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THE NOONER for April 24, 2012

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THE OTHER CAPITAL: Yesterday, Speaker John Boehner said that the GOP has a "1 in 3" chance of losing the House in November, something DNC chair and Congresswoman Debber Wasserman-Schultz agreed with.

Democrats need to pick up 25 seats to put the gavel back in Nancy Pelosi's hand.

In February when I was in DC I wrote "Conventional wisdom from what I've gotten this week in DC, for what it's worth E-265. President wins re-election, Dems pick up 15 House seats (10 short of majority), lose 3-4 Senate seats, for either a 50-50 split or a +1 Rep majority. But, CW also agrees that it's all about the economy, and Dems have the mo' right now, as evidenced by the quiet resolution of the payroll tax/unemployment/doc fix trifecta yesterday that had been planned as a showdown."

From what I'm picking up from DC, the CW is about the same as it was in February, although the trajectory of political momentum may be more uncertain. In particular, the economic signals seem more mixed than in February, and, with the major congressional "showdown" issues already taken care of through December, the biggest issue facing Congress before the election may be over student loan interest rates.

In California, Democrats currently have 34 of the state's 53 districts, and I believe the worst case scenario is that they lose two seats. The best case scenario would be a pick-up of six seats. Here's my current hot sheet for congressional races, based on candidates, fundraising and district performance. 

Lean Democrat:

  • CD24 (Santa Barbara) - incumbent Capps (D)
  • CD41 (Riverside) - open (R)
  • CD47 (Long Beach) - open (D)

Lean Republican:

  • CD10 (Stanislaus) - incumbent Denham (R)
  • CD21 (Kings) - open (R)

Toss-up:

  • CD07 (East Sacto) - incumbent Lungren (R)
  • CD26 (Ventura) - open (R)
  • CD31 (San Bernardino) - open (R)

Meanwhile, Allan Hoffenblum lists nine congressional districts that may have top-twos from the same party in November. I agree with his characterization, including that CD30 may only be a wish that we once had, long before the -ermans were joined by seven-person race. Damn, it looks like I'll be buying Paul Mitchell a nice steak dinner.

TO THE BALLOT: The initiative to repeal California's death penalty and replace it with life without the possibility of parole qualified for the November ballot yesterday.

NOT GONNA HAPPEN: To meet the $9.1 billion personal income tax projection for the month, the state needs to collect an average of $565 million per day. Last year, in the final five working days of the month, the average was $168 million per day. That said, this month's numbers could certainly have been worse.

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Raul Bocanegra for Assembly

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Finally, no, I don't plan on doing a Nooner Nightcap every night. Thanks for the suggestion, but I am already crazy busy and need more gym time. We'll keep it for breaking news, or when I have broken the news and need to do a correction. Yesterday was not a correction, but rather giving the Speaker's office take on the Pasadena Star-News story. I respect the accounts of both sides, and only the investigation will unveil the true facts. Finally, Frank Girardot is the editor of the Pasadena Star-News (and Glendale News Press), not a reporter.


TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
Jerry Brown Aide Steve Glazer Confirmed To CSU Trustee Post
Torey Van Oot @
blogs.sacbee.com
A top political adviser to Gov. Jerry Brown won confirmation to the California State University Board of Trustees today.

Prison Officials Offer Plan For 'massive' Change To Cut Costs - Capitol And California - The Sacramento Bee
sacbee.com
California officials announced plans today for a "massive" change in how they handle the state's prison system, part of an effort to get out from under court-ordered mandates that address overcrowding and health care deficiencies.

Romney's Healthcare Plan May Be More Revolutionary Than Obama's
Noam N. Levey, Washington Bureau @
latimes.com
Outlines of Mitt Romney's healthcare plan suggest it is more revolutionary than President Obama's. Instead of getting coverage at work, more Americans would shop for it on their own. It also would overhaul Medicare and Medicaid.

California Judicial Summit Conference Aims At Healing Political Rift
Dan Walters @
blogs.sacbee.com
Gov. Jerry Brown's Yale Law School classmate and close friend, Appellate Justice J. Anthony Kline, is mediating a judicial summit conference today that will attempt to heal the years-long political war that has divided the state's judiciary.

John Edwards, Campaign Reformer
Debra J. Saunders @
sfgate.com
The smart thinking among savvy election lawyers and political insiders is that federal prosecutors will have a hard time proving that John Edwards broke campaign finance laws when he ran for president in 2008. Edwards...

California's Working Poor Would Lose A Lot If Health Reform Law Dies
David Lazarus @
latimes.com
A bill to create a federally funded Basic Health Plan for about 720,000 low-income residents would go for naught if the Supreme Court tosses out the law.

State's Presidential Primaries Have History Of Irrelevance
californiawatch.org
When Rick Santorum folded his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination earlier this month, he also doomed the California presidential primary to irrelevance – for the ninth election and 36th year in a row.

SEC Sues Two Figures In CalPERS Bribery Scandal
Dale Kasler @
sacbee.com
The U.S. government sued the two key figures in the CalPERS bribery scandal Monday, targeting the pension fund's former chief executive and a businessman who earned millions in finder's fees from CalPERS investment deals.

Local Governance Urged For UC Campuses
Larry Gordon @
latimes.com
The proposal would let each university set tuition and approve construction projects while allowing the regents to control policy matters such as admission standards, funding and top appointments.

Delaware primary to determine the future of Gingrich's campaign
Seema Mehta @
latimes.com
The results of tonight’s Delaware primary will dictate the future of Newt Gingrich’s presidential bid, according to a source with his campaign.

If health care is undecided?
J. Lester Feder @
politico.com
Legal experts are worried that the Supreme Court will strike down only part of the health care law.

Calif. Prison Overhaul Would Save $1.5b A Year
Health Med Fit @
mercurynews.com
Massive change to our system would cut costs by billions of dollars

LAUSD To Keep Transitional Kindergarten In Wake Of Threatened Budget Cuts
Adolfo Guzman-Lopez @
scpr.org
Supporters of early childhood education are praising a decision by Los Angeles Unified School District to keep a special kindergarten program for four-year-olds – even after Governor Brown had threatened to cut off the funding.

The Caucus: Redistricting Shapes Pennsylvania House Primaries
JENNIFER STEINHAUER @
nytimes.com
Redistricting remains a wild card in many House races this year, and Tuesday's primary in Pennsylvania will provide the latest test.

SEC sues two figures in CalPERS bribery scandal
sacbee.com
The U.S. government sued the two key figures in the CalPERS bribery scandal Monday, targeting the pension fund's former chief executive and a businessman who earned millions in finder's fees from CalPERS investment deals.

The 2-by-4 campaign for women's votes
Carrie Budoff Brown @
politico.com
President Barack Obama's election-year embrace of women is as subtle as a sledgehammer.

Lawmakers pushing to tie California minimum wage to consumer price index
sacbee.com
Gasoline was selling for $3.33 a gallon, Jerry Brown was attorney general, and California was bracing for a budget crisis when the state's hourly minimum wage rose to $8 in early 2008.

Wooing youth vote, Obama goes on college tour calling for lower student loan costs
Ben Feller @
mercurynews.com
MORRISVILLE, N.C. -- Wooing young voters, President Barack Obama is on a blitz to keep the cost of college loans from soaring for millions of students, taking his message to three states strategically important to his re-election bid.

Rubio appeals to Latinos on Romney's behalf
Maeve Reston @
latimes.com
The Florida senator's appearance with the Republican candidate is a reminder of the challenges facing the campaign after the combative primary, in which Romney moved to the right on immigration.

Letters: legalizing marijuana
utsandiego.com
Letter-writers discuss California's proposed medical marijuana law, AB 2312.

Measure to repeal death penalty in California qualifies for ballot
Torey Van Oot @
blogs.sacbee.com
A measure to abolish the death penalty and replace it with a maximum sentence of life behind bars without parole has qualified for the Nov. 6 ballot, the Secretary of State confirmed today.