Paradise Falls in Wildwood Park, Thousand Oaks, California
Good Friday morning!
The California Legislature is in session. There are no California Assembly and State Senate Floor Sessions today. Today’s schedule is here.
Today’s the first day of the 15th annual Speaker’s Cup, a two-day golf outing in Pebble Beach to raise money for the California Democratic Party.
Tickets start at $25,000 and top out at $65,000. The higher amount will get you in the door for both days, and includes golf for four, hotel accommodation, dinner for eight people, plus a spa treatment per day for each non-golfer or guest of a golfer. Those prices are even steeper than for the Pro Tem Cup held in March.
The Speaker’s Cup is being presented by AT&T, which has sponsored the event for more than a decade. Last year, it spent more than $225,000, and the swag included a new iPad delivered with a thank-you note signed by Democratic Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez and AT&T’s chief of government relations, according to this Los Angeles Times report.
On today’s California headlines:
Gov. Jerry Brown said this afternoon that he has collected enough signatures to qualify his tax initiative for the November ballot.
“We should have them all,” the Democratic governor told reporters after speaking to a business group in San Jose.
Constrained by a short timeline, Brown and his supporters raced to collect more than 800,000 valid voter signatures by early this month, relying on robotic telephone calls, mailers and payment of as much as $3 per signature for signatures gathered on the street.
The measure would raise the state sales tax and income taxes on California’s highest earners.
Brown’s remarks came just hours after Republican leaders assembled at the Capitol to kick off their campaign against the measure. Brown had no comment about the Republican effort, except to say it wasn’t news.
Republicans want to be known as the “party of yes” in Sacramento. And one of the first things they want to do is convince Californians to vote no on Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed tax hikes.
“We think that’s the wrong way to go,” said California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro at a Thursday news conference outside the Capitol. “There is an alternative to simply raising taxes.”
Del Beccaro is launching an old-fashioned whistle-stop tour by riding the train around the state to push Republican policies. His first stops are Martinez and Bakersfield.
He was joined at the news conference by GOP lawmakers including Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar) and Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway (R-Tulare). They criticized legislative Democrats for not pushing Gov. Jerry Brown’s pension proposals, which Republicans have endorsed.
Citing serious procedural errors by the District Attorney’s Office, a Superior Court judge on Thursday threw out a felony voter fraud case against City Councilman Richard Alarcón and his wife.
An indignant District Attorney Steve Cooley re-filed the charges only hours after the court’s decision.
In a stunning, see-sawing day of legal filings, Judge Kathleen Kennedy dismissed the two-year old case, which alleged the Alarcóns lived outside their City Council district and lied on voter registration records.
The prosecution, Kennedy told attorneys, failed to present evidence to the grand jury that might have exonerated Alarcón. Moreover, key terms such as “residence” and “domicile” weren’t adequately explained to the jury.
“I don’t know if the Alarcóns are guilty or not of these particular charges,” she said. “But I don’t think exculpatory evidence was properly provided.”
The ruling ended a grueling legal battle – at least temporarily – for the veteran San Fernando Valley politician and his wife, Flora Montes de Oca.
Fulfilling an unofficial pledge to California officials, Amazon.com said Thursday it will open a warehouse in Stanislaus County.
Amazon’s announcement comes nine months after the Internet giant settled a huge sales tax fight with the Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown.
The company promised to bring 10,000 jobs to California over several years, and the warehouse in Patterson, about 17 miles from Modesto, represents a kind of down payment.
In announcing the warehouse, Amazon Vice President Dave Clark hailed “the support from Governor Brown and state and local officials.
“We look forward to creating hundreds of full-time jobs with benefits in Patterson when the facility begins shipping to customers in 2013,” Clark said in a press release.
Amazon didn’t specify how many workers it would hire. Rod Butler, Patterson’s city manager, said in an email that “we are expecting at least 1,000 full-time regular jobs, with several hundred more seasonal jobs during the holiday season.”
Enjoy your morning and Dan Walters daily video: Tax showdown looms