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THE NOONER for January 25, 2013

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Good extraordinary Friday morning to you! Governor Brown called the Legislature's first Extraordinary Session yesterday to tackle implementation of federal health care reform. The move allows bills that are approved on a majority vote basis to take effect on the 91st day after enactment, as opposed to the January 1 subsequent to chaptering.

The move was announced in Brown's annual address before a joint session of the Legislature, which included a Cliff's Notes version of California History:

In 1769, under King Charles III, orders were issued to Jose de Galvez, the Visitor General of Baja California, to: “Occupy and fortify San Diego and Monterey for God and the King of Spain.

Gaspar Portola and a small band of brave men made their way slowly north, along an uncharted path. Eventually, they reached Monterey but they could not recognize the Bay in the dense fog. With their supplies failing, they marched back to San Diego, forced to eat the flesh of emaciated pack mules just to stay alive. Undaunted, Portola sent for provisions from Baja California and promptly organized a second expedition. He retraced his steps northward, along what was to become El Camino Real, the Kings Highway. This time, Father Serra joined the expedition by sea. The rest is history, a spectacular history of bold pioneers meeting every failure with even greater success.

The founding of the Missions, secularized and sold off in little more than 50 years, the displacement and devastation of the native people, the discovery of Gold, the coming of the Forty-Niners and adventurers from every continent, first by the thousands and then by the hundreds of thousands. Then during the Civil War under President Lincoln came the Transcontinental Railroad and Land Grant Colleges, followed by the founding of the University of California. And oil production, movies, an aircraft industry, the longest suspension bridge in the world, aerospace, the first freeways, grand water projects, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Venture Capital, Silicon Valley, Hewlett Packard, Apple, Qualcomm, Google and countless others, existing and still just imagined.

We really don't need MOOCs, as we've got Professor Brown.  More below the jump . . .

 

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Professor Brown's wide-ranging speech also returned the word of the year--Subsidiarity:

This year, as you consider new education laws, I ask you to consider the principle of Subsidiarity. Subsidiarity is the idea that a central authority should only perform those tasks which cannot be performed at a more immediate or local level. In other words, higher or more remote levels of government, like the state, should render assistance to local school districts, but always respect their primary jurisdiction and the dignity and freedom of teachers and students.

Subsidiarity is offended when distant authorities prescribe in minute detail what is taught, how it is taught and how it is to be measured. I would prefer to trust our teachers who are in the classroom each day, doing the real work – lighting fires in young minds.

With the most divisive issue--taxes--behind the Legislature, the speech was well generally well received on both sides of the aisle. (Note to the Assembly Republican web gurus--it's be cool if individual press releases had a link.)

Brown's delivery repeated what we frequently see from the guv. He starts off reading, head down, pushing through it, seemingly focused on the concluding "Let's go out and get it done." He is a governor that recognizes the need for prepared speeches, but also feels much more comfortable allowing his mind to wander and contemporaneously connecting his encyclopedic knowledge of history, religion, and policy. 

If you watch the speech, he generally pushed through, looking up occasionally and stirring the passion of lawmakers on both sides only once by stating "I will not let the students become the default financiers of our colleges and universities." But then, he paused on probably the most controversial political topic facing the state now--high-speed rail. 

At that point, Brown went off script and returned to the big idea visionary that his father is remembered as, and as he longs to be remembered. And, to make the point, he didn't turn to the Bible as he often did in the rest of the speech or to abstract moments in California history, but rather to the children's book "The Little Engine That Could" (video at 44:50). In doing so, he connected and drew smiles in the audience from the biggest opponents of the train, at least momentarily setting aside their disbelief in the wisdom of the project.

Don't underestimate the impact of a little bit of Reaganesque (President more so than governor) optimism from Brown 2.0. And, someone forward the clip on to Obama, would could certainly learn a few Brown tricks.

CAPITOL MORNING REPORT SUES A SUBSCRIBER

If you have been around the Capitol for awhile, you likely have been either a subscriber, or a stealer of, the Capitol Morning Report (CMR). Or, if you've been here longer, likely both. The CMR, started in 1996 by Bob Fairbanks, often was your badge as an insider--worn by carrying a coffee-stained copy of the faxed report in your briefcase. And, the universality of the publication has made it likely the most pirated product in the Capitol.

Denny Walsh reports in this morning's Bee that CMR has sued the Upper San Gabriel Municipal Water District and one its users for sharing her login with longtime Capitol staffer Keith Umemoto. The federal suit alleges that Umemoto redistributed it to more than 100 people on an e-mail list. Walsh writes:

The suit asks for an injunction barring the defendants from engaging in the alleged activity; damages of not less than $750 and not more than $30,000 for each instance of copyright infringement; enhanced statutory damages of $150,000 for each instance; and actual damages for lost profits in an amount not yet known.

Okay, I hope you're back reading after the instinctive response to scream to everyone in your office to stop sharing.

CMR has gone a long way recently to make it clear that subscriptions are for individuals, requiring a website login, and even using a script to prohibit printing/saving the report. Yes, it's frustrating, as the most frequent sharing from my perspective is to let unemployed friends know about jobs. However, CMR has to support six staff people on what is naturally a small subscriber base, currently around 4,000 subscribers. Many of us who have "shared" subscriptions in the past probably had bigger annual bar tabs at Chops or a couple of lower-level tickets at the Kings game. And, while we were sleeping off the previous night's entertainment, John Fairbanks and his crew was likely up putting the finishing touches on our morning "indespensible" read.

I'm fortunate to have 135 subscribers at $29.99/month and amazing advertisers who reach an additional 6,800 people. But, it yields about $10/hour for the 1.5 hours or so I spend on it at night and each morning. If I hire someone to do it while I'm on vacation, it would probably net nothing. And, that's fine, as this is a hobby and not a profession.

But for our friends at the Capitol Morning Report, this is their livelihood. A lawsuit may seem unsavory or unfair, but we can't say we weren't warned, and many of us want to ensure that our friends that work hard to put out CMR each day can share in the same livelihood that many of us are fortunate to have.

LEGTRACK UPDATE: Thank you to my beloved guinea pigs who have been helping to get the bugs out of LegTrack. I know that there are several, particularly on Internet Explorer. Since I know some of you are locked down on IE at your workplace, I won't just say get the best browser Chrome, but am actively working to fix the bugs.

As a Nooner reader, you can still get a free LegTrack account for a year in the Guinea Pig class by visiting www.legtrack.com/?ref=nooner. The standard account will include three users who can track up to 25 bills. 

Here are a few things that were added/fixed over the last five days:

- committee and floor analysis now on bill page (accessible from browsing bills or from your "Edit Bill Analysis" page next to bill number)
- full bill history now accessible on bill page (accessible from browsing bills)
- quick view now uses right panel when browsing bills (www.legtrack.com/billlist.html?report=number)
- character encoding problems fixed with some names and subjects
- "add user" now available under Manage->Accounts
- duplicate bill check to avoid a double-add to your bill list
- improved "lost password" function
- better tag behavior
 
Here is my priority "to do" list:
- improve account management, allowing lead user to manage subuser permissions
- browse bills by hearing date
- browse bills by location
- custom reports
- fix some parts of "Laws" that don't allow you to get statute text when the code is insufficiently broken down
- fix scripting errors in Internet Explorer

 

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