Around The Capitol

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THE NOONER for December 24, 2015

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First, our hearts are with the victims of the tornado outbreak last night in the South. At least 10 dead, and hundreds of homes destroyed. Just so sad on what should be the joyest of evenings tonight. Isn't it December?



Capitol Christmas Tree


Well, yesterday seemed to be the day when every politician in the state sent "Happy Holidays/Merry Christmas" emails. A few crass ones left the "Donate" buttons in the email. Fortunately, we should have a reprieve until Saturday.

As you read this, check your toilet paper supply. I realized this morning that I was near the end of my final roll. Using paper towels tomorrow would probably have been physically painful and costly in the plumber department. Oh, life as a bachelor.

HAPPY XMAS: California Senate offers across-the-board pay raise [Alexei Kosoff @ SacBee] - "A year after laying off dozens of staff members due to a looming budget deficit, the California Senate is offering an across-the-board pay raise to its approximately 900 employees. . . . The raise, which goes into effect Dec. 31, will be 4 percent for employees making less than $12,460 per month, or $149,520 per year. That encompasses all but about 20 top staffers, mostly working in the president pro tem’s office. Staff earning between $12,640 and $14,800 per month will receive 2 percent increases, while those making more than $14,800 per month, or $177,600 per year, will receive 1 percent bumps."

The Bee's analysis suggests the cost would be about $2.4 million. The state's budget is at least $864 million (according to the Department of Finance) for the year to date, and that doesn't include the large revenue months of December and April.

Bravo for the progressive adjustments. KDL is the Un-Grinch.

And, before we here anger about state employee raises, Orange County employees are up for a nearly 10 percent raise over the next three years following a unanimous vote of the Board of Supervisors.

I AM IRON MAN: Gov. Jerry Brown pardons Robert Downey Jr. for 1990s drug offenses [Paige St. John @ LAT] - "Actor Robert Downey Jr., who spent time behind bars in the late 1990s on drug convictions, received a Christmas Eve pardon on Thursday from Gov. Jerry Brown, effectively scrubbing his criminal record clean. The pardon was one of 91 issued by Brown in what has become an annual Christmas Eve tradition: official proclamations for men and women who previously served time for mostly nonviolent crimes."

NOT GONNA DO IT: Another California effort targeting transgender bathroom rights stalls [Christopher Cadelago @ SacBee] - "Another bid to legally compel transgender people to use bathrooms corresponding with their anatomy at birth has stalled out before it could officially get started."

Or, we can just phase-in what many high-end restaurants and countries like Japan have done and have single mixed gender stalls and shared hand washing facilities. Nobody I've seen at Haven in Oakland has complained with that structure . . . 

THE GABFEST: California's top talkers: Which congressman spoke the most in 2015? [Sarah D. Wire @ LAT] - "Rep. Doug LaMalfa apparently has a lot to say. The Richvale Republican stood on the House floor and addressed colleagues on 72 of 157 legislative days this year, more than any other member of California's congressional delegation."

Of course, nobody is usually watching for these off-hour speeches, and some sleep though them. And, I don't blame them. Have you ever watching the non-legislative business speeches?

GAS RELIEF: L.A. city attorney and SoCal Gas agree on plan to relocate Porter Ranch residents [Matt Stevens @ LAT] - "Under a court order brokered Wednesday, Southern California Gas Co. must work quickly to provide temporary housing for Porter Ranch residents who want to flee fumes from a massive natural gas leak. More than 2,500 families of the northwest San Fernando Valley community are waiting to be relocated by SoCal Gas, which owns the well in Aliso Canyon that has been leaking massive amounts of methane for two months. As of Tuesday, the gas company had paid to relocate and house more than 2,000 households."

Happy for the relocation, but of course it will all be paid for by residents serviced by the utility.

To my Jewish readers, which Sacramento Chinese restaurants will you be eating at tomorrow? Need to decide where to eat after seeing Star Wars. ;-)

#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Julle Sandino-Areias!




  • SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West Regional Political Organizers (Los Angeles and Bay Area). 85,000 member California healthcare union seeks strategic, progressive, motivated political organizers, 3-5 yrs political/union experience. Competitive salary and benefits package. Resume, letter, 3 references:

  • Planned Parenthood Affiliates of CA seeks two experienced Senior Campaign Organizers to work with the seven California Planned Parenthood affiliates  on campus  and electoral organizing through the November 2016. Three to five years and two election cycles experience as full time campaign staff required. Prior management experience preferred. Excellent salary (DOE) and cellphone/laptop stipend and reimbursement of healthcare up to a cap. Positions located in the south and north. Details here.

D.a.'s Office Can Try To Oust Carson Mayor From Water Board, Attorney General Says
The L.A. County district attorney's office says that Albert Robles has a conflict of interest because his elected posts as Carson mayor and as a member of a water replenishment board have overlapping loyalties.

Prop. 8 Ruling Could Haunt Future Ballot Initiatives -
Capital Public Radio, Inc.7055 Folsom BoulevardSacramento, CA 95826

Lawyer: Anaheim Terror Suspect's Declining Health Tied To San Bernardino Attacks - The Orange County Register
Emaciated, his head drooped and his body shaking, an Anaheim man accused of supporting the terrorist group Islamic State appeared detached from his surroundings in a courtroom last week as a federal judge and jail officials struggled to find a way to stop the prisoner’s rapidly declining health.

Kamala Harris Articles, Photos, And Videos
News, Photos and Information about Kamala Harris

2016 Election: Ben Carson's Brand Benefits From Campaign - Politico
Carson Enterprises has prospered as the retired neurosurgeon conducts his campaign

California's Top Talkers: Which Congressman Spoke The Most In 2015?
Rep. Doug LaMalfa apparently has a lot to say. The Richvale Republican stood on the House floor and addressed colleagues on 72 of 157 legislative days this year, more than any other member of California's congressional delegation. LaMalfa, a farmer who serves on the Agriculture and Natural Resources...

Political Memo: Donald Trump Scraps the Usual Campaign Playbook, Including TV Ads
Mr. Trump has discarded the tactics that winning candidates have traditionally used, in spending, polling and advertising. Will that change moving into 2016?

California College Police Get New 'tools' For Investigations -
Capital Public Radio, Inc.7055 Folsom BoulevardSacramento, CA 95826

Presidential Battle Fuels Republican Worries Over Senate - Wsj
Heather Haddon @
Corporations Prepare for Lifting of Iran Sanctions

Former jailbirdâ
Juanita the duck, the most famous Bay Area duck ever to spend time in a federal pen, was released from custody on Wednesday. The 2-year-old mallard went home to a San Anselmo assisted living facility with all the fanfare that any freed duck or human inmate could desire. “Quack,” said Juanita, before taking a dip in her new pond and nibbling at the $100 assortment of high-end bird seed that her owners had been obliged to purchase in order to secure her release. If Juanita was happy, the humans were happier and they even agreed to turn off the TV in the rec room in honor of the occasion, which hardly ever happens. The tale of Juanita is an example of what can happen when well-meaning ducks tangle with the federal government. Juanita, the longtime mascot of the Bello Gardens senior home, decided to take a short flight three months ago and ended up on a neighbor’s lawn a couple of blocks away. The neighbor, not knowing Juanita was the Bello Gardens pet, turned her over to a federal wildlife facility in San Rafael, which declared Juanita to be a wild duck. Nothing worked until it was decided that Juanita could be released if she were declared an “educational resource.” Juanita had only been granted “conditional” release for a year, and she could be remanded into custody if Bello Gardens fails to keep up its end of the educational duck arrangement. Juanita passed her prerelease physical at Wildcare, with 11 news cameras trained on her for perhaps the most photographed duck check-up in history.

Black Lives Matter Activists Shut Down 405 Freeway In Westchester
The southbound 405 Freeway was briefly shut down Wednesday afternoon in Westchester after activists affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement went onto the freeway, activists and officials said.

Jahi McMathâ
The family of Oakland teen Jahi McMath has filed a federal lawsuit to revoke her death certificate after an unsuccessful attempt to do so at the state level, attorneys for the family announced Wednesday. At a news conference at the law offices of Christopher Dolan in San Francisco, Jahi’s mother, Nailah Winkfield, addressed the media in an online video from New Jersey, insisting her daughter is alive. UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital officials declared Jahi legally dead in December 2013 following surgery to treat sleep apnea that went wrong. Jahi, 13 at the time, had her tonsils, adenoids and excess throat tissue removed in a surgery performed by Dr. Frederick Rosen. With the latest lawsuit, the family wants a declaration from a federal judge to force the Alameda County Coroner’s Office to rescind the death certificate, which will allow Winkfield and Jahi to come back to California for treatment. Winkfield has been able to use Jahi’s insurance to provide for her medical care but was forced to sell her house and deplete her mother’s savings throughout the entire costly process, although legal services remained free. Dr. Heidi Flori, director of UCSF Benioff’s pediatric intensive care unit, dismissed the motions as spinal and muscular reflexes. “While Jahi McMath has suffered a serious, and significant brain injury, and exhibits the presentation of one who has suffered serious brain trauma, and exhibits signs and characteristics of serious brain damage, Jahi McMath is not dead,” Eck stated. The complaint, filed Wednesday, claimed a number of Jahi’s constitutional rights have been violated, including rights outlined in the Fourteenth Amendment, which provides that no “State (shall) deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.” [...] in New Jersey, Winkfield said Jahi’s days consist of TV, getting her nails painted, and constant phone calls from friends and relatives who give Jahi words of encouragement while her mom holds the phone to her ear.

Biologists Trap Wayward Salmon Near Woodland | The Sacramento Bee
Ryan Sabalow @
Fish are swimming into irrigation drainage systems during the drought

GOP Big-money Group Whacks Clinton In Christmas Ad - Politico
Some lawmakers are hoping that a massive tax package signed into law last week will mean the end of the recurring need to extend dozens of tax breaks with...

Ap Nation / World | Union Democrat | Sonora News, Sports, & Weather, Angels Camp, Twain Harte, Jamestown - Ap Nation / World
>Union Democrat | Sonora News, Sports, & Weather, Angels Camp, Twain Harte, Jamestown

Levine Calls On California Ag To Shut Down Online Fantasy Sports Sites
Today's high

Solarcity To Leave Nevada After PUC Cuts Rooftop Solar Benefits
SolarCity announced plans Wednesday to cease operations in Nevada after regulators drastically cut benefits for retail solar owners.