Numero Uno

Jul 10, 2012

Jerry Brown's tax initiative will top the November ballot ahead of a clutch of other statewide propositions facing voters, a judge has ruled. The conventional wisdom is that high placement on the ballot leads to a better chance of passage, although the jury is still out on that one.


From the LAT's Anthony York: "Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Michael P. Kenny ruled against Molly Munger, proponent of a tax proposal that rivals Brown's. Munger contended in a lawsuit that Los Angeles County election officials and state legislators violated California law to make the governor's plan first among the 11 fall ballot measures.

"Munger's attorneys asserted that election workers in Los Angeles County mishandled the tallying of signed petitions for the dueling initiatives, finishing work on Brown's before Munger's even though her campaign turned in signatures to the registrar's office more than a week before the governor submitted his."

"Kenny rejected that claim, saying election officials were under no obligation to count Munger's signatures first and that her lawyers were asking him to "essentially micromanage the registrar's office."


Meanwhile, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, an anti-tax group, has vowed to challenge the judge's decision in the appeals court, saying the electoral process is being diddled in order to give the governor's proposal preferential treatment.


From the Bee's Kevin Yamamura: "HJTA has asked California's 3rd District Court of Appeal to stop the Secretary of State from assigning numbers to initiatives, which could occur as soon as today. A Sacramento Superior Court judge delayed the ballot numbering earlier this month after a tax initiative campaign backed by wealthy civil rights attorney Molly Munger alleged that improprieties had occurred in the signature gathering process and that AB 1499 was unconstitutional."


Down in Riverside, are air-quallity regulators are keeping secret how they intend to spend some $53 million in public funds to curb pollution, a move that has riled reporters and some in the public.


From the Press-Enterprise's David Danelski: "The South Coast Air Quality Management District is administering the fund, intended to be used to cut pollution to compensate for emissions from a new power plant. Officials have acknowledged that the proposals include a plan to build a golf-cart and bicycle path from Desert Hot Springs to Indio."


"In declining to release the information, air district officials said they were concerned about divulging details that might affect the competition among those seeking the money."


"Barry Wallerstein, the air district’s executive officer, said that out of fairness, he needs to keep the proposals confidential until winners are selected in the fall. The deadline for submissions was June 8, but the district may need to seek a new round of bids, he said. Releasing proposals already submitted would put those bidders at a competitive disadvantage, Wallerstein said."

Republican U.S. Senate challenger Elizabeth Emken, who faces an uphill fight to say the least, challenged Democratic incumbent Dianne Feinstein to a debate -- and Feinstein immediately refused.
From the LAT's Jean Merl: "Emken's campaign staff announced the debates proposal during a telephone news conference with reporters, shortly after a California Field Poll released over the weekend showed Feinstein leading Emken 51% to 32% among registered voters."

"Former California Republican Party Chairman Ron Nehring, who recently joined the Emken campaign as senior strategist, said he was “thrilled” with the poll. He said he had expected Feinstein  to do better, given her high name recognition, robust campaign treasury and other "advantages." 


“She’s doing better than most of the elected officials in this country,” said Feinstein consultant Bill Carrick, who dismissed Emken’s debate challenge as a gimmick of a troubled campaign."


 The off-again, on-again  water bond that was aimed the November ballot is off-again, under legislation signed by the governor. Brown removed the $11.1 billion measure amid concerns that it might affect the passage of his tax initiative.


From the LAT's Michael J. Mishak: "With his signature, Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday pulled an $11-billion water bond measure from the November ballot, delaying it until the 2014 election."


"The governor signed legislation introduced by supporters who worried that a separate ballot measure by Brown that would raise taxes might be jeopardized if it was on the same ballot as a massive water bond."


``Legislators on both sides of the aisle and a large contingent of water, agricultural and business groups played a critical role in crafting this bond and it is this same bipartisan group that asked to have the bond removed from this year’s ballot,'' said spokesman Evan Westrup. ``The governor listened.''


And from our "Orange County, Where Else?" file comes the tale of the Moonies -- no, not the religious cultists -- who flash their butts at the passing Amtrak train once a year in a ritual that goes back decades. Go figure.


"n recent years, the rowdy atmosphere surrounding the event has quieted down with an increased police presence, parking restrictions and ordinances against urination, defecation and drinking alcohol in public."


"In 2008, the 30-year tradition swelled to close to 10,000 revelers. Police shut down the event that year after witnessing public sex acts as well as urination and defecation. The following year, with new ordinances and more law enforcement, attendance dropped to about 1,000. Last year, a steady stream of mooners could still be found outside Mugs Away Saloon, though crowds didn't reach more than 50 at any given time."


 "In 2011, the mooning of the Amtrak continued for the 32nd year outside Mugs Away Saloon on Camino Capistrano in Laguna Niguel."


Bottoms up!



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