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THE NOONER for December 15, 2011

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DISTRICT UPDATES

  • AD05 - removed El Dorado supervisor Ray Nutting (R)
  • AD10 - removed San Rafael councilmember Damon Connolly (D) - endorses Michael Allen

TWEET DU JOUR: @ProPublica - "It turns out coffee enemas don't cure cancer. Taxpayers spent $406,000 to make sure: bit.ly/vma9cG (via @katchicago) #MuckReads"

As a gallon-a-day coffee drinker, I could go in so many directions with that, but I'll spare you.

ELECTIONTRACK: With the continuing problems with Cal-Access, I have added better searching on ElectionTrack, accessible now on the home page. Of course, I'm not getting any new data.

SOS SPEAKS: Here's a memo explaining what happened to Cal-Access, and the three strategies being pursued to restore access. [h/t Torey Van Oot @ SacBee]

THE CLOSER: "The recovery efforts will make CAL-ACCESS stable and get it running, but it can never be more robust or feature-laden. Ideally, we need a fresh start with an all-new CAL-ACCESS."

AMEN!

YEE FEE: Senator Leland Yee proposes doubling lobbyist registration fees (to $100/year) to raise $50,000 to help fix Cal-Access. Per the Secretary of State's estimates, that might cover the coffee bill.

REFLECT AND DEFLECT: UC administrators were brought before a joint legislative hearing yesterday to answer for the student protests, and they successfully made it about the Legislature's budget cuts to the universities. [Michael J. Mishak at LAT]

PORTANTINO'S PICKLE: Many donors to Anthony Portantino's congressional account, raised to unseat David Dreier, don't want their money used to challenge Carol Liu in SD25. [Mark Kellam @ LAT/La Canada Valley Sun]

THE NEW GAME: California's 'Top Two' – myth and reality in 2012 [Paul Mitchell @ Capitol Weekly]

THE SHELL GAME? John Fensterwald asks how much of the governor's tax increase for the "Education Protection Account" will actually be used for schools. "As Brown has said, persuading Californians to pass a tax increase will be difficult, especially next year. But in overstating the initiative’s impact on K-12 school funding, Brown may be hurting his own cause."

SOPA MARK-UP: The House Judiciary marks up the Stop Online Piracy Act today, which pits Hollywood against Silicon Valley. It also gives a platform to friend-of-Hollywood Howard Berman, the second ranking Democrat on the committee. Don't look for Silicon Valley to be playing in CD30, as Brad Sherman jumped on the bill as a co-sponsor last week.

TAX THE MFERS: Democratic Party chairman John Burton filed an initiative yesterday to establish an oil severance tax for higher education. [John Myers @ KQED] [language]

TAP TAPPER! The Christiane Amanpour experiment is over, and ABC News is temporarily putting George Stephanopoulos back on Sunday mornings. [Brian Stelter at NYT] 

Apparently, Chuck Todd was also passed over for the gig.

DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS: Thank you for putting up with a few missing words yesterday. Early morning writing on the road...

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TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
California's 'Top Two' - myth and reality in 2012
Paul Mitchell @
capitolweekly.net
Much of this year’s legislative and congressional drama has focused on the decennial redistricting, but the greater impact could come from our seemingly annual attempt to change election systems in California.

Room For Two Tax Initiatives? Burton Thinks So
John Myers @
blogs.kqed.org
And so on Tuesday, while Governor Jerry Brown was telling reporters that he hopes to clear the field of other tax initiatives aiming for the November ballot, Burton was filing a tax initiative of his own -- an oil severance tax to help fund higher education. "I don't believe our [initiative] detracts in any way" from Brown's tax proposal, said Burton in a brief phone interview.

Obama Administration Wins Plaudits From Healthcare Law Critics
Noam N. Levey, Washington Bureau @
latimes.com
As President Obama gears up his reelection campaign, his administration is laboring to soften the impact of last year's sweeping healthcare law in a bid to prevent further political backlash

Gavin Newsom's Evolving Image Includes Father, Family Man
Cindy Baker @
capitolweekly.net
Meet Gavin Newsom, family man.

More Student Unrest Likely, California College Officials Tell Legislative Panel
sacbee.com
One month after the pepper-spraying of student protesters at the University of California, Davis, officials are struggling with how to move forward, even as they prepare for the possibility of new protests and building takeovers when students return next month.

Statewide Education Groups Decry Budget Cuts
bshuster @
latimesblogs.latimes.com
A statewide coalition of educational leaders decried massive new budget cuts to public schools Wednesday, saying they would consider legal action and pursue new school-funding initiatives.

California website's glitches block online tracking of campaign donations
Torey Van Oot @
sacbee.com
With just six months until the June primary election, campaign cash is starting to flow to candidate and ballot measure committees.

UC Berkeley Offers New Aid To Families Earning Less Than $140k
Kevin Yamamura @
blogs.sacbee.com
A day after the state cut $100 million to the University of California system, UC Berkeley announced a new plan this morning to cap costs for families earning less than $140,000 a year.

Silver Lining In Trigger Cuts Cloud
Joel Fox @
foxandhoundsdaily.com
One reason for the better-than-expected news is because revenues are increasing. Sales tax is up 8% over last year; income tax is 4.5% ahead of last year. Assembly Budget Committee Vice-Chair, Jim Nielsen, reports that income tax is up $1.5 billion from last May, and corporate tax is up $467 million.

California Democratic Party's John Burton Files Tax Proposal
David Siders @
blogs.sacbee.com
John Burton, chairman of the California Democratic Party, is adding his own tax proposal, on oil production, to an already crowded field.

Jerry Brown's Cagily Worded Initiative
John Fensterwald @
toped.svefoundation.org
Californians like the shorthand explanation of the tax increase that Gov. Jerry Brown is proposing for November. Seventy percent in a recent poll said they’d favor the initiative if the money would go to K-12 schools. But this would be true only in a narrow, technical sense. Schools will likely get billions of dollars less.

Burton proposes oil tax measure for 2012 ballot
sacbee.com
John Burton, chairman of the California Democratic Party, is adding his own tax proposal, on oil production, to an already crowded field.

For Water, Perilous Economy Is Big Player In November 2012
John Howard @
capitolweekly.net
The most ambitious and expensive water program to confront California voters since the State Water Project was approved 50 years ago may wind up getting reduced by billions of dollars, a victim of politics and the economy.

Richmond Moves Forward With Soda Tax
Alexis Kenyon @
baycitizen.org
Richmond could be the first city in the nation to implement a soda tax that would fund public health initiatives to fight childhood obesity. But in a city where more than half the population is overweight, critics are calling the revenue proposal "elitist."

UC Davis head tells lawmakers no spraying ordered
JUDY LIN, Associated Press @
signonsandiego.com
The chancellor of the University of California, Davis, is telling lawmakers she never ordered the use of force or pepper spray on students last month.

LAUSD Sues Gov. Jerry Brown And Others Over Cuts To Transportation Program For Magnet And Special-Education Students
Barbara Jones, Staff Writer @
dailynews.com
Los Angeles Unified filed suit late Wednesday against Gov. Jerry Brown and other state officials, seeking to block budget cuts that would gut the district's transportation program for magnet and special-education students.

Census Bureau Pegs California State Spending At $210.4 Billion
blogs.sacbee.com
The 2010 census pegged California's population at 37.3 million, 12.1 percent of the nation's, and a new Census Bureau report says California's government accounted for 13 percent of all state government spending last year.

At Ft. Bragg, Obama Welcomes Troops Home From Iraq
Peter Nicholas @
latimes.com
President Obama celebrated the soldiers who fought the Iraq war on Wednesday, marking the fulfillment of a campaign promise to bring home all U.S. forces following a nearly nine-year conflict that killed more than 4,400 U.S. soldiers.

UC Davis Pepper-Spraying Spur Pledge For Research
Marisa Lagos @
sfgate.com
One month after university police sprayed student protesters with pepper spray at UC Davis, UC President Mark Yudof pledged to undertake research on the health effects of the chemical agent.

Memo: Secretary of state staff tries three fixes for Cal-Access
Torey Van Oot @
blogs.sacbee.com
Bringing California's digital campaign and lobbying disclosure database back online takes more than a simple reboot.

Silicon Valley Firms Dodging Taxes, Report Says
Carolyn Lochhead @
sfgate.com
Silicon Valley technology firms that are lobbying Congress to slash taxes on money they bring home from abroad, arguing that doing so would help them create millions of jobs, already send more than half that money back...

Apologies for UC Davis pepper-spray incident come with a warning
Michael J. Mishak @
latimes.com
University of California administrators are contrite in a meeting with state legislators. But they and students say more protests are inevitable if cuts to higher education continue.