Tag: Barack Obama

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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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.

Enjoy your morning!

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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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President 2012 California Poll Watch: All Obama – All of the Time

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According to the latest Survey USA Poll.

SurveyUSA looks at the two most likely Republican nominees, alone and paired as a Republican ticket, running against the existing Democratic ticket of Barack Obama and Joe Biden, and a new Democratic ticket of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Here is the progression of match-ups, and the results:

 

* Obama 50% 

* Romney 39%

* Democrat by 11 points.

 

* Obama 56%

* Gingrich 32%

* Democrat by 24 points.

 

* Democratic ticket of Obama-Biden 52%

* Republican ticket of Romney-Gingrich 38%

* Democrats by 14 points.

 

* Democratic ticket of Obama-Clinton 57%

* Republican ticket of Romney-Gingrich 35%

* Democrats by 22 points.

 

* Democratic ticket of Obama-Biden 53%

* Republican ticket of Gingrich-Romney 35%

* Democrats by 18 points.

 

* Democratic ticket of Obama-Clinton 57%

* Republican ticket of Gingrich-Romney 33%

* Democrats by 24 points.

There will not be much Presidential advertising done in California in 2012. There is littole doubt that President Obama will cruise to an easy win in California.

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Flap’s California Morning Collection: October 24, 2011

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Monterey, California

The California Legislature is not in session.

But, the Senior Legislature is.

The California Senior Legislature opens its 31st session at 9 a.m. in the Assembly chambers. Listed speakers for the four-day event include Attorney General Kamala Harris, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, Health and Human Services Secretary Diane Dooley and Democratic Assemblyman Paul Fong of Cupertino. More information is here.

And, President Obama is accessing his California Campaign ATM again.

President Barack Obama makes another swing through California this week, starting with a fundraiser tonight in Los Angeles and a sit-down with Jay Leno.

The commander in chief’s evening, in fact, will be chock-full of big Southern California names.

Air Force One is scheduled to land at LAX at 4:50 p.m., after which Obama will be whisked to the home of Hollywood notables Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas. There, “Desperate Housewives” star Eva Longoria is co-hosting a Latino gala fundraiser for Obama and the Democratic National Committee.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro are among those expected to attend. Tickets range from $5,000 to $35,800.

Plus, I am in Los Angeles today and am praying the President’s Air Force One is late, so I can get back to Thousand Oaks uneventfully around 5 PM tonight.

On to today’s headlines:

Jail expansion: Counties seek millions from state

California counties are lining up to secure millions of dollars in state funds to expand jails now that Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan is under way to shift the incarceration of some felons from prisons to jails.

But while many county officials cheer the availability of $600 million in state funds to add more jail beds, opponents of prison expansion say building more incarceration space will discourage prosecutors, police and other public safety officials from seeking alternatives to lockups.

“We’re terrified that California … is using realignment as a cover to push unnecessary and unneeded jail expansion projects,” said Emily Harris, statewide coordinator for Californians United for a Responsible Budget, a coalition of more than 40 groups focused on limiting prison spending. “It eliminates the incentive for counties to do things differently.”

Brown’s program, known as realignment, took effect Oct. 1 and is designed to ease prison overcrowding by sentencing thousands of nonviolent felons to county jails instead of state prisons.

California leads way in putting Amazon in its place

California’s role as a pioneer of crucial social, political and technological movements — the Internet, clean air standards, property tax reform, Lindsay Lohan case law — is part of the legacy we teach our schoolchildren.

In that context, it’s not too early to ponder the state’s role in putting Amazon.com in its place, even though the ink is not quite dry on the deal signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last month requiring the giant online retailer to collect sales tax on purchases by its California customers.

The settlement shut down a potentially ugly fight that started when Brown signed a bill finding that the company’s physical presence within the state was sufficient to require it to collect sales tax, then was escalated by Amazon’s launching of a campaign to place a repeal referendum on the June 2012 state ballot.

The company backed up its threat with a $5.25-million fund for signature-gathering and other purposes. The original bill was designed to comply with a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court decision holding that a state couldn’t force a business to collect sales tax unless the business had a physical presence, such as a store or office, within its borders.

The deal pushes off Amazon’s duty to collect California sales tax until next September, unless Congress passes a bill simplifying sales taxes nationwide first. (Don’t hold your breath.) That means the loss of one year’s revenue, which has been estimated at $200 million.

In return, Amazon has dropped the referendum and made an informal commitment to open two distribution centers, or warehouses, and create about 10,000 jobs in the state.

The key question, of course, is who won? I’ve been thinking about that lately, because the outcome of the battle of California has been resonating in the halls of Congress and statehouses across the country.

“The tide is turning, a little,” Michael Mazerov, who has followed the issue for the Washington-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, told me. “Will Amazon throw in the towel? It’s too early to say.”

What’s clear is that a key mechanism of Amazon’s business model, which was to exploit the price advantage it gained by not collecting sales tax from its customers, is beginning to come apart, in no small degree because of California.

Since bricks-and-mortar retailers as well as some of Amazon’s online rivals collected the tax at the point of sale either by law or voluntarily, the difference could come to as much as 10%. (Among Internet-only retailers of general merchandise that haven’t been collecting sales tax in California, Amazon, with $34 billion in sales in 2010, is the big dog by a huge margin; the next biggest, according to the marketing website Internet Retailer, appears to be L.L. Bean, which owns retail stores and outlets mostly in the East and had $1.4 billion in sales in 2010.)

“We won,” says Lenny Goldberg of the California Tax Reform Assn., who supported the compromise. He observes that if Amazon had placed its referendum on the June ballot, the law Brown signed would have been suspended at least until the vote — and repeal would have been a real possibility. In other words, the compromise gained Amazon little more than three additional months free of collecting, while removing the threat that the law would be overturned.

And what of that promise of warehouses and jobs? Although new jobs and construction aren’t to be sneezed at in today’s crummy economy, these will likely be low-wage positions.

Moreover, to maintain its reputation for speed and efficiency Amazon eventually would need expanded distribution facilities in California, its largest domestic market, no matter what.

California’s agreement has led other states to reconsider the sweetheart deals they offered Amazon on tax collection in the past, when the company insisted on exemptions in return for the construction of in-state warehouses and hiring of hundreds or even thousands of workers. In Tennessee, for example, former Gov. Phil Bredesen, a Democrat, quietly cut a deal to exempt the company from collecting sales tax as part of a deal to attract at least two distribution centers that Amazon had threatened to build across the state line in Georgia. How quiet was this arrangement? State officials aren’t even sure if it was set down in writing, as opposed to being a “handshake deal.”

Barack Obama Campaign Strategy Keeping Hollywood Out of Sight

Like every Democrat, President Barack Obama covets Hollywood’s financial support. But there’s a growing sense that he doesn’t want to be seen with industry figures.

A source close to the White House tells The Hollywood Reporter it was no accident stars were absent from an Oct. 13 state dinner for Korean president Lee Myung-bak. Industry attendees included only American Beauty producer Bruce Cohen and the evening’s performers, the Ahn Trio sisters and singer Janelle Monae.

Celebrities have long been a fixture at White House gatherings. Obama’s previous state dinners have included such A-listers as Steven Spielberg, Barbra Streisand, David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg.

But Obama might want to put visual distance between himself and boldface names. Facing a close race, strategists might want to head off allegations that he is starstruck, as GOP candidate John McCain portrayed him in 2008 ads.

Obama seems to be positioning himself as a guy on the side of the middle and working classes. Being photographed with wealthy celebrities while preparing for a possible run against Mitt Romney could undermine his effort, especially if he intends to portray the former Massachusetts governor as a rich man who doesn’t care about working people and who laid a fair number of them off.

“State dinners need to make an imprint, but they shouldn’t be ostentatious at a time when Obama is spending all day talking about jobs and the economy,” says Donna Bojarsky, a public policy consultant. “Everyone gets it.”

The president’s longtime friend George Clooney stayed mostly out of sight in 2008, saying he’d learned a lesson when his father lost a congressional seat after a campaign in which his celebrity son was very visible. Still, Obama will be back in Hollywood on Oct. 24 for private fund-raisers co-hosted by Eva Longoria, Melanie Griffith and Will Smith.

Enjoy your morning!

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