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THE NOONER for August 8, 2013

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DISTRICT CHANGES
  • AD17 (East San Francisco): updated analysis
  • AD19 (West San Francisco): updated analysis

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Again, happy Thursday! 

RANT CONT'D: In follow-up to yesterday's discussion of the AD45 caucus, a few readers pointed out something else that had also been on my mind but didn't make it to my fingers when typing yesterday. These special election endorsement caucuses cost campaigns big money and have turned into fundraisers for local Democratic operations. Of course, few "delegates" actually vote, as a large share of the votes are cast by written ballots of appointees of elected officials from around the state. (In the Democratic party, "vote-by-mail" is only allowed in special election endorsement caucuses.

To vote (in person or by "mail"), a delegate in the AD45 caucus had to "register" for $85. In reality, the campaigns pay for their delegates, as few activists love their local Assembly District committee enough to pay the cost of a JT/Jay-Z ticket for a boring hour of vote counting. So, the 109 ballots cast resulted in a fundraiser of $9,265 for a party committee. Had the Andra Hoffman committee showed up to deny Matt Dababneh the endorsement, it would have cost the campaign $2,805 to ostensibly help Damian Carroll keep the only "Democratic Party* endorsed candidate" moniker (* = of the SFV).

I remember this back in my days as a college Democrat. We were told "don't worry about the fees" if we played ball with the right candidate. But, should there be fees other than for the cost of the facility, coffee, and donuts? Isn't that a poll tax that (Northern) Democrats found so offensive during the Civil Rights movement?

There's also this issue of "floating delegates," which particularly gets (ab)used in special elections. The top-tier candidates in AD45 all had enough to dwarf any true local Democratic activist passions. Bob Blumenfield and his appointees were delegates, because he was the last person to hold the seat, even though as a councilmember he doesn't automatically get delegates. Which raises another interesting question: what if someone is elected to the Assembly, then wins a special election to the Senate; does he or she get to appoint delegates from both seats to vote at the caucus to succeed themselves?

The party should look at both of the fees and floating delegates to ensure that candidates are treated fairly and that the scales are tipped to the passions of local activists rather than statewide political machines.

CD17: Mike Honda shows that he's not going to compete against Ro Khanna for the wealthy Silicon Valley vote, proposing to end the cap on Social Security taxes, which is $113,700 in 2013. This is going to be a fascinating race, with immense wealth surrounding working class voters in north San Jose.

AD04: Assemblymember Mariko Yamada endorsed Napa planning commissioner Matt Pope as her successor. She had hoped ally Yolo supe Jim Provenza (who succeeded her at the county) would run. The endorsement spurns the two Davis city councilmembers running for the seat--mayor Joe Krovoza and Dan Wolk, the son of Senator Lois Wolk.

AD74: In response to yesterday's questions about Allan Mansoor's intended destination, a good source that he is far more likely running for supe than reelection.

WHEN HELL FREEZETH OVER: And While We’re Eliminating Elections for Lt. Governor . . . [Joel Fox @ Fox & Hounds]

WHACK-A-MOLE: How Payday Lenders Bounce Back When States Crack Down [ProPublica]

STALLED: Chong: Broadband Bill Stalls With Cable Industry Opposition [Rachelle Chong @ TechWire] - interestingly, Rachelle Chong's last job was heading up government relations for Comcast.

LAW AND ORDER: Investor Group Calls Richmond, Calif., Eminent Domain Plan Unconstitutional [Nick Timiraos @ WSJ] - "The lawsuit, filed in federal court in San Francisco, could serve as a key test for whether a city can move forward with such a strategy, which would allow it to forcibly buy mortgages from investors at a price potentially below the property's current market value. The city would then reduce the loan balance and refinance the mortgage, resulting in a lower mortgage payment for the borrower. The aim is to help struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure."

KUDOS: The Center for California Studies and Institute for Social Research of California State University, Sacramento, and the Secretary of State have launched the California Elections Data Archive of local elections back to 1995. 

TAKING SIDES: Even Democratic pols avoid solidarity with BART workers [Steven Greenhut @ UTSD]

Is Filner writing UT headlines? Chargers linemen unbuckle for Seahawks

 

TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
Spokesman For California Assembly Speaker John Perez Wears Many Hats
Laurel Rosenhall @
sacbee.com
Six television cameras were trained on Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez as he addressed the press Monday in a Capitol meeting room. It was the Assembly's first day back to work after summer recess, and while the Democratic leader answered questions about bills his house will vote on in coming weeks, his communications chief Steven Maviglio stood in the corner, away from the cameras. He scribbled notes, snapped pictures with his smartphone and promoted his boss on social media.

Ex-lawmaker Aims At Altering California's Presidential Primaries
cutting off the public funding, Peace hopes political parties would open their primaries to all voters, not just members of t @
blogs.sacbee.com
A ballot measure proposed by former California legislator Steve Peace would attempt to eliminate partisan primaries during the state's presidential elections by cutting off public funding.

Former California lawmaker wants 'top-two' system for presidential primaries
Annalise Mantz @
sacbee.com
A ballot measure proposed by former California legislator Steve Peace would attempt to eliminate partisan primaries during the state's presidential elections by cutting off public funding.

California Lawmakers May Be Forced To Address Prison Overcrowding
Phil Willon @
latimes.com
SACRAMENTO -- The leader of the California Senate on Wednesday said the Legislature would pay to house inmates out-of-state to comply with a federal court order to reduce prison overcrowding only if more money was set aside for inmate mental health and substance abuse treatment.

Extra Water Releases Planned To Protect Klamath River Salmon
Matt Weiser @
sacbee.com
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation will release extra water from Lewiston Dam on the Trinity River next week in hopes of preventing a large fish kill downstream on the Klamath River.

California Senate leader backs private prison plan
utsandiego.com
The leader of the state Senate on Wednesday backed Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal to send thousands of inmates to private prisons rather than free them early to comply with federal court orders to reduce prison crowding.

Rep. Honda Says It's Time To "Scrap The Cap" On Social Security Payroll Tax
Carla Marinucci @
blog.sfgate.com
South Bay Rep. Mike Honda Wednesday called on Congress — and his Democratic challenger, Ro Khanna — to protect and expand Social Security benefits for seniors, saying it was time to “scrap the cap” on payroll taxes.

California Lawmakers Call For Review Of Offshore Fracking
Patrick McGreevy @
latimes.com
A group of California lawmakers is calling for a federal probe into reports of oil companies engaging in fracking off the coast.

Senate Leaders Call For Spending To Avert Releases
JIM MILLER @
pe.com
The state Senate’s top Democrat said lawmakers need to be ready to spend potentially hundreds of millions of dollars to prevent the court-ordered release of thousands of prison inmates.

California Environmental Advocate Invests In Virginia Governor's Race
Neela Banerjee @
latimes.com
Billionaire California environmentalist is helping fund TV ads against Virginia GOP gubernatorial hopeful Ken Cuccinelli.

FPPC Asked To Probe Drive For Sacramento Arena Vote
Dale Kasler, Ryan Lillis and Tony Bizjak @
sacbee.com
The petition drive seeking to force a public vote on the subsidy for the new Sacramento Kings arena was hit with a complaint to the state's political watchdog Wednesday, raising fresh questions about how the campaign is being funded.

California Prison Hunger Strike Moves Into Fifth Week
Paige St. John @
latimes.com
As hundreds of California prisoners continue a hunger strike, medical staffers are struggling to keep tabs on the protest's toll.

Am Alert
Jeremy B. White @
blogs.sacbee.com
How does the Internet affect what California kids experience in school, from classroom learning to the hazards of cyberbullying? The answer gains importance given the technology-related standards running through the Common Core curriculum for which schools have been allocated $1 billion. Members of Congress, education officials and state lawmakers tackle the topic today during a Comcast-sponsored symposium at the Sacramento Convention Center.

California Inmates Continue Hunger Strike Amid Controversy Over Leaders
Paige St. John @
latimes.com
Inmates in at least seven California prisons continued a month-long hunger strike in protest of conditions in solitary confinement, an action state prison officials call a ploy to relax controls on gang activity.

The Buzz: Jerry Brown not first governor to step in during BART labor dispute
sacbee.com
It's been more than a decade since a California governor has stepped in to avert a Bay Area Rapid Transit District strike, but the law authorizing the governor to do so was once used with some regularity.

Obama Talks Housing In Los Angeles With Zillow.com
Alejandro Lazo @
latimes.com
President Obama paused on his trip through Los Angeles on Wednesday to conduct a novel interview on housing policy with the chief executive of the real estate website Zillow.com.

BART, unions $100 million apart in talks
sfgate.com
After months of contentious negotiations, BART and its unions are still about $100 million apart on terms of a new contract, transit district officials told a state panel Wednesday. The transit district led off the Oakland hearing before the three-member state panel appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown to report on the issues that led to a 4 1/2 day strike in July and threatened to shut down the system again this week. The panel will present a report to the governor by Sunday and Brown will then decide whether to call a 60 day cooling off period to allow more time for the contract talks to continue.

Union lawyer disputes BART contract figure
utsandiego.com
A union attorney is disputing BART's claim that the two sides are $100 million apart in their contract proposals.

Obama, In First Visit To Camp Pendleton, Hails '9/11 Generation'
Tony Perry @
latimes.com
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. — To the cheers of Marines, sailors and their family members, President Obama on Wednesday praised the “9/11 Generation” for successes in Iraq, Afghanistan and other trouble spots.

New Santa Ana City Manager Will Get Big Salary And Pension
ADAM ELMAHREK @
voiceofoc.org
In addition to more than $550,000 in compensation in the coming year from Santa Ana, new City Manager David Cavazos is also set to begin collecting a six-figure annual pension from Phoenix, according to a report in the Arizona Republic newspaper.

Worker Hours Haven't Been Reduced Due To Healthcare Law, Long Beach Says
Eric Bradley, Staff Writer @
presstelegram.com
City Manager Pat West denied that any part-time employees have lost work hours as a result of the Affordable Care Act, as some have alleged.