Around The Capitol

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THE NOONER for February 29, 2012

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  • CD08 (High Desert) - added accountant Phillip Liberatore (R)
  • CD08 (High Desert) - added Brad Mitzelfelt (R)
  • AD57 (Whittier) - removed Kevin Perez-Allen (D)

HAPPY 365.2425 DAY! 

THAT WAS BLUNT: @ericbauman: "Breaking David Dreier announced his retirement from Congress - maybe now he can come out of the closet & atone for his anti-gay votes. #DEM"

For those who don't know, Eric Bauman is the openly gay chair of the Los Angeles Democratic Party.

Lots of new Nooner readers...take a few minutes to fill out my simple four-question survey.

LA-LA LAND: The LA Labor Fed is out with its endorsements. It stayed out of the Berman/Sherman showdown and a few hot races (AD57  -Bermudez/iCalderon, AD58 - Baca Jr./Brown), but did weigh in on some contested Dem races:

CD35 - Joe Baca
CD44 - Janice Hahn
AD41 - Chris Holden
AD46 - Adrin Nazarian
AD50 - Betsy Butler
AD51 - Jimmy Gomez
AD59 - Reggie Jones-Sawyer
AD63 - Anthony Rendon

Notably, the Fed withheld endorsement for two incumbents -- Roger Hernandez (AD48) and Rod Wright (SD35).


The Engineering & Utility Contractors Association is now UNITED CONTRACTORS.

California’s best union-affiliated contractors association just got better. Effective March 1, EUCA will become United Contractors. With more than four decades of service, United Contractors will maintain their position as the largest union-affiliated contractors association west of the Mississippi, continuing to provide the same tradition of excellence in industry representation and advocacy and leading the way for California’s union-affiliated contractors.

Contact: Emily Cohen, United Contractors Director of Government Relations at 925-855-7900 or Kevin Pedrotti, United Contractors Government Advocate at 916-441-3111.

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LATINO CAUCUS SHAKE-UP: Tony Mendoza has "stepped down" as chairman of the Latino Legislative Caucus after a two-thirds vote to replace him with Ricardo Lara. Mendoza was accused of using his chairmanship to block the endorsement of Tom Calderon in AD58. Mendoza has endorsed Luis Marquez in the district. [Patrick McGreevy @ LA Times]

Who would have thought that we would ever have a gay Latino Speaker of the Assembly and a gay chair of the Latino Legislative Caucus, and that the hottest search term Around the Capitol would be "Lockyer sex tape"? 

Sincere Nooner affection and support goes out to Bill Lockyer, who has grown into one of the best statewide officials this state has seen.

SHIFT HAPPENS: The Field Poll released numbers this morning on the sentiment of California's registered voters of gay marriage, which shows a pretty dramatic shift in favor.

"Trend of California opinion about allowing same- sex couples to marry and having regular marriage laws apply to them"

Approve-Disapprove-No Opinion
February 2012: 59-34-7
2010: 51-42-7
2009: 49-44-7
2008: 51-42-7
2006: 44-50-6
2004: 44-50-6
2003: 42-50: 8
1997: 38-56-6
1985: 30-62-8
1977: 28-49-13

Support has increased across the board, with Republican approval growing from 26% to 39% over the last two years.

TEARS AND JEERS: There will be little love for the governor's proposed budget, as Assembly Budget Sub 1 meets this afternoon to review the CalWORKs cuts and changes.

Dem legislators are a bit shell-shocked over the LAO's projection that revenues are $6.5 billion lower, which has led to a complete reset of the plans to rearrange cuts in health and human services, and complicates the fight over which tax measure to get behind.

MEOW MIX: Fish and Game Commission chairman Daniel Richards says he ate the cougar that he killed and has no plans to resign after forty Dem legislators sent a letter suggesting just that. Dan Walters calls the signers of the letter hypocrites, particularly because they rarely respond when legislators run afoul of the law.

Money quote from Richards:

"Under your standards, all Californians who enjoy gaming in Nevada are somehow ethically challenged as true Californians and should be removed from any official position. My guess is the Legislative chambers might look a little barren should that logic prevail."

PARTY KILLER: During an appearance at the Sacramento Press Club luncheon, US Attorney Benjamin Wagner defended the crackdown on medical marijuana and said that going after farms growing pot in the Central Valley would be a priority. [Sam Stanton @ SacBee]


Feinstein Aims To Blunt Provisions Of Detainee Law
Carolyn Lochhead @
Sen. Dianne Feinstein today will challenge a law signed by President Obama that allows the military to arrest and imprison, without charge or trial, Americans suspected of terrorism. The California Democrat has argued...

Scandal Can't Slow Assembly Fundraising
Josh Richman @
Alameda County Supervisor Nadia Lockyer - now in rehabilitation for undisclosed addictions after a former lover allegedly attacked her in a Newark motel room early this month - and her husband, state Treasurer Bill Lockyer, had been scheduled to hold a fundraiser tonight at their home for Hayward Councilman Bill Quirk, who’s running for the 20th Assembly District seat. Quirk, who's tight enough with the Lockyers that he served as the treasurer for Nadia Lockyer’s 2010 supervisorial campaign, emailed supporters Sunday to announce that the event – for which tickets cost from $50 to $1,000 - had been moved to an Italian restaurant in Oakland. "Nadia and Bill Lockyer will have an event at their home sometime in the spring," Quirk wrote.

California Legislators Show Their Hypocrisy Over Hunting Issue
Dan Walters @
Dan Richards, who chairs the California Fish and Game Commission, is under fire in the Capitol because he killed a mountain lion in Idaho and posed with his trophy for a picture that was later published on a hunting publication website.

Latino Legislative Caucus Elects Ricardo Lara As Chairman
Jim Sanders @
Dissent within the Latino Legislative Caucus led today to the election of Assemblyman Ricardo Lara as its new chairman, replacing Assemblyman Tony Mendoza.

Sacramento Writing Up The Terms Of Arena Deal
Dale Kasler and Tony Bizjak @
Backers of a new downtown arena for the Sacramento Kings took a virtual victory lap through the city Tuesday – and plunged into the nitty-gritty details of a $387 million endeavor that still has as many questions as answers.

Mayors Villaraigosa, Emanuel, Bloomberg to meet on education
Katherine Skiba @
Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago schools chief Jean-Claude Brizard will appear at American University Friday for a panel discussion on reforming schools, U.S. Department of Education officials said Wednesday.

Competing Forces Line Up On California Water Bill
On the eve of Wednesday debate over a big California water bill, the pros and cons were being lined up.

Sacramento's U.S. Prosecutor Defends Medical Marijuana Crackdown
Sam Stanton @
As the top federal prosecutor in Sacramento was announcing a new focus on huge pot farms in the Central Valley on Tuesday, a U.S. district judge delivered a separate blow to efforts to thwart crackdowns on medical marijuana.

L.A. County Labor Federation Picks Its Candidates
Jean Merl @
The Los Angeles County Federation of Labor announced the candidates it is endorsing in this year's congressional and legislative races. Labor's support can be crucial in close contests in strongly Democratic districts.

San Jose Leaders Agree To Revisit Taxes In June
Local @
City leaders remain interested in pursuing tax hikes but agreed Tuesday to put off further discussion until June after voters decide on a city measure to slow growth in employee pension costs.

Billions Piled Up In Low-income Housing Fund May Disappear
Teri Sforza @
In the ongoing obituary for California’s late redevelopment system, one “virtue” set it apart: 20 percent of the billions flowing in had to be dedicated to low-and moderate-income housing.

Sacto 9-1-1: Top Federal Prosecutor Vows New Crackdown On Pot Farms
Sam Stanton @
Warning that there is a new "green rush" of people flocking to California to exploit the market for marijuana, the top federal prosecutor in the Sacramento region promised a crackdown today on huge pot farms on agricultural land in the Central Valley.

Poll: 6 in 10 Calif. voters backs gay marriage
The Associated Press @
A new poll finds that six out of every 10 voters in California now support allowing same-sex couples to get married, a significant increase since the state voted to ban same-sex marriage a little more than two years ago.

San Mateo County supervisors quietly put three tax measures on June 5 ballot
Bonnie Eslinger @
Without discussion, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to put three measures on the June 5 ballot to raise the hotel tax and create new taxes for commercial parking lot and car rental businesses.

Evil Lurks In Super PACs
Steve Lopez @
The California Assembly is making another attempt to require disclosure of donations to political campaigns, and it deserves support.

Brewing Storm Could Help Calif.'s Water Woes
FRESNO, Calif. -- State surveyors who measured California's paltry Sierra Nevada snowpack on Tuesday might have fared better had they waited another day.

California Bill Would Let Non-doctors Do Some Abortions To Expand Access
Nicholas Riccardi @
Senate bill would allow nurse practitioners, physician assistants and nurse midwives to perform routine abortions in the first trimester. Pérez and Steinberg back Sen. Christine Kehoe's bill as co-sponsors.

PG&E Expects Gas-safety Program To Cost $5 Billion
Jaxon Van Derbeken @
A top Pacific Gas and Electric Co. official acknowledged Tuesday that the utility's program to improve its gas pipeline safety after the San Bruno disaster would eventually cost about $5 billion, factoring in the finance costs over 50 years.

Health care's key SCOTUS vote
Jennifer Haberkorn @
The Obama administration needs at least one conservative justice to save its reform law.

AM Alert: California's proposed budget cuts back in spotlight
California's proposed state budget cuts are back in the spotlight, sparking their own drama outside the Capitol building.

Rallies against education cuts planned
Students, faculty and staff at area colleges are planning to participate in what is being billed as nationwide rally against cuts in education funding.

Stockton Aims To Avoid Being Biggest Bankrupt City
STOCKTON, Calif. -- The city of Stockton in California's crop-abundant Central Valley has the second-highest foreclosure rate in the nation and one of the highest crime and unemployment rates. It was named America's most miserable city in a national magazine - twice.

Food Truck Bill Seeks To Combat Childhood Obesity
Rachel Gordon @
In this city of food fanatics, a proposed state law designed to promote children's health would ban food trucks from just about every neighborhood in San Francisco except the Financial District, South of Market and...