As Californians face a landmark primary election in which the new "top two" system defines the victors, one state race is particularly noteworthy. It is the showdown between Assemblyman Jim Beall and former Assemblyman Joe Coto for the 15ht Senate District -- the only fight for a Senate seat pitting members of the same party against one another.
From the Contra Costa Times John Woolfolk: "But though Democrats enjoy the district's highest party registration, most of its voters aren't Democrats. And political observers say that makes the 15th District just what political reformers had in mind when they designed the top-two primary, aimed at easing partisan Capitol gridlock. Instead of competing for their party's most liberal voters for a primary nomination that would assure November victory in the Democratic stronghold, Beall and Coto must broaden their appeal to the independents and Republicans who together outnumber the district's Democrats."
"The one who appeals to the non-Democratic vote the most is the one who will be the winner come November," predicted Allan Hoffenblum, a Los Angeles-based political consultant who publishes the California Target Book, which handicaps legislative and congressional races. Hoffenblum said the 15th Senate District is among perhaps 34 legislative districts statewide expected to be same-party races in November."
"Under the top-two system voters approved two years ago, the two candidates receiving the most votes in June face off in a November runoff, regardless of their party affiliation or margin of victory in June. That makes the June race between Beall and Coto a trial run for November."
The state's political watchdog says California judges now have to post their financial disclosure information online, a rule that already applies to other elected officials.
From the Mercury News' Howard Mintz: "In a unanimous decision, the state's Fair Political Practices Commission on Thursday approved a rule that requires California's more than 1,700 judges to post their disclosure forms on the Internet, despite objections from judicial leaders that it could jeopardize their privacy and security."
"The FPPC decided to impose the 2-year-old rule on judges that already had been applied to the rest of the state's elected officials."
"The judges' financial disclosure forms are already available publicly at individual courthouses, but groups such as the California Judges Association opposed putting that same information on the Internet, saying that angry litigants should not have such easy access to a judge's personal information."
Getting a sex-chanage operation is no minor deal, and people often need therapy to handle the ordeal. But sometimes even the therapy is a problem.
From Capitol Weekly's Greg Lucas: "Both men have testified on either side of first-in-the-nation legislation moving through the state Senate to prevent such treatment being given to minors and require adults who want the treatment to sign a statement acknowledging that “sexual orientation change efforts have not been shown to be safe or effective and can, in fact, be harmful.”
"Among the risks of the therapy, the bill says, are: “depression, anxiety, self-destructive behavior and suicide.”
"Opponents counter that the bill usurps the ability of parents to choose the right psychological care for their child and subjects therapists who practice sexual orientation change efforts to potential liability."
“This blanket prohibition on communication between a psychotherapist and a minor patient is unprecedented,” said Matt McReynolds, a lawyer with the Pacific Justice Institute in Sacramento. “That’s the central issue for us.”
The move by Santa Monica-based Consumer Watchdog to get health insurance rates regulated by the Department of Insurance has a back story that includes a personal political fight between major Democrats.
From the Bee's Dan Walters: "His chief antagonist is Steve Maviglio, a political consultant who was a top aide to former Gov. Gray Davis and former Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez, both of whom received public tongue-lashings from Rosenfield and his organization."
"They rapped Davis over his handling of the energy crisis and Núñez over carrying state health care legislation. Rosenfield accused both of helping corporations at the expense of consumers."
"Maviglio accuses Consumer Watchdog of hiding its financing and of receiving more than $6 million in "intervenor fees" from Jones' Department of Insurance, which would increase if the new measure passes. He also digs at Rosenfield for being paid more than $600,000 a year."
Thousands of old documents related to West Coast immigration documents had been slated to be destroyed, but there's been a reprieve -- now, they are going to be made available to the public.
From Matt O'Brien at the Contra Costa Times: "Photographs, letters, health records, interview transcripts and other historical documents were destined for a recycling bin or a remote Midwestern storage facility."
"We changed that plan. We're making them permanent," said spokeswoman Sharon Rummery of U.S. Immigration and Citizenship Services. Archivists credit the advocacy of the late U.S. Rep. Tom Lantos, D-San Mateo, and his successor, Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, for helping to save the collection."
"The documents will be housed in San Bruno, at the National Archives at San Francisco, and open to the public beginning Tuesday."