This is the 12th annual edition 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.

My record in last year’s pool was poor. I didn’t see the pandemic coming, or much of anything else. I got Oscar best picture right, was correct that AirBnb would go public, and foresaw that both the Democratic nominee and President Trump would be claiming to have won the election right now. But that’s about it. I didn’t see the Lakers or Dodgers championships coming. I considered—but discarded—the prospect of a Vice President Kamala Harris.

Below are the 2021 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 December 2021, the president of the United States will be:
  1. In December 2021, California’s two U.S. Senators will be:
  1. The biggest California political story of 2021 will be:
  1. Which of the following people will actually be in the 2002 race for the California governor by Dec. 1, 2021? Select all who you think will be running.
  1. True or false: A recall of Gov. Gavin Newsom will qualify for the ballot during 2021.
  2. Gov. Newsom will get the most attention for:
  1. How many politicians will apologize publicly for eating at the French Laundry in 2021?
  1. True or False: Apple will have the largest market cap of any company in California at the end of 2020.
  2. How many Grammy awards will be won by California singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers?
  1. The Academy Award for Best Picture will go to:
  1. Which of California’s top dogs will lose their posts in 2020?
  1. At the end of 2020, the California High-Speed Rail Authority will
  1. Which of the following California teams will win championships in 2020?
  1. True or false: The majority of California public schools will fully reopen in the fall of 2021.



.ANSWERS: 1. A. (Biden). 2. D (Padilla and Bass in Senate). 3. C (attempted recall). 4. B, C, D, and E. (Newsom, Garza, Cox, and Faulconer will be running) 5. True (recall will qualify). 6. G (fighting attempted recall). 7. C. (two or more—it’s just too good!) 8. True. 9. C. (Bridgers wins 2 of 4 Grammy noms) 10. A (“First Cow” wins best picture). 11. B, C, and G (Lynn, Gruden and Uber CEO are all out) 12. C (reverted to previous business plan) 13. D and E. Clippers and LAFC win championships. 14. False. Schools won’t fully reopen til 2022.