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THE NOONER for December 10, 2013
Yesterday, the California Hospital Associaiton announced that Bill Emmerson would be taking a job as senior vice president for State Relations and Advocacy. This follows his surprise resignation from SD23 effective December 1, which will lead to a special election on March 25. He will direct CHA's legislative efforts--without lobbying, of course, as that is prohibited for one year following the departure from office.
The announcement was not a particular surprise for Capitol insiders, as the job had been engrained in the Capitol buzz for several weeks. Nevertheless, how did he pull a fast one on some of the most respected writers in California, most notably George Skelton?
On November 21, Skelton had a lengthy column about how Emmerson was "so fed up with the California Legislature that he is giving up and getting out." "He has no job commitment, although as an orthodontist, he always has been interested in healthcare policy."
The Skelton column pivots to the Capitol dysfunction, unwillingness of majorities of the GOP caucus to compromise on issues such as taxes, and general lack of clout the GOP has under the dome. The article closes with the line "Too bad. Emmerson is just the kind of Republican the Capitol needs."
I've always liked Bill Emmerson and saw him as reflective of the cross-party dynamics I first saw when I arrived in this town. I agree that being a member of the GOP caucus who wants to be a bridge is akin to having the hapless job of San Bernardino's city manager, who makes nearly 3 times the $95,291 provided rank-and-file legislators. However, knowing that he was at least in the mix for this job at the time of reading these articles about "the good guy leaving" just felt yucky.
Emmerson succeeds former Assemblymember Marty Gallegos in the position, who was most recently paid $435,971 in 2011. Gallegos moved on to the Hospital Association of Southern California.
Emmerson's premature five-minute walk from 1315 10th Street to 1215 K Street is projected to cost the Riverside and San Bernardino counties up to $1.1 million.
I don't blame Emmerson for leaving, as I would do the same to quadruple my salary and likely earn some retirement and other bennies unavailable to legislators. While active and healthy at 68, it's unlikely that he'd be looking to ascend to Congress (in the tough CD41). But, if he did know that he was going to be named to (or was a finalist for) the position, it would have been nice to say that he thought he could rather be more effective working from across the street than pretend he was fed up with a process in which he will now be a major player.
CON: John Perez gets Bill Lockyer's endorsement for State Controller. Lockyer had been considered the favorite in the race before announcing his political retirement. Also in the race is Board of Equalization member Betty Yee.
POT POLLING: The Field Poll rolls out numbers today on marijuana, finding a majority now support legalization. There are several measures brewing, so Field tests the attitude of voters first, in a manner it has since 1969:
Here are the digits on "California Cannibis Hemp Initiative 2014" in circulation:
Shelley e-mails: "The votes from twenty polling places were recounted manually, resulting in one additional vote for [Susan] Shelley in a Northridge precinct and one additional vote for Democrat Matt Dababneh at a polling place in Woodland Hills. Vote-by-mail ballots were manually counted for 18 of those twenty polling places, resulting in no change. The margin of victory in the election was 329 votes."
DIGITAL DIVIDE: Protesters block Google bus in S.F. Mission [Ellen Huet @ SFChron] - "A group of protesters surrounded and blocked a Google employee commuter bus for more than a half hour Monday morning at a Muni bus stop at 24th and Valencia streets in San Francisco’s Mission District. The buses have, for some, become a symbol of tech-fueled gentrification, economic inequality and soaring housing prices in the city."
AB 1266 REFERENDUM UPDATE:
#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Eric Bauman, Kevin de Leon, Isadore Hall, and Mark Takano!
TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
Unlikely Sponsor Of Minimum Wage Increase - Sfgate
The news would figure to be a godsend to anyone who wants to see low-wage workers make more money: A wealthy Silicon Valley businessman is ready to finance a state ballot measure that would raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour. Unz, who has been out of the political scene for a decade while publishing a conservative magazine and running various businesses, didn't consult anyone - not labor, not low-income advocates not the political consultants or the state's leading politicians - before submitting ballot language that would raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour in 2015 and $12 in 2016. Raising the minimum wage would put more money in people's pockets and thus make them less reliant on welfare and other government aid. Major chains like Walmart and McDonald's keep their employees' wages low, knowing the government will provide them with food stamps and medical care to compensate for their low pay. Even the ballot language Unz submitted to the attorney general's office last month sounds like what his fellow conservatives might dismiss as class warfare chatter: "In today's America, the top 1 percent of the population possesses as much wealth as the bottom 95 percent, and such an extreme inequality of wealth is dangerous." 'Illusory' argument Unz's contention that raising the minimum wage will reduce social service spending is "illusory," said Michael Herald, a legislative advocate for the Western Center on Law and Poverty, which advocates for the state's poorest residents. Wary of wealthyAdvocates also are wary in general "about wealthy people who put things on the ballot without consulting people in the community," said Manual Pastor, a professor of sociology and director of the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration at the University of Southern California.
In A First, Majority Of California Voters Back Marijuana Legalization
JEREMY B. WHITE @ mcclatchydc.com
A new Field Poll tracks the increasingly green-friendly attitude of Californians, a decades-long trend that has seen Golden State residents swing from seeking tougher enforcement to favoring the end of pot prohibition. Eight percent of voters backed allowing anyone to purchase cannabis and 47 percent said it should be available with the types of controls, like age verification, that govern alcohol sales.
California: Details Of Massive $25 Billion Water Plan Released By Jerry Brown Administration
The plan -- which would be one of the largest public works projects in U.S. history -- calls for building two tunnels, each 40 feet high and 35 miles long, under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, with construction starting in 2017. It also would restore 147,000 acres of wetlands and other habitat for endangered fish and other species, and reinforce hundreds of miles of earthen delta levees against earthquake risk.
Gray Davis, Robert Downey Jr. Write Checks To Jerry Brown
David Siders @ blogs.sacbee.com
Former Gov. Gray Davis and actor Robert Downey Jr. are among the latest donors to Gov. Jerry Brown's re-election campaign, which reported raising another $556,600 in a filing over the weekend.
Delta water plan released for public scrutiny
After seven years in the making, the $25 billion plan to build two massive tunnels diverting water out of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta is up for public review. The 9,000-page Bay Delta Conservation Plan and 25,000-page environmental impact report pack a hefty punch, particularly considering the public has 120 days to comment on the documents, which state officials said contain significant revisions since first drafts were released this year. Accompanying executive summaries and brochures on the Bay Delta Conservation Plan's website say the proposal, which has the backing of Gov. Jerry Brown, is an important step in the effort to restore the delta ecosystem and stabilize the water supply for 25 million Californians and 3 million acres of farmland from San Jose to San Diego. For a generation, Californians have been debating in courts and courts of public opinion on how we can have a rich estuary in the delta and also divert the water 25 million people and 3 million acres of farmland depend on. Critics have characterized the tunnels as nothing more than a water grab they liken to the peripheral canal plan that California voters rejected in 1982.
Delta Water Tunnel Plan Presents California With Tough Choices
Matt Weiser @ sacbee.com
Patricia Burnham of Fair Oaks and Jim Hard, right, of Sacramento were among the Delta water plan opponents at the state Capitol on Monday. “I’m an engineer against the tunnels,” said Burnham.
California Republican Leader Proposes Outlawing Public Transit Strikes
Patrick McGreevy @ latimes.com
Huff made the proposal in response to a potential third strike by disgruntled workers for the Bay Area Rapid Transit district in the San Francisco area.
Dan Walters Daily: Gov. Jerry Brown can't afford his legacy
Alexei Koseff @ blogs.sacbee.com
California's proposed high-speed rail system and Delta water tunnels could be the signature achievements Gov. Jerry Brown is looking for, Dan says, but not if they remain in funding limbo.
Former Sen. Bill Emmerson To Oversee Lobbyists For Hospital Group
Patrick McGreevy @ latimes.com
A week after resigning from the state Senate, Republican Bill Emmerson of Redlands has been named a senior vice president of the California Hospital Assn., where he will oversee the group's in-house and contract lobbyists.
Field Poll: In a first, majority of California voters back marijuana legalization
Jeremy B. White @ sacbee.com
In a state that pioneered rethinking marijuana laws, a majority of voters have legalization in mind.
AM Alert: Majority of California voters support legalizing weed
Alexei Koseff @ blogs.sacbee.com
California's last initiative to legalize marijuana suffered a close defeat in 2011, garnering nearly 47 percent of the vote. Organizers are attempting to get the issue back on the ballot in 2014--and a new
No change from recount in tight Assembly election
Los Angeles County elections officials say a partial recount of ballots has brought no change in the outcome of a special legislative election last month.
E-cig health concerns just blowing smoke?
Designed as an alternative for smokers in public spaces where cigarettes are banned, the battery-powered devices are increasingly getting the cold shoulder from city governments. Were any of these critics ever teenagers? Because any teen knows that getting their hands on a cigarette - a real cigarette - isn't all that difficult. Richmond, like many East Bay cities, has approved the establishment of medical marijuana facilities that promote pot as a "healthy" alternative to prescription drugs for specific ailments. The industry also provides tax revenue to the city that pay for police and other public safety services.
Opponents Of Arena Subsidy Say They Will Turn In 40,000 Signatures
Dale Kasler @ sacbee.com
After months of controversy and door-to-door politicking, opponents of the public subsidy for Sacramentoâs proposed NBA arena say they will submit as many as 40,000 signatures to city elections officials today in their quest to get the issue placed before voters on Juneâs ballot.
Daniel Borenstein: Bart Directors Dishonest About Raise In New Labor Contract
endorsing the core deal, BART directors reneged on their vow to control escalating labor costs. @ contracostatimes.com
Murray commented Nov. 21 as directors voted 8-1 to accept the deal without a disputed family-leave benefit if the unions do the same. While BART leaders battle the unions over whether that provision should be included in the new contract, the controversy diverts attention from the rest of the four-year agreement.
Bill Emmerson To Oversee Hospital Association Lobbying
Laurel Rosenhall @ blogs.sacbee.com
A month after announcing plans to step down in the middle of his term as state senator, Bill Emmerson has been named a senior vice president of the California Hospital Association.
America's Cup put San Francisco $5.5 million in the red
virtue of winning the Cup in September, the racing syndicate led by Oracle billionaire CEO @ sfgate.com
[...] it's a far cry from the $1.4 billion economic boost that was originally predicted in 2010, when the races were billed as trailing only the Olympics and soccer's Word Cup in terms of economic impact. The real costs and benefits of hosting the regatta - the most prestigious competition in competitive sailing and this year the source of one of the most stunning comebacks in international sports - are expected to be in the spotlight now as Mayor Ed Lee is preparing to submit a preliminary proposal for hosting the next Cup by a Dec. 22 deadline. Critics contend that using taxpayer funds for hosting the races amounts to a giveaway to billionaires in a vanity yacht race. By virtue of winning the Cup in September, the racing syndicate led by Oracle billionaire CEO Larry Ellison gets to chose the location for the next competition, with the official word coming from Oracle Team USA's sponsor, San Francisco's Golden Gate Yacht Club. Lee, in a statement, said the event had "showcased our beautiful city to the world and brought thousands of new jobs, long-overdue legacy waterfront improvements, international visitor spending, and a boost to our regional economy." 2010 Projections March 2013 RevisionsCurrent FiguresEconomic activity generated in the Bay Area $1.4 billion $902 million$550 millionJobs created (direct and indirect)8,839 6,4813,800Spectators over three months of racing 2.7 million 2 millionHundreds of thousands; total figure unavailableCosts to city's general fund to host races* $32 million $22.5 million$20.7 millionNew hotel, payroll and retail tax revenue for city $24 million $13 million$6.6 millionRacing syndicates 1544* Does not include more than $180 million spent on long-planned city infrastructure projects completed to coincide with the regatta, including partial completion of a cruise ship terminal on Pier 27.
Republican Susan Shelley abandons recount effort in AD 45
Dan Smith @ sacbee.com
The Republican candidate who narrowly lost a special election in a Democratic-leaning district has abandoned a recount effort, according to the Los Angeles County clerk's office.
Senate passes legislation on undetectable guns
RICHARD WILLIAMS @ politico.com
The chamber adopts a House-passed 10-year extension of the Undetectable Firearms Act.
DWP Plan Opposed By Six City Unions Wins Backing Of Council Panel
David Zahniser @ latimes.com
A Los Angeles City Council panel voted Monday to let the Department of Water and Power scale back the cost of hiring away workers from other city agencies, despite objections from workers outside the DWP.
Health Care Exchange Is Vastly Improved, Users Say
Interviews with consumers and navigators in several states found the technical errors that had bedeviled visitors to the site for weeks seemed to have been tamed, and applicants were finally selecting health care plans under the Affordable Care Act.