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THE NOONER for July 9, 2012

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ICYMI: Saturday had a Nooner Nightcap - Field Poll, #HSR, and Munger court case - bit.ly/atcnooner

TOP 5 STATE SENATE RACES - After we see the final results numbers on Friday, I'll dive more deeply into analyses of each of these races, but for now, here are the top 5 state senate races to watch this November:

5. SD39 (Likely Dem) - Marty Block v. George Plescia

4. SD19 (Likely Dem) - Hannah-Beth Jackson v. Mike Stoker 

3. SD27 (Leans Dem) - Fran Pavley v. Todd Zink 

2. SD31 (Toss-Up) - Jeff Miller v. Richard Roth

1. SD05 (Toss-Up) - Bill Berryhill v. Cathleen Galgiani

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Advanced Public Sector Labor Relations: From Collective Bargaining to Arbitration - What Public Sector Employers Need to Know

Kronick Moskovitz's 2012 Labor Relations seminar will be held on July 12 at the Courtyard Hotel Sacramento Cal Expo. Join our Labor & Employment and Education law attorneys for this half-day seminar focusing on topics pertinent to all public employers, including the latest legal developments and court decisions governing public sector labor relations in California.

Full details & registration bit.ly/OJDiWm

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Willie Brown on the delay in benefits in high-speed rail: "If you're into instant gratification, go find a hooker."

WORTH THE LONG READ: Behind the media confusion on the SCOTUS health care decision [SCOTUSBlog]

WORTH THE LONGER READ: The worst marriage in Georgetown [New York Times]

SHAKY HAND PRODUCTIONS: GOP unnerved by Democrats' candid camera techniques [Politico]

TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
Vote to repeal health care law fuels ads in Sacramento Co. race
Torey Van Oot @
blogs.sacbee.com
An upcoming U.S. House of Representatives vote to repeal the federal health care law is fueling a new round of political ads in a heated East Sacramento County congressional race.

Simitian Flips Stance On High-Speed Rail
Mike Rosenberg @
mercurynews.com
Silicon Valley state Sen. Joe Simitian hopes he's dead-wrong on high-speed rail. Ten years ago, he enthusiastically co-authored a bill to put the bullet train on the ballot. On Friday, after years leading intense oversight hearings on the polarizing $69 billion plan, he stunned listeners on the Senate floor and voted against the start of construction -- nearly killing the project altogether.

Judge rules against Jerry Brown tax rival on ballot numbering
Kevin Yamamura @
blogs.sacbee.com
A Sacramento judge ruled this morning that election officials appropriately verified signatures for the November ballot, a decision that should allow Gov. Jerry Brown's tax initiative to take the top spot unless opponents file another challenge today.

Chicago Plans Events To Support Obama Tax Cut Proposal--Romney, RNC Have $160 Million On Hand
POLITICO @
politico.com
DRIVING THE DAY – OBAMA TO EMBRACE MIDDLE-CLASS TAX CUTS: “With a torpid job market and a fragile economy threatening his re-election chances, President Obama is changing the subject to tax fairness, calling for a one-year extension of the Bush-era tax cuts for people making less than $250,000,” The New York Times’ Mark Landler scoops.

City-State Relations Take A Turn
Dan Walters @
sacbee.com
The relationship between state and local governments has always been testy, but more so since voters passed Proposition 13 in 1978, reducing local property taxes.

The Two-year Budget: Cranking Down the Gimmicks and Hype?
Mandy Honeychurch @
capitolweekly.net
But another budget-linked measure on the ballot also confronts voters: Whether California should move to a two-year budget cycle. Supporters of the plan say it adds stability and certainty to the budget process and lessens the interminable, high-profile political squabbles that dominate headlines.

Moody's Estimate Triples Pension Debt: $2 Trillion
Ed Mendel @
calpensions.com
Sweeping cost-cutting pension reforms, which face lengthy legal challenges from unions, were approved by voters last month in San Jose and San Diego, where retirement costs are 20 percent or more of the city general fund and projected to continue growing.

'Affordable' Care Act? Not So Much For Sacramento
George Skelton @
latimes.com
Obama's healthcare overhaul is one more costly program for a red-ink state.

Congress week ahead: Health repeal, tax votes, more gridlock
Lisa Mascaro @
latimes.com
WASHINGTON -- To understand the choices before voters this fall, look to Congress this week, where the House and Senate will conduct show votes on measures that will have long lives on the campaign trail, but little expectation of becoming law.

Why Romney Has Blown It With Latino Voters
calbuzz.com
Most political reporters and the outlets they work for still don’t understand why Latino voters are overwhelmingly supporting President Obama over Republican Mitt Romney. Typical of the confusion was this lede on a Politico story a couple of weeks ago: “American Hispanic voters are more concerned about health care and unemployment than they are about immigration, according to a new USA Today/Gallup poll.”

Federal Judge Nominee Troy Nunley Works His Way Up
Bob Egelko @
sfgate.com
For Troy Nunley, President Obama's newest nominee for a federal judgeship in Northern California, life has gone from rags to robes - from the rough neighborhoods of San Francisco's Hunters Point to a seat on the bench.

Cracks Appear in Republican Unity on Health Law Repeal
nytimes.com
With the House scheduled to vote Wednesday on whether to repeal the health care law, some Republicans worry that constantly rearguing the issue makes them seem out of touch.

For Now, Bullet Train May Go Nowhere
JIM CARLTON AND MAX TAVES @
online.wsj.com
After clearing a major legislative hurdle, California's proposed bullet train between Los Angeles and San Francisco still faces obstacles--including lawsuits and uncertainties over future funding--that could delay it for years.

Are We About To Witness Watergate The Sequel? - Influence Alley
Ronald Brownstein @
influencealley.nationaljournal.com
Last month marked the 40th anniversary of the infamous Watergate break-in. On the night of May 28, 1972 a team of burglars from President Richard Nixon's re-election campaign entered Democratic National Committee headquarters on the sixth floor of the Watergate office building, rifled through files and desk drawers, and bugged telephones. One of the bugs didn't work. So the burglars returned on June 17 to replace it. That was the night they were caught.

State's Community Colleges Rethink Enrollment Priorities
Erica Perez @
baycitizen.org
California Community College students who rack up more than 100 units or remain on probation for two semesters in a row will fall to the back of the line when enrolling for classes under a proposed policy up for discussion today by the Board of Governors.

California Indian Tribes Lead National Push For More Off-Reservation Casinos
Rob Hotakainen @
sacbee.com
After buying a chunk of land 50 miles north of San Francisco, the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria just broke ground on a new, Las Vegas-style casino. It will be the largest in the Bay Area, with 3,000 slot machines, 200 hotel rooms, a spa, bars, restaurants and parking for more than 5,000 cars.

Sacramento, San Luis Obispo GOP give to Peter Tateishi's bid
Torey Van Oot @
blogs.sacbee.com
It isn't surprising to see the Sacramento County Republican Central Committee write a big check to Peter Tateishi's Assembly campaign.

Mayor Johnson Looks At Bringing Big League Baseball To Sacramento
Tony Bizjak @
sacbee.com
The basketball arena idea didn't work out. So, how about a major league ballpark, Sacramento?

Political Blotter: Shake-up in Pete Stark's campaign staff
Josh Richman @
mercurynews.com
A union heavyweight has signed on to manage Rep. Pete Stark's re-election campaign as part of a post-primary staffing shake up. Sharon Cornu said Monday she has signed onto the effort to help Stark, D-Fremont, win a 21st term in Congress in the newly drawn 15th Congressional District. Stark is challenged by Dublin councilman and Alameda County prosecutor Eric Swalwell, also a Democrat.

The Buzz: What's in a number? How California voters read ballot measures
sacbee.com
Munger challenging new law on initiatives' ballot spots

AM Alert
Micaela Massimino @
blogs.sacbee.com
Molly Munger's lawsuit challenging the new ballot-ordering law for propositions comes up for a hearing at 9 a.m. today in Sacramento Superior Court.

Coalition party headed by former transition chief claims lead in Libya vote
Glen Johnson @
latimes.com
TRIPOLI, Libya -- A political coalition led by the former National Transitional Council’s de facto prime minister has claimed an early lead in Libya’s national election to replace the government of fallen longtime dictator Moammar Kadafi.

An Unexpected Alliance in a Same-Sex Marriage Case
nytimes.com
have lined up to challenge a federal law that denies certain benefits to married same-sex spouses.

Joe Simitian: Steady hand in high-speed rail debate, Silicon Valley senator flips against party, his prior stance
Mike Rosenberg @
mercurynews.com
Silicon Valley state Sen. Joe Simitian hopes he's dead-wrong on high-speed rail.Ten years ago, he enthusiastically co-authored a bill to put the bullet train on the ballot.

San Bernardino County School Board To Consider Statement Calling For More State Funding
dailybulletin.com
The San Bernardino County school board is set to vote on Monday on a "statement of conscience" calling on state legislators to provide more funding for education.