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Tuesday
Sep282010

POLITICS: Daily News editorial, "Proposition 19 has too many flaws", "regulatory nightmare"....

* Daily News editorial today discusses Proposition 19, says it is "a poorly crafted initiative that would set the scene for a regulatory nightmare in California."  From the DN:

  To truly consider the merits of Proposition 19, you must check your morals at the door. Because the heart of the Nov. 2 ballot measure is not about whether marijuana is no worse than alcohol or whether the law should allow for small amounts of personal pot. The real question of this initiative is whether California wants to take on the federal government and allow any and every city in the state to make up its own rules about selling, manufacturing and transporting an illegal substance.

   And the Daily News thinks the answer to the question is an emphatic "no."

   The Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010 is a poorly crafted initiative that would set the scene for a regulatory nightmare in California. Besides, permitting anyone over 21 to possess, grow or transport up to an ounce of marijuana, it would also allow local governments to regulate and tax production, distribution and sale of marijuana in a way that suits their jurisdiction. This patchwork approach to regulation is the most alarming aspect of the measure. With every city and county in the state coming up with different marijuana laws, the resulting confusion could make the lawless and explosive growth of medical marijuana dispensaries in recent years seem like the good old days.

Tuesday
Sep282010

MORNING MEMOS: State budget update ("still a lot of moving parts"); Field Poll, "lowest approval rating" ever for Legislature; investigation of former L.A. labor leader....

* Daily News (AP) reports that it appears there is still somewhat of a way to go before the governor and legislative leaders come to a budget agreement.  From the DN:

   Aides to Schwarzenegger and the Republican and Democratic lawmakers worked through the weekend, but there was little sign that an agreement between the parties was near.......

   Among the sticking points in closing a deal are Schwarzenegger's demands for tax reforms, budget reforms including creating a rainy day fund, and public pension reforms including rolling back benefit increases approved 11 years ago. "There are a lot of moving parts that are still getting worked on: pension reform, reductions, budget reform. Believe me, the list is much longer," said Department of Finance spokesman H.D. Palmer.

* Sacramento Bee reports that, according to a Field Poll just released, the California Legislature has just recorded its lowest ever approving rating.  From the Bee:

   With the economy still in the tank and a state budget again long overdue, Californians are apparently fed up with state legislators of both parties. Only one in 10 of the state's voters approves of lawmakers' performance, the lowest rating recorded since the Field Poll began checking that particular pulse in 1983.

   "We have found what must be close to the bottom here," Field Poll Director Mark DiCamillo said Monday..... DiCamillo said the favorable opinion rating of legislators, which has been sliding for several years, could drop to a single digit if lawmakers don't pass and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger doesn't sign a budget before the Field Poll's next survey.

* Los Angeles Times reports regarding federal corruption investigation in connection with fees paid to a former L.A. area labor leader pursuant to an agreement with the union's former national president.  From the LAT:

   As part of a lengthy corruption investigation, federal authorities have been examining $150,000 in consulting fees paid to a disgraced former Los Angeles labor leader under a confidential agreement signed by Andy Stern, then president of the powerful Service Employees International Union, according to documents and interviews. The U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles had considered filing embezzlement charges against Alejandro Stephens, who headed the SEIU local for county government workers, in connection with the payments, records obtained by The Times show.

   Prosecutors decided last year not to include the embezzlement counts in a criminal complaint against Stephens, who is going to prison on other charges, but investigators were still questioning labor officers about the payments at least nine months later, say three people familiar with the probe. They spoke on condition of anonymity because of the secretive nature of the federal inquiry. They say the FBI and U.S. Labor Department investigators are focusing on whether Stern or other SEIU leaders expected Stephens to perform any work for the money, or if they approved what amounted to a no-show job for him.

 

Tuesday
Sep282010

WILLIE BROWN: Advice to Jerry Brown; praise for Bill Clinton.....

* Willie Brown offers some advice, via his San Francisco Chronicle column, to Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown.  From the Chronicle:

   I'm loving this governor's race. It's got money, it's got issues, it's got polls calling it a tie in the final stretch, and it's got two candidates who make even me look good by comparison. Now come the four debates. The first one is Tuesday at UC Davis. I don't think too many people will check it out, and the real game is going to continue to be played in 30-second bites.

   My advice to Jerry Brown is very simple: Get either Feinstein or Maria Shriver or both to appear in the rest of your commercials. You simply come on at the end and say, "I'm Jerry Brown and I approved this message." If Brown does that, he may be able to ride their skirts and win back the votes from women, who are so important to Democrats.

***The former Assembly Speaker and San Francisco mayor also offers his praise for former President Bill Clinton and says that Clinton is "most commanding Democratic figure in the nation."  Brown writes:

   Forget the beating he took on the campaign trail in 2008, when he had to fight for his wife's doomed cause against Barack Obama. Bill Clinton has resurfaced as the most commanding Democratic figure in the nation.

   He is more attractive, interesting and inviting than Obama - by light-years. His advice to the party is right on target: Rather than make the race about helping Obama, Democrats should make it about the individual senators and representatives. And rather than run away from health care, push the positives. Point out that now your kid will be able to stay on your health insurance plan until he's 26. Point out that your spouse won't lose health care because of a pre-existing condition.

Monday
Sep272010

POLITICS: "Legislature may vote on a state budget within next week or so"

* Sacramento Bee reports that, in remarks today during a panel discussion regarding Prop. 23, Governor Schwarzenegger said that the Legislature may vote on a state budget within the next week or so, thus suggesting the governor and legislative leaders are close to a deal.

   Also, with regard to Meg Whitman's announcement last week that she is opposed to Prop. 23, the Bee notes that Schwarzenegger suggested that Whitman back up her position with a campaign contribution to help fight the measure.  But that, although Whitman says she is opposed to Prop. 23, she has also said she would suspend AB 32 for one year.

Monday
Sep272010

POLITICS: "The structural dysfunction of California government...."

* Spotted this Los Angeles Times' op-ed by Harold Meyerson on the nature of the beast that is California government today.  Really interesting reading for anyone who follows politics and/or public policy.  From the LAT:

   Of all the California gubernatorial polls taken this year, the one that tells us most about the state didn't pit Jerry Brown against Meg Whitman. In July, the folks at Public Policy Polling decided, presumably just for the heck of it, to see how Arnold Schwarzenegger and Gray Davis would stack up if they ran against each other today.

   Davis won.

   At first glance, we could take this to mean that Californians have so soured on Schwarzenegger that his stock has fallen below even that of the only governor ever recalled in the state. But the real meaning of the poll, I think, is nowhere so Schwarzenegger-specific. Rather, the poll results mean that given the structural dysfunction of California government, any governor, no matter his or her party, ideology or skills, will leave office a failure. In California, the principles of majority rule and minority veto have been so catastrophically equalized that state government is incapable of setting policies or even passing a budget.