Category: CA-30

May 23 2012

Flap’s California Morning Collection: May 23, 2012

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Mission San Carlos Borroméo del río Carmelo, Carmel, California

Good Tuesday morning!

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

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

President Obama and Republican Speaker Boehner are in California today hitting up donors for campaign cash.

President Barack Obama is back in California for the second time this month, scheduled for two campaign fundraisers this evening in the Bay Area.

First up, dinner in Atherton where tickets cost $38,500 a pop, then a reception at the Fox Theater in Redwood City, where tickets start at $250 and Ben Harper is scheduled to play. Obama won’t be venturing any farther east than that before Air Force One heads out on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Republican House Speaker John Boehner will be in the Bay Area himself tonight at a fundraiser co-hosted by California Reps. Jeff Denham, Dan Lungren, Wally Herger and David Dreier. Tickets top out at $35,800 for the reception at Stacey and Tom Siebel’s Woodside home.

On to today’s California headlines:

Brown makes pitch to business leaders for tax hikes

Gov. Jerry Brown hopes that if he can convince business leaders to support his tax-hike initiative, otherwise skeptical voters might just go along with it.

But, he acknowledged Tuesday, it won’t be easy for business groups to go against their philosophy of resisting taxes, so he called on them to “think of something larger than just your small place, wherever you are” to help the state get out from underneath a $15.7 billion deficit.

“This is a bigger challenge than usual, but California is the biggest state and certainly the most creative and most dynamic,” he said in a 25-minute address to the state Chamber of Commerce’s 87th annual Host Breakfast. “But along with innovation, we have to have another virtue — and that’s called courage.”

Since he released his revised budget last week, the governor has been fending off criticism within the state and outside. Conservatives derided his budget, saying California is going the way of Greece, a nation forced to take drastic action to avoid default.

Dan Walters: Jerry Brown struggles on three fronts on state budget

As the state budget’s deficit widens, Gov. Jerry Brown is being thrust into a three-front political battle.

He must not only persuade voters to pass his sales and income tax package, but, implicitly, persuade them to reject a rival tax measure just for schools.

Meanwhile, Brown is pressing liberal Democratic legislators to ignore their political DNA by making deeper cuts in health and welfare programs, not only to close the deficit but to bolster appeals to voters for new taxes.

“It’s not easy,” Brown told hundreds of business and civic figures gathered Tuesday in Sacramento for the annual Host Breakfast.

“We’re getting there,” Brown continued. “We’re making the cuts. But we also need the revenues.”

Brown had been cultivating business groups to support his original tax plan, but they cooled when he shifted gears to satisfy rivals on the left, reducing the sales tax element and sharply boosting income taxes on high-income taxpayers, including many attendees at Tuesday’s event.

California Legislative Analyst OKs mortgage settlement cash shift

Part of California’s share of a national legal settlement with five big mortgage banks can be used to help fill a $15.7-billion hole in the governor’s proposed budget, the state Legislature’s non-partisan policy advisor recommended.

The Legislative Analyst’s Office on Tuesday reported that the $411 million should be used for a variety of general purposes in the current spending year and the one that begins July 1.

Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris, who reached the settlement with other state chief law officers, wanted to use about one-tenth of the $411 million to defray her department’s legal costs and the balance on mortgage-related financial counseling and education.

The bulk of California’s share of the settlement money, $17.6 billion, is not being sought by Gov. Jerry Brown. The funds are earmarked to provide direct benefits to homeowners trying to lower payments on their mortgages. It also will cover damages for borrowers who were unfairly or illegally foreclosed upon during the recession of 2007-09 and its aftermath.

But Brown announced that he wants to use the $411 million to pay interest on housing bonds and to fund housing anti-discrimination programs.

In a report to lawmakers, the analyst’s office report stressed that grabbing the settlement money “makes sense given the state’s fiscal situation” because “the settlement provides damages that were awarded directly to the state that are not being held in trust for particular individuals.”

Howard Berman, Brad Sherman jockey over credit for 405 Freeway expansion

Congressmen Howard Berman and Brad Sherman – locked in a heated congressional race – tussled Tuesday over which politician is responsible for the recent expansion of the 405 Freeway.

Both politicians helped secure funds for the 405 widening near the Ventura (101) Freeway, but it’s unclear which did more of the heavy lifting to make the expansion a reality.

Berman appeared Tuesday at a press event overlooking the traffic-clogged 405 to argue he was responsible for securing $130 million in federal funds that kick-started the project.

“It was a great victory,” Berman said, looking down at the 405 from atop the Sherman Oaks Galleria. “(Valley residents) might not feel that victory now, but when this project is completed, they will see the wisdom.”

The highway widening, planned decades ago, has become an unexpected campaign issue between Berman and Sherman.

The two longtime incumbent Democrats are pitted against each other in the June 5 primary after the redistricting process put them both in the same 30th Congressional District. The race also includes Republican candidates Mark Reed and Susan Shelley. The top two vote-getters will move on to the general election in November.

Enjoy your morning and Dan Walters’ Daily video:Prop. 29 would raise over $700 million a year

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Feb 22 2012

CA-30: Sen Barbara Boxer Endorses Rep Howard Berman

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Rep. Howard Berman

California Senator Barbara Boxer has entered the Democratic Party intra-fight in the San Fernando Valley by endorsing Rep. Howard Berman.

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-California) has decided to endorse Rep. Howard Berman (D-Valley Village) in his bruising intraparty fight with Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) for a newly drawn San Fernando Valley congressional district seat.

In a letter  to Berman dated Monday, Boxer said she was abandoning her position of neutrality because of a mailer the Sherman campaign sent out which Boxer said “outrageously tries to connect you to the San Bruno tragedy.”

The Sherman campaign sent the mailer to call attention to an independent expenditure by a PG&E, which has contributed $10,000 to support Berman.  PG&E is operating as a “super PAC” — a corporate campaign organization that can spend unlimited amounts for or against candidates so long as they do not coordinate with the candidate they are supporting.  At least one other super PAC has contributed to elect Berman.

Sherman has urged Berman to sign a pledge aimed at neutralizing Super PACs, which Sherman expects to play a big role helping reelect Berman over himself.  Berman so far  has ignored Sherman’s entreaty to “sign the pledge.”

The mailer refers to 2010’s PG&E pipeline explosion in San Bruno that killed eight people, injured others and leveled homes.  “Instead of spending money to make their pipelines safer, PG&E is donating to a Super Pac set up to elected Congressman Howard Berman,” the mailer says.

California’s senior Senator Democrat Dianne Feinstein has already endorsed Rep. Berman.

One has to wonder at this point whether Rep. Brad Sherman may be reconsidering his decision to not move to Thousand Oaks or Oak Park and run in CA-26?

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Feb 20 2012

CA-30: Rep Brad Sherman Will Face Off Against Rep Howard Berman and NOT Move to Thousand Oaks

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Guess Rep. Brad Sherman does not want to move out to Ventura County and will stay put in the Valley.

The congressman isn’t trading Sherman Oaks for Thousand Oaks, according to Sherman’s campaign consultant, Parke Skelton.

“No, Brad Sherman is not running in the 26th,” Skelton said in an email Friday.

So it’s on to Tuesday night, when Sherman and Berman are scheduled to square off in their second debate of the campaign, a forum sponsored by the Jewish Journal.

Republican California State Senator Tony Strickland has to be considered the front-runner in the CA-26 race (Ventura County) and will face NO incumbent Congressional incumbent.

Looks like this seat will remain Republican.

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Feb 07 2012

Flap’s California Morning Collection: February 7, 2012

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Hearst Castle, San Simeone, California

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

On to today’s California headlines:

Competing California tax measures move ahead without Brown’s blessings

Gov. Jerry Brown had hoped that by now, he’d have the field all to himself in his appeal to voters for new taxes.

But Brown, whose plan would raise income taxes on those making $250,000 or more and hike the sales tax by a half cent, is feeling the heat from the left: two other groups who are seeking to place tax-hike initiatives on the November ballot made it clear Monday they are in the race for the long haul.

The campaign to raise taxes on millionaires, headed by the California Federation of Teachers, kicked off its signature-gathering campaign with rush-hour banner displays on highway overpasses throughout California. And wealthy civil rights attorney Molly Munger gave a full-throated defense of her separate tax-hike initiative at the California PTA’s state conference, promising she’d reach into her own deep pockets to ensure a win on behalf of schools.

“We’re going to get this on the ballot and we’re going to win, too,” Munger told reporters after addressing the PTA group, “because we’re prepared to not only get on the ballot but be sure it has a very strong campaign behind it.”

Another group with a tax-hike plan, Think Long, headed by billionaire Nicolas Berggruen, recently backed off from its ballot measure plans, a relief to Brown.

While the governor has said he worries that more than one tax-hike initiative could doom them all because of potential confusion among voters, people from both campaigns said they

believe more than one tax hike can survive November.

California: AFSCME Picks Berman Over Sherman

Rep. Howard Berman (Calif.) has won the endorsement of a second major labor union in the last month for his primary battle with fellow Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman.

The California arm of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees announced it is backing Berman, who “has been a tireless advocate for the rights of public employees, defending workers’ rights in the courtroom as a labor lawyer and working to achieving collective bargaining rights for thousands of California public employees during his tenure in the state Legislature,” said Barbara Blake, an executive board member.

Initiative would make Legislature part time, slash its pay

A proposal by Assemblywoman Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) probably won’t make her many friends among her colleagues. She wants to reduce the Legislature to part-time status and cut its pay from $95,000 annually to $1,500 a month.

Grove is one of the organizers of an initiative that was approved Monday to begin circulating petitions toward qualifying for the ballot. The constitutional amendment would limit regular legislative sessions to 30 days each January and 60 days starting each May. In odd-numbered years, the legislative sessions would be devoted to budget issues.

In addition to slashing lawmakers’ pay, the measure would limit employment while they are in office. State financial officials say it could cut lawmakers’ salaries, travel and living expenses and staff costs by tens of millions of dollars annually.

Feds block cuts to California’s Medi-Cal program

The state’s effort to make Medi-Cal recipients dig into their wallets for co-pays was blocked by the federal government Monday.

Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration will appeal the decision, said H.D. Palmer, a spokesman for the California Department of Finance. Unless the decision is reversed, the state will need to shell out an additional $575 million in the next fiscal year, Palmer said.

The state wanted low-income residents using Medi-Cal to pay $5 for doctor visits, $3 for prescriptions and up to $200 for hospital visits.

But the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, which had to approve the change because Medi-Cal is part of the federal MediCaid program, said the state’s plan would violate part of the Social Security Act.

“We recognize the needs of states to keep costs down and are supportive of the goal to promote cost-effective use of health care services,” said Brian Cook, a spokesman for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, part of Health & Human Services. “We are denying this amendment as it is inconsistent with statute.”

Enjoy your morning!

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Jan 23 2012

California Election 2012: California Democratic Party Pre-Endorsement Conferences

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Scott Lay at AroundtheCapitol.com and The Nooner has the breakdown on some of the results.

The Democratic Party held pre-endorsement conferences around the state over the weekend for state legislative and congressional races. Candidates receiving 70% of the vote of delegates to the conferences will be placed on the “consent calendar” for endorsement at the party’s February 10-12 convention. If one candidate receives more than 50% but less than 70% of the vote, the endorsement for that district will be considered at caucuses held at the convention. The candidate that received over 50% is listed here for reference, but they are not the only eligible candidate for the endorsement for that district at the convention caucuses. Here’s the official guide from the California Democratic Party.

Of interest to Ventura County are the following:

  • SD19 – Hannah-Beth Jackson – over 70%
  • SD27 – Fran Pavley – over 70%
  • CD26 – Steve Bennett – over 70%
  • CD30 – Brad Sherman – 50% – to convention

If you  are confused as to what these California Democratic Party Pre-endorsement conferences are or how they work, then head over to read John Meyer’s post here.

Thankfully, the California GOP will NOT weigh in with such a convoluted process – much to the dismay of California Republican Party Big Wigs who would like to be in control.

California voters will just have to decide for themselves, as to who is GOP enough and who is the RINO, I suppose.

I trust the voters, to make the RIGHT choice.

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