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THE NOONER for February 13, 2012

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  • CD03 (Yolano-Yuba-Lake) - removed Timothy Core (R)
  • AD18 (Oakland) - removed Kathy Neal (D)

Good morning from Washington, DC. This needs to be quick, as my body clock says it's 3am, and I'm off shortly to take a delegation to Northern Virginia to listen to the president release his budget. For those of you who were in Sandy Eggo this weekend, you're too hungover to read this anyway.

PLAN B? Most of the focus on the competing tax measures has been whether Jerry Brown could clear the field for his hybrid of an increase to personal income and sales taxes. However, with only tepid support from traditional Democratic constituencies, the plan was anything but the star attraction at this weekend's Democratic convention in San Diego. Rather, proponents of the "Millionaires Tax," which had been labeled dead by many people including me only a few weeks ago, carried the passion.

Supported by keynote speaker Van Jones and with positive nods from progressive activists in several caucus and floor speeches, the measure sponsored by the California Federation of Teachers with support of the California Nurses Association found resonance while the governor's measure was bouyed only by signs proclaiming "We're With Jerry." The governor acknowledged the conflict in his speech, saying "Look, we've got some issues. We've got a tax measure, we have a little, few issues there, and we'll be talking about that from time to time . . . You'll get your marching orders soon enough."

There is now significant momentum to get the governor to drop his measure and to instead support the Millionaires Tax. On the positive side, the governor would find significant energy and more positive polling results. The measure provides money to K-12 and community colleges on top of the Proposition 98 guarantee, which does less to solve the budget problem but might be more palatable for Molly Munger, perhaps enough to get her to drop her measure. On the con side, the governor's measure was crafted to avoid opposition from the state's main business groups, which are likely to oppose the Millionaires Tax.

At this point, it's up to the governor, the California Teachers Association and the Service Employees International Union. Both have come out in favor of the governor's measure, but there is an internal conflict within CTA because members feel the governor's measure doesn't do enough to help schools, while being framed as such. CFT has also been hitting hard on the "regressive" nature of a sales tax hike, which has CTA and SEIU labor leaders a bit uncomfortable. 

Expect all three measures to continue gathering signatures, but at this point it's possible that one measure goes forward in November, and that measure not being the governor's. I wouldn't have predicted that a couple of weeks ago.

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ANOTHER DEAD END: The federal judge overseeing the case filed by the Friends of David Dreier Committee (aka George Radanovich and friends) threw out the case on Friday. The suit specifically alleged that the Commission drew three seats for incumbent Los Angeles African-American members of Congress to the expense of Latino voters. Of course, one of those "African-American" seats is almost certain to be won by Janice Hahn. [Jean Merl @ LAT]

$$$ - George Soros gave $500,000 to the initiative to reform California's three strikes law, and Stanford Professor David Mills is now up to $603,000.

NOT SURE WHAT TO MAKE OF: Alameda County Supervisor Nadia Davis Lockyer, wife of state Treasurer Bill Lockyer, was "violently assaulted" by an ex-boyfriend she met up with at a Newark motel after the Lockyers fought, her husband says. [Matier and Ross @ SF Chron]

HONESTY: From candidate Timothy Core, withdrawing from CD03: "I would not be an effective candidate against John Garamendi," Core said Friday after announcing he was ending his campaign at the conclusion of a candidate's forum the night before. "I'd be handing the district over to him, and I don't want to do that."

State Pension Initiative Fails, Local Votes In June
Ed Mendel @
A drive to place a statewide public pension reform initiative on the November ballot ended last week, lacking funding like previous attempts. But major local pension reforms are expected to be on the June ballot in San Diego and San Jose.

State Employee Unions Aren't Counting On Generous Contracts From Democrat Jerry Brown
Contract talks kicking off this month between the state and four employee unions present Gov. Jerry Brown with a political dilemma: How does he deal fairly with his key labor constituency without exposing himself to charges he's kowtowing to them?

Dueling Tax Hike Measures Pushed As Democrats Hold Convention
Anthony York @
Gov. Jerry Brown holds a fundraiser and touts his bid to raise taxes on sales and on incomes above $250,000. Nurses and teachers unions seek to increase levies only on incomes of $1 million or more.

Rose Bird Court Laid Groundwork For Current Redistricting Decision
Dan Walters @
Rose Bird's ghost hung over the California Supreme Court as it wrestled with what to do about a referendum to overturn the state Senate districts wrought by a new redistricting commission.

Jerry Brown's Big Fail; Dem Winners And Losers
Governor Jerry Brown’s failure to explain to 3,000 activists at the weekend California Democratic Party convention why they should support his tax-hike initiative instead of two others that threaten to swamp his measure left us pondering the possible reasons for his wimp-out.

Commit A Crime, Collect A Pension
George Skelton @
Here's another outrage about the child abuse scandal at Miramonte Elementary School: If the teacher accused of spoon-feeding his semen to blindfolded students is convicted and sent to prison, he'll still receive a public pension.

California Democrats Take Shots At Republicans - And Each Other
Gregory Bull Associated Press California Attorney General Kamala Harris speaks to fellow Democrats on Saturday in San Diego. While the party was glad to get behind her words about returning President Barack Obama to office, some Democrats competing for the same legislative seats had harsh words for each other.

Santorum Decries 'judicial Tyranny' In Prop. 8 Ruling
David G. Savage @
GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum described last week's court ruling striking down California's ban on same-sex marriage as "almost absurd" and an example of "judicial tyranny."

CA prison officers spent more than $1 million on political advice
our count, the union controlled or wholly subsidized at least @
The California Correctional Peace Officers Association paid a total $1.1 million to four political consultants and an political lawyer last year, according to documents the union filed with the state.

Editorial: Pension reform teeters, so Brown needs a 'Plan B'
The announcement last week by activists that they were suspending their efforts to put a pension reform initiative on the ballot leaves Gov. Jerry Brown as the only serious proponent of pension reform still standing.

Federal Court To Hear Renewed Challenge To California's Affirmative Action Ban
Howard Mintz @
In a hearing set for Monday, minority students will argue that Proposition 209s limits on considering race has tarnished the UC admissions program.

Poll: San Jose Residents Less Resistant To Tax Increase
Local @
But Mayor Chuck Reed and some other council members say the city needs to get its pension costs under control before they would consider asking residents to pay higher taxes.

Obama Budget Strategy: Spur Economy Now, Cut Deficits Over Time
Christi Parsons @
President Obama unveils a budget blueprint Monday designed to give the economy a shot in the arm while laying out a long-term plan to cut federal deficits, senior administration officials say.

Obama sells budget as effort to 'keep this recovery on track'
Christi Parsons and Kathleen Hennessey @
President Obama gave Congress a budget this morning that calls for $3.8 trillion in spending next year -- $901 billion more than the government will take in.

Obama’s ‘truth Team’ Aims To Network Its Way To A Reelection Win
With his decision to embrace an independent super PAC last week, President Obama issued a plea for deep-pocketed allies to help his campaign fight back against Republican rivals in the increasingly expensive and sophisticated arena of television attack ads.

Poll: Santorum Surges Past Romney, Both Republicans Trail Obama
David Lauter @
President Obama for the first time has opened a sizable lead over his most likely Republican opponents, thanks to growing support among independent voters, according to a new Pew Research Center poll .

Californians Fund Super Pac That Hounds Gop
Everywhere Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney goes, he is followed by "trackers" with video cameras, hoping to catch him making an embarrassing gaffe. 

Rick Santorum Defends Views On Working Women
Robin Abcarian @
The Republican candidate for the presidential nomination disputes suggestions that his socially conservative views could alienate women. He also says he'll release his tax returns this week.

Government Watch: This week's meetings from around Silicon Valley
ALUM ROCK UNION SCHOOL DISTRICTWhat: School boardWhen and where: 6:30 p.m. Monday, 2930 Gay Ave., San JoseELECTION: The board will discuss the merits of putting a bond or parcel tax on the ballot, and may consider hiring a consultant to gauge community support.

Convention: Baca Ekes Out Cd-35 Dem Endorsement
As of late Saturday, longtime Rep. Joe Baca and state Sen. Gloria Negrete McLeod were deadlocked in their fight for the California Democratic Party endorsement in the 35th Congressional District.

State board will sue to block 401k initiative
The general counsel for the state Public Employment Relations Board has sided with labor in its complaint alleging Mayor Jerry Sanders violated labor laws by crafting and then advocating for a pension initiative as a private citizen to avoid negotiations with employee unions as mayor.

Obama to Propose Community College Aid
President Obama will propose an $8 billion program with the goal of training two million workers for well-paying jobs in high-demand industries, officials said.

Santorum decries "judicial tyranny" in Prop. 8 ruling
David G. Savage @
GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum described last week’s court ruling striking down California’s ban on same-sex marriage as “almost absurd” and an example of “judicial tyranny.”

Caltrain Plan Would Fast-track Electric Rail
Michael Cabanatuan @
The overhaul of California's high-speed rail project could bring the Bay Area $1 billion to electrify Caltrain and lay the path for bullet train service between San Francisco and San Jose sooner than anticipated. The...

The Caucus: Obama Proposes Taxing Wealthiest Dividends
President Obama proposed in his new budget blueprint to tax dividends of the wealthiest taxpayers as ordinary income subject to their top income-tax rate.