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THE NOONER for May 7, 2012

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Where to start? 

Now under a month to the June 5 primary and less than six months before the November 6 general, the political world is full of stories. 

In January, I wrote about how Stanislaus County Republicans love Tony Strickland. However, with Tony switching his sights to Congress, the central committee needs to find a new sandbox in which to play. And, this time, the money is staying home for Bill Berryhill, who received $32,000 from the local party on Friday for his SD05 bid.

In the post-Prop. 34 world, both parties use local county central committees to legally launder money. While state legislative candidates are limited to $7,800 ($3,900 each for primary and general) from any individual, corporation or committee, there is no limit on how much they take from county central committees. After all, Prop. 34 was written by the election lawyers for the Democratic Party as a counter to more restrictive campaign finance proposals.

Prop. 34 is great for party-endorsed candidates, as it allows them to collect cash far exceeding campaign limits with the collateral benefit of having the source of the contributions concealed. This is nice in limiting the exposure to gaming, oil and tobacco money, which is taken by both parties, but nice to obscure when it consists of a large portion of the candidate's war chest.

Meanwhile, it may be the great recession for California state GOP, but the party found $692,000 to kick in to the campaign against tobacco tax-raising Prop 29. On Saturday, Jerry Brown's reelect committee reported taking $26,000 from Phllip Morris.

DRUMBEAT: Democrats in both the California delegation and in the East Bay thought that redistricting might encourage Pete Stark to retire. Former Obama administration official Ro Khanna raised $1.5 million for the race, and was seen as the favorite to succeed Stark. Then, Stark announced his intention to run for reelection to the newly drawn CD15, which stretches from Hayward and Fremont over the Sunol Grade into Pleasanton and Livermore.

Khanna took a pass, but Democrat Eric Swalwell and indie Chris Parea jumped in.  In a district in which Obama won two-thirds of the vote, Republicans have no shot, but the district is less liberal than Stark's existing district, which stops west of 680 in the San Ramon Valley.

Swalwell, a Dublin councilmember and deputy DA, has turned in impressive fundraising numbers, although Stark still has the benefit of a half-mill war chest. Now, with a month to go, Swalwell is being buoyed by the sometimes odd behavior of Stark. In recent weeks, Stark accused Swalwell of taking a contribution from SF Chron conservative columnist Debra Saunders and large bribes from a Chinese-American family with business before the Dublin council. Stark has apologized for both false accusations.

In response to the developments, Mercury News columnist Scott Herhold wrote that it's time for Stark to go.

The Chron's Carla Marinucci profiled the race on Saturday, and got this gem from Paul Mitchell. "The last time Pete Stark ran for office in a competitive race, they phone-banked with rotary phones," said Paul Mitchell, president of Redistricting Partners, a Sacramento political consulting firm. "He hasn't run a campaign since before 'The Candidate' was a movie," in 1972. 

At this point, Stark and Swalwell will continue their battle through November. Ro Khanna recently held a fundraiser for Stark and continues to support him, but he can't be happy with the developments. If the trendlines continue, Swalwell could easily end up in Congress in the same way Stark did forty years ago (against the "other" George Miller), and Khanna will be either challenging an incumbent Democrat or sitting out again in 2014.

SFChron Endorsements:

AD18: Rob Bonta (D)
AD20: Mark Green (NPP)

SANDY EGGO BUZZ: John Brooks may be getting close to Denise Ducheny for the number 2 spot in CD51.

FULL CIRCLE: Schwarzenegger calls for a bigger GOP tent.

CAN'T WE ALL GET ALONG: Willie Brown urges Jerry and Molly to unite into one campaign for both measures. Dan Walters isn't holding his breath.

And, the Guv now has another taxing thorn in his posterior.

MUST READ: Steve Lopez talks to the "other" Reginald Denny from Florence and Normandie.

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Federal "SuperPAC" Expenditures

Committee Candidate (Support/Oppose) Expenditure Amount Received Date Report Date
House Majority PAC Julie Brownley (Support) Television $155,906 05/02/2012 05/04/2012
Citizens for Prosperity and Good Government Doug LaMalfa (Support) Radio $52,000 05/03/2012 05/04/2012
Committee to Elect an Effective Valley Congressman Howard Berman (Support) Radio $81,099 05/02/2012 05/04/2012


Independent Expenditure Reports

Committee Candidate (Support/Oppose) Amount Received Date Report Date
Jobspac, A Bi-partisan Coalition Of California Employers Tom Daly (Support) $78,683 05/05/2012 05/06/2012
Vote Matters Joe Coto (Support) $20,937 05/05/2012 05/06/2012
California Senior Advocates League Pac Charlotte Svolos (Support) $22,393 05/04/2012 05/05/2012
Californians Allied For Patient Protection Independent Expenditure Account Candidate Raul Bocanegra (Support) $94 05/05/2012 05/05/2012
Californians Allied For Patient Protection Independent Expenditure Account Candidate Jennifer Ong (Support) $21,464 05/05/2012 05/05/2012
Californians Allied For Patient Protection Independent Expenditure Account Assembly Member Jerry Hill (Support) $36,611 05/04/2012 05/05/2012
San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee Phil Ting (Support) $1,288 05/05/2012 05/05/2012
San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee Mark Leno (Support) $74 04/26/2012 05/05/2012
San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee Phil Ting (Support) $74 04/26/2012 05/05/2012
San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee Tom Ammiano (Support) $1,288 05/05/2012 05/05/2012
San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee Tom Ammiano (Support) $74 04/26/2012 05/05/2012
San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee Mark Leno (Support) $1,288 05/05/2012 05/05/2012
American Federation Of State, County & Municipal Employees - Ca People (afscme Ca People) Independent Expenditure Committee Shirley Weber (i) (Support) $14,461 05/05/2012 05/04/2012
California Professional Firefighters Ie Pac Jason Hodge (Support) $22,763 05/04/2012 05/04/2012
California Real Estate Independent Expenditure Committee Adam Gray (Support) $40,008 05/03/2012 05/04/2012
Californians For Term Limits, No On Prop 28 Limits On Legislators Terms In Office (Oppose) $25,450 05/03/2012 05/04/2012
Johnson For Assembly 2012, A Valley Alliance To Prepare Our Children For Tomorrow's Workforce. A Coalition Of Valley Parents, Educators & Business Leaders. Sponsored By Edvoice Ie Cmte.; Vote Brian Brian Johnson (Support) $27,835 05/04/2012 05/04/2012
Orange County Employees Association Independent Expenditure Committee Julio Perez (Support) $11,200 05/04/2012 05/04/2012

Mortgage Legislation Splits California Democrats
Jon Ortiz @
The "60 Minutes"-style video climaxes with an assemblyman hustling through a Capitol corridor and down a flight of steps, trailed by a constituent asking where the lawmaker stands on controversial mortgage legislation.

Ballots are in the mail for June 5 election
Josh Richman @
California's 2012 primary election has begun: Ballots are going out in Monday's mail, and early-voting sites will open. Voters will choose their presidential nominees, though Mitt Romney has all but wrapped up the GOP nomination. And they'll also face choices for a U.S. Senate seat -- incumbent Dianne Feinstein and 23 challengers are on the ballot -- and all of California's 53 House districts.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan says he supports gay marriage
Michael A. Memoli and Kathleen Hennessey @
Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Monday that he supports gay marriage rights, a declaration that came as President Obama's reelection campaign downplayed comments from Vice President Joe Biden on Sunday that some saw as an evolution in the administration's position.

California Community Colleges Look To Save Money By Banning Repeat Classes
Kevin Yamamura @
"It's far more important for someone to take a chemistry course than for someone to take golf for the third time." Jack Scott, California Community Colleges chancellor

Will San Jose & San Diego "B" For Pension Reform?
Ed Mendel @
The mayors of San Jose and San Diego are backing local measures on the June ballot that aim to make the change critics of costly public pensions say is the key to major reform — cutting the cost of pensions earned by current workers in the future.

9th Circuit Tosses Lawsuit Over Va Mental Health Care
Local @
The appeals court rejected a veterans challenge to system, saying its up to Congress to correct problems in treatment of returning war vets.

Californians To Vote Once Again On Modifying Term-limits Law
Tracey Kaplan @
This time, a carefully crafted initiative on the June ballot -- one of only two statewide measures -- has fans of the term-limits law worried.

Upcoming Tax Battle Could Be A Nasty Feud
Dan Walters @
It's evident that the Brown-Munger rivalry has become somewhat personal, that she resents the governor's efforts to push her out of the way, particularly her reportedly heated conversations with Brown's wife and political counselor, Anne Gust Brown.

U.S. Sale Of AIG Stock To Bring Back $5 Billion In Bailout Money
James S. Granelli @
U.S. recoups $5 billion for taxpayers in sale of part of the American International Group Inc. stock it owns.

Appeals court nixes order for VA mental health care overhaul, says lawmakers must...
The Associated Press @
Appeals court nixes order for VA mental health care overhaul, says lawmakers must fix problems.

Three for the county's Board of Education
The Sacramento County Board of Education runs job training and programs for 30,000 of the county's most vulnerable kids – expelled students, incarcerated youths and severely disabled kids. Three races have drawn an impressive field of candidates.

Tobacco Firms Chip In Another $15 Million Against Prop 29
Kevin Yamamura @
Two tobacco giants chipped in another $15 million against a tobacco tax initiative on Friday, bringing their running tally to $38 million in the Proposition 29 campaign, state records show.

Schwarzenegger vs. GOP, For Old Times' Sake
John Myers @
Arnold Schwarzenegger has mostly stayed out of the political ring in California since packing his boxes and moving out of the state Capitol 16 months ago. But he decided to throw a punch over the weekend at his fellow California Republicans -- and the GOP faithful jabbed back. In truth, both sides doth protest too much... and have done so already. Multiple times, in fact.

For Chronically Unemployed, More Bad News In Calif
Tracie Cone @
A drop in the state's unemployment rate to 11 percent - its lowest mark in three years - is triggering the federal cutoff of emergency, long-term unemployment pay to at least 93,000 Californians.

Think of the tobacco tax as user fee
George Skelton @
Prop. 29 on the June ballot would raise cigarette taxes and generate money for research on cancer and related illnesses.

Farm Occupiers Fail To Respond To UC Proposal
Peter Fimrite @
Protesters occupying land in Albany used by UC Berkeley for agricultural research missed a weekend deadline to agree to a negotiated departure, but representatives said they would respond Monday. University officials...

Sherman Campaign Seeks Review Of Hire By Rival Berman's 'Super Pac'
Jean Merl @
Complaint will allege that a Berman operative did not wait the required amount of time between working for the Berman campaign and signing on with the super PAC.

Obama Faces Renewed Pressure On Gay Marriage
The president's position is already causing frustration for gay marriage supporters. | AP Photo

State Controller Seeks Return Of Redevelopment Agency Property, Assets Transferred Last Year
Local @
State controller seeks to negate all transactions made last year to protect RDA-related projects

Biden Expresses Support for Same-Sex Marriages
with same-sex marriages, the White House clarified that he was expressing his opinion, not a new policy.

Magid: It's time for technology to disrupt education
Larry Magid @
A few days ago, I attended Imagine K12's "demo day" where a group of startups in the education space pitched their companies to potential funders.

Morning in America? Obama ad declares, 'We're coming back' [Video]
Michael A. Memoli @
Tied to the launch of the public phase of President Obama's reelection bid this the weekend, his campaign is on the air with a new 60-second ad that aims to sell skeptical voters on the notion of progress under his leadership.