February 8, 2012 archive

Flap’s California Afternoon Collection: February 8, 2012


Newt Gingrich is coming to California

These are my links for February 8th:

  • Another Shot at Tax Break Democrats Love to Hate -“For the last several years, Democrats have been relentless at trying to undo a hotly debated tax incentive for large corporations that was signed into law as part of the 2009 deal. And now they’re launching another shot.

    The 2012 edition of “Cancel That Corporate Tax Break” at the state Capitol kicks off with a novel, and perhaps politically powerful, proposal from Assembly Speaker John Perez: use the resulting $1 billion in extra tax revenue to dramatically downsize the cost of a college education for middle-class families.

    Perez formally introduced his plan Wednesday afternoon, to be contained in two bills — AB 1500 and AB 1501. One bill will modify the state law allowing national corporations to calculate their tax liability based on their sales revenues inside California; the second bill will create a need-based scholarship for all UC and CSU students whose families make between $70,000 and $150,000 a year… a scholarship paid for with the higher corporate tax revenues.

    Perez called it a matter of “tax equity” in a conference call with reporters launching his PR blitz, and even suggested that easing the financial pressures of California college students could itself provide an economic stimulus, given the widely agreed on importance of higher education to the state’s economy.”

  • California pension reform group suspends initiative campaign -“A group that hoped to put a sweeping public employee pension reform measure on the November ballot is suspending its campaign.

    “It’s a sad day for pension reform in California,” said Aaron McLear, spokesman for Sacramento-based California Pension Reform.

    Although the group had drafted two measures that qualified for signature collection, it couldn’t raise the $2 million or so needed to mount the petition effort for either one. “

  • Assembly speaker wants to trade tax breaks for scholarships -“Assembly Speaker John Pérez announced Wednesday he will push to end corporate tax breaks in order to lower tuition by two-thirds for middle-class, California students at state universities.

    “The pressures of the recession and massive fee increases have eroded, or even ended, the dream of higher education for too many California families,” Pérez (D-Los Angeles) said in a statement. “Now it is time for our state to reinvest in our system of higher education.”

    The plan would be financed by canceling $1 billion in tax breaks that benefit large, out-of-state corporations and began in 2009.

    The additional revenue would finance scholarships for students whose families make less than $150,000 a year but earn too much to qualify for financial aid. If eligible, California State University students would save $4,000 per year, and University of California students would save about $8,200 per year.

    Roughly 150,000 CSU students and 43,000 UC students could be affected by the plan.”

  • It’s California time for Newt Gingrich -“Newt Gingrich is headed to California next week to bolster his campaign’s dwindling bank account.

    Spokesman R.C. Hammond announced Wednesday that Gingrich would hold eight fundraisers in the three-day swing through the Golden State. He’ll then head to friendly territory in Georgia — the state he represented for 11 terms in the U.S. House — to stump and enlarge his warchest. Georgia is a part of a slew of states that vote on Super Tuesday or March 6.”

  • Vin Scully on working: ‘I don’t want to lose my friends’ -“In the March issue of Golf Digest, Dodgers broadcaster (and former CBS golf announcer) Vin Scully talks about his love of the game and of just being out on the course. “The crack of the bat in baseball is a gorgeous sound,” he tells Guy Yocom. “But you don’t quite get the full effect unless you’re very close to the field, because the roar of the crowd often gets to you before the crack of the bat does. In golf, there is all that delicious silence, so the sound of a top pro hitting the ball is so pure. The feeling the pro gets—that sweet sensation that goes through the hands, up the arms and into the heart—the sound gives the fans a taste of that.”

    Scully shares some favorite experiences on the course at Bel-Air Country Club with the late columnist Jim Murray and others, such as Sandy Koufax. He also shares some of his fears about retirement and why he’s coming back next month for his 63rd season with the Dodgers at age 84.”

  • The State Worker: California pension reform group suspends initiative campaign -“A group that hoped to put a sweeping public employee pension reform measure on the November ballot is suspending its campaign.

    “It’s a sad day for pension reform in California,” said Aaron McLear, spokesman for Sacramento-based California Pension Reform.

    Although the group had drafted two measures that qualified for signature collection, it couldn’t raise the $2 million or so needed to mount the petition effort for either one.

    In November, Calfornia Pension Reform submitted a proposal to put future state and local public employees into defined contribution plans and another measure that would have shifted future workers into hybrid pensions. In January, it received the title and summary for both, intending to determine which would poll better and then shop that plan to potential campaign donors.”

Enjoy your afternoon!


Updated: AD-38: Rep. Buck McKeon Caught Covering His Bases for Himself and California Assembly Candidate Wife Patricia McKeon


The memo from Rep. Buck McKeon’s communications director  “a recap of current strategy call” — addressed  to Chief of Staff Bob Cochran, Deputy Chief of Staff Bob Haueter and political consultant Tony Marsh is included in the bottom of the post.


Speaker Boehner, Patricia McKeon and Rep. Buck McKeon

As I said in a previous post, this California Assembly race is starting to heat up. The latest is the partial release of a memo by Roll Call that outlines Rep. Buck McKeon’s strategy in deflecting attention away from a revelation of his dealings with Countrywide Financial. The link to the Roll Call Story is here.

When House Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) became ensnared by the Countrywide mortgage scandal last month, his senior staff came together for a strategy session to decide how to throw colleagues, potential challengers and former employees under the bus.

McKeon is one of four Members referred to the House Ethics Committee to discern whether Countrywide provided preferential treatment to influential lawmakers through an exclusive loan program.

McKeon’s communications director drafted a memo — “a recap of current strategy call” — and addressed it to Chief of Staff Bob Cochran, Deputy Chief of Staff Bob Haueter and political consultant Tony Marsh.

The memo included a reference to a California state Assembly race that pits a former McKeon staffer, Scott Wilk, against McKeon’s wife, Patricia. Wilk previously worked as McKeon’s press secretary and later his district director.

According to the memo, McKeon’s strategy should include “thorough background checks into the relationships between Wilk, [Wilk’s political consultant, Jason Cable] Roe, and their recent shady political connections.”

When asked for comment, Wilk replied: “Well, you [have] got to remember this Assembly seat and his new Congressional seat are all in the same area. … Mr. McKeon has been catching some grief from the right.”

OK, so Buck McKeon is a typical POL who doesn’t care who he throws under the bus, as long as his ass is covered and his wife wins a California Assembly seat – funded by Buck’s defense contractor buddies.

Pretty typical POL stuff, right?

Well, this afternoon, Patricia McKeon’s opponent’s (Scott Wilk) wife got into the FLAP.

You see, Vanessa Wilk has sent Rep. Buck McKeon a letter, asking him to apologize about saying all of those nasty things about her husband, Scott.

Here is the letter:

McKeon Letter 02072012

What is interesting is that Congressman Buck McKeon has been working or can you say conspiring to defame his wife’s political opponents. Hope you weren’t spending government time on this endeavor, Buck?

OK, maybe this is understandable in the world of hardball politics( not too ethical, mind you), except Buck himself is up for re-election this year and now has his own scandal with Countrywide on his hands. So, divert that attention, Buck to save your own ass.

Somehow I think there will be more dirty tricks in this race, than either side will want or will care to admit.

Oh yeah, Vanessa, I doubt a POL like Buck will return you hard-earned contributions…




AD-38: Why is Patricia McKeon Protecting Her Assembly Candidacy Tweets?


This is kind of strange in this era of social media.

But, then again, her website at patriciamckeon.com is not up either:

But, never fear, Patricia is on Facebook and you can “LIKE” her Facebook Page here.

But, Patricia, really needs to unprotect her tweets and get a website.

You know, get with the times….


AD-38: Scott Wilk Receives the Endorsement of California Young Republicans


From the press release.

Republican Assembly candidate Scott Wilk has received the endorsement of the California Young Republican Federation, the statewide Young Republican organization representing thousands of Young Republicans from chapters throughout California.  The statewide endorsement follows the already strong endorsement of the Ventura County Young Republicans and San Fernando Valley Young Republicans CYRF chapters.

“The fight for the future of our state affects the next generation more than anyone and I am committed to fighting for the things that need to get done to change the direction of our state,” said Wilk.  “I’m not running because I don’t want to pay 10 cents for a grocery bag, I’m running to tackle the big challenges ahead like balancing our budget, and reforming the way the state taxes and regulates business.  We need someone ready to do the heavy lifting that will create jobs and make California the ‘Golden State’ again.”

“Scott Wilk has fought in the trenches of the conservative movement for decades,” said CYRF Executive Director Ashley Ingram.  “We know we can count on him because we’ve worked along side him and seen him in action.  He is the kind of can-do leader we need, not just a seat warmer.  The Young Republicans are proud to stand with him and will work hard to insure his election.”

It seems like Scott Wilk is racking up the endorsements of local and statewide Republican organizations.

In case you missed it
, incumbent Assemblyman Cameron Smyth who is rumored to be running for a California State Senate seat for the Thousand Oaks area (replacing Senator tony Strickland who is running for Congress) will be featured at a fundraising event for Scott Wilk on Saturday.


Flap’s California Morning Collection: February 8, 2012


Mission San Luis Rey de Francia, Oceanside, California

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

On to today’s California headlines:

California Gov. Jerry Brown denies parole for 71 murderers

California Gov. Jerry Brown pardoned 21 people in his first year in office and rejected parole for 71 first- and second-degree murderers who had been recommended for release by the parole board.

Brown did allow for the early release of just one person, Tung Nguyen of Garden Grove, who was convicted of first-degree murder for his role in a motel-room killing in a dispute over money. Nguyen served as a lookout and did not know that his friend had stabbed the victim in the leg, according to a report from Brown’s office. The stab wound punctured the victim’s femoral artery, and he bled to death.

Nguyen was just 16  at the time.

Democrats gear up to fight part-time Legislature measure

A Democratic political strategist and a former Democratic assemblyman will help lead opposition to a proposed ballot initiative that would reduce California’s Legislature to part-time.

Political consultant Steve Maviglio, former spokesman for Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez, said today that he has joined forces with Burbank attorney Dario Frommer, a former Assembly majority leader. Fundraising has not yet begun, Maviglio said.

The group will butt heads with Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield, and with Ted Costa, the head of a political watchdog group, over the duo’s proposed constitutional amendment.

The secretary of state’s office gave the green light Monday for proponents of the proposal to begin collecting the 807,615 valid voter signatures needed to qualify for the November ballot.

Backers hope to encourage the election of citizen legislators who have outside sources of income and are not so politically ambitious that they become overly dependent upon powerful special interests.

The measure calls for the nation’s most populous state to meet three months per year – and for lawmakers’ pay to be cut from $7,940 per month to $1,500 per month – or $18,000 annually.

Jerry Brown affirming more releases of killers than Schwarzenegger, Gray Davis

Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown is far more likely to allow the release of paroled killers from prison than either of California’s two previous governors, newly released records show.

Brown let stand 331 of 405 – roughly 82 percent – of decisions to parole convicted killers by the state Board of Parole Hearings last year, according to an annual report to the Legislature released Tuesday.

By comparison, Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger permitted the release of only about 27 percent of paroled killers, while Democratic Gov. Gray Davis’ numbers were even lower – about 2 percent.

California’s governor has a constitutional right to affirm, modify or reverse such parole board decisions. Brown reversed 71, modified one, and sent two back to the board to reconsider.

Herdt: A way to keep score in California politics

As he was wrapping up his just-concluded term as mayor of Ventura, Bill Fulton observed that the job was not without its political challenges.

“It’s pretty easy to be the mayor of Berkeley and it’s pretty easy to be the mayor of Bakersfield, but it’s pretty hard to be the mayor of both at the same time,” he said.

The point, for those unfamiliar with those two California cities, is that their politics are mostly homogeneous — polar opposites, to be sure, but internally homogeneous.

It’s more challenging to be an elected official in a city such as Ventura, where voters hold politically divergent views.

Thanks to redistricting, many politicians around the state now running for Congress and the Legislature are about to find out what it was like being in Fulton’s shoes.

Dan Walters: Proposition 8 ruling is aimed at U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

“Proposition 8’s only effect … was to withdraw from gays and lesbians the right to employ the designation of ‘marriage’ to describe their committed relationships,” the ruling declared, concluding, “the people of California violated the equal protection clause.”

Assuming that the case reaches the U.S. Supreme Court and that Kennedy is the deciding vote on the issue, would he agree?

Kennedy, a Sacramentan who worked for then-Gov. Ronald Reagan, is notoriously unpredictable, sometimes siding with the four liberals on the court and sometimes with the four conservatives.

But even were he to help overturn Proposition 8, the larger issue of whether same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry would remain unclear.

That would take another case and another day.

Enjoy your morning!

Here is a video of my former State Senator Tom McClintock discussing the economy with the Congressional Budget Office.