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THE NOONER for June 19, 2012

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BALLOT COUNTING: I was incorrect yesterday when I gave the number of ballots left to count in Los Angeles County. It seems the county (and several others) are counting ballots but not updating its unprocessed ballot numbers with the Secretary of State. While the SOS continues to report 75,660 uncounted VBM ballots and 55,517 provisional or damaged ballots, the county clerk issued a press release Friday stating that a total of 51,490 remain to be counted. The next LA County update is this afternoon.

Proposition 29 (tobacco tax) moved around a little bit as updates came in yesterday, but ended the day with the measure continuing to fail by 17,534 votes. Here's the map of California's smoking and non-smoking seating areas.

BUDGET TRADE-OFF: There's buzz that Democrats and labor are willing to deliver the pension reform package to be part of the budget deal, in exchange for the governor's willingness to accept most of last week's budget plan. Pension reform had thought to be forthcoming in August (as close to the election as possible), but instead it all could be wrapped up with a bow on it before the Legislature leaves for summer recess.

DEADLINE: While everyone was watching the June 15 and June 30 deadlines for the budget, don't forget the equally important June 28 deadline for ballot measures to qualify for the November ballot. Thirty-two counties have finished their random sample of the raw count signatures for the governor's tax measure.

THE 50.1%: As the governor tries to get Democrats to go along with his welfare reform proposal, the Women's Foundation of California is turning up the heat against the cuts in a new web video.

Meanwhile, the Assembly GOP asks "Are you kidding me?" to the lack of transparency in budget negotiations.

PLAN B: Scramble for Congressional Seats Could Prevent Calif. Tax Increases [John Hrabe @ Fox And Hounds]

MELEE IN THE IE: The #DCCCfail may have led to a premature end to one of the year's best fights, but there's still a whole lotta fighting going on in Redlands. [LAist]

BLOCK YOUR CALENDAR: There will be a 90 minute post-election webinar next Wednesday, June 27 at 10am featuring Paul Mitchell, Mike Madrid, Robb Korinke and me. We'll cover the hottest June races, discuss the results of local bond and parcel taxes, and provide an outlook for both candidate and local elections in November.

Registration should be available tomorrow for $99 per computer.

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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!

www.theaapc.org/default.asp?contentID=768

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TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
California Public Unions Win Budget Concessions
Michael B. Marois and James Nash @
businessweek.com
The budget California’s Democratic- controlled Legislature sent to Governor Jerry Brown last week granted concessions to public employee unions even as talks continue on cutting programs for the poor.

Darrell Steinberg Defends CA Budget, Aims For Completion This Week
Kevin Yamamura @
blogs.sacbee.com
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, defended the Legislature's deadline passage of a main budget bill Friday without most of the implementing language, responding to critics who suggested lawmakers had rushed through a plan to maintain their pay.

Proposition 25 Halts Long, Bickering Summers Over California Budget
Steven Harmon @
mercurynews.com
Though some question whether Proposition 25 has any teeth in requiring legislators to lose their pay if they dont finish the budget on time, the majority vote on budgets allowed by law has made for less contentious fights over the budget.

Will The State Budget Wrap This Week?
Brian Joseph @
totalbuzz.ocregister.com
Only in Sacramento could lawmakers meet the deadline for passing a budget and still not have a spending plan.

High-speed Rail, Pensions And Budget All On Capitol Agenda
Anthony York @
latimesblogs.latimes.com
The next two weeks are expected to be busy ones in the state Capitol.

California Now Has A Half-Budget
Dan Walters @
sacbee.com
So does California have a new state budget, or not? It has about a half-a-budget, or perhaps more accurately, a half-baked budget.

San Diego medical marijuana initiative won’t qualify for November
utsandiego.com
A proposed ballot measure to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries and impose a tax on storefront operators in the city of San Diego will not go before voters in November, the proponents said Monday.

Feds Say Design Flaw Led To Calif. Nuke Plant Woes
Michael R. Blood @
sacbee.com
A botched computer analysis resulted in design flaws that are largely to blame for unprecedented wear in steam tubes at the San Onofre nuclear power plant, but it isn't clear how the problems can be fixed, federal regulators said.

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.

California Schools Facing Shorter Year
Diana Lambert @
sacbee.com
Sydney Walker is scared. She is worried her children, who attend San Juan Unified schools, won't be prepared for college or classes next year if state lawmakers allow school districts to cut the school year by as many as 15 days.

Jerry Brown Urges Reduction Of Toxic Flame Retardants In Furniture
David Siders @
blogs.sacbee.com


Asian American Immigrants Outpace Latinos
Joe Garofoli @
sfgate.com
As the presidential candidates battle over U.S.-Mexico immigration policy, a sweeping new survey shows that Asian Americans have overtaken Latinos nationally as the largest group of new immigrants arriving each year in...

Mitt Romney criticizes Obama's immigration record at campaign rally
Michael Finnegan @
latimes.com
DAVENPORT, Iowa – Mitt Romney introduced criticism of President Obama’s record on illegal immigration into his standard campaign speech on Monday as he wrapped up a swing across eastern Iowa.

Pinole council set to pass 2012-2013 budget and standby plan in case voters reject utility tax extension
Tom Lochner @
mercurynews.com
The Pinole City Council is set to pass a fiscal year 2012-2013 budget Tuesday.The council also will consider a contingency plan in case the city's Utility User Tax is not renewed beyond its December sunset date.

Most Americans won't like healthcare ruling -- whatever it is
Mark Z. Barabak @
latimes.com
Save yourself the bother and just get ticked off now: A new poll shows that most people will be unhappy regardless of how the U.S. Supreme Court rules in its much-anticipated decision on the nation's sweeping healthcare law.

California Lawmakers Target Linking Of Student Ids To Test Scores
latimesblogs.latimes.com
Senate bans color-coding tied to test scores

University of Calif. faces mounting pension costs
TERENCE CHEA, Associated Press @
utsandiego.com
The cost of pensions and retiree health benefits are soaring at the University of California, increasing pressure to raise tuition and cut academic programs at one of the nation's leading public college systems.

Fueled By Immigration, Asians Are Fastest-growing U.S. Group
Rebecca Trounson @
latimes.com
Surpassing the influx of Latinos, Asian Americans lead the general public in education and income, according to the Pew Research Center.

California's First-class Dreamers
John Fensterwald @
toped.svefoundation.org
Starting in 2013, Cal Grants will be available to undocumented immigrants and other income-eligible nonresident Californians who graduated from a California high school after attending at least three years.

Heckling, the sleeper issue of the campaign (or not)
Michael A. Memoli @
latimes.com
WASHINGTON -- In the long presidential campaign season, there are moments that can make all the difference, when one candidate's statement can swing an election.

California Dems resist Gov. Brown's welfare plans
JUDY LIN, Associated Press @
utsandiego.com
California legislators may have passed a budget, but Democratic leaders and Gov. Jerry Brown are fighting to a standoff over his proposal to restructure the state's welfare program.

Joe Biden to raise money in Sacramento on Tuesday
David Siders @
blogs.sacbee.com
Vice President Joe Biden, in California for two days this week, is scheduled to attend a fundraiser at the Sutter Club in downtown Sacramento on Tuesday.