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THE NOONER for February 1, 2013

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First off, Happy Birthday Dad! My dad was The Nooner's 140th reader. He still lives behind the Orange Curtain and loves it. Wow, 7,000 subscribers likely next week. Dad just might be proud to be 140 out of nearly 7,000, and I'm proud to be his son.


GO NINERS! Degenerates: take the Niners by 3.5.



Last night was the campaign finance filing deadline for the year ending December 31, although California's political parties had to file pre-election reports on January 26 because of the SD32 and SD40 special elections taking place March 12.

The California Democratic Party reported cash on hand $10,066,629 with debt of $4,121, while the California Republican Party (CRP) filed with cash on hand of $236,149 and debt of $195,379 ($92,500 came in this month from GOP officeholders and is likely to be forgiven). 

That's right, the California Democratic Party's balance sheet has $10 million on it, while its nearest competitor has $40,770. That's cash-up-front territory--hint-hint Ella Dining Room, which is owed $7,500.

-- side note: Chris Lehman seems to be the guy to know, as he bought $1,352.48 in 49ers tickets that were reimbursed by the Democratic Party -- yo, baby, Call Me Maybe.

During 2012, the California GOP raised roughly $25,000 per day, compared to over $72,000 per day by the Democratic Party. If you drop some large contributions (George Joseph, Prop. 32 redirects), it looks even worse. In contrast, in 2008, the CRP raised nearly $65,000 per day for a total of $23.7 million.

That's not to say that conservative money has dried up in California, but rather that many large donors have not trusted the CRP to handle their money. This is particularly true of the state's business interests, many of which were particularly frustrated by the failed referendum against the redistricted state senate maps. The qualification effort cost the party over $4 million, even though the party ended up urging its defeat.

There was lots of money going around to support Republican candidates and conservative ideals in 2012. However, aside from an actual cash advantage, Democrats had a coordination advantage. The leadership of the caucuses, major interest groups, and the state party were generally on the same page. Sure, you had the normal fights over how each Democratic consultant would share in the largesse, but the coordination was far better than the GOP.  

Jim Brulte, however, has the trust of the key players in both the elected ranks and the funding base. Through his hard work and passion will likely be able to turn that cash faucet back on for the party and have far better coordination and priorities. Of course, as Dan Walters points out, cash is not the party's only problem.

Meanwhile, I trust Brulte won't be putting out stupid releases like this one from GOP Chairman Tom Del Becarro.

"The California Department of Finance assumption that California's population growth rate will be below 1% in the future, however correct, is a sad day for Californians. That growth rate is the direct result of chosen policies that are strangling our economy. Other states that focus on job growth have much higher growth rates. Texas' growth rate is 1.67% with unemployment just 6.6%. North Dakota leads the nation with the lowest unemployment rate of 3.1% and a population growth rate of 2.1%."

Texas is actually projected to grow 21.9% between 2015 and 2050, while California is projected to grow 29.8%. Regulatory and tax climate matters, but demographics are a far more significant force.

Further, North Dakota's boom is causing plenty of problems and really can't be put in the same demographic or economic category as California:

On a large flashing sign next to the highway, the Value Place hotel advertised rates of $699.99 a week, well above rates for its other hotels around the country. Some people living in campers said they pay RV park owners $800 a month to park and hook up to water and sewer. Classified ads in the local Shopper listed a furnished two-bedroom apartment for $2,200. A trailer with a queen bedroom listed for $1,650 a month.

By the way, that article is refering to the bucolic Williston, North Dakota. The high today is 30 and the low is 16. Superbowl Sunday will see a high of 28 and a low of 16. A $1,650/month trailer with a high 40 degrees below Davis's today sounds absolutely delightful.

Sorry if I'm being a bit testy, but I've been fighting with Comcast again this week. I'm a free market guy, but the absolute games that they play with accounts are amazing, particularly after the arguments against AT&T's misbehavior. If I wasn't being satirical, I might suggest false advertising and that they continually intend to make mistakes in their account structure that make their Triple Play packages and promotions a fantasy. Now, at $160/month, I have internet, cable with HBO, and a phone that never arrived. Of course, I am being satirical. #LAWSUITPREVENTION

CD41: Democratic PAC to target San Bernardino Congressman Gary Miller in 2014 [Kitty Felde @ KPBS] - "Miller is the only Californian on the [House Majority] PAC's 2014 target list."

LALA LANDGarcetti, Greuel drop the gloves and start punching [James Rainey @ LAT]

Meanwhile, UTLA goes for Garcetti. [Barbara Jones @ LADN]

PROP 38: In the end, Proposition 38 spent $9.38 per vote, of which $9.31 came from Molly Munger, who spent $32,978,399. Here's where it went:


Top 25 Proposition 38 Expenditures
AKPD MESSAGE & MEDIA LLC $21,715,212.94
NCC CABLE $1,385,150.65
YBARRA COMPANY $879,962.79
DEL SOL GROUP, INC. $844,780.00
PR & COMPANY LLC $549,982.78
JSM $319,668.25
HARWIG & HARWIG $306,185.00
KABC-TV $214,710.00
BAY AREA PETITION Total $186,616.00
LATINOLOGUES, INC. $180,000.00
I AM 38 PRODUCTIONS, INC. $143,136.12


The campaign was good for another California company--Google, which brought in $39,652 in Adwords revenue and $15,000 for a YouTube advertising purchase.


Below the jump . . . the top 25 lobbying firms for the 2011-2012 session.  




Join your colleagues from around the state for a day of in-depth discussion on current and future issues facing public retirement in California at the 23rd Annual Southern California Public Retirement Seminar.

Thursday, February 28th, 2013 - 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM; Lakewood Civic Center, Lakewood, California (10 minutes from Long Beach Airport)

Registration Fee: $190

Register online or contact us directly


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With last night's filing, we now have a "complete" picture of how lobbying firms did during the 2011-12 session. Of course, this includes only "lobbying" payments, and most large firms have a big book of non-reported income (although FPPC chief Ann Ravel would like to limit that unreported activity). 


Top 25 Lobbying Firms by Lobbying Payments* Received in 2011-2012 Session
    Lobbying Firm Name Total Payments
2   KP PUBLIC AFFAIRS (F00409) $11,969,690
4   CAPITOL ADVOCACY, LLC (F24917) $9,801,904
5   READ & ASSOCIATES, LLC; AARON (F00610) $9,790,888
7   PLATINUM ADVISORS, LLC (F24880) $8,617,073
8   GOVERNMENTAL ADVOCATES, INC. (F00845) $6,133,062
9   TOWNSEND PUBLIC AFFAIRS, INC. (F24882) $5,695,214
10   MANATT, PHELPS & PHILLIPS, LLP (F24894) $5,662,953
11   GUALCO GROUP, INC.; THE (F22210) $5,402,212
12   SHAW/YODER/ANTWIH, INC. (F00662) $5,153,994
13   NOSSAMAN LLP (F00369) $5,081,843
14   GREENBERG TRAURIG, LLP (1276988) $4,992,627
15   GONSALVES & SON; JOE A. (F00462) $4,874,277
16   PUBLIC POLICY ADVOCATES, LLC (F00946) $4,707,467
17   CALIFORNIA ADVOCATES, INC. (F00729) $4,585,926
18   LEHMAN LEVI PAPPAS & SADLER (1243836) $4,518,626
19   POLITICAL SOLUTIONS, LLC (1261533) $4,433,487
20   APREA & MICHELI (F24851) $4,310,131
21   CAPITOL STRATEGIES GROUP, INC. (F00909) $4,174,022
22   NORWOOD & ASSOCIATES (1264591) $4,051,813
23   EDELSTEIN, GILBERT, ROBSON & SMITH, LLC (F00980) $3,553,188
24   CALIFORNIA STRATEGIES & ADVOCACY, LLC (1273600) $3,539,664
25   CARTER, WETCH & ASSOCIATES (1252406) $3,505,383


California political spending: Munger siblings' final total for failed campaigns hits $83 million
Steven Harmon @
The brother-sister combo lavished millions on their fall follies -- Molly Munger, $47.7 million for her failed Proposition 38 school funding measure, Charles $35 million, which he gave to the Small Business Action Committee, in losing campaigns against Gov. Jerry Brown's Proposition 30 tax initiative and for the anti-labor Proposition 32.

Political Watchdog To Look At Lobbyist Spending
Laurel Rosenhall @
California's political watchdog agency is moving to crack down on lobbying rules that have allowed interest groups to hire former politicians as consultants and launch ad campaigns to push their agenda with virtually no financial disclosure.

Jerry Brown, Lawmakers Get Higher Marks In New Poll
Chris Megarian @
Gov. Jerry Brown received a record high approval rating after introducing his latest budget proposal, according to a new poll from the Public Policy Institute of California.

Trustee Seeks Maloof Documents On Kings Sale To Seattle - Kings/nba - The Sacramento Bee
Kings fans line the stage at the new conference called by Mayor Kevin Johnson at Sacramento City Hall on Tuesday afternoon.

Support For Healthcare Overhaul Reaches All-time High In New Poll
Support for President Obama's healthcare overhaul is at an all-time high in California, according to a new poll from the Public Policy Institute of California. The survey, released Wednesday, found that 55% of Californians back the changes to the nation's...

Bipartisan group of California lawmakers back immigration overhaul
Jeremy B. White @
A bipartisan group of state lawmakers lauded the federal government's pursuit of immigration changes in a press conference today, saying the issue is particularly urgent in California given the state's huge immigrant population.

Kamala Harris Joins CPUC Investigation Into San Onofre
Alison St. John @
The San Onofre nuclear power plant has been offline for a year, due to faulty steam generators, but ratepayers are still paying more than $50 million a month for the non existent power. The CPUC is considering whether ratepayers should be reimbursed.

San Francisco Redevelopment Successor Plans First Bonds - Bloomberg
The successor to the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency plans to sell as much as $160 million in bonds in the first issue of new debt to back a project by one of the blight-fighting organizations in California since lawmakers eliminated them a year ago.

Anthem Blue Cross Rates Rise 17.5 Percent Today; Critics Call For Ballot Initiative To Cap Costs
As about 730,000 California health insurance consumers rates rise an average 17.5 percent today, a consumer group is renewing its support for a ballot initiative to rein in costs.

Debt ceiling bill clears Senate; Obama expected to sign
Lisa Mascaro @
WASHINGTON – Legislation to suspend the nation’s debt ceiling for a few months is on its way to the White House for President Obama’s signature, clearing the Senate on Thursday after a series of failed votes on Republican-backed amendments to also cut federal spending.

Oakland, Feds Fight Over Pot Dispensary - Sfgate
The city of Oakland told a federal magistrate Thursday that the federal government's shutdown of the nation's largest medical marijuana dispensary would damage residents' health and welfare as well as the city's revenues. The 90-minute hearing in San Francisco was a potentially critical stage in the legal battle that started in July when U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag filed suit to close down Harborside Health Center and seize the building for violation of federal drug laws. Oakland claims the suit was filed too late and also argues that the city, and the dispensary, were entitled to rely on the Obama administration's public statements that it would not target suppliers who complied with state medical marijuana laws. "The government stood by for six years and they knew full well that every single day there were hundreds of sales," while President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder and other administration officials made reassuring statements about deferring to the states, Chao said.

Baca To Stop Taking Campaign Donations From Employees
Robert Faturechi @
The L.A. County sheriff also prohibits managers who are running for office from making job decisions based on political donations.

Q&A: Elk Grove's Nguyen Quoc Quan Tells Of Goals, Hunger Strikes In Vietnamese Prison
Stephen Magagnini @
Nguyen Quoc Quan is happy to taste freedom after nine months in a Vietnamese prison. But the pro-democracy activist from Elk Grove vows he won't rest until the citizens of communist Vietnam can speak freely.

Is The ACA The Road To Semi-Single Payer?
Daniel Weintraub @
The Wall Street Journal has an interesting, and important, story on how some unions that supported the Affordable Care Act are now wary about how it will affect them once it is fully implemented. At issue is whether workers who get their health care through unions will be eligible for the same subsidies that are available for lower-income people who will get their insurance through the new health exchanges, or Covered California here.

Growth Boom Out Of Steam
Phillip Reese and Anita Creamer @
California's long run as a boom state will sputter to an end as population growth rates consistently fall below 1 percent a year in the coming decades, according to state Department of Finance projections released Thursday.

Rocketship Education founder John Danner leaves charter school to start online-learning company
Sharon Noguchi @
Rocketship Education founder John Danner is stepping aside to return to his roots as a software entrepreneur and develop programs for online learning. Rocketship’s President Preston Smith, 33, is taking over as CEO, overseeing not only Rocketship’s eight schools but also its ambitious expansion plans.

Assemblyman Gets A Firsthand Look At Crime -- As Burglary Victim
Jim Sanders @
Memo to thief: Wrong victim.

California Debt Rating Raised By S&p After Surplus Forecast - Bloomberg
The higher rating marks a turnaround for California, which bridged more than $200 billion of projected budget shortfalls in the last decade.

How Does California Economy Compare To Other States?
Dan Walters @
Comparing California to other states has become a common exercise among politicians, academicians and in the media.

Teachers Union Backs Eric Garcetti For Mayor
Barbara Jones @
The Los Angeles Teachers Union voted late Wednesday to endorse Eric Garcetti for mayor and Mike Feuer for city attorney in the March 5 primary election.

Nicholas D. Kristof: Chess, champs, education and charity
You see America and its education system in all their glorious, exhilarating, crushing, infuriating contradictions in our national high school chess champion team.