south, he began becoming murderous. Oddly, even though he committed murders in Orange County, I never heard of him until I moved up here.

Apparently, the 75-year-old is still in the Sacramento County Main Jail as California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is not accepting transfers from county jails because of COVID-19. Since not a death penalty candidate, victims want him sent to Pelican Bay State Prison in Del Norte County near Crescent City, the state's only maximum security prison.

I remember being terrified of Richard Ramirez, who took over the moniker "The Night Stalker," while growing up in Orange County. Ramirez died of cancer while awaiting execution at San Quentin.

Anyway, it is a fascinating watch.


  • Yesterday, California recorded 57 deaths for a total of 17,626 since the pandemic began. While deaths are down largely because of better medical knowledge of the novel and complex coronavirus, we are seeing an increase in cases. That's likely because of increased testing but as I wrote yesterday about Los Angeles County, public health experts are worried about the increase in cases. 

COVID cases by day

Credit: Los Angeles Times, which collects daily data from counties and CDPH.

  • Latinos in California continue to be the hardest hit, with 61% of the cases and 48.6% of deaths hitting the community. While 38.9% of the population, this is likely because of a disproportionate share being essential workers, higher density housing, and less access to affordable health care. "Essential workers" has been defined quite broadly and sweatshop workers in Los Angeles County can't Zoom it in. And if you can read between the lines, few of these workers can raise the issue.
  • Today could be a tough day as parents can't explain why the national corn syrup fest is largely canceled. A team at the Times reports:

Halloween is the one day of the year where being scared isn’t only accepted, it’s encouraged.

But with worrying signs of a potential coronavirus rebound in California and cases surging to unprecedented heights in other parts of the U.S., government officials and health experts say this year’s fright night carries a very real threat.

State officials have been driving home the message that, with the virus still widespread, Californians shouldn’t celebrate the holiday like normal.

Trick-or-treating is strongly discouraged and, in some places, banned. Major events, such as West Hollywood’s Halloween Carnaval and the Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor haunt in Long Beach, have been scrapped.

 Okay, West Hollywood wasn't really for the kiddoes. Give a little respect to me...

Gov. Gavin Newsom met a self-imposed Nov. 1 deadline to expand California’s daily COVID-19 testing by opening a new laboratory in Santa Clarita on Friday. The governor said he expects the lab will soon begin to process 40,000 tests a day and eventually ramp up to 150,000 — doubling the state’s capacity.

California’s decision to build its own $25 million state-of-the-art lab was in response to the lack of federal action around testing.

“Instead of pointing fingers and reflecting on the fact that we could have, would have, should have had a national testing strategy in this country, we decided to take a little bit of responsibility,” the governor said after receiving a nose-swab test during a site visit. “We tried to take a little bit of the California ingenuity.”

Almost all activities that were scheduled to reopen or expand capacity on Tuesday are now delayed, city and public health officials said Friday. That includes indoor swimming pools, bowling alleys and gym locker rooms. Restaurants and places of worship must remain at 25% capacity instead of bumping up to 50%, as previously planned.

Schools are not affected by the pause and will be allowed to reopen with approval from the Public Health Department. San Francisco Unified has not set a date to reopen or applied for approval.

  • In the Chron, Amy Graff reports that Solano County may be facing a return to the most restrictive purple tier.

Solano is currently in the red tier in the state of California's reopening plan, but officials said case rates are increasing and the county could be moved back to the more restrictive purple tier indicating widespread infection.

The county is urging residents to wear face coverings, maintain 6 feet of distance and avoid large gatherings.

Dr. Bela Matyas, the county's health officer, told KCBS Radio that county residents have recently held several large gatherings, including a funeral with more than 300 people, a wedding and an event at a private ranch attended by dozens.

"In all these situations people were in close contact and not social distancing," Matyas said.


  • 21,896,569 ballots were mailed and 9,763,859 (45%) have been returned, according to the PDI tracker.  The breakdown:
    • Dem: 5,181,588 (51% of those mailed)
    • Rep: 2,212,260 (42% of those mailed)
    • NPP/Other: 2,369,311 (37% of those mailed)

On the PDI site, you can look at results based on legislative races and local government. Click "Select for Filters" on the main page

  • If you are voting in person between now and Tuesday, do wear a mask but don't wear a MAGA hat (or mask), as that's electioneering and prohibited under California law.
  • For CalMatters, Elena Neale-Sacks reports that after widespread problems with voting in LA County in the primary election, things appear to be smooth under this very strange election.

For thousands of voters in Los Angeles County, the primary last March was a debacle. A glitch in the new electronic voting system, compounded by the inability of election workers to rectify problems, meant that many voters waited in lines for up to three hours to cast their ballots. Some encountered broken ballot-marking machines when they did eventually make it to the front. 

This time will be different, the LA County Registrar has vowed. And so far, voting seems to be running smoothly.

Ironically, it was the pandemic, which spurred mail-in voting, that helped pave the way.

  • A team at the Chron reports that Bay Area government offices and businesses are boarding up for possible election unrest.

Bay Area governments and businesses are boarding up windows, drafting emergency plans and scrapping vacation days, bracing for what they fear could be a raucous night of protests after Tuesday’s presidential election — no matter the outcome.

San Francisco police have canceled discretionary days off for officers, anticipating needing more personnel. Salesforce Tower was blanketed with plywood boards. The Union Square Business Improvement District is estimating that 75% of stores in the high-end shopping area will board up by Sunday.


Mounting apprehension over the election comes on the heels of a historic summer of activism and civil unrest, when thousands of people in the Bay Area and across the country took to the streets in protest of the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other people of color.

PROP. 16: The Chron's Alexei Koseff reports that Ward Connerly, the former UC Regent, Prop. 209 architect, and opponent of Prop. 16 is making waves and controversy.

Connerly, who is Black, was quoted this week as saying that white nationalists were “super patriots” and that he considered himself to be a “super patriot” as well. In an interview with The Chronicle, he denied sympathizing with white nationalism and said he was unfamiliar with the concept.

“I have had the question many times before about nationalism, white nationalism, and I’ve never understood why white has to be associated with nationalism,” Connerly said in an interview Thursday.

“My response has always been, as it is now, if you mean by nationalism, pride of country, patriotism, I’m a nationalist. I’m a super nationalist. Because I love my country, I love our ideals,” he said. “And I don’t see the need even to preface it even by, ‘Are you a white nationalist? Are you a Black nationalist?’ Whatever it is, I want you to be a patriot.”

If the Capitol Weekly "exit poll" I wrote about yesterday is accurate, both appear headed for victory, with Prop. 17 at 69% yes and Prop. 18 at 59% yes. While legislative constitutional amendments require a two-thirds vote of the Legislature, only a simple majority of the voters is required.

VOTING BALLOT MEASURES: For Capitol Weekly, Chuck McFadden looks at the two ballot measures to change voting laws, both constitutional amendments proposed by the Legislature.

A pair of Nov. 3 ballot measures seeks to confer voting rights on two wildly disparate groups of Californians — prisoners and teenagers.

Proposition 17 would amend the state constitution to restore voting rights to prison inmates who have completed their sentences.

Proposition 18, another constitutional amendment, would allow 17-year-olds to vote in primary and special elections if they become 18 by the next general election.

EDD: In The Bee, Wes Venteicher writes that EDD Director Sharon Hilliard is retiring.

The announcement comes as the department continues to work through a backlog of claims from unemployed Californians, some of whom filed claims months ago. The backlog is down to 1.1 million claims from about 1.6 million last month, according to the department.

The department has processed 15.2 million claims this year, about four times the number processed during the worst year of the Great Recession, according to the department’s latest news release. Officials have said they expect to eliminate the backlog by the end of January.

Gov. Gavin Newsom created a strike team at the end of July to assess the department’s problems and propose solutions.

Apparently, Hilliard ran out of strikes.

PG&E: Pacific Gas and Electric is facing $165.7 million in fines by the California Public Utilities Commission for botched public safety power shutoffs, reports J.D. Morris in the Chron.

The utility reported dozens of cases of damage to lines it deactivated as winds pummeled hills beginning Sunday. The move to power down lines may have spared Northern California the fate of Orange County, where a power line is being eyed as the potential cause of a major fire.

Yet controversy over PG&E’s much larger blackouts of October 2019 lingers. That became clear Friday when an independent branch of the California Public Utilities Commission recommended imposing a large fine on the company for missteps last year. The commission itself has not made a decision on the potential fine, and PG&E has a chance to respond formally by Nov. 17.

The $165.7 million penalty proposed by the commission’s Public Advocates Office, which works on behalf of utility customers, largely derives from PG&E’s poor communication with customers.

THE OC: In the Register, Alicia Robinson looks at the Orange County supervisors race between incumbent Andrew Do and Westminster councilmember Sergio Contreras. Contreras, a Democrat, is the only non-Vietnamese-American on the council.

Do, a former businessman and prosecutor who was the second Vietnamese-American elected to the board, has held the District 1 seat since a 2015 special election. He won a full term in 2016. He did not respond to interview requests.

Contreras has served on the Westminster School District board and is completing his second term as a city councilman. He also works as senior director of education and healthy schools for the Orange County United Way.

Do was a close ally of former state senator (and current AD72 candidate) Janet Nguyen and served as her chief of staff on the OC Board of Supervisors. She is not named in his supe bio and the two reportedly had a falling out amidst the complexity of Vietnamese-American politics.

cakeday and classifieds after the jump...

Probolsky Research

CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Assembly member Marc Berman, Sarah Palacios, and Gabe Sanchez!


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 - 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: