Around The Capitol

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RECENT PODS: Obviously, there are lots of pods these days. I try to select a few of those most relevant to California's politics and policy, rather than every episode from the pods I follow.

  • SacTown Talks (Jarhett Blonien): Labor Law Regulation Panel with Tom Sheehy, Ashley Hoffman, and John Kabateck (2021-07-23)
  • Nooner Conversations (Scott Lay): Lobbyist, lawyer, and adjunct law faculty Chris Micheli and I talk about the first 7 months of the legislative year and what to expect in the final month. Additionally, we talk about his two new casebooks on California's Direct Democracy and Legislative Process. (2021-07-23) [YouTube | Apple Podcasts | Amazon PodcastsSimplecast]
  • Political Breakdown (Scott Shafer and Marisa Lagos @ KQED): Todd Gloria on Creating a 'Bigger City Vision' for San Diego (2021-07-22)
  • The San Francisco Experience The California Recall State of Play: In conversation with Laurel Rosenhall political reporter with CalMatters (2021-07-21)
  • SacTown Talks (Jarhett Blonien): Assemblymember Carlos Villapudua (D-Stockton) (2021-07-19)
  • Capitol Weekly Podcast (John Howard and Foster): Assembly member Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) (2021-07-19)
  • California State of Mind (CapRadio): Nigel Duara talks with CalMatters's Rachel Becker about the draught situation. (2021-07-19)
  • Inside Golden State Politics (Bill Boyarsky and Sherry Jeffe): The 'burbs with political scientist and journalist Bill Schneider (2021-07-16)


  • Overland Strategies: Account Executive
  • Capitol Seminars’ Advanced Courses: Budget Advocacy & "So You Think You Want to Sponsor a Bill" Offered Via Zoom -07/29
  • Miller & Olson LLP Seeks Political Reports Specialist
  • Aaron Read & Associates Office Space for Rent
  • California Council on Science and Technology (jobs)
  • SFBay Government & Regulatory Affairs Specialist (job)
  • McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific - MPA/MPP
  • McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific - Masters of Science in Law

RECALL WATCH - non-candidate contributions in support of or opposing the recall

  • Rescue California-To Support the Recall of Gavin Newsom reports receiving:
    • $5,000 from Brian Watte Farms (Tulare)
    • $5,000 from Pegasus Orchards, LLC (Santa Monica)
    • $2,500 from Rodger Glaspey (cotton merchant, Fresno)
    • $1,500 from Carol Kroeker (farmer, Shafter)
    • $1,000 from Pacific Ocean Pediatrics (Santa Monica)
    • $1,000 from Maxine Gellens (realtor, San Diego)
    • $1,000 from Brian Peters (retired, Beverly Hills)
    • $1,000 from Johnny Zamrzla (roofing contractor, Palmdale)
    • $1,000 from David Wilson (auto dealer, Orange)
    • $1,000 from Kevin Herman (farmer, Madera)
  • Stop the Republican Recall of Governor Newsom reports receiving:
    • $250,000 from Molina Healthcare, Inc.
    • $5,000 from Darian Swig (consultant, San Francisco)
    • $2,000 from Cynthia Walk (not employed, La Jolla)
    • $1,500 from Bradley Laplan (attorney, Oakland)
    • $1,000 from Duane Roberts (consultant, Los Altos)


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The Nooner for Saturday, July 24, 2021, presented by SYASL Partners

Happy Saturday! No complaints about getting up before 5 this morning. Accompanying me on this Saturday morning is not Smerconish of the dearth of watchable Friday late night shows but rather USA women's soccer.

No, I won't spoil it for those of you who will watch later on and don't want to know, although if you're of that mindset, I would stay off Twitter until. you watch it. I will, however, tell you that the Giants blew it last night against the Pirates (36-60 going into the series). This after a week in which they took a series in Los Angeles (58-36 going into the series) 3 games to 1.

Anyway, it's a Saturday, but we still have some gnus to get to. Thank you to those of you who renewed subscriptions and others who tipped after my message last night. It's a very stressful month and thus much appreciated.


  • Vaxx stats: 
    • Californians fully vaccinated: 21,017,459 (61.9% of 12+) - 13th among U.S. states
    • Californians partially vaccinated: 3,143,620 (9.3% of 12+) - 18th among U.S. states
    • Californians with no vaccine: 28.8% (of 12+)
    • Doses on hand: 5,173,212 (81 days of inventory)
    • full data, including demographic breakdown
  • Positivity rate: The 7-day positivity rate is 5.2%, a 1.4% increase from seven days ago and the highest since February 10. Of course, this has to be considered in light of fewer tests, and vaccinated folks not actively seeking regular tests unless required for travel or work.
  • School daze: The SDUT's Kristen Taketa reports that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that California had latitude to order the closure of public, but not private, schools during the pandemic.

    An appeals court Friday ruled that state leaders violated the rights of parents by forcing private schools to stay closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    However the Ninth Circuit appeals court essentially upheld the state’s decision to keep public schools closed to in-person instruction during the pandemic.

    The appeals court ruling is the latest development in the lawsuit Brach v. Newsom, which was filed against Gov. Gavin Newsom last July by California public school and private school families, including two from San Diego. A national conservative group called The Center for American Liberty led the lawsuit effort.

    The lawsuit challenged the state’s rules preventing K-12 schools from offering in-person instruction in counties with high COVID rates. The plaintiff families argued that the rules deprived their children of a meaningful education and violated their due process rights and equal protections under the 14th Amendment.


    Among the three judges on the appellate panel, one judge wrote a dissent.

    But Harmeet Dhillon, CEO of the Center for American Liberty, called the appeal court ruling “a huge victory for parents’ rights.”

    “The Ninth Circuit rightly ruled in parents’ favor, affirming that they — and not Gavin Newsom or faceless bureaucrats — have the right to decide how best to educate their children,” she said in a statement.

  • Restaurants: The Chron's Janelle Bitker reports that, with many employees falling ill, restaurant owners are considering banning unvaccinated employees and patrons alike. 

    Bay Area restaurants are seeing reservations drop, with diners citing the highly contagious delta variant as their reason for canceling. Fully vaccinated employees are getting sick, forcing temporary closures at a rate that hasn’t been seen since early in the pandemic. Now, owners are debating what to do next.

    A growing number of restaurants and bars have become vaccination-only establishments, requiring diners to flash their vaccine cards upon entry. But others say it’s not so easy due to logistics and potential customer backlash. Instead, they’re contemplating alternative measures like shutting down their indoor dining rooms, requiring double masks for staff or simply waiting to see how the new vaccine requirements play out at other businesses.

    Owners already requiring proof of vaccination say it’s an effort to get somewhat out ahead of the delta variant since there’s still no official guidance from government agencies beyond a mask recommendation. Mayor London Breed said her office doesn’t have immediate plans to mandate that businesses require patrons to show proof of vaccination but is exploring “all options.” The Golden Gate Restaurant Association, the city’s restaurant industry group, is surveying members on the issue.


  • 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
  • Ads: I obviously haven't watched every feed, but I had the entire Opening Ceremonies on last night and several sports today (currently archery). I've seen lots of "no on recall" ads in the little window adjacent my writing window. I'm not a campaign strategist, but wouldn't John Cox's personal $5 million for advertising been better spent now, during the Olympics (cable targeted), than a month ago? Of course without the bear or ball o' trash, but rather a businessman with solutions frame?

    Ballots are mailed to voters in 23 days and we're coming off a week of news about the final candidate list. Lots of no on recall ads and this is a weekend when people are actually watching teevee. 


  • "Anatomy of a Monster": The LAT's Hayley Smith looks at how the Dixie Fire exploded into the largest California wildfire in 2021. 

    It was incredibly dry, incredibly hot and winds were on the way. Within hours, the fire had a name, Dixie, and it was scorching a fast path. In less than 10 days, it destroyed eight structures, spurred thousands of evacuations, and grew into the largest wildfire in California this year.

    As of Friday, the multicounty fire had swelled to more than 142,000 acres and 18% containment, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.

    And, as of this morning, it is 181,289, a 28% increase in acreage since yesterday.

    It has been difficult to fight. The terrain is steep and the fire’s erratic behavior is keeping crews at bay. Firefighters observing the immense cloud emerging from the flames have been stunned by the sight.

    “I was in awe of the intensity of the smoke column,” said Eric Limones, a captain with the Cal Fire Santa Clara Unit, who snapped a photograph of his crew looking up at the ominous cloud. “I’ve been to many fires and seen this type of fire behavior before, but that day did feel a little different.”

    During a community briefing this week, Cal Fire deputy incident Cmdr. Chris Waters said the Dixie fire is unlike anything he has experienced in more than two decades of fighting fires.

    “The fire behavior conditions that we’re facing right now are really quite unprecedented, and at a historical level,” he said, noting that the blaze is creating spot fires as far as five miles away, which is “beyond the pale of what I’ve seen in my career.”

    Yet the conditions that paved the way for the fire’s massive growth are becoming increasingly common. The West is contending with both record-breaking heat waves and worsening drought, which are meeting with bone-dry vegetation, violent weather patterns and strong gusty winds to fan the flames.

  • State of emergency: In the Chron, Lauren Hernández and Omar Shaikh Rashad write that Governor Newsom has declared a state of emergency in four counties, opening the door for federal assistance.

    Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency Friday in Plumas, Butte, Lassen and Alpine counties because of the Dixie, Fly and Tamarack fires.

    Friday’s proclamation comes after California secured Fire Management Assistance grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to support the state’s response to the Dixie and Lava fires, state officials said.

    The fast-moving Dixie Fire, the largest of seven wildfires blazing in California, prompted more evacuations on Friday amid hot, breezy conditions and low humidity, authorities said.

    The blaze, which is burning near the scar of the deadly 2018 Camp Fire, saw extreme fire behavior on Thursday and had scorched 167,430 acres by Friday evening, fire officials said. 

  • Wildfire smoke causing increased risk of COVID-19? In The Bee, Cathie Anderson reports that researchers studying the Reno area believe that the layer of wildfire smoke that settled over The Biggest Little City last year contributed to increased transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that can cause COVID-19. 

    Cases of COVID-19 rose sharply last year in Reno, Nevada, when heavy layer of wildfire smoke settled over the city, according to scientists at the Desert Research Institute, and they and other scientists are postulating that there is a link between air pollution and increased susceptibility to the new coronavirus.

    “Our results showed a substantial increase in the COVID-19 positivity rate in Reno during a time when we were affected by heavy wildfire smoke from California wildfires,” said Daniel Kiser, a co-lead author of the study published in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology. “This is important to be aware of as we are already confronting heavy wildfire smoke ... with COVID-19 cases again rising in Nevada and other parts of the western U.S.”

    Kiser, an assistant research scientist of data science at the institute, said he became interested in studying the impact of the microscopic particulate matter from wildfires after reading a Canadian scientist’s article on the dual impact of confronting both issues at the same time.

Largest Active Fires with Least Containment
  County Cause Acres Consumed Containment Structures Destroyed Fatalities Personnel On Scene Updated
Dixie Fire Butte, Plumas power lines suspected 181,289 19% 16 0 4,266 07/24
Tamarack Fire Alpine u/i 65,152 4% unknown 0 1,425 07/24

u/i= under investigation  

SIN AGUA: In the Times, Julia Wick reports how the worsening drought threatens surface water access for Central Valley farmers.

As California endures an increasingly brutal second year of drought, state water regulators are considering an emergency order that would bar thousands of Central Valley farmers from using stream and river water to irrigate their crops.

On Friday, the State Water Resources Control Board released a draft “emergency curtailment” order for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta watershed. The measure, which was first reported by the Sacramento Bee, would bar some water rights holders from diverting surface water for agricultural and other purposes.

The proposed regulation underscores just how dire matters have become as drought squeezes the American West.

“It says that this drought is really severe,” said Erik Ekdahl, deputy director of the state water board’s Division of Water Rights. The water board will consider the order’s approval on Aug. 3. If approved, it would go into effect about two weeks later at the earliest, Ekdahl added.

“This is probably the first time the board has contemplated curtailment orders for the entire bay delta watershed,” Ekdahl said. Some notices of water unavailability were sent out to water rights holders in the delta watershed during the 2014-15 time period, but this type of sweeping, formal order was not utilized, he said.

If approved, the order would be implemented first with junior water rights holders, then more senior water rights holders, and then the most senior. According to Ekdahl, the board believes that more than 10,000 water rights holders would be affected, with their water largely being used for agricultural irrigation purposes. Some municipal, industrial and commercial entities could also be affected.

HIGH-SPEED CHOO-CHOO: With Bay Area and Southern California Democratic legislators growing increasingly weary of the cost of building a small segment of the ambitious high-speed rail project once expected to initially connect San Francisco to Los Angeles now narrowed to a short distance within the Central Valley far south of even Sacramento, California's senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla are leaning on Democratic legislative leaders to get behind Governor Newsom's $4.2 billion request from a federal administration again open to the idea. Katherine Swartz reports for The Bee:

In a letter sent this week, Padilla and Feinstein called on Senate Pro Tempore Toni Atkins, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, Senate Transportation Committee Chair Lena Gonzalez and Assembly Transportation Committee Chair Laura Friedman to take “swift action” in getting the funding through the Legislature.

Newsom requested the money in May when he gave lawmakers his budget proposal. His administration wanted to use the funds to help build a stretch of high-speed rail in the Central Valley, where work is unfolding on a line that would connect Bakersfield to Merced.

Democratic leaders sent him a budget in late June that withheld the money he requested for the project, although talks are ongoing and the High-Speed Rail is still seeking the money. Rendon and Friedman have questioned the project, and suggested the money could be better spent on urban transportation projects.

While voters supported $10 billion for high speed rail in 2013 intended to go from San Francisco to Los Angeles, years of political struggles and budgetary issues have continually stalled the project. The most recent cost projection from the Authority estimates the total cost for phase 1, Los Angeles to San Francisco, to run about $80 billion.

There are a few issues. 
  • A bloc of (if not all) Republican legislators completely oppose the project, including those whose districts are being transversed by it.
  • Bay Area and Southern California urban legislators who want to see more of the federal infrastructure largesse to be spent in their areas sooner rather than waiting for a way to amass the amount of funds needed to complete the full Phase I. 
  • Many Democratic legislators want to be able to consider using fuel cells and other technologies other than conventional overhead powering that is outlined in the federal grant. Many of these technologies are emerging from California and, aside from the promise of new technologies, there is heavy lobbying from the new technology sector. 

HOUSING: In the Chron, Heather Knight writes that a San Francisco supervisor is moving forward with a proposed ordinance that would be even more ambitious proposed ordinance on housing densification than one strongly opposed earlier this year.

Early this year, the real f-word in San Francisco was fourplex. The notion of allowing single-family homes to be converted to four units — already being explored by Sacramento, Berkeley, South San Francisco and other cities — made some politicians and their NIMBY supporters blow their tops.

A tame proposal from Supervisor Rafael Mandelmanannounced here in January, to allow fourplexes on corner lots and within a half mile of major transit stops garnered little support. Opponents of development falsely claimed it would ruin their charming neighborhoods, while supporters said it didn’t go far enough.

Mandelman could either scrap the idea or go bigger. Thankfully, he’s opted for the latter.

On Tuesday, he’ll introduce legislation allowing fourplexes on any single-family home lot in San Francisco regardless of whether it’s on a corner or near transit. And the most encouraging sign? Two fellow supervisors are working on their own pieces of fourplex legislation they plan to introduce this fall.

 cakeday, farewell, and classifieds after the jump...

Probolsky Research


CAKEDAY: Put on the party hats and light the candles for former state senator Ling Ling Chang, David Creager, and Alex Zucco!

 FAREWELL: Former Assembly member Dan Logue (R-Live Oak) (1950-2021)


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 Office of Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley is seeking an experienced Communications Director

The Office of Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley is seeking an experienced Communications Director. The ideal candidate is a self-starter with excellent written and communication skills with the ability to deliver high quality work under tight deadlines. Knowledge of Orange County & 3-5 years of political experience is preferred.


  • Managing press requests
  • Staffing the Supervisor at interviews and media events
  • Drafting content for social media and website
  • Preparing written materials including press releases, speeches, op-eds, talking points, newsletters and e-blasts
  • Determining creative ways to expand the Supervisor’s coverage on key initiatives
  • Working collaboratively with staff to maximize press coverage and visibility at events


  • BA in a related field (e.g., English or media production), or equivalent work experience
  • Demonstrated track record of managing professional social media accounts
  • Familiar with graphic and video programs, (e.g., Canva and iMovie)
  • Ability to create and turn around content in a short time
  • Experience in working with print, digital, radio, TV bookers and producers

Qualified candidates should submit a cover letter, resume, two writing samples, video sample, and professional references to Debbie Lumpkin at with the title “Communications Director” in the subject line. No calls or walk-ins.


Overland Strategies is a Democratic political consulting firm. We create high quality direct mail and digital ads and provide strategic advice and general consulting services to Democratic candidates and progressive causes.

About the Job:
Overland is looking to hire an Account Executive to help support clients with strategic communications and general consulting services. The Account Executive will work directly with Overland’s Partners to write press releases and political communications, and generally support candidate campaigns. There will be opportunities to learn and practice all elements of political consulting. This is a full-time employee position. Overland will provide reimbursement for health insurance, cell phone costs, and work-related expenses. Work will be usually be remote, with the exception of occasional in-person meetings and campaign events. This is a job for someone who loves persuasive writing and progressive campaigns. To apply, send a resume and three writing samples to


Taught by 46-year Capitol veteran Ray LeBov. Capitol Seminars is your No.1 lobbying advocacy training resource. Advanced courses focusing on the fundamentals of budget advocacy and the detailed aspects of sponsoring a bill. Next Zoom session is Thursday, July 29th. “So You Think…”: 9am–12pm ($225). Budget: 12:30pm – 2:30pm ($175). *$50 Off when you register for both sessions. Seats are limited. Reservations: (916) 837-0208. Further information:

Miller & Olson LLP Seeks Political Reports Specialist

Miller & Olson LLP is seeking a Political Reports Specialist for its downtown Sacramento office. The Specialist position is responsible for administering the books for candidates, political action committees, as well as non-profit organizations. Specifically, the position requires bookkeeping and administering client bank accounts, preparing and filing campaign finance reports and communicating timely financial information to clients. For more information and to apply, click here:


Since some of us at ARA like partial remote working and less office time, we have some additional Office Space for rent.

Stunningly beautiful offices on the 11th Floor of the Meridian at 1415 L St, full of original art work. Beautifully furnished with cherry desks and credenzas.

Floor-to-ceiling widows, great views, access to two conference rooms, including one very large with a panoramic view of the Capitol.

Access to a large kitchen and work room. 1-3 offices could be available. Parking is also available, but additional.

Aaron Read & Associates, call Aaron 916-425-2260

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

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:

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: