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THE NOONER for January 13, 2015




UNLITE GOV: Gavin Newsom's California power play [Alex Isenstadt @ Politico]:

By Sunday evening, California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom had made up his mind: He wanted to be governor, not senator. But when he tried to call the biggest obstacle to achieving his political ambitions, state Attorney General Kamala Harris, Newsom got her voice mail.

. . . In announcing his plans, Newsom, 47, got out ahead of Harris, 50, who has told friends that she is also interested in the job of governor. Instead, on Tuesday, she will launch a campaign for Boxer’s seat, knowing that if she hesitated, it would appear that she was reluctant to choose the Senate over the governorship. In doing so, she will circumvent a race against Newsom; it has long been assumed that they would avoid a titanic clash that would leave one of them badly wounded, their hopes for higher office potentially derailed.

. . . Ahead of his announcement, Newsom solicited advice from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and California Sen. Dianne Feinstein as well as his longtime rival, Gov. Jerry Brown, according to two sources. With Brown, Newsom discussed the field of candidates he might face in a prospective Senate race. Harris, meanwhile, was in touch with New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker. The bold-faced names involved reflect the importance of both candidates to the party’s future and the high stakes surrounding the plum open seat.

LEADING TO: Kamala Harris expected to announce run for U.S. Senate [Christopher Cadelago @ SacBee] - "This isn't a trial balloon," said an aide to Harris who asked for anonymity. "This is a takeoff."

The biggest exhale comes from political consultant Ace Smith, who represents both Newsom and Harris.

SENATEWATCH: Here's the latest in who is running and not running for Barbara Boxer's U.S. Senate seat:

  • Kamala Harris (D) - running
  • Loretta Sanchez (D) - undecided, leaning toward
  • Antonio Villaraigosa (D) - undecided, leaning toward
  • Tom Steyer (D) - undecided, leaning toward
  • Tom Del Becarro (R) - undecided, leaning toward
  • Duf Sundheim (R) - undecided, leaning toward
  • Rocky Chavez (R) - undecided
  • Darrell Issa (R) - undecided, leaning against
  • Gavin Newsom (D) - not running
  • Scott Lay - not running

If Harris is successful in taking over Boxer's seat and Newsom is successful in taking over Brown's corner office, the biggest part of this story might be the impact on the 2018 U.S. Senate race. If you presume that Dianne Feinstein--who will be 85 in 2018) does not run for another term.

At that point, the field would be opened up quite a bit, and all the girls and boys in the political pipeline would find their heart rates rising. Would Villaraigosa still be interested at age 65? Will John Chiang contest Newsom for governor or aim for the Senate seat? Could a celebrity candidate--Michelle Obama--emerge that sucks the air out of the room? Kevin de León will be looking for another office at that point as well.

And then we have the "What if Kamala wins?" question. Governor Jerry Brown would get to appoint her successor. Would he appoint Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, who is the presumed candidate in the musical chairs game, or would he go for an out of the box appointment as he is known to do? That could create a real problem for Jones, unless it was clear that Brown's appointment was only a caretaker. Could this be the opportunity for Darrell Steinberg to return to office? Many wanted him to get a Supreme Court appointment, but he'd be perfect for attorney general.

But, Steinberg went to the lowly UC Davis's Martin Luther King, Jr. Hall School of Law (#36), along with yours truly. Brown likes the Ivies. Nevertheless, the politics would be great.

Oh, so many fun questions.

POLL POSITION: Stanford's Hoover Institution is out with a poll, which uses a completely biased methodology.

#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Scott Hounsell and Doug White

FAREWELL: Bob Lucas (November 24, 1947-January 8, 2015).




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Race for U.S. Senate: Gavin Newsom out, Kamala Harris in
Carolyn Lochhead @
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom took himself out of the running for Barbara Boxer’s Senate seat on Monday, but state Attorney General Kamala Harris is all in.

Governor Brown Gets Push Back On Poverty -
"That’s why we expanded the affordable care act, that’s why we’re investing money in the workforce investment act," Governor Jerry Brown said during his budget proposal on Friday morning.

Harris launches U.S. Senate bid, begins raising money
Seema Mehta @
Gen. Kamala Harris announced Tuesday morning that she plans to run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Barbara Boxer and immediately began raising money for what is expected to be a costly political campaign.

California School Builders, Others To Gather Signatures For November 2016 Bond Measure
Jim Miller @
School-construction and home-building groups Monday launched an effort to qualify a $9 billion school bond for the November 2016 ballot, only days after Gov. Jerry Brown released a budget plan that minimized the state’s role in paying for building new classrooms and modernizing existing ones.

Lawmakers Say Water Bond Oversight Will Be Priority -
California’s dwindling water supply didn’t escape lawmakers last session. They passed emergency drought legislation, new groundwater management laws, and put a $7.5 billion water bond before voters.

More applicants than ever trying to get into a UC campus
Nanette Asimov @
A record number of people have applied to the University of California as freshmen or transfer students — about 194,000 — including a surge in the state’s high school students who are clamoring to enroll. UC officials credit themselves with doing a better job getting out the word about the public university’s offer of free tuition for families earning below $80,000. “So many students didn’t know about the financial aid,” said Dianne Klein, a UC spokeswoman who said that university President Janet Napolitano has visited high schools around the state to talk about the tuition deal since she arrived in 2013. UC is generally more expensive than other public universities, but Klein and other officials compare it to “like institutions,” or similarly top-ranked schools that include private campuses, such as Stanford, and Harvard in the Ivy League. Annual tuition could rise up to 5 percent a year, which would bring the basic annual price to $12,802 next fall, not including mandatory campus fees, room, board and books. In his just-released budget proposal for the 2015-16 fiscal year, Gov. Jerry Brown put pressure on UC to rescind the tuition increase or forfeit a funding increase of about $120 million from the state. State lawmakers won’t approve a final state budget until June, so UC’s tuition will be up in the air even after students receive their acceptance letters and make their college choices in the spring. [...] in flux is the future of the “middle-class scholarship,” a new state program to help students pay tuition when their families earn too much to qualify for financial aid. Democratic leaders in the state Legislature want to end the program and use the money to buy out UC’s tuition hike.

Kaiser Mental Health Workers Begin Statewide Strike | The Sacramento Bee
Bill Lindelof @
Pickets went up outside the Kaiser hospital on Morse Avenue on Monday. The union pledged to also protest this week at medical centers in Roseville and South Sacramento.

Race to replace Sen. Boxer: Kamala Harris is in, Gavin Newsom is out
The field of candidates to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer began to take shape Monday, with Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris deciding to run for the seat and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom taking a pass.

Electoral rivals already circling new S.F. supe Julie Christensen
C.W. Nevius @
Electoral rivals already circling new S.F. supe Julie Christensen When Mayor Ed Lee appointed Christensen last week to fill the seat left vacant when David Chiu won election to the state Assembly, his hope was that Christensen could win an election on Nov. 3 to finish out Chiu’s term and then get re-elected to two more four-year terms. [...] any choice was bound to create hurt feelings, and Lee knew that some people — particularly Chinatown power broker Rose Pak — were not going to be happy. Pak was supporting Planning Commission President Cindy Wu, who was seen as a more progressive politician and less likely to support Lee consistently. Pak felt that since Lee had the strong backing of Chinatown in his mayoral election, he should reciprocate by appointing an Asian American supervisor. The appointment has, inevitably, set a whole series of wheels in motion. Conventional wisdom is that Wu would get the Chinatown voting bloc, but as political strategist David Latterman says, You know who else is popular in Chinatown? For starters, the idea that the progressive Peskin will steamroll the opposition in D3 needs some examination. [...] D3 hasn’t toed the progressive line recently. (Granted, D3 was his district, but if ideology was supposed to be a factor, it’s significant.) Also, proposals like the progressive initiative to tax housing speculators lost in D3 in the last election. [...] he says, neighborhoods like Russian Hill, the Barbary Coast and Nob Hill have enthusiastic voters. Citywide, Latterman says polling still shows a lot of negatives. [...] make no mistake, the race starts now.

Key Figure In CalPERS Bribery Case Too Ill For Trial, Lawyer Says
Dale Kasler @
Buenrostro has pleaded guilty to accepting bribes from Villalobos, including $200,000 in cash stuffed in paper bags and a shoebox. The longtime state employee is expected to receive a five-year prison term when he is sentenced May 13.

Kamala Harris Launches U.S. Senate Bid, Begins Raising Money
California Atty.  Gen. Kamala Harris announced Tuesday her plans to run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Barbara Boxer and immediately began raising money for what was expected to be a costly political campaign.

Obama Wants Firms To Notify Customers Within 30 Days Of Data Breaches
President Obama on Monday proposed the first federal standard for data breaches, which would require companies to notify customers within 30 days of the discovery that their personal information was exposed to hackers.

California Lawmaker Proposes Taxing Services
Katie Orr @
Democratic Senator Bob Hertzberg today released details of his plan to update California's tax system. He’s calling for a sales tax on professional, construction, financial and agricultural services. The bill could also change the income and corporate tax structure. Hertzberg says he has three main objectives.

UC Freshman Applications Grow, But State Funding Standoff Could Stall Expansion Plans
Katy Murphy @
But a state budget standoff could stall UC's plan to open the door to more Californians amid widespread frustration over soaring demand and plummeting admissions rates.

Critics accuse Gov. Jerry Brown of neglecting California's poor
When Gov. Jerry Brown unveiled his latest budget proposal last week and the topic turned to Californians' financial struggles, he became uncharacteristically personal.

Sacramento Lands On List Of World's Best Coffee Destinations
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Supreme Court Rejects Appeal Of Delta Smelt Ruling | News Fix | Kqed News
The U.S. Supreme Court has left in place limits on water exports from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to protect the Delta smelt.

Harris Is 1st Major Dem Seeking California Us Senate Seat
California Attorney General Kamala Harris plans to become the first prominent Democrat to enter what's expected to be a full field in the 2016 race to replace Barbara Boxer in the U.S. Senate.

Lt. Gov. Newsom may support Kamala Harris for U.S. Senate
s seat next year, signaled that he would probably support state Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris if she does seek the post.

Kamala Harris to run for Boxer seat
The California Attorney General will launch her campaign Tuesday morning.

The New Health Care: How Medicaid for Children Recoups Much of Its Cost in the Long Run
The children tend to go on to make higher incomes and contribute more in taxes, helping pay back the government for its investment, a study says.

Election Deal Reportedly Reached In Haiti
After days of negotiations, the president of Haiti and opposition leaders have reportedly reached a deal aimed at ending a political impasse that had delayed elections and threatened the fragile nation’s recovery from a catastrophic 2010 earthquake.