"With less than a month to go before the June 6 Democratic gubernatorial primary, Steve Westly's lead in the polls over Phil Angelides appears to have vanished
," report Matier and Ross. Westly had been well ahead until recently. "This past weekend, however, J. Moore Methods -- a pollster not connected with either campaign -- confirmed Westly's slip."
"The Moore poll of 500 registered voters also showed Westly's lead had evaporated, and that the race was now deadlocked at 27 percent apiece
"'To be honest, our internal polling never showed us 13 points ahead -- it was in the single digits,' Westly campaign consultant Garry South said Tuesday. He added that he expected the race to stay 'enormously fluid until the end.'"
"One point all the polls have in common is that there is still a huge undecided vote out there."
"Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger plans to retire a large chunk of the state's debt and boost education funding
with more than $5 billion in unexpected revenue from surging tax receipts, according to documents obtained by The Times," write Evan Halper and Joe Mathews in the Times.
"Under the agreement, schools would be repaid more than the $3 billion education groups say they are owed because of cuts imposed in leaner times. An additional $2 billion would be provided for low-achieving schools, to help cover the cost of various state-mandated programs, and to create arts, physical fitness, vocational education and other programs."
"The money would be paid over the course of several years, starting with a $2-billion down payment in the budget year that begins July 1."
"The [school] officials said it would settle a lawsuit filed last August against the administration by the California Teachers Assn. and state Supt. of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell
. The governor's refusal so far to repay that money has prompted school groups to attack him continuously, including in a series of television ads that helped defeat every ballot initiative he campaigned for in last fall's special election."
...and the Democratic duo for Governor lose another
Speaking of, the LAT's Michael Finnegan writes "[f]or Schwarzenegger's campaign team, the grand scope of the bond deal has quickly become a device to enhance the governor's stature as Democrats pursue their nomination fight
"'This election,' said Schwarzenegger campaign manager Steve Schmidt
, 'will be about a choice: Moving the state forward with the governor's big vision for the future, and the Democrats' small vision that takes the state back" to overspending and partisan deadlock."
Didn't that small vision hammer out the bond deal last week? Apparently we're off message...
The Bee's Kevin Yamamura reviews the latest Steve Westly
ad, which accuses his unnamed opponent of proposing a $10 billion tax increase
From our To the Highest Bidder Files:
"Soon after taking office in January 2003, state Controller Steve Westly began helping three venture capital firms land multimillion-dollar investments from California's giant pension system
, according to public records including e-mails and officials' calendars," report Evan Halper and Dan Morain in the Times.
"Westly, now running for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, received campaign donations from individuals associated with each of the funds, campaign finance records show."
"Westly spokesman Yusef Robb
said any suggestion that the controller intervened for those individuals because they were campaign donors 'is ridiculous and insulting to the men and women at CalPERS, whose hard work and integrity has created the nation's largest and most respected public pension fund.'"
Steve Lopez follows up on the Cruz Bustamante diet-for-office story
. "To be honest, I've got a different concern about Bustamante. I don't care what he weighs, but I do worry about how many meals the insurance industry is buying him as he runs for the job of regulating it. He's already been fed $158,250 by those people, and that's where the diet needs to start. Is he going to represent us or them?"
Our guess is neither. But apparently, we're off message.
"'During my career I have disappointed a lot of campaign supporters,' Bustamante assured me by phone Tuesday evening."
We see a bumper sticker in that last statement.
"He claimed he was down to 233. That means he's got 5 pounds to lose in three weeks if he wants to be insurance commissioner, and I don't know about you, but I'm sending him Twinkies and Snickers today."
From our Headline Says It All Files
, the Chron's John Wildermuth previews the treasurer's race
, and gives you all you need to know at the top. " Two unknowns, Lockyer in the race for treasurer."
From our Happiest Sex Offenders on Earth Files
, "the state has placed more than 20 high-risk sex offenders on parole in hotels and motels near Disneyland
, and in some cases moved them from place to place to avoid registering their addresses, a legislator charged Tuesday."
"This shows 'a total lack of common sense" by top corrections officials, said Assemblyman Rudy Bermudez
(D-Norwalk) on Tuesday at an Anaheim news conference. He compared the practice to 'putting the fox in charge of the henhouse.'"
"'Our parole agents work very, very hard to place sex offenders appropriately and safely,' she said. 'These parolees have served their time, and by law, [those] released from prison are returned to their county of last legal residence.'"
"Based on information provided by authorities, Elaine Cali, a convention bureau spokeswoman, said that the sex offenders did not live in the Anaheim resort district but 'about eight to 10 miles away.'"
Rather than the Orange County's affordable motels near from Disneyland, Bermudez proposes having the offenders shack up with the Real Housewives of Orange County
Meanwhile, the Bee's Jim Sanders writes that the Legislature's women are balking at the Burkle bill
. "'I think our judicial proceedings should be as public as possible,' said Assemblywoman Noreen Evans
, D-Santa Rosa. 'In a democracy, I think that's absolutely essential.'"
"Evans and other Democratic women - including Assembly Appropriations Chairwoman Judy Chu
, D-Monterey Park, and Assemblywomen Patty Berg
, D-Eureka, and Sally Lieber
, D-Mountain View - have demanded changes in the bill."
"All sides say they hope to avoid a male-female showdown in the Legislature, and Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez
is trying to broker a solution behind the scenes. Núñez accepted amendments Tuesday that were sought by the female lawmakers, according to Steve Maviglio
, his spokesman."
"'He's trying to take care of everyone's concerns with amendments so that we'll have a bill that has the support of the Assembly,' Maviglio said."
From our Beating a Dead Horse Files
, Mary Carey
announced her candidacy for governor yesterday. "Before I moved to California I thought that the whole state was like Disneyland." She must be alluding to the story above... Carey announced her new campaign slogan, "Finally, a politician that you want to be screwed by."
Um, we'll pass, thanks. But we know a certain legislative chief of staff who may consider that offer...