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THE NOONER for January 8, 2015




Good morning! Sorry the Noonerific glitch yesterday. To make up for the misfire, I'll put out an issue on Saturday following the governor's budget release.

Well, it happened this morning. Barbara Boxer announced that she won't seek a fifth term in 2016. The e-mail praise is flying out praising Boxer's service, and nobody is running today. But, tomorrow, the campaigns begin--privately at first through donor and endorsement calls, which will be followed after by public announcements, or at least allusions.

The names largely remain the same -- Controller John Chiang, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, Attorney General Kamala Harris, Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, and Former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Don't expect Harris and Newsom--perhaps the highest name-recognition candidates--to run against each other. They are more likely to have a discussion of U.S. Senate 1 (Feinstein), U.S. Senate 2 (Boxer), and Governor rather than face off in 2016.

Similarly, I wouldn't expect Garcetti and Villaraigosa to fight over L.A. votes--particularlly in a low-turnout top-two primary. The dark horse may be John Chiang, who captured the most number of votes among statewide candidates and has few negatives. However, Chiang is also from Los Angeles, although his name ID is likely higher than the mayors.

Finally, what about Tom Steyer? There certainly have been hints of a public office run, but that's also a big leap for someone with great name-ID and connections in segments of the Democratic Party, but has little knowledge among the public. It would be very expensive for him and, he'd be using his own money while the other high-profile candidates use other people's money.

It'll be a barnstormer. U.S. Senate seats rarely open, and when they do, you have an office with six-year terms and no term limits. It's the dream job of every baby politician.

#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Paula Villescaz!




California Higher Ed Leaders Make Pitches To Lawmakers | The Sacramento Bee
Jim Miller @
Higher education leaders made the Capitol rounds this week, getting some decidedly different receptions from lawmakers.

50% by 2030: Wright, Peevey absent as Brown makes renewable energy push
As Gov. Jerry Brown pushes for 50% renewable energy by 2030, two of California's most opinionated energy experts are missing from the debate: State Senator Rod Wright and PUC President Michael Peevey.

New bill would more thoroughly restrict ivory sales in California
Peter Fimrite @
A bill that conservationists hope will prompt strict enforcement of a ban on the sale of ivory in California was introduced Wednesday in an attempt to halt the catastrophic decline of African elephants. Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins proposed the bill in an attempt to close loopholes in existing law that have hampered efforts to stop importation of ivory obtained from poaching, particularly in Los Angeles and San Francisco. AB 96 would prohibit the purchase, sale, possession for sale or the importation for sale of elephant ivory and rhinoceros horn except under limited educational and scientific circumstances or if it is part of a musical instrument. The problem with existing California law is that the penal code section that covers ivory sales exempts elephant parts imported prior to 1977, and it’s difficult without carbon dating and DNA to determine the age of an ivory piece. The bill would make violations a misdemeanor subject to graduated criminal penalties and exempt musical instruments with less than 20 percent ivory and antiques with less than 5 percent ivory. Despite movements in the late 1980s to ban the international trade in ivory to protect the elephant, poachers kill an average of 96 African elephants a day for their tusks. Over the past few decades, the overall elephant population has declined 76 percent, all because of the demand for their tusks, which can be sold for $1,500 a pound on the global black market. The international ivory trade is the primary funding source for many terrorist groups, according to regulators and wildlife conservationists. An undercover study of the California trade released Wednesday by the Natural Resources Defense Council found 1,250 pieces of ivory for sale in 107 tourist shops, antique stores and markets in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Last year, the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife proposed tightening regulations to ban the import of ivory or elephant tusks for commercial purposes.

Interest Groups Sponsor Inaugural Festivities For California Politicians | The Sacramento Bee
Laurel Rosenhall and Alexei Koseff @
After taking their oaths of office Monday, eight California leaders celebrated new beginnings with festivities paid, in large part, by interest groups that do business with the state.

US Senate 2016: Is Charles Munger, Jr. the GOP's answer to Tom Steyer?
GOP secretary of state candidate Pete Peterson had the right formula for success. He won over newspaper editorial boards, appealed to independents, but failed to raise serious money. If only there was another good government California Republican with money...

Democrats Heap Praise On Sen. Barbara Boxer
The announcement Thursday by longtime California Sen. Barbara Boxer that she plans not to run for reelection spawned a deluge of plaudits acknowledging the Democrat's career in Washington, which spans more than three decades. 

Judges Fight For Better Pensions | The Sacramento Bee
Jon Ortiz @
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An Insider Or Outsider As Next Head Of L.A. Unified?
As a three-term Colorado governor, Roy Romer, a Democrat, had to deal with a combative Republican majority in his state Legislature. He later headed his party's fractious national committee.

Vermont Legislature Gives Governor a Third Term
The election had to be decided by the Legislature after the front-runner, Gov. Peter Shumlin, failed to win 50 percent of the vote in November.

Sri Lanka's President Facing Stiff Election Challenge
Ballots were being counted Thursday in Sri Lanka’s closest election in recent memory as powerful President Mahinda Rajapaksa faced a surprisingly fierce challenge from a onetime ally.

Vermont legislature to pick next governor Thursday
The November election triggered an unusual provision that gives lawmakers the final say.

Delta Smelt Legal Battle Heads To Supreme Court
California growers and water agencies are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider a federal rule that calls for curtailing water diversions to protect the delta smelt.

Vermont legislature reelects Democratic governor after close race
The tally of secret paper ballots gives Peter Shumlin 110 votes to Scott Milne's 69 votes.

Sen. Barbara Boxer's Impending Retirement To Set Off A Scramble
Sen. Barbara Boxer's announcement Thursday that she would not seek reelection in 2016 is expected to set off a scramble among California Democrats who have been waiting more than two decades for a Senate seat to open.

St. Louis Leaders: Rams Owner Won't Return Our Calls | The Sacramento Bee
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon isn't giving up on the Rams.

Sri Lanka's president facing stiff election challenge
s closest election in recent memory as powerful President Mahinda Rajapaksa faced a surprisingly fierce challenge from a onetime ally.

Hundreds Face Off In San Jose Over Proposed Sale Of Charity Hospitals
In their first chance in the Bay Area to publicly comment on the proposed sale since it was announced three months ago, nurses, doctors, hospital techs and employees on both sides of the issue shook signs at one another outside the hospital. And more than 650 people inside passionately tried to make their case about the Daughters of Charity Healthy System's decision to sell the hospitals to Southern California-based Prime Healthcare Services.

Durbin: Time to raise gas tax
"Now's the time do it. But we ought to do it in a thoughtful way," the senator says.

House Requires Calculations Of Economic Impact Of Major Bills
House Republicans have changed they way congressional number crunchers calculate the economic impact of major bills, a controversial step that will make it easier to cut taxes.