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THE NOONER for June 25, 2012

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CONGRATULATIONS!

There is indeed hope for California's future, as an Assembly fellow joins a political consultant for first place in The Nooner Election Contest. Congratulations! Each will receive $100, and I'll award the third place participant the second place prize of $50. Thank you to the amazing Nooner subscribers and advertisers that made the contest possible.

Assemblymember Rich Gordon's office turns out to be the big winner, with first place claimed by the fellow and third place by the chief of staff.

Here's the honor roll of the Top 25 (contestants were allowed to either use their real name or a pseudonym):

1. (T) Ellen Hou - 416
1. (T) Derek Humphrey - 416
3. Harry Ermoian - 415

4. Tim Anaya - 405
5. Craig Brown - 404
6. Barry Brokaw - 401
7. JCP - 398
8. Jeff Gozzo - 395
9. Mark Smith - 391
10. cebryant - 389
11. (T) Jonco - 378
11. (T) Robert Neff - 378
13. (T) Arena Public Affairs - 377
13. (T) Jon Y - 377
13. (T) Brian Bottari - 377
16. (T) Ben Malley - 376
16. (T) Jim Miller - 376
18. Shanan Alper - 375
19. Scott Lay - 374
20. SD - 373
21. Nick Birtcil - 370
21. (T) Tom Kaptain - 370
23. John Fairbanks - 368
24. (T) Rufus T Firefly - 367
24. (T) David Creager - 367
25. A Mac - 366

(T)=tie

The mean score was 220.62 out of 577 possible points.

If you participated, your answers should be in blue. If you didn't participate, you can still see how the 392 participants voted:

##CONTESTLINK##

I'll do a contest again this November, so I would love to hear your feedback. I know this one was difficult, which was intentional to ensure we didn't have fifty people tie for first place. Nevertheless, if you have ideas, I would love to hear them.

OH, YEAH, THAT: While Senate Budget is still scheduled to meet at 4pm today, the budget vote has reportedly been kicked to Wednesday, which is the last day for the governor to sign the main budget bill sent to him on June 15. The delay is attributed to the challenge of writing the trailer bill language necessary to implement the various statutory changes to the spending plan. However, as Kevin Yamamura reports, there are still some wrinkles in the deal. Thus, California will eliminate Healthy Families on Wednesday, at SCOTUS will take care of everyone else on Thursday.

$$$: The governor's ballot measure committee reported $715,000 on Saturday, incluiding 100 large each from Sony Entertainment, CBS and Viacom. Let's keep that film credit that the LAO says costs the state money. Also collected was $50,000 from Zuffa, LLC, which is the large promoter of UFC. Sorry, Luis Alejo, your AB 2100 will likely remain in the Capitol parking structure for awhile.

PUGNO'S PICKLE: Andy Pugno staged a come-from-behind second place finish in AD06 behind Beth Gaines, and now has a dilemma. A few months ago, Pugno promised that he would support the first-place finisher in June. The Bee quotes his mailer

"We shouldn't have Republicans fighting each other. Therefore, I pledge to support whichever candidate is the top-finishing Republican in the June primary election, and call on my opponent – incumbent legislator Beth Gaines – to join me in that pledge."

Sticking to Shermanesque promises in politics is always hard, and it's even harder when personalities are involved. There is no love lost between Pugno and Gaines. Okay, to make it clearer, some of Pugno's biggest supporters can't stand Gaines. They invested in Pugno and will be encouraging him to continue the fight. Pugno also self-funded with $89,000 and spent $200,000 in his 2010 bid against Richard Pan, so walking away from the runoff would be extra painful.

[Note: my results page still show Democrat Regy Bronner in second as Placer County hadn't submitted its final count as of early Monday morning.]

PENSION POLITICS: CalBuzz - "Not since the disco era, when a young Jerry Brown and a tone-deaf Legislature dithered away their chance to head off Prop. 13, has Sacramento seen such a spectacle of fatuous folly as legislative Democrats now display over pension reform."

SAFE NOT SAFE? I get a lot of press releases and e-mail that remind me of my rainbows and unicorns days of dreaming that anything is possible in politics, which I now discard because 90% of politics is no-brainer and easy to predict. However, over the weekend, I got an e-mail from Mike Meza, who is the Democrat who ran for AD48 in the primary. That's the seat in which Roger Hernandez is running for a third and final term. In the email, Meza endorses Republican Joe Gardner and writes:

"I have come to the conclusion that Hernandez is narcissistic, deceptive and has been, and continues to be, unqualified for the position he currently holds."

Ouch. 

Here are the pretty-much-final June results:

  • Gardner (R): 15,028
  • Hernandez (D): 14,323
  • Meza (D): 3,622

Neither Joe Gardner nor Mike Meza spent more than $1,000. 

Now, this is a solid Democratic seat, which Jerry Brown won by 20 points. However, with Hernandez deciding to take his DUI case to trial, the story will drag out through the election cycle, and beating a retired cop who outpolled him in June may be a challenge. The case is set to go to a jury trial on August 7, and you can imagine the judge won't take it lightly that a legislator is clogging up the courts (that Sacramento has been whacking) to challenge two misdemeanor counts.

Anyway, watch this seat as one of the biggest Democratic safe losses since Audie Bock

JUNE 20 MIRACLE: Joe Mathews looks at the machinations behind the quick qualification of Jerry Brown's tax measure.

ARMAGEDDON: Lockheed Martin announces layoff notices ahead of sequestration.

CAN WE JUST BUY @UTSDMIKEGARDNER? The Union-Tribune goes the way of the LAT with a paywall. LAT is not NYT, and UTSD is certainly not LAT. #fail

HAMSTER WHEEL: The Nooner headquarters is just like Politico, which is why I love subscribers. [Romenesko]

$$$: The Chron's Carla Marinucci looks at California Now. No, not the group advocating for the 50.1%, but rather the group that wants to keep the GOP above 33% in the State Senate.

REGISTER NOW: Register now for the post-election webinar at 10am on Wednesday, June 27. Paul Mitchell, Mike Madrid, Robb Korinke and I will take a look at the hottest races and lessons learned in the new top-two primary. The ninety-minute online event will also include a November election outlook and reviews of local bond and tax elections. The event is $99 per computer, and will be conducted using the Citrix GoToWebinar platform. Sit back in your jammies, listen to our analysis and interact with your questions and thoughts.

CONDOLENCES: Jon Nakanishi, the son of former Assemblymember Alan Nakanishi and a candidate for Lassen County superior court judge, died late Thursday following a rafting accident on the Truckee River last weekend.

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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

reserve this space | subscribe to the ad-free version for $2.99/month


TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
California Lawmakers Now Face Water, Pensions, Bullet Trains
Dan Walters @
sacbee.com
With the state budget more-or-less completed for the time being, Gov. Jerry Brown and state legislators must turn to other business, particularly to three very big and very immediate issues – water, pension reform and the bullet train – that may be even more contentious than the budget.

Dems' Idiocy On Pensions Recalls '70s Tax Fiasco
calbuzz.com
Not since the disco era, when a young Jerry Brown and a tone-deaf Legislature dithered away their chance to head off Prop. 13, has Sacramento seen such a spectacle of fatuous folly as legislative Democrats now display over pension reform.

Dan Walters: California lawmakers now face water, pensions, bullet trains
sacbee.com
With the state budget more-or-less completed for the time being, Gov. Jerry Brown and state legislators must turn to other business, particularly to three very big and very immediate issues – water, pension reform and the bullet train – that may be even more contentious than the budget.

UC Student Groups
Kevin Yamamura @
blogs.sacbee.com
The state budget will freeze tuition rates for the state's two university systems if voters approve tax hikes in November, University of California student groups said this evening.

Bill would shield churches from performing same-sex marriages
sacbee.com
Supporters of Proposition 8, the 2008 initiative that banned same-sex marriage, said they were concerned that churches would be forced to perform the ceremonies or face losing their nonprofit status.

UC student groups: Budget will contain UC, CSU tuition freeze
Kevin Yamamura @
blogs.sacbee.com
The state budget will freeze tuition rates for the state's two university systems if voters approve tax hikes in November, University of California student groups said this evening.

Rick Orlov's Tipoff: Council's Vote On District Boundaries A Result Of Hardball Politics
Rick Orlov @
dailynews.com
It was one of the most blatant examples of hardball politics seen at Los Angeles City Hall in some time.

Boehner warns 'no spiking of the ball' on healthcare ruling
Lisa Mascaro @
latimes.com
WASHINGTON -- As Congress awaits the Supreme Court ruling on President Obama's healthcare legislation, House Speaker John A. Boehner had a stern warning for rank-and-file Republicans he has struggled to keep on message.

The Caucus: Scalia Cites Obama Immigration Policy in Dissent on Arizona Law
MICHAEL D. SHEAR @
nytimes.com
Justice Antonin Scalia made a foray into the realm of political combat on Monday, citing President Obama's recent decision to stop enforcement of deportation against some illegal immigrants in a statement of dissent from his colleagues who struck down parts of Arizona's immigration law.

California GOP Sinking Into Third-Party Status
George Skelton @
latimes.com
'There's no middle,' says a longtime Santa Cruz County Republican who has joined the more than one-fifth of registered voters who have no party preference.

Obama 'pleased' with Supreme Court ruling on Arizona immigration law
Kathleen Hennessey @
latimes.com
WASHINGTON – President Obama said he’s “pleased” with the U.S. Supreme Court decision knocking down parts of Arizona’s controversial immigration law, and he quickly used the decision to call for comprehensive immigration reform and to tout his own recent move to curb deportations.

First, Keep The Lights On
toped.svefoundation.org
Another approach could be a block grant, in which districts have latitude to spend as they choose within parameters, such as designating money broadly for professional development. Assemblymember Julia Brownley, who chairs the Assembly Education Committee, took that approach in AB 18, a variation of a weighted student formula.

The Caucus: TimesCast Politics: Justices Rule on Immigration
THE NEW YORK TIMES @
nytimes.com
A look at the decision, the politics and the impact on the border as the Supreme Court blocks parts of Arizona's immigration law.

Key players in dispute over Arizona immigration law
mercurynews.com
FORMER ARIZONA LAWMAKER RUSSELL PEARCE Role: Led the effort at the Arizona Legislature to get the state's immigration law passed.

Muslim Brotherhood candidate wins Egyptian presidential vote
Jeffrey Fleishman @
latimes.com
Crowds in Tahrir Square cheer, but vow to remain until the army cedes power. President-elect Mohamed Morsi calls for unity after winning 51.7% of the vote.

The Public Eye: State Cut Dooms Sacramento County's In-home Care Task Force - The Public Eye - The Sacramento Bee
sacbee.com
Sacramento County is eliminating a task force responsible for oversight of In-Home Supportive Services, once called an "ATM for fraud" by a grand jury.

Supreme Court issues split decision on Arizona immigration law
David Savage @
latimes.com
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Supreme Court, in a major immigration ruling, upheld parts of Arizona’s strict law targeting illegal immigrants, but said the federal government has the ultimate authority to decide who will be held on immigration charges and deported.

Health care ruling expected on Thursday
mercurynews.com
The Supreme Court will issue its last opinions on Thursday, with its decision on President Barack Obama's health care overhaul expected to come down that day

Viewpoints: Will we love the health care law if court strikes it down?
sacbee.com
Any day now, the U.S. Supreme Court may make possible something that has yet to happen: an honest and complete discussion of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The Caucus: Jen Psaki to Join Obama Campaign as Traveling Press Secretary
JACKIE CALMES @
nytimes.com
Jennifer Psaki, one of the best-known and liked aides in President Obama's long 2008 campaign and then in his White House, is joining his 2012 re-election effort after less than a year as a private-sector consultant.

California lawmakers again waging political warfare over welfare
Chris Megerian @
latimes.com
With the state facing a $15.7-billion deficit, Gov. Brown pushes for cuts based on President Clinton's 1990s framework.

Obama Campaign
nytimes.com
Campaign officials said this was their best chance yet to convert enthusiasm among gays and lesbians for President Obama into more than just votes.