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THE NOONER for March 19, 2013

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FRAN FLOREZ GETS CAUCUS-BLOCKED 

SD16: Yesterday, Fran Florez announced her candidacy for the senate seat left vacant by Michael Rubio's resignation. Florez's parade was rained on, however, by the announcement by Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez confirming that she was jumping into the race. Perez defeated Karen Goh, who was appointed to fill Rubio's supe seat by Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2010. Perez is a former public defender and staffer for Rubio.

By the end of the day, an endorsement list for Perez was floating around with 18 of the 26 Senate Democrats, including Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg. Also on the list was Assemblymember Henry Perea, who earned gushing praise from the Florez camp a couple of weeks ago when he stayed out of the race. 

This morning, a press release announcing her run was distributed by Jason Kinney on Senate Democrats letterhead, making it clear that former Senator Dean Florez's mom's route to the chamber is being blocked.

Farmer Andy Vidak is currently the only Republican in the race, although former Fresno Mayor Alan Autry is considering a run. Former Hanford school board member Alfred Benavides, is also in the race, pro-life Democrat John Estrada is working to get in-lieu signatures, and fellow Democrat and Kings supervisor Richard Valle is considering a run.

The district on paper is a safe Democratic district, although the May 21 turnout will likely be abysmal. Given the infighting in the region within the Democratic Party, if there is only one Republican, the Dems run the risk of losing the seat outright instead of competing in the July 23 runoff. Unlikely, but possible, which is why Perez will have the full weight of Sacramento behind her. 

CD31: On the Trail: After 2012 disappointment, Aguilar readies re-run [Nathan A. Gonzalez @ NBC Latino] - "In order to discourage other candidates, including Democrats, from running, the mayor understands the need to get into the race earlier, raise money and generate support. The path is already somewhat clearer for Aguilar, since Justin Kim, who finished fourth in the 2012 primary with 13.5 percent, won’t be running for Congress next year."

RECOVERY!?!? California unemployment rate holds at 9.8%, highest in U.S. [Don Lee and Shan Li @ LAT] = "The state's jobless rate, unchanged in January for the second straight month, is tied with Rhode Island. But California is No. 2 in payroll job growth."

REALIGNMENT "REFORM": Senate and Assembly GOP unveil a package of bills to reform public safety realignment.

HUNG?: Bell jury has been out nearly as long as corruption trial itself [Corina Kroll]

$$$: The Assembly approved $2 million to speed up the backlog of business filings at the Secretary of State's Office. [AB 113] - "The infusion of $2 million would allow Bowen to pay overtime and hire temporary employees to move the current mountain of mail from a 43-calendar-day wait to seven days by June. The processing time would reduce to five days by November. To do that, lawmakers also are weighing a recommendation that they allocate an extra $6 million to $9 million in fiscal 2013-14 for Bowen to hire another 68 employees. Those staff would take either two-year or three-year positions dedicated to processing business filings until the state brings an automated filing system online in 2016."

How about providing $1 million for some smart Silicon Valley kids to build something? They can probably do it by December 31, rather than the 3 years antcipated in the traditional Big Data technology procurement process.

$$$: Lockyer: School bond election deals appear illegal [Melody Peterson @ OCR]

BAD NEWS: Chez Panisse fire update: Damage worse than thought, 'more significant demolition project' looms [Paolo Lucchesi @ SFChron]

THE BRACKET: March Madness bracket by tuition costs [The Awl]

Anyone missing a Lamborghini?

 

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

FRIDAY'S ANSWER: 25. Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Los Angeles, Marin, Mariposa, Mendocino, Monterey, Napa, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Joaquin, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Solano, Sonoma, Sutter, Trinity, Tuolumne, Yolo, Yuba. 

TODAY'S TRIVIA: What significant issue was being debated on January 16, 2001, the day that Mike Bowers rammed a truck into the south side of the State Capitol?

 

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**CLASSIFIEDS**

  • Government & public affairs professionals: Veteran lobbyist Ray LeBov presents his introductory "Legislative Process / Lobbying 101" seminar Thursday, March 28. $250. Info / registration: www.capitolseminars.net916-442-5009.

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TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
More Students, Faculty Raises Part Of CSU Proposed Budget
Melody Gutierrez @
blogs.sacbee.com
The California State University system hopes to add 6,000 students, provide raises to faculty and staff and address rate increases for employee health care benefits using an additional $125.1 million in funding allocated in Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed state budget.

California Assembly Votes $2 Million To Reduce Business Filing Backlog
Melody Gutierrez and Jon Ortiz @
sacbee.com
The Assembly voted Monday to send $2 million to Secretary of State Debra Bowen's office to immediately begin reducing a six-week backlog of business filings. The bipartisan 71-1 vote sends Assembly Bill 113 to the Senate, which is expected to act quickly.

Treasurer Calls School Bond Election Deals 'Illegal'
MELODY PETERSON @
ocregister.com
State Treasurer Bill Lockyer asked the California attorney general Monday to investigate whether school officials were breaking the law by hiring banks and their political strategists to promote bond measures before voters.

California's Jerry Brown Is Paid Less Than Six Other Governors
Patrick McGreevy @
latimes.com
Six governors, including those in Pennsylvania and Michigan, were paid more last year in annual salary than California Gov. Jerry Brown , but his state's Legislature receives the highest base pay in the nation, according to a survey released Monday by a state panel.

High-speed Project Moves Forward, But Lawsuits Loom
Dan Walters @
sacbee.com
The agency charged with building the nation's first bullet train system in California took two big steps Monday. However, the legality of both is under fire, thanks to some very specific conditions imposed on the controversial project by the 2008 ballot measure that authorized its construction with nearly $10 billion in state bonds.

Steve Maviglio Returns To Capitol As Pérez Spokesman
Melody Gutierrez @
blogs.sacbee.com
Political consultant Steve Maviglio is serving as spokesman for Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez on a three-month contract to fill a vacancy left by Robin Swanson's departure earlier this month.

Pelican Bay Inmates' Suit OK'd To Proceed
Bob Egelko @
sfgate.com
A federal judge says inmates held in isolation for more than a decade at California's Pelican Bay State Prison can proceed with a lawsuit accusing the state of subjecting them to mental torture and violating their rights by denying them any real chance for release from solitary confinement.

California School Districts Send Out Far Fewer Pink Slips
bshuster @
latimesblogs.latimes.com
Thanks to a boost in money for public education, California school districts have issued just 3,000 pink slips to teachers this year, a dramatic drop from the 20,000 sent out last year, the California Teachers Assn. reported Monday. The passage...

Two Former CalPERS Officials Indicted
Dale Kasler @
sacbee.com
Fred Buenrostro, the former chief executive of CalPERS, and his longtime friend Alfred Villalobos were indicted Monday by a federal grand jury on charges that included conspiracy and obstruction of justice.

CalPERS Indictments: Should More Heads Roll?
Michael Hiltzik @
latimes.com
The federal fraud indictments of two former CalPERS officials , announced today in San Francisco, represent the dropping of shoes from a very tall height -- at least that's one explanation of why the case has taken so long. 

Gun Control Groups Turn Focus To "Riders" Backed By NRA
Ed O'Keefe and Phillip Rucker @
washingtonpost.com
Gun-control advocates are hoping to reverse some of the political influence of the National Rifle Association and other gun rights proponents by urging the White House to strip the president’s next budget proposal of any provision that limits how federal agencies track firearms.

California Scores Poorly On Posting Healthcare Prices, Report Says
Chad Terhune @
latimes.com
California consumers don't have easy access to prices for medical care, according to a report card that gave the state a grade of D for its dismal showing.

L.A. Votes: Garcetti Raises A Pint, Greuel Cheers Marathoners; Both Court Endorsements
Seema Mehta @
latimesblogs.latimes.com
The mayoral candidates spent the weekend pressing the flesh and raising cash.

AM Alert
David Siders @
blogs.sacbee.com
On a day filled with meetings about the budget, education and other more routine matters, drones are getting a shot at a committee hearing at the Capitol.

AP Exclusive: Counties now facing inmate lawsuits
utsandiego.com
California has spent billions of dollars and endured years of federal lawsuits to improve conditions in its state prisons, but the problems it has been trying to correct are now trickling down to local governments as county jails deal with thousands of additional inmates.

Riverside County: Hospital Faces Shortfall As Health Reform Nears
JEFF HORSEMAN @
pe.com
In theory, the hospital covers its expenses by charging for the care it provides. And for a long time, the hospital had a healthy bottom line.

New Details On President Obama’s Bay Area Visit
ibabuzz.com
By Josh Richman Monday, March 18th, 2013 at 11:25 am in Barack Obama, campaign finance, Nancy Pelosi, Obama presidency, U.S. House.

House GOP Group Would End Deficit In 4 Years
Kristina Peterson @
blogs.wsj.com
The Republican Study Committee, an influential group of 171 conservative House lawmakers, introduced a budget Monday that it says would eliminate the deficit in four years through deeper spending cuts and more immediate changes to federal health-care programs than the Ryan plan, which the House is expected to vote on later this week.

Rand Paul calls on conservatives to embrace immigration reform
Michael A. Memoli @
latimes.com
WASHINGTON -- Sen. Rand Paul is calling for conservatives to embrace the cause of immigration reform, outlining a proposal that would grant some form of legal status to the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants after the federal government has certified that the border is secure.

Lincoln man gets prison for mailed marijuana
utsandiego.com
A Lincoln man has been imprisoned for possessing marijuana that had been mailed to him.

High-skilled Immigration Debate Grows Over Stark Gender Imbalance, Favoring Men For H-1b Visas
Matt O'Brien @
insidebayarea.com
The long-overlooked disparity is beginning to attract attention on Capitol Hill, where activists demanded Monday that the federal government take a closer look at whether U.S. visa policy discriminates against women.

Supreme Court Justices Appear Divided on Arizona Voting Law
nytimes.com
The Supreme Court appeared divided along liberal and conservative lines over whether Arizona can require proof of citizenship from people seeking to register to vote in federal elections.