Hearst Castle, San Simeone, California
On to today’s California headlines:
Former Republican Sen. Sam Aanestad is weighing a run for the Northern California congressional seat being vacated by retiring GOP Rep. Wally Herger.
The Penn Valley Republican said he learned of Herger’s decision after returning home from Mexico, where he had been vacationing without access to his cell phone or lap top, several days ago. Since then, he has been “making phone calls to see if there is any support” for a run for the newly drawn 1st Congressional District.
Aanestad, who ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in 2010, said the addition of a new partner at his Grass Valley oral surgery practice has given him the time and flexibility to run. He said the 12 years he spent serving in overlapping state Senate and Assembly districts makes him a good fit for the House district, which runs from Yuba City to the Oregon border.
An overwhelming majority of California voters support Gov. Jerry Brown’s idea of hiking taxes to raise more money for schools, but they’d much rather he ask somebody else to foot the bill.
A new survey from the Public Policy Institute of California found that 68% of likely voters said they support Brown’s idea to raise taxes on sales and upper incomes for five years. Brown is hoping to sell those ideas to voters in a ballot initiative this fall.
But in a separate question, the same voters said they dislike key pieces of Brown’s proposal. While 68% of likely voters said they support raising income taxes for high earners, 64% of those surveyed said they oppose raising the sales tax.
Brown’s tax plan includes both.
The survey reflects data that Brown considered when crafting his tax proposal. Voters are more likely to support tax increases, for example, if those new revenues are earmarked specifically for public schools.
Democratic legislative leaders sued Controller John Chiang today for blocking their pay during last year’s budget dispute, a decision that drew scorn from lawmakers last summer.
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez said the Democratic controller overstepped his bounds when he decided that lawmakers sent Gov. Jerry Brown a flawed budget last June and docked their pay. They said they are not suing for back earnings, but to ask the court whether Chiang can intervene this year if lawmakers face another budget dispute with Brown at the June 15 deadline.
The lawmakers filed in Sacramento Superior Court, hiring Arthur G. Scotland, retired presiding justice of the 3rd District Court of Appeal, as well as the Los Angeles firm Strumwasser & Woocher. The Legislature’s operating budget, financed by tax dollars, will pay for legal costs. Billing rates range from $435 per hour for the two lead attorneys to $130 per hour for a paralegal, according to the leaders’ offices.
Rep. Howard Berman, locked in a contentious race with fellow Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman for the same San Fernando Valley congressional district seat, isn’t on hand for the president’s State of Union speech tonight. His staff says he’s right here in L.A., mixing work with a little campaigning.
While many members of Congress from both sides of the aisle attend the annual speech and often comment on it afterward, that’s never been Berman’s style, said Gene Smith, who retired from Berman’s House staff and took on a new role as his campaign manager.
“Howard’s a workhorse, not a show horse,” Smith said in a gentle swipe at Sherman.
Enjoy your morning!