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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.

  • Capitol Weekly Ppdcast (John Howard and Tim Foster) Inside the campaign to Recall Gov. Newsom with Anne Dunsmore (2021-09-07)
  • California State of Mind (CapRadio)Can California Continue to Grow the World’s Food Without Reliable Water? (2021-09-03)
  • Political Breakdown; (Scott Shafer and Marisa Lagos @ KQED): Dem recall cqndidate Kevin Paffrath (2021-09-02)
  • Capitol Weekly Podcast (John Hoard and Tim Foster): I join John and Tim to chat about the Top 100 (2021-08-30)
  • SacTown Talks (Jarhett Blonien): Rocklin council member Joe Patterson on housing (2021-08-27)


  • Capitol Seminars: Four Seminars Being Offered Over 2 Days (September 23-24)
  • McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific - MPA/MPP
  • McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific - Masters of Science in Law  


  • CA04 (Roseville-Foothills): added physician Kermit Jones (D) - challenge to McClimtock (D)
  • AD49 (West San Gaberiel Valley): rempved San Gabriel Water Disrict board member Thomas Wong (D) - he has endorsed Mike Fong (D)

The Nooner for Wednesday, September 8, 2021, presented by SYASL Partners

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Happy  Humpday! Well, sort of... continue to nurse my back, which has had me mostiy immobilized. So, I am mostly working from my couch, which actually causes the least pain (including comparing to my bed). This all happened because I tripped over a box with a headboard, which I purchased in January, when I didn't think of the two-person job. So I'm currently bruised, with a face the size of a basketball and a mostly swelled shut left eye. I don't really think my doctor could anything other than pain-killers, which try to provide.

I appreciate your patience! 

Fortunately, my lungs are behaving and there's more daytime baseball games today.

BILLS, BILLS, BILLS: With last night's del\adline for amending bills before Fridays final night of the legislative year, Chris Micheli looks at what is ahead.

What was done on the Floors today, Tuesday?

Senate Floor

                3 SBs were concurred in and sent to the Governor

                27 ABs were passed

                6 special consent items were passed

                1 bill passed on Senate 3rd Reading

                7 ABs were moved to the Inactive File

37 total items were acted on

Assembly Floor

                47 ABs were concurred in and sent to the Governor

                20 SBs were passed

                1 bill passed on Assembly 3rd Reading

                2 SBs moved to the Inactive File

                9 consent items were passed (5 Assembly and 4 Senate)

                6 SBs were amended

77 total items were acted on

What is on tap on the Floors for tomorrow, Wednesday?

Senate Floor – Meets Wednesday at 10am

                Senate 2nd Reading – 1

Assembly 2nd Reading – 20

                Concurrences – 25

                Senate 3rd Reading – 4

                Assembly 3rd Reading – 145

                Consent – 27

                Total Measures: 222

Assembly Floor – Meets Wednesday at 10am

                Concurrences – 39

                Assembly 3rd Reading – 2

                Senate 3rd Reading – 126

                Total Measures: 167

72-ho0r bills that can be voted on when their time comes up on Friday and Chris gives us a list. This is in the state constitution and can't be waived by a legislative vote. Article IV, Section 8(b)(2).

"HOT BIlLLS": Meanwhile, the CapRadio team shares the 5 bills they will be watching as the legislative year draws to an end on Friday.

Senate Bill 2: The most closely watched police reform bill in the wake of George Floyd’s killing and racial justice protests in 2020, Senate Bill 2 would create a process for law enforcement officers to lose their badges if convicted of crimes or some forms of misconduct. In certain circumstances, such as if an officer is convicted of wrongful death, the bill would remove immunity protections, which shield public employees from civil lawsuits. The measure has passed both chambers in the Legislature and as of Tuesday required only one more procedural vote before going to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk.

Assembly Bill 9: AB 9 would create a new state workforce to handle wildfire prevention responsibilities, including forest-thinning, prescribed burns and home-hardening. Right now, Cal Fire is largely responsible for handling prevention efforts — in addition to suppressing fires.

“Year after year, even though we have increased our firefighting force and resources, wildfire prevention work has had to take a back seat because our resources have been needed virtually full time to fight fires,” said Democratic Assemblyman Jim Wood, who authored the bill, in a statement.

Experts widely agree that decades of prioritizing fire suppression over forest management resulted in overgrown wildlands primed to burn out of control. To reverse this trend, they advocate for substantially ramping up forest-thinning and prescribed burning. California has entered into an agreement with the federal government to collectively treat 1 million acres of forestland per year — a target they remain well short of.

Senate Bill 742: Following a protest that caused a Los Angeles COVID-19 mass vaccination clinic to shut down earlier this year, pediatrician and state Sen. Richard Pan proposed SB 742. The bill would make it a misdemeanor to intimidate, harass or obstruct patients and workers leaving or entering a vaccine site, punishable by a fine up to $1,000 and six months in jail.

Senate Bill 98: This bill would affirm journalists’ right to attend and cover protests, rallies and other events, even in an area that has been closed by law enforcement. It would prevent police from detaining, arresting or citing news media for failing to disperse. It comes after several California journalists were detained at protests, particularly in Southern California, in 2020. 


  • Recall election key dates:
    • September 14: Election Day
    • October 22: Statement of vote

 full data

In-Person Voting: Yesterday, Paul Mitchell and Laurel Rosenhall joined the FiveThirtyEight Podcast to talk about the turnout in the recall election.

Yesterday the FiveThirtyEight Podcast cast its eye on California for a look at the early recall vote and polling, with me and CalMatters political reporter Laurel Rosenhall on the show.

You can check out the podcast here: or watch the video here: We are in the second half. Apologies in advance to any bad pollsters or fans of Applebee’s.

One topic on the show was if there would be a surprise in the later ballots to be cast.  As I mentioned in my Saturday email, our first look at the in-person voting will come today as we receive and process the votes cast in-person at the states thousands of vote centers that began over the weekend. One could suppose that if the Republican surge was to come, it would be seen in these first large-scale in-person opportunities.

From the data we received, we can drill into the early vote from this weekend in LA and Orange County to look for any differences between the in-person voting and those ballots received by mail. These are the kind of numbers we were expecting:

Los Angeles:

                Mailed Ballots: 63% Dem/15% Rep

                In Person: 40% Dem / 37% Rep

Orange County:

                Mailed Ballots: 41% Dem/35% Rep

                In Person: 19% Dem / 64% Rep

In LA, this shows that Democrats are outpacing Republicans in early vote by nearly 40-points, but the in-person shows that dropping to just 3-points.  In Orange County, Democrats lead in the mailed in ballots by 6-points, but in-person was dominated by Republicans, giving them a 45-point advantage among those voters.

What really is surprising then, given these percentages, is just how the turnout for this past weekend, including both mail-in and in-person votes statewide, really didn’t break for Republicans overall – it broke for Democrats.  And we saw a little bump up for Latinos (the yellow line).

  • The problem for Republicans: In the Times, Seema Mehta and Melanie Maaon write that, ahead of the recall election, Democrats are optimstic while Republicans are less so since there doesn't appear to be candidate who has been able to be a driving force for turnout. 

    ,As the recall charges into its final days, Democrats’ midsummer panic has given way to cautious confidence that Gov.

    The email from the Republican Party of Orange County came with an urgent warning about the California recall election targeting Gov. Gavin Newsom.

    “If we want to close the gap on the 8% Democrat turnout lead in Orange County we have to head into opening day of in-person voting strong!”

    What followed was an invitation and a battle plan, using a contentious method at the center of a long-running war between Democrats and Republicans in the state: ballot collection.

    “Help Recall Gavin Newsom by turning in your ballot ASAP!” said the call for voters to attend a GOP “Ballot Drop-Off Day” event, emphasizing that “all ballots will be properly signed for and delivered directly” to election officials.

    ’s outlook has brightened, aided by healthy turnout so far, a towering advantage in money and the emergence of an ideal foil: Larry Elder.

    A spate of polls showing a tightening race in July worked to Democrats’ advantage, as they marshaled their considerable institutional might in this deep-blue state to nudge their voters to the ballot box. But with seven days of voting to go, Newsom’s allies are working to ensure that promising signs for the governor do not lead to last-minute voter complacency.

    “Even though the polling looks better, we’re still very clear that you can’t take anything for granted,” said Steve Smith, spokesman for the California Labor Federation, among Newsom’s allies opposing the recall. “This last … push is where the campaign is won or lost. Absolutely we can’t take our foot off the pedal.”

    Recall proponents, meanwhile, are projecting an air of underdog scrappiness, noting their effort, underestimated from the start, managed to give Newsom some serious heartburn. The fact that Newsom continues to seek help from national Democrats, they said, is a sign that the governor’s worries have not abated.

  • The strategy of both parties: In the Times, Robin Estrin and Sarah Parvini look at the "sky is falling" messages coming from both parties and their allies. 

An email from the Republican Party of Orange County came with an urgent warning about the California recall election targeting Gov. Gavin Newsom.

“If we want to close the gap on the 8% Democrat turnout lead in Orange County we have to head into opening day of in-person voting strong!”

What followed was an invitation and a battle plan, using a contentious method at the center of a long-running war between Democrats and Republicans in the state: ballot collection.

“Help Recall Gavin Newsom by turning in your ballot ASAP!” said the call for voters to attend a GOP “Ballot Drop-Off Day” event, emphasizing that “all ballots will be properly signed for and delivered directly” to election officials.

Last year, ballot collection became a hotly debated issue as members of the GOP falsely accused Democrats of using it to help rig the election against President Trump and other Republicans in California. Now, during a potentially close recall election, both parties are downplaying their use of the method as a way to ensure voters return their mail ballots by the Sept. 14 deadline....

Recall supporters say that women like Rojas — fed up with school closures and job losses caused by the pandemic — played a huge role in getting the signatures necessary to launch their campaign. Their activism may reflect the pandemic’s uneven toll on women, who have been disproportionately burdened by unemployment, increased child care responsibilities and, among parents with kids at home, feelings of anxiety and depression. They were so instrumental in organizing the recall that one strategist came up with a special name for them: “Mad Moms.”

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


  • Vaxx stats: 
    • Californians fully vaccinated: 22,849,099 (67.3%% of 12+)
    • Californians partially vaccinated: 3,443,099 (10.1% of 12+)
    • full dagaCalifornians with no vaccine: 22.6% (of 12+)
    • Doses on hand: 5,802,823 (639days of inventory, does not account for doses reserved for current appointments)
    • full data, including demographic breakdown
  • Positivity rate: The 7-day statewide positivity rate is 4.5%, no change from 7 days ago.

    In Sacramento County, it is 7.4%, a 1.4% decrease from 7 days ago.

    In Los Angeles County, it is 2.8%, a 0.6% increase from 7 days ago.
  •  School daze: For CalMatters, Joe Hong reports on the proposal to allow more tolerance in funding fpr student under mandatory quarantine.

    State lawmakers are scrambling to craft a better solution for COVID-quarantined students — after schools and parents complained that recent changes to independent study laws were leaving them in the lurch.

    “Independent study has been a nightmare this year,” said Terri Rufert, superintendent at Sundale Union Elementary School District in Tulare. “This seems to help us a little bit.”

    The changes, proposed in the wake of a CalMatters report about problems applying independent study rules during quarantines, would relax those rules for students in short-term quarantine, and ensure that school districts can earn funding for students taking independent study while isolating at home.

    They are contained within Assembly Bill 167, which aims to “clean up” language in the education trailer bill passed in early July. Legislators have until Friday to pass this cleanup bill.


Largest Active Fires




Acres Consumed


Structures Destroyed


Personnel On Scene


Dixie Fire

Butte, Plumas, Lassen,

power lines







Caldor Fire

El Dorado

under investigation+9







Source: Cal Fire

September is still early: While the fires over the last month were largely kept out of the largest resort areas, the Chron's Michael Cabanatuan reports that Cal Fire is cautioning residents that there will likely be more in the coming months.

With the once-unstoppable Caldor Fire racing to the doorstep of South Lake Tahoe before it was steered away, and the Dixie Fire, the second largest in state history, still raging farther north, it’s been a hellish fire season in Northern California.

And it’s not over, Cal Fire Director Chief Thom Porter cautioned Tuesday morning.

“We are on a par with where we were last year,” he said during a briefing. “That’s sobering, that’s the new reality, that’s what we are looking at.”

Fires burned through roughly 2 million acres by this time in 2020, he said, on the way to a total of 4.2 million acres — the worst in the state’s long history of wildfires. So far this year, fires have again ripped through 2 million acres, with the devastation continuing.

“We could be in the same boat,” he said. “We’re right in the middle of wildfire peak season.”

 minimum wage, cakeday, and classifieds after the jump...

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 MINUMUM WAGE: In The Bee, Jeong Park looks at whether California's phased-in minimum wage to $15/hour goes far enough.

Conservatives call it a job killer. Liberals call it an anti-poverty measure.

However you describe it, a $15-an-hour minimum wage is coming to California. It will become a reality for the state’s bigger employers by next year.

California set out in 2016 to become the first state on a path to a $15-an-hour minimum wage, capping a major victory for unions and low-wage workers who began pushing for the law in 2012. The state’s minimum wage now stands at $13 or $14 an hour, depending on the size of the business.

The policy has gained traction across the country, with seven other states from Florida to Illinois raising their minimum wage to hit the $15 figure during the next several years. Prominent politicians and companies from President Joe Biden to Amazon have embraced it.

But years into California’s journey of gradual wage increases, the effectiveness of the policy remains an open question.

Feared extensive job losses did not materialize. Employers, facing worker shortages, are voluntarily boosting wages past $15 an hour.

On the other hand, the cost of living in California is skyrocketing, outpacing the income growth for many low-wage workers. A recent report from United Ways of California found that nearly one in three California households struggled to pay bills even before the pandemic.

CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez, Cathy Unger, and Jeremy B. White!



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Taught by 46-year Capitol veteran Ray LeBov and distinguished speakers Chris Micheli and Richard Stapler. Seminars: Regulatory Agency Advocacy, Media Strategies, Budget Advocacy, & “So You Think You Want To Sponsor A Bill”. Sessions are being held: Sept. 23rd: Regulatory ($175) and Media ($175). Sept. 24th: “So You Think You Want To Sponsor A Bill” ($225) and Budget ($175). *Discounts for multiple sessions. Seats are limited. Reservations: (916) 837-0208. Further information:

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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

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