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THE NOONER for August 5, 2014

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DOING THE LAUNDRY: Now that we're moving on to the general election and have a small field of competitive races, the parties are starting to work their magic under the Proposition 34 Rube Goldbergian campaign finance scheme.  For an example, I'm going to look at SD14 candidate Andy Vidak, but both parties will be doing this. In fact, yesterday, the state Democratic Party reported spending $29,281 in-kind for Vidak's challenger, Fresno Unified trustee Luis Chavez.

This cycle, state legislative candidates are limited to contributions from a single source of $4,100 for each of the primary and general elections. However, political parties--defined as either the state party or county central committees--can give unlimited amounts to candidates. And, those political parties can accept $34,000 per year from contributors for contributions to state candidates. 

So, on Friday, Vidak for Senate reported receiving $46,200 from the Republican Central Committee of San Luis Obispo County. Now, you might think that those nice coastal folks had a clam bake and opened their wallets for the competitive seat over the hill in Kings County. Well, it's not that simple.

The SLO county party is a favorite (along with Stanislaus and Tulare) for Republican legislative leaders to "process" funds under the Proposition 34 fundraising scheme. In fact, campaign finance reports show that only one contribution this year, from a winery, originated in San Luis Obispo County. The other money was raised by state leaders under the auspices of the California Republican Leadership Fund as an intermediary, and then passed on to the county committee. Thus, the county committee had $1.4 million on hand as of June 30, or nearly $24 for every registered Republican in the county!

Here are the donors to the SLO county since January 1, most of whom gave through the California Republican Leadership Fund:


You can see that other county committees can give, which allows an interest to actually exceed the $34,000 limit for contributions meant for state candidates. Thus, San Luis Obispo can only spend $34,000 of PG&E's $42,000 on state candidates, but it can give the balance to Tulare County, which in turn can give it to state candidates. Isn't that sweet?

Proposition 34 was written by the parties, for the parties, in the aftermath of Proposition 208 being thrown out by the courts. It was an offensive move to avoid a more onerous, but constitutional, initiative. 

The added benefit is following the legal money laundering through the California Republican Leadership Fund and the Republican Central Committee of San Luis Obispo, it makes it really hard to attack Andy Vidak for taking money from any special interest listed above. Further, it makes a joke of the State Senate's "ban" on fundraising during the last month of session.

Again, Democrats do it too, and this is just an example. 

I don't have a solution to campaign finance "reform," but every year I get closer to the attitude of lifting all limits, prohibiting transfers, and requiring 24 hour disclosure.

KRAMER VS. KRAMER: Steve Chessin looks at the latest on the signatures counting for the Six Californias initiative. Hint, qualification is going to be close.

#CAKEDAY: Light those candles for Paul Fong and Garrett Yee!





  • Please join the New Leaders Council-Sacramento and our National Chairman Chris Kelly on the evening of Thursday August 7th 6-9 p.m. as we welcome hundreds of young progressive leaders from around the country to Sacramento. Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg will kick-off this free networking happy hour at The Citizen Hotel. Today's the last day to register for the NLC National Leadership Retreat, August 8th & 9th. Come for the panels and discussions highlighting the accomplishments of progressives in the economy, technology and entrepreneurship, and in state and local government. Questions? Contact
  • SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West Regional Political Organizer (Los Angeles, Bay Area or Sacramento).  150,000 member California healthcare union seeks to fill 3 openings for strategic, progressive, motivated Regional Political Organizers, 5-10 yrs political/union experience.  Excellent benefits, career ladder.  Salary $49k-$91k.  Resume, letter, 3 references:

  • Fiona Hutton & Associates is seeking an Account Executive to join their PR/Public Affairs team. Minimum 1 – 3 years related experience required. Position could be up to Senior AE for those with additional experience. Located in Los Angeles office. Details and additional information can be found here. Competitive salary and benefits package offered.

  • 26th Annual Capitol Network Charitable Golf Tournament on October 16, 2014 at Yocha Dehe Golf Club. Sponsorships available and proceeds benefit women's and children's organizations across the state. Please visit: or contact Co-Chairs Jenny Devine-Smith or Erin Norwood at
  • Assistant Press Secretary (California)
    NextGen Climate – San Francisco, CA

    NextGen Climate is seeking a driven, detail-oriented individual to join our organization as an Assistant Press Secretary, focused on California issues. The ideal candidate would have California-specific media experience, including writing press releases and statements, as well as developing relationships with reporters in a campaign environment. This position reports to the NextGen Climate Press Secretary.

    For more details, please see job description If you are interested in applying, please send your cover letter and resume to

  • Oakland ballot measure campaign seeks experienced field staff for high profile role. Position will be responsible for building field program, coordinating coalition activities and implementing an aggressive GOTV program. Qualifications: on the ground electoral campaign experience, experience managing data collection and a positive attitude. Please email resumes to

  • San Diego County Water Authority. Accepting proposals for Legislative Advocacy and Consulting Services Sacramento, CA. Request RFP from Jennifer Graffam at Proposal submittal deadline: 5:00 p.m. on 8/28/2014. Questions deadline: 5:00 p.m. on 8/11/2014. See RFP for further details.

  • Save The Bay is hiring a Political Director to be the top advocate for San Francisco Bay, designing ambitious campaigns to protect and restore the region’s greatest natural treasure.  The Political Director leads a team of professionals and volunteers for the largest organization working on the Bay, with more than 60,000 supporters and 50 years of accomplishments.  Apply at
  • Campaign staffers needed for a variety of roles on Bay Area campaigns for Democratic elected officials and nonpartisan ballot measures. Looking for hard working day-to-day managers, communications, finance directors and staff, field directors and organizers. Send resume and cover letter indicating availability to No Phone Calls.
  • Capitol Weekly Top 100 Party
    Tuesday, August 19, 5:30 PM  – 8:30 PM
    The Senator Hotel, 1121 L Street, Sacramento
    Get your tickets here!



Online Education Push Continues At Csus
Isabelle Taft @
Assembly Bill 46, authored by Richard Pan D-Sacramento, bypassed the Senate Appropriations Committee because it was found to have a low cost and could be voted on in the Senate as early as Wednesday.

Election Ballot As Advisory Poll :: Fox&hounds
Proposition 49, the Amendment to Overturn Citizens United Ruling, asks voters whether Congress shall propose, and the California Legislature ratify, an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to overturn Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission to allow for full regulation or limitation of campaign contributions.

Drought Ramps Up Pressure On Legislature To Write Water Bond
Dan Walters @
Having procrastinated for years, politicians now may have no more than a week to fashion a new water bond for the Nov. 4 ballot to replace one that many fear is doomed because of its size – $11.1 billion – and obviously gratuitous pork.

Richmond councilwoman perseveres through hate speech
Carolyn Jones @
Since she was elected in 2010, Beckles, 51, has endured taunts, rants and ridicule about her sexual orientation and race - she's from Panama and identifies herself as a black Latina - during City Council meetings.

Time Running Out To Reach Water Bond Deal
Katie Orr @
California lawmakers are back from their summer break and facing pressure to craft a deal on a new water bond. But time is running short.

Calif. Senate Seeks To Outlaw Fees By Websites For Removing Mugshots
Website operators would be prohibited from charging Californians a fee to take down booking photos posted on the sites under a bill given final legislative approval Monday by the state Senate.

Family Matter Kept San Diego Democrat From Voting On Immigration Bills On Friday
Mark Walker @
A spokesman for Rep. Susan Davis said Monday lawmaker missed votes on two immigration bills taken in the House of Representatives Friday because of a pressing family matter.

Plastic Industry Hitting TV Again To Oppose Bag Ban
Laurel Rosenhall @
Plastic bag makers are hitting the airwaves again in their latest attempt to keep the California Legislature from passing a bill to ban free plastic grocery bags, launching new TV and radio ads scheduled to go live on Tuesday.

Obamacare: Affordable Care Act Boosts Mental Health Treatment - Time
James McWilliams in Pacific Standard @
A provision in the health care reform law allowing parents to keep their adult children on their health insurance plans has led to millions more young people with mental health and substance abuse problems getting treatment, according to a new study.

Tentative court order removes Ventura pension measure from ballot
Jon Ortiz @
A judge Monday issued a tentative ruling that removes a ballot measure to phase out Ventura County’s pension system, dimming prospects for similar efforts elsewhere.

Ro Khanna Attacks Mike Honda's Attendance Record
Josh Richman @
A Fremont attorney and former Obama administration trade official, Khanna is setting up what's likely to be a key general-election campaign theme, hoping voters in this Silicon Valley district -- where dynamism is a prized virtue -- will see Honda as an ineffectual representative in an increasingly dysfunctional Congress.

Garcetti On UCLA Water Main Break: 'this Will Not Be The Last One'
Emily Alpert Reyes @
In the aftermath of the Sunset Boulevard rupture that focused renewed attention on the aging pipes underlying Los Angeles streeets, Mayor Eric Garcetti said Monday that the city had already been "aggressively" focusing on infrastructure on his watch.

Why there's a huge gap in counts of homeless kids
Heather Knight @
In 2001, San Francisco expanded its definition of homelessness to include families who live in SROs. The U.S. Department of Education agrees with that definition, estimating there are more than 1.1 million homeless children across the country, including those living in tiny hotel rooms. But the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which controls federal spending on homeless programs, disagrees. It counts about 138,000 homeless children younger than 18 nationwide - or those found on the streets or in homeless shelters during the agency's last biennial homeless count, in January 2013.

The City Of Bell Keeps Paying A 'Rizzo Tax' Long After Corrupt Officials Go To Prison
Sharon McNary @
The last of seven Bell city officials convicted in a major public corruption scandal was sentenced last week. But the financial crimes committed by the former Bell officials left the tiny city in Southeast Los Angeles County deep in debt, its local economy in tatters.

Third judge finds Florida's gay marriage ban unconstitutional
s bans on same-sex marriage and on recognizing out-of-state civil unions between members of the same sex violate the U.S. Constitution, a judge ruled Monday.

UCLA Flood: Mayor Garcetti Blames Poorly Engineered Pipe Joint | 89.3 Kpcc
Mayor Eric Garcetti told reporters Monday that a poorly engineered joint from the 1950s was to blame for last week's water main burst and subsequent flood of UCLA. Alice Walton/KPCC

Challenges to gay marriage bans: Where they stand
The Associated Press @
State bans on same-sex marriages have been falling around the country since last summer, when the Supreme Court ordered the federal government to recognize state-sanctioned gay marriages. The remaining state bans all face legal challenges to overturn them, and a federal Court of Appeals in Cincinnati will hear arguments Wednesday on cases from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee.

Dan Walters Daily: A topsy-turvy California governor';s race
Jeremy B. White @
One candidate for California governor is running as a fiscal conservative; the other posed as a homeless man to highlight poverty. Which one is a Democrat and which one a Republican? The answer, Dan says, shows what a strange race this is.

Caltrans to defend Bay Bridge at state hearing
Jaxon Van Derbeken @
Top Caltrans officials are expected to respond Tuesday to accusations that they "gagged and banished" engineers who identified construction problems on the new Bay Bridge eastern span and that the agency failed to maintain basic quality control on the project.

Too Much Room: Growing Number Of Sacramento "empty Nesters" Living In Big Houses
Phillip Reese @
One extra bedroom is great for company. Two extra bedrooms can be handy around the holidays. But a growing number of two-person households in the Sacramento region now live in homes with at least three extra bedrooms.

Court Says Paid Caregivers Can't Sue If Injured By Alzheimer Patients
Home healthcare workers hired to assist unruly Alzheimer’s patients may not sue their employers for injuries the patient inflicts,  the California Supreme Court decided Monday.

Blast lawsuit seeking money from PG&E execs gets go-ahead
Jaxon Van Derbeken @
A San Mateo County judge lifted an order Tuesday that put roadblocks in the path of shareholders who have sued Pacific Gas and Electric Co. executives for alleged mismanagement leading up to the 2010 San Bruno gas explosion.

James Brady, Former Reagan Press Secretary And Gun-control Advocate, Dies
Former White House spokesman James S. “Jim” Brady, who gave his name to a gun-control law after surviving a devastating gunshot wound to his head during the 1981 assassination attempt on President Reagan, has died. He was 73.

$1,000 a month for bedbugs, shared bathroom in the Mission
Heather Knight @
There are hundreds of SRO hotels, in which residents live in a room and share communal bathrooms and kitchens, in San Francisco, mostly concentrated in the Mission, South of Market, Tenderloin and Chinatown. Many are run by nonprofits, while others, like the Grand Southern, are privately run and are for-profit. Some SRO residents receive government assistance, but others don't.