The state council of the Service Emplyees International
Union spent $1 million in campaign funds yesterday, giving $500,000 to the No on 1A committee, and another $500,000 to the Yes on 1C committee.
As Capitol Weekly reports, this comes days after the
state's largest public employee union, SEIU Local 1000, gave $300,000 to the Yes on 1C campaign.
"The money is bad news for initiative proponents, including
Gov. Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders, who now
face the real prospect of a serious No campaign against
1A. And that could help sink at least one of the major
pieces of the May 19 budget package."
Speaking of big money, "Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is selling access to a pair of social soirees at his
Brentwood mansion to deep-pocketed political donors willing to hand over at least $100,000 for his political fund.
"Donors who cut six-figure checks will be able to sip cocktails with the
celebrity governor and first lady Maria Shriver at
their Southern California home this Thursday and dine
again there early next month, according to the four-page fundraising invitation obtained by The Bee.
"The events represent the kind of access to the state's chief executive that makes government watchdogs wary.
"'These sums may be a small price (for donors) to pay in comparison with the potential benefit that
they might derive,' said Sheila Krumholz
, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics
in Washington, D.C.
"Krumholz said such sizable contributors tend to be
'individuals who … will be looking to shore up their relationship in
order to grease the skids for their legislative agenda.'
, a spokeswoman for Schwarzenegger, defended the events
as "opportunities for people to hear about the governor's vision for the state," not for him to hear their agenda."
"Millions of vote-by-mail ballots for the May 19 special election were sent out Monday to households
across the state, and the first votes already have been cast," reports John Wildermuth in the Chron.
"A handful of voters showed up outside the elections
office in the San Francisco City Hall basement to cast
ballots. The city also began mailing 168,000 ballots to people on the permanent vote-by-mail list.
"'Those first ballots are going out now, but there will
be more people requesting vote-by-mail ballots before the election,' said John Arntz, the city's elections director.
"The special election ballot includes six statewide
measures dealing with the state budget, all of which
came out of a February deal between the governor and
legislative leaders over ways to close an anticipated
$42 billion budget gap."
Shane Goldmacher notes that Mike Villines played the majority vote card as a reason to support
the ballot measure package at last weekend's GOP confab.
"I know it's counterintuitive, but by coming to the table and
negotiating, we saved the two-thirds protection," Villines said as the California Republican Party opposed
the measures. "Mark my word, I believe that if these initiatives don't go through, you will see a majority-vote budget, you will see it signed and you will see
the defense of taxpayers in this state disappear."
The Chron's Wyatt Buchanan gives the explainer on Proposition 1D.
"The measure asks voters to take more than $1.6 billion in taxes away from programs designed for children
age 5 and younger and use the money to help lower the overall
state deficit for the next five years."
Ouch...like taking candy from children.
"Proponents of Prop. 1D, which state lawmakers wrote and approved as part
of February's budget deal, say it is necessary to help ease the
budget crisis and ensure that services for children
do not face further cuts.
"But opponents of the measure, including film director
, a key backer of the 1998 ballot measure, say the ballot language and some of
the proponents' arguments are highly deceptive."
And, John Wildermuth gives Proposition 1E the treatment.
"In 2004, then-Assemblyman Darrell Steinberg of Sacramento helped write Proposition 63, a landmark ballot measure that taxed the richest
Californians to expand mental health services for the
"Five years later, Steinberg, now the Democratic leader
in the state Senate, is urging voters to pass Prop.
1E, which would take $460 million from those services to help close the state's $41 billion budget gap.
"But leaders of the mental health community aren't so willing to shrug off the attack on the programs
they argue that the state ignored and underfinanced
"'There's never been a level playing field (for mental health programs), and that's why we had Prop. 63,' said Rusty Selix, executive director of the California Council of Mental
Health Agencies and, with Steinberg, a co-author of the 2004 initiative. 'Show me another place where people are left homeless' because of cuts in a program."
The LAT's Jean Merl covers the May 19 election for Hilda Solis's congressional seat, where Gil Cedillo and Judy Chu are the frontrunners.
"The race, with a Latino and an Asian American as front-runners, is a harbinger of future Los Angeles-area politics, with diminishing numbers of older white
voters and members of growing minority groups competing
for offices, said Jaime A. Regalado, director of the Edmund G. "Pat" Brown Institute of Public Affairs at Cal State L.A.
"'You are going to see Latinos and Asians and Pacific
Islanders running against each other,' said Regalado, who said it is not unusual to have
so many candidates run for a rare open congressional
"'It's a glamour race that is going to bring people out
of the woodwork to run,' Regalado said.
"And, because congressional offices are not subject
to term limits, the seat is especially attractive to
state elected officials tired of scrambling to find
another post as they face being termed out of their
"Both Cedillo and Chu are 'seasoned veterans with no place else to go,' Regalado added, 'and that's what makes the stakes so very high.'
"Voters will find all 12 candidates on their ballot, regardless of party affiliation.
Such a large field makes it unlikely that any single
candidate can garner the majority needed to win the
race outright. In that case, the top finishers in each
party will meet in a July 14 runoff."
The Merc News's Sandra Gonzales covers John Garamendi's forum at San Jose State.
"Noting pending tuition hikes, which he called a "stupid tax," and the state's rank as 47th in the country on spending per student, Garamendi
denounced recent budget cuts on education.
"'We are failing education; the budget that was put together in Sacramento is
a disaster for education,' Garamendi told the crowd of about 700 students at the campus' Morris Dailey Auditorium. The event, billed as a "conversation," with political science Professor Larry Gerston, is the first in a series of candidate forums at the
"Rather than offer specifics, Garamendi spoke broadly
on wide-ranging topics from the environment, the economy and
health care, touching on his desire for a green-themed "industrial revolution" and an end to "climate desecration."
"Despite his bid for governor, Garamendi, who lives
in Walnut Grove, has said he would seriously consider
a run for the congressional seat held by outgoing Rep.
Ellen Tauscher, D-Walnut Creek.
"Monday, he was asked about it again, but this time
he was more restrained, saying, "It's not an easy decision; both are a very good thing to do."
Meanwhile, Greg Lucas sits down with Garamendi and
talks education, ballot measures, Proposition 13 and the brood.
Dan Walters looks at the two current significant and competing government reform
"California Forward, an organization financed with millions
of dollars from the state's top foundations, had been pursuing an incremental
approach to reform. It endorsed shifting legislative
redistricting to an independent commission, which voters
approved last year. It is also endorsing the six budget-related measures on the May 19 special election ballot and has been poised to support
a form of open primary elections on next year's ballot, aimed at reducing partisanship.
"The Bay Area Council, a collection of corporate CEOs,
has had a more aggressive approach, working on two
ballot measures for 2010, one that would allow voters to call a constitutional
convention without going through the Legislature, another
that would call such a convention to overhaul state
and perhaps local government.
"The two groups, which have been conducting talks together,
appear to have agreed on a two-pronged strategy. They'll try the legislative route first. If that fails,
they'll pursue a constitutional convention proposal for
the 2010 ballot."
Since everything is being fixed in Sacramento, NBC News is pulling its Capitol bureau, writes Kevin Roderick on LA Observed.
"Good thing there's no news coming out of the Capitol these days... Hey,
if another actor gets elected governor next year, maybe
companies will return to Sacramento."
But hey, maybe now they can focus on more stories like this one.
And for all you Facebookers out there, be sure to take
Capitol Weekly's new "Which California Legislator Are You Quiz."
Normally, we hate these kinds of quizzes, but hey,
if you can't beat 'em...