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THE NOONER for September 5, 2013

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  • SD28 (Coachella Valley): Added Philip Drucker (D)

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HAPPY NEW YEAR -- 5774 will be a great one, and you can start that diet again.

PRISONS: The split between Governor Brown and Senate Democrats on how to handle the federal court's prison overcrowding order was evident with a terse press release from Brown following Senate Budget's passage of the plan favored by Darrell Steinberg:

"The plan approved by the Senate Budget Committee is an inmate release plan by another name, totally dependent on an illusory legal settlement.

I will not turn over our criminal justice system to lawyers who operate at the behest of their inmate clients, and not the people, whose interests we are sworn to uphold. Moreover, the plan adds huge burdens to local government, which threaten to undo the remarkable progress we've made in realignment."

Yesterday, the LAO released a good explainer on the different plans, and finds holes in both. The Senate's plan is in AB 84.

CONTROL-Z: Gov. Brown plan exempts transportation workers from pension limits [Anthony York @ LAT] - "The governor's proposal, in response to a federal threat to withhold transit money, would keep $4.3 billion in funds flowing while the state files legal action to determine whether the new public-pension law applies to the workers."

GOVERNOR DONNELLY? The Sikiyou County board of supervisors on Tuesday voted 4-1 to secede from California. The county of 44,507 spans from Mount Shasta to the Oregon border, in between Lassen County to the east and Humboldt and Del Norte to the west. 

The effort is not a new one, as there is a long history of counties in southern Oregon and northern California talking about secession to form the State of Jefferson. The History Channel's "How the States Got Their Shapes" series featured a segment on the effort, which was most serious leading up to World War II and arguably was shelved because of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

The modern frustration is mostly about water and the ongoing Klamath River water fights and the fire protection fee, although there are plenty of other frustrations about the cultural gap between the largely rural county and decisions made in Sacramento. And, if you think you live in Northern California because you work in 95814, you would be decidedly wrong in the perspective of these "true" northerners.

Meanwhile, Siskiyou County's most familiar landmark is no longer there as it was too frequently stolen. 

BARRED FROM THE BAR? Yesterday, the California Supreme Court heard arguments in the case of Sergio Garcia, a graduate of Cal Northern School of Law in Chico who passed the bar exam, but whose membership is in limbo because he has resided in the country illegally. While legal residency or citizenship is not a requirement for membership in the California State Bar, there is a federal law that prohibits states from granting professional licenses to individuals residing in the United States illegally. California Attorney General Kamala Harris argues that this was not meant to include law licenses, which are granted by courts rather than administrative agencies, but the Obama administration has taken the opposite view. 

Assemblymember Luis Alejo (D-Watsonville) promised to introduce legislation directing the California Supreme Court to grant admission, although it's unclear how that would jibe with the federal prohibition. (Side note: Alejo was president of La Raza Law Students at UC Davis while I was Law Student Association president.)

CD07 (East Sacto): Tom McClintock's chief of staff Igor Birman will announce his congressional bid against Ami Bera today. Birman, whose family emigrated from Russia in 1994, joins Elizabeth Emken and Doug Ose in the race, and is seeking support as the "true" conservative. Of course, House Republican leadership are more interested in Ose, who can self-finance. Birman's announcement, which tells his personal story, is on FlashReport.

THE LBC: Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal will announce her candidacy for mayor of Long Beach today.

SANDY EGGO: Former Assemblymember Lori Saldana is guaging support for a possible mayoral bid, citing that the 20 announced candidates are all men.

AD62: Yvonne Burke’s daughter is following her mother into LA politics [Frank Stoltze @ KPCC]

AT 50: Continuing the March Towards Freedom [Assembly Access]

PLAYBOOK: Morning becomes political for Mike Allen [Matthew Fleming @ OCR]

$$$: Orange County home prices rise 23% in July [Jeff Collins @ OCR]

EXPORT: Knott's ride failed to meet state rules [Sarah Tully @ OCR] - "Knott's Berry Farm never made all of the safety changes required to reopen the troubled Windseeker ride, so the theme park's owner decided to move the attraction out of town."




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,


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The State Workers: Jerry Brown backs bill to let transit workers sidestep pension law
Jon Ortiz @
A billion-dollar stare down with federal officials ended this morning with an announcement that Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed legislation to exempt roughly 20,000 mass transit employees from California's new pension law.

State Senate Panel Endorses Alternative To Gov. Brown's Prison Plan
Patrick McGreevy @
SACRAMENTO --A state Senate panel Wednesday approved a plan to reduce prison crowding by spending more on rehabilitation and mental illness and drug treatment. The Senate Budget Committee's action sets the stage for a possible showdown with a competing proposal by Gov. Jerry Brown to find alternative housing for inmates.

Feisty Siskiyou County votes to secede from state
In a 4-1 vote that revitalized a regional secession movement that supporters hope will one day lead to creation of the new State of Jefferson, county supervisors approved a declaration that called for a break-away from the Golden State. Far from a symbolic ploy, the secessionists hope their bold gesture will inspire supervisors in neighboring counties to take a stand, follow suit, and join the cause. For Criss and others who'd like to see a new regional government that prioritizes the needs of residents who live along both sides of the Oregon border, talk about statehood has rolled through the hills since 1941, when five sparsely-populated counties declared themselves the State of Jefferson. Post-war reconstruction - paved roads, improved civic services, and a booming timber industry - all managed to diffuse tension. Residents still feel overlooked and undercut by state politicians, who they say put more stock in big-city projects and the concerns of environmental litigants, rather than the needs of rural folks. After the declaration gets read into the record on the senate floor in Sacramento, two-thirds of the legislators would need to approve the proposal.

Dianne Feinstein Supports Fracking Regulation Bill
Josh Richman @
U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein on Wednesday endorsed a controversial state bill that would regulate but allow “fracking” and another new means of extracting oil and gas.

Senate panel criticizes governor's prison plan
Democratic state senators are criticizing a plan by Gov. Jerry Brown to rent thousands of private prison and county jail cells to meet a federal court order to greatly reduce California's prison population.

Darrell Steinberg Says He's Willing To Spend Some On Prison Beds
Laurel Rosenhall @
Senate leader Darrell Steinberg signaled willingness to compromise Wednesday on plans for reducing California prison overcrowding as Gov. Jerry Brown continued to criticize his fellow Democrat's approach.

California mass-transit workers get pension reprieve
Jon Ortiz @
Federal officials cut off $54 million for Sacramento Regional Transit on Wednesday, prompting Gov. Jerry Brown to announce a pension-law compromise intended to keep the money flowing to transit agencies on the verge of losing grant funds.

Legislation would protect Calif. transit money
Gov. Jerry Brown and Democrats in the state Assembly announced Wednesday that they have drafted legislation they hope will help California keep about $1.6 billion in federal transportation money that was put in jeopardy after the state scaled back some public employee pension benefits.

BART, union both poll poorly in war of numbers
The prospect of a second BART strike has thrust both the transit system's labor unions and management into the heat of the public spotlight - and judging from the public's reaction, neither side looks good. BART set the stage when it emphasized that the average line worker salary is $76,100 a year and that employees pay only $92 a month for health insurance. Union leaders say they never expected to get such a raise - but by the time they realized their PR error, the numbers were firmly in the public's mind. Newsom and Daly's friendly chat would have been unthinkable in 2007, when Daly accused Newsom of slashing substance-abuse treatment funds for poor people while he "artfully dodges every question about allegations of his own cocaine use." [...] just how did former Alameda County Superior Court Judge Paul Seeman avoid prison time after pleading no contest to felony elder abuse and perjury charges for swindling a 97-year-old neighbor out of her life savings? Courthouse insiders tell us prosecutors had a strong case and could have pressed for a trial - but, unlike a murder or robbery, this was a complex matter involving lots of paperwork that could have dragged on forever. [...] although Seeman won't be facing prison time, he has been stripped of his bench job, barred from practicing law in California and has paid nearly $300,000 in restitution to the victim's estate.

Bill Clinton offers case for Obamacare: "We've gotta do this"
Maeve Reston @
Opening a new phase of the White House campaign to sell the public on the nation's new healthcare program, former President Bill Clinton sought to clear up confusion about it Wednesday and called on the law’s opponents to help smooth its implementation for the good of their constituents.

Yosemite Rim Fire Definitely Not Caused By Marijuana Grow; Mystery Remains
Mike Rosenberg @
U.S. Forest Service investigators took the unusual step of disclosing they had ruled out illegal weed farmers as the potential cause after the top fire official of a town that had been in the path of the Rim Fire said in a video posted on YouTube that it was "highly suspected" a marijuana grow might be to blame.

A Third Republican Decides To Take On Democratic Rep. Ami Bera
Jean Merl @
The 7th Congressional District, which includes the suburbs east of Sacramento, is nearly evenly divided in registration between Democrats and Republicans. Bera unseated longtime Republican Rep. Dan Lungren last year after unsuccessfully challenging him in 2010.

Union Deal On Downtown Sacramento Arena Prompts Protest
Dale Kasler and Ryan Lillis @
Kevin Dayton speaks out against the arena labor agreement announced Wednesday at Downtown Plaza as Mayor Kevin Johnson's press secretary, Ben Sosenko, reaches to take away the microphone.

» Slashing Racist Crack Sentences Has Already Saved 16k Prison Years And Half A Billion Dollars
clicking and submitting a comment I acknowledge the @
In 2010, Congress mitigated a blight on the U.S. justice system by reducing a racist drug sentencing disparity. Before the passage of the Fair Sentencing Act, crack offenses, which disproportionately ensnare African Americans, carried mandatory minimum sentences that were 100 times those for powder cocaine sentences, which are more often doled out to whites. In the compromise measure, Congress reduced that disparity to 18 to 1. While the law initially applied only to future sentences, the U.S. Sentencing Commission opted a year later to apply the new law to sentences retroactively.

Gov. Brown plan exempts transportation workers from pension limits
Anthony York @
Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal comes in response to a federal threat to withhold transit money from California.

Sacramento Walmart Workers To Be Part Of National Protests
Mark Glover @
Organizers said hundreds of Sacramento-area Walmart employees and their supporters will be part of nationwide protests held Thursday by Walmart workers seeking better jobs and higher wages.

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

Time Is Running Out For Sensible Action On Fracking Regulations
George Skelton @
With an oil boom in the making, California's hydraulic fracturing regulations are among the weakest in the U.S.

Senate panel backs U.S. strike on Syria
Paul Richter, Michael A. Memoli and Kathleen Hennessey @
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee votes 10 to 7 to authorize a punitive missile attack. The House appears far more reluctant.

Assembly passes bill to allow sex-abuse lawsuits
The state Assembly has approved legislation that would open a one-year window for some victims of childhood sexual abuse to sue private or nonprofit organizations.

L.A. City Council Members, Activists Call For Ban On 'Fracking'
Catherine Saillant @
The environmental risks of 'fracking, or fracturing underground rock formations to reach oil reserves, are too great and should be banned, two Los Angeles City Council members said Wednesday. Oil companies in recent years have used fracking in the Inglewood Oil Field, located between Baldwin Hills and Century City, to extract hard-to-reach oil from idled wells. The technique involves injecting water mixed with chemicals into wells to fracture shale formations that cover pockets of oil. Opponents contend, however, that it is hazardous to the water supply.

Viewpoints: Governor’s plan on prisons protects the progress of realignment
Linda Penner @
Senate Bill 105 is an emergency measure to deal with the federal order on prison overcrowding without jeopardizing realignment or public safety.

California Lawmaker Doug Lamalfa's Aide: Yes On Secession
Elizabeth Titus @
An aide to Rep. Doug LaMalfa said that she and fellow staffers favored a proposal for a county in the California Republican’s district to secede from the state, according to local media.