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Mar 26 2012

Flap’s California Morning Collection: March 26, 2012

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Mission San Juan Capistrano

Good Monday morning!

The California Legislature is in session.  But, there are no floor sessions scheduled until Monday afternoon. Today’s schedule is here.

The California Assembly’s Daily File is here and the California State Senate’s here.

On to today’s California headlines:

California presidential gold rush week begins

While the U.S. Supreme Court begins hearing oral arguments on the Affordable Care Act today, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney will stop by a San Diego medical device firm and dine with contributors during a brief swing through the Golden State.

Romney is slated to appear this morning at the San Diego headquarters of NuVasive, which describes itself as a developer of “minimally disruptive surgical products and procedures for the spine.”

He also will have two fundraisers today with some big-name hosts. Former Gov. Pete Wilson will be on hand at the San Diego luncheon, while former gubernatorial candidate and HP executive Meg Whitman will host a dinner in Redwood City.

Romney will have three fundraisers across the state Tuesday, including one at the Stockton home of developer Alex G. Spanos.

But Romney isn’t the only one visiting California this week. Presidential rival Rick Santorum will hold a rally and fundraiser Thursday at the Jelly Belly Candy Company.

Strong majority backs Jerry Brown’s tax-hike initiative

Sixty-four percent of those surveyed said they supported the measure that the governor hopes to place on the November ballot. It would hike the sales tax and levies on upper incomes to help raise money for schools and balance the state’s budget.

Dan Walters: Big pension conflicts ahead in California

California’s great public pension battles are heating up, and may be headed for some kind of political explosion.

The Legislature’s Democratic majority appears to be doing its best to ignore significant pension reform, even though Gov. Jerry Brown says the current system is “unsustainable” and an overhaul is needed to persuade voters to raise taxes this year.

Democrats are reluctant to do anything that public employee unions oppose – such as passing Brown’s 12-point pension reform plan – in a year when they’ll be running in much-changed districts and will need all the union help they can get.

With Brown’s plan stuck in neutral and an outside pension initiative dead for lack of financing, the big action will be in the state’s second- and third-largest cities, San Diego and San Jose, where unions are pulling out all the stops to prevent voters from even seeing pension reform on their ballots this year.

Ballot designations matter for candidates

Inland Southern California lawmakers Mike Morrell, Jeff Miller, Bob Dutton and Kevin Jeffries spend a large chunk of their week in Sacramento, voting on bills and sitting through committee hearings as state legislators making base annual salaries of $95,291.

All of them want voters this year to view them as something different: businessmen.

Around the state, election officials have been busy reviewing candidates’ proposed ballot designations before this week’s announcement of qualified candidates for the June 5 primary election. The regulations require that the descriptions, generally limited to three words, reflect “the current principal professions, vocations, or occupations” of the candidate.

The brief descriptions are the last bit of candidate information voters see in the polling booth, alongside often unfamiliar names, so candidates try to put their best foot forward. Experts say the three words carry outsized importance.

And, finally, Dan Walters on why  “Green” jobs won’t save California. Watch below:

Enjoy your morning!

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