Category: Barack Obama

Jul 23 2012

Flap’s California Morning Collection: July 23, 2012

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San Francisco, California

The California Legislature is not in session for a summer recess.

The California Assembly has adjourned until August 6, 2012 and the California State Senate is also in adjournment.

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

On to today’s California headlines:

Pool report: Mitt Romney tells SF fundraiser “somebody’s got to do something for California”

GOP Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, addressing a crowded campaign fundraiser in the Democratic bastion of San Francisco, told laughing supporters Sunday, “Boy, somebody’s got to do something for California…the right leadership would make a difference here.”

Romney made the comments during a half hour address to donors at the Fairmont Hotel, one of his three fundraisers in the Bay Area Sunday. Both his Fairmont fundraiser and two held in private homes in Woodside and San Francisco were hosted in part by former gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, the Hewlett Packard CEO, who was singled out for applause by Romney and a received a standing ovation at the Fairmont stop.

The former Massachusetts Governor, who like President Obama had suspended campaign events in the wake of the Colorado movie theater massacre this week, told backers that “our hearts are with many of the people who lost loved ones” in the Aurora mass killings, and praised Obama’s stop in Aurora to meet with victims entirely appropriate.

Here’s the full and unedited pool report of tonight’s Romney fundraiser at the Fairmont Hotel, as provided by the local print pool reporter allowed to cover the event, Josh Richman of the Oakland Tribune:

Romney entered the Fairmont Hotel’s Gold room at 5:32 p.m. to a cheering, standing ovation.

Barack Obama, Mitt Romney back to raise money in California

President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney will return to the Bay Area on Sunday and Monday — back to buck-rake once again in donor-rich California.

Obama is scheduled Monday to raise money at a dinner at the Piedmont home of developer and real estate investor Wayne Jordan and his wife, activist Quinn Delaney. Tickets were listed at $35,800 per person.

Obama is also scheduled Monday to attend a larger fundraising reception at the Fox Theater in downtown Oakland.

Mitt Romney focuses on economy in Bay Area speech

Promising to avoid partisan attacks in the wake of Friday’s movie-theater massacre in Colorado, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney spoke to campaign contributors Sunday about his own five-step plan to fix America’s economy.

Speaking to about 250 supporters who’d paid from $2,500 to $10,000 each to attend a reception at the Fairmont Hotel, the former Massachusetts governor praised President Barack Obama’s last-minute trip to Aurora, Colo., as appropriate and befitting his office.

The audience observed a moment of silence for the Colorado victims. “We turn to a power greater than our own to understand purpose, and if not to understand at least to be able to soothe the wounds of those who have been so seriously hurt,” Romney said.

Romney noted the audience included about 25 members of Gold Star and Blue Star families — those who’ve lost relatives in military service, and those who have relatives currently serving. He observed “the great sense of unity that comes in this country as we recognize those who serve our country.”

Turning to the economy, Romney said “there is that entrepreneurialism in the American spirit which, if tapped, will allow us to reboot our economy, and soon.”

To tap it, he said, he first would tap into America’s “massive new resources, both in oil and gas.”

Second, Romney said, he would pursue more foreign trade, which he said “puts more Americans to work in higher-paying jobs.”

Republican Party in California Is Caught in Cycle of Decline

This would seem a moment of great opportunity for California Republicans. The state has become a national symbol of fiscal turmoil and dysfunction, the Legislature is nearly as unpopular as Congress and Democrats control every branch of government.

But instead, the state party — once a symbol of Republican hope and geographical reach and which gave the nation Ronald Reagan (and Richard M. Nixon) — is caught in a cycle of relentless decline, and appears in danger of shrinking to the rank of a minor party.

“We are at a lower point than we’ve ever been,” said Representative Kevin McCarthy, the No. 3 Republican in the United States House of Representatives. “It’s rebuilding time.”

Registered Republicans now account for just 30 percent of the California electorate, and are on a path that analysts predict could drop them to No. 3 in six years, behind Democrats, who currently make up 43 percent, and independent voters, with 21 percent.

“It’s no longer a statewide party,” said Allan Hoffenblum, who worked for 30 years as a Republican consultant in California. “They are down to 30 percent, which makes it impossible to win a statewide election. You just can’t get enough crossover voters.”

“They have alienated large swaths of voters,” he said. “They have become too doctrinaire on the social issues. It’s become a cult.”

Enjoy your morning and Dan Walters Daily video: Good news on job growth but ‘long row to hoe’

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Apr 26 2012

Flap’s California Morning Collection: April 26, 2012

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Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza and City Hall

Good Thursday morning!

The California Legislature is in session.  Today’s schedule is here.

Remember: Friday is the last day for policy committees to pass fiscal bills introduced in their house. So, there will be some action around the Capitol this week.

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

On to today’s California headlines:

Analyst predicts state budget gap “a few billion dollars” worse

With state revenues slowing to a trickle as the end of April draws near, the state’s top fiscal analyst said late Wednesday that California could be “a few billion dollars” shy of Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget projections through June 2013.

The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office said total personal income tax collections would likely be more than $2 billion below Brown’s expectation of $9.4 billion for the month. Because the state was already running behind, it would mean PIT revenues would be $3 billion shy for the fiscal year compared to Brown’s updated January projections.

Corporate taxes are also likely to trail Brown’s forecast by about $450 million for the fiscal year so far, according to LAO.

Unless sales taxes are robust, that means the state would be about $3.5 billion behind for this fiscal year, and likely a “few billion dollars” through the budget cycle that ends in June 2013, the Analyst’s Office estimates.

California poll finds disconnect on school cuts, taxes

Nearly 80 percent of Californians oppose $5 billion in so-called trigger cuts to state schools this fall, but only a slight majority of voters support the governor’s tax plan to stop it, according to a survey of 2,000 voters released Wednesday.

At this point, 54 percent of likely voters said they’d vote for Gov. Jerry Brown’s ballot measure to temporarily boost sales tax and income tax on wealthy California residents, the Public Policy Institute of California poll found.

If it doesn’t pass, Brown’s plan calls for school budget cuts to be triggered. Supporters of the tax hike measure expect to submit enough signatures to qualify for the Nov. 6 ballot sometime next month.

Wednesday’s poll signals something of a voter disconnect in the early stages of the campaign, said Mark Baldassare, the institute’s president.

Part of that could stem from the fact that most voters, 65 percent, like the idea of a tax on the wealthy to support schools, but 52 percent of those surveyed said they don’t like the sales tax increase.

The survey also showed voters want education dollars spent more wisely, with 48 percent saying that doing so would significantly improve schools. On the other hand, 46 percent of those surveyed said it will take wisdom and more money to make an impact.

Just 6 percent said more money by itself would have the most impact.


California blog regulations could hit Drudge, citizen journalists

California’s chief political watchdog, Ann Ravel, recently announced plans to regulate political websites that accept payments from campaigns. Last year Gov. Jerry Brown appointed her to head the Fair Political Practices Commission.

California bloggers right, left and center quickly criticized the proposal for quashing free speech and putting them at a disadvantage to out-of-state competitors.

“The Internet is global,” wrote Mark Paul on his blog, the California Fix. “The commission’s jurisdiction is limited to California. If campaigns find it useful to make payments to online sock puppets, won’t they funnel the dollars to bloggers living outside the state? Do we want to send jobs out of California?” Paul also is the co-author of the new book, “California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It.”

Out-of-state competition might not be a problem, say some legal experts, because California’s Fair Political Practices Commission could cross state lines and police out-of-state blogs and websites, including international news aggregators like the Drudge Report, regardless of their location. And there is adequate case law to back it up.

Meet President Obama’s $500,000 Hollywood Power Couple

In a 20-page special report, The Hollywood Reporter examines the complicated relationship between Hollywood and politics. The issue includes an in-depth profile by contributing editor Tina Daunt of President Barack Obama’s $500,000 power couple — maverick Netflix content chief Ted Sarandos and wife Nicole Avant, the Beverly Hills-bred former U.S. Ambassador to The Bahamas. Elsewhere in the section, New Girl creator Liz Meriwether imagines her “sexy night with Mitt Romney”; former Designing Women producer Harry Thomason explains how he helped Bill Clinton’s re-election bid, but why he can’t help Obama; and more prominent Hollywood voices, including those of Eva Longoria and Dustin Lance Black on the issues that get them riled.

Netflix chief content officer Sarandos is the man everyone in Hollywood wants a meeting with. Avant, recently back from her post in The Bahamas, is a former music executive and actress who was a critical member of the L.A. campaign team that in 2008 brought in $21 million for Obama — only $1.9 million shy of what the president’s hometown, Chicago, raised. Now the couple is working together, and are among Los Angeles’ most high-profile and talked-about power duos, a pair who bridge the worlds of technology, entertainment and politics like no one else in town.

Enjoy your morning and here is Dan Walters and the daily video file from Sacramento: Tax measure polling problematic for Jerry Brown

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Feb 23 2012

Flap’s California Morning Collection: February 23, 2012

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California Mission

The California Legislature is in session. Today’s schedule is here.

On to today’s California headlines:

Defense of Marriage Act ruled unconstitutional by judge

A judge on Wednesday declared the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional and ordered the federal government to ignore the statute and provide health benefits to the wife of a lesbian federal court employee.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey S. White was the first since the Obama administration announced a year ago that it would no longer defend a law it considers discriminatory and reflective of a long history of denying equal rights to gays and lesbians.

White ordered the federal Office of Personnel Management to enroll the wife of Karen Golinski, an attorney for the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, in the health benefits program available to other employees of the federal judiciary. The Defense of Marriage Act prohibits the extension of federal benefits to same-sex spouses, and Golinski’s wife, Amy Cunninghis, had been repeatedly denied coverage since the couple married in 2008.

“The court finds that DOMA, as applied to Ms. Golinski, violates her right to equal protection of the law … without substantial justification or rational basis,” wrote White, who was named to the federal bench a decade ago by President George W. Bush.

White’s ruling echoed that of a Massachusetts judge who in 2010 deemed parts of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, a case now on appeal before the U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals.

Ban on sports drinks at CA middle and high schools proposed

Sugary sports drinks would be banned during the school day at middle and high school campuses under legislation proposed this month in the Assembly.

Assembly Bill 1746 would restrict middle and high school sales of sports drinks – called “electrolyte replacement beverages” in the bill – to before and after each school day.

Sports drinks already are prohibited at elementary school campuses, according to Assemblyman Das Williams, a Santa Barbara Democrat who proposed AB 1746. The California Medical Association is among the sponsors of the bill.

CA Finance director pleads no contest to DUI charge

California state finance director Ana Matosantos pleaded no contest Tuesday to driving over the legal limit for alcohol last year in downtown Sacramento.

Matosantos was sentenced by Sacramento Superior Court Judge James P. Arguelles to three years informal probation and two days on the sheriff’s work program, for which she has the option of serving in home detention, according to her lawyer, Megan Virga.

The finance director also was required to complete a three-month DUI program and to pay a fine of $2,200, Virga said. The terms of her plea are standard for first-time offenders.

Field Poll: Obama resurgent in California

President Barack Obama is enjoying a mini-renaissance in California.

Golden State voters are giving him a higher job approval rating and larger margins of victory over potential GOP challengers than they did three months ago. And they are more confident about the future of the nation, according to a new Field Poll.

Obama’s job ratings had slipped below 50 percent last summer in a state dominated by his fellow Democrats. The new poll shows him up to 53 percent approval, still well below a 65 percent peak in 2009.

The president also has widened his lead over potential GOP opponent Mitt Romney. He leads a hypothetical Romney matchup, 55 percent to 35 percent, mostly on the strength of nonpartisans moving to his camp. Similarly, Obama leads former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, 60 percent to 32 percent, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, 56 percent to 33 percent.

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Feb 15 2012

Flap’s California Morning Collection: February 15, 2012

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Mission San Antonio de Padua, Jolon in Monterey County, California

The California Legislature is in session. Today’s schedule is here.

On to today’s California headlines:

Obama heads West to stock up on campaign funds

President Barack Obama is coming to the West Coast for a little fundraising love.

Air Force One is set to touch down at LAX at 4 p.m. Obama will then attend a dinner at the Beverly Hills home of soap opera writer and producer Bradley Bell, famous for “The Bold and the Beautiful,” according to this Annenberg TV News report. A Foo Fighters concert is also on the menu.

The president will also make stops in San Francisco and Seattle on Thursday and Friday.

California economic reports forecast modest growth

Things are looking up for California’s beleaguered economy as the recovery from the recession hits a period of slow, modest growth this year and next, according to two economic reports.

Over the next two years, the state is poised to add nearly half a million jobs and drive the current 11.1% unemployment rate down to nearly 10%, the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. said in an annual forecast scheduled to be released Wednesday.

And on Tuesday, financial rating company Standard & Poor’s upgraded its outlook on California’s ability to repay its debts to “positive” from “stable.”

“We think the state is poised for credit improvement — and potentially a higher rating,” S&P said.

An upgrade in the state’s credit rating would be “a powerful vote of confidence,” Gov. Jerry Brown said.

California’s improved financial condition, however, is based partly on continued budget cutting, which has fallen heavily on government jobs and services. The state lost 85,500 local, state and federal government jobs since the start of the recession in December 2007.

Herdt: For county Democrats, a runaway bride

When a politician, especially one who appears to be flying high, drops out of a political race much speculation inevitably follows.

So it is in Ventura County this week, as bystanders try to ascertain why Supervisor Steve Bennett, the frontrunner in the Democratic field, dropped out of the House race on Saturday minutes before delegates at the state convention were about to award him the party’s endorsement.

In a prepared statement, Bennett offered three reasons:

• “It is clear my approach to public service” is more effective working on local issues.

• He is concerned that having multiple Democrats on the ballot could result in a Republican and an independent finishing first and second in June. He urged the party to unite behind a single candidate.

• He was worried that the election of any of the announced candidates for his supervisorial seat would result in “a significant philosophical shift on the board.”

OK. But what’s the real reason?

Conejo Valley schools superintendent says city needs redevelopment money

The superintendent of the Conejo Valley Unified School District, Jeff Baarstad, says he would recommend taking legal action if the district is no longer entitled to millions of dollars it would have received through the now abolished Thousand Oaks Redevelopment Agency.

“We are owed $1 million a year for the next 10 years in a RDA pass-through agreement, and we will consider legal action if the state or county review says that pass-through agreement is not an enforceable obligation,” Baarstad said.

Under the terms of the bill passed into law last year by the California Legislature,redevelopment agencies were to be eliminated and were required to prepare a list of what they consider to be enforceable financial obligations.

California state sales tax rate highest, but overall rate ranks 12th

California has the nation’s highest state sales tax rate, but its overall rate, including local sales taxes, drops to 12th highest, according to a new report from the Tax Foundation, a Washington-based organization that collects nationwide tax data.

Tennessee, the Tax Foundation says, has the nation’s highest average sales tax rate of 9.45 percent, followed by Arizona and Louisiana. Five states levy no sales taxes, but of those that do, Colorado is lowest at 4.54 percent.

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Dec 01 2011

President 2012 California Poll Watch: Obama Leads Romney and Gingrich But Job Approval Lackluster

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US President Barack Obama speaks on payroll tax cuts at Scranton High School in Scranton, Pennsylvania, November 30, 2011

According to the latest California Field Poll.

Only 45% of California voters say they are inclined to have Barack Obama serve another term as President. But his reelection prospects improve greatly when he is paired against each of his two leading GOP challengers in general election match-ups. Obama now leads Mitt Romney by ten points (50% to 40%) and holds a more commanding twenty-point lead over former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (55% to 35%) in general election trial heats.

Obama’s job ratings in this state remain lackluster, with 48% approving and 44% disapproving. However, these marks are somewhat better than what he is receiving nationally, where the average of his poll ratings are 44% approve and 51% disapprove.

In respect to how voters here think about the overall direction of the U.S., 70% believe the country is seriously off on the wrong track. This appraisal is virtually the same as Californians’ assessments of the direction the country was heading during the last year of the George W. Bush administration.

These results come from a statewide survey among a representative sample of 1,000 California voters conducted November 15-27.

President Obama owns California, should win handily, but there is some danger for California Democrats who are down ticket. If there is no great enthusiasm to re-elect Obama, California voters are apt to stay home and not bother to vote.

This will help California GOP candidates who may be running in districts that have close Democrat Vs. Republican registration numbers.

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