California Office Pool 2013

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

This marks the fourth annual version of the California Office Pool. It was inspired by the late, great New York Times columnist William Safire, who made a habit of writing a year-end column he called Office Pool. In it, Safire offered, multiple-choice style, a series of possible news events that could take place in the year ahead. At the column’s end, he let you know which ones he thought would occur.

Safire’s focus was Washington; ours is California. My picks are at the end. In last year’s office pool, I correctly predicted the success of Tom Steyer’s Prop 39 and that Dan Walters would become addicted to Twitter (more than 900 Tweets this year, as of this writing). But I was wrong on just about everything else.

So my New Year’s resolution is to do better this time.

Be sure to make your predictions, and clip n’ save (or bookmark and save) so we can see how we did at the end of 2013.

1. In its November 2013 budget projection for the 2014-2015 budget year, the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office will project:

A. That the budget will have a small surplus.
B. That the budget will be in deficit of somewhere between $100 million and $2 billion
C. That the budget will be in deficit of between $2 billion and $5 billion
D. That the budget will be in deficit of greater than $5 billion
E. The LAO will give up and acknowledge that projections are pointless.

2. The biggest California political story of 2013 will be:

A. A personal scandal that takes down one of the down-ticket executive officers.
B. A massive earthquake or other natural disaster.
C. Jerry Brown’s surprise decision not to run for re-election.
D. More bankruptcy filings by several California local governments.
E. A string of high-profile crimes by prisoners released under realignment.
F. The Democrats raising multiple taxes.

3. At the end of 2013, Antonio Villaraigosa will be:

A. U.S. Secretary of Transportation
B. Married
C. Running for governor
D. Working for Univision
E. Unemployed

4. At the conclusion of 2013, Gov. Jerry Brown’s approval rating in the most recent Field Poll will be:

A. Above 60 percent
B. In the 50s
C. In the 40s
D. In the 30s
E. Below 30 percent

5. The Academy Award for Best Picture will go to:

A. Ben Affleck’s hostage-rescue tale Argo
B. The collectively made Katrina-rescue fable Beasts of the Southern Wild
C. Bradley Cooper’s dramedy Silver Linings Playbook
D. Kathryn Bigelow’s Osama-hunt thriller Zero Dark Thirty
E. San Fernando Valley auteur P.T. Andersen’s brilliant, incomprehensible The Master
F. Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln

6. The number of current Republican officeholders who, by late December 2013, will be announced candidates for California governor

A. 0
B. 1
C. 2
D. 3 or more

7. One pro sports team to bring home a championship will be:

A. The San Francisco Giants, who take their third title in four seasons
B. The Los Angeles Dodgers, who depend on Clayton Kershaw and Chicago insurance money to deliver their first championship in 25 years.
C. The LA Clippers, who win their first title and trail the Lakers only by 15.
D. The LA Lakers, who are saved by the return of Steve Nash.
E. The San Francisco 49ers, who survive quarterback controversy to take the Super Bowl.

8. By late December 2013, Gov. Jerry Brown will face how many serious challengers from his own party for governor:

A. 0
B. 1
C. More than 2.

9. In 2013, which USC Trojan will leave their job?

A. Lane Kiffin, USC football coach
B. Mohammed Morsi (who has a PhD from USC), president of Egypt
C. Hilda Solis (who has an MPA from USC), U.S. Secretary of Labor

10. In 2013, the state unemployment rate will:

A. Hold steady around 10 percent, as modest growth in jobs is matched by modest growth in people looking for work
B. Increase to 11 percent as the country goes over the fiscal cliff, housing falters, and the inland state’s economic problems deepen.
C. Drops to below 9 percent as tourism and trade and housing rebound

11. In 2013, the Munger family will make news…

A. when Charlie Munger Jr. announces he will run for governor in 2014.
B. when Molly Munger begins work on an initiative to provide more money to school districts in 2014.
C. when the Munger half-siblings announce they are teaming up on a bipartisan effort to provide more funds for California schools.
D. by not saying a thing or spending one dime on politics.

12. Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will shock the world by:

A. Announcing he is Khloe Kardashian’s father.
B. Starring in a serious post World War II drama about the Marshall Plan.
C. Declaring that his new full-time profession is painter.
D. Re-marrying
E. Moving to Denver.

My answers: 1. C (deficit of between $2 and $5 billion). 2. B (natural disaster) 3. A (Antonio as Transportation Secretary). 4. C (Brown in the 40s) 5. E (The Master takes the Oscar). 6. D (3 or more Republican candidates) 7. E (49ers win Super Bowl). 8. B (1 Democratic challenger). 9. A and B (Kiffin and Morsi out) 10. A (unemployment holds steady). 11. B (Molly tries again). 12. C (Arnold the painter)

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