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THE NOONER for March 29, 2012

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TWEET DU JOUR: @BorowitzReport - "BREAKING: Greece Buys Mega Millions Ticket"

WARNING: Today's headers include to rap videos, all of which were played on teevee, but may be offensive to some readers.

R U DOWN WITH NPP? Today's answer from RPdata focuses on the city in California with the largest share of decline-to-state voters. The answer, Cupertino at 39.17% got me thinking about the local Assembly race, in which "No Party Preference" candidate Chad Walsh is challenging Democratic Assemblymember Paul Fong. I have hesitated writing about this race, as both are friends and, respectively, current and former community college trustees. With Nathan Fletcher jumping the GOP ship and a growing number of independent candidates, will we see any folks from outside the two parties win election this year?

There are 37 candidates running as "No Party Preference" in the June 5 "top two" primary. As a reminder, the top two candidates will proceed to November, regardless of party and whether a candidate surpasses 50% in June. (Congratulations to Karen Bass, Ricardo Lara, Lois Wolk, Susan Bonilla -- with no challenger, you don't need to worry about any of this.)

At the risk of hate mail and probably offending some Nooner readers, I currently consider six "No Party Preference" candidates legitimate: Anthony Adams (CD08), Len Augustine (AD11), Chad Condit (CD10), Mark Green (AD20), Linda Parks (CD26), Chad Walsh (AD28). This is based on fundraising, previous office experience and name recognition. Even among these, there are a couple of stretches. 

While certainly not the determinative factor, let's look at the partisan make-up in these districts:

Dem: 32.7%
Rep: 42.2%
NPP: 19.0%

Dem: 40.9%
Rep: 38.3%
NPP: 16.3%

Dem: 40.9%
Rep: 35.2%
NPP: 19.0%

Dem: 47.7%
Rep: 20.9%
NPP: 20.1%

Dem: 54.3%
Rep: 17.3%
NPP: 22.8%

Dem: 43.3%
Rep: 26.5%
NPP: 26.6%

While home to the most independent city in the state, AD28 does not have the highest percentage of "no party preference voters." Rather, there are fifteen districts with larger shares, including Nancy Pelosi's CD12 (30.4%) and the top in the state, Mike Honda's CD17 (31.5%). Neither are expected to have problems with reelection this year. 

Today I'll look at the three congressionals and tomorrow I'll look at the three Assembly races. I know that's a bit mean since the Legislature is off tomorrow for Cesar Chavez day, but today will run plenty long enough.

With thirteen candidates, CD08 brings the true definition of "jungle primary." This high desert race has ten Republicans, two Democrats, and Anthony Adams, a former Republican Assemblymember who did not run for reelection in 2010 after being targeted for recall after cooperating with Arnold Schwarzenegger on the 2009 tax increase vote. While it is very unlikely Adams can gain a majority in November (McCain beat Obama by 13.4% here), it is very possible he could make it past June.

In CD10, while the Condit name adds spice to this race, Jeff Denham will face off against John Hernandez in November.  

CD26 is the kind of race that gives us political geeks the tingles. Republican State Senator Tony Strickland brings his patented Republican credentials into the district to face off against equally Democratic west side Assemblymember Julia Brownley. At least, that's the way the DCCC and NRCC see the race. However, on the Democratic side, expect to hear Brownley labeled a "carpetbagger" by Garry South-advised David Cruz Thayne. However, with harbor commissioner Jess Herrera also playing for the anti-Brownley and Latino vote, expect them to split that vote and roll out the carpet for Brownley to reach November. Both, however, will probably take a share of the 19% indie vote.

On the Republican side, moderate Republican and Ventura County Supervisor Linda Parks decided to not try to out-Republican Strickland, and dropped her party registration and thus was allowed to file as "No Party Preference." To reach the top-two among the six-candidates in the race, I would set the bar for Parks at around 35%, which will be extraordinaily difficult to achieve. In 2010, 40% of this district cast votes for Tony Strickland against John Chiang for Controller. The Democrats will get between 40-50% of the vote here, with the top candidate likely landing at around 30%.  If Strickland gets 30% and any Democrat hits 30%, which I see as likely, there just isn't room for Parks in November.


RPdata – Using Redistricting Partners data and tools to help campaigns.

YESTERDAY'S QUESTION:"Nathan Fletcher Edition: Which city in California has the highest percentage of Decline to State voters?"

YESTERDAY'S ANSWER: Congratulations to Garen Yegparian of Burbank. The answer is Cupertino at 39.17%.

TODAY'S QUESTION: "A tough one, in two parts: What percentage of Asian Republican Dentists and Latino Democratic Security guards are Permanent Absentee Voters?"

To win a $5 Temple Coffee gift certificate, send the correct answer on Twitter with the #RPdataCA hashtag or email

Follow us at twitter/RPdataCA or on the web at

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MONEY AIN'T A THING: The California Teachers Association moved $1.5 million into an account for the tax measure campaign. It is noteworthy that CTA gave money to a new account for the tax measure, rather than handing the money over to the governor's committee. While CTA endorsed the governor's measure on February 8, the contribution becomes the first investment in the measure by one of the state's most well-heeled interest groups. 

The separate committee--"Californians Working Together to Restore and Protect Public Schools, Universities and Public Safety"--is interesting, and it's unclear whether the governor's committee ("Brown; Californians To Protect Schools, Universities And Public Safety, A Ballot Measure Committee Supported By Governor Jerry") is still the lead committee or this is the coordinator of a very expensive effort.

In the same filing, CTA also gave the California Democratic Party $1 million.

REGULATE: Three cheers to Assemblymember Bill Monning, who has dropped his proposal to limit food trucks near school zones. The move qualifies for a nomination for the Best Legislative Inaction of the Year award.

FIGHT THE POWER: California Budget Project chief Jean Ross says "goodbye, for now" via CalBuzz. Even Jon Fleischman sends along well wishes. Here's our bad Nooner farewell:

Goodbye Budget Jean
Though we know its tough to go
You stuck in there with us
Even while the general fund fell
You had so many spending ideas
But not enough budget votes
So we're sending you to the Big Apple
To find philanthropic C-notes

And it seems to us you lived your life
As a budget geek at the top
Always wondering if the deficit
Would ever stop
And though we were proud to know you
Before the latest budget pop
The fate was sealed long before
Jerry became the budget cop

Goodbye, Budget Jean. For now.

THANK YOU: Today is the penultimate day of Nooner sponsorship for RPdata/Redistricting Partners, which has provided us two weeks of very difficult questions using the amazing data store Paul and his team have created. Because RP is doing some great work for my community college districts right now, the space was provided in exchange for a charitable contribution. Thanks, Paul and team! [Nooner Sponsorship Info]


UC President Endorses Governor's Ballot Measure For Tax Increases
Larry Gordon @
University of California President Mark G. Yudof on Wednesday strongly backed Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed tax increase aimed for the November ballot, warning of big tuition increases next year if it fails and offering hope that tuition would remain stable if it passes.

Justices Poised To Strike Down Entire Healthcare Law
David G. Savage @
The Supreme Court's conservative justices said they are prepared to strike down President Obama's healthcare law entirely.

California Gov. Jerry Brown Calling His Plan A 'millionaires' Tax'
Kevin Yamamura @
When Gov. Jerry Brown reached a tax compromise with the California Federation of Teachers and liberal activists, apparently their "Millionaires' Tax" slogan was included in the deal.

UC president backs Jerry Brown's proposed tax increase
Larry Gordon @
UC President Mark Yudof warns the Board of Regents that big tuition increases will occur next year if the measure fails. He also says tuition could stabilize if tax revenues increase.

If Supreme Court strikes down insurance requirement, can rest of health care law survive?
Mark Sherman and Pete Yost @
WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court signaled Wednesday that it could throw out other key parts of President Barack Obama's health care law if it first finds the individual insurance requirement unconstitutional.

'No Contingency Planning' At White House If Healthcare Repealed
Christi Parsons @
As tough questions swirled about President Obama¿s health care reform law, White House officials said Wednesday that they aren¿t making plans for the possibility that the Supreme Court knocks some or all of it down.

California Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher Quits GOP
Carla Marinucci,Marisa Lagos @
California Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, a San Diego mayoral candidate whom the state GOP has considered one of its most promising future leaders, said Wednesday that he is fed up with the "petty games" of hyper-partisan politics and has abandoned the Republican Party to become an independent.

Gas tax imperiled as House, Senate play 'infrastructure chicken'
Richard Simon @
House on Thursday approved a three-month extension of federal highway spending, daring the Senate to act before the government’s authority to collect gas taxes lapses Saturday at midnight and disrupts transportation projects.

Head to Head: Is the 'individual mandate' of health care reform constitutional?
THE ISSUE: The U.S. Supreme Court this week heard an unprecedented three days of arguments on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The justices will decide by June whether the legislation, which includes a requirement that virtually every American buy health insurance by 2014 or pay a penalty, passes constitutional muster.

After Supreme Court's healthcare hearings, experts rate arguments
Carol J. Williams @
Arguments for and against Obama's healthcare law heard at the Supreme Court elicit a range of opinions from four constitutional law experts.

California Teachers Association Gives $1.5 Million To Tax Effort
David Siders @
The influential California Teachers Association reported giving $1.5 million today to Gov. Jerry Brown's effort to raise taxes.

Political Memo: Supreme Court Health Care Ruling to Bring Bipartisan Fallout
For all of the fretting by liberals and legal analysis, it is certain there will be substantial political fallout over the ruling on the Obama health care overhaul.

Audio: The Supreme Court's deliberations on axing healthcare reform
Morgan Little @
As reported earlier today by the Times , the Supreme Court continued its deliberations on President Obama's sweeping healthcare reforms, focusing on whether striking the entire law down would be feasible, and what the fallout would be were the court to take such a drastic action.

School Boards Vary Widely In Response To Voting Rights Law
Will Evans @
Dozens of school boards in the Central Valley are changing their election systems in response to a state law aimed at increasing minority representation, but much of the rest of the state hasn't budged.

House set to approve Rep. Paul Ryan's controversial 2013 budget
Los Angeles Times @
Doubling down on a controversial campaign issue, the GOP-led House is set to approve a 2013 budget that would cut taxes for the wealthy, revamp Medicare and slash federal spending in a vote that will define the Republican Party this election year and beyond.

The Caucus: Divining the Supreme Court Health Care Arguments
In the immediate aftermath of Tuesday's landmark argument on the constitutionality of the health care law's insurance mandate, there was no shortage of attempted divination among the legal commentariat.

State Senator Pushes Bill On Breast Cancer Screening
On politics in the Golden State

Committee Formed To Back California Candidates With 'Courage'
Torey Van Oot @
One of several new independent committees hoping to influence elections for the California Legislature under the state's new top-two primary system is stepping up its efforts.

California Lawmakers To Don Hoodies To Protest Trayvon Martin Case
California lawmakers plan to wear hoodies Thursday to protest the killing of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed Florida teenager who was shot to death last month by a neighborhood watch volunteer. Members of the Black, Latino and Asian Pacific Islander caucuses...

Sacramento's Economic Recovery One Of Weakest In The Nation, Think Tank Says - Business - The Sacramento Bee
In this March 8, 2012 photo, a job recruiter from Tencent America, of Palo Alto, Calif., talks to attendees at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. Fewer people sought unemployment benefits last week, adding to signs that the job market is strengthening.

The better tax plan — but for another time
George Skelton @
Molly Munger's competing initiative makes more public policy sense than Jerry Brown's, but less political sense, and dueling measures may turn voters off.