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THE NOONER for September 15, 2014

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It's a Noonerific Monday with a long diatribe from me after the jump, in which we give a ginormous hug to those who make our lunchtime rendezvous possible..



END-OF-SESSION AWARDS: Voting will start tomorrow as I'm still tackling a bit more coding. It's another case of me thinking a bit too broadly without the logistical consequences.

JUST NOT WRIGHT: On Friday, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy sentenced State Senator Rod Wright to 90 days in county jail, three years probation, 1,500 hours of community service, and a permanent ban from elected office for lying about his residence in running for office. His attorney plans to appeal, while a dozen legislators think "sucks to be you" who found their way around the DUI checkpoint.

Once again, I will take this opportunity to rant about the absurdity of prosecutorial discretion in candidate residency cases and a corollary issue of the state constitution.

First, application of the law affecting state offices should be held to the same standard and not be left to the whim and resources of county district attorneys. DAs are political officers themselves and are thus frequently conflicted through partisan allegiance and political alliances. If the same zeal used against Wright were used against other members, several would be heading to the pokey. I have complained to you enough already about the OC DA who had plenty of time for going after a black kid for doing what white kids have done at Disneyland for generations. Yeah, he ignored the obvious "violation of law," the same one that brings Wright down.

The LA County DA's office has taken high profile political corruption seriously (and juries decide whether having two addresses as Wright did is that), even while huge corruption has plagued its small cities for decades. DAs in other counties have openly ignored Democratic and Republican candidates who have not lived in their district.

I have a friend who has a well known blog that is spiking the football on Wright while gushing loving heaps on an Orange County legislator guilty of the exact same crime.

Further, the provision of the California Constitution that provides for residency is already ignored in a couple of major areas. That is the requirement that a candidate be a resident of that legislative district for one year prior to the election and a resident of California for three years. This was obviously a big issue in the 2012 election, as many members had to find new housing as their districts were moved by the independent commission.

(c) A person is ineligible to be a member of the Legislature unless the person is an elector and has been a resident of the legislative district for one year, and a citizen of the United States and a resident of California for 3 years, immediately preceding the election, and service of the full term of office to which the person is seeking to be elected would not exceed the maximum years of service permitted by subdivision (a) of this section.

Well, hell, that's better than this part of the 1849 California Constitution:

Sec. 1. Every white male citizen of the United States, and every white male citizen of Mexico, who shall have elected to become a citizen of the United States, under the treaty of peace exchanged and ratified at Queretaro, on the 30th day of May, 1848 of the age of twenty–one years, who shall have been a resident of the State six months next preceding the election, and the county or district in which he claims his vote thirty days, shall be entitled to vote at all elections which are now or hereafter may authorized by law: Provided, nothing herein contained, shall be construed to prevent the Legislature, by a two–thirds concurrent vote, from admitting to the right of suffrage, Indians or the descendants of Indians, in such special cases as such proportion of the legislative body may deem just and proper.

Okay, there's a lot offensive about "every white male citizen," but "every white male citizen of Mexico" takes the cake. That is racial Mad Libs on steroids.

Oh, there's more! Before we get back to seriousness, we have to pause on this another amazing provision of California's first constitution:

Sec. 5. No idiot or insane person, or person convicted of any infamous crime, shall be entitled to the privilege of an elector.

Yeah, so, uh, who would be left to vote in the Golden State?

Back to seriousness:

Under the fundamental right to travel and Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, durational residency requirements are called into constitional question. Both require consideration of the state's interest involved and the narrowness of the rights being infringed. Thus, lower tuition for in-state residents at public universities is allowable, but a requirement of one year of residency to register to vote is not. Similarly, it is generally believed that a city can require a reasonable residency requirement to serve on a planning commission, as the issues presented to that commission pertain to specific knowledge that a resident has gathered.

Without going completely ConLaw on you, there are levels of scrutiny applied in such cases that. You can envision them as a stoplight. The lowest level is rational basis review that is green, and the highest is strict scrutiny, which is red. The middle ground is intermediate scrutiny, where it appears durational residency requirements now resides (along with same-sex marriage perhaps?). Where a case falls on the stoplight of scrutiny depends on the right being abridged and the definition of the suspect class. 

California's durational residency provisions were thrown out by the Ninth Circuit back in 1973, using strict scrutiny. However, the U.S. Supreme Court in 1975 let stand a lower court ruling that upheld a strict 7-year residency requirement for the the New Hampshire State Senate (John Sununu was the plaintiff!), using a degree of intermediate scrutiny. Based on that holding, California's residency limitations are constitutional and should be in force until repealed in a constitutional amendment by the voters.

Federal residency restrictions are constrained to those provided in the federal constitution.

It would be interesting to see the court wrestle with a durational residency case for state legislatures. Obviously, the California Legislature would not benefit from having 120 people who just moved to the state, so a case can be made that some state residency requirement is constitutionally legitimate. 

However, should voters have been allowed in SD26 to consider Sandra Fluke on November 4, even though she is a relatively new Californian? Plenty of local voters thought so, besting 6 other candidates with more roots in the district, sending her into the general with Ben Allen. Of course, the text of the California Constitution says she is ineligible.

The one year district residency requirement is probably unconstitutional, as it makes little sense why someone who moves across the street to run in a neighboring Assembly district in Placentia has less knowledge about the needs of the district than someone who moved from Davis 366 days ago. Nevertheless, our school kids still read the California Constitution and likely believe otherwise. 

Of course, Rod Wright wasn't convicted of violating the constution, but rather for lying about his residency on candidacy forms. Nevertheless, this tangled residency mess, complicated by prosecutorial discretion and court inconsistencies, needs to be sorted out.

CA17 (Milpitas): The Merc News comes out in support of Ro Khanna against incumbent Mike Honda. - "Back in the day of earmarks, Honda brought home some bacon. He helped secure the cleanup of Mount Umunhum's old Air Force base, for example. But earmarks are gone, and Honda is not effective in influencing policy. That would be Khanna's strong suit. He brims with energy and ideas, including how to return manufacturing to America."

KRAMER VS. KRAMER: Well, Tim Draper's effort to divide California up into six states is dead for now. The initiative needed 67.4% validity to move to full count, and only had 66.15%. After claiming 1.37 million signatures, only 1,137,844 were tabulated in the raw count by county election offices. Somebody's got some serious explaining to do about Draper's nearly $5 million spent, mostly by Arno Petition Consultants for signature gathering.  

#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to AG Block and Dan Weitzman!




  • Join the Los Angeles County Young Democrats for our Annual Laurel Awards honoring Democrat of the Year Speaker Toni Atkins and Rising Star Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia. More Information and Tickets Available at
  • ACLU of California seeks a Legislative Advocate in its Sacramento office. Salary dependent on experience. To view job announcement and application instructions, visit here.



VIDEO: CalPERS candidate talks about long-term care, pension spiking and lessons learned from losing campaigns
Jon Ortiz @
Our most recent State Worker column focused on CalPERS board candidate David Miller’s campaign to represent state workers. Here are some clips of Miller, recorded during a lunch break interview at The Bee’s Capitol Bureau on Sept. 9, 2014.

Controller 2014: Taxpayer group not backing GOP candidate Ashley Swearengin
For the first time in at least sixteen years, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association won’t be backing the Republican candidate for state controller. The state’s leading grassroots taxpayer group to that Swearengin has not been endorsed by the organization — a telling non-endorsement by an organization that routinely backs Republican statewide candidates.

Will California PUC President Michael Peevey Get A Record Third Term?
Legislators, lobbyists and Capitol staffers who deal with energy policy are buzzing about whether Public Utilities Commission President Michael Peevey will get a record third term.

Think Sacramento is all about state workers? Health care sector is surging
Phillip Reese @
Sacramento has long been known as a state worker town. These days, it’s just as accurate to call it a health worker town.

Joanne Garvey, respected tax lawyer and women's mentor, dies
Veteran Bay Area attorney Joanne Garvey, a pioneer among female lawyers in California, died of cancer Friday at her home in Kensington. Ms. Garvey practiced business and tax law for most of her 52-year career and argued a case before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1994. In a statement from the group's 40th anniversary celebration, current President Neda Mansoorian said, "California Women Lawyers benefited profoundly from the historic and groundbreaking work of our founding mother, Joanne Garvey - a feminist visionary, a trailblazer." Ms. Garvey was "one of the earliest and most powerful feminist voices in the national and local legal communities," said Noreen Farrell, executive director of Equal Rights Advocates, a nonprofit legal organization in San Francisco. On the side, she played basketball at Holy Names High School in Oakland and at UC Berkeley when "it was considered unladylike to play against other teams," she told an interviewer in 1997.

Will Congress Renew Tax Relief For Homeowners' Debt Forgiveness?
Congress is back from its summer vacation, so the burning financial question on thousands of homeowners' minds right now is this: Are you guys finally going to help out consumers who are underwater on their mortgages, many of whom face crushing federal tax bills if they accept — or have already accepted — principal reductions by their lenders?

Gavin Newsom Calls For 49ers To Bench Ray Mcdonald
Newsom and his wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, released a prepared statement hours before the 49ers played their Levi's Stadium opener against the Chicago Bears.

Pensions May Be Key To Stockton Bankruptcy Exit | Calpensions
Bankrupt Stockton says it does not want to cut its biggest debt, pensions promised employees, because the CalPERS plan is needed to be competitive in the job market, particularly for a short-handed police force in the crime-ridden city.

Secretary Of State's Race Is One Worth Watching
In a mostly lackluster election season, at least one statewide race in California is intriguing. It's for secretary of state.

Fears Of Unrest Cloud Afghanistan As Election Dispute Drags On
As Afghanistan’s disputed presidential vote nears an uncertain conclusion, fears are mounting that post-election unrest could threaten the fragile political order that the United States has struggled for 13 years to help build.

Viewpoints: Campaign against gas tax is foolhardy
Paul F. Steinberg @
Although any increase in gas prices hurts, the reality is that our gas consumption is hurting even more, and a tax on carbon is the smartest way to address the problem. Climate change will have a far higher cost on our children than a gas tax will have on us.

Why More Trees In The Sierra Mean Less Water For California | Science | Kqed Public Media For Northern Ca
Just like crops, trees consume water. And Sierra Nevada forests are denser than they once were after decades of fire suppression. That could be reducing the amount of runoff coming from the snowpack — runoff that provides water for most of the state.

Cuts To Defense Budget Threatened By Battle Against Islamic State
President Obama's strategy to counter Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria is likely to eat into defense spending cut plans.

The Buzz: California state scientists OK short-term contract
Jon Ortiz and Bee Capitol Bureau @
After rejecting Gov. Jerry Brown’s first contract offer, California’s state scientists have overwhelmingly approved a second deal with the administration. The final tally of votes by members of the California Association of Professional Scientists: 1,171 in favor and 177 opposed. About half the union’s members voted.

Angry Letters To The One Member Of Congress Who Voted Against The War On Terror - The Atlantic
In the hours after the attacks of September 11, 2oo1, they were angry at the terrorists who flew planes into the Pentagon and World Trade Center. They wanted the attackers brought to justice. They mourned the victims, cheered the firefighters, felt united in sorrow with their countrymen, and dreaded more attacks. But in Berkeley, Oakland, and Alameda, the ultra-liberal, historically anti-war East Bay communities, a significant bloc also feared how their country would react. They didn't trust the instincts of George W. Bush or the public that elected him.

Stroll Fillmore Street, get a good look at San Francisco
Fillmore then runs down the hill, past Victorians, many of them with fresh paint, on the edge of the Alamo Square Historic District. Fillmore flattens out at the bottom of a big valley, the historic heart of the Western Addition. The names of vanished storefronts on Fillmore are carved in the sidewalk, names from the 1920s when this was a Jewish neighborhood. Jimbo's Bop City, the Booker T. Washington Hotel, just off Fillmore, the offices of the African American Sun Reporter and the Japanese American Nichi Bei Times. The Japanese were packed off to internment camps and black families, drawn West by the promise of jobs, replaced them. There are dozens of names on plaques embedded in the concrete - civil rights leaders, union men and women, writers, preachers and politicians. Audley Cole, the first African American to work for the Muni Railway, his wife, Josephine, the city's first African American high school teacher, Yori Wada, the first Asian to be a UC regent. Up Fillmore, past the venues where they are trying to keep jazz alive, is Geary Boulevard and just west of that are the sites of Bill Graham's Fillmore Auditorium and Jim Jones' Peoples Temple - both famous in their day. A couple of blocks away, young men make hanging out on street corners into an art form.