"Democratic activists ignored the pleas of party leaders
Sunday and refused to endorse a controversial package of budget
measures on the May 19 special election ballot," reports John Wildermuth in the Chron.
"Proposition 1A, a proposed spending cap and rainy-day fund, fell short of the 60 percent vote needed from the delegates to the annual
party convention, as did Proposition 1D and Proposition 1E, measures that would take money from funds for early
childhood education and mental health care and use
it to close the state's $42 billion budget gap.
"The votes, which mean the party will take a neutral
position on the three ballot measures, come a little
more than a week after state Republican Party officials
voted to oppose all six of the budget measures on the
ballot. The Democrats on Sunday agreed to back the
remaining three: Proposition 1B, which provides $9.3 billion in new school funding, but only if Prop. 1A also passes; Proposition 1C, which allows the state to borrow up to $5 billion against future lottery revenue; and Proposition 1F, which blocks salary raises for government officials
in budget deficit years."
The LAT's Michael Finnegan reports:
"The mixed verdict by more than 1,200 delegates to a state party convention came after a
nasty floor fight over the grim menu of proposed solutions
to California's severe budget crisis.
"'We've got all kinds of divisions,' Art Pulaski, leader of the California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, said of the fractures among unions that drove
the party's internal rift. 'It's not unusual for us.'
"Republicans, too, are split on Propositions 1A through 1F. The state Republican Party has broken with Schwarzenegger,
its standard-bearer, and begun fighting the measures."
Ah, but some were still spinning.
"Despite Proposition 1A's failure, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg
argued that the measure got an important boost," writes the Bee's Peter Hecht.
"'You know what? I'm happy,' Steinberg said. 'The (endorsement) rules are a little odd. But I'm very pleased that 58 percent of the convention supports Proposition 1A. The majority of folks realized that there are billions
of dollars in public investments at stake.'"
Steve Maviglio goes a step further, making an endorsement out of the non-endorsement.
Meanwhile, the governor picks up the phone to ask George Skelton to dumb down
"'Explain it a little bit simpler,' he urges in a phone chat.
"And how would he explain it, I ask.
"'We should just simply describe 1A as a measure that will fix the broken budget system
once and for all so that you never have to make those
severe cuts again,' he answers. 'And you never have to go back to the people for tax
increases again. That's it.'
"OK, that's a stretch, but it gets close to the measure's intent.
"There is a tax element, however, that can't be ignored and is widely known because of news reporting
and talk radio. And it should have been addressed candidly
by the Prop. 1A campaign weeks ago.
"It's that if Prop. 1A passes, separate legislation -- not on the ballot -- automatically will continue sales, income and car
tax hikes for up to four years."
The ballot measure fight wasn't the only news out of the Democratic Convention, however.
Carla Marinucci and John Wildermuth report for the Chron:
"The lively sparring between the camps of Newsom and
Brown - both on
and off stage - before the state convention delegates this weekend
provided the first back-to-back look at two high-profile Democrats
expected to clash in the 2010 governor's race. With Los Angeles Mayor
Antonio Villaraigosa skipping the convention - to work on city budget
issues, according to his staff - Newsom and Brown commanded the
spotlight as they unveiled contrasting messages, themes
strategies to provide a preview of the next big Democratic
Newsom would like nothing more than to make this a
The Bee's Peter Hecht writes: "The appearance of the two men came at a Sacramento
gathering full of populist calls for universal health
care, workers rights and protection of vulnerable residents
and the environment. But the rhetoric contrasted with
a bitter Democratic rift over a burgeoning California
budget crisis and controversial special election initiatives
to address state fiscal woes.
"Newsom, who formally declared his candidacy for governor
Tuesday on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, took the
podium cheered by a procession of young, sign-waving supporters. Without mentioning Brown, he essentially
challenged delegates to choose between two politicians
separated in age and experience by 30 years.
"'So what are we going to do next year?' Newsom asked. 'Will we offer voters a stroll down memory lane or a
sprint to the future? Will we nominate candidates who
know Sacramento or leaders who know how to change it?
Will we choose the past, or will we embrace the future?'
"Speaking with the aid of a teleprompter, Newsom described
himself as a contemporary leader with a proven record
providing health care and environmental innovation.
And hair. Don't forget, he's got hair.
"Brown, speaking without a script, told of pushing solar
energy as governor from 1975 to 1983, adding: 'People said, 'This is flaky.' People said, 'Moonbeam.' Well, 30 years later this is the national imperative.'"
Speaking of strolls down memory lane, John Burton took the reins from Art Torres. "Seventy-six-old political veteran John Burton pledged to lead California
Democrats into the future today as he promised to fight
the state's two-thirds budget vote rule and defeat a "devious" 2010 open primary initiative," posts Peter Hecht on Capitol Alert.
"Burton addressed delegates before he was overwhelmingly
elected new state party chair to replace Art Torres,
who is retiring after 13 years at the helm.
"Burton said he would guide Democratic efforts to get
a measure on the ballot to allow state lawmakers to
pass a budget with a simple majority vote.
"He also said he wanted to defeat "a very devious Louisiana open primary" in a 2010 measure pushed for by Republican lawmaker Abel Maldonado of Santa Maria as a concession for his recent "yes" vote on the budget.
"Burton called the measure a veiled attempt by Republicans
and the California Chamber of Commerce to make Democrats
less competitive in GOP districts."
The U-T's James Sweeney gives Prop 1C the treatment.
"The measure could deliver $5 billion to help close the state's staggering $42 billion budget gap. At the same time, it would ease
long-standing rules that some believe have held back the
25-year-old state lottery.
"Within a few years, however, Proposition 1C may only make the state's financial problems worse, the nonpartisan Legislative
Analyst's Office has warned.
"The proposition, one of six budget-related measures on the May 19 ballot, would do away with the lottery's direct link to schools that now receive a set percentage
of the proceeds. Instead, the money would go to the
state's general fund.
"In return, schools would be guaranteed that amount
from the general fund, but it would grow at a higher
rate over the years."
Meanwhile, health-meters around the state have been set to swine.
"State and regional public health officials scoured hospitals and schools this weekend for cases
of the new swine flu that has sickened at least 20 people in the United States and killed dozens in Mexico," report Erin Allday and Damien Bulwa in the Chron.
"There were seven confirmed cases of swine flu in California
as of Sunday night, with one possible case at a school
in Sacramento County. If confirmed, that case would
be the first in the northern part of the state. The
confirmed cases occurred in San Diego and Imperial
counties, on the border with Mexico.
"Public health officials said Sunday that they expect
more cases to turn up this week, as students return
to school after the weekend and hospitals continue
to increase surveillance. In preparation, the federal
government issued a public health emergency on Sunday
that will help with the distribution of drugs to treat
and prevent spread of the virus to regions most affected.
"Meanwhile, California state and county public health
officials were asking federal authorities Sunday to
warn Americans against traveling to Mexico. The state
officials said they expected the federal Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention to issue such a travel
advisory by today."
And, just in time, "Forced to slash their budgets, some California counties
are eliminating nonemergency health services for illegal
immigrants -- a move that officials acknowledge could backfire by
shifting the financial burden to emergency rooms," writes Anna Gorman in the Times.
"Sacramento County voted in February to bar illegal
immigrants from county clinics at an estimated savings
of $2.4 million. Contra Costa County followed last month by
cutting off undocumented adults, to save approximately
$6 million. And Yolo County is voting on a similar change
next month, which would reduce costs by $1.2 million.
"'This is a way for us to get through what I think is
a horrible year for healthcare in California,' said William Walker, director of Contra Costa Health Services."
"Miss California Carrie Prejean, who became the bombshell of the Miss USA pageant
by saying gay couples should not be allowed to marry,
said Sunday that her state sponsors urged her to apologize
afterward but she rejected the advice," reports the AP's Lisa Leff.
"Prejean, 21, said officials from the Miss California USA pageant
were worried that her comments would cost their contest
financial backing and tried to prepare her for a string
of post-pageant media interviews by discouraging her from discussing
her religious beliefs.
"'You need to apologize to the gay community. You need
to not talk about your faith. This has everything to
do with you representing California and saving the
brand,'' Prejean recalled being told. 'I was representing California. I was representing the
majority of people in California.'"
Hey, a straight-talking beauty queen. Maybe Mitt Romney can tap her
as his vice president...