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THE NOONER for July 13, 2011

DRAMARAMA: Sorry, Assemblymember Portantino, there is a better soap opera to follow, and we're not talking about the Real Housewives of Orange County. Ladies and Gentlemen, let's go to Long Beach and the often ignored California State University Board of Trustees. 

The drama wasn't over the fee increase, but rather the salary for el hefe de San Diego State University, Elliot Hirshman.  Chancellor Charlie Reed took to the board a $400,000 salary, with $50k of that coming from foundation funds.  No big deal, comparable pay for similar institutions, the head football head coach makes $675,000, yadda, yadda, yadda.  

In normal times, the whole thing wouldn't have been a big deal.  HOWEVER, this meeting was also the meeting where the Trustees added 12% to the 10% adopted fee increase for a total of 23% for the academic year.  And, the governor wanted to change the story from fees to, uh, something that had a little less to do with the budget he signed.

Brown, also a CSU Trustee, but not in attendance yesterday, sent a letter deploring the salary increase for the SDSU prez.  The letter stated "I fear your approach to compensation is setting a pattern for public service that we cannot afford."

Okay, so the Trustees were put in a miserable position.   From a national perspective, president of SDSU is a $400k job.  However, in Sacramento, we're back to Plymouths, no cell phones, and picnic tables.  So, give the finger to the "dream candidate" for your flagship campus, or give the finger to the governor whose got your pursestrings and authority to reappoint you, or not.

On a 12-to-3 vote, they voted to approve the salary, and acknowledged that they will face the governor's wrath after a stern warning from Lite Gov Gavin Newsom (who voted "no").  Obviously, the guv can't line-item veto the CSU system like he did CPEC, but it could make for some interesting political theatre.  Or, was that the political theatre to simply get the focus off the fee increase (which didn't work) and onto something else?

Speaking of compensation, how's this for a lede, from the LAT's Jack Dolan:

"The highest-paid state employee in California last year, a prison surgeon who took home $777,423, has a history of mental illness, was fired once for alleged incompetence and has not been allowed to treat an inmate for six years because medical supervisors don't trust his clinical skills."

How do I get one of those jobs?

Meanwhile, no breaking headlines out of CD36....Janice Hahn is going to Congress, defeating Tea Partier Craig Huey.  Huey invested more than $800k of his own money in the effort.  Now, the only question is whether Hahn and Laura Richardson will be put in the same district next year.  The new "visualizations" released today have them together, which could make for an interesting meeting after the swearing-in.

On that note, the Redistricting Commish is debating its latest visualizations, for which data was posted this morning.  Redistricting Partners has made the maps.

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New GOP Honcho Carly Fiorina Is "focused On 2012,'' But On Future Run For Office? "never Say Never" : Politics Blog - Carla Marinucci @ sfgate.com
Arguing that "the stakes are high, the goal is worthy," former U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina -- the new vice chair of the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee ...

Being drafted, but not for a second draft - Paul Mitchell @ aroundthecapitol.com
On Saturday the commission began discussing the complex task of creating maps for public review prior to each hearing. The hope was that they could stop posting maps because "that site" would get them out to the public quicker. By Sunday that discussion blossomed into a plan for the commission to release the data, and drafting Redistricting Partners and other third parties to create the PDFs, while the Statewide Database would host the GIS files.

CalSTRS: $7 Billion Reserve For $269 Million Tab - Ed Mendel @ calpensions.com
At a time when most public employee retirement funds have huge debts, a court decision has resulted in a $7 billion reserve for a CalSTRS inflation-protection account expected to spend $269 million this fiscal year.

Dan Walters: Two-thirds Vote Still Has A Role In The Legislature - Dan Walters @ sacbee.com
When voters passed a union-backed measure last year to reduce the legislative vote on the state budget from two-thirds to a simple majority -- thereby eliminating Republican leverage -- skeptics said it could foster legislative mischief.

From The Notebook: What's Up With Local Government Pensions? - Jon Ortiz @ blogs.sacbee.com
Here's a table that shows pension reworkings instituted or proposed in cities and counties around the Golden State as of July 4. CalPERS did the research.

CSU Tuition Now Twice 2007 Cost - Nanette Asimov @ sfgate.com
California State University trustees voted Tuesday to raise tuition by 12 percent this fall over the objections of protesters who said middle-class and undocumented students will be priced out of a college education.

Gays Gaining Ground In State Political District Boundary Talks - Lisa Vorderbrueggen @ insidebayarea.com
Advocates for gay and lesbian groups have petitioned the state's redistricting commission to preserve or expand the number of gay-friendly congressional or legislative districts. They are offering maps that show gay-friendly neighborhoods in areas from San Francisco to the Oakland hills to downtown San Jose. Commission members seem receptive.

Governor Approves Tougher Penalties In Child Prostitution Cases - latimesblogs.latimes.com
Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law steeper fines for adults who pay to engage in sex with minors, as well as a measure protecting the library patrons' information from public disclosure, his office said Tuesday. Under legislation by Assemblyman Sandre...

Cheap, Space-age Election: Register Online, Vote By Mail - Teri Sforza @ taxdollars.ocregister.com
A bill is working its way through Sacramento which would allow people to register to vote online. Under Senate Bill 397, citizens would supply their voter information online and the county elections office would use the voter's signature from the Department of Motor Vehicles to verify authenticity. It could save a bundle (more on that in a minute).

Community Colleges Get More Authority Over Student Senate, Cut Off Repeat Course-takers - Carla Rivera @ californiawatch.org
Under new policies approved this week by the California Community Colleges Board of Governors, the chancellor's office will get more authority over the student senate, and colleges won't get state funding anymore for students who repeat certain courses more than three times.

Follow The Money On Health Insurance Regulation? : Politics Blog - Marisa Lagos @ sfgate.com
Last week's committee approval of a controversial measure that would allow the state regulators to reject excessive health insurance rate increases was anything but certain -- and campaign...

Prison Doctor Gets Paid For Doing Little Or Nothing - Jack Dolan @ latimes.com
For six years Dr. Jeffrey Rohlfing has mostly been locked out of his job: on paid leave, fired or fighting his termination. When he does work, it's reviewing records. He made over $700,000 last year, including two years' back pay.

CSU Hikes Tuition, And Boosts A President's Salary By $100,000 - sacbee.com
Minutes after voting to raise student tuition by 12 percent for the fall, California State University trustees on Tuesday decided the salary for a new campus president should be $100,000 greater than his predecessor's.

Taking the Initiative - Steven Greenhut @ city-journal.org
A series of bills pending in California's state legislature would severely curtail the use of voters--initiatives and referenda--and have already sparked a long-overdue debate about the virtues of direct democracy. Advocates for reform make some valid points about the problems with the initiative process; it's certainly the case that legislators and special interests have found ways over the years to abuse it. But those flaws notwithstanding, the current proposals for reform should disturb anyone who wants to keep a check on the legislature's excesses.

CalSTRS Turned A 20% Profit In Fiscal 2010-11 - sacbee.com
CalSTRS, still trying to recover from the market crash of 2008, earned a 20 percent profit on its investments in the just-ended fiscal year.

Jerry Brown To Skip National Governors Association Meeting - David Siders @ blogs.sacbee.com
If signing the state budget left Gov. Jerry Brown time for other pursuits, hobnobbing with other governors is not among them. Brown will not travel to Salt Lake City for this weekend's annual meeting of the National Governors Association, his office said.

Two Charges Against State Senator Reinstated - Patrick McGreevy @ latimesblogs.latimes.com
An appeals court on Tuesday reinstated two felony counts in the voting-fraud case against state Sen. Roderick Wright (D-Inglewood). As a result, Wright once again faces all eight charges that were part of a grand jury indictment last September -- two counts of perjury, one count of filing a false declaration of candidacy and five counts of voting fraud. The indictment was issued after a lengthy investigation into whether Wright lied about where he lived when he ran successfully in 2008 for the 25th state Senate District.

Carly Fiorina Named Vice Chair Of GOP's Senate Campaign Arm - Torey Van Oot @ blogs.sacbee.com
Former U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina has been named a vice chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee for the 2012 campaign cycle.

Governor Signs Swanson's Child Exploitation Law - Local @ insidebayarea.com
Fines against "johns" who pay for sex with minors will now range up to $25,000 under an East Bay legislator's bill signed into law Tuesday by Gov. Jerry Brown.

UC Berkeley Student Senator Arrested In Immigration Rally - mercurynews.com
A UC Berkeley student senator and six other illegal immigrant students were arrested in San Bernardino on Tuesday after they blocked a city street during an immigration rally, according to police and fellow protesters.

CSU approves big pay raise for San Diego president - pe.com
California State University has approved a significant pay increase for the president of San Diego State University despite opposition from students and Gov. Jerry Brown.

Obama Campaign's Staggering Haul: $86 Million Raised For Re-election - Tom Hamburger @ latimes.com
President Obama 's vast campaign operation raked in $86 million for his re-election and for the Democratic party during the last three months, breaking previous records with a total far greater than that posted by his Republican opponents for  the 2012 election.