,, Around The Capitol
Around The Capitol
Around The Capitol

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THE NOONER for October 18, 2011

[jump to the headlines]

LEGISLATORS OF THE YEAR: Voting closes at 4pm today. If you haven't voted yet, there should be a link on top of this e-mail. 


  • CD04 - added Rodney Robinson (D)

DURKEE DELAY: The federal criminal court hearing for Kinde Durkee has been kicked from this week to December. It is unclear how this will affect the state civil case handling the accounts.

SPEAKING OF MOVIN' MONEY: Senator Tony Strickland got a $50,000 reload to his State Senate account (SD27) courtesy the Stanislaus County Republican Central Committee. If you're unfamiliar with the gaping loophole in California's campaign finance laws, while an individual is prohibited from kicking in more than $3,900 per election ($7,800 per cycle) to a candidate, they can give more to a central committee intermediary, which can then give it to a candidate. And, that's why the good party leaders in Stanislaus are spending money on an election 300 miles away in Ventura.

Oh, and it's a good way to hide a large bankroll, such as from, say, Farmer's Insurance?

TWEET DU JOUR: @KristinOlsenCA - "Sometimes you need to stand up to bullies and hold them accountable to their own words."

COLD CALLS: "'This is Republican Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen asking you to vote for someone other than Sen. Leland Yee for mayor,' the robocall begins. 'In a time when we need reform, Yee says he wants to release his state office budget but the Rules Committee won't let him.'

'"I released my office budget because the money belongs to taxpayers. True leaders do the right thing despite bureaucratic red tape. If you're looking for a real reformer for mayor, vote for someone other than Leland Yee.'" [sacbee.com]

BAGHDAD BALLOTING: And, Olsen's candidate is likely to win.

"More than 31 percent of respondents said [Ed] Lee was their first choice, while only 8.1 percent chose his closest rival, City Attorney Dennis Herrera. The poll found that John Avalos, the liberal supervisor from the Excelsior District, who has the endorsement of San Francisco’s Democratic Party, was the top choice of 7.4 percent of respondents. State Sen. Leland Yee, once considered a leading contender, earned only 6.5 percent of first-place votes."

But, wait, there's more! Remember, in San Francisco, the winners can be losers and the losers can be winners. Bring on ranked-choice voting.

"Lee’s advantage is overwhelming and possibly insurmountable, according to Corey D. Cook, director of USF’s Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good, who helped administer the poll.

"'Lee’s the clear-cut first choice, but he’s also getting second-place votes from everybody,' Cook said. 'No contenders have a chance to catch him in the subsequent tallies — he just wins."

Fiona likely will have time to work on Jason's campaign next year...


Huffman (D) 20%
Roberts (R) 18%
Solomon (D) 7%
Adams (D) 5%
Lawson (D) 5%
Caffrey (D) 4%
Renee (D) 3%
Undecided 27%

(FM3, 10/5-9, n=400, +/- 4.9%)

On to the headlines...

Inland: State Voting Rights Law Reshapes Local Elections
Jim Miller @
Fresh census data and a state law meant to increase minority representation in local government are fast revamping how people elect members of school boards, city councils and other bodies.

Fundraising Signals Hot Political Races In June
Jean Merl and Richard Simon @
Redistricting and a new primary election system combine to change the state's political landscape and may produce the most expensive House race ever.

Conservative activists in California propose initiative on illegal immigration
Kevin Yamamura @
Conservative activists have submitted an initiative proposal targeting illegal immigration by imposing limits on financial aid and Medi-Cal benefits while requiring California law enforcement to work with federal immigration officials.

Tea party panel supports health care law's repeal
A tea party commission trying to "crowd-source" a plan to reduce the federal budget deficit says it found broad support for repealing the health care legislation passed last year and eliminating entire federal departments, but much less enthusiasm for changes to Medicare and Social Security.

Congresswomen -- And Sisters -- Linda And Loretta Sanchez Report Losses Of $322,000 And $125,000, Respectively, In Durkee Case
Kevin Freking, Associated Press @
Sanchez was among the hundreds of Democratic candidates and committees in California who used Kinde Durkee as their treasurer. Federal prosecutors have accused Durkee of siphoning nearly $700,000 from a California assemblyman, but the case took on more significance when she told authorities she had misappropriated money from other Democratic lawmakers over the years.

Millionaire's Tax On Its Way To California Ballot?
Local @
Occupy Wall Street protesters may be long gone by November 2012, but labor leaders are hoping that voters' anger toward the wealthy won't be going anywhere as the election season unfolds. For that reason, the California Federation of Teachers and a coalition of liberal allies are moving forward with plans to place a millionaires tax measure on the ballot next year. Millionaires, in this case, are defined as individuals whose annual income is $1 million or more.

Two Sacramento political firms expand D.C. presence
Torey Van Oot @
Two political firms with ties to Sacramento are expanding their reach in the beltway through mergers and new office openings.

Rand Paul's Switch Clears Way For Pipeline Bill
Jaxon Van Derbeken @
The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a pipeline safety bill late Monday after a senator with strong Tea Party ties did an about-face - lifting a hold that had blocked the legislation for weeks and adding a provision that...

Democrats Give Dan Lungren A Mouthful Over PB&J
Torey Van Oot @
Rep. Dan Lungren is getting some flack for his favorite sandwich in a new television spot launched by a Democratic campaign committee.

SF Plan Would Offer Tax Break For Hiring Felons
Rachel Gordon @
San Francisco businesses that hire people with felony convictions would get a tax break, under legislation expected to be introduced today.

Dan Walters: High-speed Choo-choo To Nowhere
Dan Walters @
When the Obama administration gave California several billion dollars for its proposed high-speed rail project last year, it attached an odd string. The money had to be spent, the feds said, on a relatively short stretch in the San Joaquin Valley.

Obama's reelection campaign boasts one million donors
Michael A. Memoli @
President Obama's campaign is touting a fundraising milestone Monday, having surpassed one million donors for the reelection effort.

Feud has Modesto and San Francisco lawmakers all a-Twitter
The fight started on Twitter. It continued this week with a Central Valley assemblywoman bankrolling thousands of campaign telephone calls asking San Francisco Republican voters not to elect Democratic state Sen. Leland Yee as their mayor.

Some Palo Alto voters get San Jose ballots in election mixup
An estimated 65 Palo Alto residents were scratching their heads over the weekend when they opened their vote-by-mail ballots and were asked to select the next board members for a San Jose school district.

Dead Last In Digital Ed
And some of the many measurements that Digital Learning Now chose are suspect, according to Eric Premack, executive director and founder of the Charter Schools Development Center in Sacramento. But Premack, who has counseled online schools through state regs, has long advocated loosening some of the restrictions limiting expansion and experimentation in online education. These include restrictive student-teacher ratios for online independent study schools and, for blended learning schools that combine online studying and classroom instruction, the imposition of a minimum number of minutes of daily instruction by certificated teachers. The latter rule limits the ability of successful schools, like Rocketship Education, to expand their learning labs beyond a quarter of the day.

Former Senate Staffer Robb Deignan Dies In Davis-to-Fairfield Bike Ride
Cathy Locke and Torey Van Oot @
Robb Deignan was a skilled bicyclist who regularly participated in challenging events, like this Eppie's Great Race in 2006.

Investors May Not Back Bullet Train Until After It's Running, Agency Says
Ralph Vartabedian @
In a letter to key legislators, the California High-Speed Rail Authority's acknowledgment about private funding again raises serious questions about how the $43-billion construction cost will be paid over the next decade

East Bay House Members Lag Challengers In Fundraising
Josh Richman @
UC law student taking on McNerney has $650,000 in cash on hand

Former Senate Staffer Robb Deignan Dies After Bike Accident
Torey Van Oot @
A longtime former Senate staffer has died after sustaining injuries in a weekend bike accident.

Mini-medical Schools Helping People Age In Better Health
Dr. Michael McCloud started off thinking small. He expected only a handful of people to show up in early 2002 for what he thought would be a one-time series of classes on healthy aging, his spin on the growing "mini-medical school" concept.

Bay Citizen/USF Poll: Lee Dominates
Gerry Shih @
Interim Mayor Ed Lee is poised to win San Francisco’s mayoral race handily, according to results of a Bay Citizen/USF Poll that shows Lee dominating his main rivals and ultimately cannibalizing their votes under a format that requires voters to rank the candidates by preference.