Around The Capitol

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  • California State of Mind (CapRadio): U.S. Senator Alex Padilla on immigration and clean energy (2021-05-24) 
  • Capitol Weekly Podcast (John Howard and Tim Foster): Gloria Sandoval, Deputy Director of Public Affairs for State Parks (2021-05-23)
  • SacTown Talks (Jarhett Blonien): Political consultant Bill Wong on anti-Asian violence (2021-05-21)
  • Political Breakdown (Scott Shafer and Marisa Lagos @ KQED): GOP consultant Liz Mair on the Newsom and Walker Recalls and Why Devin Nunes is Suing Her (2021-05-20)
  • Inside Golden State Politics (Bill Boyarsky and Sherry Jeffe): From California to the Middle East (2021-05-20)
  • It's All Political (Joe Garofoli @ SFChron): Governor Newsom's ambitious budget proposal (2021-05-20)
  • Then There's California (Senate Democratic Caucus): Senator Bob Wieckowski on the "bottle bill" and recycling. (2021-05-17)


  • Solano County Board of Education Seeks Experienced Consulting Firm for Redistricting Services
  • McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific - MPA/MPP
  • McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific - Masters of Science in Law


  • Stop the Republican Recall of Governor Newsom reports:
    • $300,000 from Southern California District Council of Laborers PAC Small Contributor Committee
    • $200,000 from California State Council of Laborers PAC Small Contributor Committee
    • $200,000 from Laborers Pacific Southwest Regional Organizing Coalition PAC Small Contributor Committee
    • $166,666 from Andy Fang (co-founder, DoorDash, San Francisco)
    • $166,666 from Stanley Tang (co-founder, DoorDash, San Francisco) 
  • Jeff Hewitt for Governor (L) reports:
    • $32,400 from Melanie Rufer (Woodland)
    • $32,400 from Chris Rufer (CEO, The Morning Star Company, Woodland)
    • $25,000 from Jeffrey S Burum and Affiliated Entities (Rancho Cucamonga)
    • $10,000 from D&E Land Co LLC (Palm Springs)
    • $8,100 from Michael Kalb (Navaid Equity Partners, LP, Fort Lauderdale, FL)
    • $5,000 from Morongo Band of Mission Indians
    • $5,000 from Xavier Ortiz (Think Eventos LLC, Los Angeles)
  • Jenny Rae Le Roux for Governor 2021 (R) reports $5,000 from Gabrien Symons (Software Engineer, Redding)

The Nooner for Wednesday, May 26, 2021, presented by SYASL Partners

It's another busy day of budget subcommittee hearings. I'll be following Assembly Sub 2's actions on higher education this afternoon. Hot topics include the elimination of the public online community college, CalBright. Amidst strong opposition by UC, the decision on whether to limit UC enrollment of out-of-state residents is being deferred to the full Assembly Budget Committee.

Well, the day started out pretty crappy with a mass shooting at a Valley Transportation Authority meeting in San Jose. Hurd, Salonga, and Sulec report for the MercNews:

Multiple people are dead and others injured in a mass shooting early Wednesday morning at a Valley Transportation Authority light rail yard and the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, according to authorities.

The shooter is also dead, authorities said.

Santa Clara Sheriff’s Office spokesman Russell Davis confirmed the shooters’ death but was unable to confirm the exact number of dead and injured. He said more information would be released later Wednesday morning.

“There’s a lot of speculation on fatalities,” Davis said during a press conference at the scene. “I don’t have a number for you. Everything is preliminary. It just happened.”

Current reports are 8 fatalities (including suspect) and the suspect apparently set his house on fire before the deadly event at the union hall.

POLL POSITION: PPIC is out with it's May poll on Californians and Their Government and the news isn't good for recall backers. Among likely voters, 54% give Governor Newsom a positive approval rating versus 42% who do not. On whether Newsom should be recalled, 40% said he should be, while 57% say he should not. At this point in 2003, 47% of voters responded that they favored the recall of Gray Davis, although Arnold Schwarzenegger was not yet a candidate. At that time, 27% gave Davis a positive job approval rating, one-half of that given to Newsom.

Following a mid-pandemic high of 60%, Newsom's approval rating is 5 points higher than January 2020 and 11 points higher than January 2019 after entering office.

The poll was conducted May 8-19, so many of the 1,705 respondents (1,074 likely voters) had not heard about the May Revision budget largesse proposed by Newsom or the responses to the proposal by recall successor candidates.

During this morning's presentation, researcher Dean Bonner noted that Governor Newsom's approval rating on the budget ticked up during the end of the "days in the field" for the poll as details of the spending plan were previewed.

Cara Marinucci reports for Politico:

California's rebound from the Covid-19 crisis is complicating the drive to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom, with a strong majority of state voters now approving of his pandemic management and just 40 percent saying they would remove him, a new Public Policy Institute of California poll shows.

Californians have growing optimism about the state’s recovery as infection rates decline and a larger share of the state becomes fully vaccinated while a wider array of businesses open. A whopping 90 percent of likely voters said they overwhelmingly believe the worst of the crisis is behind the state, greater than the 74 percent who said that in March.

The Democratic governor now enjoys majority approval of his job performance — 54 percent of all likely voters — with a more robust 64 percent supporting his handling of the pandemic, the poll showed.

“Everything is pointing in the direction of much more optimism about Covid and the economy and California,’’ said PPIC President and CEO Mark Baldassare in an interview. “And this is the context in which now the 2021 recall is set... Right now, people are feeling good about the economic prospects in the next 12 months — and overwhelmingly, they're feeling good that the worst is behind us."

Obviously, because there are 60 candidates who are mostly unknown which makes polling nearly impossible, it didn't test candidate preference on the second question posed to voters. Of course, the question for donors and self-spenders is how much to spend on an election with very long odds.

Top five volunteered top issues for state government:

  1. jobs, economy: 18%
  2. COVID-19/coronavirus: 14%
  3. homelessness: 12%
  4. housing costs, availability: 10%
  5. government in general, problems with elected officials: 6%

Katie Orr reports for KQED:

PPIC President Mark Baldassare, who ran the survey, said views on the recall are largely split along party lines, "with most Democrats saying that they want to keep him, most Republicans saying that they want to have him removed, and independents are divided."

And, Baldassare noted, since there are far more registered Democrats than Republicans in California, recall proponents have a lot of ground to make up if they want to be successful.

Regionally, support for the recall is highest in the conservative Inland Empire counties of Riverside and San Bernardino (56%) and lowest in the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles regions (both at 32%).

Driven in large part by criticism over Newsom's handling of the pandemic, the recall effort gathered steam over the winter, amid surging coronavirus cases and ongoing restrictions. In late April, the campaign officially gathered enough valid signatures to force an election later this year, likely in November.


  • Timeline: For Politico, Kevin Yamamura and Carla Marinucci write up the efforts to speed up the recall timeline:

    Gov. Gavin Newsom's budget officials on Tuesday asked California counties to fast-track their recall cost estimates by June 1, a move that could help put the state in position to have a recall election sooner than the fall.

    Newsom's Department of Finance spokesperson H.D. Palmer said Tuesday that the request for "expedited" information was being made in response to counties asking the state for recall funding on May 4. He said Finance wants to provide an estimate to the state Legislature before it has to approve a budget by June 15.

    "To support legislative consideration of these costs by the June 15th budget deadline, the Department of Finance is requesting estimated cost information from counties now on an expedited basis," states the Finance letter to county officials.

    But compiling that information now could obviate the need for a prolonged 30-day Department of Finance review that many had assumed was part of the 2021 recall election calendar. If Finance determines a cost estimate by June 15 — and if the Legislature approves money based on that projection — both entities may not need anywhere near the 60 days of financial review allotted in a 2017 law. The state does not require that Finance or the Legislature use the full review periods before the secretary of state's office certifies the election.

    State Sen. Steve Glazer (D-Orinda) in recent days has laid out why he believes Newsom and the Democratic-led state Legislature should do everything they can to condense the election time frame. Recent polls have shown voters are in a more optimistic mood and are inclined to reject the recall election. Infection rates have plummeted in California and vaccines have become widely available in the past month, while businesses are reopening on a broader scale.

    Glazer believes the state could hold the recall in late August, rather than in late October or early November, as many had speculated. His office believes Finance could reduce its 30-day window to review costs to one day in late June, while the Legislature could do the same. That could cut nearly two months out of the process.

REDISTRICTING: For Capitol Weekly, James Aranguren writes that a member of the California Citizens Redistricting Commission in 2011 is calling for increased transparency.

A former member of the voter-approved commission that draws maps for California’s legislative and congressional districts said the panel should operate more in the open as it crafts the new boundaries.

“On the 2010 redistricting commission, we prided ourselves on the fact that we were very transparent,” says Jodie Filkins Webber. “At the time, it made it very difficult to hold public hearings because we were doing work in person. Now that meetings are being held via Zoom, it should be relatively easy to schedule these things and allow public participation.”

Several commissioners met with representatives from the secretary of state and legislators from both parties on April 21 to discuss the timeline for releasing district maps — a sensitive issue.

The meeting was not open to the public.

“The meeting became heated with the varying interests of the stakeholders becoming more clear,” the CRC memo said.

OFFSHORE JUICE: For NPR, Lauren Sommer reports on the Biden Administration's goals of building large-scale offshore wind farms to generate power for California. Governor Newsom hinted to the announcement in his May Revision comments, but didn't want to get ahead of the Biden Administration.

The Biden administration plans to open the California coast to offshore wind development, ending a long-running stalemate with the Department of Defense that has been the biggest barrier to building wind power along the Pacific Coast.

The move adds momentum to the administration's goal of reaching 100% carbon-free electricity by 2035, coming just weeks after the country's first large-scale offshore wind farm was approved off the coast of New England. Today, the country has just a handful of offshore wind turbines in the Atlantic Ocean, with around a dozen wind farms being developed in federal waters off the East Coast.

"It's an announcement that will set the stage for the long-term development of clean energy and the growth of a brand-new, made-in-America industry," national climate adviser Gina McCarthy says. "Now we're thinking big and thinking bold."

The agreement identifies two sites off central and Northern California with the potential to install massive floating wind turbines that could produce 4.6 gigawatts of electricity, enough to power 1.6 million homes.

Tuesday's announcement outlines a compromise for a 399-square-mile area off Morro Bay, a site that's appealing to renewable energy companies because of existing transmission lines nearby that once serviced a retired power plant. It also identifies a location off Humboldt County in Northern California.

"It's our view that the world faces a grave and growing climate crisis," says Colin Kahl, undersecretary of defense for policy. "Climate change is both a threat to the Department of Defense's operations around the world and an existential challenge to our ability to maintain resilience here at home."

With the Dungeness crab season being significantly constrained to protect gray and humpback whales as well as leatherback turtles, this should be a fun EIR.

HIGH-SPEED CHOO-CHOO:  The Bee's David Lightman and Tim Sheehan report on President Biden's amibitions for rail spending and what it might mean for California's beleaguered high-speed rail project.

Suddenly the long-delayed, long-embattled California high speed rail project has powerful friends in Washington, D.C.

President Joe Biden wants to spend $80 billion on rail projects. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told reporters last month California’s project could “potentially” get some of those funds.

In Congress, key Democrats have been sympathetic to California high speed rail, where construction in the San Joaquin Valley is now in its ninth year.

All that is a huge shift in Washington’s emphasis from the recent past, when President Donald Trump opposed the project. In 2019, the Federal Railroad Administration canceled a $929 million rail improvement grant that had been part of funding given to the state nearly a decade earlier.

Trump also threatened to force California to return about $2.5 billion in grants from President Barack Obama’s 2009 economic stimulus plan. He called the project a “green disaster.”

SEIU LOCAL 1000: The Bee's Wes Venteicher looks at the priorities for the new president of the state's largest bargaining group.

Richard Louis Brown acknowledged the difficulties that await him as the newly elected leader of California’s largest state worker union even as he basked in his election victory Tuesday.

Brown, 51, of Oak Park, inherits the challenges of uniting and invigorating the sprawling group of roughly 100,000 employees from all corners of state government who make up SEIU Local 1000.

Of 96,000 employees, only 7,880 voted.

Fractures within the union grew more pronounced over the last three years, as president Yvonne Walker remained at odds with a trio of vice presidents who were elected in 2018 on promises of change.

One of the three, vice president for organizing and representation Anica Walls, won re-election. New candidates won election to the other two vice presidential posts.


And one of the first things he has pledged to do is eliminate the stipends the officers, including himself, are eligible to receive for their union work. The union under Walker’s leadership in 2016 expanded those stipends, aiming to better compensate executives leading an organization that at the time had a $60 million annual budget.

“All these things I’ve been running my mouth on, I have to produce,” Brown said in an interview Tuesday. “I’m not going to get any leeway, no one’s going to cut me any breaks. So I’ve got to do as much as possible to fulfill that 10 point platform and bring hope back to the union.”

He has called for Local 1000 to stop spending money on politics, a strategy that is foundational to most unions’ efforts to build power and influence.

He wants to allow non-members to vote in union elections, tossing out another established norm that he called “flat-out wrong.”

And he has said he would reduce union dues by half, which he said he thought would require a vote from the board.

Brown also says that the union won't support Governor Newsom in the recall election, although I'm quite certain there is a big "unless" in contract negotiations.

COVID-19, cakedays, and classifieds after the jump...

COVID-19: California reported 49 deaths yesterday for a total of 62,662 since the pandemic began.


  • vaccine doses administered in California: 36,511,557
  • vaccine doses delivered to California: 45,372,990 
  • Californians fully vaccinated: 16,778,072 (49.4% of 16+)
  • Californians partially vaccinated: 4,444,017 (13.1% of 16+)

-tiers for fears: Yesterday, Merced and Placer moved from red to orange and Inyo and Mariposa moved from orange to yellow. Sacramento County saw it's new case rate drop to 5.5/100k. If it sustains that next week, the county can move to orange, two weeks before the tier system is scheduled to be dropped.

CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Jeff Frietas, Heather GrevenTommy Ross, Andrew SturmfelsTammy Tran, and Jess Zaragoza!



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Solano County Board of Education Seeks Experienced Consulting Firm for Redistricting Services

Visit for requirements, deadline, and contact information.

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:

McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific

Built on the foundation of nationally ranked and world class programs, McGeorge School of Law offers an online master (MSL) degree for individuals seeking in depth knowledge of law and policy, but who do not require a traditional law degree. Our MSL’s two concentrations in Government Law & Policy and in Water & Environmental Law offer students the flexibility to work while they learn and still engage in a highly interactive master’s program. To learn more and to sign up for our monthly webinars, please visit our website,, or contact us at

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: