Around The Capitol

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RECENT PODS: Obviously, there are lots of pods these days. I try to select for your few those most important to hear for California's politics and policy.

  • Capital Weekly Podcast (John Howard and Tim Foster): Former Natural Resources Defense Council advocate Annie Notthoff on issues including CEQA exemptions for housing. They also look at the California political winners and losers of last week. (2021-06-20)
  • California State of Mind (Scott Rodd and Nigel Duara @ CapRadio): Rodd talks to CapRadio reporter Mike Hagerty California's efforts to bring back leisure spending in reopening and Duara talks with CalMatters's Barbara Feder Ostrov about the money county health departments are trying to get into the budget). (2021-06-18)
  • Look West Podcast (Assembly Democratic Caucus): As Life After COVID Begins with Assemblymembers Cottie Petrie-Norris, Mike Gipson, Tasha Boerner-Horvath, Cristina Garcia and Jose Medina. (2021-06-17)
  • Political Breakdown (Scott Shafer and Marisa Lagos @ KQED): WLRN's Caitie Switalski Muñoz to discuss the different pandemic approaches of California and Florida; Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee president Jessica Post on statehouse failures in 2020, what's ahead in 2022, and her ten-year plan to regain statehouses. (2021-06-17)


  • Capitol Seminars’ Invaluable Lobbying 101 Course Offered Via Zoom (July 9)
  • 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 receiving (1 | 2 | 3):
    • $10,000 from Associated Ready Mixed Concrete
    • $5,000 from Frederick Baron (Attorney, Atherton)
    • $20,000 from Ali Jahangiri (Owner, Ebi Investors, Irvine)
    • $425,000 from Mark W. Heising (investor, Atherton)
    • $425,000 from Elizabeth D. Simons (retired, Atherton)
    • $500,000 from California State Association of Electrical Workers Small Contributor Committee
    • $100,000 from Levees Unlimited, LLC (New York)
    • $250,000 from George Soros (New York)
    • $25,000 from Ygrene Energy Fund, Inc.


The Nooner for Thursday, June 24, 2021, presented by SYASL Partners

Happy Thursday! Sorry about yesterday's unintentional Nooner day off as I was having computer issues. Things seem okay so far today. Subscriptions and ads will of course be extended.

VACCINATIONS: full stats, including breakdown by group are available here

  • Californians fully vaccinated: 19,454,555 (57.3%)
  • Californians partially vaccinated: 3,494,983 (10.3%)

COVID VARIANTS: The LAT's Luke Money and Rong-Gong Lin II write that the Delta variant is spreading in California among the unvaccinated.

The Delta variant of the coronavirus is beginning to spread in California, offering a preview of how the battle of the pandemic is going to change as officials move to protect a shrinking minority who remain at risk because they have not been vaccinated.

The Delta variant may be twice as transmissible as the conventional strain. But California and the rest of the nation are far more protected against COVID-19 than ever before. California has one of the highest vaccination rates in the nation, and the U.S. has one of the highest per capita rates of inoculation in the world.

And vaccines available in the U.S. are believed to be effective against the Delta variant, as they have been for all known variants. But that still leaves tens of millions of unvaccinated people still potentially vulnerable.

“If you’re vaccinated, it’s nothing,” UC San Francisco epidemiologist Dr. George Rutherford said of the Delta variant. “If you’re not vaccinated, you’re hosed.”

COVID FINES: In The Bee, Jason Pohl and Dale Kasler report that few businesses are paying fines assessed by Cal-OSHA during the pandemic.

By April 2021, inspectors with California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health, better known as Cal-OSHA, had ordered roughly $4.6 million in fines for wrongdoing related to the COVID-19 in some 200 workplaces.

But behind the scenes at the state’s workplace safety agency, California employers and their lawyers have filed an onslaught of appeals, delayed paying their fines and sought deals to pay next to nothing, a Sacramento Bee review of Cal-OSHA fines and payment data found.

EVICTIONS: Politico's Katy O'Donnell reports that the Centers for Disease Control has extended the nationwide eviction ban for another month.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention extended its nationwide eviction moratorium until July 31 on Thursday, just six days before it was set to expire.

The CDC said the move was intended to be the eviction ban's final extension.

The Biden administration had come under increasing pressure in recent days to prevent a wave of evictions once the ban expires. A group of 44 House Democrats on Tuesday urged the Biden administration to extend the moratorium to buy state and local officials more time to disburse more than $46 billion in emergency rental assistance allocated by Congress.

The CDC first issued the ban in September, citing a public health law that gives the agency certain powers to prevent communicable diseases from crossing state lines. Before Thursday, Congress and the White House had extended it three times.

H2NO: CNN reports on the dirty Sacramento water situation.

Something is off about Sacramento's water. It smells and tastes a little "earthy," residents are saying — an effect of compounding climate change crises: extreme heat, little to no precipitation and a historic drought that has gripped the region for the better part of a decade.

Up and down the state of California, rivers, streams and reservoirs are drying up. In Sacramento, that has led to an increase in the concentration of geosmin in its drinking water, one of two organic compounds that give soil its characteristic smell.

It might not taste great, city officials say, but it's still safe to drink.

Sacramento utilities officials said they had to put out a statement after receiving calls from residents complaining about the taste.

"We realize that it's unpleasant," Carlos Eliason, the city's utilities spokesperson, told CNN. "The earthy taste that some of our customers are experiencing is harmless and can be neutralized by adding some lemon or putting it in the refrigerator."

After more than a decade of extreme drought, it's not unusual for Sacramento's water to taste a little off. It just doesn't usually start to taste funky until the late summer or early fall, when water levels are at their lowest.

I routinely drink tap water and haven't noticed.

MOO: For the Times, Hayley Smith writes up the stampede in Pico Rivera.

It was an unusual sight, especially for Los Angeles: a herd of cattle galloping through the streets of Pico Rivera for nearly an hour before making their way into a residential neighborhood.

Ranchers arrived with lassos; sheriff’s deputies arrived with guns.

By Thursday morning, 39 of the 40 animals had been recaptured. One spent more than 24 hours free before being rounded up in a park in South El Monte. One of the cows had been killed.

The bovine had charged at a family of four, knocking some of them to the ground, officials said. A deputy shot the animal to protect the family.

Well, I guess being shot is sort of better than being bolt-shot and dismembered.

But just how a herd of cattle arrived in a sleepy cul-de-sac off Friendship Avenue is another story.

According to official reports, the cattle escaped from Manning Beef, a slaughterhouse in the 9500 block of Beverly Road. People watching the scene play out on TV and online took to social media to weigh in, with many rooting for the cattle to find freedom.

There are 4 slaughterhouses in Pico Rivera?

NUTS! The LAT's Lila Seidman reports on the theft of 42,000 pounds of pistachio from a Tulare County farm. No, it wasn't Stephen Colbert.

An audit launched earlier this month revealed that roughly 42,000 pounds of pistachios had vanished.

Touchstone Pistachio Co. reported the missing merchandise to law enforcement on June 17, officials with the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office said.

It didn’t take authorities long to crack the case.

A day later, deputies found a cargo container filled with about 21 tons of nuts in Delano, near the border of Tulare and Kern counties, said Sgt. Joseph England, who leads the Tulare County sheriff’s Agricultural Crimes Unit.

Deputies arrested Alberto Montemayor, 34, on suspicion of grand theft in connection with the stolen nuts, which were valued at more than $170,000, England said.

It appeared the pistachios were in the process of being repackaged to be sold, with the nuts being moved from 2,000-pound sacks into smaller bags, sheriff’s officials said. About 40,000 pounds of the nuts were recovered and returned to Touchstone Pistachio. Investigators said there was evidence the rest had already been sold.

With truckloads of nuts potentially worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, authorities in the Central Valley say nut theft is more common than you might think.

David Alavezos, an assistant district attorney in Tulare County, said stealing nuts is a “really common crime” in the region.

About 99% of the country’s pistachios are grown in California, and roughly 97% of that is grown in the San Joaquin Valley, according to Richard Matoian, president of the American Pistachio Growers, a Fresno-based trade organization.

Pistachios can sell for $8 to $9 a pound, a pretty penny for farmers — and thieves.

That's just is the amount of water we use to grow them.

I can't be hypocritical. I eat local almonds while writing that I get from Winters Fruit Tree, which is normally at the Sunday farmers market and also at the Wednesday market on Capitol Mall. While local, I know that lots of water is used for my morning snack habit.

Cakeday and classifieds after the jump...

CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Josh Franco!


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Taught by 46-year Capitol veteran Ray LeBov. Provides comprehensive coverage of California’s Legislative process, along with touch points and best practices you need to know for effective Legislative advocacy. Send your new lobbyists, support staff, legislative committee members, executives who hire and manage lobbyists. Capitol Seminars is the No.1 training resource for nonprofits and private sector organizations, lobbying firms, trade associations, state and local government entities. Next Zoom session is Friday, July 9th, 8:30am-1:30pm. Seats are limited. Reservations: (916) 837-0208. Further 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: