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THE NOONER for July 23, 2012

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Good morning from Costa Mesa, where yesterday's NYT headline "Republican Party in California Is Caught in Cycle of Decline" is considered left-wing media spin. Of course, I like to look at numbers...

Since 2000, voter registration has increased 31% in Orange County, while population has only grown 7.4%. Democrats have maintained a steady share of registrants at 31.4% (from 31.9% in 2000) by adding 114,935 voters. However, Republicans added 71,407 voters, slipping 7.3% to 42.2% of the county's voters. The Republican share was lost to No Party Preference voters, which increased from 14% in 2000 to 22% in the May 21 report.

This is consistent with, but a bit more pronounced than, the statewide trend. Since 2000, while NPP/DTS voters have grown 7.4%, Democrats have declined 2.3% and Republicans 4.9%.

This doesn't mean that there will be significantly more Democrats being elected from Orange County. In contrast, the decade will likely see a decline in the number of Dems from OC, as the Lou Correa Senate seat is likely to be captured by the GOP in 2014. Democrats will hold AD69, but other seats are going to be hard to come by. I know there are high hopes for Sharon Quick-Silva in AD65, but I just don't see it given the turnout likely in November.

The process of party disaffiliation does not involve values disaffiliation. People don't change their registration from Republican to NPP and thus their vote from Newt Gingrich to Barack Obama. Similarly, disaffected Democrats don't change their registration and switch from Barbara Boxer to Carly Fiorina. NPP voters in the Bay Area vote more Democratic and those in Orange County vote more Republican.

However, as party loyalty declines and demographics change, the long view of the GOP in Orange County is not good. My peers growing up, mostly with strong conservative religious values, are no less conservative than their parents. Their votes aren't changing and many still list Sarah Palin as a Facebook friend. However, they may not register Republican and they now live in the Inland Empire or Simi Valley (or Colorado) and are unlikely to return to the OC.


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FORGIVENESS: "Hoping that voters will forgive her for shoplifting $2,450 worth of clothes from San Francisco's Neiman Marcus, Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi isn't taking a break from politics: She plans to run for disgraced former Supervisor Nadia Lockyer's seat on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors." [Josh Richman @ MercNews]

$$$: CTA gets $5 million from papa bear, likely for the campaign against Prop. 32.

LET'S BACK JACK: Here's how all trademark disputes should be resolved. []

AUF WIEDERSEHEN: Peet's Coffee gets gulped by a German conglomerate. [Tiffany Hsu @ LAT]

ATC UPDATE: The May 21 voter registration numbers, with county breakdown, are now on the Around The Capitol district pages.

California Student Assistants Get The Ax As Part Of Union Pay-Cut Deal
Jon Ortiz @
California's ongoing state budget crisis has claimed another victim: student state workers. In a few weeks the state will ax hundreds of their jobs – just as the school year gets under way.

Political Blotter: No post-primary fundraising boom for Emken's Senate campaign
Elizabeth Emken, the Republican U.S. Senate candidate from Danville, collected only about one-eleventh as much money in the last reporting period as did U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.; Feinstein's campaign had 115 times as much money in the bank as of June 30. Also, a Bay Area lawmaker cites the Aurora, Colo., massacre as evidence his bill is necessary.

To Help Balance The Budget, State Suspends Key Provision Of Open Meetings Law
Brian Joseph @
In addition to cutting welfare and assuming that Californians will vote to tax themselves, the state budget approved in Sacramento last month suspended a key provision of the state’s open meetings act about agenda postings.

Enterprise Zones Hit Wall In California Senate
Dan Walters @
One of the Capitol's hoarier public dialogues is Republicans complaining about Democrats' excessive spending and Democrats bemoaning Republicans' refusal to close unjustified corporate tax loopholes. Both sides have a point.

Obama' Piedmont Backers An Emerging Force
Joe Garofoli @
While President Obama's fundraiser at Oakland's Fox Theater will be the marquee event during his East Bay fundraising swing Monday, the big financial players will be at the Piedmont home of Wayne Jordan and Quinn Delaney, who have quietly become two of California's major campaign donors.

Local Ballots Contain Measures To Raise Taxes
Loretta Kalb @
Coming in November to a polling place near you: Requests that voters approve millions of dollars in local bond measures, millions in sales taxes and a load of other revenue-producing measures, including parcel tax proposals.

Calbuzz Consultants: Mitt’s Tax Evasion Won’t Work
Before the tragedy in Aurora, we asked our Calbuzz panel of political experts to predict what Romney would do about his taxes, to explain his reasoning and to discuss how big a deal it will be in the presidential contest.

California Prisons Object To Expanding Media Access To Inmates
California prison officials are opposing legislation that would increase media access to inmates, saying it would cost too much money to facilitate interviews. In a letter dated Thursday, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said the bill would "create significant...

Mitt Romney Focuses On Economy In Bay Area Speech
Local @
GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney Sunday afternoon attended a fundraiser at the estate of tech billionaire and GOP supporter Tom Siebel.

Latest Numbers Show California Regaining Strength
Daniel Weintraub @
Think California's economy is bad? It certainly hasn’t returned to full health since the ravages of the Great Recession. But a couple of pieces of economic data released Friday show once again that the state is not the job-killing machine that some try to paint it as.

State parks: Only in California is a government surplus scandalous
John Hrabe @
The director who saved taxpayer money loses her job, and the politicians that approved extravagant pay raises for their staff now get to spend the windfall. Does that make sense to anyone?

David Howard, Ca Realtors Association Political Director, Dies
Laurel Rosenhall @
David M. Howard, the political director for the California Association of Realtors, died Saturday, three weeks after being diagnosed with lung cancer. He was 64.

Feinstein Wants Dialogue On Assault Guns - Sfgate
Nearly two decades before the massacre in Aurora, Colo., the slayings of eight people inside the 101 California Street office tower in San Francisco sent shock waves around the nation. On Sunday, she reprised her outrage over assault weapons, calling for a national conversation about their dangers. Bloomberg held both presidential candidates to account, saying that Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, passed a ban on assault weapons in that office, and suggested Obama hasn't followed through on his calls for the assault-ban renewal. When asked if the Colorado slayings will raise the issue of gun control in the campaign, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama's view is that "we can take steps to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have them with existing law."

Stockton Plan Cuts Bond Payment: $197.5 Million
Ed Mendel @
A Stockton bankruptcy proposal does not cut pensions, but the city wants to eliminate $197.5 million in pension bond payments over the next 25 years, a plan opposed by the bond insurer that would be stuck with the tab.

Closing Chino Courthouse Just One Step Among Cutbacks In Store For San Bernardino County's Court System
San Bernardino County Superior Court announced the court will shut its doors on Jan. 1 as part of a significant court budget shortfall - $13.5 million this year, growing to $21 million annually thereafter.

Dan Walters: Enterprise zones hit wall in California Senate
One of the Capitol's hoarier public dialogues is Republicans complaining about Democrats' excessive spending and Democrats bemoaning Republicans' refusal to close unjustified corporate tax loopholes.

UCLA Hotel Plan Moves Forward Despite Financial Concerns
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Despite their skepticism a few months ago, members of the University of California Board of Regents have approved the budget ...

DCCC plans to attack GOP on taxes
Seung Min Kim @
The committee is urging Democrats to hold their foes accountable for tax votes.

Ed Lee Now The Bully In Mirkarimi Case
Debra Saunders @
In January, prosecutors would not believe Eliana Lopez when she said her husband, Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, did not hurt her when he bruised her arm during a Dec. 31 argument on the dubious grounds that, as a battered woman, she was effectively brainwashed to rationalize the abuse. In July, as Mayor Ed Lee has to go through the San Francisco Ethics Commission in his bid to fire the sheriff, City Hall has concocted a new reason not to listen to Lopez: She's too happy.

In Ca City, Mixed Picture Of Life After Bankruptcy - Wire National News - The Sacramento Bee
In this photo taken July 17, 2012, the park goers are seen at the Enchanted Playground at the Washington Playground park in Vallejo, Calif. In 2008 Vallejo filed for bankruptcy forcing cuts to many essential services and eliminated funding for a museum, symphony and senior center and slashed library spending. To fill the gaps citizens have stepped in with recreation programs, community gardens. In the seediest part of town, nearly 2,000 volunteers gathered to build the playground.

Alameda County To Vote On Drug Disposal
Stephanie M. Lee @
With a law believed to be nationally unprecedented, Alameda County is about to tell the pharmaceutical industry it must pay to get rid of the unused pills in people's medicine cabinets.

Vallejo Leaves Bankruptcy Period Behind, Charts New Course - Bee State News - The Sacramento Bee
Vallejo downtown merchant Raymond Prather holds a customer's puppy at the Army-Navy store he operates. He has contracts with the city to supply boots, coveralls and equipment bags for its workers and says the struggling city is on the rebound.

LAPD To Ration Fingerprint Analysis To Deal With Backlog
Joel Rubin @
For property-related crimes, each of LAPD's 21 stations and divisions will be allowed 10 cases a month in which fingerprint evidence will be promptly analyzed.

Marco Rubio backs Scott Brown for Massachusetts Senate
Lisa Mascaro @
WASHINGTON – Acknowledging their political differences, tea party favorite Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) endorsed fellow GOP Sen. Scott Brown’s re-election bid in a nod to the continued importance of conservative voters in blue Massachusetts.