election analysis says Tuesday's results set the stage for an expensive November. "The results in this week’s elections set the stage for a series of contested
races in November that could lead to some Democratic
pick-ups in the Assembly. In the 80th Assembly District, labor helped push school board
member Manuel Perez past Greg Pettis in what was one
of the season’s nastiest primary fights.
"In the 78th Assembly District, which has also been targeted
as a potential pick-up for Democrats, attorney Marty Block bested Democratic
activist Maxine Sherard in a crowded primary field.
Block received strong support from consumer attorneys.
Democrats will try once again to take this seat, now
held by Republican Shirley Horton, in the November
election. Republicans will rely on John McCann to hold
the seat this fall.
"The Republican battle in the 15th District, where San Ramon Mayor Abram Wilson is
clinging to a small lead against Robert Rao, portends
the coming fight in the fall. Democrats have united
behind school board member Joan Buchanan as they hope
to reclaim the seat now held by Guy Houston, R-Livermore.
"The other race to watch in the fall is in the 30th Assembly District, where Fran Florez
, mother of
Sen. Dean Florez
, D-Shafter, will take on Republican Danny Gilmore
came close to knocking off Nicole Parra two years ago,
but may have to battle other political atmospherics
in his race against Florez. With this fall’s presidential election Florez’s best chance, and indeed the hopes of many Democratic
candidates in swing districts, may rest in the hands
The AP's Steve Lawrence declares the election a victory for organized labor. "Labor groups generally
outmuscled business organizations in big-spending races as voters
picked nominees Tuesday for 100 seats in the California Legislature.
"While the night belonged to labor, the business
community succeeded in its top goal, pushing a conservative
a primary victory in a heavily Democratic state Senate
"Millbrae Mayor Gina Papan, who had significant
independent expenditure support from groups representing
doctors and dentists, lost a close Assembly Democratic
race to San
Mateo County Supervisor Jerry Hill. The labor candidate
in that race,
Richard Holober, also lost."
CW's John Howard reports on a $600 million PUC plan that has raised some eyebrows in
"A plan pushed by California’s top utilities regulator to set up a
ratepayer-financed, $6 million-a-year institute at the University of
California is running
into opposition in the Capitol, where the legislators’ lawyer says the
scheme is illegal and angry lawmakers
sense a ploy to circumvent their authority.
"Michael Peevey, the president of the Public Utilities
Commission, described the California Institute for
Climate Solutions as a “groundbreaking path to find solutions to the most pressing
problem of our time.” Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, following the
PUC’s unanimous vote in April to approve the institute,
agreed, saying the new facility would “bring together the state’s preeminent colleges, universities and laboratories
to fight climate change.”
"But in the Capitol, especially in the Senate, different
views of the institute are emerging, few of them positive.
Privately, ranking lawmakers say the plan has been
halted—at least temporarily.
"The Legislative Counsel, the office whose attorneys
advise the Legislature, said the PUC has no statutory
or constitutional authority to create the institute.
Peevey said the PUC legal staff disagreed. “We have dueling lawyers,”
he said on May 6, adding that he would provide the PUC’s legal opinion
to the Senate. As of this week, he
has not, Senate sources Isaid.
“'You need a bill to establish the institute, that’s my direction to
you,' said Sen. Christine Kehoe, D-San Diego, the chairwoman of the
Senate energy committee. 'And when you pursue that conversation, figure it out,
CW also reports on a recent skirmish between doctors and insurers that
got a little personal . "A recent floor fight between the California Medical
Association and Blue Cross became tangled in a cross-current of political forces involving the Assembly
mod squad, some of the Capitol’s most powerful lobbyists and some good old-fashioned payback from a former Assembly speaker.
"Among those responsible for the defeat of a CMA-backed bill were hired guns from the health insurance
lobby, an increasingly influential cluster of moderate
Democrats and former Speaker Fabian Nunez, D-Los Angeles, who still blames the CMA for helping to
kill his health care proposal earlier this year.
"Republicans also got into the act, when Assembly Republican
Leader Mike Villines asked all Republicans to either
vote against or stay off the bill, even though CMA
lobbyists say they had assurances of support from some
Nunez also voted against the bill in a little payback
to the CMA for not supporting the former speaker's health care proposal "That proposal died in the Senate Health Committee in
January after months of work by Nunez and his staff.
CMA was officially neutral on the bill, but sources
close to Nunez say the speaker says the blood of that
bill is partially on CMA’s hands.
"In the end, Nunez’s vote is not what killed Ma’s bill, but it does illustrate how politics in the
Capitol can quickly get personal.
“It wasn’t the thing that killed it, but it was a way for him
to get a little payback,” said one supporter of the bill.
"The state Supreme Court cleared the way Wednesday for lesbian and gay couples
to begin marrying in California later this month , rejecting opponents' request to suspend its ruling legalizing same-sex weddings until voters consider the issue in November," reports Bob Egelko in the Chron.
"The justices' unanimous order denying a stay was denounced by conservative
organizations that support a constitutional amendment
on the ballot this fall to overturn the ruling, while
a lawyer for same-sex couples predicted it would increase public acceptance
of gays' and lesbians' newly won marital rights.
"'People will see their friends, neighbors and co-workers engaging in this very cherished ritual, and
I believe it will continue to push the California voting
public in the direction of assuring that the Constitution
does not treat people differently,' said Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian
Rights. The organization represented couples who filed
suit challenging the state law that defined marriage
as the union of a man and a woman.
"Glen Lavy, an attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund, which
had asked the court to reconsider its ruling, countered
that Wednesday's order could increase support for the constitutional
amendment "if the public perceives that as an effort to manipulate
the vote." He called the order "a vote for legal chaos."
"Another lawyer for opponents of same-sex marriage, Mathew Staver of Liberty Counsel, said,
'I don't believe at the end of the day the people will allow
four judges to rewrite marriage.'"
The Chron's Carolyn Said writes another article about how the
lavendar love will bail us out of the bad economy.
Consider us skeptical...
Meanwhile, the LAT's Patrick McGreevy reports: "Backers of the defeated Proposition 98, which would have phased out rent control and broadly
limited government's ability to take private property, vowed Wednesday to take the eminent domain issue to
the state Capitol, in hopes of persuading legislators to do what voters
Aren't you supposed to do that before you spend millions on an initiative?
George Skelton writes that Tuesday's election teaches us six lessons:
"Lesson 1: Carpetbaggers are welcome in California. (Example: Tom McClintock)
Lesson 2: Politicians should have a focused message, a clear
identification. (Example: Fran Pavley)
Lesson 3: The business lobby can influence Democratic politics,
even in a largely minority district. (Example: Rod Wright)
Lesson 4: It's the year of political change. (Example: Kevin Johnson)
Lesson 5: Celebrity still counts in California. (See above example.)
Lesson 6: All politics is local. (Example: Jeff Denham Recall)"
"For the first time in a dozen years, California voters
Tuesday ousted a sitting legislator in a primary election,
and Los Angeles area voters refused to extend Mervyn
Dymally's 46-year political career," reports Nancy Vogel in the Times.
"The election results set the stage for several serious
Republican-versus-Democrat clashes for legislative seats in November's general election.
"San Francisco and Marin County Democrats threw state
Sen. Carole Migden out of office when they chose her challenger, Assemblyman
Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), by a wide margin. Migden could have been reelected
to another four-year term, but Leno will face Republican unknown Sashi McEntee in November to represent the liberal 3rd Senate District.
"Legislators rarely challenge colleagues of their own
party, but many troubles have dogged Migden this past
year, including a $350,000 fine for campaign finance violations and probation
for reckless driving. Voters last ousted an incumbent
in a primary election in 1996, when Republican Brian Setencich of Fresno was punished for working with Democrats
to briefly attain the Assembly's top post.
"Democratic voters Tuesday also rejected the bid of
Assemblyman Dymally of Compton to move to the state
Senate. With a 44% to 35% vote, they chose former Assemblyman Rod Wright to run against Republican Lydia Gutierrez in November to represent the 25th Senate District, which includes San Pedro and Inglewood.
Democratic voters dominate the district, so Wright
is practically guaranteed a victory."
Vogel then goes on to look at districts that are expected
to be competitive this fall, including AD78 (Perez v. Jeandron), AD80 (Block v. McCann), and SD19 (Jackson v. Strickland).
"Christopher Cabaldon's loss in an Assembly Democratic primary Tuesday leaves undecided the political future of a local leader
often touted as one of the Sacramento region's most dynamic," reports Jim Sanders in the Bee.
"'I think he's a talent, he's very capable, and I hope that he'll continue, I'm sure he'll continue, to be involved in West Sacramento and
the region,' said Assemblywoman Lois Wolk, D-Davis.
"In one of the state's tightest legislative races, Cabaldon lost to Mariko Yamada by three percentage points, or 1,048 votes, in the Democratic primary for the 8th District seat of the termed-out Wolk.
"Cabaldon's loss to Yamada, a Yolo County supervisor, marked
the end of a feverish fight in which competing education
advocacy groups – California Teachers Association and EdVoice – led independent campaigns that poured more than $1 million into the race.
"Yamada said Wednesday that she appreciated support
from outside groups but that house-to-house contact with voters – she knocked on 4,500 doors – might have clinched victory. "Voters want to know that you, the candidate, care enough
to go to them," she said.
"Cabaldon, who could not be reached for comment Wednesday,
must decide by Aug. 8 whether to run for re-election as West Sacramento mayor."
"The most expensive Los Angeles County race in history is
about to get even costlier -- and more contentious -- during the upcoming runoff between Los Angeles City
Councilman Bernard C. Parks and state Sen. Mark Ridley-Thomas for a rare open seat on the Board of Supervisors," write Jean-Paul Renaud and Garrett Therolf in the Times.
"The Democratic state senator from Los Angeles bested
Parks 45% to 40% in Tuesday's primary, thanks in large part to an independent,
$4.4-million campaign by labor unions on Ridley-Thomas' behalf.
"Because neither of the two main contenders in the nine-candidate field was able to win a majority, they must
compete again in a Nov. 4 runoff, and on Wednesday each claimed a victory and
promised a fierce, five-month campaign.
"The two are vying to replace retiring Supervisor Yvonne
B. Burke in the 2nd District, which stretches from Mar Vista through
South Los Angeles and Watts and into Carson and Compton.
Parks, a former L.A. police chief who is well-known in the district, initially was considered to
have an edge over Ridley-Thomas. But that evaporated when unions supporting
the state senator flooded district mailboxes with campaign
brochures, organized telephone banks and mounted extensive
CW's Malcolm Maclachlan looks at the flood of mortgage-related legislation in the Capitol.
"Beating the deadline for bills to emerge from their
house of origin, a trio of Senate bills supported by
the California Mortgage Bankers Association (CMBA) had made it out of the Senate. Several other bills
the group opposed either died or were amended.
Sen. Mike Machado, D-Stockton, is the author of three major
mortgage-related bills: SB 1053, SB 1054 and SB 1055. Machado managed
to get both the mortgage industry
and its critics onboard with the legislation, which
will increase the disclosure requirements for lenders
and protections afforded to borrowers.
But both sides admit that large-scale reform must come from Washington,
D.C.—and that will probably have to wait for a new presidential
"California corrections officials, faced with a continued
prison overcrowding crisis, got themselves a little more time and space Wednesday
when an appellate court ruled they could keep sending
inmates out of state," writes the Bee's Andy Furillo.
"The decision by a three-judge panel of California's 3rd District Court
of Appeal overturned last year's ruling by a Sacramento judge that the
transfers were illegal and unconstitutional.
"In a prepared statement, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger
said the unanimous
decision "comes at a critical juncture" in the state's efforts to ease
crowding in a prison system filled to twice its designed
facing a federal court threat to cap its population.
"'As we work to put our prison reforms in place, out-of-state transfers
and other population reductions have provided much-needed breathing
space in our prisons and improved safety and conditions
for staff and
inmates,' Schwarzenegger said."
"A significant legal settlement announced Wednesday
grants thousands of juvenile parolees fundamental due
process rights for the first time in California history," reports Karen de Sá in the Merc News.
"Under the agreement reached in a Sacramento federal
court between youth advocates and state officials,
offenders who violate parole will soon be afforded
the basic constitutional rights granted to adult parolees.
In hearings to decide whether they should be locked
up again, juvenile parolees will be granted legal counsel,
the opportunity to present evidence and witnesses,
and protection from lengthy pre-hearing detention and the arbitrary lengthening of
"Legal advocates described the settlement as the most
historic impact on California juvenile law in the past
"Prior to changes formalized this week, 'it was basically like being sentenced to the twilight
zone,' said San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi. 'If you were a juvenile parolee, you were placed in
this legal limbo where you had no rights, no hearing
date and no lawyer.'"
Finally, from our Boston bureau, "Senator J. James Marzilli Jr. used the name of a fellow lawmaker when he was arrested
Tuesday for allegedly trying to grope a woman on a park bench,
telling police he was Martin Walsh, who is a state representative from Dorchester, a
prosecutor said today in court.
"Police threatened Marzilli with pepper spray after
a foot chase through downtown Lowell because he would
not put his hands above his head, according to a police
report read in court by prosecutor Richard M. Mucci.
Marzilli, 50, initially told officers his name was Martin Walsh,
he lived in Medford, and was born in 1958. However, he soon revealed his true identity and told
police, 'you don't understand ... I'm a state senator.'''