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THE NOONER for February 17, 2012

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  • AD44 (Ventura) - added Thomas Mullens (D)

TWEET DU JOUR: @WaltersBee - "Senate gone for four days after 20 min per diem session"

Good morning...quickie today. Heading up to Mendocino for some R&R before returning to the rat race. The Nooner will take a break Monday and be back Tuesday.

FOOD TRUCKS AS SEX OFFENDERS: Assemblymember Bill Monning (D-Carmel), who is running in an easy race to take over Sam Blakeslee's Senate seat, introduced AB 1678 on Tuesday. The bill prohibits food trucks from selling grub within 1,500 feet of an elementary or secondary school (ostensibly public or private) from 6am-6pm on school days. The bill was introduced as a pro-nutrition bill to keep school kids from wandering off campus to eat, but skeptics say that it's part of the continuing battle between brick and mortar restaurants and the super popular gourmet food truck movement. Oh, and throw in a little bit of cafeteria worker job protection...

The bill is only modestly more lenient than California's Proposition 83 "Jessica's Law," which prohibits sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park. Judges have ruled portions of the law unconstitutional, because of the inability of offenders to find any reasonable place to live.

A map has been put together that shows how much of Sacramento where food trucks would be banned under the law. A quick Google Maps check of the several of the lunchtime locations this week of the famed Kogi Korean BBQ trucks in SoCal show schools within the 1,500 foot perimeter.

Within a couple of blocks of Sacramento's McClatchy High School are Round Table Pizza, Oscar's Very Mexican Food, Marie's Donut Shop, Freeport Bakery, and McDonald's. Of course, none of these have wheels and thus are, apparently, healthier. When did the responsibility for keeping kids on campus shift from school officials to food truck owners? Oh yeah, McClatchy is a closed campus and students aren't allowed to leave, but the law would apply equally.

Also, is food truck food really worse for students than the pizza, chili dogs, kung pao chicken, popcorn chicken bowl, beef burrito, or enchilada pie on the McClatchy menu this month?

I'm sympathetic to restaurants that feel like they have unfair competition parking on the streets. However, this is something that clearly can be regulated locally without a state law. My hometown of Portland has the nation's liveliest food cart scene co-existing with some of the best restaurants on the West Coast. Fortunately, Salem has messed with it.

This will be a fun battle between people that love food, entrepreneurship, creativity and America against those who, well, don't.

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CAN'T WE ALL GET ALONG: Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg yesterday called on supporters of the Millionaires Tax and Molly Munger initiative to drop their efforts and get on the Brown Bandwagon. And, for the face-saving move for all parties, we have this graf:

"Asked if supporters of the tax proposals competing with Brown's could collect the required number of ballot signatures but delay turning them in, thus qualifying for the 2014 ballot, Steinberg indicated that was a viable option."

That would require holding signatures until mid-June, well before the early July circulation deadlines for both measures.

SHARK IS SO 2008: Barack Obama bought take-out Chinese yesterday in SF Chinatown at one of the few restaurants still serving shark fin soup following the state's ban. Obama didn't order Jaws's flippers. [Joe Garoli @ SF Chron]

AURAL PLEASURE: The Capital Notes Podcast is up with this week's line-up of Marisa Lagos, John Myers, and Anthony York.

That's it. Let's stare at some puppies and head to Mendocino. Maybe we'll stop by a food truck on the way.

New Senate GOP Leader Means New Committee Posts For Some
Torey Van Oot @
The Senate Rules Committee approved some committee membership shuffling yesterday, including some changes made at the request of the new Senate GOP leader Bob Huff.

California Senate Leader Calls For Paring Tax Proposals On Ballot
Democratic leaders in the Legislature are getting nervous about the possibility of three competing tax measures going onto the November ballot and voters sending all of them down in flames.

Shannon Grove Releases Video Pitch For Part-time Ca Legislature
Jim Sanders @
Making a personal pitch for donations and help, Assemblywoman Shannon Grove has posted an online video designed to bolster her campaign to switch California's Legislature to a part-time body.

With State Pension Initiatives Sidelined, Now Unions Go After Local Measures :: Fox&hounds
Elected officials have involved themselves in the initiative process as private citizens before. One example, then Attorney General John Van de Kamp put three initiatives on the ballot in 1990 on crime and drugs, ethics and the environment.

UC Davis Faculty To Hold Vote On Chancellor
Hudson Sangree @
By the time voting closes today, more than 2,600 faculty members at UC Davis will have had an opportunity to weigh in on whether they have confidence in Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi or whether that confidence is gone after November's pepper-spraying of Occupy UC Davis protesters.

Garamendi Introduces Himself ... Again - Hotline On Call - Hotline On Call
Ronald Brownstein @
Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif., has already hit the airwaves to introduce himself to voters in his newly redrawn, and more competitive, district. But one of his ads isn't so new. In fact, it's almost an exact replay of a commercial he ran six years ago -- for an entirely different office.

President Obama Wades Into Shark Fin Soup Fracas
Carla Marinucci @
President Obama , who signed the Shark Conservation Act into law last month, apparently didn't check out the menu before he made a surprise visit Thursday to a restaurant in San Francisco's Chinatown that is among a...

Territorial Poaching A Symptom Of Government Dysfunction
Dan Walters @
One symptom of California's political dysfunction is the ceaseless infighting among governmental entities over power and money, which are often synonymous.

Congress Votes to Extend Payroll Tax Cuts and Jobless Benefits
With members of both parties expressing distaste at some of the particulars, Congress on Friday voted to extend payroll tax cuts and unemployment benefits and sent the legislation to President Obama.

Podcast: The Political Lull
John Myers @
It seems to feel lately as though we're in between some big storms rumbling through the state political landscape in 2012 -- hence, the title of this week's Capital Notes Podcast.

UC Davis Pays $1.35m To Settle Title Ix Case
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The University of California, Davis has agreed to pay more than $1.3 million to attorneys representing three women who had filed gender discrimination claims because the campus did not offer a women's wrestling team.

Fliers, Website Slam Richard Alarcon
Jean Merl @
Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon, seeking to return to the state Legislature in this year's election, recently lost the California Democratic Party endorsement to a rival for the 39th Assembly District. Now a website is calling attention to felony charges against him; he has pleaded not guilty.

UC Davis Probe Results Delayed Until March
On Friday, Nov. 18, protesters sit with their arms linked on the UC Davis quad as a campus police officer pepper-sprays the line.

$2 Million Boost For Campaign To Require Two-year State Budget
Jim Sanders @
A signature-gathering drive received a $2 million boost today in its bid to place before voters a constitutional amendment that would require the state to transition to a two-year, performance-based budget cycle and make numerous other changes.

GOP Launching Calls In 8 California House Districts
Josh Richman @
To mark the third anniversary of President Obama’s signing of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 this Friday, the National Republican Congressional Committee is rolling out campaign calls to voters in eight California House districts.

Kristin Olsen seeks online posting of CA legislators' office budgets
Jim Sanders @
California legislators would be required to post their office budgets and monthly office expenditures online under legislation proposed this week by a Republican assemblywoman.

Brown's Budget Can't Count On Cap-and-trade Revenue, Analyst Says
Gov. Jerry Brown can't use cap-and-trade money to help balance his budget. Legislative Analyst's Office says Gov. Jerry Brown is overshooting by counting on cap-and-trade money to help balance California's budget.

Viewpoints: Taxpayers shouldn't foot bill for lawsuits against the state
There's a measure working its way through the Capitol that demonstrates all too well why the Legislature's approval rating among voters is only about 12 percent these days.

Congress to vote Friday on payroll tax deal
Lisa Mascaro @
With a final deal approved by negotiators, Congress moved toward a Friday vote to extend a payroll tax break and other expiring measures that are among President Obama’s top priorities.