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THE NOONER for July 23, 2013
ELECTION DAY: Voters will be going to the polls (largely to drop off late absentees and cast provisionals) today in SD16, AD52 and Los Angeles council district 6. Each race has been close, and lots of money has been spent. Here are my predictions, which are pretty stupid to do in such low turnout elections, at such a bad time of the year, and with so many friends working in the different races.
However, these are based on conversations with at least several people on the ground in each case, knowing that each of these may be decided by a hundred votes.
SD16: While close and suspenseful as absentees are tallied over the next week, I believe Andy Vidak will edge Leticia Perez in the runoff. There just weren't enough consolidated Dem votes to spare from the primary, and this is late July, not exactly a good time for Dems to be fighting for seats in the Central Valley.
AD52: In this crowded field of 6 Democrats, 1 Republican, and 1 NPP candidate to succeed the seat Norma Torres left behind, it's looking like Paul Leon (NPP) will come in first, and Freddie Rodriguez (D) will come in second. However, Democrats will retain the seat when Rodriquez easily wins a September 24 runoff. Of course, some still believe a NPP-R top-two is possible.
CD6: Los Angeles City Council will get the only elected woman in city government after today's election, and I believe it will be Cindy Montanez.
LEGGO MY SANDY EGGO! If anyone thought the Filner ordeal would resolve itself because a bunch of adults came to town and played dress-up in the slow month of July, they were wrong. We now have a Gloria Allred-led lawsuit, and this will be ugly. The lawsuit is against both the City of San Diego and Bob Filner.
I would say that city government will come to a standstill, but the mayor has already acknowledged his ineffectiveness and handed the operational keys over to former county CAO Walt Eckard.
Here are the grafs you need from Craig Gustafson's article in the UTSD for today's water cooler discussions:
Irene McCormack Jackson, who served as the mayor’s communications director from January to June, is the first woman to identify herself as one of Filner’s accusers since anonymous allegations of sexual harassment were made earlier this month. She told her story alongside attorney Gloria Allred who specializes in high-profile cases involving powerful men and female accusers.
McCormack Jackson accused the mayor of making several sexually suggestive comments to her and telling her he loved her and wanted to get married. The comments included: "I would do a better job if you kissed me," "When are you going to get naked?" "Wouldn’t it be great if you took off your panties and worked without them on?" and "When are we going to get married? Wouldn’t it be great if we consummated the marriage?"
McCormack Jackson added, "I am coming forward today to lay the blame at the feet of the person responsible, Mayor Bob Filner. He is not fit to be the mayor of our great city. He is not fit to hold any public office. A man who lacks character makes a mockery of his ideas."
In a statement, Filner said he was saddened by the charges made in the lawsuit and once again called for due process.
Here is the lawsuit, provided by the UTSD (outside firewall).
This will be interesting from a legal standpoint. The city (and its insurers) will want to settle early on and not risk the public kitty with too much liability. Filner then would be stuck with a dragged out case, that could last through his term as mayor, which ends in 2016. The 70-year-old then doesn't run for reeelection, citing need for fresh blood. However, if it ever goes to trial, remember that this is just one of many women who likely have a claim against the city and the mayor.
Remember this from Craig Gustafson's July 20 article "In a television interview, Filner said 'I brought this on through my own personal frailties and the biggest monster right now is, you know, inside me.' Later he described himself as 'a hugger' of both men and women.'"
That's the type of quote that will be fatal in front of a jury. One can be a hugger while not working to suppress a monster. So, why will he let it get there?
The San Diego mayor is part of the San Diego Employees Retirement System. While the issues of pensions in San Diego is currently a huge debate, this may also factor into the mayor's calculations about whether to resign or not.
He had 4 years of service from his 1987-1993 stint on the council. If he resigns now, he would receive $1,172/month for the rest of his life, while if he stays through the end of his current term, he would receive $2,344. (This assumes his time on the San Diego Unified board is accounted separately in PERS, although there may be reciprocity that pumps it up to $4,395/month.) Anyway, an extra $1,172 per month might just be enough to stick it out.
QUESTION: What should a city's liability be when there is a knowingly hostile workplace, but the offender is an elected official whose job is determined by the people?
UP IN THE AIR: Making approximately 80 flights per year, I'm not one who is at all scared about flying. I'm usually asleep for takeoff, and have only been nervous on two occasions of touch and go landings, that time when the cabin power had to be turned off because of the smell of burning wiring, and, oh, that one time when my plane lost cabin pressure. Nevertheless, it is freaky to land yesterday and read that, at about the same time you landed, the exact same aircraft model on the same carrier had its landing gear collapse. We'll see if that bugs me when I fly to America's Finest City on Thursday.
TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
Former California Governors Help Brown On Prisons
Dan Walters @ sacbee.com
California's four living former governors have filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of current Gov. Jerry Brown's plea for relief from a court order to drop the state's prison population by nearly 10,000 more inmates. But while trying to support Brown they â wittingly or otherwise â have joined critics of realignment, one of Brown's proudest achievements.
Top Public Pension Earner Sues Vernon After CalPERS Cuts His Benefit
Ruben Vives and Hector Becerra @ latimes.com
After CalPERS slashed Bruce Malkenhorst's $500,000-plus pension from Vernon, he is trying to make the city pay the difference.
CalPERS opens special window for same-sex couples to enroll in health benefits
With the federal Defense of Marriage Act struck down by the Supreme Court, CalPERS' health insurance plan this week declared a special open-enrollment period for same-sex couples who are already married.
Small victory: BART, unions both negotiating
Michael Cabanatuan @ sfgate.com
With a possible second BART strike just 13 days away, the transit agency and its labor unions still seemed far apart on Monday but did agree on one thing: Both sides said they want to knuckle down at the bargaining table and work out a deal.
CA Dem Party To Obama: Lay Off Medical Marijuana Prosecutions. And Let CO And WA Smoke.
Joe Garofoli @ blog.sfgate.com
The California Democratic Party just launched two messages, loud and proud, to President Obama when it comes to marijuana: 1. Tell your federal prosecutors to allow the new marijuana legalization laws enacted in Colorado and Washington to âgo into effect without federal interference.â 2. End the Department of Justice âinterference and raids in states with medical marijuana laws.â (Uh, like California.) And the federal government should launch a âcomprehensive studyâ to produce recommendations for the reform of âour nationâs marijuana laws.â
California Tells Court To Reject San Diego Clerk's Prop. 8 Bid
Maura Dolan @ latimes.com
Atty. Gen. tells California Supreme Court to reject second bid for a hold on same-sex marriages.
Closure Of Seven Sacramento Schools Upheld
Loretta Kalb @ sacbee.com
A federal judge on Monday denied a bid by parents seeking to prevent Sacramento City Unified from closing seven elementary campuses. The judge said blocking the district was not warranted based on the evidence plaintiffs presented in court.
Few Lawmakers Accept Free Tickets To The California State Fair
Patrick McGreevy @ latimes.com
There is one perk that is offered to state lawmakers that most aren’t taking advantage of — free tickets to the California State Fair.
Ap California State News Wire | Union Democrat | Sonora News, Sports, & Weather, Angels Camp, Twain Harte, Jamestown - Ap Nation / World
>Union Democrat | Sonora News, Sports, & Weather, Angels Camp, Twain Harte, Jamestown
BART Strike: Rail Line's Employee Costs Soar Even As Pay Remains Flat
Mike Rosenberg @ mercurynews.com
With revenue surging to record levels and riders flocking to standing-room only trains, BART would seem like an unlikely place for a bitter showdown over employee pay hikes as workers threaten another strike in two weeks. But a closer look at the agency's financial data by this newspaper shows a fast-growing problem is threatening the future growth of the Bay Area's biggest train line: Half of the $69 million in new revenue BART raked in since 2010 has gone toward the rising cost of employee health care and pensions.
California Prison Officials To Meet With Advocates Of Striking Inmates
Paige St. John @ latimes.com
California prison officials have agreed to meet with advocates for inmates who are now in their third week of a statewide hunger strike.
California Labor Group Lists Controversial Consultants | Shop Talk : Roll Call Politics
Taegan Goddard @ rollcall.com
Sacramento's Downtown Railyard Nears Sale To Local Developer
Tony Bizjak @ sacbee.com
Sacramento's dormant downtown railyard is on the verge of changing hands again â this time to a local developer who said he intends to finally realize the city's longtime vision of turning the former industrial hub into a major extension of downtown.
Cuccinelli backed anti-adultery laws
Alexander Burns @ politico.com
The Virginia gubernatorial candidate once defended laws criminalizing extramarital sex.
Deputy Director Of State Mental Hospitals Takes Unexplained Leave
Lee Romney @ latimes.com
Kathy Gaither, confirmed by the Department of State Hospitals on July 8, will be out for 'extended period,' a staff email says.
GOP Governor's Race? What GOP Governor's Race? - Capradio.org
Voting by mail begins in less than 10 months.
190,000 Californians may owe back taxes
Check your mailbox: The state Franchise Tax Board is sending out more than 190,000 letters to taxpayers who may owe the state.
George Miller Criticizes House Republicans Over Farm Subsidies
The Huffington Post @ huffingtonpost.com
Fourteen Republican members of Congress that voted in favor of farm subsidies have received a joint total of $7.2 million in such benefits since 1995, the report reads. Additionally, Republican representatives holding a total net worth of up to $124.5 million "personally benefit" from the farm subsidies for which they voted, the report claims.
California Water Agencies Urge Overturn Of Court's Sucker Fish Ruling
Representing 440 agencies that deliver much of California's water, the Association of California Water Agencies filed a brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals on the 9th Circuit on June 3 outlining water agencies' concerns about the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's decision to double the critical habitat area for the small, algae-eating fish.
Health Centers Vary Widely In Quality Of Medical Management
Anna Gorman @ latimes.com
California's community health centers vary widely in their ability to control patients' chronic diseases, according to federal data.