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THE NOONER for September 4, 2014

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As Neel Kashkari prepares for his one and only debate against Gov. Jerry Brown, the GOP gubernatorial nominee launched a new YouTube video attacking Brown’s coziness with the California Teachers Assn.


David Siders reports, “The video comes less than a week after Brown announced he was appealing a closely-watched Los Angeles Superior Court ruling that California’s rules for teacher tenure and dismissal deprive students of their constitutional right to a quality education by keeping inferior teachers in classrooms.

Kashkari accuses Brown of siding with organized labor over students in the case, Vergara v. California, and of taking millions of dollars from the CTA for his political causes in a relationship going back to when Brown was governor before, from 1975 to 1983.”

But that line of attack is unlikely to put much of a dent in Brown’s massive lead in the polls. Again, Siders has the stats.

“Two months before Election Day, less than 60 percent of likely voters have an opinion of Kashkari, according to a new Field Poll, and the Republican trails Brown by 16 percentage points.

“The margin, while smaller than the 20 percentage point difference registered in June, is sizable, reflecting Kashkari’s lack of funding and name recognition and Brown’s popularity in a liberal-leaning state. The third-term Democrat’s job approval rating stands at 58 percent, according to the poll.”

The debate will be moderated by KQED majordomo John Myers.

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One of the topics likely to come up in tonight’s debate is the decision by electric-car maker Telsa to open a new battery plant in Reno. California lawmakers had been hoping to lure the facility, and its promised 6,500 or so jobs, to California.

The Wall St. Journal reports, “By choosing Nevada, Tesla would get a site close to its Fremont, Calif., assembly plant and ready access to lithium, a key raw material for the batteries. The maker of a $71,000 and up electric sedan has said it plans to employ up to 6,500 workers and to produce 35 gigawatt hours of battery cells annually in its so-called gigafactory. The plant eventually is expected to produce more than all of the current lithium-ion battery production in the world today.

"I think the single most important factor is the [site's] low-cost green power," said John Boyd, principal of The Boyd Company, a site selection firm that had forecast Nevada as the likely winner. Reno offers Tesla choices among solar, wind and geothermal energy for the plant. He also said Nevada's lack of corporate and personal income taxes aided its selection.

Forbes breaks it down a little further. “The state is also home to the country’s only active lithium mine and the best prospective reserves of new supply as the report in the Reno Gazette-Journal explains. With the Gigafactory expected to boost global demand for lithium carbonate by 15,000 tons annually (it’s 160,000 tons worldwide today) according to Alex Walsh of Lithium Exploration Group, that’s significant. 

“Beyond the physical resources, Nevada also offers up the renewable energy that Tesla hopes to use to power much of the Gigafactory’s needs. The wind resources aren’t especially exceptional compared to competing states, but the solar is – even outdoing Arizona. If you were looking at this equation purely from a proximity and resource equation, you’d pick Nevada.”

But pols in California were not happy, reports the Merc’s Dana Hull.

"No other state has added more jobs than California since the recovery began and we'll continue to work closely with businesses, including California-based Tesla, that want to grow here," Brook Taylor, a spokesman for the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development, said in an email Wednesday.

"This can serve as a good learning opportunity for California," said Jim Wunderman, CEO of the Bay Area Council. "We should look very closely at what factors ultimately led to Tesla choosing Reno, and we should determine what we can do better going forward to attract and retain middle-class jobs in California."

State Sens. Ted Gaines, R-Roseville, and Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, co-authored a proposed Tesla incentive bill, but it did not advance before the legislative session ended. Tesla had said it expected states to pay about 10 percent, or $500 million, of the gigafactory's $5 billion cost.

"I offered to drive the legislation if a good deal for California could be reached. Tesla's demand for taxpayer-dollars upfront, without substantiated guarantees in return, was a bridge too far," Steinberg said in a statement Wednesday. "California continues to lead the national economic recovery, with many other opportunities ahead."

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The fight to raise the cap on medical malpractice awards has a new public face: Sen. Barbara Boxer. The Senator stars in a new television spot calling for the passage of Prop. 46. 

Melanie Mason reports: “Boxer, who said that she has been interested in the issue since the 1990s when Congress was considering a federal cap on damages, said higher limits on malpractice awards would "prevent medical errors in the first place, because there is more at stake." 

Elsewhere Around the Capitol

Skelton: Data portends bleak future for CA GOP

Merl: Rod Wright sentencing delayed … again

Walters: One more Legislative all-nighter

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  • 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: recruiter@seiu-uhw.org
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    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.

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  • San Diego County Water Authority. Accepting proposals for Legislative Advocacy and Consulting Services Sacramento, CA. Request RFP from Jennifer Graffam at jgraffam@sdcwa.org. 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.

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TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
Jerry Brown Heads Into Gubernatorial Debate With Large Lead Over Neel Kashkari
David Siders @
sacbee.com
Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari speaks to members of The Bee’s editorial board April 29.

Sen. Barbara Boxer Stars In Ad For Medical Malpractice Initiative
latimes.com
Boxer appeared at a news conference in San Francisco to unveil the new spot and to tout the measure as a "modest compromise" in a decades-long battle between trial lawyers and medical provders on malpractice damages. 

Feinstein: Islamic State 'will Come After Us' - Sfgate
sfgate.com
The United States has no choice but to confront militants seeking to establish an Islamic state in Syria and Iraq, Sen. Dianne Feinstein told a Silicon Valley group Wednesday, calling the fighters "totally evil." The country has never dealt with a terrorist organization quite like Islamic State, she said, one with ample financial resources, an army with heavy weapons and a leadership "that's absolutely ruthless and pure evil." Told that Obama, speaking at a NATO meeting in Estonia on Wednesday, had said the goal of U.S. strategy is to "degrade and destroy" Islamic State, Feinstein answered, "Good." Closer to home, Feinstein talked of the problems of passing her Cyber Information Sharing Act, a measure that would encourage data-sharing between businesses and the government on issues relating to cybersecurity. The bill is opposed by privacy advocates and trial lawyers who believe there are too few provisions to protect people's personal information from being vacuumed up by the government and no way to take companies to court to challenge the data transfers.

Neel Kashkari Rips Jerry Brown’s Ties To California Teachers Association
David Siders @
sacbee.com
In this July 31, 2014 file photo, Republican candidate for governor Neel Kashkari discusses issues related to poverty in California during a news conference outside of the River City Food Bank in Sacramento, Calif.

Honda’s ‘crowd Hall’ Attracts Voter Questions, But No Answers - Politics Blog
blog.sfgate.com
South Bay Rep. Mike Honda has been touting himself as the "candidate of Silicon Valley,'' but he may need a booster on how to run an Internet town hall. The seven-term Democrat has been criticized ...

Editorial: Teacher protections that hurt students are indefensible – unless you’re state’s top education official
the Editorial Board @
sacbee.com
No surprise: Torlakson may well lose his re-election campaign to Marshall Tuck, the reformer from L.A., in November without the support of the well-funded teacher unions.

Proposition 47 eases criminal charges; stirs little reaction
sfgate.com
Everyone keeps waiting for the backlash, the pulpit pounding, the outrage. Proposition 47, an initiative on the state ballot, will soften criminal charges for nonviolent crimes, like petty theft and drug possession. Instead of a felony, those crimes will be misdemeanors. To put it in San Francisco terms, that means if a police officer encounters someone shooting up heroin or smoking crack on the street, instead of facing prison, the suspect will be cited for a misdemeanor and probably referred to counseling and treatment. In these Tea Party times, that sounds like a chance to cue up the "coddling the criminals" script. Surely this kind of lefty-liberal concept will run into a buzz saw of criticism. Nope.

Neel Kashkari rips Jerry Brown’s ties to California Teachers Association
David Siders @
sacbee.com
In a lengthy video released on the eve of their first – and likely only – debate, Republican Neel Kashkari attacked Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday for his ties to the California Teachers Association and appeal of a court ruling that found the state’s teacher dismissal rules unconstitutional.

Pg&e To Appeal Proposed $1.4-billion Penalty For Fatal Pipeline Blast
latimes.com
Pacific Gas & Electric Co. is appealing a proposed record penalty for the fatal gas pipeline explosion and fire that destroyed a Bay Area residential neighborhood.

Jerry Brown-neel Kashkari Debate: A Viewer’s Guide From Ringside | Kqed News Fix
blogs.kqed.org
Any formal debate in the modern era of politics lives or dies on what’s seen by the audience at home, not by how the politicians appear from a vantage point just a few feet away. So at the risk of deflating my own story: It’s all up to you, dear voter.

Students Allege UC Santa Barbara Mishandled Rape Discipline
latimes.com
A group of UC Santa Barbara students said they have filed complaints with the federal government alleging that university administrators did not properly discipline a student who was found responsible for raping another undergraduate. 

Taxpayers and workers gouged by labor-law dodge
Mandy Locke and Franco Ordonez @
sacbee.com
The largest government infusion of cash into the U.S. economy in generations – the 2009 stimulus – was riddled with a massive labor scheme that harmed workers and cheated unsuspecting American taxpayers.

National G.O.P. Moves to Take Over Campaign of Kansas Senator
rss.nytimes.com
The campaign of Senator Pat Roberts, and the hopes of Republicans for taking control of the Senate, have been threatened by the sudden withdrawal of the Democrat in the race.

Interim UC Irvine Chancellor Nominated For Permanent Post
latimes.com
Howard Gillman, a political scientist who has been interim chancellor of UC Irvine since January, is being nominated to become the permanent head of the massive Orange County campus.

U.S. Chamber Backs Democratic Rep. Scott Peters Over GOP's Carl Demaio
latimes.com
In its endorsement letter to Peters, the chamber said it believed his reelection would "help produce sustained economic growth, help create jobs and get our country back on track."

Brown, Kashkari Prepare For Gubernatorial Debate
JULIET WILLIAMS @
sacbee.com
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Gov. Jerry Brown doesn't have much on the line as he faces his Republican challenger in the only gubernatorial debate scheduled so far this election season.

Immigration lawyer charged with investment fraud
Associated Press @
utsandiego.com
A Los Angeles immigration lawyer was charged Wednesday with running a fraudulent scheme to recruit Chinese and Korean immigrant investors for an ethanol project that was never built.

Most L.A. City Council Offices Got Free Tickets To Made In America
latimes.com
Dozens of tickets to the Made in America festival were distributed to Los Angeles City Council offices last week by representatives of Mayor Eric Garcetti, provided free by concert promoter Live Nation. Tickets were given to 12 out of the 15 council offices, according to a statement released Wednesday by a spokesman for the mayor in response to questions from The Times. Most offices got four tickets covering both days of the weekend festival; Council President Herb Wesson's office got 10 two-day tickets.

Is Plastic Ban Vote Already In The Bag? - The Orange County Register
SUSAN CARPENTER @
ocregister.com
Paper or plastic? It used to be a simple – and free – choice.

Another Delay In Sentencing For Sen. Rod Wright
Laurel Rosenhall @
sacbee.com
Sen. Rod Wright in the California Senate chambers on Feb. 3, 2014.

The POLITICO 50 survey
POLITICO @
politico.com
What the most interesting political thinkers, doers and dreamers have to say about Washington dysfunction, the presidential campaign and the rest of the world.