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THE NOONER for February 22, 2012

jump to the headlines


  • CD08 (High Desert) - added former Assemblymember Anthony Adams (N)
  • SD21 (Palmdale) - removed Sharon Runner (R)
  • SD21 (Palmdale) - added Assemblymember Steve Knight (R)
  • SD35 (Carson) - added educator Paul Butterfield (D)
  • AD73 (Dana Point) added James Corbett (D)
  • AD74 (Newport Beach) - added real estate broker Bob Rush (D)

Good morning from Sandy Eggo, where I feel quite old after watching Mardi Gras revelers party in the Gaslamp well into the night as I sat on my balcony reading community college finance reports and petition validation numbers.

POLL POSITION: Brown political consultant Steve Glazer offers a poll from J. Moore Methods showing that the governor's measure and the Millionaires Tax are statistically tied and barely above 50%, while the Munger initiative trails badly.

With the official title and summary, the measures poll as follows:

  • Governor's plan: 53% Yes, 36% No, 11% undecided
  • Millionaires Tax: 55% Yes, 34% No, 11% undecided
  • Munger "Our Children, Our Future": 31% Yes, 60% No, 9% undecided

[n=500, +/- 4.5%]

The polling memo goes on to argue "If three tax measures are on the ballot at the same time, none receives 50% of the vote, and all would likely lose. In a 3-way tax measure vote, Brown's measure scores 43%, CFT 42% and Munger 17%." They note that 23% say they would vote "no" on all, and 5% have no opinion.

How the pollsters tested that is unclear. It's extremely difficult to test how three tax measures would do on the ballot, and the polling memo doesn't list the questions asked.

The real headline, however, for proponents of a tax increase (including me) is "ouch." These are not good numbers, and are dramatically lower than PPIC's poll in January:

"Governor Brown's proposed tax initiative on the November ballot includes a temporary four-year half-cent increase in the state sales tax and a temporary five-year increase in the state personal income tax on those earning more than $250,000 annually. The initiative would raise about $5 to $7 billion annually with the new revenues going to K–12 public schools. Do you favor or oppose the proposed tax initiative?"

  • 72% favor
  • 26 oppose
  • 2 don’t know

PPIC's poll was done January 10-17, before the constant rumblings in newspaper articles about whether or not the governor's tax measure truly goes to schools. Proponents of CFT and Munger have argued the governor's measure is primarily a shell game, and this has likely hurt it. 

The way I look at it, 40% of voters will vote yes on either governor or Millionaires and 35% will vote no. It will take a very large campaign to get 2/3 of the 15% swing to vote "yes." And, yes, that likely needs to be a unified campaign behind either the governor or Millionaires, and they need to work it out quickly.

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FAMILY FOLLOWERS: Senator Sharon Runner, who has battled an autoimmune disorder which put her back on a lung transplant list in January, announced that she will not run for reelection in the solidly Republican SD21. Assemblymember Steve Knight, son of former Senator Pete Knight, is expected to run for the Senate seat, creating a wide-open Republican Assembly seat.

CONGRESSIONAL CRUZIN'?: The race for CD21 may finally be heating up, following December's decision not to run by Senator Michael Rubio. Fresno councilmember Blong Xiong and former lite gov Cruz Bustamante are doing the hokey pokey and each have one foot in the race. Xiong was in on Sunday, but backed off a bit by Monday. Bustamante is making his "due diligence" calls (assumedly not to Gray Davis), but certainly sounds like he is in

As I wrote last month, if Xiong gets into the race, he could tap into a national fundraising base as the potential first Hmong-American member of Congress. Ami Bera and Ricky Gill each are showing the promise of fundraising diaspora by tapping into a national network of the Indo-American community to swell their accounts. While the Southeast Asian community is not nearly as wealthy, Xiong could become a well funded candidate pretty quickly.

Bustamante has name recognition that would likely ensure a November showing and he would be an instantly legitimate candidate against Assemblymember David Valadao. His due diligence calls are likely to the DCCC to ensure that they will come in with sufficient money to compete against Valadao and the NRCC. Valadao had $386,579 on hand on December 31. Bustamante is a native of Dinuba, which is in the heart of the district.

Bustamante is probably in, which would likely delay Xiong's ascendence, and might force chamber exec John Hernandez to step aside as well. This district is key to Nancy Pelosi's goal of reclaiming the Speaker's gavel, and the DCCC wants a tested candidate to face off against Valadao.

MANSOOR'S MAKER?: Yesterday, Newport Beach activist and real estate broker Bob Rush jumped into the race for AD74, becoming the first Democrat in the race for the district currently held by Allan Mansoor. Now, this is a safe Republican seat and normally he would be seen as a candidate carrying the party's banner in the event that the other party's candidate in the general was Herschensohned. However, Rush has pledged $100,000 of his own money for the effort, and makes it clear that he's really in the race to defeat Newport Beach councilwoman Leslie Daigle

Rush told the OC Register that Daigle is "a roundly disrespected politician in her own sphere . . . She's sat on the Newport council for almost eight years and was never elected mayor by her peers."

It's extremely unlikely Rush can win the general in a district that Meg Whitman won by 20 points. However, with four Republicans in the race and 29.5% Dem registration, he will keep a second Republican from making it to November. If he has his way, it'll be Daigle who will be sent packing, a huge lucky break for Mansoor.

PIPELINE PROMOTER: The latest kerfuffle in the SD19 race is a demand from critics of Hannah-Beth Jackson that she disclose how much she was paid by Houston-based Plains Exploration and Production to promote the PXP offshore project that was killed by Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2010, reports Scott Steepleton in the Santa Barbara News Press. Mike Stoker, you're a good guy, but can you please step out of the race so we can watch the continued Democratic central coast feud all year?

REDIST REFER: Friday's deadline for the full check of signatures for the redistricting referendum is quickly approaching, and several large counties have yet to report. With 39% of the signatures counted, the current validity is 74.13%, which is a nice margin over the 70.96% required to qualify for the November ballot. The remaining counties--including Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino--need a 68.9% validity for the measure to qualify.

BOXER BACKS BERMAN: Barbara Boxer jumps on board the Howard Berman bandwagon, forcing Matt Rexroad to support Brad Sherman.


Foes Of Part-time Legislature Fire Political Shot At Shannon Grove
Jim Sanders @
Taking the gloves off, opponents of a proposal to convert the Legislature to part time took a personal shot today at the measure's sponsor - urging Assemblywoman Shannon Grove to voluntarily reduce her own salary and per diem payments.

Special Interests Run Capitol, Says Advocate For Part-time Legislature Initiative
Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield, with People's Advocate leader Ted Costa, left, is pushing for a November initiative that would set up a part-time Legislature, limiting sessions and cutting lawmaker pay.

Donations Dribbling In Slowly For Part-time Legislature Initiative
Jim Sanders @
Backers of a proposed constitutional amendment to reduce the Legislature to part time say they hope to raise $2.6 million for the effort, but records show that contributions have been few and relatively small in the campaign's first few weeks.

San Diego Judge Refuses To Keep Pension Reform Off Ballot
Tony Perry @
A San Diego judge Tuesday refused a request from public employee unions to block a pension reform measure from appearing on the June 5 ballot.

Prop. 8 backers seek review of gay marriage case
The backers of California's same-sex marriage ban petitioned a federal appeals court Tuesday to review a split decision by three of its judges that struck down the voter-approved law known as Proposition 8.

Prezboys In Michigan Melee; Babs Backs Berman
Tonight’s Republican presidential debate offers the last chance for candidates to make their cases on one stage before next Tuesday’s key Michigan primary. A loss for Mitt Romney in one of his 47 “home states” would undercut, perhaps fatally, his claim to be the most electable Republican and send his campaign into a political and psychological tailspin that could doom his once overwhelming chances. A victory there, however, would likely re-establish the campaign narrative of the Latter Day Shapeshifter as the inevitable, if unpopular, boring and annoying GOP nominee.

Barbara Boxer Endorses Howard Berman, Knocks Brad Sherman Mailer
Sen. Barbara Boxer has endorsed Rep. Howard Berman. She cited a mailer by Rep. Brad Sherman's campaign as the reason for her decision.

Study finds $135.7B in local pension liabilities
JUDY LIN, Associated Press @
A Stanford University think tank says two dozen local governments in California face a combined $135.7 billion in unfunded pension liabilities.

California's Barbara Boxer tied for 5th most liberal U.S. senator
California Democrat Barbara Boxer has long been considered one of the U.S. Senate's most liberal members, but according to the National Journal, she's in a five-way tie for being the 5th most liberal senator.

Obama To Propose Lowering Corporate Tax Rate To 28 Percent
President Obama on Wednesday plans to propose a major overhaul of the nation’s corporate tax code, an election-year gambit that is likely to draw a contrast over a key policy issue with the Republicans vying to replace him.

California Community Colleges Warn Of Ballooning Budget Gap
On politics in the Golden State

California's Red Light Cameras In Jeopardy
Dan Walters @
The battle over the cameras that many California cities and counties use to nab motorists who blow through red lights or – more commonly – make rolling stops for right turns has raged in the Capitol for several years without resolution.

Prop. 8 supporters ask circuit court to review ruling
Howard Mintz, @
Proposition 8 backers will ask a federal appeals court to reconsider a recent ruling striking down California's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage.

GOP Frontrunner Takes On Public Education
Louis Freedberg @
The first major discussion of education in the 2012 presidential campaign has centered not on reforms like teacher tenure or what should replace the No Child Left Behind law but on the merits of public education itself.

California's Top Labor Official Quits
Amid government layoffs, budget cuts and looming contract talks, the state's top labor relations official is stepping down.

Gay-marriage Foes To Ask Appeals Court To Review Prop. 8 Ruling
Geoff Mohan @
ProtectMarriage has long insisted it wanted to get to the high court as soon as possible. But the ruling that struck down the marriage ban was narrowly crafted to avoid large constitutional questions, and some legal scholars said the high court might not hear the case. That would leave the decision's impact narrowly limited to California.

Prop. 8 backers seek full review by appeals court
Maura Dolan @
Supporters say a three-judge 9th Circuit court panel that rejected the California ban on same-sex marriage wrongly concluded that the ballot measure stigmatized gays and lesbians.

Peter Gleick cancels plans to join the board of the Oakland-based National Center for Science Education
Dana Hull @
Dr. Peter Gleick, an internationally recognized water expert who has been studying climate change for two decades, has canceled plans to join the board of the Oakland-based National Center for Science Education.

Stanford: California's local public pensions $135.7 billion short
Jon Ortiz @
The 24 largest independent pension systems in California, including Sacramento County's, are facing a combined $135.7 billion in long-term obligations that they won't have the assets to cover, a new Stanford University report says.

California Lawmaker Wants To Put Brakes On Naming Of Freeways, Bridges
California lawmaker wants to reduce renaming of freeways

Obama Introduces Plan to Cut Corporate Tax Rate
With the proposal, President Obama enters an election-year debate with Republicans in Congress and in the presidential race who seek even lower taxes for businesses.

Unexpected Cuts For CA Colleges
Kathryn Baron @
Stop me if you’ve heard this before. California community colleges are facing a midyear budget cut. No, not the $102 million January trigger cut; that's so last month. This one is being called the "February surprise," and it triggered this tweet from California Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott: "#CA #Comm_Colleges will take another $149M unexpected cut this year. The state must stop disinvestment in #highered"

Next week's issue
Shannon Grove, a first-term Republican assemblywoman from Bakersfield, and initiative promoter Ted Costa are pushing an initiative for the November ballot that would to make the Legislature a part-time body. Among its provisions, part-time lawmakers would be paid $6,000 a month for three monthlong sessions.