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 politics and policy, rather than every episode from the pods I follow.

  • California State of Mind (Nicole Nixon @ CapRadio): Investigation: How Some Law Enforcement Are Mysteriously Clearing Sexual Assault Cases (2021-08-20)
  • SacTown Talks (Jarhett Blonien): Former Assembly member Mike Gatto (D) on the end of session hijinks (2021-08-20)
  • Political Breakdown (Scott Shafer and Marisa Lagos @ KQED): Recall and Larry Elder with Carla Marinucci and Katie Orr. (2021-08-19)
  • Inside Golden State Politics (Bill Boyarsky and Sherry Jeffe): California and Kabul (2021-08-19) 
  • Capitol Weekly (John Howard and Tim Foster): Paul Mitchell on the new Census data. (2021-08-16)


  • CCST Expert Briefing: Toward a Disaster Resilient California: Building Grid Resilience
  • Sacramento Superior Court invites applications for Chief Administrative Officer
  • California Lawyers Association Executive Director (Sacramento)
  • CalTax Seeks a Research Analyst
  • Children’s Council of San Francisco is seeking an experienced Public Policy Communications Associate
  • McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific - MPA/MPP
  • McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific - Masters of Science in Law


  • CA21 (Coalinga-Lemoore-South Bakersfield): added Assemblymember Rudy Salas (D) - challenge to Valadao (R)
  • SD18 (West San Fernando Valley): added business manager Daniel Hertzberg (D) - Bob Hertzberg termed out (yes, father-son)

The Gualco Group AJW KBH Advocacy
Bill Quirk | Cathy Unger | Dave Walrath


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The Nooner for Sunday, August 22, 2021, presented by SYASL Partners

Happy Taco Sunday! Fortunately, the air quality it better today so I'll be able to venture out to Our Lady of Guadalupe after writing to see what's on the menu for today. I like to go for the fillings few of the non-Mexican visitors for food at the Mexican-American church, such as buche, cabeza, lengua, etc., which can only be found in a handful of taco shops in town. The leader of the stand selling tacos on T Street for the church smiles en el gringo con coraje.

I slept well again last night because of a reduction in wheezing topped off with an day-game amazing comeback 6-5 9th-inning win for the Giants. I'm not against the A's and they played a great game. I'll root for them in the American League, likely for a wildcard spot as I don't know that they can catch the Astros. Yeah, and I like the Angels, but they're 12 games back, even with All-Star Shohei Ohtani. Meanwhile, back in the NL West, the Dodgers also won yesterday, which means they are still only 1.5 games behind the Giants. The boys in blue finish their series against the Mets at Dodger Stadium at 1:10 today.

The Bay Bridge Series between the Giants and A's ends today at 1:07. The 6-game series is currently Giants 3, A's 2. The trophy will go to the winner of today's game regardless of the outcome, as in the event of a tie, it goes to the winner of the final game.

Anyway, sorry about the sports talk, but I'm waiting for the wildfire and COVID statistics to be updated.

While the air quality is much better in the valley, around South Lake Tahoe, it was hazardous (301+) as of 5 this morning because of the Caldor Fire. The fire still at 0% containment has lots of Capitol-area folks nervously watching the fire perimeter and checking the El Dorado County Sheriff's department's mapping site to try to learn the fate of cabins they own up there. Beyond that perimeter site, they are also identifying specific properties on another map, although it is likely incomplete due to accessibility.

On to all the news unfit to to print...


  • Recall election key dates:
    • September 2: Second pre-election campaign finance statement
    • September 14: Election Day
    • October 22: Statement of vote

Fundraising and cash through 08/21/21

Semi-annual or first preelection report plus $1,000+ contributions since



Kevin Faulconer***



Caitlyn Jenner

Kevin Kiley

Kevin Paffrath



















Contributions reported yesterday**

  $316,800        $37,500



07/31 Net Cash on Hand*










*Net cash on hand is reported cash on hand with non-candidate, nonforgiveable debt subtracted.

**24-hour reports are delayed when they fall on a Saturday, Sunday or holiday to the next business day, unless received the weekend before the election.

***Elder and Faulconer also have ballot measure committees supporting the recall that are not included in this table. Ballot measure committees have no limit, while successor candidate limits in a recall are unclear. Regular gubernatorial primary limits or something else? Totally unclear.

Stop the Republican Recall of Governor Newsom

  • Cash on Hand 07/31: $26,029,522
  • $1,000+ contributions since: $10,396,405

"Recall reality": In the Times, Maura Dolan looks at how a successor candidate could be elected to the office with far fewer votes than those voting to retain Newsom and the constitutional arguments around that.

In their essay in the New York Times — and a subsequent one Friday in the Los Angeles Times — UC Berkeley Law School Dean Erwin Chemerinsky and law and economics professor Aaron S. Edlin argued that California’s recall law was unconstitutional because the incumbent could be replaced with a candidate who received fewer votes. The scholars said that violated a federal constitutional principle that every voter should have an equal ability to influence an election result.

Judging by polls, the professors predicted with “virtual certainty that if Newsom is recalled, he will get far more votes — probably more than twice as many — as whoever would replace him.”

“This makes no sense and violates the most basic notions of democracy,” they argued in the Los Angeles Times.

But when a prominent constitutional lawyer representing Gov. Davis made this provocative assertion before the California Supreme Court in 2003, it failed, [University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign School of Law Dean Vikram D.] Amar noted. The court rejected the challenge and the equal protection argument.

Hey, Vik, we knew you as assistant dean at King Hall!

The challenge sought to delay the election to allow Davis to appear with others in the second ballot question listing replacement candidates. That would have allowed Davis to remain governor if he obtained a plurality of the votes.

Amar said courts have long permitted rules that limit ballot access as long as they are reasonable and not overtly discriminatory.

“California’s voting process might be unwise or needlessly confusing, but it is not unconstitutional in the way critics have recently charged,” wrote Amar and University of Michigan constitutional law professor Evan Caminker this month on an online forum for legal commentary.

Elder: In the Register, Brooke Staggs reports on the message set forth at Larry Elder's Newport Beach fundraiser yesterday.

Larry Elder doesn’t drink coffee. But if Gov. Gavin Newsom is recalled on Sept. 14, and Elder is elected the next governor of California, he says he’ll repeal statewide vaccine and mask mandates aimed at curbing spread of the coronavirus on day one, before his “first cup of tea.”

The conservative radio talk show host made that promise during a rally with some 700 people at a donor’s house in Newport Beach on Saturday evening.

The rally comes as Elder, 69, is facing increasing scrutiny over his past comments and treatment of women.

His former producer and ex-fiancée Alexandra Datig recently told Politico that Elder flashed a loaded gun at her while they were arguing at the end of their relationship in 2015. Elder denied the claim Saturday night.

“I’ve never waived a firearm, loaded or unloaded, at anybody,” he said.

“This is the best you guys can do?” he said to his critics. “They’re scared. They are scared to death.”

The crowd responded by cheering “Larry! Larry!”

Reports also have circulated of Elder saying he supports allowing companies to refuse to hire women if they plan to get pregnant and of him saying he doesn’t believe there’s a gender-based wage gap or glass ceiling. He said welfare “incentivizes women to marry the government,” and that President Donald Trump motivated obese women to get off the couch as they marched against him in 2018.


Elder, who identifies as libertarian, supports eliminating the minimum wage. He also told the crowd he’ll use emergency powers as governor to unwind regulations that he says hold homebuilders back from building in California.

COVID, fires, and other stories after the jump...

Probolsky Research


  • Vaxx stats: 
    • Californians fully vaccinated: 22,156,929 (65.3%% of 12+) - 16th among U.S. states, 13.5% above national average
    • Californians partially vaccinated: 3,506,562 (10.3% of 12+) - 10th among U.S. states
    • Californians with no vaccine: 24.4% (of 12+)
    • Doses on hand: 5,500,948 (64 days of inventory, does not account for doses reserved for current appointments)
    • full data, including demographic breakdown
  • Full approval: Former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who always discloses that he is on the board of Pfizer, said this morning that full approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine could come as early as tomorrow. This was also covered in the NYT yesterday.

    This is important, as some unvaccinated folks are hesitant of getting one until full approval is granted. Of course, that's a small minority in California as over 75% have received at least one shot. However, it could be significant in the low-vaccinated states, particularly in the South and Plains States.

    Additionally, in California, some locally enacted requirements such as for employees, are contingent on full approval.

    The Moderna vaccine is several weeks behind as data is still being reviewed.
  • Cases: While hospitalizations continue to increase (lagging indicator), new cases appear to be declining (current indicator). However, testing has also had a steep decline, so you can consider the data for what it is. I'm hoping that the decrease in cases is not just due to fewer tests. I surmise that the surge in testing is due to employer requirements as in-person work returned and, depending on the frequency required by employers, may either be a long term reduction or make the testing chart look like an inverted "W." (click chart for larger)
COVID cases by day COVID tests by day
Source: California Department of Public Health 

  • Positivity rate: The 7-day statewide positivity rate is 5.9% (-0.2% day-over-day), a 0.2% decrease from seven days ago. .

    In Sacramento County, it is 9.4% (-0.5% day-over-day), a 0.1% decrease from 7 days ago.

    In Los Angeles County, it is 3.6% (-0.1% day-over-day), a 0.1% decrease from a week ago.

  • School daze: For the SDUT, Paul Sisson and Kristen Taketa report that the rose-colored glasses view of students returning to campuses as normal has faded with the surge of the Delta variant.

    August 2021 was to be the start of the first post-pandemic school year, one in which masks, tests and symptom checks would be memories, not realities.

    But the Delta variant has turned those dreams inside out. As daily new-case totals have remained stubbornly over the 1,000 mark, hospitals have begun reporting workforce shortages, the result of running too long on adrenaline serving some who say that their work was an unnecessary response to an elaborate hoax.

    It is not the situation many envisioned in the spring when newly-available vaccines caused case rates to plummet and the world to reopen, but here we are. Today, 35 of the region’s 42 public school districts are back in session, and the remaining seven are scheduled to be at their desks by Aug. 30.

    For most of those who spoke at Tuesday’s raucous county Board of Supervisors meeting, there is no contagion fear. Anyone could see it right there on the T-shirt worn by an 11-year-old girl that said “your mask won’t save you.”

    But for others the decision to return to school is much more fraught.

  • Ventura County: In the Times, Rong-Gong Lin II reports that Ventura County has enacted a mask mandate for indoor public places regardless of vaccination status.

    Ventura County has ordered that people wear masks in indoor public settings regardless of vaccination status, a policy in effect for a majority of Californians.

    It is the fourth county in Southern California to adopt the mask order; Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and Imperial counties have also implemented them. So has much of the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento County, Santa Cruz County and a number of rural counties in Northern California.

    Los Angeles County was the first county in California — and among the first nationwide — this summer to reimpose a mask mandate in indoor public settings. L.A. County’s indoor mask order went into effect on July 17.

    At least 20 counties in California have ordered indoor mask mandates, affecting more than 21 million Californians, or at least 53% of the state’s population.

Despite a higher transmission/positivity rate (9.4% v. 3.6%) than Los Angeles County, Sacramento County let its public health order expire and follows the State Public Health Order, which is only a recommendation for face coverings indoors rather than a requirement. The only requirements statewide are for public transit, K-12 schools, healthcare settings, state and local correctional facilities and long-term care facilities.

I'm glad that my local market requires masks and I have no complaints while fully vaccinated. I'd love to here what those of you in Sacramento County are seeing at other markets.


Largest Active Fires
  County Cause Acres Consumed Containment Structures Destroyed Fatalities Personnel On Scene Updated
Dixie Fire Butte, Plumas, Lassen,
power lines suspected 721,298
0 5,891 08/22
Caldor Fire El Dorado under investigation 98,149
0% 328
  1,604 08/22
McFarland Fire Shasta under investigation 116,423
31    819 08/22
Monument Fire Trinity under investigation 147,323
(no change)
  1,715  08/22
French Fire Kern under investigation 13,341
not available not available not available 08/22
Source: Cal Fire

 -Caldor: In the Times, Alex Wigglesworth and Liam Dillon look at the outlook in the Caldor Fire burning in El Dorado County.

With another intense wildfire season now raging across the state, the still-young Caldor fire in El Dorado County has become one of the largest threats. The fire, now a week old, has destroyed 245 structures, including 81 more Friday night. As of Saturday afternoon, firefighters had yet to contain any of the spreading flames.

Fire officials said Saturday morning that high winds and the dissipation of an inversion layer that had created some moisture could lead to further growth of the fire and dangerous conditions for firefighters.

“We know that wind component’s out there, we know the potential for large fire spread is ramping up quickly this morning, and we’re going to continue to see that potential grow throughout the day,” said Capt. Thomas Shoots, a public information officer with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Authorities shut down a segment of Highway 50 and issued new evacuation orders Friday evening in anticipation of the weather. Nearly 30,000 people have been evacuated.

As of this morning, Highway 50 is still closed from Pollock Pines to Meyers.

-Kyburz: In the Chron, Michael Cabanatuan and Steve Rubenstein report that the tiny town of Kyburz, well known to those traveling to South Lake Tahoe is in the direct path of the Caldor Fire:

Gusty winds pushed the voracious Caldor Fire northeast Saturday afternoon toward the tiny town of Kyburz, sending flames across Highway 50 in El Dorado County.

“We are experiencing increased winds, which is causing significant fire activity,” said Keith Wade, a Sacramento Fire Department captain who was acting as a spokesperson on the Caldor Fire response. “There is definitely progression of the fire ... and the community of Kyburz is directly in its path.”

Kyburz has fewer than 200 residents and a relative handful of buildings, but it’s well known to Lake Tahoe visitors for its sign — “Welcome to Kyburz. Now Leaving Kyburz” — and its frequent use as a spot where drivers are required to pull over in snowstorms and put chains on their tires.

By Saturday afternoon, flames had crossed Highway 50 “at right about the Kyburz area,” said Incident Commander Dusty Martin during a community meeting. Martin said fire officials had “resources in the area and we are working this north side of Highway 50 pretty good right now.”

Martin said a smoke column laying over Highway 50 prevented aircraft from flying over the blaze on Saturday afternoon, but said a lot of fixed-wing aircraft have been able to drop fire retardant in other areas that saw experienced heightened fire activity.

-national forests: Ten national forests are closed in California at least through 11:59pm on September 6, meaning no Labor Day camping or public or private cabin/house rental in National Forest perimeters. This is to maintain firefighter access for active fire and mop-up operations as well as to prevent further fire starts.

They are:

  • El Dorado National Forest
  • Klamath National Forest
  • Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit
  • Lassen National Forest
  • Mendocino National Forest
  • Modoc National Forest
  • Plumas National Forest
  • Shasta-Trinity National Forest
  • Six Rivers National Forest
  • Tahoe National Forest

-climate change: In The Bee, Dale Kasler and Margo Rosenbaum look at the three signs of climate change in California -- wildfires, drought, and blackouts.

Most Californians probably didn’t need to read the recent doomsday report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to know that their lives are being upended already by climate change. Now they must fret about their electricity being shut off, their faucets running dry and their houses catching fire. If they needed further convincing, Northern Californians could simply step outside last week and smell the smoke from the Caldor Fire.

“It’s becoming something that’s really visceral, that you can taste. It’s not polar bears in 2050,” said Michael Wara, a Stanford University legal expert who has advised the Legislature on climate, wildfires and energy issues.

The events and their meaning have become impossible to ignore — not with smoke from the worst fires in the West having blanketed the air as far away as New England. The changes in the atmosphere — the incremental rise in average temperatures — are finally being recognized on the ground.

“It’s not like it’s suddenly become true this year, but it’s suddenly become apparent to people,” said Daniel Swain, a climatologist at UCLA. “It’s an increasingly big part of the picture as to why the drought is as severe as it is, why the fires are behaving as extremely as they are. … We’re realizing it in spades now.”

HOUSING: For CalMatters, Dan Walters looks at the prospects of the Legislature tackling housing legislation before the interim recess begins September 10.

The state has made multiple attempts to overcome NIMBYism, such as imposing residential zoning quotas on regions and cities. Recent versions contain some penalties for cities that ignore their quotas and the state sued one city, Huntington Beach, for ignoring its quota.

One of the state’s many anti-NIMBY actions is the Housing Accountability Act, first enacted in 1982 and later tightened up. It essentially bars local governments from arbitrarily blocking housing projects that are “consistent with objective local development standards.”

Citing the law, pro-housing organizations have been challenging local governments when they reject low- and moderate-income projects and two cases are looming as tests of the law’s efficacy.

One is in Huntington Beach, which rejected a 48-unit project. The California Renters Legal Advocacy and Education Fund (CaRLA) sued but a local judge ruled for the city, declaring that it had valid reasons, such as increased traffic, to deny a permit for the project.

CaRLA is also suing San Mateo, which imposed stringent design requirements on a 10-unit project that its developers said were onerous. Once again, a local judge ruled for the city and even questioned whether the Housing Accountability Act can be constitutionally applied to a charter city under the home rule doctrine.

Both cases are headed up the legal appeals chain and state Attorney General Rob Bonta is intervening in the San Mateo case to defend the law’s application.

That brings us back to the final weeks of the legislative session and two highly controversial anti-NIMBY measuresSenate Bill 9 is the latest effort by Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins to allow small multi-family projects on lots zoned for single-family homes, while SB 10 would allow local governments to approve up to 10 units of housing on any lot, regardless of current zoning, near transit.

Whether they pass or fail will tell us much about the direction of housing policy as California’s crisis continues.

cakeday and classifieds after the jump... 

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Sorry for the nags and I know it's irritating, but I also know you're seeing them from newspapers and other media properties in your email inbox during the advertising void.

With little new hiring or live events taking place, classifieds are down $200/week, or half my rent.

Help with rent, health insurance, the server, and newspaper subscriptions by subscribing or donating.

Hopefully this customary ad slot will be filled again soon!

CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Christina Coulson, Assemblymember Cristina Garcia, Mira Morton, Erika Ngo, Bismarck Obando, and Aaron Reed!


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]

CCST Expert Briefing: Toward a Disaster Resilient California: Building Grid Resilience

Join the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) on 0Wednesday, August 25th, 11:00am-12:00pm for our latest Virtual CCST Expert Briefing: Building Grid Resilience. A panel of experts including from Sandia National Laboratories, SLAC National Accelerator Lab, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, will discuss pathways for improving the resilience of the electrical grid to disasters, such as extreme weather events and other security threats. Moderated by Assemblymember Chris Holden, representative of California’s 41st Assembly district. RSVP here.

Sacramento Superior Court invites applications for Chief Administrative Officer

Under general direction of the Court Executive Officer, the Chief Administrative Officer oversees and directs essential administrative functions and services within the Court, including facilities, finance, human resources, and information technology. Candidates must have significant knowledge and experience in budgeting, accounting, human resources, information technology and facilities management. Additionally, candidates must possess leadership and managerial attributes which lend themselves to working in a collaborative and collegial environment with staff at all levels, including Judicial Officers.

[full description]

California Lawyers Association Executive Director (Sacramento)

California Lawyers Association (CLA) is soliciting applications for the position of Executive Director.

The Executive Director, based at CLA headquarters in Sacramento, is responsible to, advises and assists the CLA Board of Representatives which is responsible for Association policy, strategy, and oversight, as well as the CLA President. The Executive Director oversees CLA staff operations and is responsible for leading, managing and executing the affairs of the Association as directed by CLA’s leadership and implementing its policies to the overall benefit of the organization, its constituent entities and members.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • A J.D. degree;
  • Admitted to the State Bar of California or the bar of any state or the District of Columbia; and
  • At least seven years of experience in positions of increasing managerial and leadership responsibility;
CalTax Seeks a Research Analyst

The California Taxpayers Association (CalTax), the state's oldest and largest association representing California taxpayers, is seeking a Research Analyst to join our policy team. The ideal candidate is a self-starter, and should have a background in public policy analysis, strong written and verbal communication skills, and the ability to produce objective and thoughtful research and analysis. For details and information on how to apply, please go to

Children’s Council of San Francisco is seeking an experienced Public Policy Communications Associate

The Public Policy & Advocacy Team works on early care and education issues at the local, state and federal
levels, whether legislative or budgetary. The position is based in San Francisco, three days in office and two days remote.


  • In collaboration with our Public Policy Communications Director, you will advocate for the organization’s
    local, state, and federal priorities—engaging in multiple simultaneous advocacy campaigns.
  • Track notable legislation, assist with developing public comment and ensure we send notifications out to community
    members to ensure the community has an opportunity to respond.
  • Engage staff in advocacy via advocacy trainings and preparing bi-weekly staff advocacy updates
  • Meet with advocacy community organizations about our advocacy work, priorities &
    opportunities to collaborate
  • See full job description linked below for full responsibilities

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Two to four years of experience in public affairs, public policy, advocacy, community organizing, digital
  • advocacy or similar roles
  • Demonstrated ability to execute legislative and administrative advocacy and/or advocacy campaigns
  • Expected to attend evening and weekend meetings and travel to meetings and conferences (approximately
  • 15 – 25% of time, depending on the time of year)
  • Experience drafting policy update documents and emails
  • Ability to read, understand, and succinctly summarize policy or legislation to different audiences

Qualified candidates should apply here:

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: