Feb 18, 2010

As Democrats launched another anti-Meg Whitman radio ad, Whitman peeled off a former supporter of Steve Poizner. Meanwhile, the great GOP debate debate is apparently over, with the state party announcing there would be no forced debate at this spring's convention. 


Steve Poizner's bad day began with an announcement from Sam Blakeslee that he was switching his endorsement from Poizner to Whitman. ""As the former Assembly Republican leader, I understand the importance of a unified team if we are going to win," Blakeslee said in a statement Wednesday. "A bloody primary battle is not in the best interest of our party. Meg is best positioned to solve the state’s problems and win in a competitive election against Jerry Brown.”


Could Abel Maldonado be a way for Republicans to make inroads with Latino voters? Malcolm Maclachlan says the party is using the Maldonado fervor to try.


"On the popular Univision show Voz y Vota (“Voice and Vote”) last weekend, Sen. Abel Maldonado, R-Santa Maria, squared off with Asm. Tony Mendoza, D-Artesia, over the Assembly’s rejection last week of Maldonado’s nomination to be lieutenant governor. Mendoza, who helped lead Democratic opposition to Maldonado, found himself explaining why, in Spanish.

"For his part, Maldonado talked about how much it hurt that his major opposition was coming from Latino Democrats.

"This was music to the ears of Hector Barajas, a spokesman for the California Republican Party. The GOP has not traditionally been very popular among Latinos, but with the Democratic-led defeat of Maldonado, the party sees an opening, he said."


John Howard looks at the return of the crash tax.


"A recession-spawned move to bill out-of-area drivers for the locals’ costs of cleaning up traffic crashes, once limited to a handful of municipalities in California, is gaining ground across the state. But dozens of local municipalities and fire protection districts are levying the “crash tax,” which typically ranges between $500 and $2,000, to replenish local coffers.

"Laws have been on the books for years allowing local cities and governments to collect for the cost handling accidents – and many have. The idea is that the charge – called an accident-fee or crash tax – allows the locals to recoup lost costs spent on handling accidents.

"Strapped for money and shouldering the responsibility to deal with emergencies, the locals see any way of covering their costs as worthwhile."


Shane Goldmacher reports Darrell Steinberg promised no more overnights in the Legislature. "Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg pledged Wednesday that the Legislature would no longer hold marathon all-night sessions to get its work done. Such sessions were commonplace last year, as lawmakers snored and slept on the Legislature's floor, bills were passed at all hours of the night and the state became fodder for late-night comedy shows.


"I had more sleepovers last year than my 15-year-old daughter," Steinberg said in a speech at the Sacramento Press Club.


A new University of California study extoled the virtues of medical marijuana. The LAT reports, "A report based on findings from five separate clinical trials testing marijuana's medicinal uses was submitted to the Legislature on Wednesday.


“These findings provide a strong, science-based context in which policymakers and the public can begin discussing the place of cannabis in medical care," said Dr. Igor Grant, executive vice chairman of the department of psychiatry at the UC San Diego School of Medicine and director of the school's Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research. The research was commissioned by the Legislature 11 years ago to test whether or not marijuana did have any medicinal value.


"The report said there was “reasonable evidence that cannabis is a promising treatment” for some specific, pain-related medical conditions. It also said marijuana was helpful in reducing spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis."


Karen Bass made it official, as the Assembly speaker announced her run for congress with the blessing of Rep. Diane Watson. Jean Merl reports, "Watson, who announced last week that she would not run for reelection after 35 years in public office, said she was pleased to back Bass. 
“I 100% -- maybe 300% -- endorse Karen Bass,” said Watson, 76, whose Los Angeles-area 33rd Congressional District is among the most diverse in the nation."


Bass will join Isadore Hall and other lawmakers on the Capitol steps today to speak out against a party at UC San Diego that they say is racist.


"The so-called Compton Cookout event urged all participants to wear chains, don cheap clothes and speak very loudly, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported. Female participants were encouraged to be "ghetto chicks.''


and finally, Jerry Brown may be playing hard to get, but at least Zsa Zsa Gabor's husband has declared his candidacy for governor. "

Sporting alligator-skin cowboy boots and a bright red campaign cap, Prince Frederic von Anhalt, a flamboyant Los Angeles socialite and eighth husband of Zsa Zsa Gabor, officially joined the California governor's race on Wednesday.


"Von Anhalt's political platform includes legalizing marijuana and prostitution, lifting the import ban on Cuban cigars, then taxing them all.


"A former Republican, von Anhalt described Whitman as someone who lacks innovative ideas and the "charm" required for political success. He had nothing but praise for Brown.


"If he announces, he's probably going to win," von Anhalt said. "He's a tough guy – tough on crime – and he's also a gentleman."



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