Shane Goldmacher is a former reporter for Capitol Weekly. He is a graduate of UC Berkeley, where he served as editor of the Berkeley Political Review.

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  • National NAACP bucks CA chapter, backs tobacco tax initiative
  • NAACP's Huffman assailed for tobacco, telecom payments
  • Schwarzenegger targets the 'ElimiDate Voter'
  • Legislators tap Sacramento interests for campaign cash
  • New York developer's eminent-domain crusade comes to California
  • Schwarzenegger's election-year olive branches
  • Dems, Gov. tapped same spots for campaign cash
  • Schwarzenegger has a special interest in Capitol-area money
  • Schwarzenegger's million-dollar woman
  • The kings and queens of the California political quotation
  • All about Phil: Angelides is strategist in own campaign
  • "Women of the year" married to men of Legislature
  • With new law, chase for campaign cash becomes family affair
  • High school student gives governor $44,600
  • Going to interview with CTA? Be sure to look into the camera
  • David Crane: Arnold's other Democratic adviser
  • The rise of the blogs: How the GOP uses the Web to organize

  • 1A: 76.9-23.1
    1B: 61.3-38.7
    1C: 57.4-42.6
    1D: 56.6-43.4
    1E: 64-36
    83: 70.6-29.4
    84: 53.7-46.3
    85: 45.9-54.1
    86: 48-52
    87: 45.2-54.8
    88: 23-77
    89: 25.5-74.5
    90: 47.6-52.4

    U.S. Sen.
    Feinstein 59.7
    Mountjoy 34.9
    Schwarzenegger 55.8
    Angelides 39.2
    Lt. Gov
    Garamendi 49.5
    McClintock 44.9
    Atty. Gen.
    Brown 56.7
    Poochigian 37.9
    Sec. of state
    Bowen 48.5
    McPherson 44.7
    Lockyer 54.8
    Parrish 37
    Chiang 50.9
    Strickland 40.1
    Insur. Comm.
    Poizner 50.7
    Bustamante 38.9

    For complete election results click here.

    Angelides 48.2
    Westly 43.1
    Lt. Gov
    Garamendi 42.9
    Speier 39.3
    Figueroa 17.8
    Atty. Gen.
    Brown 63.2
    Delgadillo 36.8
    Sec. of state
    Bowen 61.1
    Ortiz 38.9
    Parrish 56.4
    Richman 43.6
    Democratic primary
    Chiang 53.4
    Dunn 46.6
    Republican primary
    Strickland 40.9
    Maldonado 36.9
    Insur. Comm.
    Bustamante 70.5
    Kraft 29.5
    Supt. of Schools
    O'Connell 52.5, avoids run-off

    For complete election results click here.

    73: 47.4-52.6
    74: 45-55
    75: 46.6-53.4
    76: 38-62
    77: 40.5-59.5
    78: 41.5-58.5
    79: 38.9-61.1
    80: 34.3-65.7

    For complete election results click here.

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    Friday, December 30, 2005

    Gov. to OK Hike in Minimum Wage

    The AP is reporting that Gov. Schwarzenegger is going to propose a hike in the minimum wage"

    "Under the plan, the hourly wage would rise from $6.75 to $7.25 in September and to $7.75 in July 2007."

    Read the full report here.

    Schwarzenegger bets the California "farm" on Texas v. USC

    After after we reported that U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein placed a friendly wager on the Texas v. USC game, Gov. Schwarzenegger has jumped into the action.

    He is betting the farm--or at least California farm-grown products on the game. Here's in our state's betting basket:

    Zesty California avocados
    Pleasing canned black olives and sweet cling peaches
    Tasty California salmon
    Top quality California grown chicken, turkey and lamb
    Flavorful California grown garlic
    Fresh California grown oranges
    Sweet California grown strawberries
    An assortment of California grown nuts and dried fruits (walnuts, raisins, dried figs)
    Fine California Wine

    By the time you are done reading that, you are either hungry, desperately looking for another succulent adjective--or both.

    Here's the official rules of the wager:

    In the spirit of friendly competition, each governor will wager a pair of boots and products from their respective states. The two pairs of boots will be signed by both governors and auctioned off with the proceeds going to charity. If USC is victorious, the National Guard Association of California - Scholarship Fund will receive the proceeds of the bet and the California National Guard will receive the baskets of California Grown goods and Texas products. If the Texas Longhorns win, the Texas Disaster Relief Fund will receive the proceeds of the wager and the Texas National Guard will win both baskets.

    Bipartisan Kid?

    In this week's radio address Gov. Schwarzenegger suggests that next year will be a year of bipartisan cooperation. In his review of 2005 he makes no mention of the special election but instead says,

    And next week, several new laws will go into effect, thanks to the work we accomplished with the state legislature.

    These laws will help keep us safe from sexually violent predators, stop identity theft, strengthen vocational education, take the sodas and junk food off our school campuses and much, much more.

    And all of this happened because we brought Democrats and Republicans together and did what was best for the people of our state.

    I know this bipartisan teamwork is a great foundation to continue the California comeback.

    And next week, I will present my State of the State Address, and offer my plan for the coming year.

    Republicans and Democrats alike warily and eagerly awaiting the speech.

    Thursday, December 29, 2005

    Texas v. Southern California

    California Senator Dianne Feinstein and Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson have a friendly wager on the outcome of the national championship college football game next week:

    If the Longhorns win Senator Feinstein promises to send Senator Hutchison:
    · A bottle of California wine and
    · A bouquet of yellow roses.

    If the Trojans win, Senator Hutchison promises to send Senator Feinstein:
    · A bottle of Texas wine and
    · A bouquet of red roses.

    All I can say is, Texas wine??

    No Fee Hike Next Year

    With the state bringing in more money than expected in the current fiscal year, Schwarzenegger has back tracked on the decision to raise undergraduate fees at UC and CSU campuses by 8 percent.

    The details, like the rest of the budget, will be revealed on January 10th. According to the Chronicle, "The governor's budget, however, will provide $141.3 million to the college systems to offset the money that would have been generated by the fee increases."

    Keeping up his new constant criticism of the governor, State Treasurer Phil Angelides released a statement saying, "Even with today's report, Governor Schwarzenegger has driven up the average cost to students of a University of California degree by over $4000. We need to do more to help young people go to college."

    Highest Wages

    The SF Chronicle reports that a new study released by the Dept. of Labor shows that the Bay Area has the highest wages in the nation.

    Saturday, December 24, 2005

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

    2005 was a long year. Let it make you laugh. Read the Year in Roundup.

    Also, in his radio address the governor will wish Californians both a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holidays. I will do the same. I hope everyone has a "terrific" season and comes back in January, ready for a "fantastic" new year.

    Here's a little Christmas poem from Ron Nehring, vice chairman of the California Republican Party. ( I will be more than happy to post a Democratic response, if I am sent one.)

    Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the state
    We knew the Democrats were lurking, just lying in wait. 

    The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
    In their hope that new taxes soon would be there.

    Those liberals were nestled all snug in their beds,
    While visions of Rob Reiner danced in their heads.

    Angelides and Bustamante, Westly and Kuehl,
    All were taking some time to retool.

    When out on the Capitol lawn there arose such a clatter,
    They sprang from their offices to see what was the matter.

    Away to the windows they flew like a gang,
    Of union guys when the 5 PM bell rang.

    When, what their ears heard coming like thunder,
    Was a brand new green hydrogen Hummer.

    All were amazed and somewhat bewildered,
    To see a gang of Republicans emerge, led by a bodybuilder.

    McClintock, Poochigian and the others too,
    All had new offices they’re about to pursue.

    The Democrats emerged, all somewhat in shock,
    That the Republicans were here, as if taking stock.

    “What are YOU doing here?  We still have taxes to boost!”
    The liberals proclaimed, as they still ruled the roost.

    “Enjoy Christmas this year!” the Republicans said,
    While privately knowing, their terms would soon end.

     “The campaign, next year, is about to begin,
    And Californians know your ideas have worn thin.”

    “We came to give you one piece of advice,
    One we all believe and think will suffice.”

    “LEASE, don’t buy, for when we come back,
    It will be to clean out your office, and help you to pack.

     For the voters, we know, are already tired,
    Of your taxes and spending and will soon say, “You’re fired!”

    The Hummer doors opened and the Republicans climbed in,
    And set out for the campaign about to begin.

    The volunteers were ready, as were the donors,
    To give California back to its rightful owners. 

    All around the state, Republicans celebrated,
    With family and friends, most were elated. 

    That by when Christmas ‘06 comes next year,
    Democrats will have been thrown out by their ears. 

    And so we know the world will have been set right,
    The next time Santa says, “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

    Friday, December 23, 2005

    Clarey Finds a Home

    Former top staffers to governor's often find new jobs in state government quickly. Former chief of staff (as of January 1) to Schwarzenegger, Pat Clarey, was just appointed by the governor to the State Personnel Board. This job requires Senate confirmation and comes with an annual paycheck of $36,251--a substantial cut from her last salary.

    New Air Resources Board Chair

    After the Senate torpedoed the governor's last pick (Cindy Tuck) to head up the Air Resources Board, Gov. Schwarzenegger has tapped Robert Sawyer, an emeritus professor at UC Berekeley.

    Here's what the gov had to say:

    "Dr. Sawyer is an exceptionally accomplished scientist, teacher and environmental policy expert who has devoted his career to using science and technology to improve air quality not only in California, but across our country and the world," said Governor Schwarzenegger. "His expertise in tackling tough pollution control issues will be fundamental to ensuring the legacy of the Air Resources Board in creating a clean and healthy future for California continues."

    Thursday, December 22, 2005

    Wyland and his chief of staff

    Just an interesting note. Assemblyman Mark Wyland's chief of staff Duane Dichiara is also the consultant for Brian Bilbray, a candidate for the congressional race Wyland continues to waver about.

    Wednesday, December 21, 2005

    Chamber: We won't back another paycheck protection measure

    Last week Capitol Weekly reported that the Alliance for a Better California sent a threatening letter "saying that if the business organization supports another so-called "paycheck protection" initiative, labor groups will retaliate by putting "shareholder protection" on the ballot. "

    If such a measure should resurface, they said, "fair play demands that any restrictions imposed on the political rights of workers should also be applied equally to your shareholders--a step we are fully prepared to take to ensure a level playing field."

    Lou Paulson, head of the state's firefighter's union, said he is tired of the "zealots saying we are going to keep bringing this issue up," after voters turned back a similar initiative, Proposition 226, in 1998 and again this year.

    "In [Props.] 226 and 75, we were defending ourselves…If you are going to continue to attack us, then at some point in time we are going to go on the offense," he said.

    Until today, the Chamber had not officially replied to the letter. In a statement, California Chamber of Commerce President Allan Zaremberg and California Business Roundtable President Bill Hauck said:

    “It would be counter productive to solving the state’s problems if an upcoming ballot included another union dues measure or a similar measure to seek shareholder approval before company resources could be spent in the political process. An acrimonious campaign on either one of these measures diverts attention from critical issues facing the state and should be avoided for the best interests of California.

    Correa In?

    Hack n Flak is rumbling that former Assemblyman Lou Correa is going to jump into the 34th Senate District Democrat Primary. He would be challenging current Assemblyman Tom Umberg for the seat.

    They Agree!

    It is not often that Gov. Schwarzenegger and Democratic rival (and state treasurer) Phil Angelides agree. But yesterday the Democratic gubernatorial hopeful came out and endorsed--at least in concept--a large infrastructure bond.

    Not only that but, the Chronicle reports, "A spokesman for Westly said he supports the idea of investing more in the state's roads, ports and levees, but wants to see the details."

    A trifecta of agreement that will likely last until Schwarzenegger releases the details.

    Tuesday, December 20, 2005

    Sorry Warren

    Those few fans of Warren Beatty's political ambitions launched a Draft Warren website, but the last post is dated October 14th...and it asks for comments on "How do those of us who support a Beatty run for Governor of California get the message to our candidate? Are there people already working on behalf of WB who are assessing the climate for a run and can we combine forces?"

    Well, there is but a single comment over the last two months--and it is promoting another site. Maybe the grassroots are growing, but if they are it is awfully slow.

    Half plus .1

    There is a saying among political cosultants that the goal of every election is to get half plus one of the electorate to turn out for your candidate.

    There isn't much of a saying arguing to get half plus one of the eligible electorate to turnout and vote. But that's about what happened on the Nov. 8 special election, which Secretary of State Bruce McPherson reports had a turnout of 50.1 percent

    Hanretty Leaving

    GOP party spokewoman Karen Hanretty is leaving her post. Here's her note (reprinted at the FlashReport and in the Morning Report).

    After nearly five years working press and communications for the California Republican Party, including a brief two months as spokesperson for Governor Schwarzenegger during the 2003 Recall Election, I’ve decided it’s time to focus my attention on something ~ or someone ~ other than Phil Angelides, Fabian Nunez, “Arnold’s Little Buddy” (otherwise known as Steve Westly) and phony JLAC hearings. While I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with the Republican Party, I will not be renewing my contract as their spokesperson and communications director after the end of the year so that I can continue to build my own communications and public affairs business for political and non-political clients. The next “prolific propagandist” (Dan Walters’ term, not necessarily mine though I admit it has a nice ring) has yet to be determined.

    Monday, December 19, 2005

    Schwarzenegger Picks New Communications Director

    [UPDATE:] A quick look at who Mendelsohn has worked for reveals a solid list of moderate Republicans, both in California and nationally, including current Secretary of State Bruce McPherson, and one-times presidential contender Lamar Alexander.

    The governor has chosen Adam Mendelsohn as his new communications director, replacing Rob Stutzman who is leaving stateside payroll.

    Capitol Weekly has the story.

    Rocky Pulls in Some Legislative Endorsements

    Los Angeles City Attorney and Democratic hopeful for statewide Attorney General next year, Rocky Delgadillo nabbed the endorsements of a few legislators last week.

    They are: State Sens. Richard Alarcon (D-San Fernando Valley), Kevin Murray (D-Los Angeles), Gil Cedillo (D-Los Angeles), Sheila Kuehl (D-Los Angeles), Denise Ducheny (D-San Diego), retired Senator Richard Polanco (D-Los Angeles) and Assemblymembers Paul Koretz (D-West Hollywood), Jerome Horton (D-Inglewood), Joe Baca Jr. (D-Rialto), Juan Arambula (D-Fresno)

    Delgadillo faces Oakland Mayor and one-time Gov. Jerry Brown in what is likely to be a heated primary next year. Unfortunately for Delgadillo, the LA Times continues to follow several stories that are not favorable to his cause.

    The main thrust is the lead of a Oct. 26th story:

    Los Angeles City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo accepted thousands of dollars in political contributions from two landlords accused of operating apartments with slum conditions after he settled a lawsuit against them for a third of the amount the city initially sought.

    Read it in its entirity here.

    Blue in Year Two

    George Skelton at the LA Times pens a column today arguing that California governor's have a long history of a "sophomore jinx"--and it is a disease that afflicted Gov. Schwarzenegger in 2005.

    Here's the history lesson:

    Gov. Pat Brown was elected by a landslide, but in his sophomore year, 1960, he was dubbed "a tower of jelly" for trying to save notorious "Red Light Bandit" Caryl Chessman — another death row author — from the gas chamber. At that summer's Democratic National Convention in L.A., Brown was tagged a "bumbler" for failing to control California's splintered delegation. His job ratings tumbled.

    The derisive labels stuck for the rest of Brown's career, although he grew into a great governor, a "builder" Schwarzenegger now talks about emulating.

    Celebrity Govs. Ronald Reagan and Jerry Brown caught Potomac fever during their sophomore years and ran lamely, prematurely for president. Reagan was humbled, but soon recovered. Brown never did fully, earning the image of ambitious opportunist, although he was resurrected into a new political life as Oakland's mayor.

    Gov. George Deukmejian was surprised by an embezzlement scandal in his sophomore year, but deftly handled it and endured little popularity loss.

    Gov. Pete Wilson suffered a horrible second year. He meddled clumsily in Republican legislative primaries and angered party activists. He became mired in a summer-long budget quagmire, forcing the state to operate on IOUs. He sponsored a welfare/budget "reform" that voters rejected after Democrats attacked it as a "power grab." His job approval fell into the low 30s.

    Gov. Gray Davis began stumbling down the path to destruction during his sophomore year. He reacted cautiously — if you can call it reacting at all — to the erupting energy crisis. Also, he was pushed by liberal legislators into spending a temporary revenue spike on permanent programs and tax cuts, leading to massive deficits and his recall.

    Yet, all these governors recovered enough to win reelection. They had two years to bounce back, however.

    Saturday, December 17, 2005

    Jump Onboard

    Since the Chronicle last month broke the story that top University of California administrators were making hand over fist in bonuses and incentives, legislators across the state have been trying to jump on the media gravy train.

    The Senate Education Committee will be holding hearings on the matter. And today, Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez announced he would ask for a JLAC (Joint Legislative Audit Committee) investigation, to be led by Assemblywoman Nicole Parra.

    Here's an excerpt from his Saturday radio address:

    Just last month I voted to oppose student fee increases that would have further shifted costs to students and their families.

    But recent media accounts have revealed that the UC system gave out millions of dollars in bonuses and incentives to senior administrators and faculty – while simultaneously raising student fees. 

    It’s painfully obvious that the University of California, one of our state’s most respected institutions, needs to enhance the transparency and disclosure of its compensation system.

    We also need to find out why the UC has added hundreds of high-paying jobs, while cutting services and increasing class sizes, while at the same time freezing pay for thousands of low-paid workers. 

    For these reasons, I’ve requested that the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, chaired by Assembly Member Nicole Parra, initiate an audit of the compensation practices of the University of California. 

    This audit will look into:
    ·        salary and non-salary compensation;
    ·        the extent to which compensation is disclosed to the public;
    ·        and the disclosure practices in comparable institutions around the country.
    We may need to provide enhanced compensation packages to attract the best and brightest to our finest universities, but our University System is a public institution with a public trust.

    That trust means that these salary and bonus decisions need to be fully disclosed to the public at large. 

    As servants of the people of California, it is vital that we are open, clear and fair in all of our employment practices.

    New Taxes on the Table?

    The LA Times reports today that the governor's top education aide, Alan Bersin suggest the state look into new revenues to help California's schools.

    "No one can look at the history of California education over the last generation and not notice we went from first to worst … and not attribute that also to the per-student revenue limits we now live under," Bersin said in the speech.

    That is a major departure in the rhetoric from just about any administration official, though Department of Finance spokesman H.D. Palmer said taxes are still not being considered.

    The story is definately worth a read.

    Friday, December 16, 2005

    The Drink and Drive Contest?

    At 11am this morning, there is a "drink and drive" contest at Raley Field as part of the Ninth Annual Holiday Sobriety Challenge, the Capitol Morning Report reported this morning.

    “Challenge participants must bring a designated driver.”

    I guess the timing goes well with the Alcoholic Beverages. Use by Minors. Open Containers. Importation for Personal Consumption. Initiative Statute. which "legalizes parents or guardians providing alcoholic beverages to children. Legalizes transport of “open containers” of alcoholic beverages purchased within preceding 24 hours. Repeals state prohibitions on importation of alcoholic beverages for “personal consumption.” "

    Drop in the Bucket

    Carl And Estelle Reiner just dropped $500,000 into Rob Reiner's preschool for all initiative.

    The Susan Kennedy Saga

    The California Republican Party leaders tried to put to rest yesterday the last remnants of any official Susan Kennedy outrage.

    "The Susan Kennedy issue is over," said Duf Sundheim, the chairman of the Californai Republican Party.

    But it is likely only "over" until the staff change anger resurfaces when the governor rolls out a policy that roils the Republican rank-and-file.

    Interestingly, Schwarzenegger gave assurances that party secrets could be kept from Kennedy:

    "We received the assurances we needed from the governor today that there will be a path that the CRP will have directly to him so that we do not have to be concerned about what is disclosed to who," Sundheim said. "That was one of the major concerns we had going in."

    But if a chief of staff isn't given full access to all information that is likely to only make a very hard job harder.

    Over at HacknFlak...

    There is a rather funny picture of the governor.

    Thursday, December 15, 2005

    Gov. Calls Another Special

    But this time it is to fill the seats of Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham and State Sen. John Campbell.



    I, ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, Governor of the State of California, do hereby proclaim and order that a special election shall be held on the 6th day of June, 2006 within the 50th Congressional District of the State to fill the vacancy in the office of Member of Congress from said district arising from the resignation of office by Randy "Duke" Cunningham.

    I also hereby proclaim and order that a special election shall be held on the 6th day of June, 2006 within the 35th Senate District of the State to fill the vacancy in the office of California State Senator from said district arising from the resignation of office by John Campbell.

    IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of California to be affixed this 15th day of December, 2005.

    Arnold Schwarzenegger
    Governor of California

    More Minorities to Attend Cal

    After years of dismal minority enrollment at UC Berkeley, the state's flagship public university, the numbers are beginning to creep up.

    The Oakland Tribune reports that:

    Final enrollment numbers released Wednesday show that 426 Latino freshman attended University of California, Berkeley in the fall. That is up from 340 last year and is the most since 1997, the last year affirmative action was used and 469 Latino and Chicano freshman enrolled. In 1998, 271 Latino freshmen enrolled at UC Berkeley, according to UC data."

    The number of blacks rose as well from 108 last year to 135 this year. That's still down the fall 2003 when 149 black freshmen enrolled.

    Here's some of the rest of the more interesting numbers:

    UC Berkeley enrolled 4,101 freshman in fall 2005, up from 3,671 in fall 2004. Of this year's freshman class, only 575 students are from underrepresented minority groups.

    Forty-eight percent of the freshman class is Asian, and 31 percent is white, the numbers show. Campus officials said Asian students qualify for UC campuses at higher rates than do other ethnicities. Additionally, Asian students are more likely to accept UC Berkeley admission offers than other students — 49 percent compared with an overall acceptance rate of 43 percent.

    Mountjoy to Challenge Feinstein?

    Mike Spence, president of the California Republcian Assembly, suggests that it could happen.

    Three New Articles in Capitol Weekly

    The first is a look at the impact blogs, particularly from the right of the political spectrum. You can read that one here.

    The second is a look at a letter the top Alliance for a Better California players sent out to the Chamber of Commerce threatening "that if the business organization supports another so-called "paycheck protection" initiative, labor groups will retaliate by putting "shareholder protection" on the ballot." Click here for that one.

    The third is uncovering that dot-com boomer Google's top executives wil contribute a $400 million windfall to the California budget.

    Wednesday, December 14, 2005

    Donors and Appointees

    Carmen Balber at ArnoldWatch has posted a list of 9 Schwarzenegger donors that have also been appointed to government positions by the governor. In total, they have given more than $1 million to Schwarzenegger.

    They are:

    1) Greenlaw Grupe, Jr., California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley, $250,000 from The Grupe Co.

    2) Donald Fisher, State Board of Education, $223,500 from Fisher, wife and son

    3) Ed Reno, Boating and Waterways Commission, $185,000 from Allergan (Reno is Allergan's National Dir. of State Government Affairs)

    4) Douglas Barnhart, Del Mar Fair Board and the Race Track Leasing Commission, $113,600 from Barnhart and wife

    5) Richard Riordan, former Secretary of Education, $92,400 from Riordan and wife

    6) Kelly Burt, Del Mar Fair Board, $80,000

    7) Brent Wilkes, Del Mar Fair Board and Race Track Leasing Commission, $73,600 from Wilkes, wife and Wilkes' company

    8) A.G. Kawamura, Food & Agriculture Secretary, $21,200

    9) Fredrick Ruiz, California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley and University of California Regents, $10,000

    Read it all here.

    Fun with the Rent Cost Tool

    As a renter, I am enjoying playing around with this rent/income tool.

    According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, your rent needs to be--at most--$351 a month to earn minimum wage, work 40 hours a week and pay what is "considered affordable" (30 percent of income on housing).

    With a $1000-a-month rent, a minimum wage earner would need to work 114 hours a week--or earn $19.23 per hour.

    Rent Check Bounce?

    Update:There is a fun new tool to see if you can afford your rent--or what you need to earn per hour to live.

    Check it out here.

    According to a new study today called "Out of Reach",

    Five of the 10 most expensive counties for renters in the country are in the Bay Area, according to a new study by a low-income-housing advocacy group.

    San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin counties tied as the least affordable places for households earning the median income for apartment dwellers. Alameda and Contra Costa counties were the seventh-least affordable of the 3,000 U.S. counties in the report.


    Read more about it here.

    Let's Make a Deal

    There were going to be two competing tobacco taxes next year. But they just combined them yesterday to create one mega-tobacco tax.

    The détente averts a fight in which hospital groups tried to push a $1.50 tax increase while children's groups and anti-tobacco groups were planning their own $1.50 tax hike.

    Instead, they settled on a $2.60 increase.
    Read about it here.

    Tuesday, December 13, 2005

    No Alternative Minimum Tax Relief

    Congress will not pass any relief for the millions of middle-class families impacted by the AMT this year.

    The story is here.

    Revenues Up

    The Department of Finance reports that November revenues are up $145 million over forecasts and year-to-date revenues are almost $1.9 billion above forecast.

    You can read the full report here.

    New Study: Blacks and Latinos More Likely to Drop Out of HS

    A new study by the California Research Bureau, looks into the drop out and graduation rates of California students. The results are not uplifting.

    Here's the study's summary of the main results:

    1) African American and Latino students are less likely to graduate from high school compared to Asian or White students. 2) Between one quarter and one third of all students fail to graduate from public high schools in California.

    $200 Billion Mark

    CalPERs has reached the milestone only nine years after it reached $100 billion.

    $200 Billion Mark

    CalPERs has reached the milestone only nine years after it reached $100 billion.

    Watching Williams Die

    This is a chilling piece from the Contra Costa Times.

    Monday, December 12, 2005

    Great Photo

    This has nothing to do with California politics, but really, who can resist this photo.

    Nothing says "diplomacy" like that face.

    Clemency Denied

    The governor has denied clemendy for Tookie Williams, the crips founder.

    The AP has the report.

    T-Minus 13 Hours

    With less than 13 hours until Stanley "Tookie" Williams is scheduled to be executed, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger still has not publicly commented on his intent to either let the execution go on as scheduled, grant a stay, or commute his sentence.

    Drink to That?

    This has to be one of the more absurd sounding initiatives cleared for circulation recently. Read the summary for yourself:

    Alcoholic Beverages. Use by Minors. Open Containers. Importation for Personal Consumption. Initiative Statute.Legalizes parents or guardians providing alcoholic beverages to children. Legalizes transport of “open containers” of alcoholic beverages purchased within preceding 24 hours. Repeals state prohibitions on importation of alcoholic beverages for “personal consumption.” Exempts such imports from state sales taxes. Repeals state authority to confiscate alcoholic beverages. In the event this initiative conflicts with existing federal regulations, requires California Congressional delegation to propose new federal regulations. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local governments: Unknown, but potentially minor changes in alcohol-related regulatory costs and revenues.


    The Democrats

    There are two declared Democratic candidates for governor next year, State Controller Steve Westly and State Treasurer Phil Angelides. And though rumors have swirled that another Hollywood star (read: Warren Beatty or Rob Reiner) would throw their hat into the ring that seems increasingly unlikely. Reiner has officially declared that he is not running. And Beatty simply seems enamored with the media attention his gubernatorial trial balloon brings—and if he did run he would face an incredible uphill battle in terms of fundraising to compete with the well-heeled Angelides and Westly campaign (unless, that is, he dumped millions of his own into the race).

    So Angelides and Westly it is. The two campaigns were united to defeat the governor’s initiatives this November, but since have been trying to stake out territory with the Democratic primary electorate. Common wisdom is that Angelides is the more liberal of the two candidates. He has been an outspoken critic of Schwarzenegger since Day One, while Westly worked closely with the governor during his first 6 months in office.

    Both candidates would love to present themselves as “most likely to succeed” in the general election, but most polls have shown the two running within the margin of error of one another versus Schwarzenegger (with hefty amounts of undecideds).

    Angelides has already sown up the endorsements of many of the state’s recognizable Democratic names, including Dianne Feinstein, Nancy Pelosi, and Barbara Boxer. Angelides has showed signs that he will run on a platform that argues California is a “blue state,” and that he is the “bluest” of potential nominees.

    A few months back, Jeff Barker at the News and Review took a look at Anglides’ strategy of aligning Schwarzenegger with President Bush (“red staters”).

    It will be interesting to see how Angelides’ stance as an anti-debt budget hawk plays out. He has vehemently argued against increased borrowing (Westly, in contrast, campaigned with Schwarzenegger to pass a $15 billion bond in ealr 2004). And Angelides has vehemently opposed cuts to state programs. So with the state facing an ongoing, albeit slowly shrinking, structural deficit, that makes higher taxes Anglides’ somewhat unspoken recommendation to solve the imbalance.

    While Angelides appears to be campaigning for the more liberal elements of the Democratic primary , Westly is trying to carve out a niche in the center. In interviews he frequently describes himself as a “moderate” and a “pragmatist” dedicated to creative solutions, regardless of what part of the political spectrum generate them. Last week, he launched into a critic of Schwarzenegger on environmental issues. And he points to his record as an eBay executive, sometimes subtly, sometimes not, as evidence that he is a creative entrepreneur.

    Both campaigns have been reticent to openly criticize one another. It never looks good to sling mud first. Still, there have been subtle jabs

    Westly’s website lists the number of days since he made his personal income tax records open for public scrutiny dating back a decade—and he calls on Schwarzenegger and Angelides to do the same. When Susan Kennedy was hired by Schwarzenegger as his new chief of staff, the Westly campaign sent out this missive:

    "In what can only be seen as an embarrassing setback for Treasurer Phil Angelides’ campaign for Governor, Susan Kennedy – the woman he hired to serve as Executive Director of the CA Democratic Party when he was party chair, and one of his high profile backers – has jumped ship and become Governor Schwarzenegger’s Chief of Staff."

    Angelides’ camp quickly retorted that “Westly’s former chief operating officer, Vincent Brown, is now the Governor’s chief deputy finance director. He’ll join other Westly refugees already working for Schwarzenegger, including Westly’s former chief of staff Linda Adams.”

    But overall the gloves remain on in the primary bout.

    The Republicans

    In an unusual move, the Republican Party at the most recent convention endorsed Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s reelection bid many months before next June’s primary. But in recent weeks, in the wake of appointing former Gray Davis aide Susan Kennedy as chief of staff, some conservative activists have called on the party to rescind the early endorsement, most notably the California Republican Assembly.

    There are have been whispers that there may be a primary challenge from the right, and at least one analyst, Republican consultant Dan Schnur, has suggested that Schwarzenegger look at running as an independent.

    And while that may sound like bad news for Schwarzenegger, whose approval has dipped from the mid-60s in August of 2004 to the mid-30s, being challenged by the far-right of the Republican party may help him crawl back to the political center that helped launch him into the governorship in the 2003 recall.

    This was a tough year for the actor-turned-politician. He began as perhaps the most popular politician in the state outside of U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, but called a special election pushing for four reform measures that never caught on. In early November, voters turned back every measure on the ballot, a clear indication (supported by the subsequent PPIC poll) that the electorate was unhappy with the $300 million boondoggle.

    Since, the governor has shown signs that he is taking a more centrist stand. Administration officials are reportedly working on introducing a $50 billion infrastructure bond, an expansion to children’s healthcare, cutting a deal on a hike of the minimum wage, and lowering allowable greenhouse gas emissions.

    In a state with a distinctive Democratic registration advantage, Schwarzenegger will need to win back Democratic voters that he lost in the special election (but won in the recall). It looks as though next year’s policy agenda is his attempt to do that.

    Though the governor’s approval ratings are sagging at all-time lows, history is on his side for his reelection. Dating back decades, almost every California incumbent governor has won their race for reelection.

    But as the governor tries to paddle toward the political center, he is being attacked from the right as caving to Democrats (even before he has officially rolled out those policies) and both the Angelides and Westly campaigns will soon hit full stride with a steady dose of Democratic criticism from the left.

    Candidate: Arnold Schwarzenegger
    Party: Republican
    Current Job: Governor
    Cash on Hand: S634,155.68 , as of June 30.
    Consultant: Mike Murphy
    Campaign website

    Candidate: Phil Angelides
    Party: Democrat
    Current Job: State Treasurer
    Cash on Hand: $15,210,838.57, as of June 30.
    Campaign website

    Candidate: Steve Westly
    Party: Democrat
    Current Job: State Controller
    Cash on Hand: $11,424,021.67, as of June 30.
    Consultant: Garry South
    Campaign website

    Candidate: Peter Camejo
    Party: Green
    Current Job: Financier, VP candidate with Ralph Nader in 2004, perennial gubernatorial candidate
    Cash on Hand: $0, no reports filed.

    Note: In totaling cash-on-hand, I have only used accounts that are limited by Prop 34 contribution limits so candidate-controller initiative committees (like the California Recovery Team [Schwarzenegger] and Standing up for California [Angelides] have not been included.

    Superintendent of Public Instruction

    The Democrat

    Meet your current Superintendent of Public Instruction, Jack O’Connell . And now meet your next Superintendent, Jack O’Connell.

    O’Connell is the only candidate for statewide office next year that faces no opposition—either in a primary or the general election. With just short of $900,000 cash-on-hand as of June 30th, the strong backing of the powerful California Teacher’s Association, the advantage of incumbency, O’Connell’s ’06 campaign will be a publicity tour for his aspirations toward higher office.

    The Republicans


    Candidate:Jack O’Connell
    Party: Democrat
    Current Job: Superintendent of Public Instruction
    Cash on Hand: $897,370.39 , as of June 30.
    Campaign website

    Sunday, December 11, 2005

    Still No Decision

    As of Sunday evening, the governor still has not announced a decision regarding Tookie Williams, who is scheduled for execution at 12:01am on Tuesday morning.

    Saturday, December 10, 2005

    Shake Up, Part II

    The governor continues to shuffle his staff. Many of the politicos around the Capitol are becoming more and more convinced that the governor has subscribed to Jerry Brown canoe theory of centrist politics: paddle a little left, paddle a little right and end up down the middle.

    Take these two headlines, separated by only 10 days.

    Governor's hire riles GOP conservatives
    ANALYSIS: A move to attract moderates

    Governor tacks to the right in shuffle

    The second headline is from today's Mercury news, after the governor moved Cabinet secretary Terry Tamminen out of that position to become a senior adviser on environmental policy.

    That move, which has been widely rumored, should help appease conservatives. Tamminen is an outspoken environmentalist who was the liason between the heads of all the state's departments and the governor. Now he simply advises on environmental policy.

    The governor also appointed Fred Aguiar to replace Tamminen, a former GOP Assemblyman that various right-wing bloggers have said has "GOP credentials."

    But those appointments came on the same day as he appointed a self-described centrist moderate who admires Sandra Day O'Connor to the state Supreme Court.

    So go figure.

    Friday, December 09, 2005

    Supreme Court Moderate

    Although there were rumors that the governor would appoint a conservative to the state Supreme Court to assuage the conservative revolt against the Susan Kennedy appointment, some are saying he pointed a "self-desribed centrist" who once was registered as a Democrat.

    Peter Siggins Appointed Judge

    Peter Siggins, who has served Gov. Schwarzenegger as legal affairs secretary for the duration of his governorship was just appointed as a judge on the First District Court of Appeal.

    Siggins and Speaker Nunez had a little run in during the special election campaign.

    All about Tookie

    The saga over whether the governor will grant clemency to Stanley "Tookie" Williams is no longer playing out on a California, but a national stage.

    Always a fun tool to see what is happening is the Google Zeitgeist which tracks the "15 Gaining Queries" of the week.

    Well, tookie williams is number 4 and "crips" is 12...showing that an awful lot of people are looking at this issue.

    New CA Supreme Court Justice

    The governor has chosen

    "In filling this vacancy, I looked for someone with strong experience, unimpeachable character and someone who is widely respected. I found all of that and more in Justice Corrigan. She is a brilliant jurist and for the past 12 years she has done a magnificent job on the First District Court of Appeal," said Governor Schwarzenegger. "Justice Corrigan is careful, thoughtful, quick-witted, and brings a deliberate, detail-oriented approach to the law. She will bring honor to California's high court and serve the people with dignity and integrity."

    Here's a profile of her that notes that "Corrigan is regarded as one of the more conservative members of the First District on criminal justice."

    Chick Out

    Los Angeles City Controller Laura Chick has announced that she will not run for State Controller next year.

    Here's an excerpt from her letter:

    During the last few months, I have seriously considered becoming a candidate for California State Controller in the 2006 elections.

    My interest in running was fueled in large part by the encouragement of others-- friends, supporters, constituents, elected leaders, and sometimes people I have never met before. Most importantly, I was intrigued by the possibility of serving the people of California in a similar position as the one I have now. It would be an unbelievable opportunity to accomplish in the State Capitol what I've accomplished in City Hall.

    As I pondered whether or not to run, my thoughts always came back to the job I have now...the job I love and the job I'm not yet finished doing. For that reason, I am announcing that I will not be a candidate for State Controller.

    This is good news for the rest of the candidates.

    Feinstein to Gonzales: What's Torture?

    U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein has sent a letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales asking him to clarify what is, and is not, torture, according to his interpretation of U.S. and international laws.

    During your confirmation hearings you were asked a number of questions regarding this issue. Specifically, Senator Durbin asked you “whether or not it is legally permissible for U.S. personnel to engage in cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment that does not rise to the level of torture?”

    You did not provide a clear response to that question, and I asked you to explain further, which you did as part of your responses to questions for the record. In that response you wrote: “… the Department of Justice has concluded that under Article 16 there is no legal prohibition under the CAT on cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment with respect to aliens overseas.”

    Earlier this week Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, in response to similar questions, said: “As a matter of U.S. policy, the U.S. obligations under the CAT, which prohibits cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment --- those obligations extend to U.S. personnel wherever they are.”

    These statements, on their face, seem in conflict. Do the obligations under the CAT prohibit cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment if that treatment takes place overseas, as described by Secretary Rice? Or is there in fact “no legal prohibition under the CAT” with respect to aliens overseas, as you stated in your communication?

    Pensions Today, Pensions Tomorrow

    After Gov. Schwarzenegger pulled the plug on his pension reform in 2005, he vowed to return to the issue next year. He even began reshaping the State Teacher's Retirement board.

    But that very board, in a close and divided 6-5 vote, voted to formally oppose Assembly Constitutional Amendment 23, a proposal by Assemblyman Keith Richman that would, through various complex options, begin offering a "hybrid" defined contirbution/defined benefit plan.

    The vote was a victory for gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides, who has vigorously opposed any degree of privatization of pensions.

    Thursday, December 08, 2005

    Mum on Clemency Hearing

    John Myers reports that all parties invovled in the Tookie Williams hearing today refused to comment.

    CRA demands GOP pull endorsement

    This from the FlashReport:

    Republican Volunteer Group Urges Republican Party to Reconsider Endorsement of Schwarzenegger
    Unanimous Vote by California Republican Assembly Executive Committee Demonstrates That Volunteers Are Unhappy With the Governor
    The state’s oldest Republican volunteer organization today called on the California Republican Party to reconsider its pre-primary endorsement of Governor Schwarzenegger for re-election in 2006.

    “It was a unanimous vote of our Executive Committee,” announced Mike Spence, President of the conservative California Republican Assembly. “This should send a very strong message to the Governor and the State Party leadership that the grass-roots volunteers are not happy.”

    Read the whole thing here.

    A Bob Dylan, of sorts

    The governor is not the only guy in the Capitol who makes appointments. The Democratic leaders of the Assembly and Senate do as well.

    Well, today Sen. Don Perata appointed Bhupindar (Bob) Dhillon. That would be Bob Dylan, said phonetically.

    Here's the relase:

    Mr. Bhupindar (Bob) Dhillon, a Democrat from San Jose has been appointed to the Senate Advisory Committee on Cost Control in State Government. Mr. Dhillon is self-employed as a real estate investor. He has been a member of the San Jose City Planning Commission since 2000 and currently serves as Chair of the Commission.

    The Senate Advisory Committee on Cost Control in State Government studies, analyzes and makes recommendations on cost control in state government. This is a pleasure term.

    And I thought Perata was a Neil Diamond man.

    Now in Syndication!

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    Transition continues in lead up to pivotal State of the State

    Speculation Swirls about a possible new Cabinet secretary; Maria's chief of staff emerges as Democratic power

    On the afternoon Susan Kennedy was named Gov. Schwarzenegger's next chief of staff, the governor huddled in a closed-door meeting with some of the senior officials in his administration.

    There were seven seats at the table, as a bipartisan and unlikely cast of characters gathered to discuss the State of the State address, the January speech that will set the tone for the rest of Schwarzenegger's first term. With just four weeks before the most pivotal moment in his governorship, as his communications team puts the finishing touches on the launch of Schwarzenegger 2.0, the governor is listening to new voices in the inner sanctum of the Horseshoe.

    Two of the most important officials in the first two years of the Schwarzenegger administration were missing from this particular meeting: Cabinet secretary Terry Tamminen and Richard Costigan, the governor's point man with the Legislature.

    But among those present was Daniel Zingale, a Democrat who, like Kennedy, was a top aide to former Democratic Gov. Gray Davis and who pushed for the Kennedy appointment. Though Zingale serves as chief of staff to Maria Shriver, the governor's Democratic wife, he is emerging as an important voice in the administration. His presence at policy meetings is an unprecedented role for an advisor to a California first lady.

    The ascendance of Zingale and Kennedy, herself a former communications director for U.S. Sen. Diane Feinstein and Democratic Party executive, has struck fear into the hearts of conservatives.

    Joining that pair of one-time Davis confidants and Schwarzenegger at this meeting were two veterans of Gov. Pete Wilson's administration: outgoing Schwarzenegger chief of staff Pat Clarey and Sean Walsh, who heads up Schwarzenegger's internal political shop at the Office of Planning and Research. Communications director Rob Stutzman and press secretary Margita Thompson were also present.

    Such a mishmash of ideological perspectives has become a hallmark of the Schwarzenegger administration. From the first week of the recall, when he surrounded himself with a bipartisan team of economic advisors to last week's selection of a Democratic chief of staff, Schwarzenegger has refused to, in his own words, "get stuck in a mold."

    And with a critical period before him, in which the governor must address clemency for Tookie Williams, make an appointment to the Supreme Court and unveil a new budget plan, the staff uncertainty could not come at a more critical juncture.

    Many Republicans feel the shakeup highlights the crux of the problem inside the Schwarzenegger administration--a staff without an ideological consensus, no clear internal hierarchy and a team of advisors who sometimes act as if they do not trust each other.

    At the press conference introducing Kennedy, Schwarzenegger beamed that "we have always had really wonderful debates in my office."

    But Horseshoe veterans say there is a downside to such debates.

    Steve Maviglio, who served as press secretary to Davis, says that crafting the state of the state is a tense affair, even when all those present agree ideologically.

    "I can't imagine what it's like when people are coming at a problem from different philosophical angles not style angles--when you are arguing about substance, not style," said Maviglio.

    With advisers of different political stripes, people are bound to disagree. And, Maviglio says, "When people have disagreements it leads to breakdowns in morale, back stabbing and leaks to the press."

    While Kennedy's boosters say her appointment may appear to add to the ideological chaos, she brings extensive managerial experience to the table. Democrats and Republicans alike agree that Kennedy can effectively and efficiently rule the bureaucracy. When she left the Davis administration, she had to be replaced by four full-time staffers. But skeptics argue that having a Republican administration with a Democratic chief of staff only adds to the tension and mistrust that Kennedy was brought in to remedy.

    The state's Republican Party board of directors has demanded a meeting with the governor, fearing that Kennedy will have access to inside information about their statewide election efforts next year. The role of chief of staff, they say, is necessarily a political one--and a job they do not trust to a Democrat.

    Pat Clarey, Kennedy's predecessor, was paid by Schwarzenegger as a campaign consultant while serving as chief of staff.

    As one Republican consultant put it, "She might make the trains run on time, but will she be aware of some other train heading the governor's way, down the track?"

    The greatest fear among conservatives, in and out the Capitol, is that Democrats within the administration are on the ascent. Administration officials have already hinted that next year they will roll out a $50 billion infrastructure bond, propose universal children's healthcare, impose stricter limits on greenhouse gases and embrace a hike in the minimum wage--all of which are anathema to conservatives.

    But many had held their tongue--until the Kennedy appointment.

    Since, there have been catcalls from the far right deriding Schwarzenegger as "Benedict Arnold," while Senate Republican leader Dick Ackerman called Kennedy the "wrong pick." The unease has even seeped into the highest ranks of Schwarzenegger's own administration.

    "The staffers I have talked to in the governor's horseshoe have been Stepford wife-ish," said one Republican political consultant. "With teeth clenched and a phony smile, they assert that everything is fine."

    One widely rumored move that may assuage conservatives, in and out of the administration, is the shift of Terry Tamminen from his post as Cabinet secretary, traditionally the number two staff job, to another senior advisory position. As cabinet secretary, Tamminen is the conduit for the various department heads to the governor. Tamminen, an unabashed environmentalist who previously headed California's Environmental Protection Agency, has long been a touchstone for conservative ire towards Schwarzenegger, particularly among business interests.

    But the administration's conservative stalwarts are also on the move. Clarey officially departs on January 1. Communications director Stutzman is leaving the cozy confines of the horseshoe for the campaign trail early next year. And there were fears among Republicans that legislative secretary Richard Costigan, who many legislative staffers consider the lone remaining top-level "Republican's Republican," may leave as well, though he is privately telling people he plans to stay.

    But the key question is if any of the staff shake-ups even matter, with a governor who has never fully embraced the Republican agenda. "Arnold will be Arnold," said several gubernatorial staffers, pointing to his fiscal conservative, socially moderate, and environmentally liberal record as a better guide to policy than the make-up of his staff.

    The above first appeared in Capitol Weekly

    Reiner Out, officially

    The Meathead will not face off against the Terminator.

    AP has the story.

    Wednesday, December 07, 2005

    Davis is Back

    The former governor returned to the Capitol today for his official portrait unveiling. He was joined by his wife, Sharon, the governor and the governor's wife, Maria Shriver.

    The affair was heavily populated with former Davis staffers some of whom, it seemed, mingled and met for the first time in two years.

    The event began with an introduction by Davis' former chief of staff, who was pleased that two of her deputies, Susan Kennedy and Daniel Zingale, are now back working in the horseshoe. She joked that she had trained them to take over her job as chief of staff, but thought that would be "in the Davis administration."

    Later in the ceremony, there was an awkward moment when Davis was describing how long he has known the Shriver family. He told of when he stayed with her mom on the East Coast. The crowd murmured. "In the guest room," rebuked Davis. "with Jerry Brown." The crowd broke into full blown laughter.

    Once the painting was unveiling (it featured Davis in front of a picturesque backdrop), the less-than-fascinating whispers were only about why the governor went with a red tie and a blue shirt.

    Brent Wilkes and the Governor

    The, a campaign watchdog group, has sent a letter to the governor demanding that he fire Brent Wilkes, who is a co-conspirator in the Duke Cunningham debacle, from appointments he has been given. Wilkes currently serves on the Del Mar Race Track Board and the State Race Track Licensing Commission.

    The letter also requests that the governor "give the $77,400 in donations the governor and his political committees have received from Mr. Wilkes, his wife, and their companies to a veterans organization."

    Gov Hospitalized

    From Press Secretary Margita Thompson:

    "The Governor had the stomach flu yesterday. Consequently he experienced a rapid heartbeat. His personal doctor recommended he have it checked. He went to UC Davis Medical Center at approximately midnight. Upon arrival at the Med Center the doctors determined his heart rate was normal. He was observed for a few hours and released. He's feeling fine this morning and is in the office working."

    It will be interesting to see if he feels well enough this afternoon to make his Gray Davis photo op.

    Campbell Wins

    Here's the results:

    Republican John Campbell: 44.7%
    Democrat Steve Young: 28.0%
    Anti-immigration crusader, American Independent Jim Gilchrist: 25.1%.

    Gibson for Gov?

    The LA Times reports on the GOP revolt against the governor's choice of Susan Kennedy...but the best part of the story is the nascent movement to draft Mel Gibson for governor:

    Check it out:

    Tuesday, December 06, 2005

    Wyland Out...Again

    Read about it here.

    Cleared for Circulation

    A new initiative that would eliminate domestic partnership rights as well as ban gay marriage has been cleared for circulation by the attorney general's office.

    From the Left

    As Republicans search for a challeneger to popular incumbent Dianne Feinstein, Green party activist Todd Chretien, 36, of San Francisco has formed an exploratory committee to challenge her.

    Chretian was the author of San Francisco controversial and successful ballot measure opposing military recruiters on public high schools and college campuses that passed this November.

    CRP against Kennedy

    The California Republican Party Board of Directors sent out an e-mail denouncing the choice of Susan Kennedy as chief of staff.

    Voting Today

    Voters in Christopher Cox's old congressional seat go to vote today for his successor...likely to be State Sen. John Campbell.

    Monday, December 05, 2005

    Column on Preschool

    The Chronicle has a scathing column looking at the costs of universal preschool in Candada and comparing it to the Reiner initiative in California next year.

    Read it here.

    PPIC: Love Initiative Process, No Love for Government

    Check out the Public Policy Institute of California's latest poll on the special election and its results.

    Some highlights:

    *60% of California voters considered the special election a bad idea.

    *68% said things in California are generally going in the wrong direction.

    *Only 17% of special election voters think they can trust elected officials to do what is right always or most the time.

    *78% of the special election voters think that the state government is run by a few big interests rather than for the benefit of all of the people.

    *Majorities disapprove of the governor’s performance in office (56%) and the job performance of the state legislature as well (66%).

    *An overwhelming majority (76%) disapprove of the way that the two branches of government are working together in making public policy.

    *Voters support the idea of limiting initiatives to November general ballots (53%), requiring the governor to have the approval of the legislature before calling special elections on initiatives (54%), increasing public disclosure of funding sources for initiative campaigns and signature-gathering efforts (85%), and requiring televised debates on initiative measures (77%).

    The 50th

    The race to replace the resigned U.S. Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham has been weighted as heavily favoring Republicans. The district skews with a 15 point GOP registration. But Congressional Quarterly has changed the district "to the more competitive Leans Republican category from Republican Favored."

    The change means that California 50 is now among the most highly competitive House contests in the nation...CQ currently rates 26 House contests as highly competitive, with 17 of them for seats held by Republicans.

    This, quoted from a CQ Weekly Update email forwarded by the campaign of the race's leading Democrat, Francine Busby.

    Camejo In, Again

    This year was a little different for the Green Party's perennial candidate Peter Camejo. In 2002, he ran for governor. In 2003. he ran for governor. In 2004, he ran for vice-president. This year, nothing. And next year, Camejo is back running for governor again, according to papers filed with the secretary of state.

    Insurance Commissioner

    The Republican primary in the race for insurance commissioner may be one of the most competitive of next year, while the Democratic primary looks like more of a coronation for current Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante.

    The Democrat

    More California voters know who Cruz Bustamante is than do not. In fact, according to the most recent Field Poll, 73 percent of likely voters had an opinion of the current lieutenant governor. That's probably not because his current job is high-profile, but rather because his controversial 2003 candidacy for governor in the recall raised his visibility statewide.

    That is the good news for his campaign.

    The bad news is that more voters have an unfavorable opinion of him than not. (38 to 35 percent). But with no primary opponent, Bustamante has many months to try to build up his positives. Though he has only a little more than $100,000 raised, Bustamante has already run statewide several times and has a track record of well-funded candidacies, particularly with the support of the state’s Indian gaming tribes.

    The Republicans

    The battle for the GOP nomination is a three-way struggle in which there have been whispers about each of the candidates potentially withdrawing. If all three remain, the battle will break down as a race between an ideological moderate, Steve Poizner, and two more conservative candidates, Gary Mendoza and Dr. Phil Kurzner.

    At a gathering of Republicans earlier this year, Mendoza declared that if Poizner were to win the GOP nomination that he, Mendoza, would not support Poizner against the Democratic nominee. The audience, the media reported at the time, roared as Mendoza denounced Poizner as the "Gore-Lieberman wing" of the GOP.

    At issue, were several donations Poizner made to Democratic causes, including the recount committee former by Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore in 2000.

    Last year, Poizner ran for the Assembly in a heavily Democratic Bay Area district, spending more than $6 million of his own money (he made his millions through developing cell phone tracking technology used by first responders). Though he lost, he became a poster-boy of sorts for gerrymandered districts, and helped head up Gov. Schwarzenegger’s Yes on 77 efforts (and dropped another $1.25 million into that campaign).

    Poizner can clearly self-fund. But his past support of Democratic causes could potentially make his candidacy tough in what is typically a conservative GOP primary. Both Kurzner and Mendoza hope to capitalize on this by brandishing their own conservative credentials, with both campaigns committed, more than anything it seems, to torpedoing a Poizner nomination.

    Kurzner, as of June 30, had already raised more than $100,000 dollars and had launched a “Dr. Phil” website, playing off the name of the popular TV show host. Conservative activists seem to support Kurzner, though of the three, he is a political novice.

    Mendoza ran for Insurance Commissioner against the current officeholder John Garamendi in 2002, garnering just shy of 42 percent of the vote to Garamendi’s 46.6 percent. For that race Mendoza raised $2.4 million, including a $1 million contribution from the California Republican Party.

    None of the candidates are well-known according to the latest Field Poll. Here’s the results: (first number is name recognition then favorable then unfavorable)

    Gary Mendoza: 19-10-8
    Phil Kurzner: 15-7-8
    Steve Poizner: 15-5-10

    Ultimately, the primary will likely turn on whether or not Mendoza, Kurzner, or both have enough resources to vilify Poizner’s moderate record to conservative GOP primary voters.

    Candidate: Dr. Phil Kurzner
    Party: Republican
    Current Job: Chief of Service, Department of Urology, West Los Angeles Kaiser Foundation Hospital
    Cash on Hand: $118,437.64, as of June 30.
    Consultant: Ron Rogers
    Campaign website

    Candidate: Steve Poizner
    Party: Republican
    Current Job: Yes on 77 campaign chair, 2004 Assembly candidate
    Cash on Hand: $ 657,053.03 , as of June 30.
    Consultant: Wayne Johnson
    Campaign website

    Candidate: Gary Mendoza
    Party: Republican
    Current Job: 2002 GOP nominee for Insurance Commissioner
    Cash on Hand: $25,725.41 , as of June 30.
    Consultant: Kevin Spillane

    Candidate: Cruz Bustamante
    Party: Democrat
    Current Job: Lieutenant Governor
    Cash on Hand: $106,385.56, as of June 30.
    Consultant: Richie Ross

    Sunday, December 04, 2005

    Something in the Air?

    What is going on in San Diego? Mayor after mayor has resigned amid allegations of scandal. Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham just pleaded guilty to bribery.

    And today the Union Tribune reports that another congressman, this time a Democrat, has been paying his wife hundreds of thousands of dollars for campaign consulting.

    With no public records linking Jane Filner to her company, Bob Filner's constituents have no way of knowing that some of his campaign contributions are finding their way into his household's income.

    Asked to prove the existence of his wife's business, Filner's campaign provided faxed copies of a blank check from an account at SunTrust bank and a sheet of Campaign Resources letterhead with an outdated address and phone number.

    It goes on:

    Jane Filner's only client is her husband, and for the past 11 years she has drawn what is essentially an annual salary from his campaign, though the amount varies from year to year.

    The situation may be perfectly legal, the U-T reports, because it is OK "to pay family members who provide "bona fide services" at fair-market value. Still, election watchdogs question the way the Filners set up their arrangement."

    National Ink

    The NY Times reports on the Campbell-Gilchrist congressional race in southern California.

    The article, as most do, say the biggest question is what percentage of the vote Campbell will obtain in winning. But the strong showing by Gilchrist in the primary (14 percent) as an American Independent Party, the article suggests, signals the growing resonance of the immigration debate.

    Could it be a major issue next year, in California, and nationally?

    Bee is buzzed

    The Sacramento Bee's Public Editor Armando Acuña looks into why the Bee didn't report on the the ongoing John Doolittle involvement in the Jack Abramoff scandal in D.C. for days while the Doolittle debacle graced the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and LA Times.

    Saturday, December 03, 2005

    Cunningham Resignation

    For those special election calling watchers, Randy "Duke" Cunningham's resignation was signed effective December 1.

    Mo Money, School Style

    The AP has this report that the education lobby is demaning $5.5 billion for schools next year.

    Bob Wells, executive director of the Association of California School Administrators, said of his meeting with the governor:

    "It was a bit uncomfortable, but we had to remind them that we won," Wells said.

    Mo Money

    That 12 percent pay raise for California's legislators kicks in on Monday. That brings the annual salaries to $110,880, plus per diems of $153 when the Legislature is in session.

    Of the staffers in the building, more than 100 will make more than their bosses. Here's the list.

    Thus far, nine Republicans and give Democrats have declined to accept the pay raise.

    Friday, December 02, 2005

    Salazar joins Westly

    Democratic consultant Roger Salazar has joined the Westly campaign.

    OC Register owners looking at Knight Ridder

    The LA Times reports that a group that owns "a significant stake" in the Register is considering a bid to buy Knight Ridder, which publishes the San Jose Mercury News and the Contra Costa Times.

    Read about it here.

    Bad Timing

    Republican governors from across the country this week are gathering in the district of resigned Randy "Duke" Cunningham. I bet if they had their druthers Carlsbad would be the last place they would pick for the gathering after Cunningham's resignation earlier this week.

    Thursday, December 01, 2005


    Another parental notification initiative has been submitted to the AG's office for title and summary.

    Genest In

    Miike Genest, who has been the interim Department of Finance director, was just appointed permanent director.

    Wealthy Supporters

    Assembly Majority Leadeer Dario Frommer (and state controller candidate) just reported two matching $5,000 donations from Angelo and Eleni Tsakopolous.

    Westly: Kennedy Choice is Blow to Angelides

    The jockeying for advantage in the Democratic primary continued today when the Westly campaign sent out a missive saying,

    In what can only be seen as an embarrassing setback for Treasurer Phil Angelides’ campaign for Governor, Susan Kennedy – the woman he hired to serve as Executive Director of the CA Democratic Party when he was party chair, and one of his high profile backers – has jumped ship and become Governor Schwarzenegger’s Chief of Staff.

    New Voice of Capital Public Radio

    Capital Public Radio has picked Marianne Russ as the new Capitol Bureau Chief for its statewide Capitol news service. She comes from Newstalk 1530 KFBK where she has already covered Sacramento and the Capitol.

    She replaces Mike Montgomery, who was fired more than 2 months ago after nearly 30 years with the organization.

    More blogs

    A couple new California political blogs have come to my attention. The first is the California Young Democrats new Keep California Blue blog.

    The second is one that just looks at the 2006 governor's race at at CalGovRace.

    Silent media mogul is big noise in the world of politics, business

    The following first appeared in Capitol Weekly

    The media mogul in charge of the nation's largest Spanish-language television outlet doesn't speak Spanish. And he doesn't do media interviews. But while Jerry Perenchio may be silent in the press, he does have the ear of California's--and the nation's--political power brokers, as a prolific campaign contributor who has been a top donor to each of the state's last three governors, Republicans and Democrat alike.

    Perenchio--who Forbes magazine ranked as the 89th richest man in America--made his estimated $3 billion fortune in the entertainment industry and has not been shy about signing off seven-figure checks to political allies, including Gov. Schwarzenegger. Since 1989, Mr. Perenchio has donated an eye-popping $17.7 million in California to just about every notable statewide official, save U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, according to state records.

    Critics and defenders alike say he is an "equal opportunity donor," cutting checks as a business expense, not an ideological tool.

    "In the fundraising world, there are raisers and givers. He is one of the great givers of all time--Democrats, Republicans, all people in power," said lobbyist Darius Anderson who helped coordinate fundraising efforts for Gov. Gray Davis.

    And Perenchio is certainly a shrewd businessman.

    Now 74, he began his professional life under the tutelage of legendary talent agent Lew Wasserman of MCA, and eventually helped chaperon the careers of some of Hollywood's favorite sons and daughters, including Elizabeth Taylor, Marlon Brando and Elton John.

    In 1971, Perenchio promoted the first Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier boxing match. In 1973, Perenchio worked behind the scenes of the historic "battle of the sexes" Bobby-Riggs-Billie Jean King tennis contest. He then partnered with Norman Lear to produce the hit television series "All in the Family." A decade later, the pair sold their stake in the company to Coca-Cola for a cool $485 million. Perenchio quickly turned another $140 million profit by buying, and selling, the Loews Cineplex theatre chain within a year. All the while, he has steered clear of the media...

    Read the rest here.

    Bob Here

    Democratic party advisor Bob Mullholland has joined the Phil Angelides campaign as a a senior advisor.