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THE NOONER for March 11, 2013
Good morning from Yosemite National Park, where it is absolutely beautiful, although I can't say much about the Internet connection.
The Chief Justice today gives the State of the Judiciary address before a joint session of the Legislature at 4pm. Tani Cantil-Sakauye has been on the job for just over two years, and stepped into it amidst continued budget cuts to the branch and continued infighting among California's judges. Before the 53-year-old jurist's arrival--and tracking back to the full trial court realignment to the state in 1994--California's judges have had a series of internal political fights as decisions over budgets, collective bargaining, and administration moved from counties to the Administrative Office of the Courts and the Judicial Council.
This led to the 2009 founding of the Alliance of California Judges, which brands itself as a body to be a "meaningful voice to independently advocate and communicate on behalf of judges with the public, media, and Executive and Legislative branches." While some thought that the group would dissolve after a few victories, the group headed by Sacramento Superior judge Steve White held its first conference last week and appears to be sticking around.
The cause celebre for the Alliance was a failed $2 billion administrative computer system, which was dropped after $500 million in court funds had been spent. (The computer system was started ten years ago under previous chief justice Ron George.) Meanwhile, courts have been hammered by budget cuts, with some courts essentially postponing most civil calendars indefinitely.
In a budget that has seen fewer dissenters than in recent years, Cantil-Sakauye has become one of the more vocal critics, seemingly to show the dissenting group that she was not the inside political player "nice guy" that some labeled her. Specifically, she has blasted the governor's proposal to transfer $200 million in court construction funds to the state general fund.
When Cantil-Sakaouye is speaking this afternoon, the message will be tailored as much to her fellow jurists around California as it is for the governor and gathered lawmakers. She is an adept politician and strong advocate, but can she get local judges--politicians in their own right--to fall in line?
MADERA: The governor appointed Manuel Nevarez (DTS) to fill Frank Bigelow's seat on the Madera County Board of Supervisors.
FRIDAY'S QUESTION: Where in the Capitol can you go "up" by going "down," or "down" by going "up"? And, that is a "safe for work" question.
FRIDAY'S ANSWER: In the stairwells between the original Capitol and the Capitol annex completed in 1951, the historic floors are higher than there newer counterparts. You thus can go "down" from floor 3 in the old to 4 in the new.
TODAY'S QUESTION: Which cities have served as capital of California?
TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
Post-crisis Reforms Make Pensions Sustainable?
Ed Mendel @ calpensions.com
A nationwide study, including CalPERS and CalSTRS, projects that huge pension fund losses during the financial crisis will be offset over three decades by a wave of recently enacted cost-cutting reforms â but only if several things happen.
AIDS Group Wants L.A. To Break With County Health Department
Kate Linthicum and Anna Gorman @ latimes.com
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation, a longtime critic of the county's health bureaucracy, has begun gathering signatures for a 2014 city ballot measure.
Q&A: Open-government Advocate Terry Franke Sheds Light On Public Records Act
Charles Piller @ sacbee.com
The California Public Records Act, enacted in 1968, made access to state and local government records easier and faster, and eliminated many hurdles the public faced in trying to stay informed about how government bodies and officials operate behind closed doors.
Tough Limits On Tracing Guns Questioned
Dan Freedman @ sfgate.com
Ten years later, the measure known as the Tiahrt amendment is coming under renewed scrutiny from lawmakers, including several members of Congress from the Bay Area who are pushing gun control legislation in the wake of the mass shootings in Newtown, Conn., in December.
Keep Foster Youth Services Out Of Governor’s Funding Formula | Edsource Today
Unfortunately, this approach will result in tens of thousands of foster children failing to receive the educational support and services they need because:
Democracy Tested: Senate Gives Small States Power Beyond Their Size
Adam Liptak @ nytimes.com
The disproportionate power enjoyed in the Senate by small states is playing a growing role in the political dynamic on issues as varied as gun control, immigration and campaign finance.
It Feels Like A Sacramento Housing Boom, But Is It?
Phillip Reese @ sacbee.com
It feels a lot like a housing boom in Sacramento, with median home prices jumping by thousands of dollars each month. And with memories of the last boom and subsequent bust still fresh, the hot topic among real estate professionals is whether such large price increases are sustainable or if another bubble is developing.
Bills In States, Congress Seek To Raise Firearm Taxes
Richard Simon @ latimes.com
Efforts are underway in Congress and at least half a dozen states, including California, to raise taxes on firearms or ammunition.
Smaller States Find Outsize Clout Growing in Senate
Adam Liptak @ nytimes.com
The disproportionate power enjoyed in the Senate by small states is playing a growing role in the dynamic on issues as varied as gun control, immigration and campaign finance.
Sacramento Backers Say Their Nba Allure Beats Seattle's
Dale Kasler, Tony Bizjak and Ryan Lillis @ sacbee.com
This photo taken from the Kerry Park Viewpoint in Queen Anne shows the Seattle skyline with the Space Needle at left and Key Arena where the Sonics played below at right with the stadium for the Seattle Seahawks football and another stadium for the Seattle Mariner's baseball behind Key Arena at right. The Seattle Sonics basketball team based in Seattle, Washington played in the NBA from 1967 until 2008. Following the 2007-08 season, the team relocated to Oklahoma City, and now plays as the Oklahoma City Thunder. Photo taken February 23, 2011 in Seattle, WA
Former Sec. Of Labor Hilda Solis Eyes A Future In La Politics
Take Two @ scpr.org
Now, four years after becoming the first Hispanic woman to serve in a presidential cabinet, Secretary Solis has returned to her hometown of Los Angeles. Solis joins the show to talk about her accomplishments in Obama's cabinet, her return to California politics and her work with MALDEF on the critical issues facing the Latino community from immigration reform and education to job growth.
Political Memo: Obama Bucks Democrats in Search of Budget Deal
As President Obama seeks a solution that will satisfy the ideological and political tests of both parties, he faces complaints from Democrats who say he mishandled his last attempt at a âÂÂgrand bargain.âÂÂ
Oakland attorney Eric Casher named to state watchdog panel
Torey Van Oot @ blogs.sacbee.com
California Attorney General Kamala Harris has named Oakland attorney Eric Casher to a vacant spot on the state's Fair Political Practices Commission.
Report: California lawmakers skirt contribution limits
SACRAMENTO -- California lawmakers are circumventing campaign finance limits through "ballot measure" committees that set no caps on the amount donors can contribute, according to a report.
UC Irvine Offers Free Online Chemistry Classes, But Not For Credit
Larry Gordon @ latimesblogs.latimes.com
Chemistry students across the nation and the world will have free and open access to videotaped, online classes from UC Irvine under an unusual initiative starting Monday.
Senate bill won't include Obama priorities
David Rogers @ politico.com
The president is expected to get little or no extra money for health care and Wall Street reforms.
Report: state lawmakers skirt contribution limits
A report finds California lawmakers are circumventing campaign finance limits through "ballot measure" committees that set no caps on the amount donors can contribute.
Minimum Wage: California, U.S., Other Cities
Local @ mercurynews.com
San Jose will raise minimum starting Monday to $10 an hour. The move comes as the federal government weighs increasing the national minimum, which hasnt gone up since 2009.
Captiol Alert: AM Alert: California's Chief Justice addresses the Legislature
Jeremy B. White @ blogs.sacbee.com
We've already had Gov. Jerry Brown's State of the State address and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson's State of the City
'House of Cards' Hooks Power Players
Carla Marinucci and Wyatt Buchanan @ sfgate.com
There are the old standbys of sex, money and power in politics. But lately there's a new addiction in the halls of power: a video series - fictional, of course - that stars power-hungry politicians, unethical journalists and a wily political insider who always seems to get what he wants.
For California Fish And Wildlife Wardens, It's Not Just Fish And Wildlife
Lori Fowler @ dailynews.com
Kyle Chang may have a "California Department of Fish and Game" patch on his shoulder, but that doesn't mean all he cares about is bears, Canada geese and people fishing without a license.
Roadshow: California's gas tax will be nation's highest after upcoming increase
Gary Richards @ mercurynews.com
Drivers will be paying 70.6 cents a gallon in tax, the highest of any state.