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THE NOONER for November 14, 2013

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  • AD66 (Torrance): removed actor Ned Vaughn (R)

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CONDOLENCES: Assemblyman Mike Gatto's father shot and killed in Silver Lake home [Ari Bloomekatz and Jason Wells @ LAT] - "The body of Joseph Gatto, 78, was found at about 8:15 p.m., slumped over a desk in his home in the 2800 block of Bright Lane, Los Angeles police Lt. Richard Parks said. Firefighters and paramedics who responded to the scene determined that he had been shot in the abdomen by a small-caliber gun, Parks said."

ENLARGING THE CIRCLE: Senator Ron Calderon worked to enlarge the circle of suspicion yesterday, with a legal filing by his attorney Mark Geragos accusing the FBI/US Attorney's Office of retaliation for the senator's unwillingness to wear a wire against Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Senate Appropriations Chair Kevin de Leon. The filing argues that a federal government official or officials released the affadavit seeking a search warrant to Al Jazeera America, which led to an October 30 news story.

The FBI was specifically interested in Senator Steinberg's financial activities with Michael Drobot, the former Chief Executive Officer of Pacific Hospital of Long Beach. Senator Calderon refused to continue participating in the FBI's sting operation, and rejected their demands to secretly record conversation with Senator Steinberg and Senator de Leon.

The filing, which seeks contempt sanctions against the FBI or US Attorney's Office, specifically cites the actions of the Senate Rules Committee on Tuesday that stripped Calderon of his committee memberships, including the chairmanship of the Senate Insurance Committee.

The LAT's Chris Megarian writes: "Mark Geragos, Calderon's attorney, said federal authorities have been "targeting the entire state Senate. When they realized they didn't have anything, that's why they engaged in payback."

Calderon, through his attorney, states that the FBI gave him wire equipment and insisted on at least six occasions that he secretly record Steinberg and de Leon in discussions relating to Michael Drobot, former CEO of Pacific Hospital in Long Beach who feathered the nests of Democratic politicians over the last 20 years and sough more favorable workers compensation rules and compensation for certain spinal surgeries.

Team Bee reports "In a statement, Steinberg said Calderon’s filing "is pure fantasy." De León declined to comment. His office has previously said he has been told he is not a target of the investigation."

The court filing does not cite the dates of the FBI's request for Calderon's compliance in the sting, although it suggests that it was shortly before the FBI raided the senator's office. This suggests that the FBI had sufficient evidence against Calderon that they went to him and suggested his legal situation would be better off if he could bring other legislators into the mix. 

While no evidence against Senator de Leon has been released, the buzz from around the Capitol last night was whether this will further hurt his Pro Tem chance, whether Holly Mitchell has a legit shot at it, and whether that is long-term or custodial for Robert Hertzberg.

Meanwhile, John Hrabe has leaked audio from Al Jazeera America describing how things unfolded after the network got a hold of the affadavit.

SD23 (E. San Bernardino): More names emerge for Emmerson's seat - "Lonni Granlund, a Yucaipa realtor and water board member, said Wednesday, Nov. 13 she is speaking with friends and colleagues before deciding whether to run for Emmerson’s seat, which covers a wide swath of Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Granlund, the wife of former GOP assemblyman and current San Bernardino County lobbyist Brett Granlund, said she wants to hold off making an announcement until at least Friday. Also contemplating a run is San Jacinto Councilman Crystal Ruiz."

AD27 (San Jose): George Shirakawa scandal raises new questions about San Jose politicians Xavier and Nora Campos [Mike Rosenberg @ MercNews]

CALIFORNIA YESTERDAY: Gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly continues his celebrity fundraising tour, spending tonight with Wink Martindale in Beverly Hills.

BRIGHT SPOT? Health care signups: California outpaces U.S. [Victoria Colliver @ SFChron]

IT'S THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT AND I FEEL HUNGRY: Stand-Alone Food Section Faces Demise in Bay Area [Leslie Kaufman and Kim Severson @ NYT] - "Now, The [San Francisco] Chronicle, owned by the Hearst Corporation, is planning to eliminate its stand-alone food section and integrate it into a single lifestyle section — tentatively titled “Artisan” — with material from other parts of the newspaper, including the home section, according to employees who have been told of the plans."

It's Thursday, can we just dance?



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  • Jay Hansen for School Board reception Friday, November 15th 5-7 pm at the original Vallejo's 1900 4th Street. Hosted by Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg. Tickets prices $35-$1,000. Please RSVP to Haley Walters at 916-400-3721.
  • 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.
  • Internship opportunity - The Office of Congressman Ami Bera is looking for individuals who have a strong interest in Government and Public Service. Strong oral and written skills are required, as well as an ability to work on projects individually and collaboratively for the day to day operations of a Congressional District Office. 15-20 hrs/wk. Contact Daniel at 916-635-0505.



University Of California President Proposes Tuition Freeze
David Siders @
University of California President Janet Napolitano on Wednesday proposed freezing undergraduate tuition for the 2014-15 academic year, a move she said will give officials time to consider overhauling the UC's tuition system.

Legislators Probe Taxpayer Cost Of Aiding Fast-food Workers - Politics Blog
California Assembly and Senate Labor Committees will hold a joint post-lunch hearing Wednesday to dig in to the societal cost of low-wage, fast food jobs. A recently released UC Berkeley report fou...

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed tweaks public pension ballot proposal
Jon Ortiz @
San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed has revised the public employee pension ballot measure, tweaking its language to fend off opponents’ criticisms that the proposed constitutional amendment circumvents collective bargaining and guarantees proponents a payday in state-subsidized legal fees to defend the measure if the state attorney general declined to fight lawsuits that would certainly follow the its approval.

Kamala Harris Shutters 10 Fake Covered California Websites
California Attorney General Kamala Harris said Thursday she has forced the removal of 10 private health insurance websites posing as the state's official online marketplace where customers obtain plans under the federal Affordable Care Act.

Taxpayers Pay High Cost For Low Fast-Food Wages, Lawmakers Are Told
Marc Lifsher @
Low wages paid by the fast-food industry come with a high public cost for California taxpayers, academics and advocates for the working poor told state lawmakers.

Early Look At Campaign 2014: Part 2 - State Senate :: Fox&hounds
We are one year away from the November 2014 General Election, and the California Target Book, which I publish, just printed its fall edition, analyzing and handicapping the upcoming races in California for congress and the state legislature.

Obama to make announcement on struggling healthcare program
Kathleen Hennessey @
WASHINGTON – President Obama will make an announcement Thursday morning about his troubled healthcare law, the White House said.

Billionaire Charles Munger Drops Controversial Brentwood Project
Martha Groves @
After years of wrestling with Brentwood activists, billionaire investor Charles T. Munger has pulled the plug on plans to redevelop the San Vicente Boulevard site that was the longtime location of Dutton's bookstore.

October Obamacare Enrollment Low
Kyle Cheney and Jason Millman and Jennifer Haberkorn @
One quarter of the sign-ups came through the flawed site. | Reuters

Official won't commit to meeting deadline for health website fix
Michael A. Memoli @
WASHINGTON – A top administration official Wednesday stopped short of guaranteeing that technical issues with the new healthcare website would be largely resolved by the president’s Nov. 30 deadline, heightening Democrats’ concerns about the political fallout of ongoing problems with the implementation of the new law.

Pastor Who Is A Top Aide To Baca Is Under Investigation
Richard Winton @
Sheriff's deputy Bishop Edward Turner on paid leave after officials learned of pot shop on his property, nonprofit's tax issues.

Napolitano wants University of California tuition freeze
David Siders @
University of California President Janet Napolitano on Wednesday proposed freezing undergraduate tuition for the 2014-15 academic year.

White House Pressured To Find Solution For Dropped Healthcare Plans
Michael A. Memoli and Kathleen Hennessey @
Pressure intensified on the White House to find a way to protect Americans who are at risk of being dropped from healthcare plans.

S.F. politicians: Restrict Ellis Act evictions
John Cote and Marisa Lagos @
Responding to the recent spike in evictions of longtime residents, officials from across San Francisco's political spectrum are forging legislation to amend the Ellis Act, the state law that allows tenants to be evicted if the landlord pulls the building from the rental market.

UC president calls for tuition freeze
University of California President Janet Napolitano has proposed putting a freeze on tuition next year.

Obamacare backers scramble to put positive spin on enrollment figures
Evan Halper @
WASHINGTON – Supporters of President Obama's healthcare law scrambled Wednesday to control the damage following the administration’s release of a report revealing that just 106,000 Americans had successfully enrolled in coverage through it.

Obama will allow people to keep health plans that would otherwise be canceled
Julie Pace and David Espo @
Bowing to pressure, President Barack Obama on Thursday announced changes to his health care law that would give insurance companies the option to keep offering consumers plans that would otherwise be canceled.

'Linked Learning' Seems To Work For High School Students
George Skelton @
California is making a commitment to vocational programs that provide relevance to students' studies and set them on a career path.

Health Law Brouhaha Pits Feinstein Versus Pelosi
Carolyn Lochhead @
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a key architect of the Affordable Care Act, is trying to restrain nervous Democrats from backing a measure that could knock the foundations from under the law - even as erstwhile Democratic allies Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California and former President Bill Clinton endorse similar changes.

California Sentencing Commission Could Be Coming, Ammiano Says
Jeremy B. White @
The prospect of a renewed push for a statewide sentencing commission surfaced during a Wednesday hearing on California's criminal justice system.

Obama Rallies Faith Leaders On Immigration | Thehill
Justin Sink @
President Obama on Wednesday rallied faith leaders to pressure Republicans to pursue comprehensive immigration reform during a morning meeting at the White House.

Obamacare: 106,000 sign up for health coverage so far, officials say
Noam N. Levey @
WASHINGTON – Just 106,000 Americans successfully signed up in October for health coverage through President Obama’s healthcare law, the administration announced Wednesday in a report that underscored damage from the botched rollout of the law.

Bankruptcy Judge To Decide On CalPERS Appeal By Friday
Ryan Hagen @
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Meredith Jury said Wednesday she will decide by Friday whether to certify CalPERS’ attempt to appeal her decision — that San Bernardino is eligible for bankruptcy protection — to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Ron Calderon says FBI asked him to secretly record conversations with Steinberg, de León
Jim Miller, Christopher Cadelago and Laurel Rosenhall @
State Sen. Ron Calderon accuses federal officials of leaking an FBI affidavit to retaliate against him for refusing to record conversations with Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Sen. Kevin de Leon.