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THE NOONER for June 13, 2013

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Join me for Politics and Pints - Monday, June 17 at 6:30pm (or whenever House session ends) at the community table on the first floor of Hawk n Dove, 329 Penn Ave SE.


First, a hat tip to Jon Fleischman on the Buck McKeon retirement. He wrote about it in April, which I thought I had linked to, but apparently did not.

A word from our sponsor and then my top five competive congressional districts for 2014.




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Good stormy morning from DC. We are seventeen months from the 2014 general election, which is one month short of three political lifetimes. Nevertheless, it's never too early (nor too often) to do a top five list. From what/who we know right now, here are my current top five California congressional general elections for 2014.  

#5 - CD21 (Kings)
Incumbent: David Valadao (R)
Most Likely Challenger: ?
Thoughts: David Valadao lucked out when Michael Rubio ducked out in 2012. The heavily courted Rubio, citing family reasons, elected not to run for Congress in a seat he would have likely won for the Democrats, and then later resigned from his seat in the state senate. In doing so, he created another headache for the DCCC. The party had courted new Kern County supervisor Leticia Perez (D) to run against Valadao, even giving her tickets to Obama's inauguration.

However, Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg got to her first, getting her to run to fill the vacancy left by Rubio. Perez fell quite short, although managed to keep Republican Andy Vidak from receiving 50% needed to avoid a July 23 runoff with Perez. Thus, the candidate recruitment for Democrats in CD21 is on hold and there is a bit of a strange tension between Democratic leaders in Sacramento and Washington.

#4 - CD10 (Stanislaus)
Incumbent: Jeff Denham (R)
Most Likely Challenger: Michael Eggman (D)
Thoughts: This was the one that got away from Democrats in 2012, and the opportunity to take the seat in 2014 is for more complicated. In 2012, Jose Hernandez fell 11,000 votes short of defeating Denham. Observers blamed a poorly crafted initial message that focused on Hernandez's "from Stockton to space" impressive story of becoming an astronaut. It is a great story, although just didn't play well in the deeply struggling Central Valley. Denham focused on agriculture and water, two critical issues in this district. Democrats, including Latino farmers and farm managers, will vote for a Republican if they believe they will deliver water.

Hernandez is considering running again, although the DCCC has moved on to Michael Eggman. Eggman, a farmer and beekeeper, is the brother of Susan Eggman, a new state Assemblywoman elected from the Stockton area. 

#3 - CD36 (Desert)
Incumbent: Raul Ruiz (D)
Most Likely Challenger: Brian Nestande (R)
Thoughts: Physician Raul Ruiz was the perfect candidate for Democrats in 2012, and Mary Bono Mack was the perfect incumbent to run against. Bono Mack has an easily applied label as an out-of-touch incumbent who had few ties to the district, particularly after she married then Florida U.S. Senate candidate Connie Mack (who she is now divorcing). It's hard for voters to accept that a married couple is dedicated to their respective districts/states 2,300 miles apart. In the end, they both lost.

Now comes Assemblymember Brian Nestande, a moderate Republican who has tried to distance himself from his caucus on issues such as immigration reform. The GOP is better organized than Democrats here, and appears unified behind Nestande.  One thing going for Ruiz is the apparent lack of any substantive legislation moving through Congress. The lack of a gun debate is the perfect example, as that would be a very difficult vote to cast in this district and given his medical background. I would anticipate that financial resources for the two will be about even, and that Ruiz will likely sink or swim based on the national trend.

#2 - CD31 (San Bernardino)
Incumbent: Gary Miller (R)
Most Likely Challenger: Pete Aguilar (D) or Joe Baca (D)
Thoughts: This race would be #1, but for the likely ugly top-two primary facing Democrats. While CD52 has a Republican plurality of registration, Democrats have a 22,500 margin in this district stretching from Rancho Cucamonga to Redlands. However, with Joe Baca jumping--attempting to reclaim large portions of his old seat--will lead to a costly and ugly low-turnout primary, and its anybody's guess who will prevail. Gary Miller, meanwhile, will be able to raise and save money for November. Miller starts with $400,000 on hand. 

#1 - CD52 (San Diego)
Incumbent: Scott Peters (D)
Most Likely Challenger: Former councilmember Carl DeMaio (R)
Thoughts: In 2012, Peters beat incumbent Brian Bilbray (R) by 6,992 votes in a presidential year in which Democrats swept all but one congressional race targetted in California. That alone makes the race competitive, as turnout in San Diego County surged from 64.2% in 2010 to 77% in 2012. Add a moderate gay Republican, as Peters and the DCCC will have their hands full.


Notes On The Budget, Union Contract And Transportation Tax Debate
Joel Fox @
Not all the Democrats in the legislature got what they wanted in the budget agreement, but the two legislative leaders got something that they wanted, smoothing the way for an on-time budget. Assembly Speaker John Perez got funds for middle class students attending state universities and Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg got money for mental health and dental care.

Give Credit To California Voters
George Skelton @
Sacramento's hopefully new tradition of enacting on-time budgets that pass the smell test results directly from two ballot measures endorsed by voters.

Here's The Case For SEIU Pay Raises - The State Worker - The Sacramento Bee
Bob Walsh, a state lottery employee, displays his message Wednesday at a Capitol rally held by SEIU Local 1000. The union, displeased that Gov. Jerry Brown rejected its pay raise proposal, emphasizes it backed his 2010 election and his successful tax proposal last fall. "We've done our part," Walsh said.

Gov. Jerry Brown's University Plan Is Left Unfinished In Budget
Chris Megerian @
SACRAMENTO — California’s budget is almost done, but Gov. Jerry Brown still has a lot of unfinished business when it comes to higher education.

Adult Day Care Legislation Dies After 'Awkward Conversation'
Dan Walters @
Democratic members of the California Senate Health Committee had what one of them called "a little awkward conversation" Wednesday with Democratic Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada over her bill to reinstate day care centers for adults with physical or mental disabilities, pleading with her to accept amendments.

Stockton Bankruptcy's Key Planner Will Retire
Ed Mendel @
A key planner of the Stockton bankruptcy, City Manager Bob Deis, plans to retire on Nov. 1, shortly before what could be a crucial public vote on a sales tax increase that has split the city council.

Schools Eye Smaller Classes, Teacher Raises After California Budget Deal
Diana Lamberta nd David Siders @
First-grade teacher Carolyn Goehring, center, helps students during a math lesson at Raymond Case Elementary School in Elk Grove on April 18, 2013.aWoodland school leaders want to shrink kindergarten class rosters now jammed with 30 students. Natomas Superintendent Chris Evans wants to add a week of school. And Washington Unified leaders will give raises to teachers in West Sacramento.

Researchers Revisit California's Political Redistricting |
stander hospitalized after fight broke out near south Sacramento park @

Brown Plan Gives Big Money To Close Education Gap « Cbs Los Angeles
The Democratic governor hopes that dramatically reshaping how state aid is handed out will correct decades of inequality between districts. He also wants to give local schools much of the decision-making responsibility about how the money is spent.

Alameda Parcel Tax Shot Down By High Court - Sfgate
A state appeals court overturned most of the 2008 tax measure in December, saying state law requires school districts to set uniform rates for each parcel of property, exempting only those owned by seniors and the disabled. District officials said the money was needed to offset state budget cuts and minimize school closures. State law allows school districts to seek two-thirds voter approval for taxes that "apply uniformly to all taxpayers or all real property within the district."

Lawsuit Claims Nevada Hospital Discharged, Transported Mentally Ill People Without Consent | Mcclatchy
The state of Nevada and its primary psychiatric hospital violated the constitutional rights of mentally ill people by discharging them via Greyhound bus to cities across the nation without proper consent or making arrangements for their care, a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas charges.

Amendments To Immigration Overhaul Bill Stall In Senate
Lisa Mascaro, Washington Bureau @
Senate Republicans and Democrats spar over amendments to the immigration overhaul bill that could attract or drive away votes.

Lawrence Stupski, Former Schwab Exec, Dies - Sfgate
Lawrence J. Stupski, the former president and chief operating officer of Charles Schwab Corp. who became an activist for improving public school education and cancer research, died May 18 at his home in San Francisco from complications of prostate cancer. Mr. Stupski served as Schwab's president and chief operating officer from 1981 to 1992 and, after suffering a heart attack, as vice chairman from 1992 to 1997. Larry, in his quiet, humble way, did everything for everybody else, for the greater good," said Art Kern, his friend of more than 30 years "He always tried to do the right thing, did not want credit for it, and helped people of all shapes and sizes and all walks of life. Kern, who met Mr. Stupski through a networking organization for young chief executives, said the two men remained constant friends but became even closer after Mr. Stupski was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Kern, who was treated for prostate cancer in 1996, and Mr. Stupski, who was diagnosed in 2003, both served as board members of the Prostate Cancer Foundation, a nonprofit in Santa Monica that raises money for research.

Matsui To Live On Food Stamp Budget For 3 Days To Protest Cuts
Curtis Tate @
Rep. Doris Matsui of Sacramento on Wednesday pledged to spend only $13.50 on food the next three days, joining nearly 30 of her fellow House Democrats in protest of cuts to the federal food stamp program.

Education Officials Seek Team Approach To Fight Chronic Absenteeism | Edsource Today
Backed by the knowledge that the first symptom of academic failure is an empty desk, state education officials are putting a priority on battling chronic absenteeism by enlisting support across state agencies.

Report: Redistricting Panel Did Well, Can Do Better
By Josh Richman Wednesday, June 12th, 2013 at 11:19 am in redistricting.

Calderon Fundraisers Double Up On Limits
Paige St. John @
With four family members running as many as 10 overlapping campaign accounts open at any one time, California's Calderon family shows that bypassing state political contribution limits is as easy as opening up multiple accounts.

Dan Walters Daily
Amy Gebert @
California legislators are busy giving themselves a pat on the back over the latest state budget deal while the state's court system is getting hammered, Dan says.

The Buzz: Capitol Alert caption contest -- what is California first dog Sutter Brown thinking?
Followers of California state politics are familiar with Gov. Jerry Brown's corgi, Sutter, who has his own bio on the governor's website, his own Facebook page and even his own Twitter account.

San Francisco State University Votes To Divest Investment In Coal, Tar Sands
SAN FRANCISCO -- San Francisco State University will stop investing its endowment in coal and tar sands companies, joining a growing list of universities that are avoiding investments in fossil fuels, the school said Tuesday.

Elizabeth Emken Closer To Challenging Ami Bera For House Seat
Jeremy B. White @
The field of potential challengers to freshman Rep. Ami Bera, D-Elk Grove, continues to grow, with former U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Emken filing a statement of candidacy.

FBI Probe Comes Up At Legislative Hearing
Patrick McGreevy @
Lara's bill, SB 146, would scale back a requirement that medical service providers, when seeking reimbursement for workers compensation claims, include certain documents that detail the services and costs, including a copy of the prescription for pharmaceutical services.