Deja vu

Nov 5, 2010

Jerry Brown, fresh from his electoral victory, comes to Sacramento and starts work on the state budget. 


From the Chronicle's Wyatt Buchanan: "Brown started with what he called a "sobering meeting" with Department of Finance Director Ana Matosantos, and said afterward that the state's fiscal crisis is "certainly as bad as it's ever been. It's going to take people in both the Democratic Party and Republican Party together to get out of their comfort zone."


"Brown did not say what the deficit would be - the Legislative Analyst's Office will release its estimate next week. After meeting with Brown, Assembly Speaker John Pérez said it could be as high as $15 billion. On Wednesday, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, said it could be as high as $12 billion."


Election night parties are long since over, but the count isn't -- officials say some two million ballots remain to be tallied. The Bee's Dan Smith has the story.


"Of the total, 1.4 million are absentee ballots that were returned to counties in the final days before Election Day or on Election Day that have yet to be opened and counted. Another 451,056 ballots were cast provisionally and have yet to be processed, and 56,652 ballots are either damaged or were diverted by optical scanners for further review.

With Democrat Kamala Harris leading Republican Steve Cooley by a mere 9,364 votes out of 7.2 million counted so far, a decision in the attorney general's race is down the road a bit."


One election loser, Republican Martin Garrick of Carlsbad,  didn't get whacked at the ballot box -- his own Assembly colleagues dumped him as leader. From the LAT's Anthony York.


"Assembly Republicans replaced their leader Thursday afternoon after an election in which the caucus lost a seat to a Democrat. California was one of the few places where Democrats actually picked up a legislative seat amid the landslide for Republicans nationwide."


"The new Assembly GOP leader is Connie Conway of Tulare. She replaces Martin Garrick of Solana Beach. Conway, who was elected to her second term in the Assembly on Tuesday, would be the first woman to hold the post in nearly three decades. Before coming to the Assembly she was a county supervisor, and also served in leadership of the California State Association of Counties."


Jeff Gorell, elected to the Assembly and headed to Afghanistan, is not your everyday legislator, reports Timm Herdt of the Ventura County Star.


"It was the same sort of policy curiosity that had led him, months earlier, to reach out to organized labor, a traditional foe of Republicans, to learn more of its interests. What he discovered then was enough common ground on the issues of job-creation and career-tech education that he was able to secure the endorsement of the California Labor Federation — the only Republican in the state to do so."

"Gorell may have been the biggest Election Day winner in Ventura County — a newcomer who won election to the Assembly by more than three times the margin of that of his incumbent predecessor two years earlier, running against the same opponent."


California voters rejected Proposition 19 handily, but a post-election poll shows they still lean toward legalizing marijuana.


From the LAT's John Hoeffel: "The poll was paid for by Peter B. Lewis, a retired insurance company executive. Lewis donated $159,005 to the Drug Policy Alliance’s campaign for Proposition 19 and was one of the backers of California’s 1996 medical marijuana initiative."

"The poll also found that a quarter of those who voted on Proposition 19 had considered voting the other way, suggesting that a different initiative or a different campaign could change the result. “We have fluidity,” Greenberg said. “The issue does not have the kind of hard and fast kind of polarization that we’ve seen with other so-called moral or social issues.” 

Off the election for a moment, an L.A. County judge says Jerry Brown may have overreached his authority in his lawsuit against officials in the city of Bell.


"The judge also questioned whether the suit, filed at the height of Brown's contentious run for governor, was more about politics than law."


"There is a real question of authority here," said Dau during a hearing Thursday. "You say they're looting the city and you can enforce it, but where is the case that says the attorney general can enforce it?" Dau added, "So I'm wondering, is this just a political lawsuit?"


Finally, from our "Good Guys" file, if you've ever wondered what you'd do if you won the lottery, here's one possibility: Give the money away.


"Violet and Allen Large, who live in rural Nova Scotia, decided they had no need for the money and, four months after the Lotto 6-49 win, have given virtually all of it to churches, animal charities, hospitals and other groups, the Halifax Chronicle-Herald reported."


"What you've never had, you never miss," Violet Large, 78, who is recovering from cancer, told the newspaper. "We have an old house, but we're comfortable and we're happy in it."


"It made us feel good," she said about giving the money away. "And there’s so much good being done with that money."

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