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THE NOONER for August 30, 2013
Happy anniversary to my wonderful wife Kara, who puts up with this early morning nonsense.
#BLOCKED: Some Senate staffers didn't get the Nooner the last couple of days, as the Legislature's mail server blocked incoming mail from me after a certain number of invalid recipients from people switching jobs. I cleaned up the list last night, but remember you can always get The Nooner at about 12:05pm at www.aroundthecapitol.com/nooner or feel free to add a non-Capitol address.
END THE SUSPENSE: Today is the decision day for many legislative bills, more "suspenseful" than floor votes of the full chambers. The Appropriations committees in both houses will consider en masse around 350 bills that were previously heard by the committee, have a fiscal impact, and were placed on the suspense file.
Amendments have been prepared on many bills to reduce their cost or mitigate opposition. The amendments, however, won't be seen by the public until the successful bills go in to print next week. The legislative session ends on September 13.
As Anthony York says on this week's Capitol Connection podcast, today is the "slasher flick" when bills die, while next week's feature film is a "zombie flick," when they come back to life.
HUGS: Several people are willing to wager that Bob Hertzberg will be the next Senate President Pro Tem. Also, a couple of questions about how long he can serve. Since he previously was in the Assembly, he gets two terms in the State Senate. Proposition 28's 12-year provision only applies to those who have never served in the Legislature.
DATA, THE GOP, and NEEL KASHKARI: The Public Policy Institute of California yesterday released "California Voter and Party Profiles" that looks at who is registered and who is likely to vote. Here are some key points:
On Wednesday, I wrote about the California GOP's conundrum of needing to win a shift in the likely voter base by having a charismatic statewide elected official while also winning a handful of key legislative seats to take back the Democrats' (eventual) supermajority in both houses. In it, I shared Political Data Inc.'s current scoring of next November's general election as 49% DemPlus, 36% RepPlus, and 14% other, which means Republicans to win statewide need to capture every vote that is up in the air. PPIC's profile of voters echos that.
Again, DemPlus and RepPlus try to measure voters who are very likely to consistently vote with a party despite being registered independent or with a "third" party. For example, here in San Francisco, there are census blocks where you can with great certainty predict that independents will vote Democrat, particularly in a top-two scenario. They may be registered NPP because Nancy Pelosi is too conservative. Similarly, you can find census blocks like that on the Republican side in Palm Desert, where I was yesterday.
Republicans should not feel helpless, and Democrats can not be complacent. Remember that we have alternated governors between parties for the last 23 years and, if you ignore the back-to-back wins of Deukmejian and Wilson, we have alternated parties since Goodwin Knight was elected in 1953.
Of the current possible field for governor, one candidate could start that rebuilding process, and few people have heard of him. Neel Kashkari worked in the Dept. of Treasury under George W. Bush and stayed on to manage the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) during the early period of the Obama administration. Following his time in Washington, he came to California and took a job with fixed income manager PIMCO. His major challenge is lack of roots in California--he first lived here in 2009 after DC. He spent some time in Nevada County before a divorce, after which he moved to Orange County, where he now lives with his dogs Winslow and Newsome (look out Sutter!).
Kashkari provides a fresh, libertarian face. He signed an amicus brief in support of same-sex marriage in the Perry v. Hollingsworth case. In a top-two situtation, he might be able to pull enough independent and moderate GOP votes to earn a spot on the general election ballot. But, is it worth being a sacrificial lamb in 2014 for the GOP as part of a long-term rebuild plan and would the party give him a future chance even if he loses by 10 points or more?
That depends. GOP leaders want neither Tim Donnelly nor Abel Maldonado on the ballot, particularly because they want the focus on economic rather than social issues, and Maldonado's campaign against realignment has been undermined by Brown's game of hardball with the federal courts on prisons.
They very much want a fresh face and, in particular, one who can open the pocketbooks of currently reluctant donors. Kashkari may be able to do that, particularly of business interests that know Jerry Brown will win reelection but see Kashkari as contributing to the debate and keeping Brown in the middle. First-generation Kashkari, whose parents are from India and is a Hindu, would provide a sharp contrast and likely could make significant inroads in Silicon Valley. Further, as we have seen with former congressional candidate Ricky Gill and CD17 candidate Ro Khanna--there is lots of South Asian political money out there and Kashkari has to be seen as part of the same generation of emerging Indo-American political leaders as Gill and Khanna.
Kashkari has a non-campaign campaign website, where his enormous dogs get major play.
POT: Obama administration to allow recreational marijuana laws to stand [David G. Savage @ LAT] - "The Justice Department said it will not seek to veto new state laws in Colorado and Washington that legalize the recreational use of marijuana, and it will not bring federal prosecutions against dispensaries or businesses that sell small amounts of marijuana to adults."
TAXES: Married gay couples win U.S. marriage tax benefits nationwide [Kevin Drawbaugh and Kim Dixon @ Reuters] - "All legally wed gay couples, no matter which state they live in, are entitled to the same U.S. federal tax benefits as married heterosexual couples, the Obama administration said on Thursday."
BAGS: Local lawmakers doing wrong by the L.A. River [Daniel Martinez @ LADN]
THE LBC: Will Bonnie Lowenthal run for Long Beach mayor? [Eric Bradley @ LBPT] - "In between fulfilling her duties in Sacramento, powerhouse politician Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal is busy making the rounds on her home turf, gathering endorsements to drop at the start of a possible, and seemingly imminent, campaign for mayor of Los Angeles County’s second largest city."
$$$: The OCR's Martin Wisckol and Morgan Cook have been unraveling Orange County political action committees, yesterday looking into the county employees union and today into the California Homeowners Association PAC.
SANDY EGGO: Carl DeMaio will announce on Tuesday whether he's running for mayor or congress. The reaction may be something like this.
TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
Jerry Brown: How The California Governor Turned Around The Golden State
As wind turbines spin like massive, inverted egg-beater blades against the bluest California sky, Jerry Brown steps into the sun. Since he took office in 2011, Brown's hawklike brow has been cemented in a scowl as he battled to stave off bankruptcy for the Golden State. But as he high-steps to the microphone today, the 75-year-old governor is loose and smiling. Soon he's riffing about his first stint in Sacramento in the 1970s as "Governor Moonbeam," joking of the nickname, "I earned it with a lot of hard work!"
Jerry Brown Outlines Prison Plan For Federal Judges
David Siders @ blogs.sacbee.com
Two days after Gov. Jerry Brown proposed moving thousands of prisoners to local facilities and out of state to comply with a court order to reduce California's prison population, the administration outlined the plan in a court filing this evening but suggested it is still preparing for potential inmate releases if the plan fails in the Legislature.
Contest For State Senate Leader Heats Up, But Steinberg Cools It Down
Patrick McGreevy @ latimes.com
SACRAMENTO -- The contest over who will succeed Darrell Steinberg as president pro tem of the California Senate heated up in the last week, with Democratic Sens. Kevin de Leon of Los Angeles and Mark DeSaulnier of Concord each making appeals to colleagues for votes.
Steinberg Pushes Bill To Help Sacramento Arena Project
A bill hastening the environmental review process for the planned downtown Kings arena would forestall the threat of lawsuits while keeping to a tight NBA-imposed deadline, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said on Friday.
Is Jerry Brown's Obstinancy A Big Hurdle In Prison Battle
Dan Walters @ sacbee.com
Darrell Steinberg, the state Senate's top leader, is offering Gov. Jerry Brown a way to salvage something positive from his otherwise losing fight over prisons. But will Brown take it? Tom Hayden, the politician/journalist who protected Brown's left flank when he was paddling his political canoe to the right three-plus decades ago, points out in a new Rolling Stone article about Brown that the governor tends to become very stubborn when he's wrong on an issue.
Gov. Jerry Brown's Prison Plan Clears Assembly Committee
Patrick McGreevy @ latimes.com
If approved by the Assembly, plan to transfer inmates to other facilities would be headed for a showdown with Senate Democrats.
Podcast: I Hear The Train A' Comin'...
John Myers @ news10.net
There are several noteworthy issues confronting the Legislature before it recesses for the year in two weeks time. But none are hurtling down the track with as much force, and potential for real impact, like the saga of California's prisons.
State Assembly Panel Approves $315 Million To Reduce Prison Crowding
Patrick McGreevy @ latimes.com
SACRAMENTO -- A California Assembly panel on Thursday approved Gov. Jerry Brown ’s request for an additional $315 million to move inmates from state prisons to alternative housing so the state can comply with a court order to reduce overcrowding.
Jerry Brown Enjoying Flattery From Afar
David Siders @ blogs.sacbee.com
The national press has been so good to Gov. Jerry Brown lately it was hardly surprising to see this headline above a profile in Rolling Stone: "Jerry Brown's Tough-Love California Miracle: The 75-year-old governor rescued the Golden State from financial ruin - and is reshaping a national progressive agenda."
Feinstein Says Congress Need Not Vote On Syria | Time.com
Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Diane Feinstein spoke to TIME about the ongoing situation in Syria. She said it was important to wait and see what the United Nationâs inspections yield. That team is expected to leave Syria on Saturday. Speaking before the British vote to not participate in any hostilities in Syria, she expressed confidence that Britain would come around. She also said that President Obama has performed adequate consultations with Congress to move forward in Syria, should he chose to do so.
Opposition Arises To Naming Bay Bridge Span For Willie Brown
Legislation that would name the western span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge for former Assembly Speaker and San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown sailed through the Assembly on a 68-0 vote.
The Ca Gop's Conundrum :: Fox&hounds
There’s an internal debate within the California Republican Party about where to dedicate resources in 2014. Some believe that it’s essential for the party to compete in the gubernatorial race, even though Jerry Brown’s reelection is essentially signed, sealed and delivered. Others argue that it’s hopeless and the party’s limited resources should be spent in races that reduce the Democratic Party’s dominance in the legislature, with the goal of eliminating the Dem’s supermajority in both houses.
Gay Marriages To Be Treated Equally By Irs
Alexei Koseff @ latimes.com
Legally married same-sex couples will be treated as such for federal tax purposes regardless of where they live, the IRS and Treasury Department have announced.
Senate leader takes over with Brown, Newsom gone
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg is California's acting governor, with the state's two top chief executives out of state over the holiday weekend.
Limo fire: State limo safety legislation faces key vote
Joshua Melvin @ mercurynews.com
State Sen. Jerry Hill's proposed law to toughen limo safety rules, SB 338, is up for a vote before the Assembly Appropriations Committee, which could stop the bill cold.
California GOP Violated Campaign Finance Rules, Watchdog Says
The California Republican Party violated state campaign finance rules, the state¿s ethics agency has concluded.
Rep. Luis Gutierrez Frustrated Over Immigration's Pace
Ian Swanson @ thehill.com
The frustration is evident in Rep. Luis GutiÃ©rrezâs voice. GutiÃ©rrez and other immigration advocates viewed the November reelection of President Obama as a clear referendum for comprehensive reform, and the issue quickly became Obamaâs top domestic priority.
New, Contentious Darrell Steinberg Bill To Give Special Treatment To Kings Arena - Page Burner - August 29, 2013 - Blogs
VIDEO: California previews ad campaign to promote health insurance
Christopher Cadelago @ blogs.sacbee.com
California previewed its much-anticipated health-care advertising campaign Thursday, less than a month before the state launches a new insurance marketplace under the federal health care law.
Few California Schools Hit Proficiency Goals - Sfgate
Across California, just 14 percent of schools made it to the 2013 mile marker under the law, which called for 89 percent of students to have grade-level skills in language arts and math, according to state results released Thursday. While most schools failed to reach the lofty federal goal, many have showed great improvement over the past several years, boosting test scores and graduation rates, something not acknowledged under No Child Left Behind, he said. Schools receiving federal Title I funds for low-income students have been subject to sanctions for not meeting the federal targets. The index offers a more comprehensive indication of whether a school, district, county or the state overall is improving or lagging, based primarily on standardized test scores. "Despite the very real challenges of deep budget cuts and the ongoing effort to shift to new, more demanding academic standards, our schools persevered and students made progress," Torlakson said.
20 California Community Colleges Face Accreditation Problems, Chancellor Says
Ron Leuty @ bizjournals.com
As many as 20 California community colleges face some sort of accreditation challenge, California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice Harris said Thursday.