February 15, 2012 archive

Lance Armstrong Foundation Donates $1.5 Million to Raise California Tobacco Tax


Lance Armstrong

This is a no brainer.

Champion cyclist Lance Armstrong said today that his LIVESTRONG Foundation is making a $1.5 million contribution to support a June ballot measure that would increase the state tobacco tax to raise money for cancer research and anti-smoking programs.

Armstrong, a cancer survivor, previously supported the drive to qualify Proposition 29 for the ballot. He said the measure “will save lives, stop kids from smoking” and support the search for cancer cures.

“We feel that it’s worth every penny,” he said of the proposed $1-a-pack tax hike.

Backers of the June ballot measure include the American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association.

I support Proposition 29 as well and will vote for it in June.

As far as I am concerned, they cannot raise this tax high enough, for all of the human misery tobacco products cause.

By the way, this tax will easily pass at the California ballot box.


Flap’s California Morning Collection: February 15, 2012


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.

Enjoy your morning!


SD-27: California Assemblyman Cameron Smyth Declines a State Senate Run


Scott Wilk (Assembly candidate for Smyth’s seat), Lena Smyth and California Assemblyman Cameron Smyth

Looks like Agoura Hills Democrat California state Senator Fran Pavley will have an easy time winning re-election this November.

Republican Assemblyman Cameron Smyth has decided not to run for the state Senate this year.

Smyth had been mentioned as a possible GOP candidate to butt heads with Democratic Sen. Fran Pavley for a Ventura County swing seat, the 27th Senate District.

“I just felt the seat wasn’t right for me at this time – not the right seat, not the right time,” Smyth said.

The Santa Clarita resident said he has decided to return to his Southern California home and be a “better husband and better father” after he is termed out of the Assembly this year. He has three children, ages 8, 5 and 18 months.

Smyth, a government relations consultant before entering the Legislature, said he is not sure where or in what field he will work next year.

“I’m a conservative at heart and I’ve never expected to spend my entire career chasing a government paycheck,” he said.

The fact is with redistricting, this race would be tough for any Republican.

Here is the district map:

Around the Capitol has the breakdown of the SD-27.

Democrat Pavley is a long time POL who has been active in the newly drawn district for years. She has a ton of campaign cash. The State Senate District has been redrawn with a more Democratic Party voter demographic.

Is there any doubt why Cameron Smyth took a pass on this race?

Smyth is young, and experienced. If he wants more politics, there will be more suitable races in his future – like 74 year old Rep. Buck McKeon’s seat – eventually.


Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-02-15


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