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THE NOONER for February 21, 2014
Greetings, Noonerific peoples. It's been a long week, but we have made it to Friday! As you read this, I should be on a train from Richmond back to Sacramento following a morning talk and in time for an afternooner in the 95814. Very long day!
BRIDGE TO SELL: Today is the "deadline" for bill introductions. All great ideas wil be sunshined to the public as of today, and there will be no guts-and-amends...for the home gamers, google "gut and amend" and "spot bill."
On this Friday, there is a #bimbotastic rumor being floated by a certain someone making allegations about someone s/he is running against alleging having a videotape of said person being with another someone who also was with another someone, but you know, I can't "print" just rumors. So, time to play Mad Libs and appreciate how nasty some of the Dem on Dem races have become.
Meanwhile, expect your Nooners to be a bit shorter through March 7 (12 if the incumbent is not running) as I allocate my two morning hours to poring through campaign filings in 52 counties to discern who is a legit candidate and who is just being a nuisance to the local county elections officer. Really, it's just a 24/7 game to find out if/when/where Jerry files.
SD20 (Ontario): My inteligence (stop laughing) is that Cheryl Brown will run for the red carpet (State Senate) and Freddie Rodriguez will stay on the green carpet (Assembly). That would answer a lot of political questions for informed home-gamers. (Silly trivia: California's carpet colors are based on Britain's House of Lords/House of Commons rather than US's Senate/House of Representatives, which are red and blue, respectively).
CA36 (Coachella): Keen obeservers of voter registration numbers saw a surge of Republicans in the hotly contested congressional district held by Raul Ruiz. I saw the numbers initiially and almost moved the district to "Leans Republican" from "Toss-up." However, the number echo the pattern of purge-and-registration normally found in the district...almost identically. It's going to be a difficult district Democrats to defend but, registration is not the issue. And, if Ray Haynes jumps in against Brian Nestande in the top-two, Ruiz gets a bump from wasted money of whomever emerges as the Republican in the general.
#AB1266: It's time to check in on the referendum qualification of the measure to overturn AB 1266, relating to gender in public schools. The measure had a very close call of failing without a full count during the random sample stage, and then moved on to the full count. Thus, counties have to manually verify the 619,344 signatures submitted, and 504,760 (81.5%) of those must be valid. Through yesterday, 40 counties have reported a full count (now amounting to over 50% of collected signatures), and the validity rate right now is 78.94%. The deadline for counties to submit their full count report is February 24.
MUST READ: No easy fix for California's teacher pension crisis [Chris Megerian @ LAT] - "The second-largest public pension fund in the country, after California's primary pension system for public employees, it faces a $71-billion shortfall that worsens by $22 million every day, according to pension officials."
From SacBee's team:
POLITICS IS PERSONAL: One of this year's more interesting political dramas is the election in the Long Beach-centered 70th Assembly District. Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, is termed out and running for her city's mayorship. Among the candidates to succeed her is former daughter-in-law Suja Lowenthal, a Long Beach city councilwoman who abandoned her own bid for mayor last fall. Adding another wrinkle to the race, the women have endorsed each other's opponents. Suja Lowenthal has found some support in Sacramento, however, including from state Sen. Ben Hueso, D-San Diego, who joins her for a fundraiser in Long Beach tomorrow.
Interesting that we have three candidates with the last name "Lowenthal" on the ballot, all derived from one and only one with the original derivation.
#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Alexa Bluth and Sylvia Flores!
#MEMORIAM: Garrick Utley, classic newsman and occasional anchor of Meet the Press.
#GABFEST: There's a pretty good summary of House of Cards (without spoilers) and how we all feel about it in this week's Slate Political Gabfest. OMG, and you don't listen to David Plotz's credits, you don't deserve to read my daily missive.
Finally, not much makes me cry. But, if you don't tear up about one of our fallen CHP officers, you're not human.
TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
Union Begins Signature Drive For Hospital Pricing Ballot Initiative
Melanie Mason @ latimes.com
SACRAMENTO — A healthcare workers union will launch its signature-gathering effort for a hospital pricing ballot measure Thursday, marking the latest front in a looming initiative fight that will pit labor against hospitals.
Darrell Steinberg Expected To Introduce New Tax On Buying Gas
Laurel Rosenhall @ blogs.sacbee.com
Senate leader Darrell Steinberg is expected to introduce a controversial proposal today to place a new tax on drivers buying gas at the pump and divert the money to transit projects and tax credits for low- and middle-income Californians.
Steinberg's Gas Tax Proposal May Be Dead On Arrival
Dan Walters @ sacbee.com
Darrell Steinberg, the president pro tem of the state Senate who will leave the position and the Legislature later this year, proposed Thursday that gasoline taxes be increased sharply to fight global warming and provide new financial support for low- and middle-income families. But his plan could be dead on arrival, given the Capitolâs political dynamics and opposition from both left and right.
Gas Tax Proposed For California Would Undermine Existing Climate Law
Molly Samuel @ blogs.kqed.org
State Senator Darrell Steinberg is proposing a carbon tax on gasoline that would put a price on the pollution that causes climate change. The plan would also preempt a key piece of Californiaâs existing climate law, due to kick in next year.
Campaign Money Disclosure Bill Clears The Assembly
Melanie Mason @ latimes.com
SACRAMENTO-The Assembly approved a measure Thursday that would ramp up disclosure requirements for nonprofit groups and other organizations that spend money in California campaigns, a response to a infamous multimillion-dollar anonymous donation in 2012.
Steinberg’s gas tax proposal may be dead on arrival
Dan Walters @ sacbee.com
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg wants to hike gas taxes to fight global warming and help the poor, but it could be DOA.
Assembly Democrats Seek To Restore Cuts To Medi-cal Funding
Chris Megerian @ latimes.com
SACRAMENTO -- Two Assembly Democrats want to restore funding for California's healthcare program for the poor, laying the groundwork for another debate over how to make the best use of the state's financial recovery.
Tim Donnelly Searching For Campaign Money In Barren Land
David Siders and Jim Miller @ sacbee.com
Tim Donnelly parked his campaign RV outside a Stockton house one night last week, asked for a Monster Energy drink and walked inside to the applause of a small crowd.
California Senator Proposes Restoring Bilingual Education
Patrick McGreevy @ latimes.com
Lara’s proposal would place an initiative on the ballot that would give parents a choice to have their children receive bilingual education.
Legislation Would Make Child Abuse Reporting Training Mandatory In California Schools
Matthias Gafni @ mercurynews.com
After two years of reports by this newspaper of various school employees failing to properly report child abuse, Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Burbank, introduced Assembly Bill 1432, which would change state law from "strongly encouraging" training to "requiring annual training," including yearly proof of such education.
Majority of Democrat Legislators Silent on UC Strike
A majority of Democrat state legislators have remained silent on the ongoing labor dispute between the University of California and its lowest-paid workers. AFSCME 3299 says that a silent majority is with them on the issue.
Settlement Of Lobbyist Kevin Sloat's Case Falls Short, Key Lawyer Says
Patrick McGreevy and Paige St. John @ latimes.com
An attorney who aided an investigation that resulted in fines against lobbyist Kevin Sloat said the settlement of the matter approved Thursday by the state Fair Political Practices Commission falls short and fails to address some of the most serious allegations involving elected officials.
Steinberg: Predictable gas tax better than swinging pump prices
Laurel Rosenhall @ blogs.sacbee.com
Californians gassing up their cars would pay a carbon tax â starting at 15 cents per gallon next year and rising to 43 cents per gallon in 2030 â under a proposal Senate leader Darrell Steinberg introduced Thursday.
Senate leader calls for new tax on gas to fund transit
Laurel Rosenhall @ sacbee.com
Californians gassing up their cars would pay a carbon tax – starting at 15 cents per gallon next year and rising to 43 cents per gallon in 2030 – under a proposal made Thursday by Senate leader Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento.
Union Calls For Five-day Strike Next Month At Uc
Larry Gordon @ latimes.com
The union representing the University of California's 21,000 service workers and patient care employees has scheduled a five-day strike starting March 3 -- which would be their third and longest walkout in less than a year.
Union announces strike against University of California
Jon Ortiz @ sacbee.com
The union representing several thousand University of California employees on Tuesday announced it will strike from March 3 to March 7.
Gun Owner Kashkari Says He's Not Running On Second Amendment Agenda
David Siders @ blogs.sacbee.com
Neel Kashkari said Wednesday that he owns four guns and supports gun rights but is "not running on an agenda of the Second Amendment," highlighting a contrast with Tim Donnelly, the other main Republican running for governor.
State Senate Leader Proposes 'carbon Tax' On Motor Vehicle Fuels
Marc Lifsher @ latimes.com
State Senate leader Darrell Steinberg says California should junk its complex cap-and-trade system for pollution credits and replace it with a carbon tax.
Moody's Warns Bankrupt Cities They Must Cut Pension Debts
Dan Walters @ blogs.sacbee.com
Moody's Investors Services, a major bond rating house, warned Thursday that if bankrupt California cities don't reduce their pension obligations, they risk returning to insolvency.
Top Democratic lawmaker proposes fuel tax
The state Senate leader is proposing a tax on consumer fuel purchases of gasoline, oil, diesel, ethanol and natural gas, with the money raised diverted to transit projects and households of a certain income level.
Feinstein Laments Retirements Of Those Who 'get It Done' In Congress
Seema Mehta @ latimes.com
Six members of Congress from California have announced plans to retire in 2014
Lawmakers: California Driver’s Licenses Should Include ‘veteran’ Designation - Politics Blog
Veteran groups have supported the license designation, saying once they leave service their discharge papers serve as verification of service, but those records also contain substantial personal information that makes it not ideal for carrying around.
Should Bans On Drought-resistant Yards Be Lifted?
Michael Gardner @ utsandiego.com
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez has reopened a turf war in the Capitol over whether homeowners association should have the right to require green lawns and lush flower gardens even in a drought.
Ukraine President Seeks To Defuse Crisis, Calls For Early Elections
Sergei L. Loiko @ latimes.com
KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukraine's embattled President Viktor Yanukovich acknowledged the opposition's victory Friday by initiating early presidential and parliamentary elections and a plan to form a coalition government.