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THE NOONER for March 13, 2014

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  • CA31 (Redlands): removed businessman John Valdivia (R)
  • CA31 (Redlands): changed district projection from Likely Democrat to Leans Democrat
  • AD21 (Merced): changed district projection from Leans Democrat to Safe Democrat
  • AD32 (Kings): changed district projection from Leans Democrat to Likely Democrat
  • 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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THAT'S A WRAP: At 5pm yesterday, the filing deadlines for state and local offices were all closed, and county registrars now have until Monday to transmit candidate information to the Secretary of State's Office, which will distribute certified candidate list by March 27. If/as counties post their lists that they are transmitting, I'll update the District Pages.

SO LONG, FAREWELL, AUF WIEDERSEHEN, GOODBYE: Yesterday, Jennifer Kerns, the young energetic campaign manager touted by Tim Donnelly as his secret sauce, quit the campaign after a week of rumors of a falling out between the two. When asked about Kerns's departure by David Siders of the Sacramento Bee, Donnelly responded "That's news to me." He later told Siders: "I knew it was going to happen" . . . "It was just, the timing caught me by surprise."

Kerns said in a written statement: "I'm proud to have taken a candidate from the launch of a campaign as an unknown, underdog candidate to frontrunner status in the polls, as well as having cleared the field of our closest GOP competitor" (Abel Maldonado).

From the AP's Juliet Williams: "We're running a full bore, 100 percent grassroots campaign and it wasn't a good fit for either of us," Donnelly said in a phone interview Wednesday night, describing his operating style as "controlled chaos." As @GenericSacto tweeted, "She probably wanted to win," a tweet Kerns (@CAPartyGirl) subsequently favorited.

My guess is there is some truth to that. By fundraising using images comparing Obama to Adolf Hitler, Donnelly is not running a serious gubernatorial campaign, although he has a legitimate shot placing in the top two on June 3. That is scaring the bejeezus out of party leaders and down-ballot candidates, although they are having a hard time saying it privately for fear that their most ardent conservative supporters will walk. Even several people who voted for him at the LA County Republican Party endorsement last weekend confess that they knew it was bad for the party but felt they had no choice.

Donnelly could be in Congress when the 115th Congress convenes following the 2016 election, as he would have a good shot of knocking of Paul Cook in CA08. However from my read (and I haven't talked to her), Jennifer Kerns wanted to work on a campaign legitimately competing for November 4, 2014--not for spots on cable news shows or to create a national fundraising network for a 2016 congressional bid.

Don't worry, the freaking awesome video is still onlline. Someone pick up the phone and hire Jennifer. 

PASSING THE TORCH: The floor vote to formally elect Toni Atkins as the next Speaker of the Assembly is planned for Monday.

CD31 (Redlands): With John Valdivia (R) bowing out of the Democrats' best pick-up opportunity nationally of the cycle, the race is left with 4 Democrats and 2 Republicans. This increases the possibility that two Republicans (Paul Chabot, backed by Bob Dutton and Lesli Gooch, backed by Gary Miller) proceed to November as the Democrats split the reliable 55% of the vote four ways and Republicans split a reliable 40% two ways. For that reason, the district moves back to "Leans Democrat."

TANI'S TORMENTERS: Rebel California judges win a skirmish with chief justice over money [Dan Walters @ SacBee] - "The [judicial] system's critics, led by the Alliance of California Judges, scored a win when the Joint Legislative Audit Committee directed State Auditor Elaine Howle to look into how Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, the Judicial Council she chairs and the Administrative Office of the Courts are spending money. The Alliance, paired with court employee unions, has claimed that trial courts are being starved for funds and have been forced to shut down courtrooms and furlough employees while money was wasted on an inoperative computer system and lavish salaries and fringe benefits for AOC employee."

BALLOT LABELS: Speaking of ballot labels, the "Pretentious Polly" award goes to candidate Lily Gilani, who lists "Harvard Lawyer/Entrepreneur" in her bid for CA33. The secretary of state's regulations provide that "Any laudatory or derogatory adjectives which would suggest an evaluation of the candidate's qualifications shall not be permitted." Of course, if she's literally on Harvard's payroll as the school's attorney, the label would be fine.

Meanwhile, if everyone did that in the SD26 race, we would see: Harvard (2), UC Berkeley Law, Barnard College, UC Hastings Law, San Diego State, UCLA, Cornell, Georgetown Law, Ohio U.,  U of Vermont College of Medicine, Yale, Haverford, USC Law, and BC Law listed. (h/t JB)

Speaking of bragging rights, UC Davis's King Hall School of Law moved up two slots to #36 in US News, while Hastings fell out of the top 50.

MORE RISING DOUGH: The LAO has updated its February revenue totals that I wrote about on March 4:

  • Personal income taxes were $716 million above administration projections for the month of February. (For the 2013-14 fiscal year to date, personal income taxes are $667 million [1.7 percent] above administration projections.)
  • Corporation taxes were $86 million above administration projections for the month of February. (For the 2013-14 fiscal year to date, corporation taxes are $284 million [11.1 percent] above administration projections.)
  • Sales and use taxes were $23 million below administration projections for the month of February. (For the 2013-14 fiscal year to date, sales and use taxes are $127 million [0.8 percent] below administration projections.)
  • Combined, the "Big Three" General Fund taxes—listed above—were $779 million above administration projections for the month of February. (For the 2013-14 fiscal year to date, the Big Three are $824 million [1.5 percent] above administration projections.)

MICRA: Opponents of the ballot measure to lift medical malpractice pain and suffering caps have released a memo arguing that the drug database sweetener in the initiative wouldn't be possible to implement in the near future. 

CRUSHING IT: Arnold Schwarzenegger is "crushing it" for kids. Best line: "Let's crush a Microsoft Zune. I don't even know what that is."




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In elections, even veteran incumbents pressured to debate
Carla Marinucci @
Rep. Mike Honda, a seven-term House member who represents the overwhelmingly Democratic South Bay, hasn't had to debate an opponent since 2000. But he's just one of the candidates who may have to brush up on his skills before June because of increasing political pressure to confront challengers in a more competitive California arena.

Donnelly Says He And Departing Campaign Manager Have 'two Different Styles'
Seema Mehta @
Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly brushed off the departure of his campaign manager on Wednesday, saying a separation had been in the works because their styles did not mesh.

Neel Kashkari Says Jerry Brown 'Born Into A Life Of Privilege'
David Siders @
Republican Neel Kashkari, rebuffing opponents' depiction of him as a wealthy financier, said Tuesday that Gov. Jerry Brown is the gubernatorial candidate of privilege and wealth, again challenging the Democratic governor to release tax returns.

Manager of Donnelly gubernatorial campaign departs
Juliet Williams @
The campaign manager for a Republican state lawmaker running for California governor announced that she had quit the campaign just days before the state Republican convention, although Assemblyman Tim Donnelly characterized the split as "a mutual thing," saying he was merely caught off guard by the timing.

L.A. Controller Suggests Merging Management Of Two Pension Systems
Emily Alpert Reyes @
Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin called on pension officials to take new steps to cut costs -- possibly by merging the management of two of its three retirement systems. During the recession and its aftermath, pension costs for Los Angeles police, firefighters and city employees grew while investments did worse than expected, according to audit reports released Wednesday by the controller.

Tim Donnelly’s campaign manager quits
David Siders @
Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly’s campaign manager, Jennifer Kerns, quit the campaign Wednesday, just days before the California Republican Party gathers for its biannual convention.

Change Teachers' Tenure? California State Board Of Education Says 'Not Now' To San Jose Request
Sharon Noguchi @
The request faced staunch opposition from the statewide teachers union, a powerful player in Sacramento, and a lack of support from the state Department of Education.

Audit Of EDD Ordered Over Thousands Of Denied Unemployment Claims
Marc Lifsher @
California lawmakers direct the state auditor to determine how the EDD may have botched the handling of unemployment claims.

UC board to consider making Cloyne Court drug-free
[...] after a near million-dollar settlement with Gibson's family, the Berkeley Student Cooperative that runs Cloyne Court will decide on Thursday whether to transform the co-op's artsy, drug-tolerant community into the "Cloyne Court Substance-Free Academic Theme House." To the 150 students who live in the brown-shingled, three-story mansion built by architect John Galen Howard in 1904, the idea is as unthinkable as suggesting that Google take up residence at Yasgur's farm in Woodstock. [...] the leadership of the Berkeley Student Cooperative, which runs 20 residences for 1,275 students, says Cloyne's misdeeds now threaten the entire co-op system at UC Berkeley. "The settlement puts the BSC on notice that a perceived drug-tolerant culture exists at Cloyne, and further drug-related harms on Cloyne property must be avoided," Michelle Nacouzi, a Cal senior and president of the Berkeley Student Cooperative, said in an e-mail. Please save Cloyne, a woman says in a plaintive voice at the end of an 8-minute video at that portrays the co-op in a loving, wholesome light: students cooking together, playing music, studying, and painting the vivid floor-to-ceiling murals inside Cloyne that show off the students' talents and communal sense of fun. While most visits were for security checks and loud music, there were also 13 reports of grand theft, eight burglaries, three fights and five "injuries or illnesses" - the category Gibson's overdose was filed under. In 2006 alone, there were three rapes reported at Cloyne, a sexual battery, 16 students sent to the hospital after eating pot brownies, two drug arrests and the death of a former Cloyne resident, Fre Hindeya. The events "do in fact suggest that Cloyne as a whole has tolerated drug use and may continue to do so," the nine-member leadership team of the Berkeley Student Cooperative recently told residents in a letter urging support for the proposal to dismantle Cloyne. In depositions taken for Bennett's lawsuit, one former resident said Gibson and his roommate had painted "The Pharmacy" on their door and did a brisk business selling ecstasy and LSD. Lack of policy blamedHe blamed the Berkeley Student Cooperative for having no "Good Samaritan" policy at the time to protect students from discipline if they became embroiled in a drug incident by calling police.

21 Candidates File For Retiring Waxman's Congressional Seat
Jean Merl @
Twenty-one would-be successors to longtime Rep. Henry Waxman completed the paperwork to run for the seat he is giving up when his term ends, according to Los Angeles County elections officials.

GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Tim Donnelly's Campaign Manager Quits
Josh Richman @
Jennifer Kerns, a veteran Republican campaign operative whom Donnelly elevated from spokeswoman to campaign manager in January, issued a statement announcing her departure.

State Officials’ Pay Commission Meets To Consider Salaries
Jeremy B. White @
Already the highest-paid state lawmakers in the nation, California legislators are up for another possible salary bump.

Tim Donnelly's campaign manager quits campaign
David Siders @
Jennifer Kerns, Tim Donnelly's campaign manager in his run for governor, is splitting with the campaign, a source said.

Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Bring In $8.6 Million In Taxes To Los Angeles Coffers
Rick Orlov @
Even as the city of Los Angeles launched a new effort to close pot shops, it is benefiting by $8.6 million in business taxes collected from the medical marijuana dispensaries over the past three years.

CalPERS insurance lawsuit entering next phase
Jon Ortiz @
The simmering fight over CalPERS’ decision to jack up its long-term-care insurance premiums is about to get hotter next week when the fund responds to a lawsuit that, among other things, accuses its leaders of falling down on their legal obligation to do right by members.

California Lawmakers Look To Change College Admission Rules - Sfgate

Caught Between Ally And Advisor, Obama Tries To Sidestep Cia Fight
Kathleen Hennessey @
A fight between Sen. Dianne Feinstein and CIA Director John Brennan has President Obama caught in the middle.

Donnelly says campaign strong despite turmoil
Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly says the sudden departure of his campaign manager will not hamper his push to energize activists during this weekend's GOP convention.

One Family Will Dominate Long Beach Ballot This Year
Dan Walters @
Back in the 1970s, San Diego was a hotspot for political namephreakers because the city had three top-drawer politicians named Wilson.

Candidates For L.A. County Sheriff Sharpen Attacks At Second Debate
Robert Faturechi @
The candidates for Los Angeles County sheriff sharpened their attacks Wednesday night, accusing each other of mismanagement and opportunism in front of a Van Nuys audience gathered for their second debate.

Senate Fight With C.I.A. Had Festered for Weeks
A broadside by Senator Dianne Feinstein has set up a showdown between the executive and legislative branches of government, and may well have permanently chilled her relations with the spy agency she oversees.

Report: Taxes, fees needed to close California's water funding gap
Jeremy B. White @
California will need to find billions of dollars annually to improve its water system, according to a new Public Policy Institute of California report.

Is Tom Mcclintock In Trouble? :: Fox&hounds
McClintock and his supporters justify this behavior because of his devotion to principle. McClintock sees his district as merely a vehicle for his election to Congress where he focuses, Churchill like, on the cosmic issues, and never compromises on anything, even when compromise may be of benefit to his own district.