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THE NOONER for April 29, 2013

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Good morning from the coffee shop of the Morongo Casino & Resort in Cabazon, where I'm speaking this morning. While not a frequent patron of California's tribal casinos (because the only game I really like is true craps, which the state doesn't have, and which requires neighboring casinos to be able to shop tables), I have to say that this is a very nice resort. And, it's a beautiful morning in the desert. 

The Morongo Band of Mission Indians gave $560,400 in political contributions in 2012, with the largest contributions of $100,000 to Governor Brown's Prop 30 committee and $125,000 to the state Democratic Party. The state GOP received $25,000, but that may be more of a testament to the decentralized fundraising of the Reps last year.

Speaking of, the UT San Diego reports that the county's casinos are showing signs of an improving economy, or at least rebounding consumer confidence. A February SacBee story reported a comeback for the state's tribal casinos in 2011, showing a 1.6% gain to $6.91 billion, and another study shows that tribal gaming returns $7.5 billion in economic activity to the state.

California Schools Win as Taxes $4.5 Billion Over Budget [Michael B. Marois @ Bloomberg] - "Brown's budget office warned that it is still possible that much of the additional revenue in January was an idiosyncrasy from early tax payments. 'We don’t yet know how much of this is associated with high-income individuals accelerating income into 2012 because of uncertainty over federal tax policy at the end of last year,' said H.D. Palmer, Brown’s budget spokesman. 'While it is certainly a welcome development, we are urging people to exercise an abundance of caution on how this revenue can be used.' Brown’s budget office also isn’t sure yet if some of the surge in January came from residents who paid some of their higher state taxes early."

Friday's cash report follows the gnus.

UNGOLDEN or GO ON, TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN: With Obama's pick of Charlotte mayor Anthony Foxx as Transportation Secretary and expected announcement of Penny Pritzker as Commerce Secretary, we now have a Presidential cabinet without a Californian. With increasing criticism and the possible filibuster of Tom Perez at Labor, it's possible that a spot will open up, although Acting Secretary Seth Harris (New York) is thought to be the favorite is Perez is blocked.

Here's an update of my chart from our March 18 discussion on the topic:

 

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 Foxx NC
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. 

CD31: The Democratic field against Gary Miller grew larger over the weekend, as attorney Eloise Gomez Reyes joined the race. Gomez Reyes joins Pete Aguilar and Joe Baca. While the debacle that led to two Republicans continuing to November in 2012 is unlikely as no serious Republicans are considering the race, more candidates makes June more expensive, making it less likely the Dems will be able to knock off Miller in November.

SD28: Senate hopefuls differ on strategy [Erica Felci @ Desert Sun] - "The race for endorsements in the state’s 28th Senate race says a lot about how two local Republicans are shaping their early campaigns. . . The race pits former Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia, who now resides in Palm Desert, against Indio Councilman Glenn Miller."

SD32: Leon doesn't receive major financial backing in 32nd District race [Andrew Edwards @ IVDB] - "A chance to pick up a vacant state Senate seat and demonstrate the California Republican Party and their allies are serious about backing Latino candidates may seem like a golden opportunity for the state's GOP, but the party seems to be setting its sights elsewhere than the 32nd state Senate District."

AD03: Former congressional candidate and attorney Jim Reed (D) joins Sutter supe James Gallagher and farmer Ryan Schohr in the race to succeed Dan Logue.

AD09: Lodi Tea Party activist Manuel Martin (R) will run to succeed Richard Pan.

LOCAL GOV'T: San Gabriel council deems itself judge over election results [Frank Shyong @ LAT] - "San Gabriel Councilman-elect Chin Ho Liao was the second highest vote-getter in the city's March elections, but his first time on the council dais last week was as a witness under cross-examination. . . The City Council voted not to seat Liao after resident Fred Paine filed a complaint alleging that Liao's true residence is outside of the city's borders. Though Liao has filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court to contest the council's vote, the city has also created its own hearing process to determine Liao's residency."

Let me just say that this residency thing is really stupid. If you are friends with the legislative body--whether it's a city or the state Legislature--no problem. If you're not, or if the district attorney is not your friend, you can be prohibited from running for office or, worse, be indicted. I know good legislators in both parties who do not have their primary residences in their districts, and I am sure there are plenty of local government officials in the same boat. I don't know what the rules should be, but it shouldn't be left up to legislative bodies to play judge and jury. I could easily argue to apply the congressional rules (no district, only a state, residency requirement) to state legislative offices, although local government is a bit harder.

It's time for the Legislature to adopt clear standards on what determines residency.

In a first, black voter turnout rate passes whites [Hope Yen @ AP] - "America's blacks voted at a higher rate than other minority groups in 2012 and by most measures surpassed the white turnout for the first time, reflecting a deeply polarized presidential election in which blacks strongly supported Barack Obama while many whites stayed home."

LANDING ZONE: GOP hires fiscal hawk for caucus work [Christopher Cadelago @ UTSD] - "Senate Republicans have hired former GOP legislator Sharon Runner to work part-time at the Capitol as a liaison to the women’s caucus, among other duties."

SMOKIN': California conservative defends state's pot law in Congress [Richard Simon @ LAT] - "Rep. Dana Rohrabacher says federal interference with state medical marijuana laws wastes money, but his effort to prevent it is an uphill battle."

NOOOOOOOOOOOO: Assemblymember Mariko Yamada lets us know that Capitol Tea Garden--the all day dim sum spot near the Capitol--is closing after 25 years:

"After 25 years, the iconic (and rustic) dim sum house at 1110 T serves its last shrimp bonnet on Monday, 4/29. Sunday wait staff were pleasant but tight-lipped, saying only that new owners plan a remodel and are expected to re-open in about 90 days--but as what, no one was willing or able to say."

Of course, I'm out of town and can't get a final chee cheong fun today.

FAREWELL, FOR NOW: SacBee reporter Torey Van Oot is heading east, along with boyfriend Chase Davis, who took a job with the New York Times.

MONDAY LAUGHS: House of Nerds [spoof of House of Cards played at the White House Correspondents Dinner]

THE CASH REPORT:

  • LAO (April 26): Month-to-Date Collections and Refunds: $12.863 billion. (96.7% of budgeted projection for the month)
  • Controller (April 25): $12.117 billion   

Some readers watching the daily take wonder how the LAO and Controller can be so far off. The answer comes from Jason Sisney at the LAO:

Controller's cash is not used for budgetary tracking or forecasting purposes. We report figures directly from the tax agencies — agency cash. Agency cash and Controller's cash always differ (and have for decades), sometimes substantially, due to lags in when the cash shows up in Controller's accounts. The bottom footnote of the revenue table in the monthly Finance Bulletin from DOF mentions the timing issues as well.

We have tracked agency cash daily in April for many years now. The numbers bounce around a lot, both in agency and Controller's cash, on a daily basis. This is normal.

Finally, can I get a "LET'S GO GIANTS"? What an ugly week, two games of which I saw with my own eyes.

 

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**CLASSIFIEDS**

  • California League of Bond Oversight Committees: Second Annual CaLBOC Statewide Conference - May 10, 2013 in Sacramento - Keynote speakers Bill Lockyer and Assemblymember Joan Buchanan - More info and registration
  • Common Cause FREE Screening & Panel Discussion - Bill Moyer's "The United States of ALEC" Crest Theatre May 1st RSVP
  • Join Mayor Christopher Cabaldon, Councilman Steve Hansen, Supervisor Phil Serna, the Rev. Faith Whitmore and Dr. Claire Pomeroy as they are honored as recipients of Four Freedoms Awards at the Sacramento Stonewall Democrats' 9th Annual Gala, Wednesday, May 15 at the Red Lion Hotel Woodlake Conference Center, Sacramento. Purchase tickets @ www.sacstonewall.org/events/4freedoms2013.

 

 

TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
Interview With Governor Brown's Top Health Official On Doctor Shortages And The Federal Health Law - Capradio.org
capradio.org
This is an edited version of an interview between Capital Public Radio's Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone and Secretary Dooley.

Prefunding Retiree Health Care: Is This The Year?
Ed Mendel @
calpensions.com
With pensions presumably shored up by Gov. Brown’s reform and a CalPERS rate hike, will the problem-solving trend spread to what is, by some measures, an even bigger retirement debt: health care promised state workers?

A New Front For Gun Background Checks
Mike Baker @
sacbee.com
After struggling to sway both state and federal lawmakers, proponents of expanding background checks for gun sales are now exploring whether they will have more success by taking the issue directly to voters.

Sen. Boxer Finds Herself At Odds With Environmentalists
Richard Simon @
latimes.com
Sen. Barbara Boxer is seeking to impose deadlines for environmental reviews of water projects, a move that outrages environmentalists.

Mccarthy Vows Senate Will 'definitely' Return To Gun Control This Year - The Hill
Mike Lillis @
thehill.com


Gov. Brown As Robin Hood
George Skelton @
latimes.com
Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to shift money from suburban to urban districts might help disadvantaged students but it could hurt other kids.

California Earns Mediocre Marks On National Study Of Early Childhood Education
Lillian Mongeau @
edsource.org
California earned a lackluster rating on state spending, preschool access and program quality for early childhood education for the 2011-12 school year, according to the annual State of Preschool Report released Monday by the National Institute for Early Education Research.

L.A. Votes: Record-breaking Spending As Voters Pick Next Mayor
Seema Mehta @
latimes.com
Follow the money.

$35b Overhaul Of Water System On Tap Page 1 Of 2 | Utsandiego.com
utsandiego.com
Be relevant, respectful, honest, discreet and responsible. View terms

Bill To Boost California Minimum Wage Approved By Panel
Marc Lifsher @
latimes.com
AB 10, which would give California its first minimum wage increase since 2008, was approved by the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee on a party-line vote.

Valley Fever Prison Outbreak Sweeps Through California Prisons
AP @
huffingtonpost.com
04/29/13 01:31 PM ET EDT

Off-Course Or On Track? Education Bill Could Let Community College Students Pay More For In-Demand Classes
Josh Dulaney @
presstelegram.com
A new bill that may give community college students the chance to get into needed, high-demand courses during winter and summer sessions by paying more has sparked outrage among those who say it creates an unfair system in which the poor are left outside the door.

Santa Clara County District Attorney's Hiring Practices Ignite Debate
Local @
mercurynews.com
Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen hired his top aides brother-in-law, the girlfriend of his wifes close colleague, and a protege of a local congresswoman who gave him a key campaign endorsement.

LAPD's 'Magic Number' Of 10,000 Officers Losing Some Luster
James Rainey and Joel Rubin @
latimes.com
The mayoral candidates support that figure, but now some politicians think other basic city services could benefit if the force was slightly smaller.

Weeklong Stake Down Event To Spotlight Sacramento Homeless Issues
Cathy Locke @
sacbee.com
A weeklong event billed as both cultural and consciousness-raising will get under way Wednesday in an effort to spotlight issues of homelessness in Sacramento.

State Funding For Preschool Drops As Obama Calls For Expansion
washingtonpost.com
State funding for preschool across the country dropped last school year after a decade of growth, tapping the brakes on the quality and reach of programs as President Obama has called for a massive expansion of early childhood education, according to a national survey scheduled for release Monday.

Wendy Greuel, Eric Garcetti Differ In Mixing Los Angeles Mayoral Campaigns, Family
Dakota Smith @
dailynews.com
As they traverse the city seeking votes, Garcetti and Greuel frequently have family members in tow, in part for support during the breakneck pace of an intense political campaign. Still, they also follow distinct approaches when it comes to publicly incorporating their family into their campaigns.

Court rejects immigration law appeal
Associated Press @
politico.com
The Alabama law would have made it a crime to harbor people who are living in the country illegally.

Unfinished Big-ticket Rose Bowl Seating Selling Fast
Joe Piasecki @
latimes.com
The premium seating pavilion, with amenities designed for long-term revenue, has yet to open. Total stadium renovations are priced at $181 million.

U.S. Budget Crisis Sinks Coast Guard Patrols
Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross @
sfchronicle.com
As a result of federal sequestration cuts, the U.S. Coast Guard has suspended its routine patrols of potentially vulnerable terror targets - including the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay Bridge and the air intake vents for the Transbay Tube, according to multiple sources.

Cheetah claws president's face at Botswanan army menagerie
Michelle Faul @
mercurynews.com
JOHANNESBURG -- A cheetah clawed the face of Botswanan President Ian Khama, causing minor injuries, the southern African leader's spokesman said Monday.

Supreme Court refuses to revive Alabama immigration law
David G. Savage @
latimes.com
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court has blocked Alabama from enforcing a state law that authorized the police to arrest and jail persons who hid or transported illegal immigrants.

Google Now Debuts On Apple Devices
Michael Liedtke @
mercurynews.com
Google is trying to upstage Siri, the sometimes droll assistant that answers questions and helps people manage their lives on Apples iPhone and iPad.