Feb 8, 2012

Democrats are gathering their forces to beat back an attempt by a conservative Republican lawmaker to turn California's Legislature into a part-time body. Voters approved creating a full-time Legislature in 1966 and with few exceptions it has been Democrat-dominated ever since.


From the Bee's Jim Sanders: "Political consultant Steve Maviglio, former spokesman for Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez, said today that he has joined forces with Burbank attorney Dario Frommer, a former Assembly majority leader. Fundraising has not yet begun, Maviglio said. The group will butt heads with Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield, and with Ted Costa, the head of a political watchdog group, over the duo's proposed constitutional amendment."


A federal appeals court has tossed out voter-approved Proposition 8, which bans gay marriage, and that means the culimination of this legal battle is all but certain to end next year in the U.S. Supreme Court.


From Capitol Weekly's John Howard: "The decision by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upholds a lower court ruling by U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker in San Francisco, who tossed out Proposition 8, which voters approved by voters in November 2008 after a ferocious campaign. The measure won by about 600,000 votes, or 52.3 percent to 47.7 percent  out of some 13 million ballots cast."


"Rivals spent a combined $94 million for or against the measure, which drew international attention, activists from across the country and a 24-7 television advertising campaign that blanketed the airwaves."

"The decision is all but certain to be appealed to the full 11-member, appellate court and to the U.S. Supreme Court, which could hear the case as early as next year."

Gov. Brown has filled the newly created, $140,000-a-year position of tribal adviser with Cynthia Gomez, 54, a member of a Northern California gaming tribe. The Press-Enterprise's Jim Miller tells the tale.

"She has been the chief justice for the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians since 2010."


"Before that, she was assistant secretary of environmental justice and tribal government policy at the California Environmental Protection Agency. From 1999 to 2008, Gomez was the chief of Caltrans’ Native American Liaison Branch and previously worked for the state Department of Housing and Community Development."


"Brown signed an executive order creating the tribal adviser position last September. The post will be a liaison between the governor’s office and tribal governments on bills, policy and other matters."

Real estate brokers are the biggest campaign contributors to Californians in Congress, according to a nonpartisan research organization that tracks special interests.

From the LAT's Jim Puzzanghera: "The Realtors group contributed a total of $497,000 to California House members from July 2009 through last June and to the state's two senators from July 2005 through last June."

"Emily's List, which promotes the election of pro-choice Democratic women, came in second with $394,837 in contributions to Californians in Congress during the period, which was designed to reflect the two-year terms of House members and the six-year terms of senators."

"Rounding out the top five for California were Honeywell International Inc. with $363,900 in contributions, the American Assn. for Justice trial lawyers group with $317,000 and AT&T Inc. with $306,240."

Gov. Brown has denied parole to 71 first- and second-degree murderers wo had been recommended for release, and approved pardons for 21 people during his first year in office.

From Anthony York in the LAT: "Brown did allow for the early release of just one person, Tung Nguyen of Garden Grove, who was convicted of first-degree murder for his role in a motel-room killing in a dispute over money. Nguyen served as a lookout and did not know that his friend had stabbed the victim in the leg, according to a report from Brown's office. The stab wound punctured the victim’s femoral artery, and he bled to death."


"Nguyen was just 16  at the time."


"On Nov. 3, 2010, the Board of Parole recommended Nguyen be offered parole because of his remorse, rehabilitation and “stable social history.”

Unlike the 71 other such recommendations rejected by Brown, the governor approved Nguyen’s parole, based in part on his role in helping 50 civilians to safety who were on the prison yard during a 2006 inmate riot."