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BALANCE OF POWER: Note that I don't list district-specific predictions below, but rather use probabilities in toss-ups to make projections. Individual race ratings are on the ATC district pages.
AURAL PLEASURE: On the Political Breakdown Podcast, Scott Shafer and Marisa Lagos sit down with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, talking the Duncan Hunter indictment, legal troubles of Trump's allies, her outlook on California's congressional races, and more. On, the Capitol Weekly Podcast, John Howard and Tim Foster chatting it up with Environment California's director Dan Jacobson about the straw bill (read below), among other pending issues.
TGIF! What a week.
In case you were unaware, anything I have published orally or in writing about former assemblyman Matt Dababneh are allegations and that Mr. Dababneh denies all such allegations. That may not have been clear between my writings and appearance on the SacTown Talks Podcast. If anybody felt left unclear that it was an allegation, I apologize. The point on the podcast was about surplus campaign funds and whether they could be used for lawyers and PR. That campaign finance issue doesn't change with the veracity of the allegations.
His attorneys wanted to me make that more definitely stated. Allegedly, those attorneys are paid from campaign funds as reported in campaign reports (i.e. page 9).
A SQL query in my database of "SELECT date FROM `noonersearch` WHERE TEXT LIKE '%dababneh%' AND TEXT LIKE '%alleged%'" returns:
Anyway, I try to report on what's going on and use public documents and reporting of others to tell the story. Everyone deserves their side of the story, and conclusions are decided by arbiters.
VBM SIGNATURES: During my write-up on the problem of matching signatures on vote-by-mail envelopes to the voter file, I failed to discuss Senator Mike McGuire's (D-Healdsburg) bill (SB 759) that would help the problem. The bill would require county elections office to notify voters when they determine there is a mismatch and allow the voter to appear to in the office to prove that they are the voter who intended to cast the ballot.
Senate Approps scored it as a cost of less than $50,000 to counties. While there is no formal opposition to the bill, Republicans members have consistently voted against it.
It is not a perfect solution, but it's a step forward.
On a related note, according to PDI's data, my vote wasn't counted in June. Fortunately, no race was decided by one vote, but my unblemished record has been ruined. I'm not casting blame on either the US Postal service or the county elections office because I just don't know.
SIGN YOUR NAME, ACROSS MY BOARD: In other elections news, Assemblymember Evan Lowe's AB 1947 passed the State Senate yesterday and is headed to the governor. The bill makes it a misdemeanor for an individual or organization to compensate signature gatherers by money or other thing of value provided to a person on a per-signature basis for state and local initiative, recall, or referendum petitons.
Under the bill, a political party or organization could still pay under a "bounty" program on a per-signature basis, as long as the end person doing the actual signature gathering is not being paid on a per-signature basis.
Thus, Monsters Inc. State Central Committee could not pay Sully by signature for his collections. However, Monsters Inc. State Central Committee could provide a bounty for collecting 1,000 signatures Boo County Monsters Inc. Central Commitee, but the county committee couldn't pay local activist Mike Wazowski for collecting the signatures.
It was a party-line vote, except Steve Glazer (D-Orinda) joined Republicans voted no and Tom Berryhill (R-Ceres) did not vote.
Governors Brown and Schwarzenegger have previously vetoed similar bills arguing that per-signature compensation is the most cost-effective means of signature gathering, and by requiring hourly compensation would increase the overall cost to qualify measures, thus favoring efforts with wealthier backers.
SLURP! The bill to prohibit providing plastic straws to restaurant guests unless specifically requested passed its final hurdle yesterday and is on the way to the governor. The bill was narrowed earlier this month to apply the new law, if enacted, only to full-service restaurants, which watered it down significantly from the previous language of "food facility."
So, two of my favorites a few blocks away--Coconut on T and South--would have different rules. The new law would apply to Coconut on T because you order after seated and the check is delivered to the table. At South, you order and pay at the register, and then the food is brought to you. The latter model is growing in popularity for restaurants that are faster food (or perceived as such), but are not fast food. Of course, that model also means fewer servers, who are replaced by food runners.
Largely because of the narrowing of the bill, the California Restaurant Association did not oppose the final bill. Oddly, the consistent opposition has been from the California Right to Life Committee, which states "Our objective is to foster a pro life mentality through education."
For those following the issue, the issue is about marine life, as straws often find their way into waterways and break into microplastics that are harmful to marine life. What the hell a pro-life organization has to do with this is totally lost on me. The committee doesn't have reported lobbying activity, its "links and contacts" web page refers to other organizations, and uses a P.O. box. While it claims to be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the last Form 990 reported on GuideStar was in 2006 as a 501(c)(4).
It's really easy to get on committee analysis with the name of an organization. I'm not blaming the overworked committee staff, and it's a reasonable to debate which organizations meet the definition as such, but this one goes into this week's theme of "WTF."
Of course, we have Duncan Hunter news after the jump.
THE WHEELS ON THE BUS GO ROUND AND ROUND, ROUND AND ROUND, OVER THE WIFE... After pleading "not guilty" in San Diego federal court yesterday, Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine) blamed his wife for the questionable expenditures.
First, in the San Diego Union-Tribune, Daniel Wheaton provides a breakdown by category of the expenditures cited in the indictment.
In an interview with Fox News, Duncan Hunter said...“My campaign did make mistakes. There was money spent on things, not by me but by the campaign, and I paid that back before my last election. I paid back $60,000 dollars after I did an objective audit. This is pure politics.”
Whoa. When you are under federal indictment, the assertion "I did an objective audit (of my own campaign funds)" doesn't hold muster.
Fox News reports:
He also said that his wife handled most of the family expenses when he was first deployed to Iraq in 2003 and that she continued to manage them when he joined Congress.
“When I went away to Iraq in 2003, the first time, I gave her power of attorney. She handled my finances throughout my entire military career and that continued on when I got into Congress... She was also the campaign manager so whatever she did, that’ll be looked at too, I’m sure, but I didn’t do it.”
Of course, the indictment alleges:
"On or about December 31, 2012, after being advised that the Campaign could not pay its outstanding bills, DUNCAN HUNTER told his Treasurer that he would raise $11,000 to $15,000 from Campaign donors by mid-January in order to make up for the shortfall. He also stopped paying MARGARET HUNTER's salary and took away the Campaign credit card."
Margaret Hunter has serious legal issues in front of her, but to the extent the U.S. Attorney proves that allegations in the indictment, there is absolutely no way that Duncan Hunter can be absolved of wrong doing, either through negligence or willfully.
You recall all the detail I listed on Wednesday, and that was just a portion of the indictment.
Just take a few of the most savory:
Don't blame your wife on these. Unless the Republican U.S. Attorney has made up an elaborate story, she's already going to prison as are you. Don't run to Fox News. Don't blame anybody. Run to the U.S. Attorney's office and man up. That's what you learned to do at the Officer Candidates School at Marine Corps Base Quantico. It's time to not just say Semper Fi ("Always Faithful"), but to practice it.
Sure, more stories below . . .
NOPE, NO WRITE-IN: Despite continued speculation about a write-in campaign given the Duncan Hunter allegations, it simply can't happen under California law. For the Los Angeles Times, John McCain explains why:
"In the hours before sunrise on Feb. 19, 2009, sleep-deprived members of the California Legislature approved a deal erasing a $41-billion budget deficit. The decisive vote was cast by a Santa Barbara GOP state Sen. Abel Maldonado after Democrats agreed to his demand for a new kind of statewide primary.
I remember that night. Oh, how fun, and how few people were using Twitter. At 6:30 am, President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg proclaimed it the longest session in the Senate's history--45.5 hours.
At 6:35am, my great colleague Theresa Tena, who was tag-teaming the Twitterverse with me that night/morning, tweeted "TT: Assembly passes Maldo's "open primary" constitutional amendment pass 54-19."
At 6:36am, I tweeted: "SL: Steinberg: Senate is shutting down through the weekend. "Take some pride in the moment in the fact we solved a problem of this magitude"
Today, I tweeted: "What wasn't said: 'You'll be debating this top-two primary and write-ins while I am mayor.'"
Fun times. Anyway, back to Myers:
California's major political parties feared the top-two primary but emerged as powerful as before Maldonado’s proposal, drafted by a bipartisan group of election reformers, would allow only the two candidates with the most votes to advance to November. Legislators placed the proposal on the June 2010 ballot.
Little noticed in the hoopla, though, was a second bill approved that night that was sold merely as a statute to implement the primary rules. It included this provision: “A person whose name has been written on the ballot as a write-in candidate at the general election for a voter-nominated office shall not be counted.”
Write-in candidates are still allowed in June primaries; they were only banned in November elections. Steve Peace, a Democrat who termed out of the Legislature in 2002, was part of the group that drafted both documents. He says reformers were not united in the decision to exclude write-in candidates.
“I disagreed with that,” Peace said Wednesday. “I think it’s the fundamental right of a voter to be able to write somebody’s name in.”
PELOSI: Sherry Bebitch Jeffe and Doug Jeffe look at whether, if Democrats capture the majority of the House of Representatives, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) would become Speaker. The answer is, of course, is muddled.
CA22 (Tulare): For the Fresno Bee, Rory Appleton writes about the challenging split for Congressman Devin Nunes (R-Tulare) between being an influention member of the Republican leadership and being a down-to-earth dairy farmer in the district.
SD32 (Whittier): For Capitol Weekly, Chuck McFadden reports on the strange situation in the district that followed the resignation (and subsequent candidacy) of Tony Mendoza. While former Montebello mayor Vanessa Delgado (D) won the August 7 special election and is now in the State Senate, she is not on the ballot for the regular general election on November 6. That race will between Pico Rivera mayor Bob Archuleta (D) and businesswoman Rita Topalian (R).
THEN THERE ARE FACTS... For his Ballot Access News, Richard Winger writes that insurance commish candidate Steve Poizner was casual with the facts in a recent talk in Denver before Unite America, which promotes the election of independent candidates. Winger writes:
"[Poizner] said that before the top-two measure took effect in 2011, it was not possible for an independent to run for office in California. That statement comes in the first eight minutes. He also said that he is the first independent candidate in California history to get on the general election ballot. That is also in the first eight minutes. Finally, he said that when he was elected as a Republican in 2006, California had closed primaries.
Actually, California voters elected independent candidates to the legislature in 1986, 1990, 1992, and 1994. Three of those four wins were by Quentin Kopp, who is still living in San Francisco and still very active in politics. It is stunning that Poizner seems unaware of Kopp."
Nobody can forget Quentin!
That's it. I'm off to a PPIC luncheon conversation with the duo running for Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Thurmond and Marshall Tuck. While the office is non-partisan, but are Democrats, although demonstrate the large fissure in the world of public education.'
#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Angela Lai, Adrian Lopez, and Jesse Switzer!
DEPT OF CORRECTIONS: Yes, I ran out of time yesterday to do a final read through, even though I got to spell checking. I've made corrections on the online version.
I'm wiped out after this week!
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Irs Moves To Block California And Other States From Helping Residents Avoid New Tax-deduction Limit
Jim Puzzanghera @ latimes.com
The proposed rule targets legislation that would allow taxpayers to claim a charitable deduction for state-and-local tax payments above the $10,000 limit set in the tax cuts passed by Congress last year.
For Female Candidates, Harassment and Threats Come Every Day
The abuse already common in many womenâÂÂs everyday lives can be amplified in political campaigns, especially if the candidate is also a member of a minority group.