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THE NOONER for August 12, 2014
This week, the Capitol has turned into one big episode of Project Runway – To quote a phrase, you’re either in or you’re out.
That is particularly true when talking about the state ballot where lawmakers, judges are all making last-minute decisions that will impact what you see on your November ballot.
A quick cheat sheet for those of you playing along at home:
Judges boot Citizens United Vote: The State Supreme Court tossed a measure off the November ballot that would have given state voters a chance to express their dislike of the Citizens United decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. Melanie Mason reports:
“The court ordered Secretary of State Debra Bowen to hold off placing the measure on the ballot pending court review. The measure, which asks Californians if Congress should overturn the landmark U.S. Supreme Court campaign finance decision, would have no binding legal effect, even if approved by the voters.
Opponents argued the measure is not valid because it would not change state law. Justices asked for additional briefings on the matter on Sept. 10. In the meantime, the secretary of state's office has directed staff to remove the measure, designated as Proposition 49, from voter information guides, which go into production this week.
"I believe, based on the Supreme Court's order, that this ballot measure will not be on 2014’s ballot," said Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), author of the measure. "I am confident we will prevail on the merits and it will be on the 2016 ballot."
In the meantime, looks like Democrats will just have to rely on that compelling race for Attorney General to bring voters to the polls.
In Waterworld, legislative leaders introduced a new $7 billion proposal that moves closer to the Republicans’ dollar figure on new storage. The proposal was quickly embraced by U.S. Sen Dianne Feinstein, who promised to campaign for the measure this fall – but it’s not on the ballot yet.
Jessical Calefati reports, “The package -- including provisions to boost water storage and clean up tainted groundwater -- would replace a bloated $11 billion bond already on the November ballot but which many state leaders fear voters will reject.
<b>The new $6.995 billion bond, drafted around midnight Sunday, would put more than a third of the money into dams, reservoirs and other storage projects -- a provision essential to winning Republican support for the pared-down measure.</b>
But it's not yet clear if it has enough support to clear the Legislature by a mid-week deadline. The package has already drawn sharp criticism from environmental activists who fear Brown will use some of the money to finance his controversial plan to siphon off water from the fragile Sacramento Delta through tunnels built below it.”
Meanwhile, lawmakers started monkeying with the ballot numbers in hopes of, well, let John Myers explain:
“Behold the new designations: Proposition 1 for water, Proposition 2 for the budget reserve. By day’s end, Gov. Jerry Brown had signed off on the change.
One of the new numbers, say officials, was a necessity. A spokesperson for Secretary of State Bowen confirmed that even a new version of a water bond would have required a new proposition number. Hence Prop 43 has now been replaced by Prop 1.
Prop 2, though, seems to have been born for a more practical reason: The two measures, one almost universally lauded (enhanced budget reserve fund) and one not at all universally lauded (water), now will be symbolically linked at the top of the ballot. They will, backers hope, stand out from Propositions 45 through 48 when a voter scans the fall ballot.”
Do these guys go to school for this stuff?
The truth is out there: While Gov. Jerry Brown continues to deny the existence of Neel Kashkari, the GOP gubernatorial nominee sat down with the Bay Area Newspaper Group editorial board. Kashkari, who has been trying in vain to get Brown to agree to a debate, proved that if this politics thing doesn’t work out, he may have a career in comedy.
Josh Richman reports when the editorial board engaged Kashkari over education policy, Kashkari chimed in, “At least I’m getting to debate someone,” Kashkari quipped with a wry smile.
Kashkari earlier Monday had issued a news release announcing he now has accepted five debate invitations – with the Sacramento Bee/Capitol Public Radio/KCRA; KGTV and KPBS in San Diego; Univision; KSEE and KGPE in Fresno; and KFBK in Sacramento – while Gov.Jerry Brown has not yet responded.
The Dude abides … in the U.S. Senate? Well, it’s that time in the political season where desperate parties turn to half-baked ideas to get people talking. The latest is a push for some Democrats from Montana to draft Jeff Bridges to run for Senate.
The plan has as much chance of happening as Weird Al performing at the Super Bowl halftime show, but let’s give it some run anyways, shall we?
From the National Journal: “Bridges and his wife, Susan, are bigDemocratic donors, so it's reasonable to assume that the political interest is there. But unfortunately for fans of The Dude (or his Tron character, who knows), this just isn't going to become a reality. For one thing, according to the Montana Secretary of State Office, Bridges isn't even registered to vote in the state (although he does own property in Paradise Valley). For another, Bridges himself told Howard Stern on Monday that his wife, who Bridges called "Mrs. Senator," is against the idea.”
Alas, we haven't yet reached the stage of American politics where a high-profile Change.org petition trumps a primary or nominating convention.
Elsewhere Around the Capitol
McGreevy: Kill Switch bill sent to the governor
Well, Shazbot RIP Robin Williams
TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
California State Revenue Beats Expectations In July
David Siders @ sacbee.com
State Controller John Chiang before Gov. Jerry Brown delivers the 2014 State of the State address to a joint session of the Legislature on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014 at the state Capitol in Sacramento, Calif.
Governor, Democratic Lawmakers Craft New Water Bond Compromise
Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders floated a $7.195 billion water bond compromise Monday, as the deadline to get a replacement measure on the ballot looms.
Legislature extends deadline for water bond revision
California lawmakers voted Monday to direct the secretary of state's office to delay printing voter guides listing ballot measures in order to give themselves two more days to reach a deal to revise an unpopular $11 billion water bond currently on the November statewide ballot. In addition to extending the deadline for a water bond deal, lawmakers voted Monday to rename any revised water bond that appears on the ballot as Proposition 1, a move that will increase its visibility and viability with voters. Some environmental groups have raised concerns that bond money would fund the contentious delta tunnel proposal known as the Bay Delta Conservation Plan. Brown's water bond proposal also included a "tunnel-neutral" disclaimer, but opponents raised concerns that bond money set aside for the delta ecosystem could be used to mitigate environmental issues with the tunnels.
Austin Beutner Named Publisher And Ceo Of The Los Angeles Times
Austin Beutner, the civic leader and former Wall Street investment banker, is the new publisher and chief executive officer of the Los Angeles Times.
Water Bond Deadline Looming; California Lawmakers Float $7.195 Billion Proposal
Jeremy B. White @ sacbee.com
An aerial view of waterways between Staten Island, left, and Tyler Island, right, on Wednesday, April 10, 2013.
State Legislature Passes Leno’s Kill Switch Bill - Politics Blog
New cell phones sold in California will come with anti-theft technology pre-installed and activated under a bill passed by the California Legislature on Monday and headed to Gov. Jerry Brown's desk...
Brown Administration Opposes $9-billion Schools Bond
Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration came out Monday against a $9-billion school-facilities bond proposed by California lawmakers for the November statewide ballot.
Scrambling on water bond, California lawmakers seek to bump back deadlines
Jeremy B. White @ sacbee.com
Scrambling to place a new water bond before voters ahead of looming electoral deadlines, California lawmakers are converging on a proposed bond worth $7.195 billion.
Bill Mandating 'kill Switch' On Smartphones Is Sent To Governor
A bill that would mandate that smartphones sold in California be equipped with a “kill switch” that would render them useless if stolen was given final legislative approval by the state Senate on Monday.
Viewpoints: Deadbeat dam projects shouldn’t be part of water bond
Steve Evans @ sacbee.com
In November, California voters will be asked how much money they want to borrow to improve the state’s water infrastructure and fight the drought. Because polls show an $11.1 billion general obligation bond on the Nov. 4 ballot is too expensive for many voters, legislators are scrambling to revise the water bond to make it more palatable.
San Francisco poised for drought water rationing
San Francisco water users would be forced to reduce outdoor watering by 10 percent - or face penalties - under a proposal by utility officials who are poised to add the city to a growing number of California communities that are rationing water amid one the worst droughts in decades. Because most water meters don't distinguish between indoor and outdoor use, there's no way to identify whether most residents and businesses are over-soaking their lawns. About half of these customers are public agencies like schools and parks while the remainder are private, ranging from Safeway stores to the University of San Francisco to the Stonestown Galleria shopping center. Under the state rules, residents and businesses are prohibited from spraying down sidewalks, driveways and patios, watering lawns or gardens to the point of causing runoff, washing cars without a shut-off nozzle, and using drinking water in fountains. Drought task forceThe state regulations were discussed Monday at a private meeting of the governor's drought task force in San Francisco, and Public Utilities Commission officials were among those who praised the move toward a tougher approach to conservation, according to people in attendance. Mark Ghilarducci, director of the Governor's Office of Emergency Services and another task force member, said Bay Area water agencies are responding to the drought better than most agencies in the state.
State Ethics Panel Again Proposes Fining CalPERS Board Vice President
The vice president of the California Public Employees' Retirement System Board of Administration, Priya Mathur, has once again run afoul of the state ethics board.
Water bond: California lawmakers need more time to strike a deal
Jessica Calefati @ mercurynews.com
Assembly Bill 1945 would allow the Secretary of State to distribute voter information guides two days later than the date required by law.
American Indian Tribe Fined For Violations Involving Sen. Calderon
Investigators for the state Fair Political Practices Commission are also looking at possible fines against Calderon for accepting the free golf games at the Cache Creek Casino Resort and Yocha Dehe Golf Club as campaign contributions that exceeded the state limits on such donations.
Still No Deal On California Water Bond In Sacramento | Utsandiego.com
Hawaii sets Friday make-up election to decide Senate nomination
s balloting will conclude Friday when voters affected by Tropical Storm Iselle cast the remaining ballots that will determine the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate.
Port: Time to change future of S.F. waterfront
[...] a 250-page draft report being released Tuesday suggests "refreshing" the way the plan deals with certain areas, such as sites near Telegraph Hill where neighbors have blocked projects that the port favored. Port staff also suggests that it might make sense to ask voters - after a public review process - to endorse zoning changes for larger stretches, such as the southern waterfront, where "potential maritime industrial uses ... are also likely to require increases above existing height limits in some cases." The current plan took shape after a 1990 voter initiative that banned hotels on the water and imposed a development moratorium until an overall waterfront land-use plan was in place. In terms of maritime activities, which defined the waterfront into the 1960s, the report emphasizes the renewed strength of such niche operations as bulk shipping at Pier 94 that specializes in materials related to construction. In the report, port staff defends the need to pursue "unique development opportunities" that can't be foreseen in a long-range plan, such as the Exploratorium's move from the Palace of Fine Arts or the Warriors owners' desire to move the team from Oakland. -- "The design and construction of future waterfront improvements to protect neighborhoods adjacent to the port over the next 30 to 40 years - such as raising the city's seawall - may not allow the port to retain most (or all) of its historic pier sheds and/or bulkhead buildings." -- The costs of seismic upgrades and full restoration at Piers 26 and 28 are likely to be so high that it might be best to fill them with short-term tenants until "pier sheds can no longer be safely occupied ... at that point, the port and the public can determine whether saving the Mission-style bulkhead buildings and removing the pier sheds is the right approach." -- "The port and waterfront neighborhood residents should develop a shared understanding of how unique opportunities that cannot be bid - such as museums or entertainment facilities - can appropriately be considered for port property to ensure ongoing consideration of public trust interpretations."
Sacramento Music Fest, Formerly Jazz Jubilee, Issues Emergency Call For Funds
Edward Ortiz @ sacbee.com
Memphis Boys bassist Joe Jazdzewski, left, and guitarist Gino Mertegillano perform at the 40th annual Sacramento Music Festival in Old Sacramento on Saturday, May 24, 2014. The Sacramento Music Festival has been held in Old Sacramento and other downtown venues on Memorial Day weekend since 1974.
'remarkable' Warming Reported In Central California Coastal Waters
Ocean temperatures along the Central California coast experienced a "remarkable" warming during the first three weeks of July, leading to unusual encounters with some fish species, scientists reported.
Editorial: A water bond seems within reach, if no side overreaches
the Editorial Board @ sacbee.com
An agreement on a revised water bond for the November ballot seemed within reach on Monday, but only if no side gets too grabby. That includes legislators from both parties and from all regions, and it includes members of Congress.
‘citizens United’ Measure Removed From California’s Fall Ballot | Kqed News Fix
California’s fall ballot shrank late Monday afternoon when the state Supreme Court blocked Proposition 49, an advisory measure that sought to take the electorate’s pulse on a flashpoint issue in the national debate over money in politics.