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THE NOONER for August 3, 2011

TEN QUESTIONS

First, if you were having problems with the district maps yesterday, I think I found the bug, and all seems to be grooving now.  Now you can add an address marker to a district map to test whether an address is in a district or not.

Also, note that there are now static URLs to each district, such as: http://www.aroundthecapitol.com/districts/CD44/

Okay, let's face it, there are more questions than answers about next year's races.  Here are ten of the most whispered questions around the Capitol.  And, with an on-time budget and legislators gone for another ten days, there is a lot of time for whispering.  

  1. WWJD-what will Janice do?  
    The unluckiest member of Congress in redistricting is Janice Hahn. Only one month after being sworn in, she has to make a decision--run in the CD44, expectedly against Isadore Hall in what is deemed as one of the black districts, step into the fray between Alan Lowenthal and Laura Richardson in Long Beach's CD47, or retire.
  2. Will Swanson challenge Hancock?
    None of us like to see friends pitted against each other. Loni Hancock is running for her second term in SD09, and Assemblymember Sandre Swanson is termed out.  Put it together and, if it happens, let's hope it doesn't get ugly.
  3. Where will Michael Allen go?
    The freshman Assemblymember from Santa Rosa had an unlucky draw into Wes Chesbro's  AD02. In addition to representing most of this area now, Wes was previously state senator for the region, and Allen won't take on Chesbro.  If Allen wants to stay in the Assembly, he has to either move south in AD10 or east into AD04.  AD10 has a crowded field but no incumbent, while AD04 has incumbent Mariko Yamada (D-Davis).   Neither look good, but interest groups don't want to see an Allen v. Yamada faceoff and are working to clear the field in AD10, the Marin-Petaluma seat.
  4. Baca-Baca-Baca
    Congressman Joe Baca has talked about running in two different districts--CD31 and CD35.  His son, former Assemblyman Joe Baca, Jr. has been rumored of running for the alternate of the district dad picks.  Alternatively, there is the wide open AD47, which Jr. essentially held from 2004-2006 before losing to Gloria Negrete McLeod for Senate. If dad stays in CD31 (where he lives) and Jr. runs for CD35 for a rematch against Negrete McLeod, then look for Jeremy Baca to run for AD47.  Confusing enough?   
  5. Ducheny v. Vargas?
    It's shaping up to be an ugly and expensive primary AND general in CD51, where Senator Juan Vargas matches up against Denise Ducheny. Both have great name recognition and, barring a super-well-funded Republican emerging, should face off in both June and November.  This raises a great question: if there are only two candidates, how much money do you invest in coming out on top in June?  Remember, in a two-person race, you can get 99% of the vote in June, and you'll still have to run in November.  In a hotly contested race, you may want to save that cash for November... 
  6. Independent Expenditures play in primary?
    There is no reason to believe that the ascendence of IE spending will slow next year.  However, the "new math" of a top-two primary system has political directors and consultants re-writing the playbook.  Each race will require deeper analysis of when and how much to spend.  As the example of the Ducheny-Vargas race, is it worth investing in the "pre-season games" in June to get bragging rights for your candidate, or should you save the money for the playoffs in November?
  7. Does Leland win?
    Leland Yee is running in November for mayor of San Francisco.  If interim mayor Ed Lee (apparently supported by Feinstein, Newsom and WL Brown, Jr.) doesn't get in, Yee is the favorite.  If Yee wins, there will be a special in SD08, likely consolidated with the June primary.  Fiona Ma would run for SD08, even though the seat will technically be in Yosemite and the like.  She would abandon the newly unwinnable seat in 2014 and run for Betty Yee's Board of Equalization seat.  If Yee does not win, there have been plenty of rumors that Fiona would take on Mark Leno for the now lone SF Senate seat next year.  However, that now looks quite unlikely.
  8. Will Cardoza retire?
    The Central Valley congressional delegation is a mess.  Three members--Dennis Cardoza, Jim Costa and Jeff Denham--were drawn into the same district. While district residency is not a requirement in congressional, unlike state, elections, it's still an uncomfortable situation. Denham's choice was the easiest, heading to the northeast Stanislaus-based CD10.  The "natural" split based on historic voters represented would then place Cardoza in the Merced-based CD16 and Costa in the West Fresno/Kings-based CD21.  However, CD21 is widely considered a Latino seat, with 49.3% of Latino CVAP in the new district.  Already, Republican David Valadao has announced for the Democrat-leaning seat, and both Senator Dean Florez and Assemblymember Michael Rubio are expected to jump in. (Fun note, Rubio was a staffer for Florez.) Costa is thus hoping the rumors of a Cardoza retirement are true, paving the way for him to get out of the way of a hotly contested CD21 and run in the more comfortable CD16.
  9. The Berryhill Brothers
    Moderate brothers Senator Tom Berryhill and Assemblymember Bill Berryhill were each drawn into swing seats.  Obama won SD05 by 8 points in 2008, and Brown beat Whitman there by 1.6%.  With the strong Berryhill name in the valley, Tom is the favorite for reelection, although the seat will be difficult for the GOP to hold on to in 2016.  Bill's Assembly district AD21, however, is more difficult.  There is a 16-point Dem registration advantage, although the performance in 2008 and 2010 was similar to that of SD05.  Legislative staffer Adam Gray and former Atwater City Councilwoman Lesa Rasmussen are expected to run on the Dem side. And, Bill lives in SD12 (Cannella), which will be a very difficult seat for Republicans to keep in 2014.  Don't be shocked if a Berryhill brother takes a shot at CD16 against Cardoza or Costa.  While Obama won the seat by 20 points in 2008, Fiorina beat Boxer by 2.7% and it wouldn't be a bad investment to be on the ballot to catch a GOP wave.
  10. Does Pedro run?
    The open Santa Barbara SD19 is shaping up to be a juicy seat.  Freshman Assemblyman Das Williams is taking a pass at running. Former Assemblymember Hannah-Beth Jackson has stated that she's in, as has Harbor Commissioner and firefighter union leader Jason Hodge. Hodge had planned to run for AD44 in Ventura County, although the final seat is less attractive with only a slight Dem registration advantage and an incumbent who will arrive back from Afghanistan just as campaign season heats up next year.  However, there's one more candidate who is being coy--Pedro Nava.  It is an understatement that Nava and Jackson don't care for each other, and this might be the opportunity to jump into the ring and settle the score.  If that happens, expect Hodge, who is closer to Nava, to take step aside and challenge Gorrell.  On the Republican side, former SB Supervisor Mike Stoker is likely in, hoping the Dems split enough of the vote in the top-two allowing him a path to the general.  The only thing that appears certain on the Central Coast is that Nava's wife, Susan Jordan, is sitting this one out.

...and...one more thing...


Can there be 2 "incumbents" from one district?
Aside from the humorous situation where you may have two members with the ballot label "United States Congressman" on the ballot in CD39, incumbency does matter. I hear this was an issue raised a the California Democratic Party's Executive Board meeting last weekend. The party's bylaws provide favorable endorsement provisions for incumbents, whereby only 50%+1 of voters at a caucus is required for endorsement of an incumbent, compared to 60% for a non-incumbent.  First, from a legal perspective, are there incumbents next year?  (For aroundthecapitol, I don't identify anyone as an incumbent, rather just "Member" of the respective body.)  Supposedly, the Rules Committee agreed that members of the current house running for any seat will be treated as incumbents.  This will make for ugly caucuses if you get two incumbents vying for 50%, rather than the normal open seat goal of blocking endorsement of anyone... Of course, if the Speaker and Pro Tem are successful, no incumbents will run against each other, at least for state office.

Bills signed

  • ABX1 14 by Assemblymember Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) – Energy: energy upgrade financing.
  • AB 494 by Assemblymember Dan Logue (R-Chico) – Alcoholic beverages: possession: Sacramento River.
  • AB 1014 by Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher (R-San Diego) – Food facilities: definition.
  • SB 38 by Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) – Radiation control: health facilities and clinics: records.
  • SB 39 by Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) – Alcoholic beverages: caffeinated beer beverages.
  • SB 62 by Senator Carol Liu (D-Pasadena) – Local government: Los Angeles County: notice of recordation.
  • SB 79 by Committee on Budget – State funds: State Agency Investment Fund.
  • SB 93 by Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review – Health and human services.
  • SB 112 by Senator Carol Liu (D-Pasadena) – State mandates: claiming instructions.
  • SB 133 by Senator Lois Wolk (D-Davis) – Natural resources: Cache Creek Resource Management Plan.
  • SB 238 by Senator Kevin De León (D-Los Angeles) – Athlete agents.
  • SB 272 by Senator Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) – Leave of absence: organ donation.
  • SB 274 by Senator Mark Wyland (R-Escondido) – Healing arts.
  • SB 285 by Senator Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) – Massage therapy instruction: fraud: criminal prosecutions.
  • SB 290 by Senator Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) – Neighborhood electric vehicles.
  • SB 422 by Senator Roderick Wright (D-Los Angeles) – Reporting of certain communicable diseases.
  • SB 593 by Senator Ted Gaines (R-Fair Oaks) – Political Reform Act of 1974: Tahoe Regional Planning Agency: members: statement of economic interests.
  • 687 by Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) – Criminal procedure: informants.
  • SB 720 by Senator Sharon Runner (R-Antelope Valley) – Vehicles: drivers' licenses: military personnel and their spouses.
  • SB 723 by Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) – Restraining orders.
  • SB 732 by Senator Mark Wyland (R-Escondido) – Horse racing: northern zone: vanning of starters.
  • SB 741 by Senator Bob Dutton (R-Inland Empire) – Alternative Protest Pilot Project.

Bills Vetoed

  • SB 168 by Senator Ellen Corbett (D-San Leandro) – Petitions: compensation for signatures. [veto message]
  • SB 582 by Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) – Commute benefit policies. [veto message]
  • SB 627 by Senator Mimi Walters (R-Laguna Niguel) – Vehicles: driving schools and traffic violator schools: licensees. [veto message]
Proposals To Overturn California Budget-related Bills Hit Streets - Torey Van Oot @ blogs.sacbee.com
The Secretary of State has given opponents of two bills approved as part of this year's budget package the OK to begin collecting voter signatures to qualify their referendums for the 2012 ballot.

Dan Walters: Remapping Of California Districts Still On A Rocky Road - sacbee.com
So the state's new redistricting commission, after countless hours of hearings, discussions and mind-numbing exercises in specific line-drawing, has produced its almost-final maps of 177 legislative, congressional and Board of Equalization districts.

Attorney General, FPPC Asked To Investigate Identity Theft Ads - Torey Van Oot @ blogs.sacbee.com
The state attorney general and California's campaign watchdog agency have been asked to investigate a new labor-backed group telling voters that signing initiative petitions increases risk of identity fraud.

Jerry Brown Laments 'Atrophying' Political Process - Anthony York @ latimesblogs.latimes.com
Jerry Brown laments 'atrophying' political process. He compares Republicans' "no taxes" policy to rigid church doctrine, says Democrats are voting in 'lock step' on nearly everything.

Marijuana Legalization Gaining Steam...in Colorado - baycitizen.org
A well-organized campaign to tax and regulate marijuana in Colorado may be sucking away campaign cash from the scattered efforts ...

Villaraigosa Raises $123,500 To Pay Costs In Free-ticket Scandal - latimesblogs.latimes.com
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa free ticket scandal: Faced with nearly $42,000 in fines because he accepted free tickets, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has turned to his friends from Sacramento for financial help.

Debt Ceiling Deal Ignores Real Driver Of Deficits: Healthcare Costs - Michael Hiltzik @ latimes.com
The debt ceiling agreement targets spending that isn't a significant problem in the federal budget, while ignoring the chief driver of deficit growth: healthcare costs.

Herdt: For Central Coast Democrats, A Prize And A Problem - Timm Herdt @ vcstar.com
Democrats on California's Central Coast were handed a rare prize last week when the Citizens Redistricting Commission created a Senate district with no incumbent and a 12-percentage point Democratic voter registration edge.

San Jose Council Tables Tax Measure, Eyes Possible November 2012 Ballot - Local @ mercurynews.com
Polling over the summer showed disappointing support for new tax measures this fall, but city leaders said November 2012 may be the best time to ask voters to open their wallets.

Amazon Battles States Over Sales Tax - STU WOO @ online.wsj.com
Amazon.com Inc., the world's largest online retailer, hasn't charged sales tax in most states since its founding in 1994. And it has taken some extreme measures to keep it that way.

With Debt Debate Over, Obama Urges Focus On Jobs - Michael A. Memoli @ latimes.com
President Obama marked the end of the "long and contentious" debt-limit debate Tuesday afternoon, lamenting that the "manufactured crisis" has stunted the economic recovery and promising a return to a jobs-focused agenda.

Gov. Brown Says Debt-ceiling Crisis Shows Nation Is Becoming Ungovernable - Steven Harmon @ contracostatimes.com
Brown said that the unprecedented move by Republicans to tie the debt-ceiling vote -- which has always been done without condition --to their agenda is a dire signal that the countrys democratic traditions are in danger.

LA Officials Step Up Efforts To Address School Seismic Safety - Corey G. Johnson @ californiawatch.org
Concerned about a renewed state focus and the potential for lawsuits, the Los Angeles County Office of Education has stepped up efforts to help local school officials investigate the seismic safety of their buildings.

Grassroots Groups Hail Plan To Allow Text-message Political Contributions - Timm Herdt @ vcstar.com
This fall, the chairwoman of the state Fair Political Practices Commission wants to see the political watchdog agency keep up California politics with the times by adopting a regulation that would permit individuals to make small contributions from their cellphones by sending a text message.

Former State Sen. Florez Expresses Interest In Congressional Run - fresnobeehive.com


Debt Drama Takes Political Toll On Obama - Peter Nicholas, Washington Bureau @ latimes.com
Though he succeeded in staving off a historic default, President Obama emerges from the debt talks in a weakened political position with limited influence over a divided Congress.

Tech Leaders Upbeat About Jobs As Debt Drama Ends - Carla Marinucci @ sfgate.com
As weeks of partisan battles over a 10-year debt-reduction plan ended with its approval Tuesday, leading U.S. technology innovators and entrepreneurs said they are upbeat about Silicon Valley's ability to boost the...

Stalemate In Senate Leaves 4,000 Out Of Work At F.A.A. - Edward Wyatt @ nytimes.com
WASHINGTON — After dealing with the debt crisis, Senate negotiators tried and failed on Tuesday to end a stalemate over temporary financing for the Federal Aviation Administration, leaving 4,000 agency employees out of work and relying on airport safety inspectors to continue working without pay.

FPPC Begins Closing CalPERS Gift Reporting Investigation - Paresh Dave @ blogs.sacbee.com
The Fair Political Practices Commission has spared at least six current and former CalPERS officials from paying fines for failing to report gifts on official disclosure forms.

Vernon Has More Reform Work To Do, Watchdog Says - Hector Becerra and Sam Allen @ latimes.com
Salaries and legal costs are among items singled out by the watchdog for more attention.

Sacramento Man Files Class-action Suit Against Hilton Over 'free' Newspapers - sacbee.com
A Sacramento man has filed a class action suit against a Hilton hotel because he was charged 75 cents for a newspaper that he believed was free.

Stock Market Slides Again On Economic Fears - latimesblogs.latimes.com
Tracking the market and economic trends

Fish And Game Releases Delta Conservation Plan - sacbee.com
A new restoration plan for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta aims to help guide conservation efforts as state and federal officials ponder new water and habitat projects.

Tea Party Picks Up Steam, Demands Further Cuts - Joe Garofoli @ sfgate.com
National Tea Party leaders in California were thrilled about one by-product of the political bloodbath over raising the federal debt ceiling: The fight showed that after two years of rabble-rousing from outside the...

Robert Cruickshank: California's New Tax Revolt - Robert Cruickshank @ huffingtonpost.com
The California Dream is turning into the California nightmare. That dream was made possible by the public services that provided people the economic security and opportunity to live out their dreams in one of the most beautiful places on earth. Fifty years ago, college was free, and so were the state parks. The state built infrastructure to ensure affordable transportation, and its public schools and libraries were the envy of the nation. All of those services freed Californians to pursue their hopes, their ideas, their plans. It made California a leading innovator, with the 8th largest economy in the world.