Around The Capitol

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THE NOONER for May 2, 2012

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Good morning from the happy confines of home in Davis. I won't be here long, though, as it's time to head south. This afternoon I'll be taking the quick flight to John Wayne to speak tonight to the Orange County School Boards Association. I hope the statute of limitations has passed on some of the transgressions made before I dropped out of high school. Tonight I overnight in San Clemente, before driving down to Sandy Eggo.

This afternoon I'll be landing in solid Republican territory in the new AD74. First-term Assemblymember Allan Mansoor is running for reelection here, although he faces a legitimate GOP challenge by Newport Beach councilwoman Leslie Daigle. With enough reliable Democrat votes (Obama won this district in 2008, although Whitman clobbered Brown in 2010), Democrat Bob Rush will move to November and the Republican race will be decided next month.

A former Costa Mesa councilmember, Mansoor's current district heads northeast into Westminster, Fountain Valley, Garden Grove and Irvine. Daigle was hoping for a draw without an incumbent, but Mansoor was drawn in (along with about 20% of his current district). Daigle wants voters to think of her as the successor to the legacies of Marian Bergeson (who has endorsed her) and Marilyn Brewer, and appear to be a conservative woman running against the OC GOP establishment. 

In cash, Daigle and Mansoor are about even in cash on hand, although Daigle performed poorly in the critical January-March sprint. After the district lines were settled, Mansoor moved to use his power of incumbency in soaking up money from interest groups. In the end, Mansoor will likely have more money and, unless Daigle can mobilize some currently unforeseen independent expenditures, Mansoor has to be considered a favorite.

Some moderate GOP leaders, including Marilyn Brewer, have hinted that this may be time to cross over to support a moderate Democrat. This is my old stomping grounds and I remember getting my hopes up about that happening when I was still a drinker of the Kool-Aid. When all is said and done, however, I would book the GOP winner in June as the representative of the 74th Assembly District come November.

After giving lots of good budget and other education news to Orange County's school leaders, I'll head south on THE 405 and THE 5 to my hotel in San Clemente. This will take me into the redrawn AD73, where Diane Harkey will easily win reelection for a final term. The new district drops Oceanside in favor of a more compact Lake Forest-Mission Viejo-San Clemente district, which is the third most Republican district in the state.

For the red carpet, my travels start in SD37, which Republican Mimi Walters will have no problem winning for a second term in a district won by Meg Whitman with a 23.4% margin. Walters had to move north from SD36, which is currently held by Mark Wyland until he is termed in 2014, and where I'll be staying overnight. Look for Diane Harkey to run in SD36 in 2014.

. . . 

Excuse me, I nodded off there for a bit as I looked at the congressionals. For a few exciting weeks last year, we thought we'd have internal fights among the GOP. Rohrabacher-Campbell, Issa-Bilbray, oh my!

In the end, the Orange County delegation will look the same in 2013 as it does now, except for the swath toward Little Saigon brought into the exciting CD47 (DeLong/Kuykendall/Lowenthal/et al.). We'll look at that one another day. Meanwhile, today I'll be landing in surfing Congressman Dana Rohrabacher's CD48, driving briefly through John Campbell's CD45, and overnighting at the Doubletree in Darrell Issa's CD49.

Just another day on the road around the Golden State.

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GAME ON: Raul Bocanegra hits Richard Alarcon with new mailer. [AD39]

Send me PDFs of the best/worst/most effective mail you see. Maybe we'll give out NOONIES awards . . . 

In today's IE reports below, you'll see the "Fund for a Working Majority." This committee, opened yesterday apparently strictly to independently spend money for Richard Roth in SD31, is funded with $90,000 from AFSCME and CSEA. The treasurer is California Democratic Party executive director Kathy Bowler. The first $24,000 was for a poll.

$$$: The Legislative Analyst's Office now reports YTD revenues $3 billion below forecast. While conventional wisdom says that you double that amount for the "18-month" number, we'll know better after the May 14 revision to the governor's January budget proposal.

YOU KNOW THIS MUCH IS TRUE: UOP economists say that California is experiencing a "true recovery."

CAFWD/CABWD: Steven Maviglio argues for, and against, the California Forward ballot measure in an op-ed in Capitol Weekly.

WHAT SAY YOU? I've had about 50/50 response on whether you like the images with the headlines at the bottom of the message. Some like the images because it provides a scannable way to find subjects you'd like, while others like the faster load time sans images. If you care, let me know.


Yesterday's Independent Expenditure Reports

Committee Candidate (Support/Oppose) Amount Received Date Report Date
Fund For A Working Majority Richard D. Roth (Support) $24,000 05/01/2012 05/01/2012
Jobspac, A Bi-partisan Coalition Of California Employers Adam Gray (Support) $37,468 04/30/2012 05/01/2012
Orange County Employees Association Independent Expenditure Committee Julio Perez (Support) $11,200 05/01/2012 05/01/2012
Perez For Assembly 2012, Sponsored By Orange County Federation Of Labor, Afl-cio, Orange County Dignity Pac To Support Julio Julio Perez (Support) $70 04/26/2012 05/01/2012
Perez For Assembly 2012, Sponsored By Orange County Federation Of Labor, Afl-cio, Orange County Dignity Pac To Support Julio Julio Perez (Support) $27,133 04/30/2012 05/01/2012

Ratings Agency Raises Concerns About California Budget
Kevin Yamamura @
Ratings agency Standard & Poor's raised concerns today after California income tax revenues fell short in April and a judge ruled the state controller cannot withhold legislative pay based on budget quality.

California's School Finance System Is Both Convoluted And Irrational
Dan Walters @
Thousands of California teachers were given layoff notices a few weeks ago because state law requires the slips to be sent out each spring if administrators and trustees believe cuts are needed to balance their budgets.

San Jose Retirement At 50 Threatens Solvency: Muni Credit - Bloomberg
From California to Rhode Island, local governments are trying to curb retirement costs that are straining budgets almost three years after the end of the longest recession since the 1930s. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn proposed last month that public employees pay more for pensions. Forty-one states have reduced benefits or raised contributions, according to the National Association of State Budget Officers.

California Colleges Fight Budget Cuts At Capitol
The leaders of all three California higher-education systems gathered at the Capitol to lobby for more spending on colleges and universities.

May Day Protests Push For Immigration, Labor And Education Reform
Christina Villacorte and Susan Abram @
Waving American flags, beating drums and chanting slogans, thousands of people took to the streets of Los Angeles on May Day to push for reforms in immigration, labor and education.

California Tax Revenue $3 Billion Less Than Target, Report Says
On politics in the Golden State

California K-12 districts not yet planning to spend tax hike money
Kevin Yamamura @
Gov. Jerry Brown wants K-12 districts to plan for the next school year as if voters will pass his $9 billion tax hike in November, but the vast majority of them are refusing to do so, according to a new Legislative Analyst's Office survey.

California's Biggest Pension -- $540,000 -- Likely To Be Cut
Shelby Grad @
State pension officials said they will probably move to cut California's biggest public pension -- and others -- after finding that the city of Vernon improperly boosted the benefits of nearly two dozen employees. The CalPERS audit will be released...

Stop Special Interest Money Initiative Hits First At Big Business :: Fox&hounds
However, the first major shot fired by initiative supporters was not against labor but instead highlighted the political influence of AT&T.

LAO Balks At Brown Plan To Erase Unemployment Appeals Board
Dan Walters @
Gov. Jerry Brown wants to eliminate the seven-member board that hears appeals on unemployment insurance benefits -- whose members are often termed-out California legislators -- and turn their work over to civil service administrative law judges.

Viewpoints: Californians want to change initiative process
When state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg told the Sacramento Press Club recently that he thinks the state's initiative process needs to be changed, people took note.

California Medical Payment Issue Goes Underground
Dan Walters @
One of this year's most hotly contested legislative issues in California, dealing with recovery of medical costs in personal injury lawsuits, appears to be headed underground.

A Long Shot Aims For Mayor's Office
Steve Lopez @
Kevin James, an attorney and former talk show host, favors more concessions from unions, opposes new taxes and has questions about a proposed downtown football stadium.

The Caucus: Obama's Afghanistan Trip Could Escalate Political Criticism
President Obama's surprise trip to Afghanistan comes even as his re-election campaign has set off a heated debate about the propriety of using Osama bin Laden's killing to make a political argument in the battle for the White House with Mitt Romney.

Gmo Labeling Campaign Says It’s Ballot-bound
By Josh Richman Tuesday, May 1st, 2012 at 8:01 am in Agriculture, ballot measures.

San Jose Council Deadlocks On Lowering Pensions
John Woolfolk @
The city council was split and unable to act on approving reduced pension and health benefits for civilian employees hired after July 1.

S&P worried about lawmaker gimmicks to pass budget
JUDY LIN, Associated Press @
A credit rating agency is warning that California could return to budget gimmicks this summer, in part because a court has removed an incentive for lawmakers to pass a budget that is truly balanced.

Foreclosures Republicans Have Demands For Conference Committee
Republican lawmakers want to have a say in the activities of a new conference committee to craft foreclosure-related legislation.

Los Angeles Lawmaker Alex Padilla Ties The Knot
Senator Alex Padilla marries

Editorial: CSU still out of sync with public on executive pay
A subcommittee of the California State University Board of Trustees has come up with a compromise policy on compensation for CSU presidents. The new policy is supposed to quiet the roar of disapproval from students, faculty and the Legislature in the wake of recent hefty pay increases for top university administrators.

Attack Of The Independent Voters?
Timm Herdt @
The true measure of whether the top-two primary is succeeding, he said, will not be whether one or more independent candidates breaks through, but whether independent voters start to take notice that the new system empowers them. "We're not about independent candidates. We're about independent voters," Peace said. "There's a big difference."