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THE NOONER for February 27, 2013

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THE SUPREMES: The United States Supreme Court this morning heard arguments challenging the "preclearance" requirements under the federal Voting Rights Act. Preclearance requires jurisdictions in which discriminatory election processes were found in the past to have any changes to election laws and maps be approved by the U.S. Department of Justice. See today's trivia question . . .

While the federal law requires clearance before changing processes (or district lines), California has a more stringent law, the California Voting Rights Act. The CVRA requires government agencies to review how members are elected and to change either the process (by-district or at-large) and/or the specific lines used, if it has been determined that racially polarized voting has impeded the ability of racial or language minorities from being elected. Many local agencies have recently decided to (or have been forced) to switch from at-large to district-area elections in recent years because of the 2001 law, creating significant turnout in local governments in many parts of the state.

MOVES: The Bee reports that Kevin Yamamura is taking an editor job on 21st, while Melody Gutierrez is moving from HQ to the Capitol Bureau. David Siders is taking the lead on budget, while Jim Sanders will be writing "in-depth public policy pieces." Welcome, Melody, and we'll miss you Kevin!

Bob Mulholland sends a memo to Karl Rove, suggesting Rove get his payment via cashier's check for this weekend's GOP convention speech. 

CD17: Honda Names Campaign Team [Shane Bond @]

SHHH...DON'T TELL JERRY: Retirement systems to send members to Hawaii summit [Jennifer Gollan @ Bay Citizen]

YESTERDAY'S TRIVIA: What was the Napkin Deal, and where was it reached?

YESTERDAY'S ANSWER: The "napkin deal" was a comprehensive tort reform package reached during a series of meetings in 1987, of which the details were carried away from Frank Fat's restaurant copied onto a napkin from a tablecloth so that it could be portable. The writing was that of then Senate Judiciary Chair Bill Lockyer, and the deal was seen as a masterpiece in deal-making or slime-balling by Willie Brown, depending on the observer's perspective.

Lots of people answered the napkin deal, as it is even something that younger Nooner readers learn about in college classes on state government. However, few got the comprehensive nature of it, usually citing either the tobacco liability immunity or the medical malpractive MICRA caps. A great read on the topic is found in James Richardson's book on Willie Brown, which you can read on Google Books. (Chapter 24, page 347.) Of course, if you don't have the book on your shelf, you should buy it.

Jay Michael, one of the lobbyists party to the napkin deal also co-authored a book with Dan Walters that takes on the topic.

TODAY'S TRIVIA: Which four California counties (and political subdivisions within) are required to get federal pre-clearance under the Voting Rights Act? 



  • Join Capitol Network for its 30th Anniversary Celebration on Monday, March 11 from 5:30 – 7:30 pm at The Park Ultra Lounge! For more information go to: Sponsorship opportunities are available.

  • Future of California Elections: Deputy Director | Coordinator: Sacramento, elections policy experience preferred

  • Community College League of California: Legislative Advocate [Full-time, Sacramento, 3+ years experience] DEADLINE MARCH 13

  • $125,000 Irvine Leadership Awards: Do you know an innovative, effective leader who is improving California's future? Nominate him or her for a 2014 James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award at Deadline: April 5, 2013.

  • TOMORROW: The UC Sacramento Center and Capitol Weekly are presenting a Cap and Trade Conference on Thursday, February 28 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. [more information]



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Dozens Of Big U.S. Companies To Back Gay Marriage
Roger Parloff @
On Thursday, dozens of American corporations, including Apple, Alcoa, Facebook, eBay, Intel, and Morgan Stanley will submit an amicus brief in the landmark Hollingsworth v. Perry case broadly arguing to the U.S. Supreme Court that laws banning same-sex marriages, like California's ballot initiative Proposition 8, are unconstitutional under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses.

The Buzz: Meg Whitman changes course and now supports gay marriage
Former GOP gubernatorial hopeful Meg Whitman has changed course on California's ban on same-sex marriage, urging the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Proposition 8 as unconstitutional.

Meg Whitman, Other Conservatives Line Up Against Proposition 8 In U.S. Supreme Court
Local @
Republican political leaders signing onto legal arguments against Californias same-sex marriage ban include former Govs. Jon Huntsman, William Weld and Christine Todd Whitman; former Rep. Mary Bono Mack and Ken Mehlman, former chairman of the GOP National Committee.

Feinstein Asks Court For Campaign Treasurer's Records
John Myers @
Attorneys for California's senior United States senator want detailed information from the files of convicted campaign treasurer Kinde Durkee, in an effort to help explain how millions of political dollars disappeared over the course of several years.

Field Poll: California Voters Favor Legalizing Pot For Recreational Use
Peter Hecht @
California voters favor legalizing pot for recreational use, strongly support the existence of medical marijuana dispensaries and want the feds to butt out of the California cannabis business.

Republican Senators Upbeat After White House Immigration Meeting
Lisa Mascaro and Kathleen Hennessey @
WASHINGTON – An afternoon meeting at the White House between President Obama and key Republican senators who are working on immigration reform ended on an upbeat note, with high hopes for legislation “sooner rather than later,” one of the lawmakers said.

After Election Losses, Chevron Turns To Rubio
Dan Morain @
Setting aside questions of propriety, Chevron was shrewd to hire state Sen. Michael Rubio to head its governmental relations operation.

Head Start Administrators Get Little Guidance On Impact Of Sequester | Edsource Today
Just weeks after President Barack Obama proposed a massive expansion of preschool in his State of the Union address, Head Start administrators are bracing for sequester cuts that could reduce enrollments by thousands of children.

Emanuel Pleitez: An Unconventional Candidate
Melissah Yang @
Tuesday’s event for mayoral candidate Emanuel Pleitez was hardly the glamorous spectacle that would be expected from a person running for the top position in the nation’s second largest city. But being unconventional is a theme of Pleitez’s campaign.

In face of coming budget cuts, U.S. frees illegal immigrants from custody
The federal government released groups of illegal immigrants from custody across the country Monday at the same time the White House was making its case that impending budget cuts would harm efforts to protect the border and enforce federal immigration laws.

Contra Costa County launches waterfront development initiative
Lisa Vorderbrueggen @
Contra Costa County embarks on a waterfront development initiative, a collaborative of cities, special districts and other stakeholders that would encourage development on vacant and underutilized properties along the shoreline from Oakley to Richmond.

Senator Boxer To NRC: 'Careful' Before Restarting San Onofre
Kitty Felde @
Southern California Edison officials will meet with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Wednesday to press for permission to restart one of San Onofre’s nuclear reactors at limited power. California’s junior Senator says the NRC has to be "very careful" before allowing San Onofre to start up again.

California lawmakers scrutinize high-speed rail plan
JULIET WILLIAMS, Associated Press @
SACRAMENTO -- California officials are using a standard bidding process for their plan to speed construction of the state's $68 billion high-speed rail line, but there are still outstanding questions about the inspection process that the Legislature should investigate, lawmakers heard Tuesday at a

Deasy Group Aids 3 School Board Candidates
Howard Blume @
A coalition that wants to bolster support for the L.A. schools superintendent has raised more than $3.2 million on behalf of its preferred candidates.

For Now, K-12 Districts Can Wait And Watch Sequestration Unroll
John Fensterwald @
K-12 districts have one advantage over meat inspectors, military contractors, national parks staff, air traffic controllers, Head Start operators and others facing immediate cuts in federal funding as of Friday’s sequester deadline: time. Because of how districts budget their money, the 5.1 percent reductions in federal revenue that would go into effect March 1 under sequestration won’t be felt by districts until the start of their new fiscal year, July 1. That gives districts four months to plan for the impact ­and Congress and President Obama plenty of time to change their minds – or not.

Calif. Female Lawmakers Condemn Oscar Host
Laura Olson @
Two female California state lawmakers on Tuesday condemned Oscar host Seth MacFarlanes comments during Sundays awards presentation as degrading toward women and asked the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to use better judgment in the future.

Poll: Calif. voters back marijuana legalization
A poll released Wednesday has promising news for marijuana users who hope California will join the two other states that have voted to legalize recreational use of the drug.

Senate confirms Chuck Hagel as new Defense secretary
Michael A. Memoli @
WASHINGTON – The Senate voted Tuesday to confirm Chuck Hagel, a Vietnam War veteran and former Republican senator from Nebraska, as the 24th secretary of Defense after a brutal confirmation process that saw members of his own party question his capacity to lead the Pentagon.

Stockton's CalPERS Payments Will Be Tested In March Bankruptcy Trial - Business - The Sacramento Bee
A man walks with his shopping cart near a "Stockton Forward" billboard in downtown Stockton on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013. The financially strapped city is being forced to prove that it is broke as creditors claim it is using bankruptcy to get out from under its debt.

Marijuana poll: Californians' support for legalizing pot at record level
Steven Harmon @
Two years after voters rejected a ballot measure to allow legal sales of marijuana, 54 percent now say they want it, in a Field Poll. Meanwhile, two-thirds of Californians want the Obama administration to quit raiding medical marijuana dispensaries.

James Video Features Greuel And Garcetti Look-alikes Burying Bodies
Seema Mehta @
Mayoral candidate Kevin James is releasing an eye-popping web video Wednesday morning castigating the frontrunners in the race, Controller Wendy Greuel and Councilman Eric Garcetti. James, the sole Republican in the contest, has not been able to afford television advertising,...

Calif. lawmakers scrutinize high-speed rail plan
California officials are using a standard bidding process for their plan to speed construction of the state's $68 billion high-speed rail line, but there are still outstanding questions about the inspection process that the Legislature should investigate, lawmakers heard Tuesday at a hearing on the plan.