Around The Capitol

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THE NOONER for January 18, 2012

jump to the headlines


  • CD10 (Stanislaus) - added lawyer Mike Barkley (D)
  • CD39 (Fullerton) - added Hacienda-La Puente USD member Jay Chen (D)
  • CD39 (Fullerton) - updated analysis
  • SD29 (Fullerton) - added lawyer Greg Diamond (D)
  • AD74 (Irvine) - added financial planner Paul W. Vann (R)

AYE, AYE CAPTAIN: As the governor takes the podium for his State of the State, he can step with a bit of a swagger knowing that his effort of clearing the field of competing tax measures seems to be getting traction. Yesterday, Think Long announced that it was not proceeding with a ballot measure this year (shocking nobody), but would be supporting one or more tax "reform" measures in 2012, and would look to the 2014 ballot. California Forward moved $450,000 into its issues campaign account yesterday and picked up $40,000 from winery owner Michael Marston. CAFWD may play point guard in the governor's effort.

Meanwhile, the California Federation of Teachers is holding a presser response following the governor's speech, and is hoping for changes to the education budget before dropping its "millionaire's tax" initiative.  A big question is what CTA does. Many people see the education powerhouse as the lead proponent of Molly Munger's initiative, citing that Munger used CTA's Prop. 98 lawyer (Robin Johansen) on the measure. The measure phases in an additional $10 billion for K-12, on top of Proposition 98--a 25% increase in funding. 

Joining Finance's budget release gaffe, the joint Senate-Assembly Republican response to the governor's speech was posted a day early

RED TO BLUE RELEASED: The DCCC has unveiled its latest list of targeted races:

Candidates: Bera (CD03), Hernandez (CD10), Takano (CD47)
Emerging: Ruiz (CD36)
Districts (no candidate selected): CD26 (Ventura), CD31 (San Bernardino), CD47 (Long Beach), CD52 (Bilbray-San Diego)

No surprises, although notable that they recognize the fascinating CD47 as a challenge. The district has a 10-point registration margin for Dems and was won by Jerry Brown by 8.2%. However, Obama lost the district to McCain by 3.3% in 2008.

LA-LA LAND: Joe Buscaino yesterday easily defeated Assemblymember Warren Furutani in the runoff for L.A.'s fifteen council district, 61%-39%. Now, Furutani needs to decide whether he wants to run for a final term in the lower house, which would mean facing off against Assemblymember Isadore Hall.

OKAY'ED: The US Department of Justice approved California's redistricting plan. Federal preclearance is required on any election system change in Kings, Merced, Monterey, and Yuba, mostly because these counties historically had of appearance of, rather than actual, voting discrimination. That is because the counties have (or had) large military installations, with a more diverse resident population than showed on the voter rolls.

The approval doesn't affect the referendum on the State Senate district maps, although it might be persuasive to the California Supreme Court in determining which maps to use in 2012. Further, the okay doesn't necessarily affect the Radanovich (Friends of David Dreier) congressional challenge, as they argue that the flaws are primarily in Los Angeles County.

SHOWDOWN: Senator Bob Dutton announces today that he will run against Congressman Gary Miller in CD31. [Jim Miller @ Press-Enterprise]

HOLD THAT SEAT! Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg shows his support for the Niners with a reservation.

SOPA/PIPA PROTESTS: Google, Wikipedia, Buzzfeed, Boing Boing, Craigslist, Wordpress, and many others... 


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FAREWELL?: The Capitol Weekly Group announced that it was suspending the print edition and leaders are exploring online and other opportunities. This is a particularly sad development for me, as I was fortunate to be part of the early brainstorming that led to the new version of the paper, Big Daddy and, of course, The Roundup.

For three years, I woke up long before dawn to contextualize the day's stories into The Roundup with Anthony York. We had some amazing mornings, particularly following a long night of poker and a Rochambeau for who was stuck writing the Friday edition.

Amazing reporters passed through the paper, and took on stories that nobody else would write.

As a kid in Orange County, I salivated when I got my hands on the California Journal and could only dream of the Capitol Weekly that we've come to love. 

I don't know the future of political reporting and publishing. It's a horrible business. The fact is, nobody wants to pay for quality content anymore, and newsrooms are a lot more expensive than an idiot with a laptop writing at 4:45 in the morning. That said, neither what I do nor what my friends on the left and right do is journalism. We need Capitol journalism, and I hope something emerges from Capitol Weekly's ashes.

If this is indeed goodbye, thank you for the indelible mark you left on California's Capitol.  

Amid Cost Concerns, Lawmakers Delay Vote On Universal Healthcare
Single-payer healthcare: A proposal to have the state provide healthcare coverage to all Californians hit another snag Tuesday in a legislative committee amid concerns about its cost.

Committee Vote On Single-payer Health Bill Delayed Until Thursday
Torey Van Oot @
Legislation to create a single-payer health care system in California was sent to the Senate Appropriations Committee suspense file today, delaying action on the bill until later this week.

Capitol Weekly Suspends Print Edition
Capitol Weekly, California's only newspaper devoted solely to politics and governance, has suspended its print edition, effective Thursday, Jan. 19.

On The Tax Initiative Front: One Down, More To Go? :: Fox&hounds
The Think Long Committee has decided to pull its tax reform initiative plan for more study instead of proceeding to a ballot initiative this year. Think Long made a splash on the California political scene by amassing a list of household names to support creative and government-altering reforms, which included restructuring the tax system at the same time increasing revenue to the state. Nicolas Berggreun, the billionaire behind the project, pledged $20 million to see it through.

Congress Dutton To Announce CD-31 Candidacy
Jim Miller @
State Sen. Bob Dutton on Wednesday is expected to declare his candidacy for the 31st Congressional District, which wraps from Rancho Cucamonga to Redlands.

Brown Will Deliver State Of The State At Capitol And Quickly Hit The Road
David Siders and Torey Van Oot @
Gov. Jerry Brown will give his State of the State speech to the Legislature this morning, then immediately hit the road.

Brown: Cull The Herd Of State Tests
Gov. Jerry Brown will call for fewer state standardized tests and attempt to redirect a potentially divisive debate over teacher evaluations in his State of the State address today to the Legislature. Without being specific, he will also call for locally driven school monitoring measures to complement his call for shifting authority over spending from Sacramento to school districts, according to State School Board Executive Director Sue Burr, who gave school finance officials a preview Tuesday of education themes Brown will touch on. She elaborated in an interview with me afterward.

Think Long Opts To Think Longer. Advantage Brown? | Capital Notes -- From Kqed's John Myers
But we now that they have one big thing in common: they both believe now is not the time for a ballot initiative on major tax reform. And if Brown is lucky, they may have something else in common in the days to come: a use for some of Berggruen's millions. After months of speculation, the group of state political and policy heavyweights organized by Berggruen, the Think Long Committee for California, announced Tuesday afternoon that it would not seek to qualify a government or tax reform initiative for the November ballot.

Capitol Weekly Ends Print Edition
Dan Smith @
Capitol Weekly, the 23-year-old chronicle of state government in Sacramento, announced today that it is suspending its print edition effective Thursday.

Justice Department Signs Off On California Redistricting
The U.S. Department of Justice has signed off on new political maps for four Northern California Counties. Some of the state's new maps still face a possible referendum and federal court challenge.

California redevelopment still has a faint pulse
Dan Walters @
Some of the California legislators who voted last year to abolish redevelopment agencies and shift their money into schools and other local governments appear to be having executioner's remorse -- creating uncertainty about redevelopment's future, if any.

Gov. Brown pitches higher taxes in annual address
JULIET WILLIAMS and JUDY LIN, Associated Press @
Gov. Jerry Brown gave Californians a choice between higher taxes and deeper cuts to public schools and other core functions of government during his State of the State address Wednesday, essentially beginning his campaign for a planned November ballot initiative on taxes.

Gov. Jerry Brown's Tricky Balancing Act
Anthony York @
California Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to attempt a risky balancing act in his State of the State address: reconciling his well-crafted image as a penny pincher with one he aspires to as a builder in the mold of his father, former Gov. Pat Brown.

Apnewsbreak: Judge To End Calif. Prison Receiver
SACRAMENTO, Calif.—A federal judge on Tuesday ordered California officials to prepare for the end of a six-year, court-ordered oversight of the prison system that has cost taxpayers billions of dollars and helped force a shift of lower-level criminals from state prisons to county jails.

Santee Education Complex Tries To Whet Appetite For Healthy Food
Steve Lopez @
A garden and student-run bistro at the South Los Angeles high school, and the youths' enthusiasm for them, exemplify the kind of creativity in promoting healthful eating that L.A. Unified needs more of.

GOP Responds To Jerry Brown's Address Before It's Given
Torey Van Oot @
Republican legislative leaders rolled out their response to Gov. Jerry Brown's 2012 State of the State address Tuesday, slamming the Democratic governor for telling Californians that the"sky will fall" without higher taxes.

Judge To End Calif. Prison Receiver
Prison receiver J. Clark Kelso says medical parole would free funds for other state programs.

Jerry Brown Hails Economic Recovery In State Of The State Address
On politics in the Golden State

'Think Long Committee For California' Backs Away From Tax Measure
Dan Walters @
Gov. Jerry Brown scored a tactical victory in his quest to raise taxes Tuesday when the "Think Long Committee for California" decided not to pursue its own tax reform plan this year.

Internet Proves Tricky For Both Parties In Sacramento
Chris Megerian @
It looks like prematurely uploading things to the Internet is a bipartisan problem in California state government.

Connerly Financial Misdeeds Alleged In Letter
Affirmative action opponent Ward Connerly declined to comment on whether his nonprofits are under investigation.

Gov. Jerry Brown To Call For Less State Testing In Schools
Kevin Yamamura @
Gov. Jerry Brown will call for less statewide testing and expanding classroom focus beyond math and English in his annual State of the State address tomorrow, according to his top education adviser.

Live chat at noon: Dan Walters hosts: Q&A on Gov. Jerry Brown's State of State
Bee political columnist Dan Walters hosts a live chat at noon today to discuss Gov. Jerry Brown's State of the State address.