Around The Capitol

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THE NOONER for December 29, 2014





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CA27 (Ventura): Billionaire bucks buy personal touch in Congress race [Sharon McNary @ KPCC] - Billionaire environmentalist Thomas Steyer spent about $1 million via his NextGen Climate Action political action committee funding a months-long campaign to register California voters. It had a strong focus on Ventura County, said NextGen spokeswoman Suzanne Henkels. "We invested more than $1 million into two, well-established voter registration, education and turnout committees: CALVoter and California Voter Project," Henkels said.

The Bee's Jeremy B. White writes up the challenges and opportunities facing Assembly Republican Leader Kristin Olsen

The Bee's David Siders sits down with Antonio Villaraigosa, who is very not retired from politics.:

Villaraigosa declined to assess the field of potential candidates for governor in 2018. He also declined to say if he would run for the U.S. Senate if incumbent Barbara Boxer opts not to seek re-election in 2016.

It is most likely that Villaraigosa would sit out a Senate contest and wait to run for governor when Jerry Brown terms out.

"Having been a legislator and a mayor," Villaraigosa said, "I particularly enjoy being a chief executive."

Speaking of Villaraigosa, he gets a mention in WILLIE'S WORLD:

Things are really going to get complicated in 2015 for the super Democratic consulting firm headed by Ace Smith. The firm represents Gov. Jerry Brown, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Kamala Harris, as well as former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and a host of other people.

The issue will be which of their clients they persuade to run for the Senate seat held by Barbara Boxer if, as expected, she retires at the end of her current term.

And which of their clients they will start grooming to follow Brown when he winds up his fourth term.

PLASTICS! California plastic bag ban likely on hold [Martin Wisckol @ OCR] - "Plastic bag manufacturers stand to sell 9 billion additional plastic bags simply by gathering enough signatures for a ballot measure to repeal the state’s plastic bag ban, which is scheduled to take effect July 1."

The awesome John Oliver takes a hiatus hiatus to dis New Year's Eve.

#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Matt Robinson



  • All are invited to Inauguration Party for Gov. Jerry Brown Jan. 5 on the North Capitol Lawn, L Street side. The People’s Inauguration Party: Working People Standing together is a celebration of the People’s Governor open to all the people. Hosted by the California Labor Federation, Orange County Employees Association and workers across the state. Free hot dogs, drinks, music and more! 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Board of Equalization Member-Elect Diane Harkey seeks: Exempt Legal Advisor ($8,805-$11,189) – to serve as legal advisor and assist in carrying out her constitutional responsibilities administering, formulating, and coordinating tax programs.  Position located in Sacramento. For questions contact  Details here.
  • University of California Office of the President
    The Executive Director to represent the University of California in Sacramento on the University's long range/annual budget, capital resource acquisition/allocation plans, and other finance-related topics including investments, procurement, risk management, and accounting. Salary: Commensurate with Experience.

  • Small, downtown Los Angeles boutique law firm is looking for a full-time political and election attorney.

    Qualifications: Two to five years of relevant experience; demonstrated interest in political and election law; strong writing skills, flexibility, attention to detail, excellent academic credentials; law review or journal experience preferred.

    Contact: Email resumes to Ana Simeonova, Office Manager,

  • Join Emerge California's 2015 East Bay Reception on Saturday, January 10 from 6:30pm to 8:30pm at The Den at the Fox Theatre located at 1912 Telegraph Ave in Downtown Oakland. To join the Host Committee, please contact Nazneen Rydhan-Foster at or visit the event page here.
  • ASSEMBLYMEMBER SEBASTIAN RIDLEY-THOMAS (D-Culver City) discusses becoming chair of the powerful Elections and Redistricting committee in this exclusive interview:
    Know a current or former elected official in Southern California we should interview? Our TV program reaches California's #1 zip code for campaign contributions. Send suggestions to:
  • California State Association of Counties (CSAC) is seeking two legislative advocates. Great opportunity to work in a challenging, professional environment on behalf of California counties. Salary DOQ; excellent benefits. Interviews expected week of 1/26/15. More details available here. Send cover letter/resume to DeAnn Baker at



Consumer Advocate Focuses His Energies On Revamping Prop. 13
Lenny Goldberg has been trying to revamp Proposition 13 for nearly 40 years. And for nearly 40 years, California's landmark property-tax law has remained unchanged.

Former Sacramento County Sheriff Glen Craig Dies At Age 81 | The Sacramento Bee
Cathy Locke @
Glen Craig, a former Sacramento County sheriff and California Highway Patrol commissioner, died Friday in Arizona.

Finally, UC Gets Budget Attention
There's nothing like a possible tuition increase at the University of California to stir things up. Students rush out to protest; regents and politicians, parents and professors engage in robust — sometimes enraged — debate. And finally, if all goes right, alternative suggestions begin to emerge, ranging from the weird to the intriguing to "Please, can we forget you just said that?"

Diminutive Swanton Pacific railway loaded with local lore
Carl Nolte @
Diminutive Swanton Pacific railway loaded with local lore Up on a back road in the beautiful Santa Cruz Mountains is one of the most unusual small railroads anywhere. Not only is the Swanton Pacific historic, but it is a railway in miniature, built to one-third the size of a conventional railroad. The Swanton Pacific and the big ranch where it operates are owned by Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, which makes it possibly the only miniature railroad in the world owned by a public university. The 3,200-acre property is maintained as a working ranch and a research station by Cal Poly. The main attraction of the railroad is a mile of track, four steam locomotives and one diesel engine, eight passenger cars, a couple of freight cars, and shops to keep them all going. The pride of the line is engine No. 1914, built a century ago in Oakland and maintained in spit-shine splendor by the volunteer labor of the Swanton Pacific. Jones, whose official title is vice president in charge of rolling stock, likes to talk about the lore of the little line. The trip began at the five-stall roundhouse, a place of oil and steel and the smell of steam engines. The line runs through the winter woods, over a handsome trestle that crosses Scott Creek, past a small redwood grove, a Christmas tree farm and a meadow, and into a flat place called Hog Wallow, which is the end of the track. There are lots of names on the Swanton Pacific and each comes with a story, but the main story began about 1913 when Louis Mac Dermot, an Oakland millionaire, decided that what the planned 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition needed was an on-site railroad to carry visitors around the fairgrounds. The five Overfair engines and some of the passenger cars have been on an odyssey ever since, from a tiny railroad at the Oakland Zoo, to storage, to becoming two miniature railroads in Los Gatos — called the Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad — and the Calistoga Steam Railroad in the Napa Valley. [...] came Albert (Al) Smith, a onetime railroader and high school teacher who inherited Orchard Supply Hardware store in San Jose from his father and turned it into a successful operation. At Christmas, people from around Swanton ride the train to cut a tree from the Christmas tree farm. [...] on Al Smith Day, in April, and on Cal Poly Day in the fall, the public is invited to a barbecue and as many rides on the railroad as they wish, in memory of a long-vanished world’s fair and of Al Smith, who loved trains and education in equal measure.

School Districts Face Huge Pension Bill |
Be relevant, respectful, honest, discreet and responsible. Commenting Rules

Egg Prices Likely To Rise Amid Laws Mandating Cage-free Henhouses
If your eggs seem a little pricier, consider the recent changes on Frank Hilliker's ranch.

Older People Urged To Get High-dose Vaccines Against Flu This Season | The Sacramento Bee
Cynthia H. Craft @
Older people, believed to be at greater risk for developing severe flu symptoms this season, should seek a high-dose vaccine instead of the standard dose even if they are frail and in long-term care, researchers say.

California Fuel Prices Going Up As Its Green-house Gas Controls Hit Gasoline, Diesel Sales
Josh Richman @
But how much more we'll pay, and whether it's worth it, remains bitterly debated among oil companies, some state lawmakers and environmentalists.

New Laws In 2015 To Benefit Immigrants
The holiday season will wrap up in a few days, but for many unauthorized immigrants living in California, the gifts of 2014 are arriving after New Year’s.

Long Beach Register Stops Publishing
The Long Beach Register is closing, the latest in a series of cutbacks by Orange County Register parent company Freedom Communications .

Greece To Hold Early Elections In Challenge To Eu Austerity Plan
Greece's prime minister called Monday for early parliamentary elections, marking a major setback for his austerity government and a potential rejection of the tough fiscal prescription imposed by the European Union and International Monetary Fund .

LAPD Set To Release Ezell Ford Autopsy Report
With demonstrations still taking place across the country over the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, the Los Angeles Police Department this week is expected to release the autopsy report in the officer-involved shooting of Ezell Ford.

California Plastic Bag Ban Likely On Hold
Plastic bag manufacturers stand to sell 9 billion additional plastic bags simply by gathering enough signatures for a ballot measure to repeal the state’s plastic bag ban, which is scheduled to take effect July 1.

GOP Puts Up A Bigger Tent For Minority Challenge | The Sacramento Bee
The faces of the Republican Party's most ambitious members are changing.

Jeb Bush Leads The Republican Pack, Poll Finds - Bloomberg Politics
In a couple days, Jeb Bush will toast the new year with a hefty lead in the 2016 presidential horserace.

Ten Years After Indian Ocean Tsunami, California Is Better Prepared | Science | Kqed Public Media For Northern Ca
The day after Christmas marks the tenth anniversary of the deadliest tsunami on record. An underwater earthquake measuring 9.1 in magnitude formed waves up to 65 feet high that crashed into the Indian subcontinent. More than 230,000 lives were lost, with the greatest fatalities in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and India.

Few And Far Between -
In a three-part series, Capital Public Radio explores why rural northern Californians are facing new challenges with individual health insurance. When market rules took effect through the Affordable Care Act in 2014, major insurers in the area changed consumer benefits and vastly cut back on where they sell policies. The result, for many consumers in Northern California, has been fewer plan choices, restricted doctor access, and a lot of confusion about whether coverage will be there when they need it. 

Man Suspected Of Dui Dies While Being Detained In San Diego
San Diego police on Sunday were investigating the death of a man who was being detained on suspicion of drunk driving.