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THE NOONER for July 22, 2011

We shall worship at the feet of the political gods for the redistricting commission.

Without it, we would be chilling out on the river this summer recess with no legislative and political thoughts moving through our heads. But, instead, we have a wonderful soap opera as next year shapes up to be one of the most interesting election cycles of our lifetimes. 

EASY AS...1-2-3: The commission yesterday appeared to ignore its lawyer (not generally a smart move) and refused to number Senate districts north-to-south, because apparently the following provision of Proposition 11 is a bit ambiguous: "Districts for the Senate, Assembly, and State Board of Equalization shall be numbered consecutively commencing at the northern boundary of the State and ending at the southern boundary."

The PE's Jim Miller writes:  "But commissioners said failing to address the issue risks a public outcry.

"'Disenfranchising a whole bunch of voters would undo a lot of the good we've done,' said commissioner Cynthia Dai, a San Francisco Democrat.

Really?  A public outcry?  I know my senator, Lois Wolk, personally and professionally.  Her husband was a law professor when I was at Davis.  Her son is a friend and on the Davis City Council.  Hell, my wife was working as Lois's intern when I first met her in 1996.  However, I can't remember when Lois is up for reelection let alone most senators, and neither can most voters.  We can shelve this "outcry" stuff...

But, I do like being in the district called "WINE" by the commission.

Miller continues: "The panel put off a numbering decision until this weekend. Final draft plans will be released by Aug. 1, with the commission scheduled to ratify them Aug. 15."

The commission is also lawyering up.

Anyway, Paul Mitchell and team put the preliminary staff recommendations into politicalspeak, and has fun with one of the numbering consquences in today's Redistricting Report:

But the oddest potential numbering is for the 8th, home of current Senator and SF Mayoral candidate Leland Yee. When he wins that mayoral race he would vacate the 8th district – with a special election to select his replacement. The voters in that election would be those from his current district – not the new lines. However, based on the numbering, that district could pop up in East Los Angeles, Riverside or the Sierra Foothills.

This means that Yee could retire, leaving Fiona Ma to be elected to that seat by the SF and San Mateo voters. She could hold it for two years, then, in 2014, hand over the keys to her successor, Ricardo Lara??

This is exactly what the voters asked for.

ALL IN THE FAMILY: The Bee's Jim Sanders writes: "Ted and Beth Gaines, the Legislature's only married couple, find themselves in an odd predicament from the latest draft maps by California's independent redistricting commission.

"Beth's Assembly career apparently would benefit by her continuing to live in the couple's Roseville home, but Ted's Senate career could be in jeopardy unless he pulls up stakes and moves."

Speaking of break-ups, there's the sad story of Arnold and Maria.  Arnold still seems to enjoy headlines, including that he doesn't want to pay spousal support.

Finally, some good news for you Frappucino fans...  The LAT's Shane Goldmacher tweets "New Starbucks under construction at 12th and L, across from Capitol."

Of course, real Capitol denizens will continue to worship at the Temple.

WEEKEND WEATHER AROUNDTHECAPITOL: 94/59, 92/59, 94/59

eureka, what are the peeps reading at high noon?



Dan Walters: Why Raise Taxes When Officials Squander Our Money? - sacbee.com
Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic legislators failed in their bid to put billions of dollars in tax extensions on the ballot, not only because they couldn't persuade a few Republicans to go along, but because Democrats' union allies feared that voters would reject the taxes.

California: Redistricting Panel Weighs How To Number Senate Districts - JIM MILLER @ pe.com
SACRAMENTO - In its months of work to redraw the state's political map, California's independent redistricting panel has studiously ignored the current boundaries crafted by politicians a decade ago.

Sacramento-area Redevelopment Agencies Likely To Pay State To Stay In Business - sacbee.com
They aren't happy about it, but officials of Sacramento-area redevelopment agencies that must dissolve by Oct. 1 or pay to stay in operation say they're likely to fork over millions of dollars to the state.

California Voters See Some Bright Spots In Grim Budget - Evan Halper @ latimes.com
Nearly half think the process went more smoothly this year, and the increase in the car tax wins strong support. Threatened education cuts are decried.

GOP Presidential Candidate Jon Huntsman's New Campaign Manager Matt David Ready To "Continue Building Momentum" - Carla Marinucci @ sfgate.com
Matt David , the former communications director for California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, is taking on a high-profile, high pressure new national assignment -- as campaign manager...

Judge Rules Against SEIU In California Fight - washingtonpost.com
A judge ruled this week that the Service Employees International Union improperly coerced workers caught in the middle of SEIU’s high-stakes turf battle with a breakaway union in California, potentially invalidating a 2010 election involving 43,500 employees.

Effort Launched To Kill New Law Touting Gay, Lesbian Contributions - Jim Sanders @ blogs.sacbee.com
A Sacramento-based advocacy group has filed referendum papers seeking to let voters decide the fate of a new California law requiring public schools to teach about societal contributions made by gay and lesbian people.

GOP Hopefuls Knock Obama, Fundraise In California - Carla Marinucci @ sfgate.com
After months of campaigning in Iowa cornfields, sampling South Carolina barbecue and courting "Live Free or Die" New Hampshire voters, Republican presidential candidates landed in California this week - and for a change...

Schwarzenegger Doesn't Want To Pay Shriver Support - ANTHONY McCARTNEY @ sacbee.com
Arnold Schwarzenegger indicated in a court filing that he does not want to pay wife Maria Shriver spousal support or attorney fees as the couple ends their 25-year marriage.

Voters OK With Ending Redevelopment Funds, Poll Shows - Evan Halper @ latimesblogs.latimes.com
Big-city mayors and other local leaders have said that the state’s plan to take funds away from redevelopment agencies will cost jobs and hurt the economy. But those protests don’t appear to be resonating with voters, a new poll shows.

Two Big Law Firms Poised To Defend New District Maps - blogs.sacbee.com
The commission that's redrawing California's congressional, legislative and Board of Equalization districts is poised to hire two of the state's most prominent law firms to defend its maps against almost certain legal challenges.

Measuring Political Donations - Joel Fox @ foxandhoundsdaily.com
You have to wonder at the attention the American Lung Association sponsored study on tobacco company contributions to California politics got in the press. There was no surprise that tobacco companies donate to protect their interests just as unions do, just as Indian tribes do and just as other interests do. However, only in rare cases in the stories was the tobacco spending put in perspective.

Conservative Groups Want To Repeal Law On Teaching Contributions Of Gays - latimesblogs.latimes.com
A referendum drive has been proposed to repeal a recently signed state law requiring California schools to teach about the contributions to history of gay, lesbian and transgender Americans. A coalition of conservative groups announced Thursday that it has filed...

Sacramento Region's Housing Growth Hits Lowest Point In Four Decades - sacbee.com
During the housing boom, the Sacramento region's local governments sometimes issued 2,500 residential building permits during a single month.

The Associated Press: Schwarzenegger Doesn't Want To Pay Shriver Support - google.com
The dispute may have little impact on the divorce, since the former Hollywood couple is expected to reach a confidential, out-of-court settlement.

Villaraigosa Pleads With D.C. Lawmakers For Transportation Funds - Richard Simon @ latimes.com
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa warned that federal transportation funding cuts would deal a "devastating blow" to local projects and the nation's economic recovery.

Redevelopment Supporters Blast Legislators - Karen Robes Meeks @ presstelegram.com
Local leaders slammed state Sen. Alan Lowenthal, Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal and other area legislators Thursday for supporting two budget bills that would eliminate the state's 400 redevelopment agencies, including Long Beach's, by Oct. 1.

Cartoonist Tom Meyer's Take On Amazon's Tax Referendum - Micaela Massimino @ blogs.sacbee.com
The Bee occasionally publishes the work of cartoonist Tom Meyer on the editorial page. Amazon's push to overturn California's new online tax collection law caught his attention this week.

Medical Marijuana Advocates Appeal Feds’ Ruling - Josh Richman @ ibabuzz.com
Medical marijuana advocates asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia today to overturn the Drug Enforcement Administration’s decision to keep the cannabis on its list of most-restricted drugs.

"Birther Summit" Planned For Washington, D.C. - totalbuzz.ocregister.com
If you were worried that allegations of President Barack Obama‘s foreign birth were fading into obscurity, you’ll be heartened to hear that a “Birther Summit” has been planned for March in Washington, D.C.

California Will Borrow $5 Billion From Banks To Bypass U.S. Debt Drama - latimesblogs.latimes.com
California will seek $5 billion in short-term loans from banks and other financial institutions next week, hoping to avoid the risk of being locked out of the markets if Congress fails to raise the federal debt ceiling by Aug. 2....

Phil Angelides: On The Anniversary Of Dodd-frank: Wall Street Fights Back And American Families Fight To Survive - Phil Angelides @ huffingtonpost.com
Three years ago this summer, the flood tide of Wall Street recklessness began to overtop the weakened levees of restraint erected decades ago to protect our nation from financial disaster. By the fall of 2008, the economy was drowning in a sea of recession, with businesses shuttered and struggling, millions of people tossed out of their homes and their jobs, and the hopes and aspirations of millions more crushed beneath the weight of the financial floodwaters.

Prison Officials: Hunger Strike Is Over - latimesblogs.latimes.com
Dozens of inmates at California's highest security prison have ended a hunger strike that began on July 1, according to a statement released Thursday morning by Corrections Secretary Matthew Cate. The prisoners, whose demands included an end to a policy...