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Dec 10, 2014

Former Democratic Assemblyman Isadore Hall took nearly 55% of the vote Tuesday in a special election for the state senate seat vacated by Rod Wright - by topping 50% Hall avoided a runoff.  Turnout in the holiday election was so low we’re wondering if the Bee has a typo: 6.3%???  Christopher Cadelago also points out that three more Senate seats will be up for special elections soon: “to fill the seats of soon-to-depart senators and Rep.-elects Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, Steve Knight, R-Palmdale, and Mimi Walters, R-Laguna Niguel.”


California prosecutors are suing ride-sharing company Uber over allegations including problems with the firm’s driver background checks.  Competitor Lyft agreed to settle a lawsuit over similar claims without going to court.  Paul Elias has the story for the Associated Press.


“The lawsuits filed Tuesday in San Francisco Superior Court are the latest legal hurdles for the nascent ride-hailing industry. The industry in general — and Uber in particular — have been battling lawsuits and regulatory issues over whether the businesses are regulated taxi services or app-making technology companies.


"’Uber continues to misrepresent and exaggerate background checks on drivers,’ Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey said. ‘It's not our goal to shut them down. What we're saying is their advertising is false.’"


Capital Public Radio’s Ben Adler reports that voters approved a record number of local tax and bond measures in last month’s election.


“Voters approved more than 70 percent of California’s local tax and bond measures last month. That’s roughly the same passage rate as previous elections. But since there were a record high number of local revenue measures on the ballot – nearly 270 – a record high number passed … even though the electorate was more conservative due to the abysmal turnout.”


And the story that just keeps giving: The Bee’s Jim Miller provides an interactive map of the precinct-by-precinct returns in the Patty Lopez-Raul Bocanegra upset.


“Whatever the causes, the final results show there also was a geographic piece to Bocanegra’s upset loss. Bocanegra was the top voter-getter in many of the 39th Assembly District’s centrally located precincts. Lopez, though, did well in most of the district’s eastern and southern precincts. She ended up carrying 109 precincts, about two-dozen more than Bocanegra.“


Palo Alto tech millionaire and founder of Match.com, Gary Kremen set spending records to win a seat on the Santa Clara Valley Water District, beating incumbent Brian Schmidt by 924 votes out of more than 50,000 cast - outspending him 20 to 1.  Now he’s resigning from a company that sells water-related software to cities and water districts to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.  From Paul Rogers at the San Jose Mercury News:


“During the campaign, he came under scrutiny from Schmidt, an environmental attorney, and from some government reform groups for his role in WaterSmart, the San Francisco firm in which he served as a founding investor. The company sells software to cities and water districts to show residents how much water they are using compared with their neighbors….


“Kremen resigned as a board member and chairman of WaterSmart on Dec. 2, according to company documents.


"’It was brought up, and I wanted to be above reproach,’ he said Tuesday.”


December 10 means lots of birthday candles at the capitol today: freshly-minted Senator Isadore Hall turns 43, and Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León turns 48.  


They’re in good company; also born today were poet Emily Dickinson (1830), journalist Chet Huntley (1911),  Bonanza’s “Hoss,” Dan Blocker (1928) and White Stripes drummer Meg White (1974).


December 10 is also Human Rights Day, which ironically happens to fall this year on the day after the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released a scathing report detailing the CIA’s use of torture – excuse us – “enhanced interrogation techniques,” on detainees in the wake of 9/11. 


We’ll just say “Happy Hump Day.”

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