This marks the sixth 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 an annual column he called Office Pool. In it, Safire offered, multiple-choice style, a series of possible news events that could take place in the new year. 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.

Last year, my record was mixed. I was too bullish on Twitter, Apple and Facebook – and not bullish enough on Apple. I was right about the state’s budget surplus being small (less than $5 billion annually), unemployment, Jerry Brown’s big margin of victory, the failure of the Republicans to elect any statewide officials, and the Oscar for best picture. But I was wrong in thinking that Ron Calderon could stay in the legislature. I was right in predicting that a California team would win hockey’s Stanley Cup, but wrong about the team. (I picked the San Jose sharks and the L.A. Kings won). And as for biggest political story, the health care ballot on the battle was big – but I never guessed we’d see anything like Shrimp Boy and Leland Yee.

Below are the 2015 questions. 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 next year.

1. In its November 2015 budget projection for the 2015-2016 budget year, the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office will project:
A. That budget surpluses have soared to more than $5 billion a year going forward.
B. that budget surpluses are projected to remain between $1 and $3 billion a year, as the LAO did in 2014.
C. That the budget is balanced but there is no surplus
D. That the budget will be back in deficit for 2016-17

2. The biggest California political story of 2015 will be:
A. Persistent rumors that Jerry Brown will run for president in 2016
B. An earthquake or other natural disaster
C. Oil battles over banning fracking and taxing gas.
D. The retirement of Barbara Boxer

3. True or False: Uber will become a public company in 2015.

4. True or false: The combined market cap of Google and Facebook will be greater than that of Apple by December 2015.

5. Which of the following people will be clearly running for Barbara Boxer’s US Senate seat on Dec 31, 2015? (choose as many as you like)
A. Barbara Boxer
B. Tom Steyer
C. Antonio Villaraigosa
D. Kamala Harris
E. Gavin Newsom
F. Loretta Sanchez
G. Condi Rice
H. John Chiang

6. The Academy Award for Best Picture will go to:
A. Richard Linklater’s 12-year study of growing up, Boyhood
B. Alejandro González Iñárritu’s backstage comedy Birdman
C. Ava Duvernay’s civil rights drama Selma
D. Morten Tyldum’s The Imitation Game
E. Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel

7. Which embattled California leader will be the first to lose a post in 2015?
A. Sony Pictures’ Amy Pascal
B. State Senate Pro Tem Kevin De Leon
C. Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly

8. At the end of 2015, California’s high-speed rail project will be…
A. Dead as it loses support from more previous backers.
B. Going strong, with construction underway and legal and court barriers mostly resolved.
C. Stalled in the courts.

9. One California pro sports team to bring home a championship will be:
A. The Los Angeles Dodgers, as Clayton Kershaw and Yasiel Puig take down the Tigers in the World Series
B. The LA Clippers, who beat the Bulls to win their first title
C. The San Francisco Giants, who finally win in an odd-numbered year.
D. The Golden State Warriors, who shoot down the Wizards on their way to an NBA title
E. The Anaheim Ducks, who move the Stanley Cup 30 miles south from L.A.

10. By the end of 2015, the state unemployment rate will:
A. Hold steady around 7 percent, as modest growth in jobs is matched by modest growth in people looking for work
B. Increase above 8 percent
C. Drop below 6 percent, as construction rebounds and government resumes hiring.

11. The number of tax-raising ballot initiatives that will have qualified for the November 2016 ballot by the end of 2015 will be:
A. 0
B. 1
C. 2
D. 3 or more

12. As 2014 ended, the average price of a gallon of gas in California had fallen to $2.68. At the end of 2015, that average price will be…
A. Even lower
B. Steady at less than $3.
C. Above $3 per gallon, but less than $4.
D. $4 a gallon or higher

13. Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will shock the world by:
A. Preparing to run for U.S. Senate in 2016
B. Announcing his retirement from film.
C. Re-registering as an independent.
D. Announcing he’s a vegetarian
E. Smoking marijuana in an ad for legalization.
F. Re-marrying.



Predictions. 1. A. (surplus starts to look obscene) 2. B (natural disaster) 3. True (Uber goes public) 4. False (Apple will still be bigger) 5. F (Loretta Sanchez) and H (John Chiang) 6. B (Birdman is best picture) 7. A (Pascal) 8. B (HSR going strong) 9. A (Dodgers win!) 10. A (steady unemployment) 11. B 1 tax initiative) 12. C (between $3 and $4) 13. D (the Vegetarianator).