Around The Capitol

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THE NOONER for September 16, 2013

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  • AD01 (Northeast California): removed attorney Lathe Gill (D)

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


Below the jump, you'll find the link to the Legislators of the Year contest. Sorry about the link error for some of you. That problem should be fixed. Voting remains open through Friday.

Good morning from SFO, where I'll be boarding a flight shortly to New York City for a summit on online education, and then I'll be heading down to DC on Wednesday. Long week ahead, but I'll still try to squeeze out some Nooner juicyness.

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AD45: Tomorrow is decision day in the San Fernando Valley, where voters will go to the polls to select the top two candidates to succeed Bob Blumenfield, who is now on the LA City Council. Voters will be choosing among 11 candidates, including 8 Democrats, 2 Republicans and 1 independent.

The first question of course is whether a Republican can place in the top two tomorrow to essentially end the election in the safe Democratic seat, or whether there will be a runoff among two of the high-profile Democrats. As of February, 25.4% of the registered voters in AD45 were registered Republican, with 48.9% registered Democrat. In November 2012, Obama picked up about two-thirds of the independent voters and Romney picked up about one-third. While political science class would guide us toward a more conservative electorate in a September special, I wouldn't predict that for this race, because of the number of candidates and money spent on the Democratic side relative to the Republican side.

The absentee ballots that have been returned suggest a similar overall makeup of the voters, with a split of 56% DEMPLUS, 35% REPPLUS, and 10% other, according to Political Data Inc.

Republicans are split, with Susan Shelley carrying the social moderate but tax-crusader banner and Chris Kolski being the social conservative. If one of them gets two-thirds of the Republican-leaning vote, it is very likely that the candidate would place #2. And, if I were to bet, it would be Shelley, although whether or not she gets #2 is difficult to predict.

On the Democratic side, the field is spread wide, and it's more about political camps than significant ideological differences. In particular, there are significant remnants of the Berman v. Sherman fight last year, and interest groups have stepped in with lots of independent expenditures. The top tier of candidates include Damian Carroll, Matt Dababneh, Jeff Ebenstein, and Andra Hoffman.

Carroll, who works for councilmember Paul Krekorian, picked up the endorsement of the Democratic Party of San Fernando Valley, while Dababneh, district director for Brad Sherman, picked up that of the California Democratic Party. I wrote about the party and club endorsement on August 7. Hoffman, a political science faculty member and government relations professional, has the endorsement of Bob Blumenfield. Berman, now a DC-based lobbyist, has stayed out of the race, although many of his allies have endorsed Hoffman.

If you're looking for the "education candidate," pick one. Carroll has the support of the California Teachers Association and UTLA, while Hoffman has the California Federation of Teachers and several community college organizations. Ebenstein has an edge on environmental organization.

In the IE world, the Alliance for Better California has invested in Hoffman, JobsPAC has put its money behind Dababneh.

The Alliance's most recent funding came from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, California Independent Petroleum Associaiton, California State Pipe Trades Council, Diversity PAC and California Personal Insurance Federation. Diversity PAC's most recent money is from Insurance Agents and Brokers Association and Professional Engineers in CA Government. Diversity PAC also has provided $10,000 to Women: Organized to Win California, which spent $21,613 in a mailer for Hoffman.

JobsPAC's most recent money came from Safeway, Philip Morris, Farmers Insurance, and Sempra Energy. 

As of the latest data from PDI, we're seeing a low turnout dominated by old, white voters. Only 15% of permanent absentee voters have cast ballots, which is only 5% of the total number of voters. Voters over the age of 65 account for 48% of ballots turned in, even though they are only 20% of those registered in the district! White voters account for 80% of the returned ballots, compared to 68% of overall voters. Turnout among absentees is pretty consistent across the district in line with registration.

There are lots of camps in this race, and they would be happy to spin a scenario. However, from the independent perspective--and I've talked to several--this is a totally unpredictable race. It's unpredictable whether two Dems emerge tomorrow, whether it's Dem-Rep (and thus essentially over), and certainly who fits in whichever position. I have my suspicions, but let's just wait to see who turns out tomorrow and how they vote.

SD26: Also up tomorrow is the election to succeed Curren Price, who also moved on to the LA City Council. With only Assemblymember Holly Mitchell and frequent candidate Mervin Evans on the ballot, the election will be decided tomorrow and Mitchell is a heavy favorite.

The AD52 runoff is next Tuesday. 

DOUBLE X FACTOR: Not the Year of the Woman [Susan Estrich]

JUST GETTIN' WEIRD: BOE candidate Diane Harkey has now sued Mark Wyland alleging defamation over the lawsuit against her husband that she has now been removed from. Also in that BOE seat, the Register's Martin Wisckol notes "Termed-out state Sen. Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana, has also opened a BOE campaign account, but it is unclear whether he plans to run. He did not return a call for comment. Republicans have a 3-point advantage in the district's voter registration. Termed-out incumbent Michelle Steel is running for Orange County supervisor."

STANISLAUS: The fighting among members of the Stanislaus County Republican Central Committee continues, and the majority just changed the bylaws to castrate the minority.

Elihu Harris event

AURAL PLEASURE: John Myers and Anthony York talk about the end of session on the Capitol Connection Podcast.


LEGISLATORS OF THE YEAR AWARDS! Now that session is over, it's time to vote on Legislators of the Year. Once again, we are taking votes for most effective legislator of each of the four caucuses, as well as "most true to party values." And, new this year, who is the legislator from each caucus that you'd most like to have a beer or espresso with?

Your vote is of course confidential and voting will be open through September 20. Only Nooner subscribers can vote, and you can only vote once. Vote now at:


#CAKEDAY: Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez, Journalistic wonderkind A.G. Block, lobbying guru Ray LeBov (Saturday), frenetic fundraiser Dan Weitzman (Sunday) [tip me off on your colleagues' birthdays]


California Businesses Work To Adapt To Health Care Law
Christopher Cadelago @
In this image made available by AARP shows Wallace Cunningham, left, AARP South Carolina Associate State Director for Multicultural Outreach presenting a workshop on the Affordable Health Care Act on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013 in Bishopville, S.C. Federal Health Officials are assuring medicare recipients that their benefits will not change when the Affordable Care Act starts. Many are confused by overlapping enrollment periods for Medicare and the Affordable Care Act.

CalSTRS Debt Soars Under New Accounting Rules | Calpensions
Neither the state nor the school districts have been including CalSTRS debt in their financial statements. The new accounting rules call for pension debt to be added to employer balance sheets.

Cal contract loss threatens lab's Richmond expansion
Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross @
After years of planning, UC Berkeley has just lost out on a highly coveted, $1.5 billion contract to build the world's most sophisticated super X-ray microscope - and that could spell trouble for the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's planned expansion to a second campus in Richmond.

Dan Walters Daily: Steinberg overreaches on CEQA
Jeremy B. White @
In the last hours of the 2013 legislative session, Dan says, we saw a rare misstep by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento.

California Lawmakers Got A Lot Done In The Last Session
George Skelton @
California's just-ended legislative session marks a turning point, with the dysfunction of the past left behind and important bills passed.

Political Memo: Finding Love in Iowa, but Maybe Not Votes
s annual steak fry fund-raiser, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. might have unofficially kicked off a third presidential campaign, but Iowans are reluctant to support a bid.

Diane Harkey Files $5 Million Lawsuit Against Fellow State Lawmaker
Asm. Diane Harkey, who routinely decries "lawsuit abuse" and "feeding trial lawyers" has filed a $5 million civil lawsuit against State Senator Mark Wyland, her opponent for the Board of Equalization.

Gov. Brown’s Influence Helps Moderate California Legislature
Mike Rosenberg and Josh Richman @
After Democrats captured two-thirds majorities in both houses of the Legislature in November — the first time it had happened in 130 years — some Californians predicted that donkeys would run wild through the Capitol and push the state much further to the left.

Municipal Bankruptcies Confront Huge Issues
Dan Walters @
As federal bankruptcy judges deal with the insolvencies of two medium-size California cities, Stockton and San Bernardino, and the huge fiscal collapse of Detroit, they are confronting an issue with almost incalculable impacts – whether public employee pensions are ordinary debts or enjoy special protections.

To stop prisons' revolving door
Lois Davis @
If California wants to reduce its prison population, it needs to address recidivism, and the best way to do this is through education and job training.

Bad Year In Sacramento For Environmental Measures
The measure would have allowed the California Coastal Commission to fine people who illegally block public access to beaches, destroy wetlands or build homes without permits -- rather than having to take them to court. But at the last minute, eight Democrats, including three from Bay Area coastal districts, reversed their earlier votes and killed the bill at the urging of developers and farm interests.

Political Blotter: Berkeley political tech startup gets new name, focus and funding
Josh Richman @
The Berkeley startup behind a popular campaign policy simulator gets a new name, a new focus and significant seed money; also, Gov. Jerry Brown signs into law three domestic-violence bills from a South Bay legislator.

More In Oakland Relying On Private Security
Will Kane @
As burglaries, home invasions, carjackings and assaults creep into Oakland neighborhoods less accustomed to crime, residents have built fences, armed alarms and installed security cameras. And now, in greater numbers, they're hiring private security patrols.

Labor And Business Each A Winner In 2013 Legislative Year
Marc Lifsher @
Labor gained a 25% increase in the minimum wage while oil companies defeated a ban on fracking and sports teams won limits on workers' comp.

House GOP pursues Latino outreach
Lisa Mascaro @
WASHINGTON – As an immigration overhaul has stalled in the Republican-controlled House, GOP leaders are pressing forward with their efforts to attract Latinos voters who abandoned the party in last year’s presidential election.

Lawrence Summers Drops Out Of Running For Fed Chief
Don Lee and Jim Puzzanghera @
Lawrence Summers ends his bid to be the next Fed chairman. Janet L. Yellen could become the first woman to lead the central bank.

Water unaffordable to some in San Joaquin Valley
A new study finds people living in poverty in California's rural San Joaquin Valley pay more than two percent of their income on tap water _ above the threshold of affordability set in a state law.

Deputy Sheriffs Get Salary Bump Before Retiring
Brad Branan @
Officer Lane, right, of the Sacramento Sheriff's department gives out stickers as the Rancho Cordova Fourth of July parade goes down Coloma road on July 4, 2013 in Rancho Cordova, Calif.

In Lake Tahoe Development Struggle, California Blinks, Nevada Wins
Julie Cart @
Fearful of Nevada's pullout from the compact, California agrees to higher density and taller structures in the region.