Category: The California Flap

The California Flap: January 8, 2013

Share

Mission San Juan Capistrano

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 is here.

Some important deadlines to remember:

  • January 25, 2013: Deadline to send bill ideas to the California Legislative Counsel for drafting.
  • February 22, 2013: Deadline to introduce bills.

Each member of the Assembly and State Senate are allowed to introduce up to 40 bills in this two year legislative session.

By Thursday, California Governor Jerry Brown must submit his proposed budget.

Governor Jerry Brown will deliver his State of the State address on Thursday, January 24 at 9:00 a.m. before a joint legislative session.

On to the morning’s California headlines:

  • Robert Hertzberg endorses Feuer, leaving Trutanich – Hertzberg had previously endorsed Wendy Greuel in the mayoral race.
  • Jim Brulte For Chairman Of The California Republican Party – While he has not made a formal announcement of his candidacy, it has certainly been much talked about that Jim Brulte, the former leader of both Senate and Assembly Republicans, is seeking the Chairmanship of the California Republican Party. This is great news for the party, and for conservatives in California. I am very excited to endorse his candidacy, and will work hard not only to see that he is elected, but look forward to doing what I can to help make sure that under his leadership the CRP is successful.
  • Software update accidentially cancels food stamp cards for 37,000 Californians – About 37,000 Californians who receive food stamps are currently unable to access their benefits after their electronic benefit cards were accidentally cancelled on Sunday.Eighteen counties, including Orange County, administer the state’s food stamp program, known at the state level as CalFresh (and known federally as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP) through a computer application called CalWIN (CalWORKS Information Network).This past weekend, the primary designer of the CalWIN system, Hewlett Packard, sought to update some of the software, but in the process accidentally cancelled the benefit cards of tens of thousands recipients, including more than 6,700 in Orange County, said TerryLynn Fisher, spokeswoman for the Orange County Social Services Agency.
  • U.S. Supreme Court to hear Proposition 8 arguments on March 26 – The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in the legal challenge to Proposition 8 on March 26 and then consider the constitutionality of the federal government’s ban on same-sex marriage benefits the following day.The Supreme Court set the argument schedule Monday in the unfolding legal drama over same-sex marriage rights. The justices would then decide the two cases by the end of the current term in June.The high court agreed to review a federal appeals court’s decision last year invalidating Proposition 8, California’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declared the law unconstitutional because it stripped away a previous right for same-sex couples to marry in California, and Proposition 8 backers are asking the Supreme Court to overturn that ruling.
  • Brown fails to produce prison plan, seeks end of court control – Gov. Jerry Brown contends California no longer needs to reduce overcrowding in the state’s prisons.Federal judges had given the state until midnight Monday to file plans showing how California would meet federal caps on prison populations. Instead, in a motion filed late in the day, the governor’s lawyers asked the judges to lift those caps.”The overcrowding and healthcare conditions cited by this court to support its population reduction order are now a distant memory,” the state’s lawyers contend.

    The governor takes his case on the road Tuesday, with scheduled press conferences in Sacramento and Los Angeles.

  • The Republicans’ Asian Problem – Much has been made, both before and after last November’s election, of the serious problems Republicans have with Latino voters. GOP nominee Mitt Romney received only a pathetic 29 percent of the Latino vote, compared with President Obama’s 71 percent. The good news, I guess, is that Republicans are now publicly pondering what to do about their lack of appeal to this fast-growing minority group.The bad news? As we head into the next election cycle, Latinos are only the third-worst minority group for Republicans. They got nearly shut out with African Americans, of course, but the GOP has even bigger problems than among Latinos with the fastest-growing minority group of all, Asian Americans. According to national exit polls, Obama received 73 percent of the Asian vote, higher than among Latinos. (In the interests of full disclosure, I admit to having a personal interest in this particular subject as the father of a half-Chinese son.)
  • Darrell Steinberg announces CA Senate committee assignments – Agriculture: Galgiani (Chair), Cannella (Vice Chair), Berryhill, Lieu, Rubio, WolkAppropriations: de León (Chair), Walters (Vice Chair), Gaines, Hill, Lara, Padilla, SteinbergBanking and Financial Institutions: Hill (Chair), Berryhill (Vice Chair), Beall, Calderon, Corbett, Roth, Walters

    Budget & Fiscal Review: Leno (Chair), Emmerson (Vice Chair), Anderson, Beall, Berryhill, Block, DeSaulnier, Fuller, Gaines, Hancock, Hill, Jackson, Monning, Price Jr., Roth, Wright

  • Lawmakers return to work, get assignments – Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, R-Camarillo: Accountability and Administrative Review; Budget (vice chairman); Budget Subcommitee No. 6 (Budget Process, Oversight and Program Evaluation); Judiciary; Labor and Employment; Utilities and Commerce.Assemblyman Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita: Arts, Entertainment, Sports and Internet Media; Business, Professions and Consumer Protection; Health; Higher Education; Rules (vice chairman).
Share

The California Flap: January 7, 2013

Share

California Legislature

The California Assembly will start its session at noon and the California State Senate at 2 PM.

Today’s schedule is here.

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

Some important deadlines to remember:

  • January 25, 2013: Deadline to send bill ideas to the California Legislative Counsel for drafting.
  • February 22, 2013: Deadline to introduce bills.

Each member of the Assembly and State Senate are allowed to introduce up to 40 bills in this two year legislative session.

By Thursday, California Governor Jerry Brown must submit is proposed budget.

On to a few California headlines:

These are my links for January 4th through January 7th:

  • Dan Walters: Parcel tax changes could be big battle in California Legislature – The Legislature’s Democratic leaders want to use their newly minted supermajorities to do things that they could not do before, but are leery of doing things that might alienate voters and jeopardize those supermajorities.They prefer, therefore, an incremental approach to using their two-thirds legislative votes, thus slowly warming voters to the exercise of their new power, rather than shocking them.One likely way they’ll wield their new authority is a constitutional amendment to reduce the voter approval margin for local government and school district parcel taxes from two-thirds to either a simple majority or 55 percent.
  • Getting around California Proposition 13 – One would hope that the Proposition 30 tax increases passed by voters would have sated the California Legislature’s appetite for additional revenue. But proposals are already circulating for potential new tax increases in this new year. Legislators would be better advised to see how much they collect from Prop. 30 before pursuing additional monies from Californians.Proposals are focusing on Prop. 13, the landmark 1978 tax-limitation measure that has undergirded the state’s prosperity since then. Prop. 13 limited property taxes to 1 percent of assessed value plus annual increases of up to 2 percent of the tax bill. When a property changes ownership, the new owner pays 1 percent of the newly assessed value.
  • GOP still relevant to California’s fiscal future – Many political pundits would have us now believe that Republicans are as relevant to California politics as fantasy football is to the NFL. To the contrary, there is an important role for the GOP in Sacramento and throughout the state this next legislative session.California voters, notwithstanding historic reluctance to approve higher taxes, passed Proposition 30 in November. They did so believing the promise that the projected additional revenue would help plug the budget gap and save public education from dramatic cuts.
  • Tom McClintock just said ‘no’ to ‘cliff’ solution – Never one to build bridges, Rep. Tom McClintock has spent the better part of 30 years in office deriding the government that gives him his paycheck.But as he showed last week, his political machine of one has gained compatriots among the shrunken but more conservative band of Republicans representing California in the House. That doesn’t bode well for California as it tries to get back some of the money it sends to Washington, and certainly not for the Sierra district McClintock represents.McClintock wasn’t among the hard-liners who openly challenged House Speaker John Boehner’s leadership when the new Congress convened last week. But he did join several of them for a press event shortly after the November election in Washington, D.C., offering his election analysis and prescription for the Republican Party.
  • Gun-control worries draw 6,000 to Ontario gun show – There are some Americans who believe there are too many firearms in the United States, and there are those like the thousands who attend events like Crossroads of the West Gun Show.”We have a Second Amendment which says `the right to keep and arms shall not be infringed.’ Infringed means you don’t mess with it,” said customer Patrick Hill of Menifee.Crossroads of the West is a frequent event at the Ontario Convention Center. When the show is town, thousands gather to peruse or buy any of myriad firearms such as a vintage Remington shotgun, a Ruger Redhawk revolver, Glock semi-automatic pistol or a modern AR-15-style rifle.

    Saturday’s show, however, was Crossroads’ first in Ontario since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in December. The gunman who perpetrated that mass killing shot and killed 20 children and six women at the Newtown, Conn., campus after killing his mother and before ending his rampage by suicide.

  • California gun sales have risen, gun injuries have decreased – California has millions more guns than it did 10 years ago. It also has thousands fewer gun injuries and deaths each year.Those are two simple facts that, depending on whom you ask, have everything or nothing to do with each other.Last month’s horrific Connecticut school shooting has reignited the debate over gun control in California, a state with some of the nation’s strictest gun laws. State legislators will likely take up additional gun law proposals later this year, ranging from further limits on ammunition purchases to requiring regular background checks for gun owners.

Here is Dan Walter’s of the Sacramento Bee about the start of the California Legislative session:

[youtube]http://youtu.be/hd1PYcItzwY[/youtube]

Share

The California Flap: January 4, 2013

Share

California LegislatureEnjoy your last few days of respite from the State of California because the Legislature returns on Monday.

The California Assembly will start its session at noon and the California State Senate at 2 PM.

Today’s schedule is here.

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

Some important deadlines to remember:

  • January 25, 2013: Deadline to send bill ideas to the California Legislative Counsel for drafting.
  • February 22, 2013: Deadline to introduce bills.

Each member of the Assembly and State Senate are allowed to introduce up to 40 bills in this two year legislative session.

On to a few California headlines:

In suburbs of L.A., a cottage industry of birth tourism

USA Baby Care’s website makes no attempt to hide why the company’s clients travel to Southern California from China and Taiwan. It’s to give birth to an American baby.

“Congratulations! Arriving in the U.S. means you’ve already given your child a surefire ticket for winning the race,” the site says in Chinese. “We guarantee that each baby can obtain a U.S. passport and related documents.”

That passport is just the beginning of a journey that will lead some of the children back to the United States to take advantage of free public schools and low-interest student loans, as the website notes. The whole family may eventually get in on the act, since parents may be able to piggyback on the child’s citizenship and apply for a green card when the child turns 21.

Dan Walters: There’s no off-season in California politics

This new year has an odd number, and traditionally that has meant it would be free of elections and campaigning.

However, there’s no longer an off-season in California politics. It’s a 365/24/7 business, and 2013 promises to continue that somewhat dubious trend with a full slate of elections for local and legislative offices.

The star attraction, if that’s an accurate description, will be the mayoralty of Los Angeles, our largest – and in some ways most troubled – city.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is ending his roller-coaster reign this year and is apparently angling for an Obama Cabinet position, although he also seems to be doing his best to make himself radioactive.

See you on Monday!

Share

The California Flap: January 2, 2013

Share

Mission San Diego

These are my links for December 28th through January 2nd:

  • California Primary Care Doctors Growing Scarce -Roughly 4 million additional Californians are expected to obtain health insurance by 2014 through the federal health law, an expansion that will likely exacerbate the state’s doctor shortage and could even squeeze primary care access in the Bay Area, experts say.Even without the Affordable Care Act, a worsening doctor shortage had been forecast as the state’s and nation’s population ages and grows, and as a generation of older doctors retires. But by mandating that individuals have insurance and expanding Medicaid, the law will extend coverage to an additional 30 million Americans and place a greater strain on the physician workforce, especially for primary care.Tags:

  • California gets federal approval to close Healthy Families -California will begin moving 860,000 lower-income children from Healthy Families to Medi-Cal next month after receiving last-minute federal approval today, state health officials said.The shift comes despite a request from Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg to postpone the switch because he fears too many children will lose access to their medical providers.Many health care advocates fought the shift in June and felt that Healthy Families had served its beneficiaries better than Medi-Cal could. But Gov. Jerry Brown asked lawmakers to end Healthy Families as the state prepares for President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul in 2014, saying it would be more efficient and ultimately save money.

    Tags:

  • 10 stories to watch in California politics for 2013Tags:
  • Brown plans extensive changes for school funding in 2013 -Gov. Jerry Brown will push this year to upend the way schools are funded in California, hoping to shift more money to poorer districts and end requirements that billions of dollars be spent on particular programs.Brown said he wants more of the state’s dollars to benefit low-income and non-English-speaking students, who typically are more expensive to educate.”The reality is, in some places students don’t enjoy the same opportunities that people have in other places,” the governor said in an interview. “This is a way to balance some of life’s chances.”

    He would also scale back — and possibly eliminate — dozens of rules that districts must abide by to receive billions in state dollars. Some of those requirements, such as a mandate to limit class size, have been suspended amid Sacramento’s recurrent budget problems but are set to resume by 2015.

    Tags:

  • California Democrats signal they want to reform Proposition 13 -The third rail of California politics may not be as deadly as once thought.Three and a half decades after the passage of Proposition 13 shook the political landscape in California and sparked a taxpayer revolt across America, voters appear to be warming up to the idea of reforming the initiative as long as protections for homeowners stay intact.And the apparent sea change in public attitudes, combined with the two-thirds majorities Democrats now hold in both chambers of the Legislature, has emboldened some politicians to take aim at the iconic measure.

    “It is time for a fix, because Proposition 13 is broken,” said Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, who plans to introduce a bill next year aimed at forcing businesses to pay higher property taxes.

    Tags:

  • Lawmakers in VIP loan program violated no rules, House panel says -The House Ethics Committee has found no rules violations by lawmakers who used a VIP loan program from Countrywide Financial Corp.The committee’s leaders said its investigation largely led to the same conclusions as the Senate Ethics Committee, which determined in 2009 that there was “no substantial credible evidence” that two of its members had broken rules by accepting loans through the special program.Although the House Ethics Committee likewise cleared members of that body, committee Chairwoman Jo Bonner (R-Ala.) and top Democrat Linda T. Sanchez of Lakewood said in a statement that there were serious concerns about some allegations against House staffers.

    Tags:

  • New year means changes for California taxes, driving, light bulbs -State lawmakers laid down hundreds of new laws that will change how millions of Californians drive, shop and do business in 2013, but perhaps the most sweeping was imposed by voters themselves.Voters in November passed a state sales tax increase starting Jan. 1 and also retroactively hiked income taxes for upper-income earners to avoid deep cuts to education.Also, starting Jan. 1 Californians will pay more at the cash register for lumber products, cities will get limits on new red light cameras, gun owners will no longer be allowed to carry unloaded rifles and shotguns in public view and unauthorized immigrants will move a step closer to being able to obtain a driver’s license.

    Moreover, motorists will be able to drive and text using new voice-recognition technology, boat owners will have to chip in more to fight the invasive quagga mussel, and the CHP will issue “Silver Alerts” about missing senior citizen

    Tags:

  • New California law: Texting on hands-free devices while driving will be legal Jan. 1 -The new California law prohibits texting while driving unless it’s done on an “electronic wireless communications device (that) is specifically designed and configured to allow voice-operated and hands-free operation to dictate, send, or listen to a text-based communication.” That appears to mean texting with the iPhone’s Siri or Android’s Google Now is OK, because the law allows drivers to touch a device to activate or deactivate it or to enter a telephone number.”This clarifies some of the gray areas in previous laws,” said spokesman Chris Cochran of the state Office of Traffic Safety. But he said it’s preferable not to use cellphones while driving at all, as “research has shown that the conversation itself is dangerous due to inattention blindness and the brain’s tendency to move functions needed for driving over to the conversation.”Tags:

  • House Ethics Committee closes book on Countrywide loans -Closing the book a story that had caused some embarrassment for two local members of the Congress, the House Ethics Committee has concluded that no violations of law or standards of ethical conduct were violated by members who received so-called “Friends of Angelo” mortgages from Countrywide during the time Angelo Mozilo was chairman of the now-defunct lending institution.Retiring Rep. Elton Gallegly of Simi Valley and Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon of Santa Clarita, who now represents Simi Valley, were among the recipients of those loans. Both asserted that they not only did not receive special treatment, but were unaware that their loans were part of any special program initiated by Countrywide.The Ethics Committee’s report substantiates those assertions.

    Tags:

  • Chevron moving 800 Bay Area jobs to Texas -Chevron Corp. will move up to 800 jobs – about a quarter of its current headquarters staff – from the Bay Area to Houston over the next two years but will remain based in San Ramon, the oil company told employees Thursday.The jobs – generally, technical positions dealing with information and advanced energy technologies – are all tied to Chevron’s worldwide oil exploration and production business, much of which is based in Houston. The company reported the shift in an e-mail to its employees Thursday.San Ramon will remain Chevron’s corporate headquarters, the company said. About 3,500 people work at Chevron’s office park on Bollinger Canyon Road. Another 3,000 Chevron employees work elsewhere in the Bay Area, most of them at the company’s refinery and technology center in Richmond.

    Tags:

  • Some county judges change sentencing patterns -California’s new felon imprisonment law, which requires low-level offenders to serve their time in county jail rather than state prison, is beginning to reshape how some county judges hand down those sentences.A study by the Chief Probation Officers of California finds an increasing number of judges using split sentences, requiring offenders to spend part of their time in jail and the other part in a community program or under probation. Without a split sentence, the entire term is spent in jail and when offenders are released, there is no followup.From the time the new prison law took effect in October 2011 to June 2012, the probation officers group reports, 23% of all local prison sentences were split. That means an increase in the responsibilities of county probation offices, but a lighter load on jails.

    However, the organization says there is an inconsistent use of the sentencing tool among the state’s 58 counties. Judges in 18 counties deliver split sentences to more than half their felons, including Contra Costa and San Joaquin. On the other hand, only 5% of Los Angeles County felons, for example, are given split sentences.

    Tags:

  • California health exchanges – ‘Mo Money’ -The Obama administration has a lot riding on California’s implementation of Obamacare, also known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. How the state implements the new insurance exchanges, and whether or not it is done successfully, will be an important test of nationalized health care.But a state-run health exchange puts the burden onto the state and the expense ultimately on the taxpayers. The state loses the authority and flexibility needed to best meet the needs of its people… Which is why more than 30 states have told the Obama government that they will not create state-run health exchanges, leaving the Obama administration to build and operate online health insurance markets for more than 30 states. This is an unexpected problem, unanticipated by the federal government when Obamacare was passed in 2010.But this isn’t a problem for Democratically controlled California government, which will do just about anything for a federal grant.

    Tags:

  • Tough Year Ahead for California Taxpayers and Wealth Producers -California’s Democratic leaders are giddy about the future now that they have gained everything they wanted in the last election—voter-approved tax increases and a two-thirds supermajority in both houses of the Legislature, thus rendering Republicans little more than an annoying irrelevancy that can no longer block tax hikes.Will Democrats just ramp up the taxing and spending spree or will some semblance of a “moderate” Democratic caucus emerge to offer a limited check on those tendencies? Either way, it’s hard to find good news for taxpayers or business owners, although the state’s public-sector unions ought to be stocking up on champagne.Given that backdrop, I offer some subdued predictions for the New Year.

    Prediction 1: Gov. Jerry Brown and the legislative leadership will continue to argue that the state government is on a bare-bones diet, and therefore continue to look for additional revenue to fund it regardless of mounting evidence of waste and excess.

    Tags:

  • Murder and theft up in LA, but overall crime down again -With a few days left in the year, the number of murders in the city of Los Angeles has crept up and will likely surpass 300 for the first time since 2009. It’s not a big increase — so far LA’s homicide toll for 2012 is just three over last year’s — but it may reflect that overall crime numbers across the country are starting to tick back up after a decade of declining crime reports. Los Angeles crime as reported by the LAPD will be down about two percent, the tenth year of decline, the LA Times says. “The fact that Los Angeles has continued to decline, especially when several factors haven’t been as good as they could be — it’s remarkable, frankly,” said Charis Kubrin, a criminologist at UC Irvine. “I’m puzzled.”Tags:

  • Simi Valley businessman returns disputed $70,000 grant -A Simi Valley businessman has returned a $70,000 redevelopment grant to the city after months of speculation by a local Tea Party leader and others that it might have been improperly authorized.Used-car dealer Kelly Kolarek, who said he used the 2010 grant to renovate the site of his K&J Auto Exchange at 2430 Tapo St., gave a check to the city Wednesday, according to a news release he issued and an email from City Manager Laura Behjan to city officials.Denying there was anything improper about the grant, Kolarek said in the release that he returned the money primarily because “these funds will cause me huge adverse tax implications” with the approval of Proposition 30 in November. The measure raises taxes on those who make more than $250,000 annually, to help fund education.

    Tags:

Share

The California Flap: December 28, 2012

Share

Jim BrulteFormer Republican California State Senator Jim Brulte

These are my links for December 28th:

  • Union pickets gain special protections from state justices -“Signature gatherers and protesters may be ejected from privately owned walkways outside a store, but labor unions may picket there peacefully, the California Supreme Court decided Thursday.
  • The state high court unanimously agreed that private walkways in front of stores, unlike public areas in shopping malls, are not open forums accessible to anyone who wants to assemble to express a view. But the justices split, 6 to 1, in upholding two state laws that prevent courts from issuing injunctions against peaceful labor pickets on private property.The laws protecting labor pickets are justified “by the state’s interest in promoting collective bargaining to resolve labor disputes,” Justice Joyce L. Kennard wrote for the courtCalifornia “may single out labor-related speech for particular protection or regulation” as an exercise in the economic regulation of labor relations, Kennard wrote.” 
  • House members did not violate rule with Countrywide loans, ethics panel says -“The House Ethics Committee said Thursday it found no violations among House members whose mortgage loans went through the VIP section of Countrywide Financial Corp., the company whose subprime loans helped cause the foreclosure crisis.The committee said nearly all the allegations of favored treatment involved loans that were granted so long ago that they fell outside the panel’s jurisdiction. The committee added that participation in the VIP program did not necessarily mean borrowers received the best loan deal available — and most lawmakers were not even aware they were placed in a VIP unit.Rep. Elton Gallegly, R-Simi Valley, and Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, were among the House members whose names were on the original list of VIP loans.The actions of unnamed House staff members were harshly criticized. Emails indicated they reached out to Countrywide lobbyists for help with their personal loans, but those actions also were too old to remain in the committee’s jurisdiction. The panel said that if the incidents had been more recent, the staff members could have faced discipline.”

     

  • GINGRICH AND NOLAN: Criminal justice reform saving states billions -“These victories for reform are the result of a growing movement among conservatives to offer alternatives to our current criminal justice policies. Both of us are part of the Right on Crime initiative which has united many prominent conservatives, including Jeb Bush, Ed Meese, Grover Norquist and William Bennett, to advocate sensible reforms that have proven effective at keeping communities safe while saving taxpayer dollars.Right on Crime supports effective programs that are less costly alternatives to prison such as drug courts, rehabilitation and programs that impose swift and certain sanctions.These conservative policy initiatives have attracted the support of leaders from across the political spectrum. The victories for criminal justice reform may not get as much publicity as the stories of gridlock emanating from Washington. Nevertheless, they are proof that even in times of great partisan tension, leaders on the left and the right can set aside their differences and make good public policy based on conservative principles. The result is safer communities and fewer victims.” 
  • State GOP eyes Brulte as possible savior -“The buzz is growing about the prospects of former state Senate GOP Leader Jim Brulte becoming the next chairman of the struggling California Republican Party.”He has no opposition and he wants it,” said former CRP Chairman Shawn Steel. “He’s been meeting with people to talk about it. He’s the guy, probably more than anyone else in California, who can raise money for the party and at the same time speaks conservatism. And he speaks above the bickering of different factions.””Brulte has not made any public comments about the job, which state party Central Committee members will fill at their March convention. Incumbent Chairman Tom del Beccaro is not seeking reelection.The state GOP this year fell below a 30 percent share of registered voters. It is perpetually short on cash, holds no statewide offices, and is particularly weak among the growing Latino and Asian electorates.

    Brulte spent 14 years in the state Legislature, serving as leader in both chambers. The Rancho Cucamonga consultant is known, respected and affable. And he’s advocated more minority involvement in the party since at least 1998.

    Rancho Santa Margarita attorney Steve Baric is vice chairman of the party and would be a likely candidate for the top spot, but is expected to stand aside if Brulte runs. The two are friendly and share the view that the party needs to rise above infighting if it’s to return to relevancy in the state.

    The only state constitutional office occupied by a Republican is the state Board of Equalization District 3 seat, held by Michelle Park Steel – who also happens to be Korean American and is married to Shawn Steel. The couple moved from the Palos Verdes Peninsula to Surfside in 2011. She is planning to run in 2014 for the supervisorial seat of John Moorlach, who is termed out.

     

  • Californians to Watch: Peter Lee will launch California’s health exchange 
  • Fiscal cliff stumble could doom California’s budget recovery -“Gov. Jerry Brown and California lawmakers struck an upbeat tone in recent weeks as they enjoyed their most positive budget outlook since the economic downturn.Whether that mood survives the winter depends on Washington.State budget experts say the biggest immediate threat to California finances is a recession triggered by automatic federal cuts and tax hikes, absent a political deal to avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff.”The state’s biggest federal program, Medi-Cal, is spared from automatic cuts. But a new recession could threaten the state tax revenue that serves as the lifeblood for California government.”

  • Political winners, losers of ’12 emerge -Many people won’t be sorry to see 2012 in the rearview mirror – it’s been a political year dominated by a limping economy and a bruising and expensive national election, only to end at the edge of a “fiscal cliff.”  The political reverberations are being felt in California, where the year in politics was also colored by concerns over taxes, spending and red ink staining the budget.  California’s players in the political drama included labor unions, millionaires, consultants, celebrities and elected officials at all levels – starting at the top in Sacramento.  Winners and losers emerged, and here are a few, starting with the losers:
  • California Republican Party: It was, to borrow the words of Queen Elizabeth II, an “annus horribilis” for the GOP in California, where Republican voter registration on Ronald Reagan’s home turf withered to 29 percent. The party’s board of directors moved for a financial reorganization and state party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro decided not to run for re-election. In November, Democrats grabbed a two-thirds majority in both the state Senate and Assembly. In Congress, the much-touted “young guns” drive to elect GOP congressional candidates drew blanks – newcomer Ricky Gill lost to Democrat Jerry McNerney, and former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado lost to Democrat Lois Capps.
Share