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THE NOONER for October 14, 2011

[jump to the headlines]

P-P-P-POKER FACE: The CMR's Daily Bread reports that Ricardo Lara is holding a poker tournament funder tonight for his 2012 Assembly committee in Bell Gardens with many special guests, including Bonnie Lowenthal. It will be interesting to know if Bonnie shows up, now that Lara appears certain to be running against her in SD33.

PENSION POLITICS: Yesterday, the governor signaled that he would pursue a constitutional amendment to reduce pension costs to the state and local governments. Meanwhile, Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg and Speaker John Perez announced that the conference committee created by AB 340 and SB 827 will meet on October 26 in the City of Carson. The committee includes Senators Gloria McLeod, Joe Simitian and Mimi Walters and Assemblymember Michael Allen, Warren Furutani, and Jim Silva.

By the way, McLeod (CalPERS), Furutani (CalPERS), and Silva (CalSTRS) are all members of public retirement systems and have a personal interest in any changes affecting current program participants. (Allen may also be from his days as a psychiatric nurse.) Of course Furutani (the author of AB 340) hopes the meeting is the first and last for him, as he is on the ballot November 8 for the Los Angeles City Council seat vacated by now-Congresswoman Janice Hahn. However, a January runoff is expected, with none of the candidates getting over 50%.

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TheCommunity College League of California in Sacramento is looking for a temporary administrative assistant to start ASAP through November 23. For more information, contact scottlay@ccleague.org.

make this space your own.

WE HARDLY KNEW YOU: Chuck DeVore: Good-bye, California, I'm going to Texas [h/t Carla Marinucci]

SIGNED, SEALED AND DELIVERED? Jon Fleischman claims an inside source at the California GOP told him that the party has raised $1 million in the last week for the referendum challenging the State Senate lines. This, in addition to the $500,000 raised by the FAIR committee, would be pretty close to the amount necessary to collect the 750,000 or so signatures to ensure 504,760 valid signatures.

Interestingly, the party has not reported spending any money, which is required for amounts over $5,000, whether it's handed over to the committee or spent directly on qualification-oriented activities. A haul of $1 million certainly includes big money donors and, by running it through the party, the sources are obscured until January and aren't directly connected to the referendum effort. 

NO GO: Rod Pacheco rules out run for Senate [Jim Miller @ pe.com] (SD31)

TWEET DU JOUR: @cmarinucci: "Will there be protests? Probably. #GOP2012er Rep @MicheleBachmann speaks in San Fran to Commonwealth Club 10/20, "American competitiveness"

Not sure Bachmann is much of an expert on competitiveness . . . just sayin'.

ALL STUDIED OUT: Center for Governmental Studies to close [Patrick McGreevy @ latimes.com]

SIMPOLITICS: Did Herman Cain Get 9-9-9 Tax Plan From Simcity Video Game? [Joe Garafoli @ SF Chron]

DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS: AD05 candidate Frank Bigelow is a supervisor in Madera County, not Amador.

TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
Jerry Brown Says Pension Changes Will Require Public Vote
David Siders @
blogs.sacbee.com
BEVERLY HILLS - Gov. Jerry Brown said this afternoon that he will propose pension changes requiring a constitutional amendment and a public vote, though he declined to discuss them in any detail.

Brown Talks About Public Employee Pension Reform, But Can He Deliver?
Jon Fleischman @
flashreport.org
Yesterday in Los Angeles at an event with famed philanthropist and felon Michael Milken, Governor Jerry Brown said that he would soon be releasing details of his own pension reform plan, adding that his proposal will include a constitutional amendment and by necessity be put in front of the voters for approval. This comes on the same day that legislative leaders announce the formation of a special committee to review the issue of reforms to the public employee pension system. It is worth noting that the six-member legislative committee that has now been magically formed is stacked with four pro-union votes, thus guaranteeing that no policy recommendations will come from the committee that are not signed off on by the bosses at California Teachers Association, the Service Employees International Union, et.al.

Jerry Brown says pension changes will require public vote
David Siders @
blogs.sacbee.com
Gov. Jerry Brown said this afternoon that he will propose pension changes requiring a constitutional amendment and a public vote, though he declined to discuss them in any detail.

House votes to stop health care law abortions
Jim Abrams @
mercurynews.com
WASHINGTON -- The House on Thursday returned to an abortion issue that nearly sank President Barack Obama's health care law last year with legislation that bars an insurance plan regulated under the new law from covering abortion if any of its customers receive federal subsidies.

Gavin Newsom Accuses California Of Growing Lazy About Jobs
David Siders @
blogs.sacbee.com
BEVERLY HILLS - Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, continuing to press his jobs plan at an economic conference this morning, said California has been held back by a lackadaisical attitude about job creation that began long before the flagging economy's most recent downturn.

Jerry Brown Talks Regulations, Pensions, Kale
latimesblogs.latimes.com
During a sometimes rambling conversation with philanthropist and former financier Michael Milken, Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday pledged to conduct a thorough review of unnecessary state regulations and rein in state pensions. Milken interviewed Brown as part of his Milken...

Bill Lockyer says pensions must be fiscally, politically sound
Jon Ortiz @
blogs.sacbee.com
State Treasurer Bill Lockyer said today that pension reform must lower costs on the public-sector side and strengthen retirement security for private-sector workers, remarks that echoed the new argument that public employee unions are making in defense of retirement benefits.

President Obama Returns To Bay Area On Oct. 25
Josh Richman @
ibabuzz.com
President Obama will be back in San Francisco on Tuesday, Oct. 25 for another fundraiser, a source close to the campaign said this afternoon. This will be the president’s third visit to the Bay Area in a little over six months, and his seventh since taking office.

California's Landmark Center For Governmental Studies To Close -- Victim of "Polarized" Politics, Economy
Carla Marinucci @
blog.sfgate.com
Citing a lagging economy and “dramatically polarized political environment,” the head of California’s pioneering Center for Governmental Studies – which has provided research and analysis on Golden State governance and campaign finance for nearly three decades — says it will close Oct. 20, according to emails obtained by the Chronicle.

Jerry Brown defends school tests he once sought to overhaul
David Siders @
blogs.sacbee.com
Gov. Jerry Brown said this afternoon that the school testing program he proposed overhauling in last year's gubernatorial campaign is a "good system" he is not inclined to dramatically revise.

Protest Greets Conservative Education Summit In SF
Jill Tucker, Vivian Ho @
sfgate.com
Activists with the Occupy movement joined forces with teachers union members outside a San Francisco hotel Thursday to protest an education conference promoting charter schools, teacher pay for performance and more digital instruction in schools.

Jerry Brown Calls California's School Testing Program A "Good System"
David Siders @
sacbee.com
Gov. Jerry Brown said Thursday that the school testing program he proposed overhauling in last year's gubernatorial campaign is a "good system" he will keep intact.

State Teachers Union Pitches Tent With Occupy Activists
Jill Tucker @
blog.sfgate.com
The California Teachers Association jumped on the Occupy Wall Street bandwagon Thursday, throwing the weight of 325,000 state teachers behind the movement for "tax fairness and against corporate greed."

Berkeley report
Jon Ortiz @
blogs.sacbee.com
A new report from the University of California, Berkeley's Center for Labor Research and Education and Center for Wage and Employment Dynamics finds that state budget woes around the country have come from imploding housing markets and the Great Recession -- not public employee costs.

Politics And Money
John Howard @
calwaterwars.com
The buzz in the Capitol is that the $11.1 billion borrowing planned for the November 2012 ballot may get pushed back or downsized, in part because of the miserable economy, in part because of the ballot’s volatile political mix.

State Appeals Ruling On Disability Funding
David Gorn @
californiahealthline.org
In May, a federal judge issued an injunction to halt the state's freeze on funding for programs for the developmentally disabled. Yesterday, California attorneys were back in court, this time at the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Pasadena, to ask that the May decision be overturned.

CSU Unveils New List For Presidential Salary Comparisons
Erica Perez @
californiawatch.org
Which colleges and universities should the California State University system compare itself with when deciding how much to pay its campus presidents?

The Buzz: Another Calderon Headed To The Capitol?
Jim Sanders @
sacbee.com
Assemblyman Chuck Calderon's son, Ian, is raising funds and promoting his candidacy on Facebook for the newly drawn 57th District Assembly seat that stretches from Norwalk and La Mirada to South El Monte.

Brown Vetoes Bill To Extend California Nursing Board
Abby Sewell @
latimes.com
The governor objects to a provision that would have added to the state's pension costs by classifying certain board investigators as peace officers. He urges the Legislature to pass a revised bill before the agency ceases to exist Jan. 1.

SF Schools' Special Ed Chief Resigns
Trey Bundy @
baycitizen.org
The head of the San Francisco Unified School District's special education department, Cecelia Dodge, said this week that she would be leaving the district in December for personal reasons.

California Plans $2-billion Bond Sale Amid Rising Yields
latimesblogs.latimes.com
California will sell $2 billion in bonds next week, and the state probably will have to pay significantly more to borrow than it did three weeks ago. That may lure more yield-hungry individual investors to the securities. Treasurer Bill Lockyer...

Obama Campaign Raises $70 Million In Third Quarter
Tom Hamburger and Melanie Mason, Washington Bureau @
latimes.com
President Obama's reelection campaign raised $70 million in the third quarter, exceeding its goal but coming in at less than its second-quarter take. New fundraising totals for his Republican challengers also are emerging.

Blue Shield Of California To Return Money To Customers
latimesblogs.latimes.com
Health insurer Blue Shield of California, which last summer said it would return $167 million in excess profit to nearly 2 million policyholders, now says it will give them an additional $283 million in December. Policyholders are seeing the first...

Did Herman Cain Get 9-9-9 Tax Plan From Simcity Video Game?
Joe Garofoli @
blog.sfgate.com
Now, there's another question: Is it really Herb Cain's signature plan? The Huff Post reports that back in 2003, a similar tax system was introduced in the SimCity video game, which is produced by Redwood City's own Electronic Arts. Says the HuffPo: Residents of SimCity 4 -- which was released in 2003 -- were living under a system where the default tax rate was 9 percent for commercial taxes, 9 percent for industrial taxes and 9 percent for residential taxes.