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THE NOONER for August 18, 2011

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TODAY'S DISTRICT UPDATES

  • Thanks to our friends at Redistricting Partners, we now have brief analyses of every congressional, Assembly and Senate district.  We will continue to add more detailed analysis as candidates declare and political winds shift.

THREE DAYS, NO BLINKY: Sanchez v. Napolitano, Hahn v. Richardson, The -ermans, Miller v. Royce.

STILL PLAYING MUSICAL CHAIRS: The Bacas

STOCKTON SMACKDOWN? Assemblymember Cathleen Galgiani (D) yesterday formally announced that she will run for SD05, the Senate seat currently held by Republican Tom Berryhill and based in Stockton.  If Berryhill stays for the fight, it will be THE SENATE RACE of 2012.  Check out the digits:

Senate District 05
GOV '10: Brown (D) 47.2%, Whitman (R) 45.6%
US SEN '10: Fiorina (R) 48%, Boxer (D) 42% 
AG '10: Cooley (R) 47%, Harris (D) 39%
PRES '08: Obama (D) 52.8%, McCain (R) 44.2%
Prop. 8 '08: 65% Yes, 35% No

If it was only that simple, we'd grab our popcorn and settle for a great fight.  But, next year, few things are simple. Tom Berryhill currently serves in SD14, an even-numbered district.  SD14 isn't up for election until 2014.  He won't stay in the new SD14 after 2014, as it's now a solid Dem majority-minority Latino district stretching from Fresno to Bakersfield.  

So, he has two choices if he wants to stay in the Senate.  He can run in SD05 against a strong moderate Dem Assemblywoman in a toss-up race or, relax for two years and then move to the conservative foothills-based SD08 in 2014.  He moved to run for SD14 originally, so that's not out of the question.  However, if he skips a 2012 showdown against Galgiani, he will need to end his moderate ways to avoid a conservative showdown against Assemblymember Linda Halderman  or someone else in SD08.  (If Leland Yee wins the mayoral race in November, the voters of San Francisco will choose who represents the foothills through 2014.  Most likely, it will be Fiona Ma, although there would be something fun in sending Tom Ammiano to one of the havens for Prop. 8 for a couple of years.)

Whitman trounced Brown by 17 points in SD08 (making it the 5th worst performing district for Brown), and T. Berryhill's reputation as one of the Republicans willing to negotiate with the governor on a tax extension didn't earn him a lot of love from the Tom McClintock-supporting base in this part of California.

It's a tough choice for Tom Berryhill, and, if he chooses to face Galgiani, we've got a helluva race on our hands.  If Berryhill decides not to run, look for Assemblymember Kristin Olsen to jump in, setting off an equally good fight.

Perhaps the best option for Berryhill is to take the free ride bid for CD09 next year against Congressman Jerry McNerney.  It's a tough seat for Berryhill, as Steve Cooley is the only Republican to outpoll a Dem in this seat in the last two cycles.  That said, it could be the perfect place for a free ride awaiting a Republican tide, with SD08 as the backup plan.

GEORGE SKELTON:  "[T]he California Republican Party barely has enough money for postage, let alone paying a petition circulator at least $2 million to collect voter signatures for a ballot referendum."

Ouch.  Sad but true.

Fortunately, the party has a plan...a straw poll!  Carla Marinucci reports "The straw poll will be a marquee event at the convention expected to attract more than 1,000 delegates and party activists when it convenes Sept. 16-18 at the JW Marriott at LA Live, state party chair Tom Del Beccaro told us today.

"Already, Tea Party darling and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, the winner of the recent Ames straw poll in Iowa, is scheduled to be the opening keynote speaker on Friday night -- a move that will clearly pump up party faithful expected to jam the event."

Meanwhile, we have this TWEET DU JOUR: @KQED_CapNotes: Doesn't bode well 4 #CAGOP confab / MT @cmarinucci: Add @politico report on Team #Bachmann's hostile moments w/media http://t.co/Rluu9af

A keynote session and a straw poll featuring and likely empowering Michele Bachmann. A referendum to get, at the most, 1-2 more State Senate seats when they'll keep a supermajority-blocking hold on the State Assembly.  Who exactly is coordinating strategy at the CRP? 

SHARKS, SHEETS AND TANS:  No, that's not what I'm thinking about as my post-session Riviera Maya vacation quickly approaches, but rather issues confronting the Legislature in the next three weeks.  AB 376 (Fong and Huffman) would generally ban the use of most shark fins, which are used as a Chinese delicacy.  SB 432 (De Leon) would require Cal-OSHA to issue mandates requiring hotels to use fitted sheets and long-handled tools for bathroom cleaning. SB 476 (Lieu) would prohibit the use of ultraviolet tanning beds for people under the age of 18.  

All three are pending on their respective second house Appropriations Committee suspense files, where bills that have cost dough are parked pending an end of session "controlled flow" out of the fiscal committees to the floors.

There are bigger bills, including SB 27 (Correa and Simitian) which would radically change the pension system for lots of people who work around the capitol, including legislative staff and, well, me. But, it's the bills like the Sharks, Sheets and Tans trifecta that are entertaining to follow and provide the best floor debates through the sunset of session. 

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On to the headines...

California GOP, Wooing Candidates And Money, Will Hold 2012 Straw Poll At September State Convention - Carla Marinucci @ sfgate.com
Hoping to attract GOP presidential candidates -- and fire up its activist grassroots -- the California Republican Party is taking a cue from Iowa and planning a high profile straw poll of the 2012 presidential hopefuls at its big September statewide convention in Los Angeles.

Common Cause Blasts Referendum Targeting New Senate Districts - latimesblogs.latimes.com
The head of California Common Cause said Wednesday that a Republican-backed referendum drive to overturn new Senate districts is the work of "partisan insiders" and is attacking a plan that reflects the will of voters who approved an independent redistricting process.

Gov. Brown Discusses High-speed Rail And Moving Water Around The State - fresnobeehive.com
Gov. Jerry Brown told The Fresno Bee's editorial board of his plans for two major infrastructure projects in California. He said he still backs high-speed rail, but believes the governmental authority overseeing the project in California needs to do a better job on the project. He also said that in the next year, his administration will have a detailed proposal to build a water conveyance system around the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Opposition To Bill Regulating Health Insurance Rates Growing - Torey Van Oot @ blogs.sacbee.com
Supporters of controversial legislation to give state regulators power to approve, deny or modify changes in health insurance rates have returned from their summer recess to find added opposition as they push for its passage before the session wraps up.

UC Education Now Costs More Than A Sacramento Home - Phillip Reese @ sacbee.com
As California's college students prepare to start classes again at University of California campuses, the sticker shock from fees and living expenses is likely fresh on their minds.

Latino Group Upset With Redistricting Maps - dailybulletin.com
So far no lawsuits have been filed, but a national Latino civil-rights group is analyzing the new maps to determine if there are any violations of the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965, which outlaws discriminatory electoral procedures.

University Of California Announces Raises For Non-union Workers - Larry Gordon @ latimes.com
The University of California announced a merit increase plan for non-unionized employees that seeks to fend off faculty hiring raids while mollifying critics of high executive salaries during the state's budget crisis.

California Children's Well-being A Mixed Bag In New Data Report - blogs.sacbee.com
Some indices of well-being among California's children -- educational progress and access to health care, for instance -- have been improving, but most are relatively unchanged and some economic factors have worsened in recent years, an exhaustive new data compilation indicates.

Second CA Lawmaker Challenges Online Course Fees - Nanette Asimov @ sfgate.com
A second influential state lawmaker is calling on the Community College Chancellor's Office to explain why its staff decided that a student fee - charged by publishers to participate in online classes - is legal,...

New Policies Helped CalPERS Weather Market Turbulence - latimesblogs.latimes.com
This month's plunging stock prices cost CalPERS, the state's biggest public pension fund, $9 billion, but the fallout could have been much worse, said Joseph Dear, chief investment officer of the California Public Employees' Retirement System.

Gov. Jerry Brown Appoints Jobs Czar - Michael J. Mishak @ latimes.com
Gov. Jerry Brown, under fire for not doing enough to revive the state's ailing economy, names a jobs czar, but economists say Michael E. Rossi will have little power to counter the forces of the national recession.

Jerry Brown Names A Jobs Czar - Josh Richman @ ibabuzz.com
Former bank and investment executive Michael Rossi is Gov. Jerry Brown's new senior jobs advisor, the governor announced this morning.

California Prisoners Make Inroads With Hunger Strike - sacbee.com
Last month, inmates at Pelican Bay State Prison launched a hunger strike to draw attention to their complaints of being unfairly held in extreme isolation at the Crescent City lockup.

Obama's Jobs Package May Include School Renovations And A Tax Break For Hiring - Peter Nicholas, Christi Parsons and James Oliphant, Washington Bureau @ latimes.com
President Obama's jobs plan may include construction work through school renovations and a tax break for businesses that add employees. It would reportedly come with a plan to reduce federal budget deficits.

Prison tour counters charges of poor conditions - DON THOMPSON @ pe.com
California prison officials tried to counter inmates' allegations of inhumane living conditions by opening a highly secure unit at Pelican Bay State Prison to reporters Wednesday, days before a legislative hearing into conditions there.

Hackers Post Bart Cops' Personal Information - Demian Bulwa @ sfgate.com
Hackers carried out the second cyber-attack on BART within the past week today, breaking into the website of the union that represents the transit system's rank-and-file police and releasing a roster of 102 officers...

Los Angeles To Quit Hiring Standard & Poor's To Rate Its Investments - Kate Linthicum @ latimes.com
Los Angeles, which recently saw its $7-billion investment portfolio downgraded by Standard & Poor's, has decided to no longer hire the rating company to rate the soundness of the city's investments.