Around The Capitol

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Happy Fourth of July!

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, rather than every episode from the pods I follow.

  • Capitol Weekly Podcast (John Howard and Tim Foster): California Governor's Office of Emergency Services chief Mark Ghilarducci (2021-07-02)
  • Political Breakdown (Scott Shafer and Marisa Lagos @ KQED): Author Mark Arax on how the draught might affect California water politics. (2021-07-01) 
  • Then There's California (Senate Democratic Caucus): Senator Bob Archuleta (D-Pico Rivera) and others on the impact of fireworks on veterans, particularly with the increase in illegal fireworks in neighborhoods. (2021-07-01)
  • Inside Golden State Politics (Bill Boyarsky and Sherry Jeffe): Homelessness and the recall election. (2021-07-01)
  • Capitol Weekly Podcast (John Howard and Tim Foster): Bernadette Del Chiaro, executive director of the California Solar & Storage Association. (2021-06-28)

CLASSIFIEDS BELOW:

  • California Council on Science and Technology (jobs)
  • SFBay Government & Regulatory Affairs Specialist (job)
  • 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 

The Nooner for Sunday, July 4, 2021, presented by SYASL Partners

Happy Fourth of July! While I love sleeping with my window open, I just had to close everything up last night to get some decent sleep as the plague of illegal fireworks continues. And, based on the experience last year, that won't end today.

I hope you have a happy and safe day today, and I'll leave you with a few items below.

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COVID: 

  • Vaxx stats: 
    • Californians fully vaccinated: 20,180,629 (59.5% of 12+) - 19th among U.S. states
    • Californians partially vaccinated: 3,249,533 (9.6% of 12+) - 12th among U.S. states
    • Californians with no vaccine: 30.9% (of 12+)
    • Doses on hand: 5,159,774 (67 days of inventory)
    • full data, including demographic breakdown

DO YOU RECALL?

  • Recall election key dates:
    • July 16 5pm: Candidate filing deadline
    • July 19: Randomized alphabet drawing for ballot order
    • July 21: Certified list of candidates and ballot order rotation (by county) 
    • July 31: Ballot mailing to military and overseas voters
    • August 5: First pre-election campaign finance statement
    • August 16: Ballot mailing begins to all registered voters
    • September 2: Second pre-election campaign finance statement
    • September 14: Election Day
  • Enthusiasm gap: In the Chron, Joe Garafoli looks at the possibility that the early recall election date may not necessarily be a good thing for Governor Newsom. 

    Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Democratic supporters in the Legislature got what they wanted: an early recall election date of Sept. 14. With much of California returning to pre-pandemic life — and polls showing continued support for Newsom — they wanted to get it over with fast before another disaster struck.

    Now they’ve got to confront the problem they’ve created for themselves: Newsom has even less time to tackle a serious enthusiasm gap. Republicans are excited to give Newsom the boot and Democrats are ... uh ... not paying attention.

    Ask Steve Smith. He’s a top official with the California Labor Federation, whose 2 million members regularly do the door-to-door campaign grunt work that turns out voters for Democrats. Last week, it held focus groups on the recall for undecided union members in Oakland, Los Angeles and Sacramento.

    The good news that Smith heard: “We didn’t have a single person that said they supported the recall.”

    The worrisome news: “In every group, people said, ‘I don’t know if (voting in the recall) is that important. He’s probably going to win anyways.’

    “People are completely tuned out,” Smith said.

    The message was loud and clear: Newsom’s biggest opponent in the recall won’t be Republicans. It will be uninterested Democrats.

FIRES: 

Largest Active Fires
  County Cause Acres Consumed Containment Structures Destroyed* Fatalities* Personnel Onscene
Lava Fire Siskiyou Lightning 24,752  39%   1,370
Salt Fire Shasta Faulty vehicle 9,162  15%  27 homes
14 outbuildings
731 
Tennant Fire Siskiyou u/i* 10,012  26%  712 
Notes:
u/i = under investigation

both "structures" destroyed and those reported are only from official reports and may not be comprehensive during active fire, particularly because the fires are in rural areas

  • Overall: The Chron's Michael Cabanatuan writes on the wildfire situation in Northern California:

    Several hundred firefighters, working in sweltering conditions amid bone-dry vegetation, made progress against one major Northern California wildfire Saturday while another continued to threaten homes and campgrounds and to close busy Interstate 5 during the Fourth of July weekend.

    The Salt and Lava fires are both burning in rugged rural terrain in the Shasta Trinity National Forest in the upper reaches of Northern California, with widespread evacuations. They’re among 16 active wildfires burning in the state during an early start to the fire season.

    Most of California saw far less rainfall than usual over the winter, causing vegetation to dry out faster than usual and increasing fire danger. Most of the state is in extreme or exceptional drought conditions, according to the National Drought Monitor.

    ...

    While all three Northern California blazes are burning in dry terrain in temperatures near or over 100 degrees, the Salt Fire, north of Shasta Lake, just east of I-5, appears to be the most threatening. As of Saturday afternoon, the blaze had destroyed 27 homes and 14 other structures, the U.S. Forest Service estimated, and 450 people remained evacuated. It had burned 7,467 acres and was 5% contained Saturday evening.

    Temperatures in the area cooled overnight, allowing firefighters to keep the flames from I-5 and build fire breaks elsewhere along the perimeter, but the fire grew by about 2,400 acres overnight to 7,467 acres. It’s just 5% contained.
  • Salt Fire: In the Times, Alex Wigglesworth reports on the destruction in the Salt Fire:

    The most destructive to structures was the Salt fire in Shasta County, which authorities estimated had burned 27 homes and 14 outbuildings as it grew to 7,467 acres by Saturday morning.

    The fire was posing a threat to the communities of Lakehead, Pollock and Riverview, where there are several resorts, RV parks and primary residences, authorities said. Evacuation orders remained in place.

    The fire had also damaged some Pacific Gas & Electric power infrastructure, including a high-voltage power line and an electric substation, officials said.

    The fire started Wednesday afternoon when a vehicle traveling north on Interstate 5 sent sparks into dry vegetation alongside the road, authorities said.

HATE CRIMES: There has been a lot of appropriate attention to hate crimes during the pandemic aimed at Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, however, that wasn't the group that saw a dramatic increase. Shwanika Narayan reports for the Chron:

According to a report released this week by the California Department of Justice, 457 hate crimes with an anti-Black or anti-African American bias were reported to law enforcement in 2020. That represents a nearly 88% increase from 2019.

While crimes with an anti-Asian bias experienced the largest year-to-year increase between 2019 and 2020 at 107%, the number of actual crimes was comparatively smaller, with 89 reported last year.

In a Wednesday press conference in Oakland’s Chinatown, Attorney General Rob Bonta faulted the rhetoric of past leaders for inflaming animosity against people of Asian descent. Asked by The Chronicle on Thursday what could have driven last year’s crime surge targeting Black people, Bonta reiterated that message and referenced former President Donald Trump, who he said “used the biggest bullhorn on the planet” to sew division.

“I believe the language that some of our leaders used, including the former occupant of the White House, pushing out messages of hate and xenophobia and racism and discrimination, has fueled the rise in hate crimes,” Bonta told reporters. “It’s very clear that we are in the middle of a racial justice reckoning.”

Along with a global pandemic that disproportionately infected and destabilized people of color, America in 2020 also experienced once-in-a-generation civil unrest over police brutality and systemic racism. Race relations experts say the rise in hate crimes targeting Black Californians could represent a backlash to the calls for systemic justice following the murder of George Floyd.

“Can some of the violence against African Americans be a backlash against what people see as unsettling advocacy on behalf of, or for, African Americans? Yes, that seems pretty plausible,” observed Ralph Richard Banks, a Stanford University law professor and director of the Stanford Center for Racial Justice.

LAW AND DISORDER: For CalMatters, Dan Walters looks at two bills that highlight the divide between prosecutorial approaches among the state's elected district attorneys.

One provision of Senate Bill 145 (and its identical counterpart, Assembly Bill 145) would vastly expand a current law that requires Bonta’s Department of Justice to review records of those arrested or convicted of crimes in 2021 and subsequent years and identify those eligible, because they weren’t prosecuted or went through diversion programs, to have their records expunged. Instead, the new bill extends such relief to those arrested or convicted as far back as 1973.

Another section creates a new program to make it easier for district attorneys such as Gascón and Boudin, in conjunction with their local public defenders, to seek “resentencing” of those they believe have been punished too harshly.

Still another would eliminate the long-standing practice of notifying judges who impose life sentences for major felonies, such as murder, when the affected inmates seek parole. The bill would also erase the authority of the sentencing judges to comment on the parole applications.

A second measure, Senate Bill 157 (and AB 157), takes a political shot at the California District Attorneys Association (CDAA), which represents punishment-minded prosecutors such as Schubert and has been publicly critical of Gascón’s policies. Gascón, Boudin and several other district attorneys have created a rival group called the Prosecutors Alliance of California.

SB 157 would eliminate grants to the CDAA for a program to support prosecution of high technology crimes and shift the funds to Bonta’s Department of Justice. It also would specifically bar the CDAA from receiving new contracts.

No explanation is offered for the money shift, but there’s little doubt that it’s punishment for backing the disfavored side of the criminal justice culture war.

FEE FIGHT: In the SDUT, Jeff McDonald reports on a lawsuit between two former legislators now involved in lobbying and public affairs and a major workers compensation insurance provider that could become an issue in the reelection campaign of Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara next year.

A contract dispute being waged in a Northern California courtroom is complicating the re-election plans for state Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, who two years ago suspended all fundraising amid a campaign finance scandal uncovered by The San Diego Union-Tribune.

The lawsuit involves Lara’s one-time boss and political mentor, former California Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez. It also includes Rusty Areias, another former state lawmaker who now works as a Sacramento lobbyist.

Mercury Public Affairs, where Nunez is a partner, and Areias are plaintiffs in a case demanding $2 million in lobbying and consulting fees from Applied Underwriters.

Applied Underwriters is the workers’ compensation insurer at the heart of the political crisis that led Lara to publicly apologize in 2019 for breaking his campaign pledge not to accept donations from people with business interests before the California Department of Insurance. Lara’s campaign had received and later returned tens of thousands of dollars to donors linked to Applied Underwriters and other insurance companies.

Baghdad by the Bay, cakeday and classifieds after the jump...

Probolsky Research

BAGHDAD BY THE BAY: In the Chron, Trisha Thadani looks at what lies ahead for San Francisco Mayor London Breed as the city and county emerges from the pandemic, for which she was generally seen as performing as one of the best big city mayors.

[A]s the city emerges from the public health crisis, Breed is facing several challenges exacerbated by the pandemic, including staggering homelessness, a housing shortage and a drug crisis. She’s also contending with the Board of Supervisors, with which she has publicly clashed over the past few months.

The fraught relationship between the two branches is nothing new — “sometimes, things don’t always play themselves out in public in the best way,” Breed said — but the stakes are even higher as the public looks toward City Hall to help San Francisco recover from a catastrophic year.

Breed said the pandemic has taught her that “if we need to act quickly, there is some possibility to do so.” She also pointed to the successful negotiations over San Francisco’s massive $13.2 billion budget as a sign that a more cordial and collaborative relationship may be ahead.

“I could care less if we liked each other,” she said of the board. “As long as we’re figuring out a way to get to the type of results that are going to change our city for the better.”

James Taylor, a political science professor at the University of San Francisco, said while Breed “gets an A” for her pandemic leadership, “the next steps that she makes will be vital to her legacy.”

And to be most successful, he said, she will need to work smoothly with the city’s legislative branch.

“She went from leadership of a crisis, and now she has to go back to the governance of a city,” he said. “And those are very different types of skills.”

CAKEDAY ON THE FOURTH OF JULY: Happy birthday to Swanee Edwards, Alma Hernandez, and the United States of America!

Classifieds

Add your classified now both in The Nooner and online for $50/week or $150/month by emailing scottlay@gmail.com, 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 California Council on Science and Technology

The California Council on Science and Technology works with a range of government, research, and philanthropic partners to provide objective advice on science & tech policy issues and our team is growing! Join us in Sacramento as a Campaign Project Manager (70-105K), Science Officer (50-75K) or Program Assistant (40-60K). Full job descriptions and application instructions located at ccst.us/careers.

Government & Regulatory Affairs Specialist

San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA): The Government & Regulatory Affairs Specialist assists with all activities of the Government and Regulatory Affairs Manager including federal compliance programs (Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE), Title VI and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)), the agency’s emergency response program, and state and federal legislative programs. The position plays a key part in coordinating advocacy efforts to ensure a supportive policy and regulatory environment to advance the capital project and policy priorities of the agency. This is a specialist class position that reports to the Government and Regulatory Affairs Manager. Most work will occur in an office environment, with some occasional field work on the ferries and in the community. This is an exciting opportunity with WETA, the agency that operates San Francisco Bay Ferry, one of the most treasured public transit agencies in the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area.

More info: weta.sanfranciscobayferry.com/employment

CAPITOL SEMINARS’ INVALUABLE LOBBYING 101 COURSE OFFERED VIA ZOOM

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: www.capitolseminars.net

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:
go.mcgeorge.edu/publicpolicy

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, Online.McGeorge.edu, or contact us at graduatelaw@pacific.edu.

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: