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THE NOONER for December 1, 2011

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NEW DIVIDE IN LA BLACK POLITICS? "Simmering political tensions in Black Los Angeles broke into the open last week, when City Councilman Herb Wesson was unanimously chosen the first African-American president of the Los Angeles City Council — only to watch in disappointment as his only two African-American colleagues, Bernard Parks and Jan Perry, declined to show up for the vote." [Olu Alemoru @ Wave]

...which brings us to CD44 and also the federal lawsuit.

This week, the three other California members of the California Congressional Black Caucus--Karen Bass, Barbara Lee, and Maxine Waters--did as expected by endorsing one of their own, Laura Richardson, for election to CD44.

Now, it's an understatement to say that Richardson is a flawed candidate. At the close of the last filing period, she had $116,706 on hand and $460,011 in debt (over 10% of all campaign debt of 160 active candidate committees in California). Usually when you see that kind of debt, it's a candidate loan that may or may not ever be paid off. Instead, Richardson owes money to an array of campaign consultants, pollsters, printers and lawyers. Only $1,200 is debt to the candidate. If anyone's bored today and wants to weed through FEC filings, I'd love to know if any incumbent is that deep in the whole going to next year.

As the 432nd least wealthy member of the House, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, Richardson is deep in personal debt (mortgages and legal fees) and unable to come to the rescure of her campaign. Thus, how much of a campaign will she really be able to put up next year?

Assemblymember Isadore Hall emerged as the alt-Richardson from the black community. He picked up early support from the Assemblymembers Charles Calderon and Ricardo Lara. He also claimed early endorsements from State Senator Alex Padilla and several Latino state Assemblymembers. 

However, Padilla endorsed Congresswoman Janice Hahn this week, saying "Congresswoman Hahn is the best choice for California’s new 44th Congressional District." Hahn has also picked up many local Latino elected officials (as has Hall), and the endorsement of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Many of Hall's early endorsements were before Hahn was running for the same district, and some may be moving to Hahn as the alt-Richardson. 

Hahn too has campaign debt totaling $169,000 (including to many of the same vendors as Richardson. However, this is left over from the unexpectedly difficult race this year, for which she raised something around $1.5 million. The money won't be as easy this time around as the race won't be in the national focus, but I'd bet she'll be the best fundraiser in the race. As a sitting member, she has the same PAC access that Richardson has, but she also brings an impressive individual mailing list that comes both with the family name and the difficult race earlier this year (68% of the $1.6 million she has raised this year has been from individuals).

With the support of Latino leaders in a district that is 49.1% Latino CVAP and a likely respectable showing among black voters because of the family legacy, Hahn likely won't have to spend too much money to come in the top two. Meanwhile, Hall and Richardson will find fundraising more difficult as Hahn appears to be the favorite and as the black community divides its support. Hahn has to be considered the favorite in this race.

Which brings us to the Radanovich federal legal challenge to the congressional maps. The argument is that the commission should have drawn one or two black districts and at least one Latino district. If the Commission simply added 6,326 Latino CVAP into this district of 702,904, it would be a majority Latino district (it's already in the legal margin of error). However, we would probably looking at the same three candidates, with a divided black community, a weak incumbent, and a white woman most likely to win a seat that is 76.7% Latino or black CVAP.

If the court redraws the area, Maxine Waters would likely have the majority-minority black district. Latino voters could be pulled out of Waters's CD43 to put in CD44, making it a majority-minority Latino district. Hahn could end up with a district like she has now or still in the nearly majority Latino district. Bass could end up in a district with Henry Waxman. In this scenario, it would be very possible that we'd go from having four African-Americans in California's delegation to two--Lee and Waters. And, if Hahn still in the reshaped CD44, a court-ordered remap ostensibly in favor of African-American and Latino voters wouldn't lead to additional representation from either group.

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BREAKING NEWS: California voters aren't crazy about Obama, but will vote for him over GOP candidates. [Field Poll]

Obama: 50%
Romney: 40%

Obama: 55%
Gingrich:  35%

Meanwhile, Rick Perry is taking pictures for $1,000 a pop right now at The Park Ultra Lounge [h/t Capitol Morning Report] Apparently, he's still in the race, hoping to be the Tim Tebow of the Republican primary.

TAXING THURSDAY:

THE E-MAIL I DIDN'T OPEN: Subject: Scott, I want to meet you (from "Michelle Obama")

And, we have the headlines...

TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
The Crowding Field Of 2012 Tax Initiatives | Capital Notes -- From Kqed's John Myers
blogs.kqed.org
California voters have long had a reputation as anti-tax, a reputation that explains why so many proposals either fizzle before ever making it to the ballot... or are roundly rejected on Election Day.

Jerry Brown Appoints Two Democrats To CalSTRS Board
David Siders @
blogs.sacbee.com
Gov. Jerry Brown announced today that he has appointed a lawyer and a former deputy state treasurer, both Democrats, to the California State Teachers' Retirement System board.

School Advocates Say Voters Ready To Pass Tax For Education
capitolweekly.net


Jerry Brown to attend legislative hearing on his pension plan
Torey Van Oot @
blogs.sacbee.com
Gov. Jerry Brown will be on hand this afternoon as a legislative panel convenes to review his pension proposal.

Elections 2012: A ballot stew starts to boil again
Cindy Baker @
capitolweekly.net
Doesn’t it seem like Californians just did this? Merely a year after voters passed judgment on taxes, budgeting, redistricting, environmental funding, local powers and other hot-button questions, some of the same issues are back – in spades. Different titles, different alignments, different political landscape, but somehow still the same.

Jerry Brown Wants Tax Hikes To Wealthy, Sales To Raise $7 Billion
blogs.sacbee.com
Gov. Jerry Brown will ask voters to raise nearly $7 billion annually by hiking taxes on upper-income earners and sales in California over the next five years, according to sources who have been briefed.

Jerry Brown To Pitch Tax Plan To Voters
Michael J. Mishak and Nicholas Riccardi @
latimesblogs.latimes.com
In the latest proposed fix for California’s fiscal crisis, Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to announce a multibillion-dollar tax initiative in the coming days, asking voters to raise levies on upper-income earners and increase the state’s sales tax by half a cent.

In California, A Push For Tax Increases On The 2012 Ballot
nytimes.com
LOS ANGELES — For 33 years, since the passage of Proposition 13 slashed property taxes in this state, California has been on the leading edge of the tax cut movement that has spread across the nation.

Jerry Brown wants tax hikes to wealthy, sales to raise $7 billion
Kevin Yamamura @
blogs.sacbee.com
Gov. Jerry Brown will ask voters to raise nearly $7 billion annually by hiking taxes on upper-income earners and sales in California over the next five years, according to sources who have been briefed.

Two Named To CalSTRS Have 'Financial Expertise'
Ed Mendel @
calpensions.com
Gov. Brown yesterday appointed two CalSTRS board members with decades of experience in law and financial firms, a first step toward an ambitious pension reform plan he issued in October to end abuses and cut costs.

Economic Theory Meets Political Reality In Think Long Proposal :: Fox&hounds
foxandhoundsdaily.com
The Think Long Committee proposal to change the governance structure in California is centered on a change in the tax system. The committee proposes lowering and flattening the income tax, lowering the sales tax, and creating a new tax on services. In theory, the proposition is sound, although the tax increase that accompanies the restructuring is counterproductive. In execution it may be difficult if not impossible to accomplish.

Gov. Jerry Brown To Add Tax Plan To The Mix
Local @
contracostatimes.com
Amid competing measures, his proposal would temporarily raise sales and income taxes

Brown Signs Dozens Of Bills Previously Vetoed By Schwarzenegger
Chase Davis @
californiawatch.org
Dozens of bills vetoed during the final legislative session of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s administration have found new life with Jerry Brown in the governor’s office, a California Watch analysis has found.

Got A Calculator? Rival Tax Plans Complicate Ballot
Greg Lucas @
capitolweekly.net
Five groups and counting – including Gov. Jerry Brown – aim to help California by convincing voters next November to approve billions in tax increases.

Brown administration to submit tax hike initiative
The Associated Press @
signonsandiego.com
California Gov. Jerry Brown is planning a ballot initiative that asks voters to increase taxes on the wealthy and raise the sales tax by half a cent.

House to vote on $3 election checkoff
MJ Lee @
politico.com
The proposed bill would end taxpayer financing of presidential election campaigns.

Ex-gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger Back In Energy Spotlight
blogs.sacbee.com
The reputation-rehabilitation tour of former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger continues next Monday, when he delivers the keynote address for the American Council for Renewable Energy's 10th anniversary celebration.

More Pay Issues At Calif. State Universities
Nanette Asimov @
sfgate.com
Fearing violence, California State University trustees will cancel next week's vote on salaries for campus presidents, they said Wednesday - the same day a state senator criticized the University of California regents...

State Pension Systems See Potential Obstacles In Brown's Reform Plan
Patrick McGreevy @
latimesblogs.latimes.com
Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to overhaul public pensions in California may face legal hurdles and create some new costs, according to officials with the state’s two largest public retirement systems.

Kagan, Thomas pressed to step aside in healthcare fight
James Oliphant @
latimes.com
As the Supreme Court prepares to consider one the most closely watched cases in its recent history, two of its nine justices—one on the left and one on the right--are being pressed to step aside and let their colleagues determine the fate of President Obama’s healthcare overhaul without them.

Governors Petition Dea To Reclassify Medical Marijuana
Michael A. Memoli, Washington Bureau @
latimes.com
A pair of U.S. governors appealed to the Drug Enforcement Administration on Wednesday to reclassify marijuana as a drug with accepted medical uses, saying current federal law makes it difficult for states that have legalized medical marijuana to safely regulate it.

GOP: Charge wealthy more for Medicare to cover payroll tax extension
Lisa Mascaro @
latimes.com
As the Senate prepares to vote on extending President Obama’s payroll tax holiday, the GOP has offered an alternative proposal that would not tax millionaires to pay for it, but instead require those earning beyond $1 million to pay full price for Medicare.

Brown signs dozens of bills vetoed by Schwarzenegger
signonsandiego.com
Dozens of bills vetoed during the final legislative session of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's administration have found new life with Jerry Brown in the governor's office, a California Watch analysis has found.

Jerry Brown appoints lawyer, former deputy state treasurer to CalSTRS board
David Siders @
sacbee.com
Gov. Jerry Brown announced Wednesday that he has appointed a lawyer and a former deputy state treasurer to the California State Teachers' Retirement System board.