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THE NOONER for March 11, 2014

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  • CD33 (Coastal Los Angeles): added social worker Kristie Holmes (D)
  • CD45 (Irvine): removed supervisor John Moorlach (R)
  • Lots of changes are still being made to the district pages, with formal ballot titles, websites, and candidates being added/removed as counties update their candidate lists.

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25 TWITTER ACCOUNTS TO FOLLOW: Here's my inaugural list of the 25 Twitter accounts to follow to get the latest on California politics this election cycle. This does not include candidate accounts, which are being added to the district pages.

DEAR JOHN: The NSA just passed along this e-mail captured from News10's internal e-mail system:

FROM:  John Myers

Newsroom colleagues:

I wanted to let you know that I will be stepping down from my position as political editor on April 2.

I have accepted the newly created position of politics editor, based here in Sacramento, for KQED Public Media, to begin in mid-April.

As many of you know, I came to News10 from the radio division of KQED. This, however, is a completely new venture. The news organization is creating a unit of broadcast and online journalists covering CA government and politics all across the state, and I will be serving as the director of that unit, as well as a principal correspondent. It will be the first truly multimedia political reporting unit in the state and one of the only ones in the U.S -- television, radio, and online.

That's a big loss to News10, but if the platform envisioned by KQED materializes, a huge win for California. And, I guess I need to start giving to KQED again, in addition to Capital Public Radio. And, then there is the great work Sharon McNary and others are doing at KPCC...

CA17 (Milpitas): New Candidates' Entry Changes Calculus Of Honda-Khanna House Contest [Josh Richman @ MercNews] - "Two last-minute Republican candidates have crowded the field in the Bay Area's most-watched House race, turning a high-profile showdown between Democrats into a multidimensional numbers game complicated by party politics, ethnicity and the state's "top-two" primary system."

CA33 (Coastal Los Angeles): Speaking of calculus, by my unofficial count, there are currently 14 candidates ( and now Molly the Dog wants to bite off a piece of the action.

CA45 (Irvine): John Moorlach (R) has dropped his congressional bid, making Mimi Walters (R) the overwhelming favorite to succeed John Campbell (R).

SD14 (Fresno-Bakersfield): Vidak's Senate seat may be among few competitive Valley races [John Ellis @ Fresno Bee]

DOUBLE-X FACTOR: The United States ranks 77th in the world in the number of women electioned to national legislative seats. While at an advantage by having the most congressional seats, California leads the nation with 37 (cumulative), equal to the bottom 20 states combined.

JUST FOR FEARING: The United Steaks of America: If every state had an official meat, what would it be? [L.V. Anderson @ Slate] - California is tofu. "It's a well known fact that Californian's don't eat meat, just tofu and kale. And to include kale on a list of state meats would just be ridiculous."

"COFFEE SHOP," RIGHT...: Campaign: Pell misplaced wife Kwan's car in Dec. [AP]

...I remember an Assemblymember's state car being reported stolen about seventeen years ago. It was right where he left it...on L Street, across from the Capitol and within stumbling distance of Brannan's. I'm sure that wasn't the only time. #SergeantsNeverTell #IWantMeechum

NOM-NOM-NOONER: I caught this place on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives last night and I just happen to be scheduled to be in Eureka on March 28 (if I can walk/drive by then)!

#CAKEDAY: Light the candles for Joe Cislowski, Tom Kaptain, and Courtney Pugh.




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Fracking Exposes Rift Between Jerry Brown, Democrats
David R. Baker @
Fracking has opened vast oil and natural gas deposits across the country, creating legions of fans and foes alike. Brown has come under increasing fire from the state's powerful environmental lobby for his support of hydraulic fracturing, the drilling technique that has revolutionized America's oil and gas industry.

Two Decades Of Budget Expenditures, Revenue
Jim Miller @
Legislative budget subcommittee hearings on Gov. Jerry Brown's January spending plan are in full swing, with lawmakers, administration officials, the Legislative Analyst's Office and others debating the proposal's finer points.

Bill To Give Ethics Agency More Audit Power Clears Legislature
Melanie Mason @
SACRAMENTO -- The Assembly gave final legislative approval Monday to a bill that aims to crack down on anonymous campaign money by giving California's ethics and tax agencies more authority to conduct investigations.

Tim Donnelly Challenges Neel Kashkari To Debate
David Siders @
Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly challenged rival Neel Kashkari on Monday to an "old-fashioned debate" at this weekend's gathering of the California Republican Party, an invitation immediately dismissed by Kashkari and party leadership.

State Attorney General Backs Legislation To Fight Truancy | Edsource Today
State Attorney General Kamala Harris and a team of legislators Monday introduced a package of bills to battle chronic student absenteeism, in yet another sign of the growing reexamination of school attendance and discipline policies.

Campos wants stricter rules on S.F. health care accounts
Supervisor David Campos is once again proposing legislation to stop employers from pocketing millions of dollars that were supposed to pay for employee health care as part of the city's universal health care law. The centerpiece of Campos' proposal is a requirement that money employers deposit in savings accounts to reimburse their workers for their health care expenses actually gets used for that. Campos, who on Tuesday is to request that the city attorney draft legislation, tried to close the loophole in 2011 by preventing employers from ever taking back money deposited for staff. In 2011, 17 percent of employers who opted for the reimbursement accounts to comply with the city's Health Care Security Ordinance paid out absolutely nothing, the draft report said. With the city's economy humming amid growing frustration about income disparity, Campos may find a better reception at the Board of Supervisors for his legislation this time around and get eight votes to make it veto-proof. Digging deeper into the issue of affordable housing - or lack thereof - the poll found that 78 percent of registered voters think the city needs to build more housing for middle-class families and 62 percent support more housing for low-income families. [...] Campos, who is running against fellow supervisor David Chiu for a seat in the state Assembly, noted that national fair housing laws and most states don't protect the LGBT community from discrimination.

Citing Truancy 'crisis,' Kamala Harris, Lawmakers Seek Action
Jeremy B. White @
Emphasizing that young students who frequently miss school are far more likely to fall behind and commit crimes later in life, California Attorney General Kamala Harris and half a dozen lawmakers introduced an anti-truancy bill package on Monday.

Despite Donnelly's Challenge, No Plans For Debate At GOP Convention
Anthony York @
As California Republicans prepare to gather outside of San Francisco for their semi-annual convention this weekend, at least one of the party’s gubernatorial candidates wants to debate.

Vidak's Senate Seat May Be Among Few Competitive Valley Races
John Ellis @
It's now official: Fresno Unified trustee Luis Chavez is challenging state Sen. Andy Vidak in the 14th state Senate District -- and Kings County Supervisor Richard Valle isn't.

Barbara Boxer To Join All-nighter On Climate Change - Politics Blog
" Sen. Barbara Boxer will join more than two dozen Democrats Monday night in an all-night Senate talk-a-thon to bring attention to climate change. The action is part of a strategy that Boxer outlin...

A Free-Ride Election For Some SD Lawmakers
Michael Gardner @
Spoiler alert: Incumbent San Diego County Assembly members Rocky Chávez, Lorena Gonzalez, Marie Waldron and Shirley Weber will return to the Capitol for another season next year. That’s guaranteed because none of the freshman lawmakers has an election challenger.

Transgender Activists Named "Woman Of The Year"
Melody Gutierrez @
Three transgender women were honored Monday during a "Woman of the Year" celebration in the state Assembly for their work toward breaking down barriers and fighting for equality. Each year, the sta...

Oakland: Quan, challengers differ on State of City
Oakland Mayor Jean Quan's State of the City address last week was appropriately upbeat and hit all the high notes in praising the city's achievements, but it's the things she didn't say that may come back to haunt the city. According to labor agreements the city has signed with employee unions SEIU and IBEW, most of that money is already pledged for salary increases. In 2012, at the urging of Quan, Oakland city officials gave themselves yet another long "holiday" from having to pay a dime toward that old pension fund. Kicking the debt can down the road may do wonders for a sitting mayor, but it also helps buttress the argument made by detractors like Santana, who before her departure warned that the city was headed for monumental financial troubles. Joe Tuman, a San Francisco State University professor who is running against Quan, said the State of the City speech was more election spin from his opponent.

California Unions' Dominance Of Democratic Party May Be Fading
Dan Walters @
signed legislation giving California’s public employees collective bargaining rights during his first governorship, he – wittingly or otherwise – began a major political shift. The legislation re-energized organized labor, and in the ensuing years, unions – particularly public employee unions – became the state’s most influential interest group, providing resources for the Democrats’ rise to dominance.

With Galifianakis, Obama 'drones' on about
Christi Parsons @
News out of President Obama's interview with comedian Zach Galifianakis: POTUS will go to pretty much any length these days to plug

AM Alert: Senate committee pushes innovation in election management
Alexei Koseff @
California's election and voting systems have been criticized as creaky and outdated, resulting in civic disengagement and low voter turnout — even by the candidates seeking the state's top elections post.

California campaign finance bill sent to governor
State lawmakers sent Gov. Jerry Brown a bill Monday designed to strengthen California's campaign finance standards in response to a recent case that prompted the largest campaign reporting fine in state history.

New Candidates' Entry Changes Calculus Of Honda-Khanna House Contest
Josh Richman @
With the filing period now closed for the June 3 primary, a once-safe seven-term incumbent, Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, suddenly has four challengers, but how they split the vote -- and impact the fortunes of Honda's biggest threat, fellow Democrat Ro Khanna -- creates a fascinating dynamic for the race.

Democrats Block GOP Move To Suspend Wright And Calderon
Laurel Rosenhall @
For the third time in less than two weeks, Democrats in the California state Senate have blocked Republican attempts to formally oust two Democratic senators who are involved in criminal cases.

Brown Praises Gay Activists For Courage In Change
Gov. Jerry Brown praised gay rights advocates Monday night for being on "the cutting edge" in pushing for equality over the last several decades, as he was honored with an award for what supporters said was his lifelong push to advance equal rights.

Kamala Harris: California's 'truancy crisis' must be stopped
California is in the midst of a "truancy crisis" that needs to be stopped where it starts: in elementary school, state Attorney General Kamala Harris said Monday as she joined lawmakers to announce a package of bills to help the state better collect truancy data. The bills would require the Attorney General issue a report on truancy each year, enhance truancy data collection to monitor attendance, require every county to create School Attendance Review Boards that issue reports on intervention efforts and require prosecutor's to issue a report when charges against a parent or student are considered to enforce attendance laws. Harris' office summarized the societal loss to be $46 billion a year when considering reduced earnings, increased welfare services and higher crime rates among high school dropouts. According to the report, Calaveras County led the state with a 31 percent truancy rate among 3,184 elementary students in 2012,while Yuba County posted a 4.9 percent truancy rate among its 8,159 students. While District Attorney of San Francisco, Harris sharply reduced truancy rates by prosecuting parents and sending letters to every family in the school district warning them of the consequences of truancy.

Taliban Threatens To Attack Presidential Election In Afghanistan
Hashmat Baktash and Shashank Bengali @
KABUL, Afghanistan -- The Taliban threatened to attack next month’s presidential election in Afghanistan, calling on its followers “to use all force” in targeting poll workers and political activists and to disrupt balloting.

Obamacare Meeting Goal Of Reducing Number Of Uninsured, Data Indicate
David Lauter @
WASHINGTON -- Evidence has begun to resolve one of the odder controversies surrounding Obamacare : The new law appears to be achieving its top goal of reducing the number of Americans who lack health insurance.

Feinstein, CIA spar over alleged spying on Senate staff
Ken Dilanian @
WASHINGTON -- Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and CIA Director John Brennan sparred Tuesday over the lawmaker's allegation that agency officials secretly had searched Senate computers, an act she said had undermined congressional intelligence oversight and may have violated the law.