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THE NOONER for June 18, 2012

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CRICKETS: As expected, Democrats the Legislature approved the budget and six trailer bills on Friday, with three Democrats sitting out the vote (Lou Correa, Michael Rubio, and Sandre Swanson). As newly financially secure members jumped to catch those Southwest flights, everyone was checking their #cabudget Twitter feeds to see if the governor has anything to say about the plan.

And, nothing . . .

Presumably, leaders will return to negotiations with the governor today to see how insistent he is for changes to the CalWORKs program and other cuts that Democrats oppose. With twelve days left before the new fiscal year begins, there is no rush. There is an argument that showing some tension between the austere governor and legislative Democrats will help November's tax measure, particularly with headline writers putting "Gov. Brown demands legislators make deeper budget cuts on the front page.

Treasurer Bill Lockyer, who supported the governor's veto of the budget last year, though, called the plan adopted Friday "financeable." That means that he believes Wall Street will give a credit thumbs up to the Revenue Anticipation Notes needed to get through the year.

Meanwhile, Dems will work on trailer bills (likely Thursday), with as many as two dozen more completing the budget. Also brewing in the next couple of weeks is a stopgap pension bill for members of the State Teachers Retirement System, who will have post-retirement employment significantly curtailed on July 1 without action. 

PROP 29 COMEBACK?: In reports late last week, proponents of the of Proposition 29 (tobacco taxes) has cause for optimism following what seemed to be diminishing chances. By Friday night, the measure trailed by only 16,778, or 0.4% ofhe ballots cast. 

With 425,293 ballots outstanding, of which 245,444 are VBM, it is still possible that the Yes side could prevail. It's impossible to say exactly what share of ballots are needed for Yes to take the lead, as a substantial number of the 159,450 provisionals and 20,399 damaged/other will not be added to the final total.

However, if we just look at the vote-by-mail absentees, which include both ballots received in the mail on Election Day and those dropped off at polling places, proponents need 53% in order to win the final tally. While the mo was certainly on the No side due to heavy spending down the stretch, the trend over the last couple of updates suggests it is possible.

Key will be Los Angeles County, which has 30.8% of outstanding absentee ballots. Prop. 29 currently is losing there, with 49.4% of the vote. For Prop. 29 to pass, there will need to be a reversal of that trend. There is a group of strongly pro-29 counties (Marin, Napa, Santa Cruz, Sonoma) with about 50,000 votes outstanding, and big anti-29 counties (Butte, Fresno, Placer, San Joaquin) with about 63,000 ballots outstanding.

It's a tough row to hoe for backers of Proposition 29, but it is still possible.

Friday's vote updates did nothing to change the leads in close contests. In AD46, Jay Stern (R) leads Brian Johnson (D) by 42 votes for the second spot. Los Angeles has 131,177 (75,660 VBM) ballots left to count.

There are a still a few others others that are mathematically possible to change--such as the leads held by Regy Bronner over Andy Pugno (150 votes) in AD05, John Hernandez over Blong Xiong in CD21 (492 votes), Steve Fox over Tom Lackey in AD38 (252 votes). However, the uncounted ballots (425,293, of which 245,444 are VBM) are running out and we probably have our November election pretty much set. I'll hold off on the final contest results, however, until we are certain.

Yesterday, I fixed the script that I had broken affecting the county-by-county results.

SOMETHING FISHY: Tomorrow, California Trout and Trout Unlimited will be hosting a "Casting Call" at the Capitol to highlight the history of trout and Coho salmon in the Golden State. The event will include a friendly fly-casting competition among Assemblyman Jared Huffman, (D), Senator Tom Harman (R), Assemblyman Wes Chesbro (D), Assemblywoman Alyson Huber (D), Senator Bob Huff (R), Senator Tom Berryhill, (R), and Assemblyman Martin Garrick (R)

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AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF POLITICAL CONSULTANTS

The 2012 American Association of Political Consultants Conference in Sacramento June 27-28 provides key networking opportunities with those that have been in the trenches as well as topical and relevant information related to what is going on in California this year, including open primary, redistricting, ballot initiatives and how top consultants are utilizing all the tools available to them to reach and engage voters. Register today!

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TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
Calif. Voters Curbed GOP On Budget, But Not Taxes
Marisa Lagos,Wyatt Buchanan @
sfgate.com
For two years in a row now, the Legislature has managed to meet its constitutional deadline to pass a budget - and it's all thanks to voters. Whether that's a good thing depends on whom you ask. In 2010, the California...

Campaign To Defeat Jerry Brown's Tax Measure Gears Up
David Siders @
sacbee.com
One morning last week, as Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature huddled over the state budget at the Capitol, the effort to undo a central part of Brown's spending plan began to take shape in an office building just a few blocks away.

Debating California's New Top-two Vote-getter System
George Skelton @
latimes.com
When one candidate in a primary wins a clear majority, does it makes sense for that person to have to run again in November?

California And North Dakota Are A Study In Contrasts
Dan Walters @
sacbee.com
Much is made in the media about California's economic, cultural and political competition with Texas, but it's really a sibling rivalry.

Southern California Lab, Radiology Company Accused Of Health Care Fraud
californiawatch.org
Southern California’s largest clinical laboratory and radiology company serving nursing homes faces fraud allegations, adding to the growing number of False Claims Act lawsuits filed against the health care industry nationwide.

Anti-'Obamacare' ad campaigns outspend supporters 3-to-1
Morgan Little @
latimes.com
With anticipation building for the Supreme Court decision on President Obama’s healthcare reform law a survey has found that advertising purchases opposed to the law more than tripled those in support of it, $250 million to $76 million.

Dan Walters Daily
Hannah Madans @
blogs.sacbee.com
Dan Walters ponders the Legislature's upcoming vote on high-speed rail funds.

46th Assembly District Race Still A Squeaker
Dakota Smith @
dailynews.com
It was one of the most expensive Assembly races in the state, but a Republican chemistry teacher who spent just $2,000 on his campaign still has a four-vote lead over a Democrat who spent at least $375,000.

Mexican President Calderon praises Obama's immigration move
Kathleen Hennessey @
latimes.com
LOS CABOS, MEXICO – President Obama said the outcome of the Greek elections suggested a “positive prospect” for the teetering European nation’s hopes of avoiding further economic turmoil.

Former Bell Officials' Pensions Reduced Even Further
Jeff Gottlieb @
latimes.com
Robert Rizzo and Angela Spaccia were sent letters by the California Public Employees' Retirement System notifying them that they are not entitled to five years' worth of credit they bought for themselves with city funds.

Trustees Overseeing Ailing Pension Systems Expense Local Hotel Stays
Jennifer Gollan @
baycitizen.org
Despite staggering pension fund shortfalls, officials overseeing some of the largest public retirement systems in the Bay Area have spent more than $60,000 since the beginning of 2008 to attend conferences just miles from their homes, expense records show.

UC Berkeley's Libraries Next Chapter May Be Cuts
Nanette Asimov @
sfgate.com
UC Berkeley ranks among the five best universities on the planet in part because an engineering researcher there has no trouble finding the gravity study he needs from the 1970s. An art historian doesn't have to be in...

Campaign Ads Target Latinos As A Key Issue Looms
Brian Naylor @
scpr.org
Obama's Spanish-language spots are highly positive and warm-feeling, unlike several from the Service Employees International Union and the pro-Obama superPAC Priorities USA which go after Mitt Romney.

Farm Bill Splits Produce Growers, Food Activists
Carolyn Lochhead @
sfgate.com
Five years ago, California farmers were a powerful ally of the new food movement's crusade to get Washington to stop subsidizing corn and start promoting the fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts that are the mainstay of...

The Caucus: Campaigns Turning Focus to Borders
MICHAEL D. SHEAR @
nytimes.com
The politics of immigration seems likely to play a big role in the campaign this week.

BART, Community College District salaries added to public employee database
Daniel Willis and Thomas Peele @
mercurynews.com
More than $1.9 billion in taxpayer money paid to employees of 23 community college districts across California are tracked in the Bay Area News Group Public Employee Salary Project's new Community College Salaries Database.

Steve Lopez: Rodney King Was Tragic Figure, Unlikely Symbol
Shelby Grad @
latimesblogs.latimes.com
Steve Lopez on Rodney King death: It seemed from a distance that Rodney King spent much of his adult life on the edge of death, a tragic and symbolic figure unable to cope with life, adversity and fame.

GOP On Health Care: Repeal Quickly, Replace Slowly
contracostatimes.com
Replacement would likely come more slowly

Senate measure proposes to honor former Sen. Jenny Oropeza
Jim Sanders @
blogs.sacbee.com
Former Democratic state Sen. Jenny Oropeza would be honored posthumously with a Los Angeles County highway overcrossing named after her under a proposal zipping through the Legislature.

G20's relief at Greek pro-bailout vote is short-lived
Michael Weissenstein and Jack Chang @
mercurynews.com
LOS CABOS, Mexico -- World leaders' relief at Greek voters rejection of an anti-bailout government that could have forced the country's exit from the European currency union had evaporated by early Monday on the continued severity of Europe's economic problems.

Obama's immigration move wins support in battleground states
Paul West @
latimes.com
WASHINGTON -- President Obama’s decision to extend administrative relief to an estimated 800,000 young illegal immigrants has won favor with Latino voters in key battleground states, according to a new poll.