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THE NOONER for September 4, 2013

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  • CD07 (East Sacto): updated analysis
  • CD36 (Coachella Valley): updated analysis
  • CD52 (San Diego North): updated analysis
  • AD36 (Antelope Valley): Added businessman Lou Gonzalez (R)

NOONER SUBSCRIBERS can download a spreadsheet of all candidates,
with district geography, analysis, and outlook.


It's before dawn here on the porch of the Nooner's branch in Quintana Roo, and aside from the glow of my MacBook's screen, the only other light is coming from a beautiful lightening storm across the water. 

NOOOOOOOOOOOO: The Broiler and Gallagher's are closed. Just last week, I had lunch there with Aaron McLear and I was telling the Ohioan turned Californian about the days when the Broiler was a smoke-stained dive on Jay Street. The downfall began when they took the blackened catfish entree off the menu. [h/t Capitol Morning Report]

#WINNERS: Republicans beat Democrats 4-2 in last night's legislative softball game at Raley Field.

LEADERSHIP: The rumor of Holly Mitchell as a Pro Tem candidate definitely has legs, although some see her as a caretaker between when Darrell Steinberg steps down and when Bob Hertzberg makes a move to take the gavel. Mitchell would be the first woman and first African-American to be pro tempore of the State Senate. Of course, Merv Dymally was the president of the State Senate when he was Lite Gov, and thus the first African-American leader of the upper house.  

The only Northern California name in the mix is Mark DeSaulnier, and it's likely that the twenty-year chain of pro tems from north of the Grapevine will come to an end.

SANDY EGGO: Carl DeMaio yesterday pulled a fast one on Politico, announcing that he was passing up a mayoral bid to stay in the race for CD52. Also taking a pass yesterday were interim mayor Todd Gloria and county supe Ron Roberts. The UTSD gushes "Simply stated, DeMaio put his community before self and should be sincerely congratulated."

Does anyone want to run America's finest city? Of course.

Seeing an opportunity, former city attorney Mike Aguirre jumped in yesterday, on the same day Nathan Fletcher made his bid official. Councilmember Kevin Faulconer is expected to join the race today. Prior to yesterday, Faulconer was seen as carrying the conservative banner in either the mayoral or congressional race, depending on DeMaio's decision.

Well, now that we know DeMaio will stay put in the CD52 race, it's time to revisit our Top 5 congressional races to watch. David Valadao's CD21 (previously #5) has been dropped for want of a Democrat, and Buck McKeon's CD25 has been added. And, yes, #5 was a tough decision between CD25 and CD07 (Ami Bera), but I find the CD25 politics more interesting.

#5 - CD25 (Santa Clarita)
Incumbent: Buck McKeon (R)
Most Likely Challenger: Likely open seat
Thoughts: Buck McKeon is widely expected to retire in this cycle, although the announcement will be on his own schedule. McKeon's favored successor is Tony Strickland, and unified against him and Strickland are a coalition of politicians that want to block Strickland, who is currently raising money for a CD27 bid against Julia Brownley. The coalition include former Assemblymember Cameron Smyth, Assemblymember Scott Wilk (who defeated McKeon's wife Patricia), and George and Sharon Runner. It's widely expected that Smyth will be the designated challenger to a Strickland run.

While perhaps not in the 2014 mid-term, this is likely to be a competitive seat sometime this decade. With increasing numbers of Los Angeles emigrants and a growing number of citizen Latinos reaching voting age, the Republilcan party's 3.6% voter registration advantage is quickly disappearing. As we saw in AD36, this span of solid GOP territory stretching from Ventura through Antelope Valley to the Nevada border is becoming much more purple and may be the best regional example of the challenge for the state Republican party.

#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. As Hernandez learned, jobs matter more than la raza.

While Hernandez has been reported to be considering a second run, 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. To defeat Denham in an off-cycle, Eggman has to wrap the "do-nothing Congress" label around Denham's neck and tie the lack of economic progress in the district to failures of Congress. That's a tough row to hoe, but it's the only play in this politically skeptical district.

#3 - CD31 (San Bernardino)
Incumbent: Gary Miller (R)
Most Likely Challenger: Pete Aguilar (D), Joe Baca (D), or Eloise Gomez Reyes (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. Add attorney and the lone female in a race with four men and its anybody's guess who will capture the second spot in top-two.

Gary Miller, meanwhile, will be able to raise and save money for November. Miller starts with $574,000 on hand. 

#2 - 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.

#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 fiscally conservative libertarian gay Republican, and Peters and the DCCC will have their hands full.

CD07: Former Rep. Doug Ose to seek Democrat's congressional seat [Jean Merl @ LAT]

AD36: From a tipster: "The Mayor of Lancaster, the richest and most powerful man in AD36, R. Rex Parris (R) just bought a new corvette from [likely Assembly candidate] Lou Gonzelez about a month ago--courting him?"

ALL POLITICS IS LOCAL: California Republicans thrive at the local level [Mark Z. Barabak @ LAT] - "Despite the Democrats' sizable statewide registration advantage, Republicans hold close to half the 2,500 mayoral and city council seats in California, according to figures compiled by GrassrootsLab, a Sacramento research and political data firm."

$$$: Following Prop. 30’s Trail to Nevada [Joel Fox @ F&H]

MOTHERFRACKER: Legislature Should Not Stand in the Way of California’s Second Gold Rush [Assemblymember Melissa Melendez @ F&H]

WHAT ABOUT HOTEL MAIDS? Leaving a Tip: A Custom in Need of Changing? [Pete Wells @ NYT - h/t Mike Allen's Playbook]

WTF? Politico adds an $83/year paywall. Makes The Nooner a steal at $29.99.


#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Assemblymember Bill Quirk and LAT writer Anthony York.

FAREWELL: LeFrancis Arnold, past president of the California Association of Realtors and 2012 candidate for Assembly, died Monday of a heart attack.

That's it. The thunderstorms have moved to create a band across the horizon that is bright orange as the sun emerges from the sea. Have a beautiful day and, whatever you're working on, remember that life is bigger than it. 



Public Retirement Seminar

Join your colleagues from around the state for a day of in-depth discussion on current and future issues facing public retirement in California at the 23rd Annual Northern California Public Retirement Seminar.

September 26, 2013 - 9AM-4PM - Registration: 8AM; CalPERS Auditorium (400 Q Street, Sacramento)

Keynote Speaker: Assembly Member Rob Bonta, Chair of the Assembly Public Employees, Retirement, and Social Security committee

Registration Fee: $190.00 - includes breakfast & lunch and seminar materials.

Register online or contact us directly @ 916-341-0848

Seminar registration:

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  • Asian Bar Association of Sacramento is hosting its annual awards dinner on September 25. West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon will emcee, and the keynote speaker will be Mia Frances Yamamoto. Honorees are Judge Anthony Ishii and former capitol staff member Gloria Ochoa. Reserve your spot today at
  • Redwood Pacific (formerly Goddard Claussen) seeking Account Executive/Senior Account Executive for public affairs + ballot campaigns. Exceptional writing skills essential. Experience in campaigns helpful. Competitive salary, excellent benefits. Email resume to
  • Join Capitol Network – Don’t miss the 25th Annual Capitol Network Golf Tournament on October 14 at El Macero Country Club. Sponsorship opportunities are available. For more details go to or email
  • Capitol Network's 2013 grant application process is now open. Applications from qualified organizations will be considered for grants of up to $5,000. Four to six grants are awarded each year. Over a quarter of a million dollars have been awarded to California charities providing services to women and children in need. Applications and details at Or contact Keri Bailey,, or Kara Bush,


ADD YOUR CLASSIFIED: e-mail Scott to add your up to 5 line classified ad for $25/week
to reach the Nooner's more than 7,000 readers.




Senate Sends Jerry Brown Bill To Outlaw Ticket-buying 'Bots'
Patrick McGreevy @
The state Senate voted Tuesday to outlaw the use of ticket-buying software to buy large blocks of tickets to concerts and sporting events so they can be scalped at exorbitant prices before the general public can place an order.

Early Education Advocates Seek More Support From Governor
Lillian Mongeau @
Gov. Jerry Brown has been lauded for major reforms that are restoring K-12 schools to fiscal health, but advocates say he hasn’t made anywhere near the same kind of commitment to funding education for children before they enter kindergarten.

Prisons Pivotal In Crunch Time At The Capitol
Dan Walters @
Things are getting a little crunchy in the state Capitol.

California Lawmakers From Right And Left Join In Opposing A Federal Law
Assemblyman Tim Donnelly , a self-described tea party conservative, got the dramatic response he was looking for when he joined forces with one of the most liberal members of the Legislature to make a point on the state of civil liberties in the United States.

California Immigrant's Law License Bid Appears In Doubt
During more than an hour of arguments Wednesday, each of the court's seven justices indicated that a nearly 20-year-old federal immigration law blocks them from permitting illegal imigrants to become licensed California lawyers, even if they've passed the State Bar and are in the process of seeking citizenship.

Legislative analyst says Brown's prison plan just short-term
Dan Walters @
Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to relieve state prison overcrowding may comply with federal court orders in the short run, but not in the long run, the Legislature's budget analyst said in an

Jerry Brown Offers History Lesson On California Wine
Anthony York @
Gov. Jerry Brown dug deep into state vinicultural history for his two-page treatise declaring September to be California Wine Month.

Assembly Passes Bill Giving Cities Right To Reject Mobile Home Park Conversions
Timm Herdt @
The Assembly on Tuesday passed a bill clarifying the authority of cities and counties to deny proposals to convert a park to condominium-style ownership if that is not the desire of residents.

Last-minute Bill Would Exempt Transit Workers From New Pension Rules
SACRAMENTO -- Thousands of employees of public transit agencies around the state would be exempt from stricter pension requirements under an eleventh-hour proposal expected to move through the Legislature next week with the blessing of Gov. Jerry Brown .

California Prisons To Allow Inmates To Marry Same-sex Partners
Melody Gutierrez @
California inmates are eligible to marry non-incarcerated partners of the same sex, according to a California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation memo addressing questions arising from a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning Proposition 8.

San Bernardino Bankruptcy Ruling Is A Blow To CalPERS
Dale Kasler @
Over objections from CalPERS, a judge last week declared that the city of San Bernardino is eligible for bankruptcy, paving the way for a historic showdown over the sanctity of public employee pensions.

California Food Stamp Eligibility Bill Clears Legislative Hurdle |
A bill that would simplify eligibility for California's food stamp program passed a legislative floor vote on Tuesday. The bill would expand the rate of food stamp program participation in California, which has America's lowest rate.

5 Vacancies On UC Board Of Regents Go Unfilled Under Gov. Jerry Brown
Larry Gordon @
Three of the seats on the panel overseeing the 10-campus system have been vacant for at least a year and a half.

California Lawmakers Target Boy Scouts' Tax-Exempt Status
Scott Detrow @
Beginning next year, the Boy Scouts of America will allow openly gay youth to join as members. But the policy change doesn't go far enough for Democratic lawmakers in California. They're on the verge of passing a bill that would strip tax breaks for the Boy Scouts and any other group that discriminates against gay, lesbian or transgender members.

Siskiyou County Votes To Pursue Secession From California
It's the Golden State's latest version of the Great Secession.

Calif. bill would allow for multiple legal parents
California would become the fifth state to allow judges to declare a child has more than two legal parents under legislation that passed the Assembly on Tuesday and is bound for the governor's office.

Three Possible Candidates Stay Out Of Race For San Diego Mayor
Tony Perry @
SAN DIEGO -- Three potential candidates for San Diego mayor said thanks but no thanks Tuesday, announcing that they will not run to succeed Bob Filner .

Bay Bridge bike path in works
With the east span finally open, planners are already at work on the next mega-Bay Bridge project - a $1 billion-plus makeover of the western span that would include a $500 million hanging bike path. For starters, an MTC feasibility study found bike lanes would be needed on both sides to keep the bridge's weight balanced. Redoing the western side to include the bike path would probably mean "putting something in front of the voters," - like a "temporary" $1 hike in bridge tolls, said MTC spokesman Randy Rentschler. After riding across the bridge with a motorcycle escort (and slowing down long enough to videotape the crossing for his kids), Newsom had to take a last-minute tutorial on how to use the welding torch to cut the chain marking the bridge's opening. The Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates online survey of 573 residents in the three cities found 60 percent found the mobile ride services a good alternative to other modes of transportation, compared with 44 percent who described taxies as a good alternative. Thursday the state Public Utilities Commission will consider new rules allowing ride-sharing companies to be treated just like any other limo service, including when it comes to safety, insurance and other regulations. Alfred LaGasse, CEO of the national Taxicab, Limousine and Paratransit Association, which opposes the new competition, questioned the accuracy of the poll - but said the real choice for riders is "between unsafe, unlicensed and unscreened transportation providers versus service with licensed drivers who have a proper criminal background check done by the police department and a publicly inspected vehicle."

Timm Herdt: Brown Should Holster His Lightsaber
Timm Herdt @
If "moonbeam" was the light source most associated with Gov. Jerry Brown’s first go-round as California’s chief executive, the hallmark of his 21st century governorship has been something entirely different: a laser beam.

Will CA Assembly GOP Caucus Block Justice for Sexual Abuse Victims?
Just two Republican legislators have supported SB 131, a bill to support victims of sexual abuse.

Role Reversal
Republican lawmakers rallied from a two-run deficit to win a charity game 4-2 against their Democratic counterparts on Wednesday night.