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THE NOONER for December 26, 2014
Testing...testing...is this thing on? Or, is the Nooner community a collection of sloths after gorging themselves on fruitcake and Chinese food?
Enjoy the days, as the countdown to the return of the Legislature is quickly approaching.
ON SECOND THOUGHT: Jerry Brown granted
The Bee's Jon Ortiz takes a look at CTA executive director Joe Nuñez, and the legislative landscape for the union in the upcoming session.
IN THE BAG: Supporters of the referendum to overturn the statewide plastic bag ban claim they have enough signatures to submit before Monday's deadline. If counties agree with the count, the law would be suspended until voters decide its future at the November 8, 2016 election.
Supporters of the ban note that the statewide pause gives them plenty of time to destroy the industry's business in the Golden State through local ordinances. Already, the bags are banned in 138 cities and many unincorporated areas, accounting for a quickly growing part of the state's population, and the industry's legal fights against them have been largely unsuccessful.
Guiltily, our leftover Christmas Peking duck last night did come in a plastic bag. After reading the Portland ordinance, I think that made me complicit in a criminal enterprise...
MONEY MATTERS: Politicians use 'ghost’ campaigns to fight specter of lost funds [John Wldermuth @ SFChron] - "'It's a parking place,' said Tony Quinn, a longtime GOP operative who was one of the first members of the state's Fair Political Practices Commission when it was formed in the mid-1970s. 'While there’s no limit to the amount of money any candidate can have, they have to report it, so it has to be listed somewhere.'"
Some of my favorite parkers:
SPREAD YOUR WINGS: California's egg-laying hens to get their breathing room [Editorial @ LAT] - "Next month, all of California's 15 million egg-laying hens must be freed from the cramped, restrictive battery cages that have long been used on most egg farms. In the future, they will have enough space to stand up, lie down, turn around, and spread their wings without touching another bird."
NEIGHBOR TO THE NORTH: Meet the Man Behind Oregon’s New Legal Pot Market [Katy Steinmetz @ Time] - "When Oregon voters approved Measure 91 in the midterm elections, they became the latest to say that marijuana should be taxed and regulated like alcohol. Now comes the enormous job of actually bringing the legal marijuana market to life."
LAUNCH! Congratulations to Jennifer Fearing on a two-fer: the launch of her new lobbying firm and her wedding to Jay Chamberlin. Fearing gets the award for best new lobbying firm name -- Fearless Advocacy.
On that note, what play on words should I use for my new firm? It's always dangerous with a last name like mine. Perhaps we should just stick with Lay Consulting. Speaking of that, the awesome @RachaelMyrow hosted KQED's Forum today with the topic of "Making a Career Change Work."
THINK LONG: @elonmusk - "Roadster upgrade will enable non-stop travel from LA to SF -- almost 400 mile range. Details tmrw. Merry Christmas!"
SERIAL SPOOF: Serial, Season 2: The Sarah Koenig Story Teaser [michelleinspace]
CONGRATULATIONS: Nuptial greetings to Assemblymember Connie Conway, who wed Craig Vejvoda on 12-13-14.
#CAKEDAY: Light those candles for Jonathan Lyens. Happy belated birthday to Nick Caston and Veronica Villalobos!, who both celebrated yesterday! Weekened greetings to Allan Acevedo (Saturday), Colleen Haley (Saturday), Steve Frank (Sunday), Ann Garten (Sunday), and Michael Trujillo (Sunday)!
Have a great final weekend of 2014!
TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
Politicians use 'ghostâ
John Wildermuth @ sfgate.com
[...] state election law requires candidates to close their campaign accounts and disperse the money within two years after losing an election or being termed out of office. With another campaign on the horizon, however hazy it might be, the cash stays with the candidate âÂÂ and this rule has forced some veteran officeholders into some unusual political contortions. [...] state Treasurer Bill Lockyer announced last year that he was retiring from politics, but he has $1.7 million in a campaign account for a purported 2018 run for lieutenant governor. At age 82, former state Sen. John Burton is head of the California Democratic Party, but heâÂÂs opened a not-especially-active campaign for state superintendent of public instruction four years from now. Termed-out Sacramento Democrat Darrell Steinberg, who until October was chief of the state Senate, is excited about beginning his new career as an attorney and head of his new mental health policy institute, yet according to records at the CaliforniaâÂÂs Secretary of StateâÂÂs office, heâÂÂs raising money for the 2018 lieutenant governorâÂÂs contest. Opening a campaign account gives Steinberg a place to stash nearly $900,000 in contributions and maybe $380,000 more if he decides to transfer whatâÂÂs left in his 2010 state Senate account. In the past year, Lockyer has paid out about $270,000 from his campaign fund, most of it in contributions to just about every Democratic statewide candidate, a number of legislators, county Democratic groups and a few local races. Political contributions, including money for ballot measures, are one of the state-approved ways to spend campaign cash, along with donations to âÂÂbona fide charitable, educational, civic, religious or similar tax-exempt, nonprofit organizations,âÂÂ according to state law. The ghost campaigns and accompanying fiscal sleight of hand doesnâÂÂt much bother groups pushing for more reforms on political governance, said Bob Stern, former president of the Center for Governmental Studies. Last year, for example, Dean Florez, a former Democratic state senator from the Central Valley, agreed to pay $60,000 in fines after an FPPC investigation found that he had used campaign funds for his personal benefit, with money from an abandoned campaign for lieutenant governor going for things like travel, expensive dinners, gasoline, concert tickets and other items. First elected to the Assembly in 1964, he remembers filling out his own campaign finance reports by writing down a dollar amount and simply recording that it was donated by âÂÂvarious labor organizations.âÂÂ [...] former Assembly Speaker John PÃ©rez, who lost a tight primary battle for state controller in June, has $391,000 stashed for that same lieutenant governorâÂÂs campaign.
Americans Appear Comfortable With Political Dynasties | The Sacramento Bee
NANCY BENAC @ sacbee.com
The Sacramento Bee is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.
Bay Area Protesters Cool To Police Union Call For Dialogue - Crime Scene
A day after the leaders of three Bay Area police unions denounced the "vilification" of officers in recent protests against the killings of black men, one group of protesters reacted coolly to the ...
Jeb Bush To Cut Ties With company Profiting From obamacare - Bloomberg Politics
What a tangled web presidential candidates weave.
West Sacramento Mayor Puts His Mortgage Where His Mouth Is | The Sacramento Bee
Tony Bizjak @ sacbee.com
In the city of Sacramento, the jurisdiction with the most opportunity for infill housing, planning commissioners can live anywhere in the city, and several live in midtown and downtown. Sacramento City Council members represent districts that are spread throughout the city, though, and must live in those districts.
Q. and A.: How Affordable Care Act Rules Affect Your Taxes
Questions and answers about how to file a return this year, the first time taxpayers have to report their health care status to the I.R.S.
State Utility Regulators To Focus On Safety After Lapses
SACRAMENTO — Amid safety lapses across California, state regulators are getting tough with the state's power companies.
A tax system tilted toward the rich
a great relief to tax professionals like myself. But what our legislators didn't do was address the fundamentally unfair way the United States taxes people who work for a living compared with people who live off of the earnings of their...
Favorite moments in year of change for Oakland
Chip Johnson @ sfgate.com
The city still struggles with a higher than average crime rate but new construction projects in downtown Oakland largely overshadowed the bad news. From the suburban city of Ferguson, Mo., outrage over an officer-involved shooting of an unarmed black man sparked protests that swept the nation. A grand jury decision exonerating New York police officers in yet another death of an unarmed black suspect fueledprotests that still continue. In the Bay Area, demonstrations in Oakland, Berkeley and San Francisco turned ugly, resulting in hundreds of arrests and two weeks of tense standoffs between demonstrators and police. Wedged into the November ballot between the races for public office and the renewal of Measure Y, a public safety funding parcel tax, was a proposal to fund and separate the cityâÂÂs Public Ethics Commission from the elected officials itâÂÂs supposed to be watchdogging. Voters approved funding to establish an independent commission with the authority to sanction and fine our public officials. [...] Quan chose a police chief with a steady hand to lead the Oakland Police Department. Chief Sean Whent took the reins in May, after Howard Jordan, who Quan chose to replace former chief Anthony Batts, quit under pressure from the federal monitor who oversees the department. The Silver and Black lost 10 straight to start the season, 16 straight losses if you include last season, before breaking into the winnerâÂÂs column. In East Oakland, residents turned a street divider used primarily as an illegal dumping site for unwanted household items, from couches and chairs to garbage, into a street shrine that changed the neighborhood. The median strip at 11th Avenue and 19th Street has been transformed into a miniature house of worship, adorned with flowers and food offerings. Akintunde Ahmad withstood peer pressure, avoided the pratfalls and emerged as one of the best and brightest at Oakland Technical High School in 2014.
UC San Diego To Build Huge Science Center. | Utsandiego.com
More Than 90% Of State's Mentally Ill Struggle To Find And Keep Jobs - The Orange County Register
BERNARD J. WOLFSON @ ocregister.com
Goodwill’s Employment Works and the Mental Health Association of Orange County are among the agencies working to lower that number.
Congestion At Ports Of L.A., Long Beach Is Putting A Damper On Economy
Brutal congestion at the nation's busiest ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach is throwing a kink into an economy that's finally kicking into high gear.
Jerry Brown, Governor of California, Takes Second Chance to Shape Court
Gov. Brown made a series of head-snapping choices for the California Supreme Court, picking nominees who were highly respected but had no judicial experience.
Reports: Jeb Bush leaving health-care company
MICHAEL GRUNWALD @ politico.com
Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare Corp. profited from Obamacare.
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LAPD Wrongly Reclassified Some Serious Crimes As Minor, Times Review Finds
On a July night in 2013, a customer attacked cocktail waitress Alicia Alfaro in the face with a set of car keys outside the El Recreo Room in Cypress Park.
GOP learns lessons from Brownback's tax scare
MICHAEL GRUNWALD @ politico.com
Republicans once idolized Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback as a tax cutting superstar -- now he's a lesson in what not to do.
Chinese Entrepreneurs Aim To Become Technology Power Players
Alibaba was just the beginning: Get ready to hear a lot more about Chinese tech companies.
Five takeaways from the Clippers' 100-86 victory over Golden State
After a bah-humbug start, it was a merry Christmas after all for the Clippers. They started the game cold, ended it hot and beat the Golden State Warriors, 100-86, on Thursday night at Staples Center. Here are five takeaways from the game:
Memorial Honors Five Homeless People Who Died
The memorial service was supposed to include the names of four homeless people who died on the streets of Glendale this year, but one more was added to the list at the last minute.
Political Calculus: Perfect Midterm Predictions: Two Winners of the Upshot Cup
A computer programmer and a statistics lecturer picked winners in all 36 Senate races with 100 percent confidence the day before Election Day.
Ex-president George H.w. Bush To Stay In Hospital A Third Night
Despite having “another terrific day,” former President George H.W. Bush will spend a third night in a Texas hospital, his office announced on Christmas.