Around The Capitol

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THE NOONER for September 3, 2014

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All of the numbers may be heading against the Republican Party in California – except one. Michael Finnegan says low voter turnout may yet provide a glimmer of salvation for the GOP.


“Although all signs point to an easy reelection for Gov. Jerry Brown in November and million-vote victories for some of the party's other statewide candidates, the lack of serious competition at the top of the ticket portends low turnout at the polls.”


But then again…


“The rapid growth in Latinos' share of the California electorate — 23% in 2012, up from 10% in 1992 — could keep Democrats from losing ground, said Antonio Gonzalez, president of Southwest Voter Education Registration Project.


More than 600,000 Latinos have registered to vote in California since 2010, U.S. Census figures show. Many of them live in central Orange County, the Central Valley and other areas with close races in November.


Tomorrow’s the big day. The moment millions of Californians have been waiting for. After months of talk and back-and-forth, the big debate is all set between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks.


And during halftime, maybe you can catch a little bit of the one and only gubernatorial debate between Jerry Brown and Neel Kashkari, if you’re so inclined.


Joel Fox put together his own questions for the candidates.


One topic that may come up is the governor’s proposed $68-billion bullet train. AP’s Juliet Williams reports the fate of the railroad plan may ultimately be decided by the state Supreme Court

Opponents of California's $68 billion high-speed rail project submitted an appeal Tuesday to the state Supreme Court, asking it to overturn a lower court's ruling that allowed the project to proceed despite questions about whether it complies with promises made to voters.

Central Valley residents argue in their petition that the July 31 ruling by the appellate court undercuts 100 years of legal precedent requiring strict compliance with the intent of the voters in implementing a voter-approved bond measure.

Proposition 1A, approved by voters, promised that the state would identify funding for the first useable segment of the rail line and that it would have necessary environmental clearances done before starting construction.”

The Legislature did stay up late on Friday, gaveling down session in the wee hours of Saturday morning. But unlike past year’s, the midnight oil was burned only so lawmakers could go home early and enjoy the Labor Day weekend. Sine Die, it turns out, just wasn’t all that.

But a couple of the most significant deals of the year were not baked until the final hours. Among them, was a proposal to regulate California’s groundwater. KQED’s Lauren Sommer has details.

“Under California’s current system, landowners can essentially pump as much groundwater as they want to, from under their property. Unlike water taken from rivers and reservoirs,groundwater usage isn’t tracked in many parts of the state.

“The bills … would designate local agencies to write sustainable groundwater management plans. The local agency could be a single water district, or a coalition of water agencies and county officials, all connected to a groundwater basin. Many of these governing bodies have already been established, as a result of 2009 legislation that encouraged areas to set up a groundwater tracking program. The program was not mandatory.

“Groundwater basins that are considered in critical overdraft have until 2020 to write their sustainable groundwater management plans, while high- or medium-priority basins have until 2022. Low-priority basins would not be required to participate.”

Another last-minute deal involved mandatory sick leave. When the final deal was cut, labor split on the issue, but it was sent to Brown anyway.

After carving out state-funded home healthcare workers from the bill, California is poised to create new requirements that employers offer at least three paid sick leave days per year. Melanie Mason reports:

The measure by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) would require employers to give their workers at least three paid sick days per year. Supporters say it would provide paid leave to approximately 6.5 million workers in the state.

“Under the proposal, employers would be required to provide paid sick days to employees who work 30 or more days within a year of being hired.  The paid sick days would accrue at a rate at least one hour for every 30 hours worked.

“San Francisco County is the only county in California that requires employers to provide paid sick  leave for all employees, including temporary and part-time employees, who work within the county.

Brown signaled he will sign the bill, sending out a late-night press release celebrating its passage.

There was some carnage on the final night, including the remains of the ‘wage theft’ legislation that was another top priority for labor this year.

While a proposed state crackdown was killed in the Legislature, the New York Times Labor Day edition dedicated some space to the issue. The Times cited “a flood of recent cases — brought in California and across the nation — that accuse employers of violating minimum wage and overtime laws, erasing work hours and wrongfully taking employees’ tips. Worker advocates call these practices “wage theft,” insisting it has become far too prevalent.

Some federal and state officials agree. They assert that more companies are violating wage laws than ever before, pointing to the record number of enforcement actions they have pursued. They complain that more employers — perhaps motivated by fierce competition or a desire for higher profits — are flouting wage laws.

Many business groups counter that government officials have drummed up a flurry of wage enforcement actions, largely to score points with union allies. If anything, employers have become more scrupulous in complying with wage laws, the groups say, in response to the much publicized lawsuits about so-called off-the-clock work that were filed against Walmart and other large companies a decade ago.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce did something it rarely does in contested Congressional races – it endorsed a Democrat, picking Rep. Scott Peters over Republican nominee Carl DeMaio.

WaPo’s Sean Sullivan reports, “The Chamber, which is the nation's largest business organization, simply doesn't back Democrats with the frequency it did in the not-too-distant past. Peters is just the fourth Democratic congressional candidate the organization has decided to support this year, according to Chamber spokeswoman Blair Latoff Holmes. The other three are Reps. John Barrow (Ga.), Henry Cuellar (Tex.) and Jim Costa (Calif.).

In 2010, the Chamber backed 38 Democrats. In 2010, it supported 21. In 2012, that number slipped to five.

The Hill also looks at the Peters/DeMaio contest.

“The two are locked in a nasty and expensive race in a toss-up district centered in San Diego and its wealthy suburbs. Both might seem like they’re pitching to the center to win, but this top GOP pickup opportunity could ultimately come down to which well-known candidate’s temperament voters respond to better. 

Elsewhere Around the Capitol



PUC recommends $1.4 billion fine for PG&E

Berkeley mandates free pot

Schwarzenegger set for Capitol portrait unveiling


  • 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.
  • Add your classified for $25/week.



Danville: San Ramon Valley Democrats Told Prop. 49 Fight To Be Long One
So why shouldn't Californians statewide have their chance to vote on whether corporations should be able spend big money to sway elections? That was the question Proposition 49 aimed to answer.

Immigration Reform: Barack Obama Weighs Risks Before Midterm Elections
Phil Wahba @
President Barack Obama is weighing whether to postpone a self-imposed deadline to make unilateral changes to U.S. immigration laws as the midterm elections draw near.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Returns To Sacramento
By Josh Richman Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 at 3:06 pm in Arnold Schwarzenegger, Global warming.

Halliburton agrees to pay $1.1 billion in Deepwater Horizon spill
Halliburton has agreed to a $1.1-billion settlement stemming from its involvement in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion that spewed more than 4 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico and killed 11 people, attorneys for the company and plaintiffs said Tuesday.

Brown, Lawmakers Seek Disaster Declaration
By Josh Richman Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 at 4:12 pm in Gov. Jerry Brown, Jared Huffman, Jerry Brown, John Garamendi, Mike Thompson, Nancy Pelosi, Obama presidency, U.S. House.

Political Memo: Voting Restrictions Are Key Variable in Midterm Elections
Eight states have narrowed early-balloting opportunities, and three of them feature Senate races that could decide which party holds a majority.

Judge Rules Berkeley Must Change Soda Tax Language | State Of Health Blog From Kqed News
Charles Siler @
Update September 2, 6:05 p.m.: A judge ruled Tuesday that Berkeley officials must change the soda tax measure language because it is currently misleading.

Dickinson oil train bill heads to governor
Tony Bizjak @
A bill by Sacramento Assemblyman Roger Dickinson requiring more disclosure about crude oil rail shipments has passed the legislature and been sent to the governor for his consideration.

Ap Nation / World | Union Democrat | Sonora News, Sports, & Weather, Angels Camp, Twain Harte, Jamestown - Ap Nation / World
>Union Democrat | Sonora News, Sports, & Weather, Angels Camp, Twain Harte, Jamestown

Jerry Brown Endorses Mike Honda Over Ro Khanna | Kqed News Fix
Mike Honda has landed a big-fish endorsement in his race against upstart challenger Ro Khanna: Gov. Jerry Brown.

Watchdog: Water Meter Error: $8 Million - The Orange County Register
Districts investigate a mysterious discrepancy between the amount of water they were getting and how much they were billed for receiving.

Legislature’s Marathon Finale A Time-dishonored Ritual
Dan Walters @
Dan Walters

Ca17: Gov. Jerry Brown Endorses Mike Honda
By Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 at 11:18 am in Uncategorized.

Alaska Race Sees Democrat Quit Campaign for Governor
Byron Mallott said he would withdraw and run instead for lieutenant governor alongside an independent candidate, Bill Walker.

Democratic Senator To Introduce Bill For Airstrikes In Syria
A Democratic senator from Florida says he will introduce legislation giving President Obama congressional authority for airstrikes against militants in Syria. The announcement came after the apparent beheading of another U.S. journalist.

Irs Lists Google, Facebook Free Employee Food As A Tax Priority - Silicon Valley Business Journal
Healthiest Employers Awards

$1.4 billion penalty urged for PG&E in San Bruno blast
Pacific Gas and Electric Co. should pay a record $1.4 billion in fines and safety improvements for violating pipeline safety laws in the deadly San Bruno natural-gas explosion, two administrative law judges recommended Tuesday. The sanction would be well below the $2.25 billion that the California Public Utilities Commission's staff recommended last year be imposed against PG&E for the September 2010 blast that killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes.

Louisiana's ban on same-sex marriage upheld by federal judge
A federal judge in Louisiana upheld the state's ban on same-sex marriages Wednesday, marking the first time a federal court upheld a ban since the Supreme Court struck down a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act last year, according to court filings.

Second Trial Approaching for Rowland, Ex-Connecticut Governor
John G. Rowland, who has already spent time in prison for corruption, is now accused of obstructing justice, falsifying documents and committing other violations of campaign finance laws.

Alaskan candidates team up
The independent and Democratic candidates for Alaska governor are merging their campaigns.

President Obama Approves 350 More Troops For U.S. Embassy In Baghdad
President Obama approved sending 350 additional troops to Baghdad, the Iraqi capital, to increase security at the U.S. Embassy compound and its support facilities.

Audit Finds Corning Tribe Mismanaged Millions In Casino Funds
Sam Stanton @
Amid an epic battle for control of a Northern California tribe and its lucrative casino, a new audit is leveling allegations that former tribal leaders mismanaged millions of dollars of assets in improper spending, salaries and poorly researched investments for the past dozen years.