Around The Capitol

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RECENT PODS: Obviously, there are lots of pods these days. I try to select a few those most relavant to 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)

CLASSIFIEDS BELOW:

  • Veloz Seeks Program Director
  • 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 Monday, July 5, 2021, presented by SYASL Partners

¡Buenos dias y feliz lunes! I hope you had a wonderful Fourth of July. I cooked some brats with peppers and onions, watched fireworks from across the county on CNN, saw the Giants win in Phoenix, and then viewed Kermit sing "Rainbow Connection" and "George Washington" from Hamilton/"Chunk" from Bull sing "My Country 'Tis of Thee." It was a good Fourth of July. Oh, I forgot. When I got in bed at 10pm, I watched a "Disneyland to go" fireworks show through my window.

I feel very sorry for the 911/nonemergency operators last night.

  • Caller: "Hi, I'd like report illegal fireworks."
  • Operator: "Thank you, can you tell me where."
  • Caller: "Everywhere."

I also feel sorry for those on emergency room duty last night...

I'm wondering whether to do "This Weekend in The Nooner" today, when legislators and legislative employees return after taking Friday off, or tomorrow, when state (and most private) employees return. I guess I'll do both.

THE LONG WEEKEND IN THE NOONER:

Friday, July 2

Saturday, July 3

Sunday, July 4

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BUDGET: Two additional budget trailer bills went into print at 8am this morning and thus can be voted on Thursday:

  • AB/SB 130: TK-12 education trailer bill
  • AB/SB 161: new Budget Bill Jr.

COVID-19/SARS-CoV-2: 

  • Vaxx stats: 
    • Californians fully vaccinated: 20,211,705 (59.6% of 12+) - 19th among U.S. states
    • Californians partially vaccinated: 3,245,982 (9.6% of 12+) - 12th among U.S. states
    • Californians with no vaccine: 30.9% (of 12+)
    • Doses on hand: 5,104,303 (69 days of inventory)
    • full data, including demographic breakdown
  • Delta variant: In the Times, Rong-Gong Lin II and Luke Money report that the Delta variant has become dominant among new cases in California.

    The highly infectious Delta has become California’s most identified variant of the coronavirus, a troubling development that underscores its danger to unvaccinated populations.

    New data released by the California Department of Public Health say 35.6% of coronavirus variants analyzed in June have been identified as Delta, which was first identified in India. That’s a dramatic increase from May, when Delta accounted for just 5.6% of analyzed coronavirus cases in California and was the state’s fourth most identified variant.

    Delta is now more widespread than the previous dominant strain, Alpha, which was first identified in the United Kingdom and accounted for 34.3% of analyzed coronavirus cases in June. Alpha was the state’s most dominant strain in April and May, outpacing the California variant, now known as Epsilon, which currently occurs in less than 2% of analyzed cases.

    The rapid rise of Delta is prompting some public health officials to issue new warnings, urging more caution at a time when vaccinated people are putting away masks and getting back to normal life. Although those who have been fully vaccinated are believed to have high levels of protection, there is growing concern about the virus spreading among people who have not been inoculated.

    Kellie Hwang writes in the Chron:

    The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have proved highly effective against the delta variant, and on Thursday Johnson & Johnson said its single-dose vaccine also provides a “strong, persistent” immune response against the strain.

    That leaves the unvaccinated population particularly vulnerable to the delta variant, which is estimated to be 75% more contagious than the original coronavirus. On Friday, Dr. Grant Colfax, director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health, said the delta variant accounts for 30% of local cases now, but he expects it to increase to 90% in the next few months.

    “This is not a good time to be unvaccinated in San Francisco,” Colfax said. “People may have the misperception that because our vaccine rates are high, even if they’re not vaccinated they are unlikely to catch the virus. I think delta has shifted the equation.”

    The state lifted most coronavirus restrictions on June 15, including allowing vaccinated people to go maskless in most indoor settings. However, amid rising concerns about the delta variant, Los Angeles County last week strongly urged all residents to voluntarily wear masks indoors in public places, including those who are fully vaccinated.

  • The Capitol: On Saturday, Assembly Chief Administrative Officer Debra Gravert sent out a second memo over a week, announcing that two additional Assembly employees tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus which can cause COVID-19. 

    From the memo:
    The Assembly Rules Committee has been notified that two additional Assembly employees who work in the State Capitol building recently tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. Both employees who tested positive are fully vaccinated. (emphasis added) The employees last worked in the building on Thursday, July 1, 2021, and wore a face covering at all times while in public areas of the building. Individuals who were in close contact with the impacted employees have been notified.  

    ...

    Also, I cannot stress this enough: Do not come to work if you, or anyone in your household, are sick with COVID-19 symptoms, have been tested and are awaiting results, or have received a positive COVID-19 test. 
    After receiving the emailed memo on Saturday, you can guess a lot of staffers have a fever this morning. I wouldn't blame them, as many were reluctant to return to the tight quarters to begin with. 

    I jest with that link, and Debra is doing a great job getting information out quickly to legislators and staff alike.

    However, as a fully vaccinated person myself, the fact that four of the nine Assembly employees who tested positive last week were fully vaccinated means that I'll continue to wear a mask indoors. I just want to get a hat made with my QR code on it to make it clear that I'm fully vaccinated but wearing a mask to avoid becoming an asymptomatic carrier.

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

 

FIRES: 

Largest Active Fires
  County Cause Acres Consumed Containment Structures Destroyed* Fatalities* Personnel Onscene
Lava Fire Siskiyou Lightning 24,974  70%   1,414
Salt Fire Shasta Faulty vehicle 11,693  20%  27 homes
14 outbuildings
746 
Tennant Fire Siskiyou u/i* 10,541 51%  2 homes
3 outbuildings
813 
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

 FIREWORKS: In the LAT, Irfan Khan and Rosanna Xia report that victims whose South Los Angeles houses were damaged by the explosion of illegal fireworks in an LAPD Bomb Squad vehicle last Wednesday and were evacuated from them spent the Fourth of July scrambling to find assistance.

On a festive holiday usually marked by family barbecues and picnics on the beach, Maria Velasquez stepped into a humble gymnasium in South Los Angeles in search of answers — and a way forward — after a massive explosion of illegal fireworks damaged her home, injured 17 people and left her street in tatters.

“In a matter of seconds, everything blew up,” said Velasquez, who said she was still processing the shock. “It was horrible.”

More than 20 homes were evacuated in the aftermath of Wednesday’s explosion, and on Sunday, residents were still in limbo — unsure when they could return home to start picking up the pieces.

Many of them joined Velasquez and spent their Fourth of July at Trinity Recreation Center, where city emergency officials and the American Red Cross and other nonprofits had quickly gathered to offer services and whatever information they could provide.

CA25 (Simi Valley-Santa Clarita-Antelope Valley): In the LAT, Seema Mehta looks at whether the voting record of first-term Rep. Mike Garcia (R) will hamper his reelection efforts.

Garcia, who won his seat by 333 votes in November, is up for reelection next year in what is expected to be among the most contested congressional races in the nation. Millions of dollars will likely be spent on the race because it will be key to determining which party controls the House.

Garcia’s portrayal of his record reflects the dichotomy he is straddling as he tries to keep his GOP base united and energized while not alienating the growing number of diverse, liberal voters in California’s 25th Congressional District.

A Republican who supports Garcia doesn’t agree with some of his votes but thinks the congressman is positioning himself to be a rising star if the GOP takes control of the House and he wins reelection.

“Let’s be honest about it — he’s between a rock and a hard place. In order to be effective in D.C., he’s got to take positions that I think sometimes are not supported by his district,” said R. Rex Parris, the GOP mayor of Lancaster. “He’s walking that tightrope more than any other man in Congress right now.”

Garcia will likely face former Assembly member Christy Smith (D) in a rematch of the 2020 race.

DONOR DISCLOSURE: For CalMatters, Dan Walters writes on the decision on the Supreme Court last week striking down a California law requiring nonprofits to disclose top donors in an effort to ferret out dark money in politics.

Federal law requires such organizations to file income tax returns and list their major donors, but California law requires only that they provide copies of their tax returns to the state Department of Justice, which oversees charitable groups.

However, beginning a decade ago, the California Department of Justice began demanding that organizations also disclose their donors. Americans for Prosperity sued former Attorney General (and now Vice President) Kamala Harris, alleging that the demanded filings violated their donors’ constitutional rights and, if disclosed publicly, would subject them to harassment.

Advocates of the disclosure requirement countered that the information was needed to combat fraud and the flow of so-called “dark money” into political campaigns, particularly after the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. The state insisted that the information would remain confidential, but there has been in fact, a couple of incidents in which it was disclosed.

Americans for Prosperity tended to win in lower federal courts but lose in the 9th District Court of Appeal, which has a reputation for liberal leanings. Finally, the case reached the Supreme Court, where conservatives hold sway by a 6-3 margin, and that’s how the court divided on the case in last Thursday’s decision.

The majority opinion, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, declared that California’s regulation violated donors’ 1st Amendment rights and did not serve a narrowly tailored government interest.

“The upshot,” Roberts wrote, “is that California casts a dragnet for sensitive donor information from tens of thousands of charities each year, even though that information will become relevant in only a small number of cases involving filed complaints.”

...

Through Americans for Prosperity and their other organizations, the Kochs have been fairly successful, especially at the state level (although not in California) in electing Republican legislators and thereby influencing the decennial redrawing of congressional districts to help the GOP gain and retain seats.

Democratic politicians and their allies, especially labor unions, obviously dislike that the Kochs have been successful. However, in pursuing the names of major donors to non-profit organizations, California’s attorneys general also have imposed burdens on purely charitable groups that could damage their ability to attract donors, and there’s virtually no evidence that the requirement has actually played a material role in rooting out fraud.

REDISTRICTING: Paul Mitchell writes in his latest Redistricting Report:

Race and ethnicity has always played a role in the redistricting historically, just as it has in other aspects of American’s voting systems that were manipulated in the era of Jim Crow. The Voting Rights Act included protections against gerrymandering districts so that it wouldn’t disadvantage minority populations.

[Retired Michigan Supreme Court Justice Stephen] Markman and other conservatives’ criticism of COI reflects a certain paranoia that a) communities of interest are just stand-ins for partisan gerrymandering and b) that Commissioners aren’t capable of  weeding out spurious arguments from the genuine ones to logically draw district lines or that they are in on the conspiracy.

Now that the Republican-led Alabama lawsuit against the Census Bureau’s differential privacy tool has been functionally put on ice until the August 16 release of the redistricting-level census data, we’re now predicting “communities of interest” will become the first conservative boogeyman to make its way into a Tucker Carlson segment this redistricting cycle.

Sandy Eggo, cakeday, a farewell, and classifieds after the jump...

Probolsky Research

CORONADO: In the SDUT, Kristin Taketa reports on the continuing saga of the racially-tinged tortilla-throwing incident at a San Diego-area basketball championship game.

Last year, long before two Coronado High School basketball players threw tortillas at a mostly Latino basketball team last month, Coronado Unified Superintendent Karl Mueller promised students he would put his district on the front lines of racial justice.

He made the promise after scores of Coronado students and parents marched through the streets of their small, majority-White, island community, calling for an end to racism in school. Several Black students and alumni reported experiencing racial slurs and bullying at school, including hearing the n-word and feeling put on the spot when their school held annual “Colonial Day” themed events.

“I want Coronado Unified School District to be on the front lines of systemic change,” Mueller said June 2020.

...

More recently some Coronado residents have accused the district and others of rushing to judgment about the events surrounding the June 19 basketball game, when two Coronado High players threw tortillas at the mostly Latino Orange Glen High team during an altercation, resulting in Coronado losing its head coach and a championship title.

Many people perceived the tortilla tossing to be racist, or at least racially insensitive. Others said racism was not the motivation of the students or the Coronado resident, who said he brought the tortillas to be tossed in celebration.

“This does not involve race, no matter how many people hold up (Black Lives Matter) signs and say it is so,” wrote Cindy Wilson, a parent of children who attended Coronado schools, in a public comment to Coronado’s school board.

You've got to be kidding me. Tortillas thrown by Coronado island players at players from a mostly Latino team. Karen, I mean Cindy, continues...

“Coronado has never been a place where people cared about race; don’t make it that way. The only racists I’ve encountered in my life are those that see everything through the filter of race,” wrote Wilson, who declined to answer questions about her race. “Is that how you want to teach our children to think?”

Coronado is also has vehemently opposed planning for housing under the regional housing element, including joining with three other small cities to sue the regional planning agency, SANDAG. They lost. The SDUT's Luke Herald reported in February:

A lawsuit filed against the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) by four cities over a statewide housing mandate has been dismissed in Superior Court.

The cities of Solana Beach, Imperial Beach, Coronado and Lemon Grove wanted to lower the number of new housing units they will have to accommodate over the next decade as part of the state’s Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA).

SANDAG released a statement that said the agency was “relieved” by the court’s decision, and that the housing units allocated to each city “will help the San Diego region address the housing crisis by planning for more housing and making more housing available.”

“It is difficult when any city that is a member of SANDAG disagrees with SANDAG Board action and sues on behalf of its municipal constituents,” the statement read. “We were relieved to learn that a judge dismissed the lawsuit filed by four cities over the Board-approved Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) allocation numbers.”

CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Mike Altschule, Randall Echevarria, Madhavi Kennedy, and Denise Ng!

FAREWELL: Former Assembly member and State Senator Richard "Dick" K. Rainey (R-Walnut Creek) (December 5, 1938 - July 4, 2021)

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]


Veloz Seeks Program Director

Veloz plays a unique and important role in the electric vehicle landscape in California. In this expanded position, the Veloz Program Director is part of a passionate and collaborative organization that is changing the conversation about electric vehicles in California and sparking a virtuous cycle of consumer awareness and demand. Reporting to the Executive Director and partnering with the small and mighty Veloz team, the Program Director develops and executes a comprehensive programmatic strategy to raise awareness of Veloz, to deliver high quality and high-value programming to Veloz members and to build a stronger electric vehicle movement in California (and beyond). For more information, read on.

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: