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THE NOONER for June 23, 2011

Quick budget update...I usually write The Nooner before heading to the gym in the morning, but the Senate GOP just had a presser on the budget.  No big surprises, and nothing that makes the "way out" clear.

GOP says there are votes to put the tax extensions on the ballot, only if:

  • no "bridge taxes"
  • pension reform, spending cap must be separate items included on the ballot

That would be "No Deal," Howie.  Back to my pre-workout ramble.

And then there were bills...

While most of the Capitol focus has been on the budget, John Chiang and Plan B, policy committees are tackling some weighty legislative issues this week.  Senate Budget Chair Mark Leno stated yesterday to expect a budget vote next week, although everyone seems stuck on the $5 billion problem.  

Perhaps the most interesting legislative fight is over AB 46, the disincorporation of the 100-resident City of Vernon, authored by Assembly Speaker John Perez.  The bill passed the Senate Governance and Finance Committee yesterday on a 6-3 vote.

I know nothing about the city of Vernon and don't have a particular perspective on the bill. However, I know a good political fight and lucrative lobbying opportunity when I see one.  

Supporters of the bill include the City of Los Angeles, lots of mayors, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, Common Cause, Communications Workers of America, and Service Employees International Union.  Sounds like a solid Dem bill that'll sail through, right? 

 Not so simple. Opponents of the bill include the California Labor Federation, League of California Cities, the Teamsters, the State Building and Construction Trades and, uh, lots of meatpackers.

Vernon spent $566,884 on lobbying related expenses in the FIRST QUARTER alone, with most going to Lathem & Watkins and Nielsen Merksamer, and smaller contracts with Capitol Advocacy, Joe Gonsalves, and KP Public Affairs.  I almost can't wait for next month's second quarter report.  That's $5,670 per resident, or the equivalent of my city of Davis spending $372 million defending its existence--in one quarter.

Meanwhile, the vigils continue for SB 104, the farmworker card check bill.  Author and Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg sent to the governor minutes after the budget veto, and will be speaking to the vigil attendees today. Steinberg is also fasting today, which is something all legislators might be doing next month.  The governor has until Tuesday to act, and you have to imagine the tie between the bill and the budget continues...

Speaking of the budget standoff, legislators aren't the only ones hurting.  An unlikely casualty are test-only smog shops.  In May, the Legislature passed and the governor signed SB 94, which lifted the normal 60-day notice the DMV sends car owners for registration.  The hope was that there would be a deal on the "bridge" taxes until an election, and SB 94 ensured that DMV didn't send out renewal notices for lower VLFs for around 4 million owners who renew in July and August.  

Anyway, about half of these 4 million registrants would ordinarily be visiting smog check shops leading up to the renewal but haven't gotten the reminder.  Thus, the shops are angry, cash-strapped, and fearful of the crush of customers once the DMV returns to sending out renewal notices after the VLF falls on July 1.  Read more perspectives on the comments on SB 94 on aroundthecapitol.

Fortunately, I drive a Prius, so while my yellow stickers are defunct next week, at least I won't be waiting in line for a smog.

By popular demand, the Nooner is now being archived at: http://www.aroundthecapitol.com/nooner/

eureka!, how to do you rank the headlines du jour?



 

Bill To Ban Event Tickets, Other Gifts To Lawmakers Gets New Life - Torey Van Oot @ blogs.sacbee.com
Two legislators are reviving a failed attempt to ban corporations and interest groups from showering elected officials with tickets to expensive events and other pricey gifts.

Capitol Journal: Bad Policy, But It May Work - George Skelton @ latimes.com
California Controller John Chiang ventures into new territory in cutting off lawmakers' pay.

Former CCPOA President Don Novey Files Bankruptcy - Jon Ortiz @ blogs.sacbee.com
Don Novey, the former head of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, has filed for bankruptcy in Sacramento's federal court. A May 17 court filing (see the link below) provides a window into the life of the former military intelligence officer and amateur boxer who has been credited with building one of the most powerful labor organizations in California. It also hints at what happened after CCPOA and Novey split amid accusations he had breeched his consulting contract with the union.

Memo To Redistricting Commissioners: Beware Of Those Who Protest Too Much! - Allan Hoffenblum @ foxandhoundsdaily.com
On July 10, the Citizens Redistricting Commission released their first draft of the newly drawn lines for congressional, state legislative and Board of Equalizations districts. Not surprisingly, several incumbents weren't too please, particularly those who found themselves located in a new district where one or more fellow incumbents also resided or, in the extreme, no district to run in at all.

California Budget Talks Head Down Twin Paths - Kevin Yamamura @ sacbee.com
Gov. Jerry Brown's budget plan has eight days of shelf life left.

The All Powerful Controller - Joel Fox @ foxandhoundsdaily.com
Congressman Tom McClintock ran for the state controller's job twice when he served in the California legislature. Both times the vote count went past election night to discover he had lost. The reason he wanted to gain the controller's office, McClintock once told me, was that he believed there was a lot of power in the office that wasn't being utilized to direct the fortunes of the state budget.

Public Records Act Requires Disclosure Of County Retiree Pension Information - Jen Faught @ publicceo.com
By now, most local government officials and employees know that their names and associated salary and benefit information are generally considered a matter of public record under the California Public Records Act ("Act"). Back in 2007, the California Supreme Court ruled that disclosure of individual salary information did not violate the constitutional right to privacy. (International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers Local 21 AFL CIO v. Superior Court (2007) 42 Cal.4th 319.) Citing a strong public policy in favor of government transparency and the ability of the public to monitor government spending, the Court held that public employees did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their salaries. Only in certain specific situations, such as when an employee's personal safety requires anonymity, can public agencies prevent the disclosure of employee salary information.

After Late Intrigue, Walmart Bill Narrowly Advances - Michael Gardner @ signonsandiego.com
San Diego-inspired legislation that would require superstores to prepare detailed economic analyses before projects can be approved barely escaped the Assembly Local Government Committee Wednesday.

California budget cuts slash monitoring of gang parolees - Sam Stanton @ sacbee.com
While state prison officials plan to move tens of thousands of inmates to county jails in a highly publicized budget move, they began another money-saving effort last month: removing GPS tracking devices from hundreds of paroled gang members.

CA Lawmakers Feel Financial Loss For Late Budget - JUDY LIN, Associated Press @ signonsandiego.com
Few tears are being shed for California lawmakers. The man who cuts the state's paychecks decided to enforce a law this week that all 120 members of the Legislature will not be paid their salaries until they balance the state's annual spending plan by closing its $9.6 billion budget deficit.

Census: Same-sex Households Grow Across U.S. - Bloomberg - bloomberg.com
The number of households headed by gays and lesbians in California grew six times faster than those of opposite-sex spouses between 2000 and 2010, a decade when the state was shaken by battles over same-sex marriage.

Election 2012: On the trail of the incumbents - John Howard @ capitolweekly.net
Never has a California election cycle pitted more incumbent politicians against each other than in the 2012 districts drafted by an independent commission. But after all the bloodletting, the musical chairs, the unprecedented confrontation and the new faces, will the final partisan makeup reflect a sea-change in California politics?

Controller Becomes Deputy To New Sheriff In Town - Fred Silva @ foxandhoundsdaily.com
That LAO commentary often deals with identifying "threats" to fiscal health - sometimes through the courts - and the ability of the administration to achieve savings in the adopted budget.

California GOP Lawmakers Endorse Mitt Romney - ibabuzz.com
By Josh Richman Thursday, June 23rd, 2011 at 8:49 am in 2012 presidential election, Assembly, California State Senate, Mitt Romney, U.S. House.