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THE NOONER for December 17, 2012
Happy 3pm'er from Washington, where there's definitely optimism about avoiding the fiscal cliff.
I saw Pete Aguilar on Saturday, shortly after this article appeared on the Press-Enterprise's site. He was in DC for a holiday event, and confirmed that he stopped by the DCCC to meet with friends and talk about the 2012 race, in which Republicans Bob Dutton and Gary Miller emerged from the top-two primary, and the outlook in CD31.
The fundamentals in the district continue to look very optimistic for Democrats even if running against incumbent Miller in a mid-term election. Obama appears to have exceeded his 15-point margin in 2008, and Jerry Brown's 7-point margin in 2010 suggests that it is winnable in non-presidential years. From people I talk to, the charismatic 33-year-old Aguilar is seen as an ideal candidate who can run, win, and hold the blueing seat for a long time. Of course, the race wouldn't be a walk in the park for Aguilar--the National Association of Realtors spent $1.3 million to elect Miller, and would likely repeat the effort in 2014.
TICK-TOCK TO THE CLIFF: 346,000 Californians to lose federal unemployment benefits before year's end unless Congress acts [Raju Chebium @ Gannett]
**THE NOONER'S TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS CONTEST**
For the next 12 days (including Saturday and Sunday), CAPoliticalMaps.com and Political Data Inc. will be asking a question each day, which will be answered on the CAPoliticalMaps.com site. The closest (and first in the event of a tie) answer each day by 9pm PST will win a free map from CAPoliticalMaps.com and a $5 Starbucks gift card--a $50.00 value.
FRIDAY'S QUESTION: Registration of Christmas Past: How many voters registered on 12/25/2011?
FRIDAY'S ANSWER: 17 Californians registered to vote last year on Christmas Day.
WINNER: Jason Gagnon with 21.
TODAY'S QUESTION: Which two Assembly Districts have the highest and lowest of registered voters? [SUBMIT AN ANSWER]
City Council, District 1
City Council, District 3
City Council, District 5
City Council, District 7
City Council, District 9
City Council, District 11
City Council, District 13
City Council, District 15TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
Old California Budget Issues Remain Despite New Taxes
Dan Walters @ sacbee.com
As a recent report from the Legislature's budget analyst notes, the state is on track to end the current fiscal year with a nearly $2 billion deficit, even though the current budget assumes $8.5 billion in revenue from Proposition 30.
California Inspired -- And Now Inspired By -- Other States' Marijuana Legalization Measures
Josh Richman @ mercurynews.com
Backers of Coloradoâs and Washington stateâs successful initiatives say they learned lessons from Californiaâs unsuccessful Proposition 19 for marijuana legalization, including the needs for better funding, better turnout and a specific plan for statewide regulation.
City Sales Tax Measure Draws Lines On Support
Rick Orlov @ dailynews.com
The half-cent sales tax measure on the March 5 ballot is shaping up as City Council member against City Council member, unions against unions.
Group Wants Hands-free Texting Law Killed
Wyatt Buchanan @ sfgate.com
A national organization that focuses on roadway safety is calling on California lawmakers to repeal a new law that, beginning on Jan. 1, will allow drivers to text with hands-free devices.
New California Pensions Drop Back Toward Pack
Ed Mendel @ calpensions.com
State pensions were boosted by the same forces cited in the series that pushed up pay. But while the high wages, overtime and lump sum payouts revealed by Bloomberg may continue, pensions for new hires will be cut beginning Jan. 1.
CalPERS Slams San Bernardino For 'Sham' Bankruptcy
Tim Reid and Jim Christie @ sbsun.com
A high-stakes legal battle has intensified as the largest U.S. pension fund filed court papers denouncing the financially troubled city of San Bernardino for what it called a "sham" bankruptcy and accused the city of "criminal behavior" in withholding payments to the pension plan.
Feinstein To Introduce Assault Weapons Ban At Start Of Next Congress - The Hill's Video
Meghashyam Mali @ thehill.com
Get latest news from The Hill direct to your inbox, RSS reader and mobile devices.
Advocacy Groups Coming Hat In Hand To A Less-strapped Sacramento
Chris Megerian @ latimes.com
Now that California's budget picture is improved, advocates for groups that have taken cuts are seeking more funds. But Gov. Jerry Brown plans to be cautious.
Insider: Lee Dubious About Cash For Schools - Sfgate
The board's more moderate members, along with the mayor, don't think the city should dip into its reserve funds, given the budget uncertainty at the state and federal levels and the projected city deficit next fiscal year. Lee said he recently met with Kim and the school district and told them "right now I am not about to put more pressure on our general fund when I just released a budget" projection that asks city departments to cut spending. Academy of Art University, the expanding for-profit art and design school, has been accused of thumbing its nose at city land-use rules for years and been the target of complaints ranging from its partially full bus fleet clogging traffic to its impact on rent-controlled housing. Student spending on supplies, housing, tuition and living expenses generates about $170 million in economic activity in San Francisco and $316 million across the Bay Area, according to a recent report the school commissioned. The university, which owns more than 40 properties in the city, almost tripled its size in less than a decade, growing from about 6,800 students in 2003 to more than 18,200 in 2011, including 11,600 on-site students and another 6,600 who took courses online, according to the report from Capitol Public Finance Group, a Sacramento consulting firm.
It's Time To Target Gun Violence
George Skelton @ latimes.com
Americans should finally take action to protect our communities and children from high-powered weapons.
Massive Napa Do-over Prompts Grape Plant Shortage
Tracie Cone @ sacbee.com
Napa Valley, one of the world's premier wine growing regions, has an uncommon problem these days: not enough new grapevine root stock is available to supply the massive replanting that's under way there.
The 6 Craziest State Gun Laws
Ezra Klein @ washingtonpost.com
Yesterday, Sarah looked at a number of gun control measures that could prevent mass killings like Friday’s massacre in Newtown, Conn. But it’s worth noting that at the state level, gun laws have been getting laxer, not more stringent, in recent years, and at times preposterously so. Here is a sampling of the most lenient state gun laws in the country, to give a sense of exactly how lax the current legal regime is.
Latinos' Approval A Political Imperative
Joe Garofoli @ sfgate.com
A record 31 Latinos will take their seats in Congress next year, with California sending nine, the most of any state.
Plan Advances For Roseville Convention Center
Ed Fletcher @ sacbee.com
Plans to build a hotel and conference center in Roseville continue to advance. Late last month the city identified a potential developer and operator it hopes will get the project under way with little upfront cost to the city.
GOP governors can gum up health care
Jason Millman @ politico.com
Their passive resistance could make the implementation of Obamacare more difficult.
The new UC logo vote, 5 choices, 48 hours
Matthew T. Hill @ utsandiego.com
The UC logo is dead! Long live the UC logo! The University of Californiaâs decision to stop using its awful new logo on Friday came as a relief to tens of thousands of critics statewide.
Democrats Ask Obama To Be Pro-Pot
The Riverside County Democratic Central Committee celebrated President Barack Obama's win in the county last month. But then came concerns that the president would harsh the mellow of voters in Washington and Colorado after they legalized marijuana for recreational use.
Calif. lawmaker calls for new gun controls after school shooting
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A California lawmaker is calling for new gun control measures in the wake of the mass shooting at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school Friday that killed at least two dozen people, including 20 children.
With Supermajority, California Democrats Strategize
The Caucus: Speaker's Overture on Taxes Raises Hope for Fiscal Deal
Speaker John A. Boehner's offer to President Obama to allow some tax rates to rise has changed the negotiations to avert a fiscal crisis in January.
U.S. Moves Ahead On New Downtown L.A. Courthouse
Sam Allen @ latimes.com
The General Services Administration has awarded a $318-million contract to the architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and Clark Construction Group. The new facility will be built on Broadway.
Democrats Want GOP To Show Hand On Medicare In Deficit Negotiations
Mike Lillis @ thehill.com
Democrats wary of accepting any entitlement benefits cuts are asking Republicans to show them their plans if they want to make Medicare means-testing a part of a lame-duck fiscal package.
Fault Lines Also Appearing On Democratic Side In Fiscal Debate
Christi Parsons, Michael A. Memoli and Kathleen Hennessey, Washington Bureau @ latimes.com
Democrats who relish Republican disunity in the fiscal debate have fault lines of their own, especially about notions that President Obama might agree to Medicare or Social Security changes.
Sen. Feinstein to introduce gun-control bill next year
Morgan Little @ latimes.com
WASHINGTON — Two days after the shooting deaths of 26 people at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school, Sen. Dianne Feinstein pledged Sunday that she would introduce new gun-control legislation at the beginning of next year’s congressional session.