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THE NOONER for February 12, 2014

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DISTRICT UPDATES

  • CD31 (San Bernardino): removed congressman Gary Miller (R)
  • AD44 (Ventura): removed chamber executive Sean Paroski (R)

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WOW: Quick add as I get back to my hotel from Capitol Hill. No time to write more. Congressman Gary Miller has chosen not to seek reelection in CD31 (San Bernardino), one of the toughest holds for the GOP this cycle. Miller beat fellow Republican Bob Dutton in 2012 after four Democrats split the vote, advancing two Republicans in the biggest lesson thus far of the calculus of top-two primary elections.

 

Good very early morning...I wrote the following last night as I have a 7am EST breakfast for our California delegation lobbying for community colleges here in DC. Unfortunately, people are more interested in the weather and finding seats on the last flight out at this point than federal policy. Meanwhile, House Democrats are leaving early for their policy retreat on the Maryland shore.

HELP WANTED

Joyce Kennard will be stepping down from the California Supreme Court effective April 5.

Kennard was appointed by Governor George Deukmejian in 1989, and is the longest serving justice on the Court. Born of Eurasian ancestry, she currently helps make up both the majorities of Asian and female justices on the seven-member bench.

The timing of the retirement coincides with the 25th anniversary of Kennard's appointment and ensures that her successor will not have to stand for the first retention vote by the voters until November 2018 before commencing a full 12-year term.

The vacancy will set up the second high visibility appointment and confirmation process by the Commission on Judicial Appointments for Jerry Brown 2.0. Instead of confirmation by the state's legislative body, the fitness for appointment in California is judged by a three-person panel made up of by the state's Chief Justice (Tani Cantil-Sakauye), the Attorney General (Kamala Harris), and the senior presiding justice of the Courts of Appeal (Joan Dempsey Klein of the 2nd Circuit).

In 2011, Brown appointed Justice Goodwin Liu--who was stuck in a Senate quagmire for a Ninth Circuit appointment--to the vacancy left by Carlos Moreno, and Latino and African-American groups were both disappointed that the appointment left both groups off the bench.

All this comes in an election year, and presents itself to a governor whose first term was marked by accusations of the appointment of unqualified justices, and the recall thereof, to the California Supreme Court. The focus of the voter anger in 1986 was Chief Justice Rose Bird, who had shown a disdain for the death penalty by finding substantive and technical flaws in the case and then three more votes to overturn it.

However, also swept out were Brown appointees Joseph Grodin and Cruz Reynoso. Some have argued that the anger wasn't really about death penalty cases, but advances in labor law, particularly for farm workers. In the end, it's true that passions were against the bloc opposed to the death penalty, but, without other interests aligning and funding the the campaign against reconfirmation, they likely would have stayed on the court.  

Jerry Brown isn't one to always follow convention, but I would expect significant pressure to appoint an African-American or Latino justice, with some pressure for another female. And, with the developments of the last four years, there will be pressure from the gay and lesbian community. The challenge is how far he wants to reach. The Courts of Appeal in California have several potential candidates, but many were appointed by Republican governors. Gray Davis was slow to appoint judges until after the recall, and Arnold Schwarzenegger made twice as many trial court appointments as Davis.

The appointment will move the California Supreme Court from 6:1 Republican:Democratic gubernatorial appointees to 5:2 Republican:Democrat. Term two of Jerry Brown 2.0 (or is that 4.0?) might bring 2-3 more opportunities. With political trends the way they are in California and with the California GOP's current gubernatorial bench, there is little pressure to "hang in there" for a GOP governor, unlike the pressure on justices on SCOTUS.

Here are a few names I heard late last night to get the convo started . . . 

  • Michael Fitzgerald, judge, U.S. District Court, Central District of California
  • Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, Professor, Stanford Law School
  • Martin Jenkins, 1st District Court of Appeal
  • Kevin Johnson, Dean, UC Davis School of Law
  • Kathleen Sullivan, Partner, Quinn Emanuel; former dean, Stanford Law School 

Let me know of others you think are/should be on the list.

SAN DIEGO: Faulconer wins mayor's race [Craig Gustafson @ UTSD]

  • Kevin Faulconer: 137,296 (54.53%)
  • David Alvarez: 114,478 (45.47%)

San Diego voters may be progressive in statewide and federal politics now, but when it comes to running the city, they once again showed their comfort for more conservative candidates. Remember, 5 of the last 6 elected San Diego mayors have been Republican, even though the city favored Barack Obama, John Kerry, Al Gore, and Bill Clinton. It's the seperation (if their can be one) of policy and fiscal issues, with concerns locally being about management, budgets, and public safety.

In other words, nobody should read anything into the election yesterday.

Reminder: the historic perception of a big tilt toward the GOP in early absentees has been erased in many jurisdictions, as Democrats develop better operations and young voters choose mail-in ballots. So, Democrats shouldn't get excited when they see their returned ballots leading before election day. Of course, provisionals and late absentees do tilt Democrat.

HOUSE QUAKE: California feels the aftershocks of new 'top two' election system [Thomas D. Elias]

BANG BANG THEORY: Tim Donnelly in 'heaven' at Stockton gun store [David Siders @ SacBee]

$$$: Mercury partner and "unlobbyist" Fabian Nunez just gave $8,200 to Governor Jerry Brown's committee from the Fabian Nunez for Treasurer 2014 account.

 

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**CLASSIFIEDS**

  • The fastest, most cost-effective way to learn the legislative process and effective advocacy. Veteran lobbyist Ray LeBov presents his introductory "Lobbying 101" and advanced "Lobbying 201" seminars March 13-14. $250 each. Essential for principals / support staff at lobbying firms, organizations that employ lobbyists, public agencies. Complete info / registration: www.capitolseminars.net or 916 442 5009.
  • The Council of Community Clinics is looking for an experienced Program Manager that will lead a project to investigate the remaining uninsured residents in San Diego, Riverside and Imperial counties. More information here.
  • Housing California, a nonprofit advocacy organization, seeks a Sustainable Communities Coordinator to focus on our work around the intersection of housing, transportation, and land-use planning. Competitive salary/benefits. Apply by 2/17/2014. View job description.
  • California Council on Science and Technology is now hiring a Program Assistant for our Sacramento Office. Position will do website edits, report layout, database management, and provide program and administrative support. $36,600 minimum salary. Looking for a highly organized self-starter with strong communication skills. Must apply through UC Merced by February 14th. See job positing at: jobs.ucmerced.edu/n/staff/position.jsf?positionId=5108
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TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
Tim Donnelly Criticizes Party Politics, Proposes High-speed Rail Money For Water
David Siders @
blogs.sacbee.com
LODI - Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly said Wednesday that the state should ask voters to use money earmarked for California's troubled high-speed rail project to instead build dams and other water infrastructure.

Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris Will Launch Reelection Campaign Wednesday
Chris Megerian @
latimes.com
SACRAMENTO -- Kamala Harris will formally announce her plans to seek a second term as state attorney general on Wednesday morning in San Francisco.

Boxer, Feinstein Answer GOP On California Drought - Politics Blog
blog.sfgate.com
Under pressure from House Republicans to offer an alternative plan to deal with California's drought, California Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, joined by Oregon Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff ...

Obama Wants To Stop 'school-to-prison Pipeline' For Minorities
Christi Parsons @
latimes.com
WASHINGTON - President Obama plans to launch an initiative aimed at improving the lives of young black and Latino men by bringing businesses and foundations together with government agencies to change what an administration official called the "school-to-prison pipeline."

Studentsfirst Forming Small Donor Campaign Fund For Local, State Elections | Edsource Today
edsource.org
Sacramento-based StudentsFirst is seeking to expand its political clout in California by asking its members to contribute to a new election campaign fund. The advocacy and lobbying organization wants to set up a small contributor committee, Californians for Putting Students First, that would give money directly to state and local candidates.

Water-bond Debate Exposes Sharp Differences Among California Interest Groups » Ventura County Star
Timm Herdt @
vcstar.com
Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, presented a proposal to place a scaled-down, $6.9 billion water bond on the November ballot to a Senate committee on Tuesday, asserting the one now scheduled to go before voters this fall is too bloated.

S.F. honors same-sex weddings of 2004
sfgate.com
[...] what do you give 4,000 couples whose same-sex weddings at City Hall 10 years ago were deemed illegal but who paved the way for the legalization of the unions in California and an ever-growing list of other states? (Hey, it's better than tin, right?) As mayor, Newsom's bold move to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples starting Feb. 12, 2004, drew national scorn but is now considered a pioneering step in the same-sex marriage fight. [...] speaking at the celebration will be Mayor Ed Lee, a representative from the city attorney's office and emcee Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights. In 2004, national attention was trained on San Francisco as long lines of same-sex couples waiting to say their "I do's" stretched outside City Hall for a month before the California Supreme Court ordered a halt to the weddings on March 11. The nonprofit aquarium, with the support of the A. Philip Randolph Institute and City College, wants to run the center, which focuses on environmental education, including green building, sustainability and baylands wildlife habitat. The surrounding community has been involved with the center since it was built in 2009-10 by Literacy for Environmental Justice, a group formed to address "the ecology and health of Bayview-Hunters Point and the surrounding communities."

Kevin Sloat Fallout Hits California Secretary Of State Race
Laurel Rosenhall @
blogs.sacbee.com
The political fallout from the record-breaking fine of lobbyist Kevin Sloat has begun, with a candidate for Secretary of State calling on an opponent to return money he has raised from clients of the embattled lobbyist.

State Senate Panel Reviews Ethics, Campaign Laws
Patrick McGreevy @
latimes.com
The Ethics Working Group will discuss and prepare reforms to strengthen laws on gifts, contributions and residency requirements.

Pay To Play In The State Capital
eastbayexpress.com
The latest political scandal to rock Sacramento offered a rare glimpse this past week into how business actually gets done in the state capital. And it's rather ugly, especially when you dig into the details of the case. Unfortunately, the California Fair Political Practices Commission, which uncovered the scandal, and the mainstream press, which duly reported on what the FPPC had found, chose to focus mostly on technicalities — the specific laws broken by an influential lobbying firm and the large fine it received — rather than the giant loophole in state law that allowed for obvious influence peddling, in which powerful special interests got to ask Governor Jerry Brown and dozens of state Democratic Party leaders for favors as they handed them big checks while sipping expensive booze, smoking fine cigars, and dining on catered food.

Gov. Jerry Brown Wins Two More Years To Reduce Prison Crowding
Paige St. John @
latimes.com
The governor has until February 2016 to ease crowding. In return, the state must make more elderly and ill inmates eligible for parole.

Home, And Where The Heart Is
Timm Herdt @
vcstar.com
Among the most awkward encounters this political reporter has ever experienced took place several years ago, not much before midnight on Dec. 23. I was walking into a Toys R Us store in Sacramento, and almost literally bumped into then-Assemblyman Tom McClintock walking out, arms full of gifts.

Legislative Supermajorities At Risk In 2014 Election
Dan Walters @
sacbee.com
Republicans would have to gain two seats to kill the Assembly supermajority, but they have two seats potentially at risk because their incumbents are running for other offices. Thus, the GOP would have to hold both and knock off two Democratic incumbents, with likely targets being Steve Fox of Palmdale and Sharon Quirk-Silva of Fullerton, who won seemingly solid Republican districts in 2012. Bottom line: A better than 50-50 chance for the Senate’s supermajority to disappear, but a less than 50-50 chance in the Assembly.

In An Underdog Campaign For Governor, Donnelly Expresses High Hopes
Seema Mehta @
latimes.com
The Republican says a swath of California voters made up of disaffected Democrats and independents will respond to his message.

Dan Walters Daily: Jerry Brown receives stay of execution on prison cuts
Alexei Koseff @
blogs.sacbee.com
Federal judges have given Gov. Jerry Brown more time to reduce prison population, but with some caveats that could be politically damaging.

Government Money Is No Answer To California Drought - Bloomberg
Steven Greenhut @
bloomberg.com
Rocky shores exposed by low waters of San Gabriel Reservoir. 

Battle Over California Drought Solution
Jim Carlton and Siobhan Hughes @
online.wsj.com
California's drought is becoming a hot issue on Capitol Hill, where bills from Senate Democrats and House Republicans offer rival solutions on how to best aid water-starved farmers.

Shirley Temple Black’s Successful Second Career - Politics Blog
blog.sfgate.com
Years after she retired from Hollywood, Shirley Temple Black built a second career in politics and diplomacy in which she tapped the same talents that once made her America's highest-paid entertain...

Speaker Boehner Drops Conditions For Debt-ceiling Legislation
Lisa Mascaro and Michael A. Memoli @
latimes.com
WASHINGTON -- Unable to corral his restive troops around a debt ceiling plan, Speaker John A. Boehner announced Tuesday he would bring a bill to the House floor to allow continued federal borrowing with no strings attached.

Public pension litigation decision nears conclusion
Lisa Vorderbrueggen @
mercurynews.com
Contra Costa Superior Court Judge David Flinn announced he will rule by March 7 on labor unions' legal challenge of anti-spiking pension legislation signed into law in 2012. Public employee groups in Contra Costa, Alameda and Merced counties are asking the court to overturn the new prohibition on the inclusion in the retirement formula of banked vacation, holiday, on-call and other types of pay.

Capitol Alert video: Tim Donnelly in 'heaven' at Stockton gun store
David Siders @
blogs.sacbee.com
Tim Donnelly found his paradise at a gun store Tuesday.

New San Diego Mayor On Disgraced Filner: 'we Were Better Than That'
Tony Perry @
latimes.com
SAN DIEGO -- On the heels of the election victory making him the city's next mayor, Republican Councilman Kevin Faulconer on Tuesday night allowed himself a not-so-veiled reference to the now-passed era of disgraced ex-Mayor  Bob Filner .

Lawmakers Hear Assisted-living Concerns | Utsandiego.com
utsandiego.com
Be relevant, respectful, honest, discreet and responsible. Commenting Rules

Senate Democrats wade into California drought debate, offer legislation
Michael Doyle @
sacbee.com
California’s drought has now fully captivated Congress, with the introduction Tuesday of a Senate water bill that counters one passed by the House of Representatives last week.

Drought plan unveiled by Senate Democrats
Evan Halper @
latimes.com
After vowing to block a GOP plan to help farmers deal with the California drought, c ongressional Democrats have now unveiled their own drought proposal – a more modest proposal that would not suspend any state or federal environmental laws.