Future of Stockton pensions may be decided today

Oct 30, 2014

First off, if you expect anything to get done in San Francisco tomorrow, fuhgeddaboutit.


In a case that has wide repercussions, U.S. bankruptcy judge Christopher Klein is expected to issue a ruling on the fate of Stockton city pensions today.  From Marc Lifsher at the Los Angeles Times:


“The ruling has been much anticipated since U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Christopher M. Klein recently said that California's rich and powerful public pension system should be treated like all other creditors — with no special protection…


“But Thursday's ruling may not be as far-reaching as the judge hinted. Despite his qualms, Klein could approve Stockton's city-approved plan for ending its bankruptcy. It calls for more cuts in public services — but preserves current employee pension benefits.”


Two interesting facts in Jim Miller’s voter reg story in the Sacramento Bee: over half of California voters are mail-in voters; and, less people are registered to vote today than were registered in 2012.


“Paul Mitchell of Political Data, Inc., which provides voter-registration data to campaigns, said Wednesday that more than 9 million vote-by-mail ballots have gone out.


“That’s less than the 9.18 million voters who received mail ballots for the 2012 presidential election, when more people were registered to vote, said Mitchell, who is tracking mail-ballot returns. But the number is significantly more than the number of voters who received mail ballots in the run-up to the last midterm elections in 2010, said Neal Kelley, Orange County’s registrar of voters and the president of election official association.”


President Bill Clinton made an appearance at UC Davis yesterday, urging California Democrats to vote and lending his support for house members John Garamendi and Ami Bera.  Bera returned the favor, telling the crowd of 4500 that he wants his almost-voting-age daughter to be able vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016.  From Christopher Cadelago in the Bee.


And, let’s just make it a Bee three-fer with Jeremy White’s report on the Field Poll, which shows Dems leading the pack, except in the deadlocked Marshall Tuck-Tom Torlakson race for Superintendent of Public Instruction.


“The contest to become California’s top education official is the state’s most competitive statewide race, with a new Field Poll showing a virtual tie between incumbent Tom Torlakson and challenger Marshall Tuck.


“The poll also showed Democrats ahead in every other statewide race among those likely to vote in Tuesday’s election. They hold comfortable double-digit percentage leads in campaigns to become California’s attorney general, treasurer, lieutenant governor and insurance commissioner.”


Publisher of the California Target Book Allan Hoffenblum notes Clinton’s visit and looks at hot races for Fox and Hounds.


“Some of the hottest House races in the nation are here in California and former President Bill Clinton is in California today to headline a rally for Rep. Ami Bera (CD7) and John Garamendi (CD3) at UC Davis and for Reps. Julia Brownley  (CD26) and Raul Ruiz (CD36) and Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar (CD31 Open Seat) at Oxnard College.”


Maria Elena Durazo, head of the powerful LA County Labor Federation is leaving her post to take a job with a national union, Unite Here.  Durazo, who got her start as a farmworker, is credited with making a successful labor organization even stronger under her tenure.  James Rainey and David Zahniser look at Durazo and the LA County Labor Fed in the Los Angeles Times.


“The Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, an umbrella entity representing 600,000 workers, has arguably reached a zenith of its influence under Durazo, its first woman leader. It helped land allies on the Los Angeles City Council and county Board of Supervisors and recently pushed through a minimum wage law requiring large Los Angeles hotels to pay workers at least $15.37 an hour, one of the nation's highest base wages.”


Just noticed the Influencers 50 List published by Campaigns and Elections last week.  No surprise to find plenty of California connections in a list of people credited with “changing the way we think about campaigns.”


“Our Influencers 50 list is the culmination of months of research and interviews with consultants, campaign managers, technologists and activists. We searched for people who are changing the way we think about campaigns.


“Our list features strategists working to increase their party’s comfort level with digital, consultants showing state legislative and even city council candidates how to make use of data and analytics on their campaign efforts, and those highlighting the consulting world’s need to diversify its ranks.”


File under: Stuff of Nightmares.  Photographer Greg Anderson found the World’s Greatest Neckbeard while covering the 2014 World Beard and Moustache Championships last week.  Yes, there really is a World Beard and Moustache Championships, and it’s held – where else? -  in Portland. 


Boing Boing has the neckbeard, here, if you dare.