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THE NOONER for July 13, 2012

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It's been a long week and I have a board meeting today, so it'll be a quickie to round out the week.

SLO HEARTS TORRANCE: The Republican County of San Luis Obispo County continued distributing its bounty by giving $100,000 on June 30 to Craig Huey for his AD66 race.

EMAIL OF THE WEEK: "California's Highest-Ranking Elected Republican Endorses Phil Paule for Assembly"

Who would that "highest ranking elected Republican" be? Answer

Somehow, I'm guessing Kevin McCarthy might dispute Paule's rankings.

WHAT WILL ANDY DO? My list yesterday of the hottest Assembly intra-party races had one purposeful omission--the fight between Beth Gaines and Andy Pugno in AD06. I didn't include it because we have yet to hear from Pugno as to whether he will keep his pledge to support whichever Republican placed first in the top-two. The Bee's Jim Sanders recently quoted the campaign flyer with the pledge:

"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."

Sanders writes "Gaines did not agree to such a deal, and Pugno's flier slammed her for it."

Some say that Andy will run and reframe the pledge as an invitation to a deal, although that's not what the flyer said. If he runs, that becomes my number two intra-party race, as the camps can't stand each other.

Andy, what say you?

CRAZY: The Register's Martin Wisckol writes "Laguna Niguel attorney Orly Taitz has filed suit to block California's 2012 primary election results, alleging 'rampant election fraud' in general and 'identity fraud' by candidate Barack Obama specifically. A hearing is scheduled for Friday to hear her request for an emergency stay, according to the Orange County Superior Court's website."

"The Republican Taitz finished fourth in a field of 24, failing to make November’s top-two runoff. She received 152,298 or 3.2 percent of the vote. The top vote getter, Democratic incumbent Dianne Feinstein, got 2,356,559 votes, and the second-place finisher, Republican Elizabeth Emken, got 604,910 votes."

GO FOR THE GOLD: Former Olympians dish the hanky panky that happens in the Olympic village.


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Disputes Over Redevelopment Money Could Entangle State Budget
It's something of an annual tradition for the California budget -- the lawsuits and red tape that trip up the state's spending plan. In the fiscal year that just ended, judges and the federal government blocked hundreds of millions of...

Calif. Teacher Pension Posts Low Investment Return
Judy Lin @
California's teacher pension fund earned just a 1.8 percent return from investments this year, a rate that fell well short of expectations and could add to the system's shortfall, officials revealed Thursday.

Redistricting Measure Backers Throw In The Towel, Won't Seek Passage
Jim Sanders @
Leaders of a Republican-led drive that qualified a referendum for the November ballot to overturn California's newly drawn state Senate districts have decided not to seek its passage.

Federal Action Against Iconic Medical Marijuana Dispensary Draws Protest - Capitol And California - The Sacramento Bee
OAKLAND - Federal authorities are seeking to seize and close the world's largest dispensary, stoking a backlash from advocates claiming thousands of people will lose their medical marijuana provider and from officials saying Oakland and the state will lose $3.3 million in annual tax revenues.

California Tobacco Tax Backers Seek Recount After Razor-thin Loss
Torey Van Oot @
Weeks after conceding defeat in the June 5 primary, supporters of an initiative to increase the tobacco tax to fund cancer research have requested a recount in parts of Los Angeles County.

Millions In Health Care District Deals Involve Firms With Ties To Officials
A financial review of more than 20 health care districts in California found millions of dollars in transactions involving companies and nonprofits with ties to top district officials.

DCCC: We're winning on health care
Kate Nocera @
A new DCCC memo claims the tide is turning on the health care law.

PUC Rejects Underground Gas Storage Plan For South Sacramento
Loretta Kalb @
A long-fought plan to store 7.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas deep below a Sacramento neighborhood was rejected today by the state energy regulators.

Did Health Care 'tax' Just Blow Up California's Careful Budget Plans? -
The Christian Science Monitor @

Democrats Renew Push For Disclose Act
Jonathan Strong and Eliza Newlin Carney @
A day after ripping Republicans for the political theater of holding a health care repeal vote, Democrats rolled out their own bit of campaign messaging: a new push for legislation to force disclosure of political spending.

State Is On The Hunt For Redevelopment Money
One of the most complicated, important and obscure functions in California's state budget will begin on Thursday, as Gov. Jerry Brown's administration starts tallying up leftover funds from defunct redevelopment agencies. The agencies are being dissolved this year, and the...

Federal Crackdown Targets Oakland Marijuana "Superstore"
Peter Hecht @
The Harborside Health Center reveled in its boast of being the world's largest pot dispensary. It was featured in a hit reality series on the Discovery Channel last year. And it has been one of the largest taxpayers in Oakland, a city that turned to tax revenue from medical pot sales for fiscal relief.

'hands-free' Texting While Driving Gets OK From Gov. Jerry Brown
Three years after the state banned motorists from texting while driving, Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday approved an exemption to the rule in recognition of improved voice-operated technology. Brown announced Friday he has signed 18 bills into law, including AB...

Brown's Allies Form Committee To Oppose Munger Measure
Dan Walters @
The likelihood of open warfare between Gov. Jerry Brown and civil rights attorney Molly Munger, who have rival tax increase measures on the November ballot, has increased with the formation by Brown's supporters of a committee to oppose Munger.

California Just As Insolvent As Bankrupt Cities
Dan Walters @
So far this summer, three California cities have moved toward bankruptcy and several others are distressed enough that the b-word has left the lips of their elected and appointed officials – including those in the two largest, Los Angeles and San Diego.

Oakland Protests U.S. Attorney's Crackdown On Large Medical Marijuana Dispensary
Lee Romney @
City leaders say Harborside Health Center follows state and local laws and that its closure would have serious economic consequences.

Amended Versions Of Key Discipline Bills Move Forward
Susan Frey @
Three key bills aimed at changing school discipline policies were approved in the state Assembly before the summer recess and will be ready for a final vote on the Senate floor when legislators return from their recess in August. But in the process, the bills have been softened to give districts more discretion to implement harsher punishments than the authors originally intended.

Hospital Surgery Prices Vary Widely
Cynthia H. Craft @
A group of public-interest researchers took on the veiled, confounding world of hospital pricing Thursday in a report that questioned why a common surgery cost $40,000 at one hospital in the Sacramento region and $17,000 at another.

CSU mulls pay raises for 3 new presidents despite budget troubles
At the same time the California State University Board of Trustees is discussing a possible tuition increase and across-the-board pay cuts, it will also consider pay raises for three new campus presidents using foundation funds.

Republicans block small-business tax break on procedural vote
Lisa Mascaro @
WASHINGTON -- One of the top items on President Obama’s to do list -- a 10% tax break for small businesses that make new hires -- got tangled in an election-year tax debate as Republicans led a filibuster to block the measure.

Mitt Romney Faces New Round Of Calls To Release Tax Returns
JACKSON, Wyo. — Six months after Mitt Romney’s reluctance to release his tax returns tripped him up in the South Carolina Republican presidential primary, the now-presumptive nominee is once again grappling with whether to disclose more information about his personal finances amid mounting pressure from his opponents.

Survey: Voters Receptive To Sports Betting, Split On Online Poker
Most California voters are ready to add sports betting to the portfolio of legalized gambling in the Golden State, a new poll shows, but they are split on whether the state should allow residents to play poker over the Internet.

Column Extra Part 2: How Gov. Jerry Brown would counter a furlough lawsuit
Jon Ortiz @
With just 400 to 450 words for our weekly State Worker column, much of what we learn each week never sees print. Column Extras give you some of the notes, the quotes and the observations that inform what's published each Thursday.