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THE NOONER for July 25, 2011

Personally, I was watching Food Network Star, but apparently the redistricting commish worked late into the evening last night to finalize its map drawing.  There weren't dramatic changes from the maps that we have seen over the last couple of weeks, although several commissioners broke into tears over Los Angeles-area congressional districts.  The commission plans a Friday vote on the final maps, followed by a 1pm press conference.

Loretta Sanchez and Dana Rohrabacher emerged as winners, as they ended up with their own districts instead of a possible face-off with each other, or between the Surfing Congressman and John Campbell.  Loretta's sister Linda--not so much.  Elton Gallegly and David Drier appear as the biggest losers, with the former in a district with powerhouse Buck McKeon and with the latter stuck in a Dem district, and surrounded by Dem districts, with no place to go.  

The three African American congressional seats in Los Angeles (Bass, Richardson, and Waters) survived, as did Janice Hahn's new district.  However, this is seen as a loss for a shot at one or more additional Latino seats.

From a state Capitol perspective, Dems have a strong shot at two-thirds votes in both houses next year and the demographics will only get worse for Republicans.  Former Republican leader and political mastermind Jim Brulte, who found a way to play defense in the 2001 redistricting but then supported Proposition 11, has got to be pissed.

The smart folks (Mitchell, Rexroad) are still re-mapping all the changes, and it'll be awhile to find out which state legislators might have to move by November 5 to stay in their seat and run next year.  It looks like Betsy Butler (D-Marina del Rey) has been drawn into the African-American Assembly seat currently held by Steven Bradford.

At this point, observers fully expect a legal challenge (federal) and/or referendum (state), and lots of people have strong cases.  However, in the end, it'll be less about Democrats vs. Republicans and more about Asians vs. Latinos and Blacks vs. Latinos.

Meanwhile, we have fights in the 95814:

SKELTON: However we vote, Amazon loses 
Gist: only winners in the fight over the Amazon tax are political consultants

WALTERS:  Higher fees are the epitome of fairness
Gist: Californians, you got your tax cuts, now pay for what you use 

On the legislative front, the governor is taking him time acting on the 100-or-so bills on his desk.  However, he'll be at Los Angeles City College today at a rally for the Dream Act, and is expected to sign AB 130 (Cedillo), which would allow public colleges and universities to provide privately funded scholarships to certain undocumented students.



Ballot Initiative Reform Heads Toward Governor - Will Evans @ californiawatch.org
One hundred years after California adopted the ballot initiative process, legislation to reform it is steadily making its way through the state Legislature. Reform proponents hope they have a new opportunity to change the process with Gov. Jerry Brown, after previous efforts were vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Senate Leader Shelving Local Tax Measure Until 2012 - Shane Goldmacher @ latimesblogs.latimes.com
The top Democrat in the state Senate said he is shelving until 2012 one of the year’s most explosive legislative gambits: a proposed law to grant cities, counties and more than 1,000 school districts broad new taxing authority.

Californians Want To Allow Local Taxes On Cigarettes, Other Products - Shane Goldmacher @ latimes.com
Nearly 60% of those polled — spanning all age groups and every region of the state — support a change in law to allow voters to approve local taxes on cigarettes, sugary drinks, liquor and oil pumped from the ground.

Will Ballot Measures Test Vested Pension Rights? - Ed Mendel @ calpensions.com
The Little Hoover Commission said the courts have held that public employees have a vested right under contract law to the pension benefits offered on their first day on the job, even if it takes five years of work to qualify for them.

There's No Crying in Redistricting! - Paul Mitchell @ aroundthecapitol.com
When the commission failed to release the second draft observers recognized they were doing so to avoid some welling up confrontation – with the largest battle one over the drawing of LA Congressional districts. The African American community has diminished in that region, and the grand compromise to give them three seats in 2001 was being threatened by a commission process that could use a more literal reading of the Voting Rights Act to eliminate one or two African American-held seats.

California redistricting: Minority representation presents a challenge for redistricting commission - Jean Merl @ latimes.com
As the California Citizens Redistricting Commission hurtles toward the deadline for finishing its task, which was formerly done by the Legislature, it has heard plenty from individuals and civic and business groups objecting to the way things are going.

Get Ready! Rep. Michele Bachmann To Headline Ca State GOP Convention : Politics Blog - Carla Marinucci @ sfgate.com
California's 2011 statewide Republican convention has suddenly become a must-see media event -- now that Tea Party darling and 2012 GOP presidential candidate Rep. Michele...

Dan Walters: Higher California Fees Are The Epitome Of Fairness - sacbee.com
The state budget that Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic legislators enacted last month depends on some additional spending cuts, some clever bookkeeping, and some shaky revenue projections.

Jerry Brown Cites Progress In Race Relations At NAACP - David Siders @ blogs.sacbee.com
Gov. Jerry Brown, addressing the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People at its annual convention in Los Angeles Sunday night, said that California has come a long way since the state's first civilian governor said he didn't want free African Americans to come to California.

Minority Representation A Challenge For Redistricting Commission - Jean Merl @ latimes.com
As the nonpartisan panel struggles to remap a state with changing demographics, staying in line with the Voting Rights Act is a key concern. Minority groups have been among the most organized and vocal participants in the drafting process.

Pension Extension Via 'airtime' Becomes Political Target - sacbee.com
Thousands of California public employees have put down big money on what amounts to a bet with the government that they will live long enough to recoup their investment – and then some.

Fiscal And Prison Overcrowding Crises Could Lead To Three-strikes Reform - Paul T. Rosynsky @ contracostatimes.com
State cant afford to house inmates for nonviolent crimes, critics say. Neighboring county D.A.s use Three Strikes similarly but differ on support for reform More Crime and Court news

Santa Rosa Ready To Pay Its Ransom To Keep Redevelopment Agency Alive - pressdemocrat.com
Santa Rosa is planning to pay $2.7 million to the state to keep its redevelopment agency alive.

From Governor Moonbeam To Governor Sunbeam -- Brown Pushes For Alternative Energy - Dana Hull @ mercurynews.com
Gov. Jerry Brown wants California to produce 20,000 new megawatts of renewable electricity by 2020.

California Court Administrators Clash With Judges Over Cuts - Maura Dolan @ latimes.com
Judicial leaders OK $350 million in cuts that will close some courthouses, reduce hours, and delay civil trials, custody decisions and divorces in some areas. Hardest-hit will be San Francisco and San Joaquin counties.

Computer Programming Should Qualify As Foreign Language For UC - Robert Schwartz @ toped.svefoundation.org
Computer Science provides students with marketable skills other languages do not while still providing the same cognitive benefits of learning a foreign language. Empowered with computer science skills, students will see a path forward in college and career in one of the highest paying and fasting growing job sectors.

Less Red Tape On Solar Projects Would Mean More Jobs, Study Says - sacbee.com
Reducing government red tape for the California solar industry would create nearly 4,000 additional jobs statewide over the next decade, according to a new study.

Feeding Frenzy Alert: Ca Retailers Vs E-tailers - calbuzz.com
And a bully.

Longtime Anschutz Rival Challenges Plans For A Los Angeles Stadium - Patrick McGreevy @ latimes.com
The two businessmen are also battling over competing entertainment complexes in Texas.

San Francisco Weighs Ban On Discrimination Against Ex-cons - Sudhin Thanawala @ mercurynews.com
This city, known for its tolerance, has banned housing and employment discrimination against gays, lesbians and minority groups -- but a new plan to add ex-convicts to that list has some people saying officials are going too far.

Inmate Reduction Expected To Be 1 Month Behind Court's Schedule - californiawatch.org
The state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said in a court filing last week that it has the funding to reduce its prison population in compliance with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling [PDF], but it anticipates it will meet the court’s first prisoner reduction benchmark a month behind schedule.

Reining In Term Limits - Peter Schrag @ californiaprogressreport.com
Most of the items in the catalogue of failures of California’s term limits law, outlined last week by CGS, the Los Angeles-based Center for Governmental Studies, could have been reported more than a decade ago, and a lot were.