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THE NOONER for November 20, 2013

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  • TREASURER: added Ellen Brown (G)
  • AD33 (SB High Desert): added insurance agent Michelle Ambrozic (R)
  • AD74 (Irvine): added Huntington Beach councilmember Matthew Harper (R)
  • AD74 (Irvine): removed Assemblymember Allan Mansoor (R) - running for OC supervisor

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Last night was a very exciting/interesting night, and I'm not just talking about the Kings comeback victory over the Suns while we were awaiting ballot counts.

In San Diego, here's where the top four candidates landed:

KEVIN FAULCONER 89,043 43.58%
DAVID ALVAREZ 52,283 25.59%
NATHAN FLETCHER 49,645 24.30%
MICHAEL J. AGUIRRE 9,081 4.44%

Based on a lunchtime conversation with a smart political team, I tweeted that Nathan Fletcher needed to have a 5-point lead over David Alvarez after the first batch of absentees to hold on to second place throughout the evening. Instead, he turned in a 2.3% advantage. And, sure enough, by the end of the evening, Alvarez climbed above and currently has a 1.29% advantage.

Given that the approximately 34,500 late absentees/provisionals are likely to at least reflect election day, if not tilt toward Alvarez, we will assume that we're looking at a Faulconer-Alvarez runoff. The runoff date has not been identified. The city charter's requirement that the runoff be held by January 7 is not considered feasible, given that the clerk has 28 days to count remaining ballots and certify results, printing requirements for ballots, and the holidays.

Rather than ask voters to change the charter on an expedited basis, the city decided to wait and see how close the race was and decide whether the runoff could be conducted within the time provided for in the charter. Well, it's close enough that it puts the clerk in a tough position and the latest guess is that the runoff will be February 11.

Yesterday's results were not great for Democrats. I tweeted that the big math was (Alvarez+Fletcher) and that, if their share of the vote exceeded 55%, Democrats had a good shot in the runoff. Well, if you add Mike Aguirre to the mix, you get to 54.33%. It will likely exceed 55% when all ballots are counted, but not by enough to give Democrats comfort in the runoff.

Everyone who voted for Faulconer will return to the polls to do so in the runoff, whenever that may be. But, it's going to be tough for a very fractured Democratic coalition--in which several prominent electeds split from labor by endorsing Fletcher over Alvarez--to unite in the holiday spirit and communicate to voters to forget everything that happened over the last month in a pretty negative race. That's a challenge with special elections--there's far less time to bury the hatchet--perhaps something we saw in AD45. 

AD45 (W. San Fernando Valley): Matt Dababneh (D) is holding on to a precarious lead over Susan Shelley (R) in the west San Fernando Assembly seat vacated by now-LA councilmember Bob Blumenfield. Several political observers are spitting out their coffee this morning as they wake up to these results:

MATT DABABNEH (D) 13,258 50.42
SUSAN SHELLEY (R) 13,038 49.58

Democrats have a near 2-to-1 margin in this district, and even if every independent voter joined the Republican party, they still would fall short of Democratic registration. Dababneh had far more resources and virtually all the endorsements. Shelley's entire campaign down the stretch was about "protecting Prop. 13," arguing that if Dababneh went to Sacramento he would be part of a two-thirds Democratic majority that might ask the voters to consider changes to the voter threshhold for special taxes or to create a split roll for corporations.

In the special primary, 15,266 ballots were cast for Democratic candidates (6,088 for Dababneh), while only 8,970 were cast for GOP candidates (5,205 for Shelley). Turnout yesterday exceeded that of the primary, so that can't be pointed to for Shelley's success. 

And, here's something we haven't seen recently--election day ballots were more favorable to Republican Shelley than early absentees, of which she claimed 46.4%. I mistakenly tweeted at 8:14 p.m. that the first results of 46.4% would be her high-water mark. I was wrong. But, I honestly can't recall where we've seen a Dem v. Rep race in recent years in which the Republican gained share throughout the night. 

Nobody knows what is going to happen in AD45. Our standard forecasting would project that late absentees and provisionals reflect election day, although that formula has always given the edge to the more liberal candidate. If we use that formula and ignore that recent tradition, Shelley wins. But, honestly, nobody knows at this point.

If Shelley wins, Democrats would stay at 53 votes in the lower house, with one vacancy. The primary for AD54 is scheduled for December 3 and, if I were to bet, Sebastian Ridley-Thomas wins outright with 50%, and the Assembly convenes on January 6 with 54 votes--a bare supermajority. Overall, a loss in AD54 would be egg on the face of Democrats, although they would almost certainly win the seat back next year. So, a loss by Dems here would be unlikely to have significant ramifications, other than a huge embarassment.

We could have a whole conference on AD45. Was it the bruising primary that continued the Berman-Sherman fight from 2012, or is there a larger issue of taxes, ObamaCare, and a Democratic malaise that party leaders across the state need to pay attention to?

I'll be looking to Paul Mitchell for some great analysis of who turned out to vote--was the electorate that much different from 9 Tuesdays ago or did it behave differently?

THE OC: Assemblymember Allan Mansoor yesterday made it official that he is running for Orange County supervisor rather than reelection. He will face off against BOE member Michelle Park Steel, leaving open a safe Republican seat.

MONEY TREE: The Legislative Analyst's Office is releasing its five-year fiscal forecast at 11:30 a.m. today.

#CAKEDAY: Happy Birthday to Eric Bradley, Val Dolcini, Andrea Jackson, Clark Lee, Eduardo Martinez, and Leland Yee.



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  • Pacific McGeorge's Mike Belote Annual Endowed Capital Center Lecture Series presents "Protecting Individual Privacy in the Internet Age" Thursday Dec. 5 at 5 p.m. Sutter Club, 1220 9th Street. Free, Register at:
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Lawmakers’ Higher Office Fundraising, Spending Draws Scrutiny
Christopher Cadelago @
Lottery director Joan Borucki, left, appears before Sen. Dean Florez’s Senate Governmental Organization Committee to answer for the lavish party she threw at public expense for lottery employees, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2008.

Schwarzenegger Institute Discussion: Making Government Work :: Fox&hounds
For his part, Schwarzenegger said neither major political party supported the reforms. However, he believes they have already proven successful. He said redistricting and the open primary have changed things in California. He pointed to Republicans who voted for immigration reform and some Democrats who were trying to undo environmental regulations that hurt business.

Jerry Brown Says Prison Deal May Be Within Reach
Anthony York @
SACRAMENTO -- Gov. Jerry Brown expressed hope on Tuesday that negotiations ordered by a federal court could lead to a resolution of the state's prison crisis.

California Transportation Leaders Seek Car Tax Hike For Road Repairs
Jim Miller @
A former Caltrans director and a member of the state's transportation panel have filed a proposed November 2014 ballot measure that would generate an estimated $3 billion a year for road improvements by more than doubling vehicle license fees.

$13 billion JPMorgan settlement sends nearly $300 million to CalPERS, CalSTRS
Denny Walsh @
The federal government on Tuesday announced its much anticipated JPMorgan Chase settlement, in which the nation’s largest bank agreed to pay $13 billion in reparations and admit that it peddled fraudulent securities. As part of the settlement, California’s two largest public employee pension funds will receive nearly $300 million

UC Patient Care, Service Workers Plan Walkout
Victoria Colliver @
For the second time in seven months, thousands of patient care and service workers at the five UC medical centers plan to walk off their jobs Wednesday as part of a contract dispute over retirement plans, wages and staffing levels.

Jpmorgan Settlement Sends $300 Million To CalPERS, CalSTRS
Jeremy B. White @
California's retirement funds for teachers and state employees will receive nearly $300 million from a sweeping settlement between the Justice Department and financial titan JPMorgan.

Proposed ballot measure would more than double ‘car tax’
Jim Miller @
California motorists’ vehicle license fee would more than double under a proposed November 2014 ballot measure to raise an estimated $3 billion a year for the state’s ailing road system.

Talking Eyeglasses, Jerry Brown Reflects On Classroom Moments
Christopher Cadelago @
Gov. Jerry Brown has regaled audiences young and old with stories about his childhood. So he didn't have to reach deep into his repertoire Tuesday when asked to reflect on a moment he shared with an educator.

Workers Hold Candlelight Vigil As Contract Negotiations Continue
Seema Mehta @
As Los Angeles County and union negotiators bargained inside the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels Tuesday evening, more than 100 county workers held a candle-light vigil outside the downtown landmark calling for the county to meet their demands.

Readers share memories of Kennedy assassination
San Francisco Chronicle readers continue to share their memories of where they were on Nov. 22, 1963, when they heard the news that President John F. Kennedy had been killed. By the time I could get back upstairs, all the government phones were dead, and the first thought in my mind was that the shooting was part of a coup. Not being able to call, I went to a pay phone at the building's entrance and called my sister in suburban Virginia. Could you please let me use the phone? All government offices were closed fairly shortly, creating the worst traffic jam in D.C. history. The trauma for me was especially strong since I was 22, just graduated from the University of North Carolina, where I had participated in a mock Democratic convention where we chose JFK. During economics class, with Brother William Keirnan, I was gazing out the window, when Brother Bill asked, "What is so interesting out there?" I replied, "Something more interesting than this class!" I was subsequently thrown out of class and was trying to blend in with the lockers that lined the classroom walls in the hallway, to avoid being spotted by the principal and being sent to detention. [...] while standing in line outside a classroom door waiting to go in so we could all watch an educational program on television, the girl standing in front of me was holding a transistor radio to her ear quietly listening to music when she suddenly turned and said, "The president was shot in the head!" Well, we didn't believe her, and wondered why she would say something like that. Unfortunately, it soon proved true and we never did get to watch the educational program; we were sent back to our original classroom and tried to get on with the day, but the teachers didn't really seem to know what to do.

Brown optimistic on talks to resolve prison impasse
Anthony York @
The governor says negotiations between inmates' attorneys and his administration have been informative while seeking more time to comply with judges' order to remove 9,600 prisoners.

Nra Sues San Francisco Over Ammo Magazine Ban
By Josh Richman Tuesday, November 19th, 2013 at 11:28 am in gun control, San Francisco politics.

Governor Walks Fine Line In Obamacare Delay |

California fiscal analyst projects large surpluses
Jim Miller @
California's budget is on track for multibillion dollar surpluses in the coming years, the Legislature's nonpartisan fiscal analyst said Wednesday in an upbeat assessment of the state's fiscal picture.

Obama's Homeland Security nominee easily advances to full Senate
Michael A. Memoli @
WASHINGTON -- President Obama's pick to lead the Department of Homeland Security moved a step closer to confirmation Wednesday, advancing to the full Senate after a swift committee vote.

S.F. to pay 9 officers denied pension assistance
San Francisco will pay $862,500 to nine former police officers who sued the city, alleging they were discriminated against when they were denied entry into a program that allowed officers eligible for retirement to stay on the payroll and bank their pension benefits at the same time. The program, approved by voters in 2008, sought to keep appropriate police staffing levels without costing the city extra money by allowing officers eligible for retirement to continue to work. Many of the plaintiffs suffered injuries on the job that limited their ability to work as police officers; all were denied entry to DROP on the grounds that they were not full duty sworn officers when they applied.

Los Angeles-area voters to fill Assembly vacancy
Democrats expect to retain a state Assembly seat in a special election to fill a vacancy that was created this summer when Democratic Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield resigned after he was elected to the Los Angeles City Council.

No Matter The Reforms, Human Nature Won't Change
Dan Morain @
Whatever ideas emerge in 2014, let’s hope they are smarter than the blunt object that is term limits, and don’t increase the impact of money. But no matter the reforms, human nature won’t change.