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THE NOONER for January 27, 2014
GAVIN did it! He tripped over the power cord to the NOONER server farm and broke our little lunchtime party. HE is "the guy."
Not really. I was, however, being mesmerized by our Lieutenant Governor, who gave a timely, informative, and relevant speech without notes to my few hundred community college attendees. I didn't notice until I finally left the Sheraton that the NOONER robot is still on MLK holiday time--meaning, no Monday delivery.
Thank you to our Republican and Democrat friends who joined us at the Sheraton, and for many of you who are still meeting with community college advocates this afternoon. As for me, I am now on my weekend time and preparing for my Davis Food Co-op meeting, which establishes a new bar for preparation materials.
Before we get to what I wrote 9 hours ago for today's nooner, lett me just say, that if you aren't paying attention to Gavin's ascendency, you aren't paying attention. Whether it be governor in 2018 or U.S. Senator in 2016 or 2018, he must be on the top-two list.
PAYDAY: On Friday, the Third District Court of Appeal upheld the trial court ruling in Steinberg v. Chiang, which found that the State Controller does not have the authority to halt legislator paychecks under Proposition 25's on-time and balanced budget requirement.
The case originated in 2011, the first year in which Proposition 25 lowered the vote required for the state budget to a simple majority (previously two-thirds), with a provision that if the budget is not passed by midnight on June 15, legislators forfeit their paychecks. It's important to remember that the requirement is about budget passage by the Legislature, and not enactment of a measure signed by the governor.
On June 15, 2011, a budget was sent to the governor that included revenue estimates and assumptions that showed it was balanced. Governor Jerry Brown, working with his first budget in 2.0, vetoed it the next day, saying that it wasn't balanced. On June 21, Controller John Chiang declared that he agreed the budget was not balanced and that legislators would not receive their paychecks for the time commencing 12:01am June 16. The Legislature then passed another budget on June 28 and it was signed by the governor two days before the new fiscal year began.
Here's the relevant conclusion of the court's opinion:
Consequently, where the Legislature is the entity acting indisputably within its fundamental constitutional jurisdiction to enact what it designates as a balanced budget, the Controller does not have audit authority to determine whether the budget bill is in fact balanced. . . As a result, the Controller is not a party to the enactment of the budget bill.
This is a very significant ruling that takes the stick out of Proposition 25 (with the carrot being the majority vote requirement). Don't expect it to be used anytime soon. However, when times get tough again and the majority party has a hard time finding votes for cuts, don't be surprised if creative revenue and savings assumptions are used to avoid the forfeiture of pay.
SPEAKER-IN-WAIT: Michael Gardner has a great backgrounder in the UT on the rise of Toni Atkins.
DOUBLE-X FACTOR: Number of women dropping in California Legislature [Don Thompson @ AP]
PLAYING FIELD: ABC News releases its 14 for 14 of races to watch nationally, which will be updated throughout the year. It's meant to be a trend-measurement list, which I'm guessing why Ami Bera's CD07 is the only California race on there. As it stands now, if Bera loses, Raul Ruiz goes first, Scott Peters goes second and Bera goes third. Maybe that does make it one of the most interesting to watch, although a "hot races" list would certainly be different.
CD31 (Redlands): Redlands Tea Party Patriots concerned about Miller's votes [Highland News] - "We certainly hope that we are ultimately able to recommend you and include you in our voter guide and canvassing program."
Indians a rising force in California politics [Juliet Williams @ AP]
LA COUNCIL: Candidates step forward as Councilman LaBonge bows out [Nathan Solis @ The Eastsider LA]
SD MAYOR: Poll: Alvarez closes gap [Mark Walker @ UTSD] - "A surge in support from residents south of Interstate 8 has propelled David Alvarez to within 5 points of Kevin Faulconer with just a little more than two weeks before one of them is elected mayor of San Diego, according to a new U-T San Diego/10News Poll. Faulconer still leads the race 49 percent to 44 percent with 7 percent undecided, according to the SurveyUSA poll."
AURAL PLEASURE: John Myers and Anthony York tickle our ears with the Capitol Connection Podcast: Basic Brown.
SAVED: GOP presidential primary schedule gets California waiver [Christopher Cadelago @ SacBee]
#CAKEDAY: Light the candles for Lindsay Bubar, Lara Calvert-York, Assemblymember Steve Fox and Scott Svonkin!
TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
Jerry Brown Took Campaign Cash from Contractor, Then Filed High Speed Rail Appeal
Gov. Jerry Brown asked the CA Supreme Court to intervene in the state's high-speed rail lawsuit 3 days after taking campaign cash from Tutor Perini, the company with $1 billion in rail contracts.
Incoming Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins Brings Reputation As A Grinder
Jeremy B. White @ sacbee.com
Assemblywoman Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, speaks before Gov. Jerry Brown delivers the 2014 State of the State address on Wednesday. Her party has chosen her to be the next Assembly speaker.
Carquinez Bridge retrofit also faced unusual bolt issues
Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross @ sfgate.com
That new, highly critical Bay Bridge report out of Sacramento has renewed debate over the extent of cracked welds found in the Chinese manufacturing process, but there was one footnote that also caught our eye: That's the passing mention of 250,000 bad bolts that were destined for the retrofit of the Carquinez Bridge.
Business Economists More Optimistic, See Little Healthcare Law Effect
Jim Puzzanghera @ latimes.com
WASHINGTON -- Economists working for U.S. businesses are more optimistic about growth this year and see little effect from the start of healthcare reform or the reduction in a key Federal Reserve stimulus program, according to survey results released Monday.
Pre-Kindergarten Expansion Shapes Up As Key Budget Issue
Dan Walters @ sacbee.com
It goes to the heart of a fundamental philosophical difference between Brown and the Steinberg-led Democrats on fiscal policy, and the outcome depends on whether either side wants it to become a make-or-break issue in the budget.
GOP Fight Could Alter The Party's Course
George Skelton @ latimes.com
A race between Neel Kashkari and Tim Donnelly offers a possibility of remaking the Republican brand in California.
Daniel Borenstein: Desaulnier Hasn't Made A Compelling Case For His Congressional Candidacy.
Within hours, state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, entered the race to succeed him and within nine days cleared the field of serious Democratic challengers. In a district in which his party outnumbers Republicans by 2-1, DeSaulnier should have smooth sailing to Capitol Hill.
Ventura County Pension Reform Has Poster Child
Ed Mendel @ calpensions.com
Bob Brooks, whose salary as Ventura County sheriff was $227,600 a year when he retired in January 2011, received an annual pension of $283,000. He filed a suit last September seeking an additional pension of $75,000 under a supplemental plan.
Dan Walters Daily: New leadership not Legislature's only big change
Dan Walters @ sacbee.com
With Southern California politicians set to take control of both houses, new term limits and a majority freshman Assembly, the California Legislature could begin to look very different, Dan says.
California Drought: Bay Area Water Districts Start Asking Urban Residents To Conserve
Paul Rogers @ mercurynews.com
The board of the Santa Clara Valley Water District, a government agency based in San Jose that provides drinking water to 1.8 million people, is expected to approve a "preliminary water use reduction target" of 10 percent lower than the county used last year.
Immigration Reform Battle Centers On Conservative Tea Party Bloc
Alexander Bolton and Russell Berman @ thehill.com
The immigration reform debate in the House could boil down to a handful of influential Tea Party conservatives.
State Of The Union Goals Often Fall Short
Kathleen Hennessey @ latimes.com
President Obama prepares for Tuesday's State of the Union address, even as many goals from last year's speech remain unmet.
CSU Trustees To Talk Finances, May Name New Long Beach President
Josh Dulaney @ dailynews.com
Chancellor Timothy P. White will deliver a state of the Cal State University address this week when trustees for the 23-campus system gather to discuss a range of financial issues and possibly name a new president for Long Beach State.
Parents' Campaign Leads To Reforms At Cudahy Elementary School
Teresa Watanabe @ latimes.com
City Council, teachers union and parents credit activist efforts with L.A. Unified's decision to reassign the school principal.
How Is Bitcoin Taxed? The IRS Doesn't Know
Catherine Hollander @ nationaljournal.com
How do you tax bitcoins? Apparently, not even the IRS knows.
The Roundup: Public pension trends; pension politics
Jon Ortiz @ sacbee.com
Want more? For stories of interest to state employees, check out the State Worker's constantly updated News & Views feed by clicking here. Follow @TheStateWorker on Twitter and check out our community page on Facebook for links, comments and insights into our reports, blog posts and columns.
2014 Elections Likely to Keep Capitalâ
As the 2014 political landscape becomes more defined, it becomes increasingly likely that the midterm elections will keep government divided, but how divided remains to be seen.
E.J. Dionne Jr.: The president and the post-Obama era
E.J. Dionne Jr. @ sacbee.com
President Obama’s upcoming State of the Union address is about more than the last three years of his presidency. Its purpose should be to shape the next decade of American political life.
Quiz: Test your State of the Union knowledge
Daniel Rothberg @ latimes.com
In brief remarks -- barely over 1,000 words -- President George Washington delivered a special report to his “fellow-citizens” of Congress in New York City on Jan. 8, 1790. Despite its brevity, the speech laid the groundwork for the presidential tradition known today as the State of the Union address.
Political Blotter: Treat all immigrants like Bieber?
Josh Richman @ mercurynews.com
Some activists want law enforcement to treat all immigrants as it treated Justin Bieber; also, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus will address the state GOP, and an appeals court says state Controller John Chiang overstepped his authority.
Egypt To Hold Presidential Vote By Mid-april
Laura King @ latimes.com
The timing is seen as likely to help key figures in Egypt's military-backed interim government stay in power.
Restrictions On Fishing In Marine Sanctuaries Appear To Be Working
Tony Barboza @ latimes.com
The sanctuaries in Southern California coastal waters were created to curb steep declines in fish and other sea creatures.