"Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez
privately has asked all 47 Assembly Democrats to donate about $50,000 apiece to help pass an initiative that could give all of them extra time in office
," reports Jim Sanders in the Bee.
"The measure, Proposition 93, would reduce the total number of years that an elected official could serve in the Legislature -- from 14 to 12 -- but provide at least one extra term for incumbents.
"Núñez solicited his Democratic caucus at a breakfast meeting Aug. 30 at Chops restaurant near the Capitol, but the session was private and details were unknown until Wednesday.
"'The speaker believes this campaign is about making the Legislature more effective and reducing the amount of time that legislators stay in office
,' Steve Maviglio
, Núñez's spokesman, said of the measure.
"But Kevin Spillane
, spokesman for the anti-Proposition 93 campaign, blasted Núñez's actions as 'an obvious sign that this initiative isn't about strengthening term limits.'
"'It's written by political insiders, and it benefits political insiders,' he said. 'It's an incumbent protection initiative -- and the incumbents are ponying up their dues so they can stay in office longer.
Capitol Weekly takes a look at the speaker's relationship with labor unions, and how it may impact the term limits campaign
"Last week in Sacramento, the California Federation of Labor met to talk about the measures before voters on the February ballot. It was a fierce discussion.
People at the meeting say there were deep concerns over the term-limits modification measure, Proposition 93, which led to scrutiny of the current legislative leaders who would benefit from the change in the law.
"There's no question that a discussion of the current leadership is an element of this campaign," says Barry Broad, a lobbyist who works for several unions, including the Teamsters and hotel and restaurant employees. "It's no secret that organized labor has concerns
Meanwhile, George Skelton
and Steve Wiegand
take turns berating Nuñez for his campaign account expenses today.
Seems like one of Nunez's major sins was having this story break during a slow news month...
There were, however, some bill signings.
"Sealing a compromise between environmentalists and builders, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation Wednesday to phase in growth restrictions in flood-prone areas throughout the Central Valley
," reports Kevin Yamamura in the Bee.
"The Republican governor approved six bills designed to force cities and counties to consider flood risks in the planning process without imposing a strict moratorium, a previous sticking point for builders.
"Under Senate Bill 5 by Sen. Mike Machado
, D-Linden, the state must establish a Central Valley protection plan by 2012 and provide flood maps to cities and counties next year. By 2015, local governments cannot approve new developments unless the land under review has 200-year flood protection or efforts are in place to provide that level of defense."
"California motorists will risk fines of up to $100 if they smoke in cars carrying children starting next year, but children as old as 7 will not have to ride in booster seats, according to action on legislation Wednesday by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
"The governor signed a bill that will make it an infraction to smoke in a vehicle if someone under age 18 is present
. But the traffic stop would have to be made for another offense, such as speeding or an illegal turn, before the driver could be cited for smoking.
"The bill's author, state Sen. Jenny Oropeza
, D-Redondo Beach, agreed to make that change in the bill to assure its approval by the Assembly, said her spokesman, Ray Sotero
"The ban, which takes effect Jan. 1, is the latest in a string of smoking prohibitions adopted in California. They include a ban on smoking in enclosed workplaces and within 25 feet of a playground."
Meanwhile, the Bee's E.J. Schultz reports: "Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Wednesday vetoed legislation that would have allowed small card rooms to add more gambling tables
"Sen. Dean Florez
, D-Shafter, promoted the bill as a "modest" and "reasonable" way to accommodate the growing popularity of Texas Hold 'em. But the Republican governor said Senate Bill 152 would "create a significant exemption to the current moratorium on expanding local gaming establishments," according to a veto statement.
"The 12-year-old moratorium prohibits new card rooms and limits expansion at existing rooms. Small card rooms, which compete with less-regulated tribal casinos, say they are hurt by the moratorium -- costs are rising, but they can't increase revenues by expanding.
"SB 152 would have allowed about 60 of the state's 91 card rooms to expand by up to five tables each."
"Addressing the plague of gang violence in California, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will sign five bills aimed at stemming the tide of killings
, including the creation of a state office of gang and youth violence policy to oversee the efforts, a spokesman said Wednesday," reports Patrick McGreevy in the Times.
"Other bills scheduled to receive the governor's signature today will allow judges to order parents of gang members to attend anti-violence classes, improve protection to witnesses of gang killings and arm prosecutors with power to evict gang members caught in possession of weapons in apartment buildings used as hangouts."
CW's John Howard looks at the fight between teaches unions
over a community colelge funding initiative.
"California's teacher unions are divided over the most important education-policy proposal to go before voters in two decades: the attempt to protect community colleges' money by writing safeguards into the state constitution.
"It's really just a question of counting noses," said Sen. Jack Scott, D-Pasadena, the head of the Senate Education Committee. "The [California Teachers Association] is probably more than 95 percent representative of K-through-12, while the [California Federation of Teachers] has a higher proportion of community-college teachers," said Scott, a former community-college president who has endorsed the initiative
Meanwhile, Malcolm Maclachlan looks ahead to June, where Mimi Walters is facing a well-funded challenger in her run for state Senate
said the major event that pushed him to the Republican Party came in 1974, when he was 17 years old and making $2.65 an hour cleaning a Holiday Inn. About a third of his first meager paycheck went to taxes, cementing the matter for the lifelong conservative. Many other Indians have gone through similar experiences, he said.
"When they arrive in this country, they're Democrats," said Sidhu, who came to the United States from India.
But over time, Sidhu says, many hardworking Indians migrate toward the GOP. Now Sidhu is tapping into this community. An Anaheim city councilman for the last four years, Sidhu is challenging Assemblywoman Mimi Walters, R-Laguna, for the 33rd Senate District seat next June. The seat is currently occupied by none other than Senate Republican leader Dick Ackerman
, R-Fullerton, who is scheduled to be termed out next year, pending the results of the term-limits change on the ballot. The district is considered safely Republican.
"The state Supreme Court yesterday blocked the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation from revoking the parole of four recently released sex offenders
, including two from San Diego County, who are illegally living too close to schools and parks," reports Don Thompson for the AP.
"In a one-paragraph order, the court said it will consider whether Jessica's Law violates the parolees' constitutional rights.
"The law, approved by voters in November, prohibits offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park where children gather.
"The parolees' attorneys said the temporary injunction should apply to the nearly 1,800 recent parolees who had been told they must move or risk being sent back to prison starting today.
"The state plans to immediately start revoking parole for violators unless blocked by another court order, said Bill Maile
, a spokesman for the department and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger."
In other court news, "[t]he state Supreme Court agreed Wednesday to decide whether the San Francisco 49ers invade their fans' privacy by conducting pat-down searches at the stadium gates
, a measure ordered by the National Football League to catch potential terrorists," writes the Chron's Bob Egelko.
"A state appeals court upheld the searches in a 2-1 ruling in July, saying two fans who challenged the policy had tacitly agreed to be searched when they bought their season tickets. But six of the high court's seven justices voted Wednesday to set the appellate ruling aside and review the case. No hearing date has been scheduled."
"Thousands of registered nurses walked off their jobs at 7 a.m. today for the start of what is expected to be a two-day strike
at 15 Northern California hospitals," reports Victoria Colliver in the Chron.
"Union officials said as many as 5,000 nurses were expected to participate in the strike, which is directed at Bay Area hospitals affiliated with the Sutter Health network."
And this should probably settle the cat vs. dog debate once and for all
"Thumper, a black Labrador retriever, is getting credit for saving a Greenville man when a fire swept through his home.
"Roland Cote said his wife and their 7-year-old grandson were away when the blaze started early Sunday in a converted two-story garage. He said Thumper grabbed him by the arm to wake him, leaving just enough time for him to dial 911 before fleeing the fast-moving fire."
"While the dog is the hero, a cat is the bad guy in this story.
"Cote said the fire marshal investigator believes the blaze was started when Princess, the family cat, tipped over a kerosene lantern. Cote says he and his pets escaped safely, but he says Princess did get her tail singed by the flames."