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THE NOONER for August 5, 2013
DATE: August 5, 2013
Welcome back from your vacation! As you knock those kernals of sand out of your flip-flops, be prepared for a frenetic final five weeks of session. This week will be a bit chill, as your upperclassmen don't return until next Monday.
Let's start by welcoming back our friend Greg Campbell to the Speaker's Office after his medical leave. Greg gets back in time to ensure that no fast ones are pulled on the Speaker's watch.
Congratulations to the Assembly for a month of play that resulted in no headlines adverse to the institution.
However, while you were gone, America's Finest City had a bit of a meltdown. Mayor Bob Filner, long known as a bit of an acerbic character, was confronted with sexual harassment allegations. Today, he's up to 10 accusers, with one having retained Gloria Allred for legal services. Filner has countersued the city, arguing that he wasn't provided the sexual harassment training required of other municipal employees. The city has countersued Filner. Filner has now entered two weeks of treatment and everyone except labor has called for him to resign.
Also in San Diego, the county clerk filed a petition with the state Supreme Court requesting relief from the requirement to perform same-sex marriages. Ernest Dronenburg, Jr. tried to provide a more compelling case than Andy Pugno in arguing that SCOTUS's ruling in Perry v. Hollingsworth only applied to the plaintiffs or the counties in which the plaintiffs reside. However, Dronenburg received a telegram from the county board of supes that this was a stupid move and he risked his office's funding, and thus withdrew the petition.
In other court news, SCOTUS on Friday denied a request from Jerry Brown to stay a three-judge panel's order to release prisoners. Brown has pledged to appeal on the merits. Scalia and Thomas wrote a dissent, which Alito did not join, although he voted to grant the stay.
Last week, Abel Maldonado proved that he is fit to be governor, as he shows experience working in the red. His campaign filing for the period ending June 30 showed $44,595 in cash and $47,943 in outstanding liabilities. Meanwhile, Jerry Brown has $10 million on hand. After debt, Tim Donnelly has about $14,400 on hand.
We have lots of policy issues to tackle in the upcoming weeks, although it's unclear how many will reach the finish line. Proponents of lifting medical malpractice nonmonetary damages hope for a lift in caps, and having filed a ballot initiative to encourage discussions. Opponents have deposited $5 million into a campaign account to show that it will be a fight.
In related news, it's #SharkWeek. Did you know that there are 19 California voters with the last name Shark? Of these, there are 14 Democrats, 3 Republicans, and 2 NPPs. There's no indication of how many are lawyers. In other animal news, we now have the Twitter account @SacDeadLeopard that opposes a museum of dead animals on Sacramento's waterfront. Hmmm...wonder who that might be?
On the Capitol Connection podcast, Anthony York predicts that no fracking deal will be brewed in the final weeks of session.
In election news, Republican Andy Vidak beat Democrat Leticia Perez in the SD16 runoff, while Freddie Rodriguez easily beat other Democrats in the AD52 primary and is the favorite when he faces off against independent Paul Leon on September 24. Meanwhile, the field is set for the race to fill Bob Blumenfield's AD45, and it is crowded. That race and the one to fill Curren Price's senate seat, almost certainly by Holly Mitchell, is September 17.
Over the weekend, Brad Sherman's district director Matt Dababneh received the Democratic Party's endorsement in AD45. The endorsement was a surprise, as other candidates had enough delegates to block the move, but they didn't show up. Damian Carroll previously received the endorsement of the Democratic Party of the San Fernando Valley, which he keeps even with the state's party endorsement of Dababneh.
The Assembly will thus continue to be short of a 54-vote supermajority for Democrats through the end of the legislative year.
In the Bay Area, the second BART strike scheduled to begin today was delayed following intervention by Jerry Brown. Applauding the intervention were Nooner author Scott and the other 60,000 people planning to attend Outside Lands this weekend.
The NYT writes about Los Angeles's lack of elected women.
Finally, California's largest city had a catastrophe over the summer recess, as Sharknado hit the City of Angels. Disaster on so many levels.
TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
Is California's New Health Plan Really Ready?
Dan Walters @ sacbee.com
California is more heavily invested in the federal Affordable Care Act than any other state because it has, by far, the nation's largest number of medically uninsured residents and has embraced the law more fully than any other state. We are, in brief, the test subjects to determine whether the sweeping act can work nationally or is fatally flawed.
Unions Target Westfield Malls Over Prop. 13 Tax Benefits
Abby Sewell @ latimes.com
Unions that say big businesses pay too little in taxes under Prop. 13 target Westfield malls to try to make a point.
Can San Jose Cut Pensions Of Current Workers?
Ed Mendel @ calpensions.com
After a five-day trial last month, a judge is looking at 13 issues in suits filed by unions and retirees against a San Jose pension reform. The big one is whether pensions earned by current workers can be cut.
UCD Pays Top Dollar For Communications Chief
Phillip Reese @ sacbee.com
The university hired Luanne Lawrence, formerly of the University of South Carolina, as associate chancellor for strategic communications earlier this year. She will make an annual salary of $260,000, more than any other campus communications chief in the University of California system, according to a survey by The Sacramento Bee. As part of her benefits package, she is eligible for 90 days of temporary housing and to participate in the university system's low-interest home loan program, UC Davis officials said.
Assembly Has Ambitious Goals For Its Last Six Weeks
Marc Lifsher @ latimes.com
Assembly speaker cites enterprise zone and a major sales-tax credit as huge accomplishments but says there's more to come.
Billionaire Environmentalist Going Big In Virginia Governor's Race
Alexander Burns @ politico.com
Tom Steyer, the environmentalist billionaire who has mounted a national campaign opposing the Keystone XL pipeline, has directed his political operation to spend heavily in the Virginia governorâs race in support of Democrat Terry McAuliffe, POLITICO has learned.
Health Care Law Raises Pressure on Public Employeesâ
The so-called Cadillac tax inserted into the Affordable Care Act will tax expensive health insurance plans like those obtained by powerful unions, and switching to cheaper plans will not be easy.
BART strike averted - for now
John Coté and John Wildermuth @ sfgate.com
Commuters were spared another BART strike after Gov. Jerry Brown intervened late Sunday in the negotiations, calling for an investigation into the transit agency's talks with its workers.
Immigration Bill Key To Economy, Says Ag Leader
Claudia Melendez Salinas @ santacruzsentinel.com
California stands to lose millions of dollars if a bill passed by the U. S. Senate to reform the country's immigration laws is not approved in the House of Representatives, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said Friday.
Editorial: Senate should leave California's laws as they are
We Californians should overhaul our initiative system. We should update and perhaps scrap some initiatives California voters approved years ago.
Group Gathers Across From CIM To Support Prisoners On Hunger Strike
Monica Rodriquez @ dailybulletin.com
About 30 people gathered across from the California Institution for Men on Sunday afternoon to support prisoners up and down the state who are on a hunger strike.
G.O.P. Governors Warn Party Members in Congress Not to Shut Government
The governors said that a standoff in Washington could backfire on the party if it is seen as being responsible for bringing the government to a halt.
L.A. Teachers Union Urged To Improve Training For Bad Teachers
Teresa Watanabe @ latimes.com
An L.A. school board member tells UTLA activists that the union must fight public perceptions that it protects bad teachers.
Kentucky Political Staple: Barbs and Barbecue
The annual Fancy Farm picnic, attended by Senator Mitch McConnell and his challengers, is a venerable Kentucky tradition where political candidates hurl mocking one-liners at one another.
Advocates for hunger strikers demonstrate outside San Quentin Prison
Paul Liberatore, Marin Independent Journal @ mercurynews.com
A shiny tear streaked down Angelique Topete's cheek as she stood outside the West Gate of San Quentin State Prison on Saturday, talking about her husband, Marco Antonio Topete, who's locked up inside on death row, unable to have any physical contact with her or their 5-year-old daughter.
Early Literacy Programs Receive Boost From National Campaign
Lillian Mongeau @ edsource.org
Galvanized by a national reading campaign, communities across California are launching innovative partnerships that are resulting in new early literacy programs in schools, libraries and even laundromats.
Federal Probe Of L.A. County Jails Expected To Wrap Up This Year
Robert Faturechi and Victoria Kim @ latimes.com
Probe of L.A. County jails has extended beyond accusations of inmate abuse and cover-ups to allegations of corruption, sources say.
Video Sheds Light On Flight 214 Passenger's Death
Jaxon Van Derbeken @ sfchronicle.com
The San Francisco Fire Department supervisors who took charge of the Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crash scene were not alerted by firefighters that a 16-year-old passenger had been found near the plane, leaving them powerless to prevent the girl from being run over by a rig after she was covered by fire-retardant foam, footage of the incident shows.
Deputy Accused Of Pepper-spraying Teen's Pizza Faces Charges Monday
Anh Do @ latimes.com
A sheriff’s deputy who allegedly pepper-sprayed a teenager’s pizza during a routine traffic stop in south Orange County will be in court Monday to face criminal charges.
Sacto Scandals: Ex-fed Prosecutor On Corruption
Robert B. Gunnison @ calbuzz.com
By Robert B. Gunnison Special to Calbuzz
Edison International Aims To Power Through Troubles
Catherine Green @ latimes.com
Edison International is overhauling its operations in the wake of the San Onofre debacle and the bankruptcy of a subsidiary.