Around The Capitol

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THE NOONER for March 6, 2012


  • SD39 (San Diego) - updated analysis

TWEET DU JOUR: @ssharmon - "So, that's the power of the lite guv office: "@ChrisMegerian: Newsom able to help protesters reach bthroom. 5 at a time, CHP officer says."

Yesterday's rally of higher education supporters at the State Capitol was generally peaceful, with 68 arrests at the end of the day as police officers cleared out a closing Capitol. Four others had been arrested earlier in the day, reports the Bee's team. Despite a message that took on lots of angles, the protests generally stayed to the goal of drawing attention to the cuts to higher education.

PHONING IT IN: @nmevans (State Senator Noreen Evans)- "#Occupythecapitol Protestors asking me to join them downstairs-I can better witness from above."

WISE ADVICE: @ssharmon - "Today is not the day to be tweeting while walking streets near capitol. Not with the heaps being left by mounted patrol and their mounts."


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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NOTE ON FILING DEADLINES: I noted yesterday that Friday is the filing deadline for races. Of course, if an incumbent is not running, the deadline is extended for five days, or until March 14, 2012. [h/t Chris Parker]

As of this point, nobody has filed for AD36 after Steve Knight jumped to SD21 following Sharon Runner's decision not to run for reelection.

SD39 IN PLAY? The entry of former Republican Assemblymember George Plescia into SD39 led Dan Walters to write yesterday that it "creates a shadow of doubt" into the ability of Democrats to get the two-thirds majority in the State Senate. For the last year, the seat looked like a lock for Democratic Assemblymember Marty Block.

The core of the district is San Diego proper, including Coronado, and it then stretches up to the more conservative Del Mar, La Jolla and Solana Beach areas and east into the suburbs south of Escondido. Dems have 37.7% of the registration, Reps have 30.4% and 26.8% have no party preference.

Let's look at how the district has performed in recent races:

  • Obama-McCain (2008): 60-37% (D)
  • Brown-Whitman: 49-44% (D)
  • Chiang-Strickland: 51-34% (D)
  • Cooley-Harris: 42-41% (R)
  • Lockyer-Walters: 49-35% (D)
  • Boxer-Fiorina: 49-43% (D)
  • Proposiiton 8: 41% Yes, 57% No

Plescia is a moderate in the San Diego tradition of Pete Wilson, and, as Dan Walters notes, was ousted as Assembly Republican Leader for the perception that he was not fighting Schwarzenegger enough. 

Plescia is going to need a lot of money to beat back the incumbent's advantage Block brings to the race. Block had $172,889 on hand on December 31, and Plescia starts from scratch with no active committees. 

Both Block and Plescia represent(ed) slices of the district--Plescia the northern suburbs and Block east of the 805. (Democrat Toni Atkins represents downtown San Diego, while Ben Hueso has Coronado.)

With the performance of Democrats in this district in 2010, the landslide of Obama in 2008, and the financial advantage Block brings to the race, I give Block a 70% chance of winning the seat. However, with a legitimate moderate Republican in the race, I'm moving SD39 from "Safe Democrat" to "Leans Democrat."

[disclosure: I have previously financially supported Marty Block, a former San Diego CCD trustee]

$$$ - Governor Jerry Brown's tax initiative committee reported a monster haul of $631,725 yesterday, bringing the campaign's total to over $3.4 million. The largest contributions include Southern Cal pipe trades ($125,000), state pipe trades ($100,000), Pechanga ($100,000) and Corrections Corp of America ($50,000). Notably, the committee still has not reported any money from supporters California Teachers Association or Service Employees International Union.

Meanwhile, the California Budget Project's Jean Ross is hosting a press call today to highlight problems with the Millionaires Tax. Joining Ross on the call are the California Medical Association's Dustin Corcoran, California State Association of Counties's Paul McIntosh and Mike Herald from the Western Center on Law and Poverty.

This is a big play to shift the momentum that Millionaires has gotten in the last couple of weeks, changing the focus from the more progressive nature of the tax to flaws in its drafting that opponents argue hurt poor people. One has to wonder if the Administration has sent a message to these folks that the governor is reconsidering the big January cuts to Medi-Cal and CalWORKs, or if they are just legitimately worried of the cuts getting worse.


Dozens Arrested At California Capitol Protests As Thousands Decry High Cost Of Education
Sam Stanton, Torey Van Oot, Ed Fletcher and Kim Minugh @
Another day of protests played out at the state Capitol on Monday with thousands of demonstrators denouncing soaring higher education costs and a select group spending most of the day inside the rotunda to achieve one goal: getting arrested.

Obama Co-chairs, Senators Endorse Same-sex Marriage
Bob Egelko @
President Obama isn't ready to endorse same-sex marriage. But that hasn’t stopped a half-dozen of his campaign co-chairs, including California Attorney General Kamala Harris, or a group of Democratic senators.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Pays $30,000 In Fines Over 2009 Budget Ads
Kevin Yamamura @
Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has paid $30,000 in fines for inappropriately spending $1.1 million in campaign funds on a media blitz during his 2009 budget battle with Democrats.

Thousands Rally For Higher Education Funding At Capitol
Torey Van Oot @
Several thousand protesters descended on the state Capitol Monday to protest the rising cost of higher education and call on lawmakers to increase funding for California's public colleges and universities.

Protesting California Students Have A Point About Budget
Dan Walters @
The thousands of college students who marched on the Capitol on Monday to protest rising fees and decreasing state support had a point: Higher education has taken a disproportionately heavy drubbing in recent years as politicians attempted - and largely failed - to balance the state budget.

Jerry Brown Calls Massive Protest Sign Of Broader Frustration
David Siders @
As hundreds of students continued to protest cuts to higher education at the state Capitol this afternoon, Gov. Jerry Brown said in a prepared statement that the students reflect the frustration of millions of Californians.

Four Sacramento Area Counties Prepare For Early Test Of Obama's Health Care Overhaul
Grace Rubenstein @
One slice of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul is coming early to the Sacramento region, providing a first glimpse at what the massive, complex law will look like.

Gov. Jerry Brown tax hike campaign reports $631k in donations
Torey Van Oot @
Gov. Jerry Brown has reported another $631,000 in contributions to a campaign committee formed to support his proposed tax initiative, bringing his fundraising total so far to $3.4 million.

UC Davis Pepper Spray Report Delayed As Police Union Threatens Legal Action
Sam Stanton @
Facing threat of legal action by the union for University of California, Davis, campus police, officials scrapped plans to release a report today on the November pepper spraying of students and protesters in the UC Davis quad.

Sacramento Higher-ed Protest Leads To 60 Arrests
Nanette Asimov @
Police arrested about 60 protesters who had taken over the Rotunda of the state Capitol on Monday to demand an end to higher education cuts and passage of a proposed "millionaires tax." Hundreds of students from...

Reed Says Call For Audit Of San Jose Pension Estimate Is Politically Motivated
Mark Gomez @
Mayor Chuck Reed said a call Monday for an audit of the citys finances and pension costs is another attempt by unions and their political allies to derail a pension reform measure proposed for the June ballot.

Simitian: 'Hands-free' Law Is Saving Lives
Josh Richman @
State Sen. Joe Simitian is declaring victory now that a new study shows a steep dropoff in distracted-driving deaths since his hands-free phone law took effect for California drivers.

Schools chief Tom Torlakson backs Brown tax plan - and his rivals
Tom Torlakson, the state superintendent of schools, took a stand Tuesday on the three-way political wrestling match over asking voters to raise taxes - sort of.

Editorial: Students draw the line: No more cuts to higher ed
At their annual "March in March" rally, student government representatives from the California Community College, California State University and University of California systems joined Monday for a lobbying day at the state Capitol. Their aim was to focus legislative attention on higher education issues.

A Year Before Balloting, L.A. Mayoral Hopefuls Build Voting Blocs
Kate Linthicum @
Five candidates are hoping to succeed Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa next year.

California Ban On Driver Cellphone Use Is Saving Lives, Study Says
Fewer Californians are dying in traffic accidents caused by hand-held cellphone use, according to a study by the Safe Transportation Research and Education Center at UC Berkeley. Traffic deaths declined by 22% in the two years after the state outlawed...

Calif. Troopers Arrest Dozens In State Capitol
Hannah Dreier @
California Highway Patrol officers arrested dozens of protesters who refused to leave the state Capitol Monday night after repeated warnings, capping a day of protests over cuts to higher education that saw thousands descend upon Sacramento.

Former Gov. Schwarzenegger Faces Fines For Campaign Violations
Patrick McGreevy @
Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger faces $30,000 in fines by the state’s campaign watchdog agency after a ballot measure committee he formed allegedly spent $1.1 million on matters unrelated to initiatives.

California's state operating engineers local spent more than $860,000 on political activities last year
Jon Ortiz @
This is the latest installment in a series of posts detailing the 2011 political spending by California state workers' unions. The records are downloaded from the California Secretary of State's office and reflect activity filed as of

Higher Education: Students Rally At Capitol
Thousands of college students and others rallied at the state Capitol this morning to protest fee increases and budget cuts at public colleges and universities.

Update: Capitol cops arrest 68
Sam Stanton @
The crowds gathered near the Capitol's west steps are beginning to dissipate and head toward the north side of the building for a new rally where labor groups are set to rail against education cost hikes.

Sacramento Arena Plan Appears To Have 5 Council Votes For Passage
Ryan Lillis, Dale Kasler and Tony Bizjak @
It's a potentially risky bet, but so far the Sacramento City Council appears willing to keep playing the game. Four City Council members on Monday expressed support for the preliminary "term sheet" agreed to by the city, the Kings and arena operator AEG to build a $391 million arena in the downtown railyard. With the mayor's support, that adds up to the five votes needed for passage of the nonbinding document at tonight's council meeting.

Initiative would mean 12,000 lawmakers
A Rancho Santa Fe businessman is proposing a radical remaking of the California Legislature that he says would give voters more voice — and special interests less influence — by having far more legislators serving much smaller districts.

Activists Camp Out At State Capitol To Protest Tuition Hikes
Occupy capitol activists camp out in California state capitol to protest higher education cuts. Protesters objecting to higher education cuts camp out in California capitol.