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THE NOONER for October 15, 2012
DEADLINE: Tonight is the filing deadline for the third quarter for federal committees. Following this, there will be a report due on October 25 covering the period from October 1-17. Contributions over $1,000 after October 17 must be reported within 48 hours.
PROMISE: On Friday evening, I had a great opportunity to sit down with a group of Harvard Kennedy School students to chat California politics. Folks, say what you will about the often frustrating nature of California politics and policy, but let me tell you that we certainly have some up-and-comers.
THE ASSEMBLY PLAYING FIELD
As the 2011-12 session came to a close, Assembly Speaker John Perez had 52 seats, two short of a two-thirds majority. Unlike the State Senate, redistricting didn't bring any wrapped gifts and we've known all along that under the new maps, he had a range of 47 to somewhere in the low-to-mid 50s. As we stand now, I put that range at 47-55. Surpassing 54 continues to very unlikely, and dropping a couple of seats is certainly possible.
Speaker Perez starts with 47 seats that he has a greater than 80% chance to win. Of these, 10 are in the bank at 100% with two Democrats facing each other in the runoff. The remaining range from 90% (AD11, AD28) to 99.8%, with the top of the range races where Republicans need mortal intervention or millions found in a freezer to win. A possibility, but extemely unlikely.
Then we look at the seats in which I believe Democrats have a greater than 50%, but less than 80% chance to win. This includes Gray v. Mobley in AD21, Chau v. Lin in AD49, and Medina v. Batey in AD61. I have each of these around 60% for Dems right now, but turnout, particularly Latino turnout in AD61, will be key. Thus, with these Lean Democrat seats, Assembly Democrats could get to 50 seats.
Then there are the pure toss-ups--Cooley v. Tateishi in AD08, Rios v. Salas in AD32, and Huey v. Muratsuchi in AD66. Two of these three seats (AD08 and AD66) are currently held by Democrats, with AD32 providing the pick-up opportunity as Valadao leaves the seat for a run at CD21. If Dems sweep the toss-ups, which I right now believe is unlikely, Assembly Democrats could get to 53 seats.
That puts the total number of seats in play for Democrats at 55, although I think 51-53 (+1 to -1) is the most likely scenario.
Of course, turnout is going to be a big factor. While I have been quite pessimistic about turnout (and still am), there are some interesting dynamics brewing. With the help of Paul Mitchell, we've been watching the composition of new online registrations compared to traditional paper registrations. Check out the breakdown of online vs. paper from a sampling of counties that have reported:
New registrants are likely to vote, and are likelier to vote if they are permenant absentees and don't have to do anything other than cast their ballot on the couch. We also know that the online registrants are trending Democrat and a bit younger. That could give an advantage to Democrats in some of these races, although we'll have to see where we are at the close of registration on October 22.
AMERICASHINING: The federal PAC America Shining, based out of San Francisco has invested heavily for Jay Chen against Ed Royce. Over the weekend, the group that hasn't disclosed its donors, came out in favor of other Indo- and Asian-Americans, including Republican Ricky Gill running to unseat Jerry McNerney in CD09.
CD09: Speaking of Gill, he's got to be the only congressional candidate earning IE support from both the National Right-To-Life PAC and the American College of OB-GYNs. Gill lists himself as pro-life on his website, but both his parents are OB-GYNs.
ICYMI: Campaigns Mine Political Data to Get Out Vote [Charles Duhigg @ NYT] - "The campaigns have planted software known as cookies on voters’ computers to see if they frequent evangelical or erotic Web sites for clues to their moral perspectives. Voters who visit religious Web sites might be greeted with religion-friendly messages when they return to mittromney.com or barackobama.com. The campaigns’ consultants have run experiments to determine if embarrassing someone for not voting by sending letters to their neighbors or posting their voting histories online is effective."
GOOD READ: Brown, Munger end GOP monopoly on circular firing squads [John Hrabe @ CalWatchdog]
DEPT OF CORRECTIONS: I refered to a contribution from private equity exec John Scully as being from former Apple CEO John Sculley. My apologies.
BALLOT MEASURE ENDORSEMENTS - DailyNews: yes on 30, no on 38, yes on 35
Assessing The Latest Workers' Compensation Overhaul
Dan Walters @ sacbee.com
Ostensibly, one of the two or three most important acts of the 2012 legislative session was an overhaul of the huge and hugely complex system that provides medical care and cash benefits to workers with job-related illnesses and injuries.
School Official Targeted Special Education Program To Cut Costs
Trey Bundy @ baycitizen.org
A San Francisco Unified School District administrator urged teachers to re-evaluate whether to offer summer school to special education students as a way to cut costs, a move that special education teachers and attorneys say violates federal regulations.
Springsteen Ends Political Retirement For Obama
Wyatt Buchanan, Michael Collier, Richard Dunham, Bob Egelko, Joe Garofoli, Marisa Lagos, Carolyn Lochhead, Carla Marinucci, @ blog.sfgate.com
Springsteen ends political retirement for Obama
Tenuous Water Supply Shrinks This Year At Valley Wildlife Refuges
Matt Weiser @ sacbee.com
At the Sutter National Wildlife Refuge near Yuba City, wetlands that should be teeming with mallards, canvasbacks, geese and pelicans are instead parched and barren.
Education cuts at stake in tax battle
George Skelton @ latimes.com
Passage of Gov. Brown's Prop. 30 would spare schools and universities. But a Prop. 38 victory would trigger big reductions.
San Jose Police Department Inspired War Of Words In City Council Race Between Pension Reformers And Labor
The City Council race in San Joses Evergreen Valley was already hot between pension reformer Rose Herrera and her police-backed challenger, but her "playbook" campaign flier sent the contest past the boiling point Sunday afternoon.
Judges And Pensions: Classic Conflict Of Interest
The public employees most lightly touched by a pension reform signed by Gov. Brown last month are the judges, whose court rulings on public pensions can affect their own pensions and retirement income.
Companies bail out from Prop. 39 fight over corporate 'loophole'
Steven Harmon @ mercurynews.com
Out-of-state businesses forego campaign against Proposition 39, an initiative that proponents say would close a tax loophole and provide California $1 billion a year. Some say they were intimidated by a wealthy activist's promise to hurt their brand.
Prop. 34: Will Voters Abolish California's Death Penalty?
RICHARD K. De ATLEY @ pe.com
Voters in November will be asked if they want to get rid of Californiaâs death penalty, currently imposed on 726 inmates â 112 of them from Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
Changing corporate tax rules
Ever since a 2009 budget compromise changed how corporations calculate their taxes, business advocates and Democrats have feuded in the Capitol over tightening that law.
Supreme Court Balance Hangs On Election - Sfgate
Gary Johnson Libertarian Candidate Worries Republicans
Concerned that the Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson could hurt the Romney campaign, Republicans across the country have been working to keep him off the ballot.
Romney Not Taking In ‘the View’ – Cnn Political Ticker - Cnn.com Blogs
Barbara Walters, the show's creator and co-host, announced the news Monday.
Dan Walters Daily
Dan Smith @ blogs.sacbee.com
Dan notes that political campaigns are now pitching to a steadily declining audience of voters.
BART Reopens Bidding On Millbrae Land
Zusha Elinson @ sfgate.com
BART has reopened the bidding to develop valuable real estate near its Millbrae Station, leading to calls for a public hearing on negotiations that have been shrouded in secrecy and marred by accusations of favoritism.
FiveThirtyEight: In Maine, Independent Streak Complicates Political Landscape
MICAH COHEN @ fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com
Although Maine, over all, is reliably Democratic in presidential elections, it apportions its electoral votes by Congressional district, and the Second District is the more Republican-leaning of the two.
Presidential Contest Tight Nationally Ahead Of Second Debate
On the eve of their second debate, President Obama and challenger Mitt Romney remain locked in a virtual dead heat nationally, with Republicans showing increased enthusiasm for their nominee after his big win in the first debate, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Undecided on your votes? U-T Voter Guide
U-T San Diego's handy guide offers overviews of the top races and the state propositions and candidate statements for local city and county races.
Tesla Receives $10 Million From State Energy Commission For Electric Auto Manufacturing
FREMONT -- The California Energy Commission voted this week to grant $10 million to Tesla Motors, Inc., to help produce an electric-powered vehicle at its Fremont plant.
Romney Distances Himself From Bush-era Neoconservatives
Paul Richter, Washington Bureau @ latimes.com
Aides say Mitt Romney is aiming for a foreign policy that would resemble President Reagan's. He wants to assert U.S. leadership but 'with a more cautious view of where and when we use force.'
Poll Watch: Two trends shaping the presidential election
David Lauter @ latimes.com
As a flurry of recent polls confirms, the presidential race has returned to the situation that prevailed before the party conventions – nearly a dead heat – as Mitt Romney’s strong performance in the first debate with President Obama largely erased the advantage the incumbent built up during September.
Phone Smuggling Case Costs 20 California Prison Workers Their Jobs
Jack Dolan @ latimes.com
Most are accused of taking the cellphones in for cash, while others are suspected of doing it for love, a watchdog agency report says.
The Buzz: Lifeguard pensions a campaign issue in San Diego-area race
Lifeguards in Oceanside get the same retirement package as cops – a fact that has surfaced in an Assembly race featuring two Republicans.
Arlen Specter dies at 82; longtime senator was a political maverick
Timothy M. Phelps @ latimes.com
Specter represented Pennsylvania in the U.S. Senate for more than 30 years but perhaps was best known for his work in the Supreme Court nomination process.