Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

November 1, 2012
Arizona donor appeals, forestalling FPPC audit

An Arizona nonprofit that spent $11 million last month on two high-profile California initiative battles appealed an unfavorable trial court decision today, for now blocking the state from obtaining transaction records as requested.

Americans for Responsible Leadership believes the state Fair Political Practices Commission has no authority to audit organizations before an election, said Matt Ross, a spokesman for the group's attorneys. A Sacramento Superior Court judge ruled Wednesday for the FPPC, but her order allowed ARL to avoid submitting data for an audit by appealing the decision.

The state responded today by filing an "emergency petition" with the Sacramento-based Third District Court of Appeal asking that it change the order to force ARL to supply information to the FPPC while the issue undergoes legal review.

"The people of the State of California, via initiative, have determined that the disclosure of campaign contributions prior to the election is of great importance in making electoral decisions," the state wrote. "This information is, by its very nature, only relevant before the election."

The FPPC last week filed suit against ARL seeking emails, text messages and financial transaction records related to the $11 million contribution the group made to a business committee last month. The recipient, Small Business Action Committee, is fighting Gov. Jerry Brown's tax initiative, Proposition 30, and supporting a measure that would restrict union dues collection, Proposition 32.

The state watchdog agency is trying to audit the group's activities to determine if ARL violated campaign disclosure rules by shielding its donors. Under state rules, an organization must report its individual contributors if money was earmarked for a particular campaign in California.

November 1, 2012
Darius Anderson, Doug Bosco purchase Santa Rosa newspaper

Two California political power brokers are expanding their stake in the North Bay newspaper market.

Sacramento lobbyist Darius Anderson and former Democratic Rep. Doug Bosco are reportedly part of a group of investors purchasing the Santa Rosa Press Democrat from its current owner, Halifax Media Group.

The Press Democrat reports:

The same group, called Sonoma Media Investments LLC, earlier this year bought the Sonoma Index-Tribune, the Sonoma-based newspaper that publishes twice a week.

The sale by Halifax Media Group includes the weekly Petaluma Argus-Courier and North Bay Business Journal in Santa Rosa and affiliated websites for The Press Democrat and the two weeklies.

The terms of the deal were not announced. The purchase is expected to close early this month.

The full Press Democrat piece is posted at this link.

November 1, 2012
Brown debates economy long distance with manufacturers

It was just a a semi-coincidence that as Gov. Jerry Brown was touting California on Thursday as an engine of economic growth, the California Manufacturers and Technology Association was declaring the state to be falling behind the rest of the country.

Both have data on their sides.

During an appearance before the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco -- mostly to campaign for passage of his tax measure, Proposition 30 -- Brown skewered the "declinists" who believe that California is faltering.

The state has its flaws, he said, but "California ... has made some fabulous decisions, and our collective will ... will not be slowed by the skeptics, the declinists and those fearful individuals who can't see where they are: the greatest place in the world."

November 1, 2012
Jerry Brown not 'that stupid' to defend politicians, but does so

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Legislature's unpopularity is such that a standard practice of political campaigns is to distance oneself from "Sacramento politicians" while tying one's opponents to them.

Gov. Jerry Brown's ballot measure to raise taxes has suffered from the association, and he has asserted in his campaign advertising - however disingenuously - that "Sacramento politicians can't touch the money" his initiative would raise.

If it is the kind of rhetoric a third-term governor and lifelong politician might find uncomfortable, and it gave Brown pause this afternoon.

"I'm not going to give a defense of politicians. I'm not that stupid," the Democratic governor said when asked at The Commonwealth Club in San Francisco if politicians wouldn't waste the tax revenue promised by Proposition 30. "But I will say the word politician comes from "politeia," which means the pulse, the community, the city state. In ancient Greece, the politician unfortunately has the work of trying to mesh all these totally discordant, contradictory opinions and identities, and they clash.

"And that's why sometimes people get a little tired of democracy, and representative democracy, because it is strenuous. And it does take sustained courage to keep at it, even when you see things you don't like or you get disappointed. Now, if I were going to be cynical or get disappointed, I would have checked out a long time ago. But I've come back."

Brown, 74, later recounted all the offices he has held or run for over the decades, and he was asked about his political future.

"Do I have more offices in mind?" he said. "I'm not telling."

November 1, 2012
California GOP chairman opts not to run for another term

The chairman of the California Republican Party has decided not to seek another term at the helm of the state GOP.

Tom Del Beccaro announced in an email this week that he will not run in the party's spring elections, saying he has decided "it is time for me to pause from Party politics."

Del Beccaro, who was elected chairman in March of 2010 after years of GOP leadership positions on the state and county level, said in an interview that he will focus on finishing two books related to politics and other endeavors that will allow him to "influence ideas hopefully at a national level."

"After 10 years of volunteering, that's just where I want to be and that's where I get the most energy," Del Beccaro, 51, said. "Not long ago I spent like an entire day on the book projects and I was happy the whole day. It's just what I love to do."

November 1, 2012
Dan Lungren dings Ami Bera for not showing up at local events

Republican Rep. Dan Lungren dinged Democratic challenger Ami Bera on Wednesday for being MIA at a series of local candidate appearances, characterizing such events as a way to add substance to a race dominated by heavy spending on attack ads.

"The way you get through the clutter of the negative ads and the way you actually revive the idea of a spirited debate between all of those candidates who are out there is to require people to show up at all of these forums so they can't hide behind the voters," he told KFBK's John McGinness during an afternoon radio appearance.

Lungren and Bera, competing for the second time in what is now the 7th Congressional District, squared off for the first time earlier this year in a Sept. 25 debate sponsored by The Sacramento Bee, News10 and Capital Public Radio. Both also participated in a late September candidate forum sponsored by the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association.

November 1, 2012
Two senators demand answers on CSU's legislative scorecard

Two state senators - one Democrat and one Republican - demanded Thursday that the California State University system's trustees tell them who authorized spending for a "legislative report card" that rated lawmakers on how well they supported the system's political goals.

Sens. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, and Joel Anderson, R-Alpine, both received low marks in the CSU compilation of votes and other actions affecting the system's political agenda this year.

The report card was apparently a parting gesture by Chancellor Charles Reed, who has announced his retirement. No legislator earned an "A" grade in the report.

"The scorecard is to inform the public on lawmakers' support of the CSU and public higher education," CSU said in a statement when it released the report on Oct. 17. "Just as California has charged the university with educating and graduating well-prepared students, the university holds state elected officials accountable for supporting that mission."

November 1, 2012
Dan Walters Daily: Should politics imitate baseball?

VIDEO: Dan says government leaders could learn some things from baseball people about money.

Have a question you'd like Dan to answer? Post it on our Facebook page.

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

November 1, 2012
AM Alert: Vote on Proposition 30 may be a nail-biter

VIDEO: Dan Walters says that politicians could learn a little something from baseball managers about money.

Will Gov. Jerry Brown see his Proposition 30 approved in Tuesday's election?

The latest Field Poll shows that 48 percent of likely voters surveyed back his tax initiative, with 38 percent opposed. But 14 percent are still undecided, as David Siders reports in today's Bee.

Among likely voters who say they've already voted, 54 percent said they voted yes and 42 percent said they voted no, according to the poll.

Then there's the surge of new voters who've registered since September. Paul Mitchell, a former Democratic consultant who's now vice president of Political Data Inc., told Siders, "These people have not gotten mail pieces, they've not gotten phone calls. ... How does a campaign reach them before Tuesday?"

As for Molly Munger's rival Proposition 38, the poll finds that support is continuing to drop, with only 34 percent of likely voters in favor and 49 percent opposed.

Click here to read the statistical tabulations compiled exclusively for Capitol Alert and The Bee. You'll find the publicly released poll at this link.

Brown, meanwhile, takes his Proposition 30 pitch to the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco at noon today.

Stay tuned for more Field Poll findings this week. The survey of voter views on Proposition 32 on campaign finance and Proposition 34 on the death penalty is slated for publication Friday. Then Saturday, it's Barack Obama vs. Mitt Romney as well as Dianne Feinstein vs. Elizabeth Emken.

Tuesday, the Field Poll will estimate California voter turnout in the general election.


Capitol Alert Staff

Jeremy White Jeremy B. White covers California politics and edits Capitol Alert's mobile Insider Edition. Twitter: @capitolalert

Amy Chance Amy Chance is political editor for The Sacramento Bee. Twitter: @Amy_Chance

Dan Smith Dan Smith is Capitol bureau chief for The Sacramento Bee.

Christopher Cadelago Christopher Cadelago covers California politics and health care. Twitter: @ccadelago

Micaela Massimino Micaela Massimino edits Capitol Alert.

Laurel Rosenhall Laurel Rosenhall covers the Legislature, the lobbying community and higher education. Twitter: @LaurelRosenhall

David Siders David Siders covers the Brown administration. Twitter: @davidsiders

Dan Walters Dan Walters is a columnist for The Sacramento Bee. Twitter: @WaltersBee

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