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THE NOONER for January 31, 2012

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  • SD13 (Mountain View) - added teacher Christopher Chiang (D)
  • SD27 (Ventura) - removed Robert Hertzberg (D)
  • AD05 (Foothills) - added Marc Boyd (D)
  • AD08 (East Sacto) - added Barbara Ortega (R)

With only $10,160 raised in the fourth quarter, I think we can say that David Dreier has no plans to run for any seat next year.

HALF MILL OF SERIOUSNESS: I had significant blowback yesterday from my suggestion that the California Federation of Teachers might not have the dough to make a serious bid of on the Millionaire's Tax that is seen to be competing with the governor's plan. CFT actually filed yesterday that it kicked in $500,000 for the signature gathering, and has hired a firm to conduct the effort.

I'm still skeptical that the money is there. CFT spent $4.4 million on issue campaigns in 2010, mostly on Proposition 25 (majority vote), and generally collects $3-4 million for its issues committee each year. The committee had $750k cash-on-hand on June 30, and tonight we'll see if there has been any significant changes in cash. It's partner, the Courage Campaign, had $1,244 on hand on December 31 and $94,589 in debt (mostly to lawyer Steve Kaufman). In 2008, Courage Campaign raised $246k. Unless AFT or other big donors weigh in, it may be an austere campaign.

CFT and Courage Campaign have the polls on their side, and picked up other endorsements, including AFSCME, this weekend. The "Millionaire's Tax" polls the best, and supporters point out that the inclusion of sales tax and the application income tax surchage at the relatively low $250,000 creates a electoral liability in the governor's plan. But, can they pull together the money--at least $10 million to have a credible campaign--to make it happen? And, would CTA and SEIU, backers of the governor's plan, come out against, or just ignore it? The Ed Coalition meetings must be quite interesting...

Meanwhile, CTA is concerned about how much election 2012 is going to cost and admits that it's not a good time to go to members for a special assessment like in previous cycles.

POLL POSITION(ING): All sides were spinning the Jason Hodge polling memo yesterday that showed a tough race for either Dem against Republican Mike Stoker and a modest advantage for Hodge over Hannah-Beth Jackson. It was noteworthy that it was a memo from the campaign and not a polling memo from Garin-Hart-Yang and follow-up calls were referred to consultant Richie Ross

Anyway, I'll rely on the great Ventura County Star political reporter Timm Herdt, who saw the actual poll. He writes:

"What Hodge didn't share, and said he didn't know, was how the universe of 400 "likely voters" was arrived at and the partisan makeup of the survey field it produced. The choice of voting history information used to define a "likely voter" can dramatically affect any poll's results.

"But there was one finding that jumped out. It showed that Jackson's favorability rating was not good: 29 percent favorable, 28 percent unfavorable, 27 percent didn't know her. That middle number -- unfavorability -- is extraordinary high for a candidate running for a relatively low profile office.

Meanwhile, Richie Ross says to ignore the November matchup numbers that everyone is focusing on, and HBJ's team is calling it a "push poll." On the other hand, they haven't seen it.

To those that think I was spinning for Jason, I covered HBJ's poll on September 8, and here is her full polling memo.


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LITTLE BIRDIE: @HotlineReid - "CA Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom gave Stephen Colbert's super PAC $500."

TANI'S TORMENTERS: After an afternoon of drama, Charles Calderon's AB 1208 to wrest control of court spending from the Judicial Council, chaired by Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, passed the Assembly with 41 votes. The interesting thing is the votes, which generally reflect the very different attitudes local judges have in what is now a several year war between dissident judges and state leaders. Some of the most conservative and liberal members can be found in the "Ayes" column, and the same can be found among the "Noes." It's a weird confluence of what was a conservative backlash against a $1.9 billion computer system has found allegiance with SEIU, which represents local court employees and would be happier if more of that money trickled down from state administration to local employees.

WAG OF THE FINGER: Assemblymember Don Wagner rips the California Supreme Court for its redistricting decision.

THE REAL SERVANTS OF THE OC: The case of ousted public administrator John Williams continues to have interesting twists. [Andrew Galvin @ OCR]

BIGGER THAN THE SENATE: Robert Hertzberg is officially out of SD27, saying he can better serve California leading the California Forward campaign. [Timm Herdt @ VC Star] That relieves all three Democratic women state senators who had serious threatened challenges from fellow party members.

NO THANKS: State Senator and Secretary of State candidate Alex Padilla sent a letter to the governor asking him to take over the beleaguered Cal-Access campaign finance database, reports Nicholas Riccardi in the LAT. "Gil Duran, a spokesman for Brown, said: 'We stand ready to work with the secretary of state if she requests assistance.'" In other words, no way is this happening.

DEAR SIRS AND SIRETTES: Stephen Colbert taunts the FEC. [h/t Rick Hasen]

Controller: State to run out of cash in March without action
Kevin Yamamura @
California will run out of cash by early March if the state does not take swift action to find $3.3 billion through payment delays and borrowing, according to a letter state Controller John Chiang sent to state lawmakers today.

CTA's A Team Player For Jerry Brown
John Fensterwald @
The president of the California Teachers Association said Monday that in backing Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax initiative, the state’s largest teachers union is agreeing to “stay at awful” for now with the expectation that more money will flow again to schools in coming years. But if voters defeat the $6.9 billion tax measure in November, the CTA will fight Brown – and go to court if necessary – to prevent the governor from exacting disproportionate cuts to K-12 schools.

Legislation To Amend Three-strikes Law Gets Kod By Assembly
Jim Sanders @
The Assembly rejected legislation today that would have placed before voters a measure to alter California's "three strikes" criminal sentencing law.

Jerry Brown Urged To Take Control Of California's Campaign Finance Database
Nicholas Riccardi @
Candidate for California Secretary of State urges Gov. Jerry Brown to seize online campaign database. Senator Alex Padilla told Jerry Brown he has to avert an election debacle by intervening to fix online campaign database.

On The Road In Miami -- Florida Votes: Romney Giddy At Final Stop
DRIVING THE YEAR – Chicago Tribune, 2-col. lead, “Drumbeat rises to tax rich more: Democrats embrace Obama’s agenda; polls back larger share,” by Lisa Mascaro: “Congressional Democrats, more liberal since the 2010 elections thinned out moderates' ranks, are embracing the populist agenda President Obama outlined in his State of the Union speech. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada is planning votes all spring and summer in an attempt to end the tax breaks that corporations and wealthy individuals like Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney enjoy. With the House controlled by Republicans, none of Obama's tax measures is expected to become law. But the Democrats are etching a sharp contrast with GOP initiatives on Capitol Hill, as Republicans continue to emphasize last year's proposals to change Medicare, cut regulations and develop the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline. …

California Has Spent $277,000 Fighting Prison Officers' Union
Jon Ortiz @
The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has spent more than a quarter-million dollars on outside attorneys to fight the long-running union paid leave battle with the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, spokeswoman Lynelle Jolley said in an email to The State Worker.

California Teachers Association Backs Brown's Tax Plan
The California Teachers Association officially agreed Sunday to back Gov. Jerry Brown's multibillion-dollar tax plan, which should provide the governor hefty financial support for his fall campaign.

Assembly considers softening Three Strikes law
JUDY LIN, Associated Press @
Some state lawmakers want to ask voters to revise California's Three Strikes law as a way to reduce prison sentences and save money on corrections, but they're having a hard time getting the issue through the Legislature.

Federal Judge May Overturn CalPERS Care Rule
CalPERS refuses to sell its long-term care insurance to the same-sex partners of state workers, on the grounds that federal law doesn't allow it.

Teachers' union head says no dues surcharge for ballot battles
Kevin Yamamura @
money into Gov. Jerry Brown's tax measure, but funds may be tighter than usual as the group faces different ballot battles.

California Assembly Votes To Outlaw Smoking On Hospital Campuses
Californians may soon be adding hospital campuses to the list of smoke-free workplaces. The Assembly passed a bill Monday that would expand current limits on smoking at hospitals to entire campuses. Existing law makes it illegal to smoke in buildings...

Kamala Harris Announces Settlement In Brazilian Blowout Case
Torey Van Oot @
The maker of a popular hair-smoothing treatment has agreed to warn stylists and salon-goers that its products cause exposure to a cancer-causing chemical as part of a legal settlement announced by California Attorney General Kamala Harris today.

Viewpoints: Pension-cutting plans on ballot promise savings but don't deliver
Sometimes the truth hurts. In this case, the truth is that the two pension-slashing ballot measures that may face voters in November would provide no effective reform while dramatically increasing taxpayer costs by as much as $1 billion a year for as long as 30 years.

Bill would give lawmakers control of court budgets
JULIET WILLIAMS, Associated Press @
The state Assembly has narrowly approved legislation to return control of California's $3 billion court budget to the Legislature.

Think Long Committee Falls Short Of Ballot Goal
Dan Walters @
Would it be churlish to say that the much-ballyhooed Think Long Committee for California fell short on fortitude? Or merely accurate?

L.A. County Supervisors Violated Open Meeting Law, D.a. Finds
Jason Song @
Los Angeles County supervisors violated the law last fall by holding a closed-door meeting with Gov. Jerry Brown to discuss a plan to shift non-violent state prisoners to county jail and supervision after release, according to the county District Attorney's office.

Los Angeles Judge Blocks State Budget Cut To Medi-cal Providers
Kevin Yamamura @
A Los Angeles federal judge has tentatively blocked Medi-Cal reimbursement cuts to doctors and other providers who treat low-income patients.

Pension initiative headed for June ballot
An initiative that would eliminate guaranteed pensions for most new city hires and replace them with a 401(k)-style plan is officially headed for the June 5 ballot.