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THE NOONER for January 5, 2012

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  • CD26 - added Oxnard Harbor Commissioner Jess Herrera (D)
  • CD32 - added Redlands councilmember Pete Aguilar (D)

START YOUR ENGINES: On the first day back, 198 bills were amended or introduced.

BANG!: Democratic leadership was all ready to give Bob Huff his day in the spotlight, as his fellow Senate Republicans voted to elect him Minority Leader. However, in not the first occasion of frustrating fellow Republicans, Assemblymember Tim Donnelly captured the day's media attention by trying to bring a loaded gun through airport screening at Ontario Int'l Airport. 

Donnelly was cited but not arrested for the incident and faces a fine of up to $1,000 and one year in prison.

Within hours, a new Twitter meme was born--TimDonnelleysGun--with such tweets as "He thought I was a laptop! To his defense, I have been gaining weight from the holidays"

Mashup of Janie's Got a Gun and Timmay in 3…2…1…

WARM-UP LAP: The governor's office announced yesterday that Jerry Brown will release his proposed 2012-13 state budget at 9am on Tuesday, January 10. The California Supreme Court will be hearing arguments on the state senate redistricting maps at the same time.

PIT STOP: "State Sen. Sharon Runner announced Wednesday that she is back on the lung transplant list and will be working away from her office indefinitely to stay healthy for surgery. . . . The 57-year-old legislator has limited scleroderma, an autoimmune condition that affects the body’s connective tissue." [Natasha Lindstrom @ Victorville Daily Press

PILEUP: LAWeekly's Hillel Aron authors a must read on the Los Angeles City Council ("zombies"), looking at why the establishment like the LA Times is going against establishment candidates, and its impact on the Buscaino/Furutani race.

HOME STRETCH: Los Angeles reported a 68.7% validity in signatures submitted in favor of the referendum on the state senate redistricting plan, bringing the statewide percentage to 72.51%. It is now all but certain that the referendum has enough signatures to move on to a full count, which will drag out the qualification until March. The Supreme Court hears arguments next Tuesday on which maps to use in the 2012 elections.

CHECKERED FLAG?: Has Congressman Dan Lungren found the ticket for reelection by championing the demolition of O'Shaughnessy Dam and the restoration of the Hetch Hetchy Valley?

$$$ JACKPOT: The California Republican Party raked in the dough in the closing days of the 4th quarter, reporting $284,400, including $75,000 from Altria (Philip Morris) and $2,000 from Facebook.

Speaker Perez: Fix Water Bond. And More.
John Myers @
As the Legislature returns to Sacramento, the leader of the lower house is sounding confident but cautious on some of the more challenging issues in year ahead.

CCPOA Settles Former Employee's Discrimination Lawsuit
Jon Ortiz @
The California Correctional Peace Officers Association has settled a discrimination and unfair treatment lawsuit brought by a former longtime employee whose husband had been a 2008 candidate for the union's presidency.

Blakeslee Says He Won't Run Again Unless State's High Court Redraws Political Boundaries - Santa Cruz Sentinel
A citizen-led redistricting effort left Blakesle, of San Luis Obispo defending a district that had swung heavily to Democrats. The San Luis Obispo Tribune quoted Blakeslee saying he would rather spend the year working on legislative accomplishments than running a hard-to-win re-election campaign.

Agencies Picked Up $2 Billion Pension Bill For Workers
Teri Sforza @
Local governments spent $1.34 billion picking up their employees‘ required contributions to retirement accounts in 2009 — and $1.96 billion doing the same in 2010, according to data collected by State Controller John Chiang.

Newsom, Brown Raked In Campaign $$$ Last Month
Josh Richman @
Looks as if they were happy holidays indeed for Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who collected $134,000 in campaign contributions last month, according to reports filed yesterday in the Secretary of State’s newly repaired campaign finance database.

Without District Changes Mandated By Court, Sam Blakeslee Is Out Of Race For State Senate - Santa Cruz Sentinel
Local @
SANTA CRUZ - In a decision with potentially far-reaching political implications, State Sen. Sam Blakeslee said Wednesday that he would not seek re-election. But he added one major caveat.

New Year, Old Problems For California Lawmakers
Timm Herdt @
California lawmakers returned to the Capitol on Wednesday to begin a new year in which they expect to wrestle with an array of old problems, potentially reworking a water bond they put together in 2009, revisiting the dissolution of redevelopment agencies they approved in 2011 and again tackling a chronic state budget shortfall that has been diminished but has not yet gone away.

Counties, sheriffs to decide today on Jerry Brown initiative
Kevin Yamamura @
Counties and sheriffs organizations are expected to decide today whether to pursue their own initiative protecting about $6 billion in annual state revenues - or back Gov. Jerry Brown's measure that would do the same while asking voters for higher taxes.

Cash Crunch Puts California In The Cheap Seats In 2012
George Skelton @
Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature refused to allocate funds for an early presidential primary, leaving Republicans in the nation's most populous state without a voice.

Lawmaker Declines To Comment On Shoplifting Charge
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- A San Francisco Bay area lawmaker facing a felony shoplifting charge made her first appearance in the Assembly on Wednesday since she was arrested at a Neiman Marcus store in October.

CCPOA settles former employee's discrimination lawsuit
Jon Ortiz @
The California Correctional Peace Officers Association has settled a discrimination and unfair treatment lawsuit brought by a former longtime employee whose husband had been a 2008 candidate for the union's presidency.

Kim Kardashian Told To 'pay Up' By Group Seeking Tax On Wealthy
Steve Marble @
Money? Kim Kardashian appears to have plenty of that. Paying taxes? Not so much. So says the Courage Campaign, an online organization trying to drum up support support for a November ballot measure that would raise taxes on the wealthiest...

Survey Shows California Healthcare Costs Rising, Benefits Shrinking
Marc Lifsher @
Fewer California companies offered their workers health insurance last year, and the ones that did either charged employees more for their coverage or cut their benefits, according to a survey by the California HealthCare Foundation.

Lawmakers face budget strife, election challenges
DON THOMPSON, Associated Press @
The Legislature has reconvened for a year of diminished expectations amid a backdrop of election-year politics.

Michele Bachmann Ends Presidential Campaign
James Oliphant @
In the wake of a bottom-feeder finish in the Iowa GOP caucuses, Michele Bachmann ended a presidential bid Wednesday that once held so much promise in this state.

The High Speed Rail Bond Vote Needs A Do-over :: Fox&hounds
That sound you heard was another one-ton weight falling on the side of the High Speed Rail scale that proclaims the project a boondoggle. The High Speed Rail Peer Review Group has recommended to the Legislature that the initial $2.7 billion in bonds not be authorized now.

Ruling Threatens Millions Slated For Downtown Sacramento Redevelopment
Ryan Lillis @
Millions of dollars in subsidies that had been slated for two of downtown Sacramento's signature development projects are threatened by a court ruling last week that eliminated redevelopment agencies.

Ron Paul Goes Into New Hampshire Swinging
Carla Marinucci,Joe Holley @
GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul, coming off a strong third-place finish in the Iowa caucuses, charges into the New Hampshire primary with a feisty, combative strategy aimed at maximizing his appeal to voters in the...

County Opposes Jail Fund Ballot, Court Will Decide On Initiative Today
Kurtis Alexander @
County leaders across California want to make sure the state keeps paying for the dramatic realignment of criminal justice that's put more inmates in county jails.

Federal Funds To Help Counties' Health Programs For Low-income Residents
Darrell Smith @
Thousands of the north state's rural poor, including residents of the greater Sacramento area, will be able to access medical care in 2012 after more than 30 counties received federal approval and funding to expand their indigent health coverage.

State Sen. Bob Huff Elected New GOP Leader
Senator Bob Huff is new Senate Republican leader

Sweetwater suspends bond program manager
Ashley McGlone @
Sweetwater schools Superintendent Ed Brand on Wednesday suspended all district work by Seville Group Inc., the firm tasked with managing the district'€™s $644 million Proposition O bond program.