Around The Capitol

Having trouble viewing this email? Click here

Receive this as a forward? Sign up here

THE NOONER for January 4, 2012

jump to the headlines


  • AD30 - added businessman Ron Bernosky (R)

TWEET DU JOUR: @thewyatt - "Assemblyman Donnelly stopped at Ontario airport attempting to bring a gun on plane to Sacramento"

THE QUESTION: Was it a stunt to get another Daily Show appearance?


The Legislature returns today for the second year of the 2011-12 legislative session, which lasts until August 29. The Assembly convenes at noon and the Senate meets at 2pm.

This will not be an ordinary January in California politics. I can't remember a January with as many significant dates in my 16 years on the Capitolscene. Here's what I will be watching: 

Today, January 4
The Legislature reconvenes.
Things to look for:

  • Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar) is expected to be elected Senate Republican Leader. 

Thursday, January 5
The first debate/town-hall in the super-showdown in CD30.
Things to look for: 

  • Do Howard Berman and Brad Sherman fake a collegial friendship or go for the jugular right away?
  • Are Mark Reed and/or Susan Shelley strong enough to allow only one of the -ermans on the November ballot?

Friday, January 6
Deadline for the Dream Act referendum. 

Tuesday, January 10
Governor Jerry Brown releases his proposed spending plan for the 2012-13 fiscal year. 
Things to look for:

  • Has the eighteen-month deficit and revenue forecasts changed from the December forecast?
  • How does the governor propose allocating the proceeds of his proposed tax increase, if it is approved by the voters? Does the allocation satisfy the proponents of other tax proposals, in particular Molly Munger and the California Federation of Teachers?
  • Does the governor offer an olive branch to local officials reeling over the Supreme Court's decision eliminating redevelopment and the alternative scheme?

Deadline for the random sample of the State Senate redistricting referendum.
Things to look for: 

  • Minimum percentage of signatures to avoid losing without full count: 67.6%
  • Minimum percentage to avoid a full count: 78.3%
  • Current percentage (as of December 29): 74.25%
  • It's almost certain that the referendum will have sufficient signatures to move on to full count (and very likely qualify), but not enough to avoid a full count that will drag the qualification into early March.

California Supreme Court hears arguments over which maps to use if the redistricting referendum qualifies, or appears to likely to qualify.
Why it matters:

  • Proposition 11 is vague regarding what happens if a referendum challenging one of more maps qualifies, or appears that it will qualify, for the ballot. Assuming the referendum qualifies, it is up to the California Supreme Court to decide whether the maps used in 2012.

Tuesday, January 17
The Los Angeles City Council vacancy election.
Why it matters:

  • Most Los Angeles insiders believe that Joe Buscaino has the edge over Warren Furutani for the council seat vacated by now-Congresswoman Janice Hahn. Buscaino, a police officer, has split the labor vote, garnered significant endorsements and is raising significant money in the low-turnout election. In an "ordinary" year, this was a free ride for Furutani, who is eligible for one more term in the Assembly. (Furutani served less than one-half of his term when he succeeded Laura Richardson in a special election.) 
  • The problem is, redistricting has redefined the local Assembly seats to put both Assemblymembers Isadore Hall and Furutani in the new AD64. With Hall's decision last week to abandon the congressional race against Hahn and Richardson, he is now running in Furutani's back-up plan. (Observers will note that Furutani had endorsed former candidate Mike Gipson for the race and may not have run anyway.) Will Furutani face off against Hall if the council bid is unsuccessful? We'll likely know by the end of the month.

Tuesday, January 31
Last day to pass bills introduced in 2011.
Thing to look for:

  • Do supporters of redevelopment try to get a legally sound alternative through before the February 1, 2012 wind-down deadline for agencies set by the California Supreme Court?

State and federal campaign finance deadlines.
A few of the things to look for:

  • CD07: Does Ami Bera continue to be a fundraising powerhouse and can he find steady donors within the district?
  • CD09: Ricky Gill came from nowhere in the 3rd quarter filings, ending the quarter with more cash on hand than incumbent Jerry McNerney. Is there more in the well?
  • CD10: Does former astronaut Jose Hernandez (D) have the fundraising ability to be a real challenge to incumbent Jeff Denham (R)?
  • CD15: Does Pete Stark still have the fire in the belly to fundraise and does challenger Eric Swalwell (D) have the ability to raise dough against an incumbent of his own party? 
  • CD30: Howard Berman (D) traditionally raises most of his money in his star-studded dinner, which was held November 16 in Beverly Hills. However, this year's reported take of $1.6 million is a small share of the $5 million he may need for the race against Brad Sherman (D). Watching the take of the two Democrats will be very interesting, as well as that of the Republicans Mark Reed and Susan Shelley to see if they are gaining any traction that could ensure June is the end of one of the -ermans.
  • CD41: Will Mark Takano (D) continue to out-raise John Tavaglione?
  • CD44: Does Laura Richardson raise any significant money and tackle her debts? Which consultants and vendors are willing to continue to work for her with so much outstanding debt from previous races?
  • CD??: It will be interesting to watch the accounts of David Dreier (R), Elton Gallegly (R), and Jerry Lewis (R) to look for signals of retirement, if not announced before then.
  • SD09: Can Sandre Swanson raise money for a race against Loni Hancock (D)?
  • SD19: Jason Hodge (D) v. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D) v. Mike Stoker (R). Stoker's number will likely be the most interesting.
  • SD25: Carol Liu kicked in $100,000 of her own money in the closing days of December. Anthony Portantino has plenty of money spread across three accounts, but donors to his potential congressional race are claiming foul, arguing that the money was meant to take on David Dreier. Look for returned contributions, which would signal a bigger political than financial problem. Also, does Ameenah Fuller turn in a respectable number as the non-politician to show that she could affect the Liu-Portantino outcome?
  • AD40: Senator Bob Dutton v. Assemblymember Mike Morrell. Dutton had $273k on hand as of June 30, while Morrell had $47k. Morell just gave himself a Christmas gift of $67,000, but it will likely still appear to be a David v. Goliath race.
  • AD46: Who can't resist watching the fundraising in a four-way Democratic, top-two primary?
  • AD47: One-up that. How about a five-way Democratic, top-two primary with one Republican? Add in the fact that four of the six candidates are Asian.
  • AD50: The Bloom-Butler-Osborne showdown.

Anywhere...there are certainly more, but these are the big ones that come to mind and the flight attendant just told us to turn off electronic devices.

Sometime in January
Does Dean Florez jump into CD21? 
Why it matters: 

  • With Michael Rubio opting to stay in the State Senate, Florez may be the only candidate with a shot at beating Assemblymember David Valadao in this swing seat.


Lawmaker Proposes Revote On High-speed Rail Funds
Michael J. Mishak @
As legislators prepare to return to the Capitol this week, one lawmaker is proposing legislation that would allow voters a do-over on the $9 billion in state bonds they authorized for California’s high-speed rail project.

California Campaign Finance Site Returns After Technical Troubles
Torey Van Oot @
California's campaign finance and lobbying disclosure database got back up and running in time for the New Year.

Gov. Brown Yet To Take On Key Education Reforms
Louis Freedberg @
Despite being able to largely protect funding for the state's K-12 schools--one of the signature accomplishments of his governorship to date--Gov. Jerry Brown has yet to make headway on the reforms he outlined in his education platform during his gubernatorial campaign.

Her Case Shows Why Healthcare Privacy Laws Exist
Michael Hiltzik @
A California hospital's release of a woman's medical records warrants an investigation of it and its parent, Prime Healthcare, which is already the focus of an inquiry into possible Medicare and Medi-Cal billing fraud.

Condoleezza Rice: I 'Worry' About Complex California Ballot
David Siders @
Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is teaching at Stanford University these days, and this afternoon she was just getting back from the Fiesta Bowl, which Stanford lost Monday on two missed field goals by a redshirt freshman, one at the end of regulation and one in overtime.

Sacramento Region Sees Sharp Drop In Million-dollar Earners
The number of local households earning more than $1 million has fallen 40 percent since the start of the recession, according to new figures from the state Franchise Tax Board.

Herdt: Redevelopment's Self-inflicted Demise
Timm Herdt @
As the obituaries are written for California's 425 redevelopment agencies, whose demise was certified by the state Supreme Court last week, an honest assessment of the cause will read like this: "death by hubris."

Dan Walters: California Legislature Has A New Opportunity ... But Only If It Mends Its Ways
Polls tell us that the vast majority of Californians believe their Legislature is ineffective and at least semi-corrupt.

AM Alert: California Legislature heads back to budget woes
Micaela Massimino @
Fasten your seat belt. The California Legislature is back in Sacramento, with the Assembly meeting at noon, and the Senate at 2 p.m.

Calif. lawmakers return to face budget challenges
DON THOMPSON, Associated Press @
California lawmakers reconvene Wednesday to face a $13 billion budget deficit and other familiar issues, but also will be dealing with an entirely new political landscape.

New Handgun Regulation Faces Federal Lawsuit
A new California law that prohibits the carrying of an unloaded handgun in public already is under legal attack.

Legislature: Senate GOP Leadership Switch
Senate Republicans are expected to have a new leader Wednesday, their first day back in the Capitol after the fall recess. The caucus announced last month that state Sen. Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, would replace Senate Minority Leader Bob Dutton, R-Rancho Cucamonga.

The Caucus: Bachmann Looks to an Election Night 'Miracle'
Michele Bachmann makes her last campaign stop about repealing President Obama's health care law.

Secretary Of State's Creaky Computer System Working Again
John Woolfolk @
Candidates, journalists and civic-minded busybodies weary of pestering state staffers to submit or examine campaign disclosure forms will be relieved to know that the state's creaky electronic filing system is back online after its second prolonged outage.

Assemblyman Tim Donnelly tries to carry loaded handgun on airplane
Jim Sanders @
Assemblyman Tim Donnelly was cited today for having a loaded gun in his carry-on bag at the Ontario airport.

Pension Reform: More Expensive Than Doing Nothing?
Teri Sforza @
Pushing public workers out of pension plans with guaranteed payouts could save taxpayers billions each year — but perhaps not until the folks reading this story are grizzled and gray, according to new analyses by the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office.

Hicks: Kim Kardashian should pay more taxes, citizen group says
Tony Hicks @
A coalition of groups supporting a proposed ballot initiative asking Californians to raise taxes on the rich is targeting one of the state's most famous millionaires -- reality TV star Kim Kardashian.

Occupy Sacramento Looking To Try New Tactics
A small cadre of people held vigil over a section of grass outside Sacramento's historic City Hall on Tuesday.

Rival Union Group Wants Probe Into Peace Officers' Site Hacking
Jim Sanders @
A California law enforcement group called Tuesday for a legislative investigation into the hacking of a statewide peace officers union website by a shadowy international group calling itself Anonymous.

Petition to repeal SJ pot law qualifies for ballot
The Associated Press @
Medical marijuana advocates in San Jose have qualified a petition for the ballot that would repeal recent city-approved restrictions on pot clubs.

Next Step For Online Ed Initiative
With a formal title and a favorable fiscal analysis in hand, backers of an initiative to broaden access to online college preparatory classes will begin gathering signatures today to qualify for the November ballot.

Dan Walters: California Legislature has a new opportunity ... but only if it mends its ways
Polls tell us that the vast majority of Californians believe their Legislature is ineffective and at least semi-corrupt.