Around The Capitol

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THE NOONER for April 26, 2012

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After the's travels and campaign updates...

New PPIC Poll

Compromise Tax Measure
Yes: 54%
No: 39
Don't know: 6

Greg Lucas: Legislative Analyst Says April Revenues $2 Billion Short, Budget Hole Climbs To $12 Billion | LAO Report

MOST E-MAILED: Mary Hayashi Inquired about Nadia Lockyer's Supervisor Seat


Raul Bocanegra for Assembly

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Today, after speaking to financial aid directors in Sacramento, I'll be heading to Bakersfield via the train from Davis. It may not be high speed rail, but it affords a lot more work than driving. 

I'll start in Davis, which Assemblymember Mariko Yamada will easily win a third-and-final term on the green carpet in AD04. The new district stays north of I-80 and instead grabs the Napa Valley and Lake County. While there were a few tense months during which Assemblymember Michael Allen considered running in the district, he opted to move and run for AD10 (Marin-Petaluma) instead.

Heading to Martinez, where I will change trains, I will pass through the farmland of AD11 south of I-80, through Vacaville, Fairfield, and Suisun, before crossing the Benicia Bridge into Martinez. AD11 is an open Democratic seat, although a "no party preference" candidate has a legitimate shot of moving on to November. I wrote about the seat on March 30, and it's a fascinating one to watch.

In Martinez, I'll be in AD14, a solid Democratic seat in which incumbent Susan Bonilla didn't draw an opponent. The seat runs from Vallejo southeast through Bencia, Martinez and Concord down to the Contra Costa County line. 

Trivia: What are the three valleys that constitute the "Tri-Valley"?

In Martinez, I'll jump on the San Jaoquin train and head to Stockton into AD13 and down through AD12 and AD21, all of which I wrote about on April 4.

Heading south, I'll pass briefly the foot of the Foothills seat AD05 through Linda Halderman's AD23, which she is vacating after one term.  

AD05 is a hotly contested GOP seat, with the main fight between former Senator Rico Oller and Madera county supe Frank Bigelow. The two had essentially the same cash on hand as of March 17, and both have skin in the game. Oller has contributed $200,000 to his effort and Bigelow has kicked in $50,000. Oller is endorsed by Congressman Tom McClintock; Bigelow by Congressmen Devin Nunes and Jeff Denham. The split is the classic farm-ag more moderate Republicans from the Valley and foothills and rural population, which have more anti-government passions. With two Democrats and an NPP also running, this intra-party fights will likely be over on June 5.

When Linda Halderman bowed out of a sophomore bid on filing day, it opened up a five-day scramble for candidates for a solidly GOP seat that covers Clovis, east Fresno and stretches south the small communities east of Visalia. Halderman has endorsed Clovis councilman Bob Whalen, whose leading opponent is former Fresno mayor Jim Patterson. Businessmen David DeFrank and Vong Mouanoutoua round out the GOP field. With four Republicans and 1 Democrat, like AD05, the GOP fight should be over in June, although Democrat Richard Rojas will have a steep hill to climb in a district John McCain won by 8 points in 2008.

South of Fresno, I'll pass through AD32 in Hanford, which Republican David Valadao is leaving to run for CD21. This is a swing Assembly district, which both Barack Obama and Jerry Brown won by 8 points in 2008 and 2010, respectively. Bakersfield councilman Rudy Salas will be on the November ballot for Democrats and will face off against the winner of the three-way GOP race in June. 

Republican former Delano councilman Pedro Rios is hoping the 47% Latino CVAP will help him overcome the significant financial advantage of Kern County supervisor Jon McQuiston, although with only $4,537 on hand as of March 17, it will be an uphill battle.

My train will then pass through the eastern edge of Connie Conway's wide AD26, which runs all the way across the Eastern Sierra to the Nevada border. The Assembly Republican Leader will easily win for her final term.

Finally, I'll pull into the train station at 7:30 tonight in Shannon Grove's AD34, which she will have no problem retaining for a second term. Grove faces off against labor organizer Mari Goodman.

Tomorrow, I'll return to Davis, and will cover state senate and congressional races on the trip back.

Darrell Steinberg: Pay Ruling a Victory for Separation of Powers
Kevin Yamamura @
Senate leader Darrell Steinberg said today that it would be "a victory for upholding the separation of powers" if a Sacramento judge finalizes his decision favoring lawmakers over Controller John Chiang in their budget-related pay dispute.

Poll Shows Slim Majority Favor Governor's Tax Hike
Hannah Dreier @
Gov. Jerry Brown says he is confident voters will approve his November tax initiative as a way to avoid further cuts to public schools, even though a new poll shows it has only a narrow margin of support.

Dems, unions pushing new local government bankruptcy bill
Dan Walters @
Although a new law to govern bankruptcy filings by local governments is just four months old, Democratic legislators and labor unions are lining up behind a major revision that local officials say would tilt the playing field.

California Prison Plan Praised By Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg
On politics in the Golden State

Judge affirms ruling Controller John Chiang cannot unilaterally block legislators' pay
Sacramento Superior Court Judge David I. Brown affirmed his decision Wednesday that Controller John Chiang cannot unilaterally block legislators' pay if they submit a budget they consider balanced.

Poll: More Back Brown's Tax Plan Than Munger's
Josh Richman @
Almost two-thirds of California’s likely voters favor raising income taxes for the state’s wealthiest residents to pay for public schools, but most oppose increasing the state sales tax for the same purpose, according to a new Public Policy Institute of California poll.

The Swarm: Legislation To Encourage Flu Shots Progresses
Dan Morain @
After initially stalling, legislation intended to encourage health care workers to get flu shots was approved today by the Senate labor committee.

Democratic Strategist Garry South Reveals Secrets
Carla Marinucci @
Sharp-tongued Democratic strategist Garry South has long specialized in behind-the-scenes skulduggery that has shaped decades of major political races in California - and the fortunes of many candidates.

Heavy Editing On Textbook Publishers
San Leandro Democratic Senator Ellen Corbett, seeks to make it easier for faculty to compare prices and content. Publishers w @
The Senate Education Committee yesterday handily approved two more bills aimed at lowering the cost of textbooks from elementary school through college and moving them more quickly into the e-book era. In all, seven bills dealing with textbooks are making their way through the Legislature.

Obama healthcare reforms lead to $1.3 billion in insurance rebates
Noam N. Levey @
WASHINGTON -- U.S. consumers and businesses will receive an estimated $1.3 billion in rebates from insurance companies this year, according to a new study quantifying a key early benefit of the healthcare law that President Obama signed in 2010.

Legislative Analyst Says April Revenues $2 Billion Short, Budget Hole Climbs To $12 Billion
Greg Lucas @
The Legislative Analyst says that by April 30 tax revenues for the fiscal year that began July 1 will be $3 billion short of projections.

Special-interest Money And Politics: The American Way
George Skelton @
AT&T's massive spending in Sacramento is just one example of the pervasive pattern. And politicians who deny that donations influence their decisions insult our intelligence.

Sacramento State Evaluates Requirements, Putting Language, History On Chopping Block
Diana Lambert @
Sacramento State students may no longer have to take World Civilization or a second semester of writing to graduate. They could pass on the year of foreign language that has been required, as well as take three fewer units of an American history requirement if a committee's current recommendations are approved by the Faculty Senate in the fall.

Darrell Steinberg
Kevin Yamamura @
if a Sacramento judge finalizes his decision favoring lawmakers over Controller John Chiang in their budget-related pay dispute.

Lab Test Finds Assemblyman Roger Hernandez Was Legally Drunk
Jim Sanders @
Laboratory test results have concluded that Assemblyman Roger Hernandez was legally drunk when arrested last month in Concord. Hernandez's blood-alcohol level was 0.08 percent at the time of his test, police said in a written statement. His case will be turned over to the Contra Costa District Attorney's Office for review.

Lawmakers Reject Whistleblower Protections
Jim Sanders @
Assemblyman Anthony Portantino has struck out in his push for legislation to protect Capitol whistleblowers.

Poll: Voters lukewarm to Brown's tax, school policies
Michael Gardner @
Voter resistance to higher taxes is not the only challenge facing Gov. Jerry Brown's initiative campaign to raise as much as $9 billion in new revenues for schools and public safety.

Dan Walters Daily: Tax measure polling problematic for Jerry Brown
Amy Chance @
Dan Walters unpacks new polling on Gov. Jerry Brown's tax measure.

Senate Panel Rejects Bill On School-bus Advertising
The Senate Education Committee on Wednesday rejected a bill that would have opened the door to advertising on the sides of school buses, prompting outrage from the legislation's author: GOP leader Bob Huff. The Diamond Bar Republican said his bill,...

Supreme Court Skeptical Of Striking Down Arizona Immigration Law
David Savage @
The Supreme Court justices, hearing arguments today over Arizona's tough immigration law, suggested they were inclined to uphold parts of the state's law, but may well block others.