Around The Capitol

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THE NOONER for April 30, 2012

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Thanks for the great feedback on the Central Valley races. Later this week, I'll be in Orange County and San Diego, and thus will be covering the races down south.

Following last Friday's policy committee deadline for bills with a fiscal impact, it'll be a much quieter week around the Capitol. That is, unless you're frogs, where you'll be subjected on Wednesday to the 38th annual "irritate them until they jump far, far away" contest.

Meanwhile, with military ballots out, it must be ballot measure endorsement time:

LAT: Yes on 28 (term limits change); No on Prop 29 (tobacco tax/cancer research)
OCR: No on 28 
SacBee: Yes on 28; Yes on 29
SFChron: Yes on Prop 29 

And, newspapers aren't so sure how to handle the top-two primary. The Bee is endorsings its top two, such as the easy dual endorsement of John Garamendi and Kim Vann in CD03. Here are the Bee's others:

AD06 (Roseville): Regy Bronner (D) and Andy Pugno (R) 
 (East Sacto): Ken Cooley (D) and Peter Tateishi (R)

The Los Angeles Times endorses Howard Berman in CD30.

The SF Chron endorses Jerry Hill for SD13.

The Bay Area News Group makes solo endorsements in three contested Assembly races:

AD11 (Solano): Mike Hudson (R)
AD18 (Oakland): Joel Young (D)
AD20 (Hayward): Bill Quirk (D)

To all of this, we must newspaper endorsements matter anymore? Or, is Jimmy Kimmel sadly correct?

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CONGRATS: To Roman Porter, former FPPC exec dir, for being named Tribal Administrator of the United Auborn Indian Community.

ICYMI: Jimmy Kimmel keynotes White House Correspondence Dinner. Obama delivers response.

CORRECTIONS: I have twice made the same mistake in the last year. John Perez and Ricardo Lara are both openly gay legislators who were elected from districts that don't touch water, or more specifically, salt water. 

Key Calls For SF Mayor: Worker Pay, Business Taxes
John Cote @
About $2.5 billion in taxpayer money is riding on contract negotiations between Mayor Ed Lee and 27 of San Francisco's public employee unions - talks that will affect city efforts to address mounting health care costs, recurring deficits and how businesses are taxed.

As Governor, Romney Faced Challenge On Gay Marriage
Matea Gold and Melanie Mason, Washington Bureau @
As Massachusetts governor, Mitt Romney was abruptly confronted with an emotionally charged issue: The state's highest court ruled that gays had the legal right to marry. The Republican's response provides a window into his decision-making style and political tactics.

Unions Launching New Counterattack Against Villaraigosa
Rick Orlov @
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who rose up the ranks in the labor movement to launch his political career, has been at odds with the city's public employee unions most of the seven years he has been mayor.

Bloomberg On Boxer’s Brisk, Brusque Behavior
Josh Richman @
Last week’s Bloomberg Businessweek offered a somewhat light-hearted look at that most entertaining of animals, the U.S. legislator, in its natural habitat. The magazine spent two days in late March observing behavior on the House and Senate floors, and then turned to observers including the Hoover Institution’s Peter Schweizer; Daily Kos congressional expert David Waldman; and Wonkette editor/publisher Rebecca Schoenkopf for analysis.

California Judges' War Heading Into A New Phase
Dan Walters @
A professional-quality video clip that popped up on YouTube depicts physical deficiencies in California courtrooms and makes the case for building new courthouses and rehabbing old ones.

Water Bond Is Circling The Drain
George Skelton @
The California ballot measure, written in 2009, has some good ingredients but also some pork. It's not right for these times.

Job Front: Social Media Privacy Bills Advance In Sacramento
Darrell Smith @
Legislation that would bar employers from requesting job candidates' social media user names and passwords is growing closer to becoming state law.

Jerry Brown Blasts GOP In 'face The Nation' Interview
On politics in the Golden State

Psst: Jerry Brown Is Opposed To The Death Penalty
Jerry Brown, who convinced his father the governor, in 1960 to temporarily spare the life of Red Light Bandit Caryl Chessman, and who joined a vigil to protest the execution of cop-killer Aaron Mitchell in 1967, said last week it’s a "good thing" that a measure has qualified for the November ballot seeking to outlaw the death penalty.

As Scandal Winds Down, Aging State Treasurer Bill Lockyer Sets Sights On Controller's Job
Local @
But whether Lockyer can survive the fallout from the scandal is still an open question.

Endorsements: John Garamendi and Kim Vann for 3rd Congressional District
Colusa County Supervisor Kim Vann, a Republican, and Rep. John Garamendi, a Democrat with a long pedigree in politics, offer voters in a newly redrawn congressional district two solid choices.

Cal State Students Planning Hunger Strike
The students will only consume fluids from then until members of the California State University board of trustees meet with the students and seriously consider four demands that Students for Quality Education said they first made March 20, leaders of the student union said.

SF Bar Pilots Run Into Political Turbulence
Paul Elias @
Since the days of Mark Twain, the San Francisco Bar Pilots have had it good. Thanks to outsized political clout and highly specialized training, this elite cadre, currently numbering 56 ship captains, has enjoyed monopoly control over the San Francisco Bay since 1850. State law requires a bar pilot to guide every large vessel - be it a luxury liner, a billionaire's yacht, aircraft carrier or cargo ship - in, out and around the San Francisco Bay. Most of the ships are docked at the Port of Oakland.

Supreme Court Rejects Bid To Shield Sheriff Lee Baca From Lawsuit
Amanda Covarrubias @
The U.S. Supreme Court refused Monday to shield Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca from being sued for racial gang violence in the jails he supervises.

San Diego Mayoral Candidate's Switch Brings Some Life To The Party
Tony Perry @
Nathan Fletcher began his campaign as a Republican, but things began to get more interesting after he re-registered as an independent.

Elected Official Pensions: Target For Reform?
Stockton has enrolled three mayors and 14 city council members in CalPERS since 1991, despite a provision in the city charter that clearly states no council member shall receive retirement or death benefits, the Stockton Record reported last week.

Super PACs Gear Up For Calif. Congressional Races
Carla Marinucci, Joe Garofoli @
The redrawing of California's congressional districts has set off intense fundraising competition between Democrats and Republicans, with both parties gearing up super PACs to raise and spend millions of dollars targeted exclusively for races in the state that could be key to control of the House of Representatives.

Wildllife Services' Deadly Force Opens Pandora's Box Of Environmental Problems
Tom Knudson @
For decades, Wildlife Services, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has specialized in trapping, poisoning and shooting predators in large numbers, largely to protect livestock and, more recently, big game.

Mental Health Treatment Newly Available At Clinics
Dan @
New benefits depends on continuation of federal healthcare reform

California Public Pension Fund Assets Rebounded In 2010
Dan Walters @
California's state and local government pension funds saw a 12.4 percent increase in their assets during 2010, according to a new Census Bureau report, markedly higher than the national pension fund increase.

Viewpoints: In a progressive shift, Connecticut repeals death penalty
GREENWICH, Conn. – Since the 2010 elections, the activism of newly empowered conservative and Republican state legislatures has gained national attention with their wars on public employee unions, additional restrictions on abortion and new barriers to voting.

Obama campaign confronts new voter identification laws
Michael D. Shear @
Campaign is trying to prepare for new requirements

Family In Limbo, Facing Deportation To Two Countries
Stephen Magagnini @
Wearing a somber face and a maroon raincoat, Simei Yang paced in the rain on a recent morning outside the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office on Capitol Mall. She wondered if this would be her last day in the United States and whether she, her husband and their two children would be deported to two different continents.

Bullet Train's Low Operating Costs Are 'elephant In Room,' Experts Say
By hitting the reset button, Gov. Jerry Brown bought some time for the embattled California high-speed rail plan.