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THE NOONER for February 27, 2012

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  • CD11 (Contra Costa) - added businessman John Fitzgerald (D)
  • CD11 (Contra Costa) - added nurse Virginia Fuller (R)
  • CD16 (Merced) - added former Madera USD board member Loraine Goodwin (D)
  • CD22 (Fresno) - added attorney Otto Lee (D)
  • CD23 (Kern) - added journalist/businessman Terry Phillips (N)

TWEET DU JOUR: @jasonkinney - "Herman Cain as keynote speaker? Color me impressed, CA Republican Party. Maybe next year, CA Dems will land Anthony Wiener. Fingers crossed."

NOW WHAT? On Friday, the State Senate redistricting referendum qualified for the ballot after a razor-thin margin of signatures beyond the required 504,760 were reported valid. The 7,000 signature margin was certainly closer than consultant Dave Gilliard wanted, but success is success. However, Friday's worry now turns to the challenge ahead--will there be money for the effort?

The referendum clearly hasn't gone as planned. The goal was to stop the new districts from going into effect, hoping to keep Democrats from getting two-thirds in the upper house. When the state Supreme Court ruled that the Commission's lines would be used, regardless of whether the referendum qualified for the ballot, the GOP strategy was thrown off-kilter.

The GOP will lose 1-4 seats in the State Senate in November, leading to a range from 26-29 members in the house in which 27 is the magic number. Democrats are anxious for 28, knowing that the party is certain to lose an Orange County seat in 2014. Of the four this year, one is a certain Dem pickup (SD17), another is likely (SD27) and two are toss-ups (SD05, SD31). 

The main goal was a court redraw that would eliminate that certainty in SD17, where Republican Sam Blakeslee was handed a very Democratic district. Since that didn't happen, the referendum goes forward but, even if it passes, the court is under no obligation to make any significant changes to the maps. In fact, most people I talk to think the court would basically defer to the Commission, even if voters cast a majority of "no" votes on the referendum. (Remember, this is a referendum, so "no" means "yes, I want to overturn the law.")

This uncertainty leads the head of the senate's GOP caucus to basically saying they won't bankroll the referendum, and the party seems to be balking as well (and apparently is $500,000 in debt). And, it's highly unlikely that a George Joseph-type will come along for the party like he did during the signature gathering effort. There is too much at stake to invest very limited party dollars in a referendum that could be meaningless if the court eventually takes a pass on redrawing the districts.

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Jerry Brown Approve-Disapprove-No Opinion
February 2012: 45-38-17
November 2011: 47-36-17
September 2011: 49-32-19
June 2011: 46-31-23
March 2011: 48-21-31

Legislature Approve-Disapprove-No Opinion
February 2012: 22-66-12
High: 57-36-7 (1988 average)
Low: 10-80-10 (September 2010) 

California Right Track-Wrong Direction-No Opinion
February 2011: 32-62-6
High: 58-35-7 (2000 average)
Low: 7-90-3 (1992 average) 

Part-time Legislature
35% Support, 45 Oppose, 16 No Opinion  

[Field Poll, 2/2-2/18/12, n=1,003, +/- 3.1%]

As the California Federation of Teachers kicks in another $200,000 to help qualify the Millionaires Tax, Dan Walters looks at why the California Teachers Association is backing the governor's tax plan, which is less favorable for schools. His conclusion -- it isn't about the money.

Of course, CTA has yet to put its money where its endorsement is . . .

MONEY TWEET: @FlashReport - "@JerryBrownGov today the #CAGOP spanked "our" Munger. Think you can do the same to yours?"

There was a GOP convention in Burlingame this weekend, and the highest point of drama was around whether former party chair Mike Spence would get a charter for his new Conservative Republicans of California caucus. In the end, he prevailed over current chair Tom Del Becarro, giving the CROC legitimacy.

THE STORY BECOMES STRANGER: Matier and Ross write: "We're told that a sex tape of Nadia Lockyer and the man was given to her husband, state Treasurer Bill Lockyer, about six weeks before the Newark incident. The treasurer believed that the man, who has a history of arrests for alleged methamphetamine use, might make the tape public if forced to break off a romantic relationship with the supervisor."

BILLS, BILLS, BILLS: On the last day to introduce bills in the second year of the legislative session, 732 were introduced. AB 2224 is the Assembly version of the package of the governor's pension plan introduced by Republicans.

The LA Times calls the pension reform package "right for the state."

MOVE ALONG, NOTHING TO SEE HERE: "State Controller John Chiang [Friday] released a new actuarial report showing the 30-year cost of providing health and dental benefits for state retirees is $62.1 billion."

TWEET-OFF DU JOUR: @tedlieu vs. @rickjacobs, with Ted arguing for the governor's tax plan and Rick arguing for Millionaires.


Why would the California Teachers Association back Jerry Brown's tax measure?
Dan Walters @
The California Teachers Association stands alone among major public education groups -- at least so far -- in supporting the tax-increase ballot measure Gov. Jerry Brown says is needed to prop up public schools.

Poll: Most voters believe healthcare mandate is unconstitutional
Kim Geiger @
Nearly two years after President Obama signed his landmark healthcare package into law, three-quarters of registered voters believe the law’s requirement that every American carry health insurance is unconstitutional, according to a new survey.

Jerry Brown Urges 'Reckless' GOP Hopefuls To Fight On
David Siders @
WASHINGTON - Gov. Jerry Brown doesn't think much of the Republicans running for president, but he encouraged them this morning to keep fighting through the summer nominating convention.

Candidates In South Bay District Court Newly Important Centrist Voters
Jean Merl @
The voters of the South Bay's 66th Assembly District tend to be a political tossup. "This is a classic swing district," said Matt Rexroad, a Sacramento-based Republican consultant and an expert on the state's recent remapping.

Jerry Brown Takes On Washington Times Reporter
Gov. Jerry Brown tangled with a reporter from the conservative Washington Times newspaper after his meeting with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Saturday. At one point Brown, who was defending his earlier tenure as governor and his...

Republicans Aim To Block Cal State Chairman's Second Term
Carla Rivera and Patrick McGreevy @
Herbert Carter, head of the California State University system's governing board, may struggle to be reconfirmed. Some GOP legislators are angry over his increasing executive pay and boosting tuition; Democrats, some of whom criticized the same decisions, accuse them of political posturing.

Tim Pawlenty Delivers Pitch For Romney At State GOP Convention
Torey Van Oot @
Former presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty urged California Republicans to line up behind Mitt Romney's candidacy Saturday night, framing the Massachusetts governor as the party's best bet for winning the White House in November.

San Diego Pension Ballot Test Is On :: Fox&hounds
A judge has ruled that the San Diego pension reform measure can stay on the June ballot and the rest of the state and nation will be watching.

Jerry Brown Talks Gas Prices, Immigration On 'Meet The Press'
Anthony York @
Gov. Jerry Brown began his Sunday morning the same way he did exactly 34 years ago -- with a morning sit-down on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Jerry Brown's Return To Washington Lacks Long-ago Presidential Ambition
WASHINGTON – Gov. Jerry Brown, whose ambition to be president faded years ago, went running one recent morning along the National Mall.

California's 'tort War' Reignited With Darrell Steinberg Bill
The Capitol's perpetual "tort war" that pits personal injury attorneys against insurance and business groups over the rules governing lawsuits has a new battleground.

GOP To Democrats: Gotcha
George Skelton @
Republican legislators made a smart move when they backed Brown's pension proposal. Now his own party needs to step up.

Prison Realignment Creates An Opportunity :: Fox&hounds
Last weekend, about 700 people from the Occupy 4 Prisoners movement demonstrated outside San Quentin State Prison in Marin County, calling for an end to the death penalty, solitary confinement and three-strikes laws.

Issue of the week: Part-time Legislature
Shannon Grove, a first-term Republican assemblywoman from Bakersfield, and initiative promoter Ted Costa are pushing an initiative for the November ballot that would make the Legislature a part-time body. Among its provisions, part-time lawmakers would be paid $6,000 a month for three monthlong sessions. Last week, we asked readers these questions: Do you support or oppose a proposed part-time Legislature? Would it increase or decrease the influence of special interests? Would limiting the Legislature to three months improve or lower the quality of governance in California? Here are some responses:

Rick Orlov's Tipoff: Unintended Consequences At Work In Politics
Rick Orlov @
It is sort of the political version of the law of unintended consequences. The more reformers seek to take money out of politics, the more money comes in and from sources they never intended or wanted.

S.F. Billionaire Quietly Funds Ron Paul Super PAC
Richard S. Dunham, Carla Marinucci @
Ron Paul revels in the fact that he is the presidential candidate of America's small donors, receiving more contributions under $200 than any other Republican seeking the White House in 2012. But, like every other GOP...

Bay Area Resident Takes On Tough Job For GOP: Attracting Latinos
Local @
Bettina Inclan of Los Gatos has one of the toughest jobs in American politics: peeling Latino voters away from President Barack Obama in the November election. But she's confident she can do it.

GOP Unknowns Jockey For Chance To Take On Dianne Feinstein
Torey Van Oot @
Rival GOP presidential campaigns weren't the only ones trying to shore up support at this weekend's California Republican Party convention.

California GOP OKs New Conservative Group After Floor Fight
Torey Van Oot @
No political convention would be complete without at least a splash of floor drama.

Maloofs Pledge To Contribute $150 Million For New Downtown Arena
The city and the Kings have reached the framework of a deal to build an arena and keep the Kings in Sacramento. Team co-owner Gavin Maloof came out of negotiations in tears to announce that the team has made a long-term commitment to the capital.

Jerry Brown to reporter
David Siders @
Gov. Jerry Brown had just finished meeting privately with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius this afternoon when, on his way out, he ran into The Washington Times. It did not go well.

Birth Control Issue Rankles Women Of Both Parties
Carla Marinucci,Joe Garofoli @
The sputtering economy and fast-rising gas prices fire the passions of California Republicans when the objective is beating President Obama in the 2012 election. Which is why not all state GOP activists are happy that...

Former GOP Assemblyman Anthony Adams to run for Congress
Torey Van Oot @
Former Republican Assemblyman Anthony Adams is looking to return to politics with a bid for an open inland Southern California congressional seat.