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THE NOONER for August 18, 2014

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Has the drought turned California into Lord of the Flies? Matt Weiser reports federal and state regulators “suspect farmers are taking water released from upstream dams and intended for consumers in other regions of the state.” 

“The Delta, a complex tidal estuary, has long been a source of water conflict in California. But the brewing battle – with the two sides now openly challenging each other’s water diversions – reflects the heightened tensions over water supply as California weathers a third year of drought.

“Diverters operate on the honor system, each taking only what they need for crop irrigation, or only what their water right allows.

“The rival claims suggest the honor system is breaking down.”

The Washington Post looks at California’s drought and alludes to the groundwater fight to come.

“Aquifers are emptying so quickly that the land itself is subsiding, like cereal in a bowl after the milk has drained out …

“How many straws can you stick into one glass?” asked John Viegas, a Glenn County supervisor who, after months of fielding complaints from constituents about water shortages, recently was forced to lower his own well by 40 feet. “People need to realize you can’t water everything.”

The Pepsi Generation Laurel Rosenhall looks at the soft drink industry’s influence over state lawmakers.

"On the Tuesday in June when the Assembly health committee killed a bill to require warning labels on sodas, 13 lawmakers and more than three dozen legislative staff members attended a reception inside California’s Capitol sponsored by PepsiCo.

"Two lawmakers at the event helped defeat the bill earlier that day. They said the reception had nothing to do with their decisions. But when it comes to food fights in the state Capitol, big business often wins."

Nuñez vs. Villaraigosa? Dan Morain writes on the Capitol fight over Herbalife.

Herbalife is a purveyor of vitamins and potions that supposedly help people lose weight, and probably run faster and jump higher. The company is a multilevel marketer, meaning people buy its products and take cuts when friends and neighbors buy them, and who get their friends and neighbors to buy, and so on.

Williamn :Ackman calls Herbalife a pyramid scheme that preys on uneducated people, especially Latinos.

“Not coincidentally, Ackman started deriding Herbalife in 2012, when he bet $1 billion that Herbalife’s stock would tank. Pershing Square investors will score big if the stock slides. It hasn’t collapsed yet, but not for lack of Ackman’s effort.”

Elsewhere Around the Capitol

Is Colorado the new California? Marijuana, guns and competitive races. Oh My.

GOP Resurrection The OC Register looks at Jim Brulte’s work rebuilding the state GOP.

Social Insecurity One-Third of Americans have nothing saved for retirement.  

Communication Breakdown Well, we told you there’s be bumps along the way. Due to pilot error and faulty Saver Monkeys, Friday’s Nooner may have seemed a bit familiar to readers of, well, Thursday’s Nooner.

Unfortunately, the instruction manual was unavailable, and Friday’s Nooner never did see the light of day. But we’ve attached it in its entirety after the jump for those of you who just had to see what you missed. Apologies. – The Management.

Friday, August 15

Chris Megerian looks at some of the unintended consequences of Medi-Cal expansion. With an estimated 11 million Californians enrolled in the program, and with low state reimbursement rates leading to fewer primar-care physicians treating Medi-Cal patients, poor people are finding it hard to find a doctor, even if they have coverage.

“When a Santa Rosa man needed a root canal on a troubled molar earlier this year, the closest dentist … willing to perform the procedure was in Bakersfield — a 10-hour round trip by car…

“The current state budget continues a 10% cut in reimbursements to some healthcare providers, a lingering sore point for advocates, lobbyists and lawmakers who have pushed to reverse the reduction. Doctors say the reimbursements are too low, forcing them to limit the number of Medi-Cal patients they treat.

“Health plans for Medi-Cal patients are overloaded, advocates for the poor say. And state officials are fielding an increasing number of complaints and questions from people looking for providers.”

Down to the Crossroads A GOP SuperPAC  is jumping in to a pair of California House races – big time.

Politico’s Alex Isenstadt reports, “Crossroads GPS, a tax-exempt, 501(c)(4) arm of the Karl Rove-founded American Crossroads, is reserving $3.1 million of TV commercial airtime in five Democratic-held congressional districts. Each of the districts represent prime pickup opportunities for Republicans, who are tying to build on their 17-seat House majority.

The biggest investment is in the Sacramento-based district of California Democratic Rep. Ami Bera. In that race, Crossroads GPS will spend $895,000 from Aug. 19 to Sept. 1. The group’s next largest purchase is in the San Diego-area district of Democratic Rep. Scott Peters, where it will spend $705,000 from Aug. 19 to Aug. 28.

The first debate between Bera and Republican Doug Ose is set for Oct. 8. 

Down with OPP One of the lead undercover FBI agents who assembled the political corruption case against state Sen. Leland Yee and others was removed from the investigation for his own financial improprieties, perhaps including his management of the lavish spending on the clandestine four-year probe, according to court papers a key defendant filed Thursday.

The agent, who posed as an Atlanta businessman in the investigation, was being probed for misconduct in late 2012 and early 2013. He appeared to have been removed from the undercover probe at that time, lawyers for indicted San Francisco political consultant Keith Jackson revealed in the court filing.

Begs the question, who’s watching the detectives? (#GratutitousElvisCostelloLinkFriday)

Bills, bills bills Lots of carnage in the Capitol yesterday as the Senate Appropriations Committee took up its suspense file – otherwise known as the best way to kill a bill without fingerprints.

Bills to mandate condoms in porn, protect legislative whistleblowers and regulate medical marijuana all went down to defeat. (More on that after the jump).

But other bills moved on.

The Assembly approved a bill that would reduce criminal penalties for crack cocaine. The bill comes after years of complaints that the sentences for crack did not match those for powder cocaine, and alleged racial bias was a cause of the difference.

Melanie Mason reports: Opponents argued reducing the punishment for crack was not the way to address high rates of sentencing for minorities.

"If there is a disproportionate number of minorities that are abusing drugs or being caught in criminal proceedings as result of that drug use, that’s a tragedy," said Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Hungtington Beach), "but that is absolutely no basis to reduce penalties and to send a message...that that sort of behavior is okay."

llen and some other Republicans advocated raising the penalties for powder cocaine, instead of reducing the sentences for crack.

But other Republicans said they supported the measure. 

Twenty years of the stiff punishment for crack cocaine has created "a disparity that is hard to justify, and perhaps even harder to sustain," said Assemblyman Donald P. Wagner (R-Irvine).

Elsewhere Around the Capitol

Gallegos Lawmakers shelve plans for a Medical Marijuana bureau

White Condom, Whistleblower bills go down

Naming namesPolice ID shooter in fatal Ferguson shooting  



  • 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!



Gavin Newsom Tech Den A Comedown From Sacramento Splendor - Sfgate
We have re-imagined our design in a bold new way. Before we roll it out for everyone, we are giving select readers an opportunity to try out the new design. We welcome your feedback.

The Cup's Half Full Without Groundwater Regulation
They're all patting themselves on the back in the state Capitol for finally achieving a water bond deal. And that's fine. It was a momentous act.

California GOP Finding New Life Under Chairman Brulte - The Orange County Register
A path above superminority status seem well-lit, but either way, party leader Jim Brulte sees to have a formula for rebuilding the party one voter at a time.

External 'help' Might Hinder Honda, Khanna Campaigns
Special-interest political committees and wayward backers have given Rep. Mike Honda and Democratic challenger Ro Khanna "support" in recent weeks that might've hindered more than helped, leaving campaign staffers to smack their heads in consternation.

Immigration Crisis At Border Afflicts Heartland Harvest
Ali Watkins @
WASHINGTON -- The heated tempers of the nation’s border states are driving the debate over immigration policy. States farther away from the U.S.-Mexico border, though, are reckoning with a different set of challenges: a skimpy agriculture labor market and cumbersome immigrant-worker programs that go unfixed amid partisan gridlock on Capitol Hill.

Merced County Pensions Still Only 51.4% Funded | Calpensions
Merced County pensions may have the lowest funding level of any public pension system in California, a shortfall officials attribute to a big retroactive pension increase for all county employees a decade ago and faulty actuarial work.

S.F. parking fee plan for disabled goes nowhere
Convinced there's widespread abuse of disabled parking placards, San Francisco's Municipal Transportation Agency passed a series of recommendations to crack down on the problem - only to have them deep-sixed by the city's own lawmakers in Sacramento. Transportation agency staffers and their disability advisers met in November with Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano of San Francisco, who sits on the state Commission on Disability Access, to brief him on the plan. [...] Planthold says, Ammiano was "complimentary." Leaders of San Francisco's FDR Democratic Club - representing seniors and those with disabilities - showed up at the state Democratic Party convention in March and swiftly won passage of a resolution condemning any effort to charge disabled motorists to park. (The bill went nowhere.) FDR club President Jonathan Lyens says none of the effort would have been necessary had San Francisco transportation officials worked with the club to "find balanced solutions that don't shift the costs to the backs of people with disabilities." [...] the committee endorsed no one.

‘big Milestone’: Sacramento Airport Sees Financial Picture Strengthen
Tony Bizjak @
The passenger uptick at Sacramento International is modest, but is being called “a big milestone.”

California's Proposed Meat Regulations Believed Too Weak
Aaron Kinney @
The author of the legislation, state Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, touts SB 835 as a critical early step in fighting an emerging national health crisis: the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which sicken more than 2 million people and cause 23,000 deaths every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Antibiotics are often given to food-producing animals to help them grow faster or use less food to gain weight.

Joe Biden, Senate Tiebreaker?
Biden controlling the Senate would be a dream come true for the former senator. | AP Photo

Job Training Agency’s Surplus Creates More Angst
Dan Walters @
Dan Walters

Waste Management sues Oakland over $1 billion trash contract
The nation's biggest trash hauler filed a suit against the city of Oakland on Monday claiming that the City Council illegally awarded a $1 billion contract to a local company with political ties. The suit, filed in Alameda County Superior Court by Waste Management, claims that Oakland broke city contracting rules by negotiating with the Texas-based company for months before deciding at the last minute to award the 10-year contract to California Waste Solutions, a West Oakland garbage company that has never before had a major garbage contract in the United States. Waste Management's decision to file the suit comes five days after the City Council voted 7-1 to give California Waste Solutions the contract in July 2015, a vote hailed by members of the City Council as a historic decision that gave a small, local company the task of collecting refuse in Oakland. California Waste Solutions provides recycling services for about 75,000 Oakland homes and 170,000 San Jose homes and must buy 150 garbage trucks and 300,000 trash bins and build new garbage facilities by July to haul trash in Oakland.

Report That Calls California Expensive For Businesses Sparks Debate
California is one of the most expensive states for businesses to operate, mainly because of high pay and related labor costs, says a new report commissioned by an arm of the state Chamber of Commerce.

Poll: Reelection rating at 20-year low
Only 19 percent of voters believe most members of Congress deserve re-election, the survey says.

Natomas Unified Among Districts Pursuing November School Bonds
Diana Lambert @
Natomas Unified and several other area school districts have placed bond measures on the November ballot to pay for school construction and repairs despite a lack of statewide funds that typically help stretch local dollars.

Obama Notifies Congress About Targeted Airstrikes In Iraq | Washington Watch | Mcclatchy Dc
Anita Kumar @
Washington Watch, formerly called 'Planet Washington,' covers politics and government. It's written by McClatchyDC's Lesley Clark, William Douglas, David Lightman and Anita Kumar.

James Jeffords dies; Ex-senator quit GOP, tipping control of chamber
James Jeffords, who as U.S. senator from Vermont tipped control of the Senate in 2001 when he quit the Republican Party to become an independent, died Monday at age 80.

Water Agencies: Delta Farmers May Be Taking Water Meant For Other Regions
Matt Weiser @
The size of the water bond might be relatively easy to settle. Perhaps more complicated would be how to spend whatever money is earmarked to aid the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta ecosystem.

Puc's Invitation Reads Like Pg&e's Language - Sfgate
We have re-imagined our design in a bold new way. Before we roll it out for everyone, we are giving select readers an opportunity to try out the new design. We welcome your feedback.

Political Blotter: Our conversation with Ashley Swearengin
Josh Richman @
Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin, the Republican candidate for state controller, met with the Bay Area News Group's editorial board Wednesday.

Lawmakers Call For Robust Push Against Militants In Iraq
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Probe sought into possible water diversion
Associated Press @
State and federal water agencies are seeking an investigation into whether some California farmers are taking water released from upstream dams intended for consumers in other regions of the state.

Bits Blog: Reprogramming Government: A Conversation With Mikey Dickerson
s in Washington, tasked with remaking the way the government uses computers and how citizens engage with it online.