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THE NOONER for November 1, 2013

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AD55: The race to succeed Curt Hagman in the 55th Assembly District is one of the most interesting on the GOP side in 2014. The district stretches from the communities of Yorba Linda, Brea and Placentia up the 57 to Walnut and Diamond Bar, combining the northernmost part of Orange County, the easternmost part of Los Angeles County, and the westernmost part of San Bernardino County.

The district has large Asian and Latino populations, which combine for nearly half of the citizen voting age population. If you took that on its face, you would think the district would be toss-up, or even favorable for Democrats. However, much of the district is wealthy and conservative. Mitt Romney outpolled Barack Obama here in 2012 by 6.4%, and this race will safely be in the Republican column in 2014. 

The floor for Democrats here is probably around 36% in off-year elections. Thus, if only one Democrat runs, one Republican and one Democrat will emerge in the top-two primary, setting up an easy win in November for the successful GOP candidate.

While as many as six Republicans have been talked about as candidates, there are three that have taken significant steps and filed a Statement of Intent with the Secretary of State. They are Diamond Bar councilmember Ling-Ling Chang, Walnut Valley Unified trustee Phillip Chen, and Yorba Linda councilmember Craig Young. And, the GOP "establishment" has primarily split among these three.

Chang has the support of Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff, whose wife Mei Mei Huff serves as Chang's treasurer. Chen has the support of Assemblymember Hagman and former Assemblymember Bob Pachecho, whose wife Gayle Pacheco lost to Huff when he ran for the Assembly seat in 2004. Meanwhile, Craig Young has the support of many Orange County leaders, including former Senate Minority Leader Dick Ackerman and Assemblymember Jim Silva.

The 37-year-old Chang works as the CEO of an education nonprofit, while the 35-year-old Chen workes as a deputy to LA Supe Mike Antonovich, teaches several universities and serves as a reserve sheriff deputy. Forty-nine year-old Young is an attorney who now primarily works in finance.

It's an interesting race, for reasons beyond the split of the folks who have been elected from the area. First, you have the geographic divide--Los Angeles accounts for 37%, San Bernardino for 13%, and Orange for 47%. The LA voters have a Democratic edge, and a lower turnout off cycle race will tilt voters a little more toward the strongly GOP Orange County.

Then you have another issue. While 25.7% of the citizen voting-age population is Asian, splitting that between two Taiwanese-Americans with only a third non-Asian Republican in the race could be dicey, particularly with both from the Los Angeles County part of the district and with only one Orange County candidate. Chang and Chen need some of the other candidates (e.g. Steve Tye, Jeremy Yamaguchi) to join the party.

That said, Craig Young hasn't reported raising any money yet, while Ling-Ling Chang ended June 30 with $245,141 on hand and Phillip Chen ended the semi-annual with $319,000. Both Chang and Chen have lent $100,000 to their campaigns. Chang is on the ballot next Tuesday for reelection to the Diamond Bar City Council.

KEEPING IT IN THE FAMILY: Just in case you missed it, Patricia McKeon returned to employment as husband Congressman Buck McKeon's treasurer in November 2012, after sitting out most of 2012 as you ran for Assembly. She receives $5,205/month, or $62,460 per year to serve as the campaign's treasurer.

WELL PUT: John Hrabe writes about the coverage of the scandal and who gave credit where credit was due:

You'd think that proper attribution would be old hat to all those products of journalism school. But, not all outlets gave proper credit to Al Jazeera America. Rough and Tumble, who has been in the link aggregation business longer than this website, didn't link to Al Jazeera America's piece. A Sacramento Bee story by Laurel Rosenhall that rehashed Al Jazeera’s scoop didn't include a link to Al Jazeera's story. In my view, that’s a violation of modern journalism etiquette. Backlinks affect an outlet's SEO and, in turn, their ad revenue. Any outlet who gives a text citation should include the actual link.

Kudos to the LA Times’ Patrick McGreevy and Anthony York who included a link to Al Jazeera America's website. Ditto for ace reporter John Myers of News 10, who also prominently featured Al Jazeera America's work with a prominent link.

Is it true that at least one Capitol bureau had the story and was sitting on it while the lawyers were reviewing it?

YESTERDAY'S QUESTION: Can you name the "vampire" and two "ghosts" who have served in the CA Legislature? Bonus point for naming legislator who was involved in the production of Killer Tomatoes.


The name of 1900s legislator Barnabas Collins was used by the creators of the TV show "Dark Shadows" for the lead character (an 1700s vampire). Johnny Depp played Barnabas in the 2012 movie.

One ghost is Assemblyman Robert Chalmers who died in Coloma in 1881 (he starved to death after his wife chained him to a brick wall in the basement). He has been said to haunt the place ever since.

The other was Senator E. C. Voorheis, who haunts the Sutter Creek Inn (Sutter Creek, CA).

And, of course, former Senator Steve Peace was a writer, actor and producer of The Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! and its progeny. 

TODAY'S TRIVIA: California leads the nation in this "processed" food, which accounted for $816 million in value in 2011.




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  • The California Grocers Association is looking for a Director of Southern California Local Government Relations. Position is based in Burbank, responsible for local government advocacy, grassroots , limited media, member recruitment and retention. Competitive salary and benefits ($75,000+). Full job description and instructions available HERE.
  • The office of Congressman Ami Bera, M.D. seeks outgoing and responsible individuals for a full-time temporary constituent outreach position in Sacramento County. Applicants will increase the office’s outreach to constituents through door-to-door contact to let them know how a Congressional office can assist with federal agencies and to collect feedback on the issues constituents care about most. To apply, email cover letter and resume to or call Kelly at (916) 635-0505.
  • Pacific McGeorge's Capital Speaker Series presents “Dark Money – The 11 Million Dollar Problem Defined” with Chip Nielsen and Lance Olson, Wednesday Nov. 13, Noon, $15 lunch, Sutter Club, 1220 9th Street. MCLE. Register at:
  • The fastest, most cost-effective way to learn the legislative process and effective advocacy. Veteran lobbyist Ray LeBov presents his introductory " Lobbying 101" and advanced "Lobbying 201" seminars October 31-November 1. $250 each. Valuable for principals / support staff at lobbying firms, organizations that employ lobbyists, public agencies. Info / or 916 442 5009.
  • CapitolTrack is hiring a full-time employee to work in our West Sacramento office. This position will provide technical support to current subscribers, conduct product demonstrations to potential clients, and manage data accuracy. Candidates must have strong presentation skills, be highly adaptable to working with new technology, and be very comfortable working in databases. More information at



Medical Malpractice Initiative Could Kick Off Huge Political Battle
Timm Herdt @
Backers of an initiative that would increase California's 38-year-old cap on medical malpractice awards are ready to gather signatures that could lead to a colossal political battle between doctors and attorneys next fall.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg acts to remove Ron Calderon from film commission
Christopher Cadelago and Jon Ortiz @
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said Thursday he has taken steps to remove Sen. Ron Calderon, accused of accepting more than $60,000 in bribes from an undercover FBI agent posing as a film studio owner, as a member of the California Film Commission.

Property Taxes And Pensions :: Fox&hounds
The Chicago predicament arose because of a previous attempt at reform. Under that law, a second tier was started for new public safety hires requiring a later retirement age, caps on pension formulas and an end to pension spiking. However, in exchange cities were required to fully fund pensions.

Landmark Legal Challenge To Pension Reform Gets Day In Court
Lisa Vorderbrueggen @
In a potentially landmark legal challenge to Gov. Jerry Brown's 2012 pension reform legislation that has financial implications for thousands of public employees and taxpayers, state attorneys Thursday said county retirement systems had illegally included vacation and other types of terminal pay in their members' pension calculations for nearly 15 years.

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sen. Barbara Boxer are rivals no more
WASHINGTON - Arnold Schwarzenegger met with a bunch of California Democrats and Republicans on Wednesday while on Capitol Hill to lobby for after-school programs. But it was notable that the one with whom he strode to the podium at a Capitol news conference was Sen. Barbara Boxer.

Feinstein In Familiar Role As She Scolds Obama Over Nsa Scandal
Mark Z. Barabak @
With the controversy over NSA spying on allies, President Obama is just the latest to feel the ire of Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

Hollywood Interests Pony Up For Steinberg
Jim Miller @
Timing is everything in politics, although not always in a good way.

State Sen. Lieu Said He's Cooperating With Federal Probe As Witness
Patrick McGreevy @
Calderon allegedly accepted $60,000 in improper payments from an undercover FBI agent as part of a sting operation in which he sought changes in a film tax credit program and worker’s compensation rules, the television network Al Jazeera reported Tuesday, citing what it said was a sealed federal affidavit.

California Sen. Ron Calderon Removed From Film Commission
Christopher Cadelago and Jon Ortiz @
By Christopher Cadelago and Jon Ortiz Bee Capitol Bureau

PODCAST: HealthCare.Error404
Matt Sobocinski @
POLITICO's Reid Epstein, Alexander Burns, Josh Gerstein and Joanne Kenen discuss the latest backlash.

Tapes Show Inmates Forced From Cells By Guards Using Pepper Spray
Paige St. John @
Videotapes released Thursday by a federal court show graphic images of mentally ill prisoners in California being forced from their cells by guards who douse them repeatedly with pepper spray.

In Practice: Conservative Group Tests New Attack on Health Law
A new Web video from Americans for Prosperity criticizes President Obama for his promise that those with health care coverage could keep their current plans.

Lawmakers Distance Themselves From Calderon
Patrick McGreevy and Melanie Mason @
Legislators say they have done nothing wrong after details are reported of an FBI investigation of Calderon, who denies any misconduct.

Affidavit Suggests State Senator Wrestled With Secret Deal
John Myers @
If the anonymously leaked, and politically explosive, allegations by federal agents are accurate, it was a meeting on July 17, 2012 where Ron Calderon made it clear: he knew was treading on thin ice.

In California And Washington, Scandal Spreads, Government Stumbles On
Cathleen Decker @
A little tour of political news...

Liberal billionaires spend big in 2013 elections
Alexander Burns and Maggie Haberman @
In the off-year campaigns of 2013, Democrats enjoy an advantage in the billionaire spending bracket.

Millbrae election: Four candidates vie for two City Council spots
Aaron Kinney @
Business development, fire prevention and potholes are among the top issues in the campaign for the Millbrae City Council, which features four candidates competing for two spots.

Calderon Partied In Las Vegas On Undercover Agent's Dime, Affidavit Says
Chris Megerian @
Sen. Ronald S. Calderon's offices are located in California's Capitol and his hometown of Montebello, but he's managed to conduct plenty of business in Las Vegas during his tenure in the Legislature.

UCD Program Brings Robots -- And Math -- Into Sacramento Schools
Diana Lambert @
UC Davis professor Harry Cheng wanted to bring computer robotics – once relegated to after-school programs and advanced classes – to schools with at-risk students to spark their curiosity and improve their grades. He opened the Outreach Center for Computing and STEM Education at UC Davis in 2010 with the specific goal of expanding access to science and math-related fields to minority, low-income and female students, though the curriculum is available to all schools.

Parents Push For More Prominent Place At The School Budget Table
Jane Meredith Adams @
Four months into the rollout of the new state education funding law, parent leaders across California are trying to ensure that “local control” over school spending truly includes parents.

Day 1 on Fewer Than a Dozen Signed Up
Notes from internal government meetings show a handful of enrollments on the federal health insurance website though millions tried to use it.

Immigration compromise would unite torn-apart families
Lisa Mascaro @
As a comprehensive immigration overhaul stalls in the House, two border-state lawmakers introduced legislation Thursday that would tackle one aspect of the issue -- making it easier to unite American families split apart by past immigration law violations.

Editorial: Janet Napolitano offers narrow, political agenda in first major speech
the Editorial Board @
University of California President Janet Napolitano’s first major address to Californians came off more as political inoculation than as a principled vision of the future of the university.