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THE NOONER for April 8, 2013

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  • LAO (April 5): Month-to-Date Collections and Refunds: $1.34 billion. (10.1% of budgeted projection)
  • Controller (April 4): $535 million 

RANT: The OC Register's paywall is the worst in the business. Thank you to some wonderful new paid subscribers (still need 6 more to break even on this paywall), I am forking over the bucks to get behind the Orange Iron Curtain. 

"Seven-day subscribers have full access to stories behind the paywall. Subscribers who pay for just the Sunday paper, weekends or other days, have free access to the website only on those days. Non-subscribers who want to read online pay $2, which gives them access to all content for 24 hours. After appearing online for 90 days, however, all content will be available at no charge to readers."

In contrast, when I'm out of town next weekend, I suspended my NYT Sunday paper, which was credited to my account. Meanwhile, I still have access to the full NYT content throughout the week. The Register is prying $38 bucks out of me every five weeks in order to read about 10 stories of interest per month.

NI HAO: Anthony York previews the governors trip to China. - "While abroad, Brown plans to sign pacts forging government research partnerships and limiting Chinese greenhouse gas emissions. He'll announce deals involving California clean-technology companies — electric vehicle makers, a firm that converts trash to electricity — and reinforce his mantra that good environmental policy is good economics. But mostly, Brown hopes the trip will translate into Chinese money for California."

WORSHIP: Second Coming: The governor of California talks about taxes, Mother Teresa and being back in charge [Matthew Garrahan @ Financial Times]

Or his response to my question about whether his views have changed since the 1970s. Most politicians of the left have tacked to the centre. Has Brown, over time? “I don’t know. I was just reading today about Bill Clinton signing [the Defense of Marriage Act].” Clinton signed the bill – widely opposed by gay people – when he was president but said last month that he had made a mistake. “And [now] he’s saying, ‘Ooops.’ No politician can be an abstractionist. You can’t make reality fit into your Procrustean bed.”

Your what?

"That’s when you would chop the guy’s legs off because the bed didn't fit. You can't ignore reality, you have to say, what's going on? And what’s available and possible? You want to take your view of the world and what you’re trying to do – we’re trying to create the good society, trying to make democracy work." In other words, he cannot afford to be ideologically rigid. "The tree that bends [in the wind] stands up."

DOWNSIZING: Legislator lists her estate in Laguna Niguel at $9 million [Marilyn Kalfus @ OCR] - "State Sen. Mimi Walters and her husband, David, have put their Bear Brand Ranch estate on the market for $8.99 million. . . Walters, R-Irvine, has taken out papers to run for the Orange County 5th District supervisor's seat, which includes all of South County, from Irvine to San Clemente. She has said she and her husband want to downsize as their children go away to college."

THANKS, SIMITIAN: California Court Bans Checking Smartphone Maps While Driving [Gregory Ferenstein @ TechCrunch] - "In California, drivers can now be pulled over for using their GPS while driving. Extending the state’s current ban on texting while driving, an appellate court in California v. Spriggs argued that the 'distraction would be present whether the wireless telephone was being used as a telephone, a GPS navigator a clock or a device for sending and receiving text messages and emails.'"


$$$: PG&E gives $150,000 to the California Republican Party, while the cable lobby gives $150,000 to the Democratic Party.

And, you think your job sucks... Oh, hell, just Let It Be.



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Gov. Brown Will Mean Business On His Weeklong Trip To China
Anthony York @
After two years largely spent in California tending to the fiscal crisis, he travels to China in a bid to reclaim the state's reputation as an economic powerhouse.

Was UC Irvine's Law School Really Necessary?
Dan Walters @
Six years ago, yours truly wrote a column about a proposed law school at the University of California's Irvine campus, suggesting that it was more about academic ego and Orange County boosterism than a shortage of lawyers.

Business Leaders Joining Jerry Brown In China Hope He Can Open Doors
Anthony York @
BEIJING -- A former college roommate, a one-time campaign foe and a nephew are among Gov. Jerry Brown 's 90 traveling companions this week as he leads a state trade mission on a five city swing through China.

Board of Equalization member Betty Yee making a bid for state controller
Josh Richman @
Board of Equalization member Betty Yee said Parke Skelton of SG&A Campaigns in Pasadena will be her lead consultant. That firm helped Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, Secretary of State Debra Bowen and current Controller John Chiang win their races.

Charities Are Engaged In California Political Fights
Torey Van Oot @
Even do-gooders are doing battle as the annual season of sparring over hundreds of proposed laws gets under way in the California Capitol.

Legislation Questions Hospitals' Nonprofit Status
Some of California's most powerful unions are pressuring nonprofit hospitals to prove that they provide enough charitable care to justify their tax-exempt status.

Stockton Bankruptcy: Roll Back Pension "Spiking"
Ed Mendel @
While ruling Stockton eligible for bankruptcy last week, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Klein told losing bond insurer attorneys they can continue to pursue a cut in CalPERS debt, mentioning a rollback of pension “spiking.”

Obama To Propose $35 Billion In Federal Retirement Program Savings
President Obama is expected to propose $35 billion in federal retirement program savings in the fiscal year 2014 budget plan he will release next week.

Remembering The Holocaust With Education - Sfgate
A report issued at Tel Aviv University on the eve of Israel's memorial day for the 6 million Jews killed by German Nazis and their collaborators in World War II found a 30 percent increase in anti-Semitic attacks and violence in 2012 after a two-year decline, linking it to a rise in European extremist groups, according to published reports. At a packed study session on the Warsaw ghetto uprising, UC Berkeley professor John Efron detailed the formation of the ghetto; the conditions in which 500,000 Jews lived 15 people to an apartment and were starved by daily 220-calorie rations of bread made of sawdust; and the efforts in 1943 that led the ghetto's last 55,000 residents to fend off German soldiers' attacks for three weeks. Meinecke works with non-Jewish adult professionals across the nation - judges, law enforcement officials, medical professionals and the military - to explore the dynamics that caused their professional counterparts of yesteryear to comply with the Nazis, even if they did not agree with the Nazi agenda.

L.A. Votes: Greuel Gets Waters' Backing, Garcetti Gets Union Money
Seema Mehta @
Unions have largely backed Greuel’s mayoral bid, financially boosting her effort but prompting critics to question whether she would be beholden to labor if elected. Rival Eric Garcetti is getting a new boost from labor -- $300,000 in donations, with the promise of more to come. While the two Democrats both enjoy labor support, there is a noticeable split -- the bulk of the union money that has backed Greuel has come from city-worker unions, while the dollars being spent on Garcetti mainly coming from private-sector labor organizations.

Immigration Proposal Could Be Delayed
A bipartisan Senate group on immigration legislation is attempting to craft an agreement so secure that the eight members will oppose amendments to its core provisions, an arrangement that could delay the introduction of a bill, people familiar with the negotiations said.

How Californians Die
Californians appear to be getting healthier in many respects, with drops in deaths attributable to cancer and many other major illnesses, as well as homicide and auto accidents, a new statistical report from the state Department of Public Health indicates.

Worker Visa Is Key To Immigration Reform |
The proposal tries to address the ultimate cause of illegal immigration: not merely porous borders or unscrupulous employers, but the immutable fact that jobs here pay better here than ones back there. When Washington has tried to end illegal immigration in the past, Congress has ignored that simple labor market reality. This time, surprisingly, instead of trying to stop the illegal flow of low-skilled foreign workers to unfilled American jobs by increasing penalties and enforcement, the bipartisan bloc of Senators proposes to legalize it, in part.

GOP Ready To Bash President Obama's Budget
Ginger Gibson @
The budget is expected to contain new revenues of $9 billion. | AP Photo

Attorneys Union: DA Committed Violation, Possible Crime
Local @
In an extraordinary email blast Sunday, a lawyer for the union that represents prosecutors and other Santa Clara County government lawyers accused District Attorney Jeff Rosen -- the county's top law enforcement official -- of committing a serious civil violation as well as a possible crime, both involving public funds.

Calchamber Calls Out 32 "job Killer" Bills This Year
Laurel Rosenhall @
The California Chamber of Commerce is out with its annual list of "job killer" bills today, bestowing the title on 32 pieces of legislation authored by legislative Democrats.

Silicon Valley's Mouthwatering Tax Break
Mark Maremont @
Dow Jones Reprints: This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers, use the Order Reprints tool at the bottom of any article or visit

Congress tackles gun violence, immigration
Lisa Mascaro @
WASHINGTON -- After a two week spring recess, Congress returns to work on Tuesday for a make-or-break legislative sprint on two White House priorities – gun violence and immigration reform – in a session that could help define President Obama’s second term.

Brown Looks To China For Investments
SACRAMENTO — Gov. Jerry Brown has designs on building some of the most expensive public works projects in the nation and wants to keep the state moving forward in its slow recovery from the recession.

Brown's Funding Formula Must Work For All Districts
Ron Bennett @
Over the past few weeks, we have seen a marked change in the debate about education funding and the rebuilding of our decimated funding level. Over the past five years, all districts have stood together as revenue limits were cut by roughly 12 percent, our categorical funding was cut by 20 percent, statewide our teaching staffs were cut from 300,000 teachers to only 250,000, and administrators and classified employees suffered the same cuts. Programs for students were cut, employees made concessions from their own pockets, and we were seemingly but one bake sale away from the whole system caving in. But note that all districts were treated roughly the same, no matter the demographics, geography or politics; all districts took the cuts and all employees and students felt them.

In Shift On Immigration, GOP Takes Cues From California
Curtis Tate, McClatchy Newspapers @
As Republican leaders nationwide rethink their positions on immigration to bring Latino voters into the party, they might look to California, where years of hard-line immigration rhetoric put the GOP on the losing side of the state’s fastest-growing group of voters.

Water tunnel plans call for highway rerouting
A state proposal to construct two huge water diversion tunnels beneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta includes plans for rerouting and reconfiguring three California highways to handle ten years of heavy construction traffic.

San Pedro voters wary of L.A. mayoral candidates' promise
Seema Mehta @
As the runoff election nears, Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel say they won't forget San Pedro's needs. Many residents aren't convinced. 'We feel like we're a lost relative down here,' one says.

Eric Garcetti Wins Endorsements From City Council's Black Members
Joel Rubin @
Accompanied by the City Council's three African American members, mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti rallies in Leimert Park, the historic heart of black Los Angeles.