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THE NOONER for March 18, 2013

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This morning, we turn our attention to the other capital, and the granite buildings strewn throughout the city. This morning we woke to the news that President Obama is nominating Tom Perez, currently assistant attorney general, to succeed Hilda Solis as Secretary of Labor. Assuming the Senate confirms the President's choices thus far, that leaves Commerce and Transportation left.

Which got me thinking--where have all the Californians gone?

Obama 1.0 saw four Californians in the 15 Cabinet posts--John Bryson (Commerce), Steven Chu (Energy), Leon Panetta (Defense), and Solis (Labor). All four have either left or have announced they are leaving, with Bryson having left after a stroke-caused car accident last June. While Chu and Solis began in 2008, Bryson and Panetta succeeded Gary Locke and Robert Gates, respectively.

Obama 2.0 looks as if there will be zero Californians in the Cabinet. The favorite for Transportation appears to be NTSB chair Deborah Hersman, while the pick for Commerce is still thought to be Penny Pritzker. If those picks are made and all are confirmed, here's the layout, in succession order:

 

DepartmentObama 1.0"Home" State*Obama 2.0"Home" State*
State Clinton NY/IL Kerry MA
Treasury Geithner NY Lew DC
Defense Gates/Panetta* DC/CA Hagel NE
Justice Holder NY-DC Holder NY-DC
Interior Salazar CO Jewell WA
Agriculture Vilsack IA Vilsack IA
Commerce Locke/Bryson WA/CA Pritzker? IL
Labor Solis CA Perez MD
HHS Sebelius KS Sebelius KS
HUD Donovan NY Donovan NY
Transportation LaHood IL Hersman? VA
Energy Chu CA Moniz MA
Education Duncan IL Duncan IL
Veterans Shinseki HI Shinseki HI
Homeland Napolitano AZ Napolitano AZ

* Few people that reach the height of cabinet secretary can easily be put in a one-state box. 

ON THE HEELS OF CPAC: The Republican National Committee releases its Growth and Opportunity Project report to chart a path forward, including by changing state campaign finance laws (by legislation or litigation) to allow parties to spend more on candidates. In California, that's not a problem, as while you can launder money under our rules, you've got to have some to put in the washing machine.

In all seriousness, from what I've been able to read, it's a well put together document that, if implemented, could yield significant gains for the GOP. That said, it's sort of like the initial work of the now-defunct Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) in the late 1980s/early 1990s. There were internal bloody battles that pit labor and environmental factions against the "pragmatic" approach urged by the DLC. Expect similar debates within the Republican Party in the months and years ahead.

CH-CH-CH-CHANGES: Rise of Latino population blurs US racial lines [Hope Yen @ AP]  - "The District of Columbia, Hawaii, California, New Mexico and Texas have minority populations greater than 50 percent. By 2020, eight more states are projected to join the list: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey and New York. Latinos already outnumber whites in New Mexico; California will tip to a Latino plurality next year."

WHEN NOBODY VOTES: Replace Low-Turnout Specials With Party Lists [Joe Mathews @ Fox & Hounds]

TWO MORE HOURS TO BUILD THOSE GOGGLES: Bill could extend last call for alcohol in California cities [Patrick McGreevy @ LAT]

FRIDAY'S QUESTION:  How many California counties were there at the state's admission to the union?

 

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TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
Assembly To Vote On More Money For Secretary Of State Staffing
Jon Ortiz @
blogs.sacbee.com
The Assembly will vote today on a measure that would give $2 million to Secretary of State Debra Bowen to quickly work down a backlog of business filings literally stacked up at her offices.

Rookie's Bill Proposes Brown's CalPERS Reform
Ed Mendel @
calpensions.com
Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-San Rafael, an upset victor last fall in a new election process, has introduced a bill containing Gov. Brown’s stalled proposal to restructure the CalPERS board, adding financial expertise and loosening labor control.

Capitol Battle Over Environmental Law Comes Down To 'Standards'
Dan Walters @
sacbee.com
Two months ago, Gov. Jerry Brown, in plugging CEQA reform, told legislators, "Our approach needs to be based more on consistent standards that provide greater certainty and cut needless delays." The key word was "standards," which has been a byword of business and local-government groups seeking to bring more certainty to environmental reviews of private and public projects and reduce the incidence of litigation after government agencies give their approvals.

Obama Inc.: What Businesses Want To Learn From The President’s Campaign
Ezra Klein @
washingtonpost.com
The president raised a billion dollars for his reelection campaign, but the staffers who engineered his victory may be worth even more to corporations and other groups that are eager to unlock the trade secrets that made the Obama brand so successful.

Attorneys Press For Public Vote On Sacramento Arena Subsidy
Tony Bizjak, Dale Kasler, and Ryan Lillis @
sacbee.com
In a public letter to City Hall, two Sacramento attorneys challenged the validity Thursday of public funding for a downtown arena and said they may seek a public vote on any city-approved funding action.

California Cities, Counties Find Funds To Hire Capitol Lobbyists
Anthony York @
latimes.com
The sum dwarfs the lobbying bills of the state's largest labor unions, big oil firms and other energy interests combined, even as services to residents get cut.

The Caucus: Hillary Clinton Endorses Same-Sex Marriage
SHERYL GAY STOLBERG @
thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com
Hillary Rodham Clinton, the former secretary of state and potential 2016 presidential candidate, has endorsed same-sex marriage.

Lawmakers, Taxpayer Groups Continue To Oppose Controversial 'Fire Tax'
Andrew Edwards @
dailybulletin.com
The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association has formally served three state agencies with a class-action lawsuit intended to overturn a controversial "fire tax" levied on Californians who live in some the state's forested areas.

For BDCP, Information Flows Like Water
Chris "Maven" Austin @
capitolweekly.net
Long-awaited details are emerging of the Brown administration’s $18 billion effort to build twin tunnels underneath the Delta, as officials launched the rollout of a complex array of preliminary documents for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan.

Passage Of Prop. 30 Opens Preschool Doors To Hundreds In Fresno
Lillian Mongeau @
edsource.org
Thanks to Proposition 30, getting a spot in free public preschool in Fresno just got a lot easier.

Hotels Feel The Pain Of Federal Budget Cuts
Hugo Martin @
latimes.com
The automatic federal budget cuts brought about the by so-called sequestration are already inflicting some pain on the hotel industry.

Labor secretary nominee Thomas Perez supported by unions, criticized by GOP
Sam Hananel and Jim Kuhnhenn @
mercurynews.com
President Barack Obama nominated Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez to be the next secretary of labor, choosing a Hispanic lawyer with experience in civil rights and workplace issues to his second-term Cabinet. Obama called Perez a consensus builder whose story 'reminds us of this country's promise.'

Hillary Rodham Clinton announces support for same-sex marriage
Michael A. Memoli @
latimes.com
WASHINGTON – Hillary Rodham Clinton, free to dip her toe in the water of domestic politics after four years as the nation’s chief diplomat, joined other leading Democrats in endorsing same-sex marriage.

Senate Panel Close To Obama Plan On Path To Citizenship For Illegal Aliens
David Nakamura and Rosalind S. Helderman @
washingtonpost.com
Immigrants who are in the United States illegally could become citizens in 13 years under a plan being developed by a bipartisan Senate group, matching the overall wait proposed by the Obama administration, a person familiar with the negotiations said Sunday.

Cable Group Sponsors Democratic Golf Fundraiser
Patrick McGreevy @
latimes.com
Democratic state senators gathered in La Jolla over the weekend to enjoy rounds of golf and high-priced meals and lodging at an annual fundraiser paid for largely by an association of cable television companies seeking favorable treatment on legislation.

Hillary Clinton announces support for gay marriage
JULIE PACE and KEN THOMAS, Associated Press @
mercurynews.com
WASHINGTON -- Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced her support for gay marriage Monday, putting her in line with other potential Democratic presidential candidates on a social issue that is rapidly gaining public approval.

State Schools Chief Wants To Hold Off On Some Standardized Tests
Teresa Watanabe @
latimes.com
Tom Torlakson says waiting until the system is computerized could save $15 million, but some figure the new exams could end up costing up to $1 billion.

Valley Sales Tax Revenues Reach For Record Highs
Lewis Griswold @
fresnobee.com
Sales tax revenues are climbing out of a multi-year slump and are forecast this year to hit record highs in some Valley cities.

Obama nominates top civil rights lawyer to lead Labor Department
Kathleen Hennessey @
latimes.com
WASHINGTON -- President Obama has nominated civil rights lawyer Tom Perez to lead the Department of Labor, calling the former state labor official a defender of middle class workers and a consensus builder.

Leatherback Turtle Nest Numbers Way Down
Peter Fimrite @
sfgate.com
The western Pacific leatherback turtle, the world's largest reptile and a common sight every year in the waters outside the Golden Gate, could go extinct within 20 years if more isn't done to protect its habitat and nesting sites, a team of international experts concluded.

Taxes, or Spending? Budget Fight in Congress Focuses on a Distinction
nytimes.com
s deficit, every dollar taken from a grant program counts as a budget cut, while every dollar taken from a tax credit is instead a tax increase.

$4 Million In Marijuana Found On Santa Barbara Beach
Shelby Grad @
latimesblogs.latimes.com
Santa Barbara County officials discovered $4 million worth of marijuana next to a boat Sunday at Arroyo Camada Beach.

Federal Cuts Threaten Hawthorne Airport Tower
sgvtribune.com
Hawthorne Municipal Airport's air traffic control tower is among about 200 facilities nationwide that the FAA may soon stop funding, a move that could threaten the airport's security and financial viability, city officials said in appeals to stop the budget cut.