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THE NOONER for October 24, 2011

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DISTRICT UPDATES

  • AD11 - Removed Ron Rowlett (D)

PREVIOUSLY COMMITTED: Democrats duck President Obama [David Cantanese & Alex Isenstadt @ Politico]

On that note, avoid L.A. rush hour today. Obama plans to arrive at LAX shortly before 5pm for funders tonight and a taping with Jay Leno tomorrow morning. 

THE POST-AYATOLLAH SPEAKERSHIP?: The power of one: Perez controls Assembly with money [Jim Sanders @ Sac Bee]

HOLD YOUR BREATH IN 3...2...1...: Big changes are coming to the Capitol [Dan Morain @ Sac Bee]

FOR YOUR AURAL PLEASURE: KQED's John Myers and the Bee's David Siders on KQED's Capital Notes podcast. Referenda, campaign finance and budget fights ahead.

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On October 27, 2011 at the Citizen Hotel in Sacramento, the Leadership California Institute will hold Candidate Forum 2012, an all-day event which will feature candidates from all over the state running under the newly drawn legislative boundaries.

Confirmed speakers include:
Former Assembly Speaker Willie Brown . Former Senate Minority Leader Jim Brulte . Former Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg . Former Assembly Speaker Curt Pringle
Sunne Wright McPeak, Former Secretary of Business, Transportation and Housing

For more information: www.leadershipcaliforniainstitute.org

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THE IMMIGRATION TEMPTATION: With three ballot measures now set for circulation (referenda on and AB 131 and AB 1236 and Tirso del Junco's initiative), a familiar debate is brewing within the California GOP. Did Prop. 187 really hurt the California Republican Party brand among Latino voters and, even if it did, is the potential long-term pain of short-term gain in 2012?

While it's often taken as gospel, the impact of Prop. 187 on Latino support of Republican candidates is questioned by many political insiders on both sides. They argue that Latino voters are much more attracted to the Democratic Party for economic reasons than they are dissuaded from the Republican brand because of any positions on immigration or benefits to undocumented individuals. And, there are plenty of "we did it the right way" immigrant citizens, including in the Latino community, who support limits on benefits.

Immigration hardly registers on the radar screen of top issues identified by California voters. In fact, the September PPIC poll found that pretty much nothing other than "jobs and the economy"--identified by 67% of adults as the top issue--register. That said, there is incredible angst among voters and, fed by John and Ken and conservative columnists, the fear of joblessness and economic hopelesness could easily pivot to include an attack on Californians without legal immigration status.

Tim Donnelly has emerged as the leading elected voice on immigration, and filed the AB 131 Dream Act referendum. For Donnelly, the challenge is finding the $2.5+ million needed to qualify a referendum. Due January 6, it's going to be very difficult to qualify, particularly with the holidays approaching. However, del Junco's initiative--which would repeal the Dream Act, require fingerprinting for CalWORKs, and prohibit the state from issuing driver's licenses to undocumented residents--has the more reasonable 150-day signature gathering window, which makes it more achievable and lowers the cost of gathering signatures. Proponents would have until mid-May or so to gather signatures in time for the November ballot.

The question is where the money would come from. Ballot measure money comes in large amounts, and usually from special interests. Few special interests want to be tied to a ballot measure on immigration. However, the topic is one of those few issues that can generate legitimate campaign money via direct mail. Direct mail, though, is expensive and requires seed money, something Donnelly doesn't have. Could he team of with del Junco (and partners) and put together a grassroots effort that could raise the money and instantly make this one of the hottest issues in the November 2012 election?

If pursued, the issue of immigration is not going to lead to a Republican sweep in 2012. However, it could play significantly in several seats, particularly those in which a Democrat cast votes for AB 131 and/or AB 1236 this year, and in geographic areas where the economy the worst. I could see it as a legitimate and perhaps effective issue in CD09, SD05, SD27, SD31, and AD21.

Is it worth tilting the tables in a handful of seats and returning to the old debate of whether the California Republican Party has a "problem" with Latinos? That's the debate the potential seed funders of a possible immigration ballot measure are having right now.

Grab a McRib and read the headlines...

TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
SF Ballot Measures: Will Courts Revisit Pensions?
Ed Mendel @
calpensions.com
One of two competing pension measures on the San Francisco ballot next month is said by opponents to be an illegal assault on the “vested rights” of public employees, a cost-cutting plan certain to be overturned by the courts.

SF mayoral candidates call for elections monitors
signonsandiego.com
Candidates vying for the San Francisco's mayor's seat are requesting federal and state monitors for the Nov. 8 election after allegations of ballot tampering in early voting.

Reality Will Bite On California's Debt-ridden Unemployment Fund
Dan Walters @
sacbee.com
The state's Unemployment Insurance Fund, which had a $6.5 billion reserve a decade ago, went into the red nearly two years ago. The state has since been borrowing from the federal government to keep it afloat, a debt now approaching $10 billion.

Dynamics Of G.O.P. Race Spur Romney To Hedge On Flat Tax
nytimes.com
As several leading Republican presidential candidates embrace a flat tax as a core campaign position, one contender stands out in not doing so: Mitt Romney, who has a long record of criticizing such plans and famously derided Steve Forbes’s 1996 proposal as a “tax cut for fat cats.” 

Projects Move Too Slowly
George Skelton @
latimes.com
Brown needs to unleash a public works blitz to create jobs and boost the economy.

Congress to make some small progress on Obama jobs bill
Lisa Mascaro @
latimes.com
The House picks up this week where the Senate left off, considering the one element of President Obama’s jobs proposal that is generating sweeping bipartisan appeal – the repeal of a 3% tax on companies contracting with the government.

Top Candidates Happy To Take Wall Street's Money
Joe Garofoli @
sfgate.com
While President Obama and some Republican candidates struggle with how to embrace the pain and anger fueling the Occupy Wall Street movement - while not endorsing the politically polarizing street protests - the Oval...

Open-carry Advocates Rally With Rifles, Long Guns In San Leandro
contracostatimes.com
SAN LEANDRO -- Russ Allen drove to San Leandro on Saturday to attend a rally protesting the recent passage of Assembly Bill 144, the states ban on carrying unloaded handguns in public.

The Caucus: Events Erode Hope of a Tax Overhaul Before Election Day
nytimes.com
Even in good times, tax reform poses steep political challenges. And these aren't exactly good times.

Medical Help For Illegal Immigrants Could Haunt Mitt Romney
Noam N. Levey, Washington Bureau @
latimes.com
The Massachusetts healthcare law signed by Mitt Romney allows some illegal immigrants to receive free care. There are few complaints in the state, but it may give more ammunition to his rivals in the Republican presidential race.

Ending The Explosion In Health Care Costs
Wally Knox @
healthycal.org
For decades, Americans have debated health care reform as if it was one issue. But, in reality, there are two different issues. The first is how to expand access to care for the 30 million most vulnerable Americans. The second is how to seize control of escalating health care expenses and insurance premiums.

The Caucus: Obama Campaign's Gain Is NPR's Loss
nytimes.com
Michele Norris will leave NPR's All Things Considered for a year since her husband is joining President Obama's re-election campaign.

Indian Tribes To Form Consortium For Healthcare Reform
Tim Moran @
healthycal.org
The California Rural Indian Health Board hopes to form a consortium of tribes to administer healthcare reform for Indians and native Alaskans in 37 rural California counties.

California Leads Way In Putting Amazon In Its Place
Michael Hiltzik @
latimes.com
A key mechanism of Amazon's business model, which was to exploit the price advantage it gained by not collecting sales tax, is beginning to come apart, in no small degree because of California.

Dan Walters: Reality will bite on California's debt-ridden unemployment fund
sacbee.com
California has well over 2 million unemployed workers, and half of them collect unemployment insurance benefits.

Memo To Obama: Declare War Against Something
calbuzz.com
Or, as Andrew Sullivan put it: “To rid the world of Osama bin Laden, Anwar al-Awlaki and Moammar Qaddafi within six months: if Obama were a Republican, he’d be on Mount Rushmore by now.”

Court halts release of Prop. 8 video recordings
Maura Dolan @
latimes.com
A federal appeals court Monday put a temporary hold on a decision to make public the video recordings of the Proposition 8 trial and decided to rule on the matter expeditiously.

UC's New Admissions Rules Confuse Applicants
Larry Gordon @
latimes.com
The SAT subject exams are no longer required. If students take them anyway, good scores can help but poor scores won't hurt, administrators say.

See savings estimates from California prison and parole shift
Jon Ortiz @
blogs.sacbee.com
Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's anticipated realignment savings that final year would be nearly $1.46 billion, or more than three times the savings officials think they'll save from the shift this year.

Obama's lonely campaign trail
Alex Isenstadt and David Catanese @
politico.com
Dem leaders don't view the president as a political liability, but no one wants to get too close.

Republicans turn judicial power into a campaign issue
mercurynews.com
WASHINGTON -- Republican presidential candidates are issuing biting and sustained attacks on the federal courts and the role they play in American life, reflecting and stoking skepticism among conservatives about the judiciary.

Republicans Turn Judicial Power Into a Campaign Issue
nytimes.com
G.O.P. presidential candidates are issuing attacks on the federal courts, stoking skepticism among conservatives about the judiciary.

U.S. immigration authorities boost efforts to hunt war criminals
Paloma Esquivel @
latimes.com
The U.S. government -- Immigration and Customs Enforcement in particular -- steps up efforts to find, prosecute and deport people accused of human rights violations who try to hide here.