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THE NOONER for November 5, 2013
Good early morning from SFO. It's a jam-packed Virgin America flight to DCA, and I'll be crammed into a window seat, so we'll see how well I can get work done. Well, at least I'm happy that the California-based airline is filling up its birds. Only about 24 hours on the ground in DC before heading to LA for the California Economic Summit.
ELECTION DAY: Voters are headed to the polls for local elections today with perhaps the most interesting happening in the financially beleaguered cities of San Bernardino and Stockton. The former has recall elections for three state officers, while the latter has voters considering a 0.75% hike in the city's sales tax. Rachel Myrow leads the reporting for The California Report. The LAT's Rick Rojas reports on the San Bernardino mayoral race.
The other interesting election is in the city of Palmdale, which is one of the biggest tests of the reach of the California Voting Rights Act. A judge previously ruled that the at-large system of election used by the city violated CVRA and ordered a halt to the election. As the LAT's Jean Merl reports, "An appellate court allowed the election to proceed but made it clear it would decide after the balloting whether the results could be certified."
The interesting thing is that the confusion over the election--already at a low-turnout time--could amplify the arguments of proponents of by-district elections, who will likely be able to point to even more racially polarized voting in the results. Four candidates are running for mayor, and four candidates, including incumbent Tom Lackey, are running at-large for two council districts.
Merl further writes: "Meantime, the trial court is preparing to issue its remedy for the voting rights act violations. The city has said it will appeal once the trial court acts."
The city will likely find a dead-end as the California Supreme Court is unlikely to reverse facts found by the trial court under a law that it has already found constitutional in Sanchez v. City of Modesto (2007).
IGNORE TV TONIGHT: Any analyst that tries to make sense of today's election tonight and "what it means" for 2014 or 2016 is full of it. Chris Christie will win in New Jersey, and Terry McAuliffe will win Virginia. They are individual elections that are meaningless. Just because Christie draws Democrats in New Jersey today does not mean Democrats nationally will vote for him against Hillary Clinton in 2016, and Virginia is not in the bank for Democrats because Cucinelli loses. Turn off cable news and catch up on The Walking Dead.
GOV: Tim Donnelly today launches a three-day bus tour to formally announce his gubernatorial bid, with stops in Baldwin Park, Buttonwillow and Sacramento. Meanwhile, Abel Maldonado releases his first campaign video showing that, indeed, he's working the state despite the lack of coverage.
RECOVERY: Nadia Lockyer recovers from sex and drugs scandal [Dan Noyes @ KGO]
Just last month, Nadia was allowed to leave rehab to live with her son and Bill. He withdrew the divorce papers after seeing the progress his wife has made.
Nadia has some new tattoos, to honor her Native American heritage, "Of course, I wouldn't have gotten this as supervisor, but I got this this in treatment."
She says they also symbolize strength and hope for the future, "I lost Nadia and I now have, you know, me back and I'm able to be present for my son, for my husband and for others."
Nadia has a hearing in January at which the judge could drop the charges against her, if she continues to do well. She tells me she hopes one day to get work as a lawyer, perhaps in a foundation, or as a social worker helping addicts or victims of domestic violence.
DISNEYBOMBER: I still think that Tony Rackauckus should be recalled for prosecuting this kid who pulled an age-old prank at Disneyland. If he was a white kid from the neighborhood I grew up in (where lots worked at Disney and the pranks were lore), he probably wouldn't have even lost his job. Fortunately, felony charges were dropped but the kid spent 36 days in jail. And, yes, I know a 23-year-old is not a "kid," but everyone who works at Disneyland is a kid--that's the culture.
YESTERDAY'S TRIVIA: This former Assembly Fellow later served as chair of Senate Budget Committee.
YESTERDAY'S ANSWER: Congressman Mike Thompson was an Assembly Fellow for Theresa Hughes in the 1983-84 class, and was succeeded Al Alquist as Senate Budget Chair in the 1997-1998 session.
TODAY'S QUESTION: Speaking of Assembly Fellows, the Senate's corresponding program was renamed for a period of time. What was it renamed to and why?
#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Senator Ricardo Lara!
TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
Now It Gets Interesting: Tea Party Darling Tim Donnelly To Enter Ca 2014 Governor’s Race Tuesday - Politics Blog
Exactly a year before the 2014 election, Tea Party favorite California Assemblyman Tim Donnelly will make it official -- and formally announce his run for governor Tuesday. Donnelly plans to make t...
Ex-senate Leader Dean Florez Faces Fines For Misusing Campaign Funds
Patrick McGreevy @ latimes.com
SACRAMENTO -- Former California Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez faces record fines for campaign violations that include using $26,541 in political funds for his personal benefit to buy furniture, concert tickets, fireworks, satellite radio, travel, expensive dinners and gasoline.
The Roundup: CalPERS' bonuses; longevity's impact on pensions; unions vs. Chris Christie
Jon Ortiz @ sacbee.com
Headlines of interest to state workers, including a radio debate between proponents and opponents of a public pension measure proposed for the November 2014 California ballot.
Democrat Dean Florez fined $60K for misusing campaign funds
Christopher Cadelago @ blogs.sacbee.com
A former state senator and candidate for statewide office has agreed to pay a record $60,000 in penalties to the state's political ethics watchdog for spending campaign contributions for personal use and failing to refund general election donations after abandoning his candidacy for lieutenant governor.
Report: 1.9M qualify for health care tax credit
A report from the Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that 1.9 million Californians could qualify for tax subsidies under the new federal health care law.
Palmdale Can Vote, But Will It Count? Court To Decide
Jean Merl @ latimes.com
Palmdale voters can cast their ballots in the city election Tuesday. They can even find out the results. But it will be up to the courts to decide whether the election is legitimate.
Luis Alejo Settles With State Over Illegal Campaign Coordinating
Christopher Cadelago @ blogs.sacbee.com
California's campaign finance watchdog continued its pursuit of independent expenditure committees illegally coordinating their contributions with candidates they support for state office, settling with an assemblyman for $21,092 for an over-the-limit donation.
Mayor Lee takes a victory lap on Mid-Market
Celebrating its second anniversary this week, the Huckleberry store has expanded into the space next door, and its owners are looking optimistically out the window at a transforming Market Street. [...] as pointed out in a recent Chronicle column, the mayor's six-year exemption has cost the city tax revenue. Former Mayor Gavin Newsom got the ball rolling on Mid-Market, and firebrand former Supervisor Chris Daly, who rarely got any kudos from The Chronicle, should be recognized for arm-twisting Trinity Place developer Sam Sangiacomo to include 360 units of affordable housing in his huge project at Eighth and Market. The issue of the development of 8 Washington will finally be decided in Tuesday's election, and insiders say proponents of Propositions B and C should be nervous. A "yes" vote would allow condos to be built on a parking lot and tennis club on the Embarcadero. The idea of including two ballot issues to confuse the issue was shrewd - C is so convoluted supporters only concentrated on B - and an expected low turnout will make passage difficult. A physical confrontation occurred, more officers arrived, and the suspect was handcuffed and arrested.
California Donor Disclosure Case Exposes How Nonprofits Play In Politics
Rich Pedroncelli/AP - Ann Ravel, chairwoman of the California Fair Political Practices Commission, discusses the $1 million fine, the largest in its history, levied against two political action committees for campaign-reporting violations, during an Oct. 24 news conference in Sacramento.
Letters: UC, health care, pensions, Al Jazeera, water plan, bicycling
Re “Napolitano offers narrow agenda in first big speech” (Editorials, Nov. 1): I believe The Bee’s editorial board got it exactly wrong in its critique of University of California President Janet Napolitano’s maiden speech at the Commonwealth Club.
Democrats outspend GOP in Virginia governor's race
Evan Halper @ latimes.com
If there was any doubt that the stakes in Tuesday’s Virginia gubernatorial election extend far beyond Old Dominion’s borders, just look at the campaign funds the major party candidates have raised.
Preliminary UC Plan Calls For No Tuition Hike Next Year
Larry Gordon @ latimes.com
For the third straight year, UC students would see no tuition increase for the 2014-15 school year if state funding to the 10-campus system increases enough, according to a preliminary University of California budget released Monday.
Health Care Law's Ground Game: Armies Of Paid Workers, Volunteers Fan Out Throughout State
Tracy Seipel @ mercurynews.com
Williams said she had, but didn't know how it would affect her. So outreach worker Dominique Gipson asked her a few more questions and quickly determined that Williams now qualifies for free health coverage.
San Francisco evictions surge, report finds
the numbers @ sfgate.com
The popular assumption that rising rents are squeezing longtime residents out of San Francisco appears to be true: A new city report finds that evictions, particularly those related to taking units off the rental market, have skyrocketed in recent years. The report by the city's budget and legislative analyst was requested by Supervisor David Campos and shows that Ellis Act evictions, often used when a landlord wants to eject tenants in order to sell the units, jumped by 170 percent between the year ending Feb. 28, 2010, and the 12 months ending in February this year. 'Not in crisis'Janan New, executive director of the San Francisco Apartment Association, which represents landlords, said the numbers don't seem so remarkable if you compare them to the early 2000s, when hundreds of renters were facing Ellis Act evictions each year. The Ellis Act, a state law, allows owners to evict tenants when they want to take their property off the rental market, usually in order to sell it. Under local law, landlords may also evict tenants when they want to move into their units or for cause - for example, if a renter fails to pay rent. "The increase in the market value of residential properties in San Francisco could be one of the causes fueling the increase in Ellis Act evictions as the incentive for rental property owners to discontinue renting their properties and sell them rises," the report states. A similar relationship between increased Ellis Act evictions increased along with home prices, particularly in 2004 and 2005, and declined as home prices increased in 2008 and 2009 during the economic recession. Ted Gullickson, director of the San Francisco Tenants Union, estimates that for every Ellis Act eviction, an additional three to four households are displaced by "buyouts," where an owner offers two choices: leave for a certain amount of money or face an eviction. The San Francisco Apartment Association's New agreed, saying property owners view Ellis Act evictions as a last resort and prefer to offer buyouts. Instead of placing more restrictions on owners, she said - as Guillickson's group recently proposed - city leaders should be focusing on building more homes. Even people making a good salary are paying a disproportionate percentage of income into housing, he said.
See how Dean Florez spent his campaign funds
Jim Miller @ blogs.sacbee.com
The searchable spreadsheet shows expenses of campaign committees controlled by former lawmaker Dean Florez from 2010 through 2012. Some expenses reflect direct payments by a campaign committee. Others were purchased with campaign credit cards.
Lax Shooting: Some Tsa Agents Should Be Armed, Union Says
Kate Linthicum and Kate Mather @ latimes.com
The president of the union representing more than 45,000 TSA agents wants to create a new class of officers armed with weapons.
Senators grill Obamacare administrator over healthcare.gov
Lisa Mascaro @ latimes.com
WASHINGTON -- The top Obamacare administrator told a Senate committee that setbacks will not hamper overall enrollment in the Affordable Care Act, which she said was expected to start slowly and then grow before the 2014 deadline to carry insurance coverage.
FPPC: Four Sacramento Area School Officials Took Hidden Gifts
Loretta Kalb, Diana Lambert and Phillip Reese @ sacbee.com
Four Sacramento-area school officials received free meals from bond advisers and failed to disclose them, according to a statewide investigation into unreported gifts by Californias political watchdog agency.
Obama to Campaign to Ensure Health Lawâ
President Obama told supporters on Monday that he was committed to fixing the problems of the health exchange website that have prevented enrollment.
Former state Senate leader fined for misusing campaign funds
Patrick McGreevy @ latimes.com
Democrat Dean Florez agrees to pay $60,000 for violations that include spending funds from political accounts for furniture, concert tickets, vacations and gas.