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THE NOONER for August 19, 2011

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THE OUTSTANDING QUESTIONS

Two weeks ago, I raised ten questions that the new maps created with the uncertain landscape.  Many of them have been answered, while new ones have been raised.  

  1. Are the plans final?
    Republicans are upset with the Senate plans and some Latino groups are upset with the congressional and senate plans. Reps are pursuing a state referendum and the latter considering a federal Voting Rights Act lawsuit. The Latino groups have nothing to lose, except the cost of a lawsuit, which could lead to map adjustments at the hand of a federal court.  Republicans could lose much more, as a referendum is costly and, if qualified, there is no certainty that the SupCt's masters will draw a better map for the GOP than the Commission did. Even then, California's voters would get to choose between the commission's map and the court's map next June.
  2. What will Dennis Cardoza do?
    Now that Jim Costa has definitively said that he is running in CD16, which includes downtown Fresno, it's looking more likely that Dennis Cardoza will retire.  The friends don't want to run against each other, and Cardoza has not denied retirement rumors.   
  3. Will Dean Florez run for Congress?
    It seems clear that CD21 will be an open seat, with Costa settling into CD16.  Yesterday, state senator Michael Rubio made it clear that he is running for CD21, which will be a competitive Leans Dem seat with Republican Assemblymember David Valadao (who is of Portuguese heritage) carrying the GOP flag. Will former state senator Dean Florez, who Rubio worked for, also run?  Florez is still exploring his options.
  4. Baca-Baca-Baca
    It still looks like three Bacas will be on the ballot next year, but it's still unclear where. 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. What will Jerry Lewis do?
    Congressman Jerry Lewis may retire, or may run for CD08 in the high desert.  If he retires, look for Assemblymember Paul Cook to jump into the CD08 race.
  6. Vote for Pedro?
    Still no decision yet from former Assemblymember Pedro Nava as to whether he'll jump in to SD19.  There is still bad blood between Nava and Hannah-Beth Jackson, which led to a nasty proxy war for Assembly between Das Williams (HBJ's former COS) and Nava's wife Susan Jordan.  Nava's friend Jason Hodge is definitely in, and it appears increasingly likely that Nava will defer to firefighting union leader Hodge for the 2012 race.
  7. What will Dan Lungren do?
    Will Dan Lungren stay and face Ami Bera and Alyson Huber in the swing CD07 or take on fellow Republican (albeit Earl Grey flavored) Tom McClintock in the safe CD04?  The party would hate to walk away from a seat without a strong candidate, but also wouldn't mind retiring McClintock, and Lungren wouldn't mind getting out of a district where he's the target of union SuperPAC ads.
  8. What will Mariko Yamada do?
    It looks more likely that Michael Allen will run in AD04, leaving Mariko with two choices: stay and run from the city she's lived in for 16 years, or move to Vacaville where her district office has been and run in the wide-open AD11.  Either way, she'll have to sit out for two years before Lois Wolk vacates SD05 in 2016.  Staying and winning in AD04 would give her access to new territory in Napa, which would be helpful for a Senate bid, but she would earn significant CaucusCred by moving 20 miles.
  9. Will Speaker John Perez get a Supe seat?
    I've stayed away from local redistricting in The Nooner, but there has been plenty of drama.  One of the most interesting is in Los Angeles County, where Gloria Molina and Mark Ridley-Thomas have submitted alternative plans that, unlike the Boundary Review Committee's plan, would create a second Latino seat on the board.  Alternatively, he could get a new maj-min Latino city council seat. 

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DAN WALTERS: Perez-Portantino squabble is really about Congress
Well, there's also that little challenge for the speakership thing...

On to the headines...

Refer Madness 2012 - John Myers @ blogs.kqed.org
Whether most voters realize it or not, the vast majority of measures that appear on the ballot in statewide elections ask them to authorize a brand new law. Rarely are voters asked to approve or reject a standing law. And that's why the current crop of proposed ballot measures is so unusual: so far, five petitions offer voters the chance in 2012 to scrap statutes and other government decisions via a ballot referendum.

Senate May Vote Monday On "Open Carry" Bill - Josh Richman @ ibabuzz.com
A legislative staffer tells me that AB 144 – Assemblyman Anthony Portantino’s bill to ban the “open carry” of unloaded firearms in public places – will come up for a California State Senate floor vote this Monday, Aug. 22.

Perez-Portantino Squabble Is Really About Congress - Dan Walters @ sacbee.com
The summer's oddest and loudest political squabble is pitting the speaker of the state Assembly, John A. Perez, against a fellow Democrat, Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, over – of all things – the latter's office budget.

Bill Requiring Badges For Paid Initiative Circulators Goes To Brown - Torey Van Oot @ blogs.sacbee.com
The state Senate today approved amendments to the measure, which had previously passed both houses, on a 24-14 vote. The lower house had stripped a provision that would have also required identification badges for those working as a "volunteer signature gatherer."

California Seeks Probe Of Alleged Community College Job Rigging - Gale Holland and Michael Finnegan @ latimes.com
The chief auditor for state Controller John Chiang tells L.A. Community College District trustees that an independent investigation is needed into whether an inspector general was improperly hired.

Auditor Calls CalSTRS A 'high Risk' Problem For State - sacbee.com
CalSTRS, billions of dollars under water, was dubbed a "high risk" problem for California by the state auditor Thursday.

Bill On University Groups' Public Disclosure Heads To Jerry Brown - Laurel Rosenhall @ blogs.sacbee.com
The San Francisco Democrat's two previous bills to subject college auxiliary organizations, such as foundations, to the state's public records act were vetoed by then

Prison Officials Move To Improve Inmate Isolation Conditions - californiawatch.org
State corrections officials are moving forward with a major policy initiative that could improve conditions and reduce the length of time some inmates spend in controversial isolation units. The changes are being proposed amid threats of another hunger strike by inmates who spearheaded one last month at Pelican Bay State Prison.

State Attorney General Declines To Investigate Identity Theft Ads - Torey Van Oot @ blogs.sacbee.com
The state attorney general has declined a request that it investigate a labor-backed coalition running radio ads claiming that signing initiative petitions increases risk of identity theft.

State Lawmakers Go After Spread Of Mobile Signs - Patrick McGreevy @ latimesblogs.latimes.com
A loophole in the state’s law on mobile billboards has spawned fleets of motor scooters, bicycles and sleds hitched to large signs and parked along Los Angeles streets.

State Auditor Calls CalSTRS A High Risk - toped.svefoundation.org
Derman also argues that a cap would not preclude CalSTRS from imposing additional oversight procedures to root out spiking; the CalSTRS board has ordered further safeguards. But Simitian said that the way to guarantee lasting oversight is through statute.

Green Jobs Predictions Proving A Pipe Dream - Aaron Glantz @ baycitizen.org
In the Bay Area as in much of the country, the green economy is not proving to be the job-creation engine that many politicians envisioned. President Obama once pledged to create five million green jobs over 10 years. Gov. Jerry Brown promised 500,000 clean-technology jobs statewide by the end of the decade. But the results so far suggest such numbers are a pipe dream.

Why Flash Is Wrong, Wrong, Wrong On Redistricting - calbuzz.com
For California’s crybaby Republicans, the only fair redistricting plan would be one that sustains their phantasmagorical belief in their own ascendancy, popularity and influence.

Geena Davis Confirmed To State Commission Despite Opposition - Patrick McGreevy @ latimesblogs.latimes.com
State Sen. Joel Anderson (R-San Diego) shouldn’t expect an invitation to the next premiere of a movie starring actress Geena Davis.

Sacramento Card Room Debate Draws High-stakes Players - sacbee.com
It was like the high-roller table of Sacramento politics. As a City Council subcommittee debated how to regulate card rooms this week, former Sacramento County Sheriff Lou Blanas and his son watched intently from the gallery. By their side was former Sacramento city manager turned political handler Bob Thomas.

Yee's Casino Fundraiser Raises Questions - John Cote @ sfgate.com
State Sen. Leland Yee, who has vowed not to "wine and dine" City Hall power brokers, raised more than $11,000 for his San Francisco mayoral campaign during a steak-and-lobster dinner at a Colma casino that has been one of his major political donors, according to campaign finance documents and people who attended the event.

Maxine Waters Responds To Allen West Comments - Jennifer Epstein @ politico.com
Rep. Maxine Waters says she is puzzled by Rep. Allen West’s attacks that she’s an “overseer” of the “21st century plantation” of African-Americans backing the Democratic Party because West encouraged his own brother to come to her for help finding a job.

Dream Act Students Won't Be Deportation Targets, Officials Say - latimesblogs.latimes.com
Secure Communities and immigration. The Obama administration announced Thursday that Dream Act students and other low priority immigration offenders will not be targeted for deportation under its Secure Communities immigration enforcement program.

Auditor adds teacher pensions to high-risk list - pe.com
The state auditor's office on Thursday added teacher pensions to the list of high-risk issues facing California government.

Concerns Over Proposed New Health Insurance Regulations - Joel Fox @ foxandhoundsdaily.com
This article was first published in today's Los Angeles Daily News. Despite alarm raised in many corners over costly new regulations, the California Legislature is pursuing AB 52 to clamp new regulations on health insurance premiums.

Waters To Obama: Pay Attention To Us - Jennifer Epstein @ politico.com
President Barack Obama needs to pay more attention to black Americans to keep them “on board,” Rep. Maxine Waters said Thursday.