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THE NOONER for February 7, 2014
Sorry about the abbreviated Nooner yesterday. That's what happens when I don't hit "save" when I complete my morning ramblings.
Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi ended his consideration of a run for SD26 (Coast LA) yesterday and confirmed that he would run for reelection to AD66 (Torrance). That's good news for Assembly Democrats, who don't need another seat to defend in a tough year. The chatter in DC is that Dems are fearing losing BOTH the Senate and the House. Holding the supermajorities in California's Assembly and Senate will likely come down to three seats -- AD44, AD65 and SD34. Dems need one of the first two and the OC senate seat to keep two-thirds, and an open seat in AD66 would complicate the defense.
It's been interesting to hear the chatter about how quickly women's groups here in DC had to move to squelch Sandra Fluke's congressional ambitions in favor of Wendy Greuel. "We love you, Sandra, but Wendy has paid far more dues."
Meanwhile, Elvira Harris ended her run for AD40 (Redlands). The seat, being vacated by Mike Morrell probably is not competitive this year, but certainly is a pick-up opportunity for Dems with the right candidate in 2016. Obama won there with 53%.
What a trip to see Igor Birman, a former College Democrats leader at UC Davis, gain the blessing of the tea party. That said, this is the country in which anyway can remake his or her self.
GOV: Gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari (R) collected on his commitments over the last week, raising nearly $1 million, including a max from Hank Paulson. Unfortunately for Mr. Maldonado, there is no indication that Charles Munger, Jr. will be jumping into the race.
LAW AND ORDER: Sacramento lobbying firm fined for lavish fundraisers with lawmakers [Lauren Rosenhall and David Siders @ SacBee]
LA-LA LAND: Charles Calderon running for judge in Los Angeles [John Hrabe @ CalNewsroom]
#LIKE: Wright Is Victim of a Stupid Law [Douglas Jeffe @ Fox and Hounds]
Let's face it. It's time to get rid of the constitutional requirement to be a resident in State Senate and Assembly districts. There is no reason to have a higher standard for state office than for Congress, and we can point to great members of our delegation in DC who don't maintain a house back home. And, residency determination is left solely to prosecutorial discretion.
Rod Wright is the victim of a hungry prosecutor, while a fellow senator's residency issue was ignored in favor of prosecuting a black youth who pulled a common prank at Disneyland. I grew up in the shadow of D'Land, where lots of wealthy white kids did much worse while wearing their mouse ears, but were just told "don't do it again." Wright has done a good job representing his constituents, which should be the test for fitness for office.
CIRCUITOUS: How 60,000 bills become a law [Chris Cillizza @ WaPo]
VULNERABLE: Attack on electric grid raises alarm [Evan Halper and Marc Lifsher @ LAT]
TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
State Government Wringing Water From Operations
Jon Ortiz @ sacbee.com
Carolina Lopez of Argentina takes pictures of the Capitol in Sacramento. The popular fountain near the west steaThis is Californiaâs state government in drought mode: Drier grass around state grounds. Dirtier windows on state buildings. Grimier fire engines sent out to fight fires. Decorative fountains? Shut off. Landscaping projects? Largely canceled.
Donnelly Dismisses Rival Kashkari's Fundraising In Governor's Race
Seema Mehta @ latimes.com
Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly dismissed the nearly $1 million his GOP rival Neel Kashkari raised in the two weeks since entering the race, saying that the former U.S. Treasury official is too similar to incumbent Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown to offer a real contrast for voters.
Calif. ethics watchdog to crack down on 49ers lobbyist
The state's political ethics watchdog is preparing to penalize a powerful Capitol lobbyist - whose clients include the San Francisco 49ers - following an investigation into improper gifts allegedly given to dozens of state legislators. The Capitol buzzed Thursday with news of the impending findings of the Fair Political Practices Commission investigation, which multiple sources said involves campaign fundraisers hosted by Kevin Sloat of Sacramento-based Sloat Higgins Jensen and Associates. The investigation centers around allegations that Sloat's firm arranged lavish fundraising events with food, high-end wines and cigars to benefit candidates and elected officials, multiple sources said. Accused in lawsuitThe investigation comes after Sloat and his lobbying firm were accused in a wrongful termination lawsuit of deliberately hiding the true cost of fundraisers at his "mansion" and arranging perks for politicians and their staff, including playoffs tickets for the San Francisco 49ers and San Francisco Giants. Smira's lawsuit charged that Sloat - who represented the 49ers on issues regarding the development of the new team stadium in Santa Clara - told team officials that giving free tickets to "legislators, legislative staff and administrative staff was a great way to build a relationship with influential figures." The lawsuit charged that in 2010, Sloat obtained free tickets to all of the San Francisco Giants home playoff games - he then "provided every ticket to Senators, Assembly members and legislative staff."
Senate Democrats To Try Again To Extend Unemployment Benefits
Lisa Mascaro @ latimes.com
WASHINGTON --The Senate is poised Thursday to try again to extend unemployment benefits for 1.7 million Americans with a new Democratic proposal that aims to attract Republican support by prohibiting millionaires from receiving aid.
Boxer, Ted Cruz Agree On Military Justice Bill
By Josh Richman Thursday, February 6th, 2014 at 10:55 am in Barbara Boxer, U.S. Senate.
Groundwork starting to pay off in Oakland
Another 7,500 units, including Brooklyn Basin - a transformative project on the Oakland waterfront with housing, retail and new parks planned - are in the approval process. On the commercial side, investors have pumped more than $2.4 billion into projects that will produce 3 million square feet of office, retail and commercial space. Revenue from business, sales, hotel and property taxes rose in 2013 to levels not seen since before the recession, Blackwell said. The city's approach to the problem - which historically has been part law enforcement, part social service - has divided the city and its political leaders. The city's investment in the Uptown - the Fox (Theater) and tenant improvement work - the improvements around the lake, the cultivation around the art scene and a restaurant explosion has made Oakland a lot more attractive to people.
Senate Hits Another Dead End On Unemployment Benefits
The Senate remained gridlocked Thursday over the effort to renew emergency unemployment insurance for the long-term jobless, including more than 1.7 million Americans without work who lost their benefits as the federal program expired in late December.
Charles Calderon running for judge in Los Angeles
John Hrabe @ calnewsroom.com
Charles Calderon, a former prosecutor and majority leader of both houses of the California State Legislature, has filed paperwork to run for Los Angeles Superior Court judge in the June 2014 election, CalNewsroom.com has confirmed.
Sacramento Lobbying Firm Fined For Lavish Fundraisers With Lawmakers
Laurel Rosenhall and David Siders @ sacbee.com
The state Fair Political Practices Commission is issuing warning letters to as many as 40 state elected officials after reaching a tentative agreement to fine a firm headed by a Sacramento lobbyist who held lavish fundraisers for politicians at his home, sources told The Bee.
Sacramento lobbyist fined for lavish fundraisers with lawmakers
Laurel Rosenhall and David Siders @ blogs.sacbee.com
The state Fair Political Practices Commission is issuing warning letters to as many as 40 state elected officials after reaching a tentative agreement to fine a Sacramento lobbyist who held lavish fundraisers for politicians at his home, sources told The Bee.
Kamala Harris Endorses Wendy Greuel In Race For Waxman's House Seat
Jean Merl @ latimes.com
"I've known Wendy for a very long time," Harris said in a telephone interview. "I know her to be someone who will represent California in a very important way."
Montana Governor Names Replacement for Baucus
Lt. Gov. John Walsh, who is a candidate for Senate, was named to succeed Senator Max Baucus, who is leaving become ambassador to China.
Pharmacies Braced For Cuts To Their Medi-cal Payments | State Of Health Blog From Kqed News
So the state stepped in and created a list of 2,600 drugs that are now exempt from the cuts – about 60 percent of all drugs reimbursed in a given month. However, the state still plans to “clawback” — or retroactively collect — payments on the remaining drugs dating back to June 2011, when the cuts were first signed into law.
Total California Water Storage Near Decade Low
Amy Quinton @ capradio.org
The Sacramento and San Joaquin River Basins are experiencing the steepest drop in water storage in nearly a decade. A new study looked at all water storage in the basins, including snow, surface water, soil moisture and groundwater.
Attack On Electric Grid Raises Alarm
Evan Halper and Marc Lifsher @ latimes.com
Damage to power station in shooting last year prompts worries over terrorism.
Congresswoman Sleeps In A Homeless Shelter - Politics Blog
Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier is gearing up for what she hopes is the next big fight in Congress -- balancing out the growing economic inequality that has ravaged the middle class for years -- so s...
Lawmakers Warned, Lobbyist Faces Fines Over Unreported Fundraising
Patrick McGreevy and Paige St. John @ latimes.com
A prominent lobbying firm in Sacramento faces fines for failing to report fund-raising expenses that benefited about 40 state legislators and other officials, according to Capitol sources.
U.S. Lawmakers Reach Accord On Paying Doctors For Medicare
Noam N. Levey @ latimes.com
Lawmakers must find about $150 billion to pay for the proposal, which would replace a widely criticized system that limited annual increases in physicians' reimbursements.
L.A. City Leaders Unsatisfied With DWP's Audit Of Nonprofits
Jack Dolan @ latimes.com
Officials say records of how the Department of Water and Power spent $40 million in ratepayer money leave questions unanswered.