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THE NOONER for March 21, 2012

TWEET DU JOUR: @WaltersBee - "Somebody should tell Assem. Cook that it's bad form to continually scratch yourself while presenting a bill on television. Guess I just did."

THE MUNGER MIGRAINE: Backers of the compromise tax plan sponsored by the governor are deeply concerned with the emerging message of Molly Munger's initiative campaign and increasingly fearful that, while Munger's may be doomed, it could also bring down the compromise. Specifically, a new ad running in LA and SF pounds on the issue that it is the "only initiative" that sends proceeds from the tax increase goes straight to schools, bypassing Sacramento

While the governor's original measure and the compromise places new tax revenues in an "Education Protection Account," it also counts toward the Proposition 98 guarantee and thus frees up General Fund money for other purposes.

The governor indicated yesterday that wife Anne Gust had exchanged e-mails with Munger, although it was before the latest ad hit the air. Anthony York reports that Brown characterized the exchange as "nuanced," which was a pretty nuanced characterization.

It's unclear how many ad spots Munger is buying. As the only donor to the campaign, she has put $2.9 million into the effort. This includes $1.5 million last Thursday, the day after the CFT/governor compromise was announced. The other $1.4 million should have been enough for signature gathering and other earlier costs, so it's likely the latest $1.5m could go into the ad buy. 

The compromise ballot measure is a tough sell, particularly with labor committed to defeating paycheck protection. If voters are confused by the messaging from Munger and this turns into a debate whether schools do or don't receive the benefit of the compromise, it will go down. The only way to ensure that is to keep Munger from submitting the signatures for her measure. And, the pressure probably needs to come not from the governor, but from the Education Coalition.

The clock is ticking . . .


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I GOT THE SHERIFF: After Ross Mirkarimi refused to resign by a 5pm deadline set by Mayor Ed Lee, Lee now has suspended him. This starts the process that could lead to an eventual vote by the Board of Supervisors to remove him from office.

PRO BONO: BANG's Josh Richman and Angela Woodall report that Nadia Lockyer visited Stephen Chikhani in jail twice in June 2011, signing in as his lawyer.

OUGHTA BE A LAW: Public agencies in some parts of the country are asking for Facebook passwords for job applicants, and Illinois and Maryland have proposed laws to ban the practice.

"Nothing that money and single party government can't buy." -- Anthony York, speaking on the quick turnaround of the title and summary for the governor's ballot measure.

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Jerry Brown Reaches Out To Rival Tax Proponent [updated]
Anthony York @
It looks like Molly Munger has finally gotten the attention of Gov. Jerry Brown. Munger, a Pasadena attorney, is backing a measure for the November ballot rivaling the governor’s tax plan. Brown has called made it clear he would like Munger to drop her initiative campaign, but he has not yet met with Munger to discuss tax policy. Brown said Tuesday that he spoke briefly to Munger for the first time last week, and that his wife, Anne, had an email exchange with her, but that Munger seemed unwilling to back away from her initiative.

Jerry Brown: Munger Sent 'Nice' E-mail, But No Deal In Works
David Siders @
A week after negotiating the compromise tax measure with the California Federation of Teachers, Gov. Jerry Brown said today that despite recent talks with Molly Munger, the proponent of a competing tax initiative, there is no sign of a deal.

Brown calls his tax 'superior,' tackles budget gap
JUDY LIN, Associated Press @
Gov. Jerry Brown says his tax initiative is "far superior" to a competing tax proposal because his would help fund schools and address California's $9.2 billion budget deficit.

Dan Walters Daily: Fast-tracking Jerry Brown's tax measure
Amy Chance @
VIDEO: Dan Walters discusses the role state Attorney General Kamala Harris plays in putting measures on the statewide ballot.

Obama Healthcare Law Not Yet Resonating With Public
Noam N. Levey, Washington Bureau @
Because key provisions of the healthcare law have yet to kick in, relatively few people have benefited from it, making Democrats' defense of it a tough sell.

Community Colleges Hurt By CSU Freeze
Kathryn Baron @
President Obama has called community colleges “the unsung heroes of America’s education system.” U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said, “no other system of higher education in the world does so much to provide access and second-chance opportunities as our community colleges.” Yet community colleges can’t catch a break.

California Unions To Push Jobs Plan
The California Labor Federation will unveil on Tuesday a series of proposals to promote job growth in the state, a plan that union officials said will be the centerpiece of its lobbying and political efforts this year.

Lawmakers Reject Bill To Curb Pay Hikes At California Public Universities
The Senate Education Committee Wednesday rejected legislation that would have curbed pay increases for college administrators, just a day after trustees of the California State University System gave 10 percent boosts to two university presidents.

Next week's issue: Tax initiative
Last week, Gov. Jerry Brown struck a deal with the California Federation of Teachers on a tax measure for the November ballot. It would increase the state sales tax by a quarter-cent and increase income taxes for singles who earn $250,000 or more and couples earning $500,000 or more. It would raise about $9 billion a year.

Romney praises Ryan budget plan, drawing fire from Obama campaign
Michael A. Memoli @
Paul Ryan's new budget plan drew praise from GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney, and an attack from President Obama's reelection campaign Tuesday.

California Art And Reality Intertwine Over Gambling Issues
Dan Walters @
Sometimes the intermingling of art and reality is just plain spooky.

Caroline Kennedy hitting campaign trail for Obama in Florida
Michael A. Memoli @
Caroline Kennedy is returning to the campaign trail for President Obama this week, helping mark the anniversary of the passage of healthcare reform legislation.

Opponents Of Sacramento Arena Plan Aim To Force A Public Vote
Tony Bizjak @
A group of activists and downtown residents today announced plans to launch a petition drive to put the Sacramento arena financing plan on the November ballot. The group, calling itself Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork, or STOP, said it opposes committing $255 million in public assets to the $400 million arena deal without voter approval.

Cal State Trustees Hear Grim Financial Report
Carla Rivera and Stephen Ceasar @
Officials say Cal State will face a $200-million cut resulting in slashed enrollment, loss of thousands of faculty and staff positions, and elimination of some academic and athletic programs if a tax increase ballot measure fails.

Cal State Panel Approves Pay Hike For Two University Presidents
bshuster @
A California State University panel voted Tuesday to increase compensation for the new presidents of the Fullerton and East Bay campuses, focusing renewed scrutiny on the executive pay issue. Meeting in Long Beach, the Committee on University and Faculty Personnel...

Court votes to shield state agencies that deny unpaid sick leave for new parents
David G. Savage @
WASHINGTON -- State workers who are denied unpaid sick leave required by federal law cannot sue the states, the Supreme Court said in a victory for states' rights that some liberal advocates saw as a bad omen for President Barack Obama's health care law.

Big Price, Little Time For Initiative
John Fensterwald @
The California Federation of Teachers has stopped collecting signatures for its Millionaires Tax, throwing its full effort into an expensive race against time to qualify an initiative it negotiated last week with Gov. Jerry Brown.

GOP Budget Plan Cuts Deeply Into Domestic Programs, Reshapes Medicare, Medicaid
House Republicans laid down a bold but risky election-year marker Tuesday, unveiling a budget proposal that aims to tame the national debt by reshaping Medicare and cutting deeply into Medicaid, food stamps and other programs for the poor, while reshuffling the tax code to sharply lower rates.

Illinois Primary Results: Mitt Romney Zeroes In On President Obama
Reid J. Epstein @
Romney's testing out several new lines of attack on the president. | AP Photo

Prisoners Call Upon United Nations To Investigate Solitary Confinement
Anna Gorman @
Calling solitary confinement "torture," California prisoners and advocates are asking the United Nations to investigate the segregated housing of gang members at prisons throughout the state.

Munger sent 'nice e-mail,' but no deal in works, Brown says
David Siders @
A week after negotiating the compromise tax measure with the California Federation of Teachers, Gov. Jerry Brown said today that despite recent talks with Molly Munger, the proponent of a competing tax initiative, there is no sign of a deal.

Controversial Strawberry Pesticide Pulled From Us - Ap State Wire News - The Sacramento Bee
FRESNO, Calif. -- The maker of a controversial strawberry pesticide said it's pulling all sales of the chemical from the U.S. market, surprising growers and environmentalists.