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THE NOONER for December 20, 2011

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DISTRICT UPDATES

  • AD67 - removed former senator Dennis Hollingsworth (R)

TWEET DU JOUR: @paulmitche11: "laughed so hard I spit my latte all over my NYT style section! "@MattRexroad: @paulmitche11 is more Republican each day. #reallybigtent"

THE CONTINUING SAGA OF CAL-ACCESS 

At first, the Cal-ACCESS database failure seemed to just be an annoyance for those of us poligeeks who like to watch the money flow or new candidate statements. However, now three weeks in, serious issues are arising for candidates, new PACs and county election officers.

California Watch's Will Evans reports that, when Cal-Access went down, it took CalVoter with it. That's the system local county elections officials use to validate voter registrations. While it's not a huge voter registration time, there is always a constant stream, particularly when there as many initiative petitions on the street as there are now.

Evans writes: 

"Sometimes, I feel like we're having to knock really hard on the door and scream that we're out here and need time and attention and guidance and leadership," said Gail Pellerin, president of the California Association of Clerks and Election Officials. "It's been really hard to get a seat at the table."

"[Secretary of State Debra] Bowen acknowledged the latest technology problems have been "extremely frustrating," but said she has always worked closely with county officials and advocates to formulate policy and fix problems.

Interestingly, there was a deadline last Friday for counties to submit new precinct data to CalVoter.

A new and significant issue is the distribution of new committee ID numbers. Ordinarily, a candidate files a statement of organization and then logs in to Cal-Access to get an ID number. While the Secretary of State's office continues to accept candidate statement of organizations, they are not providing new committees (candidate or ballot measure) with ID numbers.

This is currently keeping 16 candidates who are running for local offices ranging from sanitary district to supervisor out of the normal end-of-year campaign finance frenzy. While mail legally can be sent without ID numbers (page 3-7 for local | page 4-7 for state), it's a royal pain for candidates. If they are going to print invitations, flyers, or remit envelopes, PACs and major donors expect an ID number. 

Why doesn't the Secretary of State's office just give out temporary ID numbers that begin with a 9######? We're only at 135####, so it's not like we're going to need a seven-digit number beginning with 9 in our lifetimes. And, at that point, they would need to think about eight-digit committee numbers. The ID numbers starting with 9 can later be mapped back to one in the regular order, but it would allow these candidates a fair shot of fundraising this quarter, despite the lost couple of weeks.

The SOS responds accordingly:

"Out-of-sequence or "temporary" numbers cannot be issued, especially since numbers are often printed on campaign materials and each committee needs one exclusive and permanent number.  CAL-ACCESS automatically generates unique committee ID numbers, and there are a  handful of new committees awaiting ID numbers.  Secretary of State  staff have notified each filer of the delay, and so far people have been understanding and expressed willingness to wait a bit longer for CAL-ACCESS to be restored."

While I don't necessarily agree from a technical standpoint, I have to say that spox Nicole Winger has been a superstar through this whole ordeal.

DESPERATELY SEEKING CANDIDATE: The Secretary of State announce that Americans Elect, aka the "Make Mike Arno Rich Committee," has qualified to be on the California ballot next year. The 501(c)(4) organization, which doesn't have to disclose its donors or expenditures, gathered 1,621,318 signatures, which is believed to be the largest signature-gathering drive in the state's history. Ten percent of the votes cast in the last gubernatorial election, or 1,030,040, were required. The organization plans to have an internet-driven nomination process and has qualified for the ballot in twelve states.

REBELLION: California's State Park Managers Ask Jerry Brown to Replace Parks Director [Matt Weiser @ SacBee]

Uh, perhaps they forgot that Ruth Coleman doesn't have a budget vote.

All too serious. Let's watch the News Anchor Fail Competition 2011.

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TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
Technology Failures Prompt Criticism Of Secretary Of State
Will Evans @
californiawatch.org
The latest technology snafus to hit Secretary of State Debra Bowen's office have added to growing frustration from registrars and watchdog groups, who say Bowen has been unresponsive to their concerns.

Tax Attorney Chris Parker Hits Ground Running In Assembly Race
Jim Sanders @
blogs.sacbee.com
It's official: Chris Parker is the second Democrat vying for the newly drawn 8th Assembly District seat stretching from Citrus Heights to the Wilton area.

White House Accuses Boehner Of Flip-flopping On Senate Tax Bill
Dustin Weaver @
thehill.com
Boehner on Monday predicted that the Senate bill would fail in the House and called for negotiations between the chambers on legislation that would extend the payroll-tax cut for a year. He said the Senate bill would only create uncertainty for businesses while delaying tough decisions.

Medical marijuana advocates unveil ballot measure
signonsandiego.com
Medical marijuana collectives on Monday unveiled specifics of a proposed ballot initiative that would regulate storefront operators and generate additional revenue through a sales tax to the city of San Diego. The measure would go before voters in November.

Jerry Brown Touts Solar Power As Today's Hanukkah 'Miracle'
Torey Van Oot @
blogs.sacbee.com
Gov. Jerry Brown sees a modern day message for proponents of solar power in the story of Hanukkah.

House GOP postpones vote to extend payroll tax cut
Lisa Mascaro and Kathleen Hennessey @
latimes.com
After calling lawmakers back to Washington, the GOP-led House postponed votes Monday intended to reject a compromise measure to extend President Obama’s payroll tax break for 160 million working Americans.

Moderate political party OK'd for California ballot
Juliet Williams @
mercurynews.com
SACRAMENTO -- A new political party seeking to challenge the dominance of the Democrats and Republicans will appear on California's presidential election ballot next year, the first time since 1995 that a party has been added.

California Bullet Train Feud Echoes Old Conflict
Dan Walters @
sacbee.com
It's doubtful whether members of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, who voted this month to pursue an alternative route through Kings County for a north-south bullet train, have ever heard of the Mussel Slough Tragedy, even though it was a seminal event in the state's history.

Americans Elect Gets OK To Put Ticket On California Ballot
Torey Van Oot @
blogs.sacbee.com
Californians heading to the polls next November could find themselves casting a vote for a presidential candidate picked not by early caucus or primary contests, but on the Web.

Ballot: Americans Elect Qualifies For Ballot
Jim Miller @
pe.com
For the first time since 1995, a new political party has been certified for the California ballot. The secretary of state's office announced Monday that Americans Elect had turned in 1.09 million valid voter signatures to qualify for the June 2012 ballot. It needed 1,030,040 valid signatures.

Villaraigosa Sits With NFL Chief Goodell At Denver Game
Rick Orlov, Staff Writer @
dailynews.com
A coy Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa traveled to Denver over the weekend to meet with officials there and also take in the Denver Broncos-New England Patriot game - sitting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Moderate political party OK'd for Calif. ballot
JULIET WILLIAMS, Associated Press @
signonsandiego.com
A new political party will appear on California's presidential election ballot next year, the first time since 1995 that a party has been added.

California's State Park Managers Ask Jerry Brown To Replace Parks Director
Matt Weiser @
sacbee.com
The managers who operate California's state parks say they have lost faith in their leader, and are urging Gov. Jerry Brown to appoint a replacement.

Labor Vows To Fight Recall Campaign Against Oakland Mayor Jean Quan
Local @
contracostatimes.com
Union leaders to work with Quan backers

White House pressures House GOP ahead of payroll tax votes
Peter Nicholas @
latimes.com
The White House said Monday it remains hopeful that House Republicans will pass the Senate-backed bill that extends the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance benefits for two months, despite House Republican leadership assertions that the chamber will reject the measure.

The Numbers Behind California's 11.3 Percent Jobless Rate
blogs.sacbee.com
California's unemployment rate has been edging downwards in recent months in an apparent sign of slow recovery from the state's worst recession since the Great Depression, dropping to 11.3 percent in November.

House vote leaves fate of payroll tax break unclear
Kathleen Hennessey @
latimes.com
The House rejected a Senate-brokered compromise to extend a tax cut for working Americans and sent the measure to a conference committee for negotiations.

Waste Connections Will Pay Millions To Exit Sacramento
Rick Daysog @
sacbee.com
Waste Connections Inc. said it may incur a loss of $4 million to $6 million next year on its existing lease on its Folsom headquarters.

Dems Vow Not To Cave On Payroll Tax, Upping Pressure On Boehner
Alexander Bolton @
thehill.com
Democrats say there is no chance of them caving in to House Republicans over the payroll tax holiday, which puts House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) in a tough spot.

California To Draw More Than $100 Billion From Tourists In 2011
latimesblogs.latimes.com
Travel and tourism in California is expected to generate a total of $104.4 billion in direct spending in 2011, a 10% increase over last year. The 2011 forecast included in a report by Tourism Economics, a Pennsylvania-based tourism consulting firm,...

Candidate calls Obama a 'Monkey'
Abby Sewell @
latimes.com
A failed Carson City Council candidate drew the attention of federal law enforcement when he called for the assassination of President Obama, whom he described on Facebook with a racial ephithet.