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THE NOONER for October 22, 2013

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Welcome Capitol Fellows! Today is the starting day for the new class of Assembly and Senate fellows, a program which my wife participated in, working for Senate Public Safety Committee and chair John Vasconcellos. Have a great year fellows, and reach out to those of us old-timers if need be.

It's dark outside and I'm departing Palm Springs shortly for Bakersfield, as I tour our great state. BART workers are back to work today after the four-day strike, although full service is not expected until this evening's commute.

Anyway, I'll be departing Raul Ruiz's CD36 shortly (which I wrote about yesterday), passing through Gary Miller's vulnerable CD31, and then entering Paul Cook's CD08. Former Assemblymember Cook beat fellow Republican Gregg Imus in the general election last November after the two emerged from a 13-candidate primary, the most crowded congressional primary in California. In this safe Republican seat, it looks unlikely that Cook will get a challenger from the right in 2014, although Tim Donnelly is rumored to be looking at the race in 2016.

As I turn off 395 onto 58 at Kramer Junction heading west toward Bakersfield, I'll enter Kevin McCarthy's CD23. I guess I never noticed that his district looks like a monster with a big mean mouth. But, that's what it would be for any candidate who tries to take on the third-ranking member in the House Republican majority. As Majority Whip, McCarthy has been a quiet team player in on most policy and strategic decisions, but finds a way not to be as leaky as Eric Cantor's shop when he disagrees with the Speaker.

On Highway 58, I will also be passing through the north half of AD36, where Democrats have the toughest row to hoe next year to defend Steve Fox against businessman Lou Gonzalez. Fox unexpectedly beat Ron Smith in 2012, who spent much of his money in the primary and polled poorly in his base of Lancaster.

TRIVIA QUESTION: What town will I pass through that shares a name with an element on the Periodic Table?


#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Mike Shimpock with SG&A Campaigns.

DEPT OF CORRECTIONS: Bruce Nestande was an Assemblymember, not a State Senator.



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California Prison Policies Under Legislative Scrutiny
Chris Megerian @
SACRAMENTO -- California lawmakers continued their review of the state's troubled prison system on Monday as Gov. Jerry Brown 's administration received more time to negotiate ways to reduce overcrowding behind bars.

Jerry Brown To Give Speech At Washington Think Tank
David Siders @
Gov. Jerry Brown, who visits Washington infrequently and typically keeps a low profile when he does, will deliver a rare speech in the nation's capital Thursday.

Former Mayor Villaraigosa Joins Edelman’s Public Affairs Team - Politics Blog
Former Los Angeles Antonio Villaraigosa -- who's often been talked about as a potential future candidate for California governor -- has a new gig as a senior advisor to the giant public affairs fir...

Activists Target Coachella Water District In Voting Change Effort
Jean Merl @
Opening a new front on efforts to improve minority representation on local elected boards,  attorneys  representing several Latino citizens have accused the Coachella Valley Water District of violating the California Voting Rights Act.

California Files Health-care Law Amicus Brief
Josh Richman @
California Attorney General Kamala Harris on Monday filed a friend-of-the-court brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review whether for-profit businesses may claim religious exemptions from the national health-care law’s requirement that employee health plans cover birth control.

Obama: Fighting for a better perception of healthcare law
Cathleen Decker @
The success or failure of the sweeping federal healthcare law will be measured over months and years by Americans whose lives are affected, for better or worse, by its impact.     

Obama On Healthcare Sign-up Glitches: 'It's Going To Get Fixed'
Christi Parsons and Noam Levey @
President Obama on Monday pitched his healthcare overhaul as a good “product” that is simply having problems at the check-out line. He urged Americans to call an 800 number or shop in person while his team works out kinks in the federal insurance marketplace's online sign-up.

Obama Promises To Iron Out Glitches On Healthcare Website
Christi Parsons, Noam N. Levey and Chad Terhune @
President Obama concedes that technical glitches have plagued the federal healthcare website, but promises they'll be fixed.

Californians Driving More, But Using Less Fuel
Dan Walters @
Over the last three decades -- roughly the period since Jerry Brown ended his first governorship -- California's population has increased by more than 50 percent and the amount of automotive travel has doubled.

AC Transit Strike Ban May Be Extended 60 Days By Governor's Panel
Denis Cuff Contra Costa Times @
The three-member board held a hearing collecting facts to help Gov. Jerry Brown decide by the end of Wednesday whether to extend a temporary AC Transit strike ban by 60 days. The governor last week banned the strike for seven days after workers threatened to walk out.

Poll: Majority Believe Health-care Web Site Problems Indicate Broader Issue With Law
Chris Cillizza @
Most Americans say the rocky start for is a harbinger of bigger problems for the Affordable Care Act, according to results of a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Calif. prison crowding deadline extended 1 month
Don Thompson @
Federal judges on Monday gave California an additional month to reduce its prison population, as negotiations continue over a longer-term delay.

Calif. High-speed Rail Begins Search For Artifacts - Sfgate
JULIET WILLIAMS, Associated Press @
The rail authority plans to buy or seize dozens of area properties through eminent domain to make way for the downtown Fresno high-speed rail station and to shift the current freight railroad tracks to accommodate the first 30-mile stretch of the high-speed rail line. The rail authority's 2011-12 construction plan review said officials had identified no archaeological resources of concern, despite a 2007 excavation that the archaeological review said had found "an intact artifact deposit consisting of 19th century Chinese artifacts directly beneath" a layer of burned soil that could have "historic deposits with integrity and research potential." The draft report, dated Jan. 29, says there are three theories on how the tunnels were used: for illegal activity such as gambling, prostitution, bootlegging and smuggling; to connect businesses and store perishable food; or as an extension of limited living spaces.

Memorial set for murdered Napa hospital employee
Jon Ortiz @
Family members of slain hospital employee Donna Gross, state lawmakers and state workers will gather at Napa State Hospital on Wednesday to reflect on her life and to highlight safety concerns at state mental health facilities.

Health Insurance Exchange Launched Despite Signs Of Serious Problems
Days before the launch of President Obama’s online health ­insurance marketplace, government officials and contractors tested a key part of the Web site to see whether it could handle tens of thousands of consumers at the same time. It crashed after a simulation in which just a few hundred people tried to log on simultaneously.

School iPads To Cost Nearly $100 More Each, Revised Budget Shows
Howard Blume @
The L.A. Unified School District will spend $770 per Apple iPad, nearly $100 more than earlier estimates, a revised budget shows.

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

Amid Nsa Spying, European Lawmakers Vote To Tighten Data Protection
Carol J. Williams @
European Parliament approves draft law on better data protections in wake of NSA surveillance scandals

California Courts Muscle Up For Money
Dan Walters @
The Cantil-Sakauye faction has argued that the courts’ problem is not how the money is distributed, but insufficient overall financing. And now it is muscling up to press that argument on the governor and the Legislature by creating its own advocacy organization called the Foundation for Democracy and Justice. It will be finding itself not only jousting with the Alliance of California Judges but with every other budget stakeholder. The budget is a zero-sum game and every win for one group is a loss for another.

McDonald's, Kaiser Permanente Have Highest Number Of Job Openings In L.A.
Shan Li @
Some of the top employers looking to hire in Los Angeles include fast-food chain McDonald's and healthcare provider Kaiser Permanente.

Associate's Degrees Pay Off Big For State, Students, Study Says
Kathryn Baron @
California gets the best return on its investment in community colleges compared to any other state, and community college students don’t do so badly either, according to a recent study.

The Calderon FBI Investigation's Connections To OC
Federal agents investigating members of the Calderon family, one of the most powerful families in California politics, have issued subpoenas and search warrants seeking records involving companies in Anaheim and Newport Beach, according to reporting by Voice of OC and other news organizations.

Nrg Energy Agrees To Buy Most Of Edison Mission For $2.64 Billion
Bloomberg @
NRG Energy agrees to buy most of Edison Mission Energy's assets for $2.64 billion to expand its coal and wind holdings.