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THE NOONER for January 20, 2012

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DISTRICT UPDATES

  • AD34 - added labor activist Mari Goodman (D)

TWEET DU JOUR: @larrysabato - "Bill Clinton made adultery POLITICALLY excusable for Ds. Newt may be doing same thing 4 Rs. Once disqualifying, now just part of mosaic."

LOUD TRAIN OF THOUGHT: California's Watch's Bob Salladay yesterday tweeted a series of messages on an overheard cell phone conversation of Santa Ana councilmember and AD69 candidate Michele Martinez (D):

Assmbly candidate from OC talking loudly on her cell phone on train to Oakland, saying she's "working with" tribe that is doing an IE.

She says: "I'm working with chairman Robert Smith from Pala. Yeah, they are going to come in real big with some IEs."

She's also lamenting: Assemblyman "Mike Gatto didn't want to endorse me because rumor has it he wants to run for Speaker."

99% sure it was Michele Martinez, Santa Ana council member. She's headed to Oak for nurses union interview

Also said she got Assemblywoman Norma Torres' endorsement in Sacto yesterday.

The OC Liberal blog on the train conversation: bit.ly/yUMqpa

Martinez was not happy, saying "'I don't know what's worse; someone secretly listening to a private conversation without consent or misrepresenting that conversation publicly. It's disrespectful, dishonest and downright creepy."

As a frequent train rider, loud cell phone conversations for reasons other than calling 9-1-1 because the train is on fire are equally disrespectful.

THE BULLDOG HOUSE: Following being assigned to the smallest office in the Capitol known as "the doghouse" or "the closet," Assemblymember Linda Halderman (R-Fresno) has renamed it the "Fresno State Bulldog House."

REIMAGINING REDEVELOPMENT: PublicCEO has a great article on what's next for urban development, now that Jerry Brown has said that he won't delay the redevelopment "funeral."

WWJD? With SB 810 (Leno) passing out of Senate Appropriations, it's very possible Jerry Brown will have to weigh in on single-payer health care this year. 

THE MOST PROMISING NON-CANDIDATE? One of the biggest fundraisers of the fourth quarter may not be running this year. The ball is in 80-year-old Pete Stark's court, who has been in office longer than this candidate has been alive. [Carla Marinucci @ SF Chron]'

CONGRESSIONAL MUST READ: Charlie Cook on low congressional approval rating and the numbers of incumbents who could lose reelection. [National Journal]

THE MOMENT? Was last night's opening performance by Newt Gingrich, where he rips John King, sufficient to give his campaign South Carolina and another serious chance of comeback? RealClearPolitics poll average has tomorrow's South Carolina primary at Gingrich 32.5%, Romney 31.5%, Paul 14.0%, Santorum 11.8%, Perry 3.0% (Perry dropped out and endorsed Gingrich yesterday) | Nate Silver (NYT): Gingrich 35.4%, Romney 32.7%, Paul 16.0%, Santorum 12.9%.

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STANISLAUS HEARTS TONY: Tony Strickland, who recently decided to run for congress rather than re-election to the state senate has unusual support from the Republican Party 300 miles away in Stanislaus County. Unusual, that is, unless you know California's campaign finance laws. In general in this cycle, donors to state candidates are limited to $7,800 ($3,900 each for the primary and general). However, donors can give $32,500 the state accounts of party county central committees, and spread it to several counties. In turn, party central committees wash the money and can give it in unlimited amounts to candidates.

Both parties use this laundering method, which was knowingly written into Prop. 34, so please don't take this as an attack on Tony or Stanislaus RCC. However, it's a mockery of state contribution limits.

Between October and December, the Stanislaus RCC gave $110,000 to Strickland's state senate account, $30,000 each in October and November and $50,000 in December. Where did this relatively poor county's dough come from? Well, on June 30 of last year, the party received $280,000, almost all as a transfer from the "California Republican Leadership Fund." The original donors to that committee were a who's who of California poltiical money--Farmer's Insurance ($72.5k), the tribe that owns Cache Creek ($25k), California Medical Association ($35k), Anthem Blue Cross ($35k). Of course, they couldn't give that money directly to Strickland and everybody wins because these interest groups can far exceed the spending limits while avoiding blame for choosing sides in a hot race.

As of September 30, the California Republican Leadership Fund reported $498,904 in "earmarked contributions" to the Stanislaus Republican Central Committee, $106,796 to Tulare's party committee, and $249,300 to the San Luis Obispo party committee. In turn, each party committee then pays administrative fees to the CRLF.

The only question now is, what does Strickland do with the money, since he can't use it for his congressional bid?

Anyway, if it was up to me, eliminate the candidate limits, prohibit transfers form party committees, and get interests to donate directly to candidates and provide 24 reporting of all contributions over $1,000.

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TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
Jerry Brown Predicts Fight Over His Education Proposals
David Siders @
blogs.sacbee.com
SAN DIEGO - One day after urging a series of education changes in his State of the State address, Gov. Jerry Brown said today that he expects a major part of his plan to face staunch opposition, while other elements remain murky.

Jerry Brown Says November Water Bond Vote Might Need To Be Delayed
latimesblogs.latimes.com
Gov. Jerry Brown said suggested California lawmakers consider moving a $12-billion water bond off the November ballot.

Jerry Brown Says He'd Support Delaying Water Bond
Marisa Lagos,Wyatt Buchanan @
sfgate.com
Gov. Jerry Brown indicated Thursday that he would support delaying an $11 billion water bond currently on the November ballot, saying a massive overhaul of the state's water system can begin without voters approving...

Lawmakers Begin Months-long Review Of Gov. Jerry Brown's Budget
latimesblogs.latimes.com
On politics in the Golden State

California lawmakers take skeptical eye to Jerry Brown's budget
Kevin Yamamura @
blogs.sacbee.com
While Gov. Jerry Brown sold his budget plan to outside groups in Southern California, state lawmakers greeted his proposal with a skeptical eye Thursday inside the Capitol.

Dan Walters: Unemployment tax increase looms as Capitol battle
sacbee.com
California's big tax battle will be waged next fall, as voters decide the fate of Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed hike in sales and income taxes and perhaps one or two competing tax increases.

Jerry Brown predicts fight over his education proposals
David Siders @
blogs.sacbee.com
One day after urging a series of education changes in his State of the State address, Gov. Jerry Brown said today that he expects a major part of his plan to face staunch opposition, while other elements remain murky.

Students Disrupt UC Regents In Riverside To Protest Cuts
Rick Rojas @
latimesblogs.latimes.com
Students protesting rising cost of public higher education protest meeting of UC regents, held Thursday on the UC Riverside campus.

Push to override Jerry Brown's veto of parks bill fails in Senate
Torey Van Oot @
blogs.sacbee.com
A Republican senator's push to override Gov. Jerry Brown's veto of his state parks legislation failed today in the California Senate.

Villaraigosa Talking To China About Investing In L.A. Projects
William Nottingham @
latimesblogs.latimes.com
Fearing a stalemate in Congress over transportation funding, L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is looking to the Chinese government as an option to possibly save his ambitious plan to build a dozen mass transit projects in 10 years instead of 30.

California Assembly kills bill to protect legislative whistleblowers
Jim Sanders @
blogs.sacbee.com
A proposed state law to protect Capitol whistleblowers from retaliation by their employers for filing a complaint of improper activity died today in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Legislature Stops GOP Override Of State Parks Bill
sacbee.com
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Republican lawmakers on Thursday failed to override Gov. Jerry Brown's veto of a bill that would have allowed local governments to take over the operations of state parks forced to close this summer because of budget cuts.

UCSF Ponders A Split From State University System
Nanette Asimov @
sfgate.com
Unlike the other nine campuses of the University of California, UCSF enrolls no undergraduates, offers no history classes and gets so much money from government grants that it barely depends on the tuition its students...

Medical Marijuana Dispensary Laws To Get State Supreme Court Hearing
Health Med Fit @
mercurynews.com
Justices agree to review lower court rulings on powers of local governments to ban or regulate medical pot dispensaries. Key issue: Can cities regulate an activity that is illegal under federal law

Brown defends tax increase to OC business group
AMY TAXIN, Associated Press @
utsandiego.com
Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday defended his ballot proposal to raise taxes, arguing that Californians paid more in taxes in 2009 and 2010 than they would under his plan if it's approved by voters.

PIPA anti-piracy bill vote postponed in Senate
Jim Puzzanghera @
latimes.com
Next week's scheduled vote on the PIPA anti-piracy bill has been postponed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, handing a defeat to Hollywood and a major victory to Internet companies that launched online protests to battle the legislation and its House companion, known as SOPA.