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THE NOONER for September 6, 2011

[jump to the headlines]

DISTRICT UPDATES

  • CD02 - Added Willits physician William Courtney (D)
  • AD49 - updated analysis

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PLUG: 5,987 individuals are receiving free e-mail updates from aroundthecapitol.com/bills/ on 1,349 California bills.  They're sitting on a patio somewhere drinking a margarita, while you're hoping your floor session is on the boob tube.  
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "Of course it was retaliation. And rightly so." [Willie Brown, on Perez publicly shaming Portantino's overspending]

A FEW THINGS TO WATCH THIS WEEK
With 429 bills on the daily file for the week ahead and many more coming out of committees (and thin air), it's going to be a busy week leading up to Friday's end of the first year of the two-year session. 

STICKY FINGERS. Sometime late Saturday as we were enjoying sipping a nice cocktail, shocking news came across our phones--the FBI had arrested Dem political fundraiser Kimbe Durkee, with few details other than "one count of mail fraud." Durkee currently serves as treasurer of 151 committees registered with the Secretary of State. Senator Lou Correa told media sources that his committee may have lost "hundreds of thousands," although it's unclear the basis of the calculation.

With few details about the arrest, officeholders and candidates are scrambling this morning to find out what to look for to see if they were victims. There are two primary ways to scam as a committee treasurer--failing to deposit funds or faking expenditures (with or without reporting them). It's most likely the former, and it may take a significant amount of time to determine exactly who has lost what.  

We should know more this afternoon when Durkee is expected to make her first court appearance. While we thank CalChannel for carrying the Prop. 8 hearing this morning (despite insufficient bandwidth), we may now have an equally compelling courtroom drama on our hands.

THE GRAND TAX BARGAIN.  Everyone wants to leave town with something big, and, with the governor poo-pooing Amazon's suggested compromise there are few things brewing. However, Anthony York reports that there is still life in the idea of a grand tax bargain. The discussions still centering around moving to the single sales factor, although Republicans have brought into the mix to help decide how the $1.1 billion generated from the change is "spent."

While difficult to pull off with the few remaining days, there is significant mo' behind these.  Both sides need at least one big "job creating" bill by Friday...

THE YOUNG OFFENDERS BILL. Senator Leland Yee's SB 9 may not be on your radar, but is one of the bills behind which there is amazing passion on both sides. The bill would allow certain offenders imprisoned for 25-to-life to petition for a resentencing. The bill failed in the Assembly 36-36 on August 25, and then was amended on Friday to address some opponent concerns. Were the amendments enough to get five more votes?  If so, this would be a very interesting bill to see what Jerry Brown 2.0 thinks on criminal justice.

THE FOOTBALL STADIUM. Backers of Anschutz Entertainment Group's (AEG) proposed football stadium adjacent to Staples Center and the Los Angeles Convention Center want environmental exemptions to move the project along. Specifically, they'd prefer to not have to explain the impact on traffic of a new stadium. The issue pits the powerful Los Angeles delegation and labor against, well, the rest of the state--but for several reasons.  The delegation won two years ago, but the landscape is more complicated this time around.

Obviously, the granola folks don't like CEQA exemptions for business, and feel particularly burned with the impact on their districts of state parks closures. San Diego legislators don't like the AEG proposal, because the most likely team to target to move to the new stadium is the Chargers. Finally, backers of stadiums in Santa Clara (49ers) and a new Sacramento arena want similar treatment.

A stadium exemption, or a series of them, will give Democrats something to take to the stump on jobs. Republicans will argue that Democrats are only willing to exempt laws for wealthy donors and labor unions and not smaller business. Nevertheless, a win would be a win in this final week.

Speaker John Perez has had a rough couple of weeks with the loss of his Vernon disincorporation bill and the public records fight with Anthony Portantino. A win on the stadium would allow him to leave session with a bit more mojo.

Would Jerry Brown sign the bill? That's probably the most interesting question, particularly given the not-so-kind pressure from City of Angels Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa over the last month.

THE BALLOT BUMP: I think it's quite unlikely at this point, but there are still discussions about punting all ballot measures, including initiatives and any referenda on redistricting, to next November.  Is this the grease to get Democrats to swallow a tax package they might be uneasy about? 

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On to the headines...

Jerry Brown Trying For Last-minute Bipartisan Tax Deal - Anthony York @ latimesblogs.latimes.com
Gov. Jerry Brown is pondering changes in the corporate tax swap plan he introduced last month in hopes of reaching a bipartisan accord before the Legislature adjourns for the year.

Poll Illustrates California Voters' Anger - Shane Goldmacher @ latimes.com
Nearly 3 in 4 say the country is on the wrong track, and nearly half favor slashing government spending — a potentially dismal finding for President Obama, who will unveil a jobs plan this week.

A Dark Side To Liberal Government - Dan Walters @ sacbee.com
There's no official definition of liberal government, but a fair description would be the proactive use of official powers to protect and enhance the public welfare, however that may be perceived.

Most-lobbied Issues Of 2011: Where Are The Bills Now? - Chase Davis @ californiawatch.org
The lobbying database we launched last week already has received a fantastic response – in part, no doubt, because it allows you, the readers, to take a peek behind the curtain of legislative influence to see what bills are important to special interest groups.

Gov. Rick Perry Cancels LA Business Roundtable Tuesday Due To Texas Fires; Big Debate, Fundraising Events Still On : Politics Blog - Carla Marinucci @ sfgate.com
Texas Gov. Rick Perry , faced with dozens of wildfires in his drought-ravaged state, was forced to cancel a Los Angeles county roundtable Tuesday -- but he will be at the Wednesday...

Same-sex couples to stage sit-in at Prop. 8 court hearing - mercurynews.com
Before oral arguments are presented to the California Supreme Court about Proposition 8, the state's ban on same-sex marriage, a group of same-sex couples and allies is planning to hold a sit-in on the steps of the State Building in San Francisco this morning, organizers said.

Democratic Poll Analysis: Jobs Plan Key To Obama Win - Celinda Lake and Daniel Gotoff and Kristin Pondel @ politico.com
A little more than a year out from the 2012 Presidential election, President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party find themselves in competitive standing. Getting out from under a defensive crouch regarding government spending and the budget deficit and instead driving aggressive plans to fight for the middle class and address voters’ higher priorities of the economy and jobs represents the best way for the President and Democrats to seize the offensive, control the debate, and position themselves for success.

Climate, Evolution Thorny Issues For GOP Hopefuls - Joe Garofoli,Carla Marinucci @ sfgate.com
GOP presidential candidates gathering at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley on Wednesday will spar over jobs, the economy and foreign policy - but the televised matchup will become especially tricky...

5 Questions I Wasn't Supposed To Think About On Vacation - John Myers @ blogs.kqed.org
There's a sort of unwritten, and yet often violated rule, when my family goes on vacation: don't keep checking your smartphone. I didn't break it too often while visiting my waterlogged family on the coast of North Carolina this past week, but the peeks I took left me with some nagging questions.

Finding Healthcare In An Alphabet Soup Of Acronyms - Tim Moran @ healthycal.org
Californians who don’t have health insurance through work and can’t afford to buy it themselves can find themselves negotiating a maze of government-subsidized programs.

State justices seem to favor allowing proponents to defend Prop. 8 - Maura Dolan @ latimes.com
The California Supreme Court appeared inclined Tuesday to give sponsors of ballot initiatives the right to defend them in court, a key issue in the federal dispute over Proposition 8.

Arizona same-sex partners entitled to benefits - The Associated Press @ signonsandiego.com
A federal appeals court says same-sex partners of Arizona government workers are entitled to the same health care benefits provided to opposite-sex couples.

Michele Bachmann's campaign sees major shake-up - James Oliphant @ latimes.com
Ed Rollins, the veteran political strategist, is leaving Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign, a move he insists should be not be read as a lack of faith in the candidate, who has struggled to find traction in recent weeks as Rick Perry has zoomed to the front of the pack.

Power Shift For High-speed Rail Project Faltering - californiawatch.org
The California High-Speed Rail Authority is facing increased scrutiny from lawmakers as the legislative session draws to a close.

Bill Pushes Gas Levy For Congestion Relief Projects - DUG BEGLEY @ pe.com
Sacramento lawmakers have a plan to raise money to improve freeways and bolster public transit and bicycle amenities: Let local officials charge more for gas.

Rick Perry Pulls Out Of S.c. Forum Due To Texas Wildfires - Maeve Reston @ latimes.com
Republican presidential contender Rick Perry canceled plans to appear at a candidate forum in South Carolina on Monday, the Texas governor returning home to oversee the fast-moving wildfires that have ravaged the state. He still plans to travel to Simi Valley, Calif., later this week for Wednesday’s debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum, his spokesman said.

Brown hopes to pass Calif tax changes this week - ELLIOT SPAGAT, Associated Press @ signonsandiego.com
California Gov. Jerry Brown says he is optimistic that lawmakers will agree this week to end a corporate tax loophole for companies based outside the state.

Bachmann Campaign Chief, Deputy Leave Top Roles - Philip Elliott Associated Press @ insidebayarea.com
Citing health reasons, veteran GOP strategist Ed Rollins stepped down as campaign manager. Bachmann said one of her strategists would take over on an interim basis as Rollins moves to a senior adviser role.

Michele Bachmann 2012 Campaign's Turnover Raises New Questions - Maggie Haberman @ politico.com
Top-level staff departures from Michele Bachmann’s campaign are raising fresh questions about her durability heading into the post-Labor Day stretch of the 2012 presidential primary contest.

Budget Woes May Worsen For LAUSD Schools - Connie Llanos, Staff Writer @ dailynews.com
Awakened by buzzing alarms or nagging parents, thousands of Los Angeles Unified students will pack their backpacks with new notebooks and pencils on Wednesday for the start of the new 2011-12 year.

California Democrats getting nervous about trigger cuts - Kevin Yamamura @ blogs.sacbee.com
Lagging tax revenues are making California officials nervous about "trigger" budget cuts to schools and services that appear likely unless more money flows into state coffers or the economic outlook improves.

California Supreme Court tackles gay marriage case again - mercurynews.com
With justices set to hear arguments Tuesday, the fight over Proposition 8 turns on key procedural question, not the right of same-sex couples to wed

Indefinite Solitary Confinement Persists In California Prisons - Jack Dolan @ latimes.com
Long abandoned by many states, the practice is a last resort for California authorities struggling to thwart gang activity and extract information from the most hardened members. Critics say it amounts to torture.