Saddling up

Oct 8, 2012

Former Central Valley Congressman Dennis Cardoza, who abruptly resigned from the House in August, was a key player on the committee that put together the latest farm bill and he helped secure tax breaks for racehorse owners — then purchased seven horses for himself when the new rules kicked in.


From the Washington Post's Kimberly Kindy, David S. Fallis and Scott Higham: "Within weeks, the bill emerged with a new provision that handed the industry what it was seeking — a tax depreciation schedule for yearlings that gave owners the ability to recoup the cost of their investments in an average of three years rather than seven. Alex Waldrop, president and chief executive of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, publicly thanked several lawmakers, including Cardoza, after the new version of the farm bill emerged from the conference committee."


"When the new depreciation schedule kicked in the following year, Cardoza entered the industry, buying seven racehorses, including Regrettable Romance, Dad’s Little Man, Flying Spirit and Jade River..."


"After the horse purchases, in 2009, Cardoza joined the Congressional Horse Caucus and started holding his political fundraisers at racetracks. He also co-sponsored legislation in 2009 that sought to reduce the taxes winners must pay on big purses at racetracks. The bill did not become law."


Gov. Brown, fealing the heat from  spiraling gasoline prices, stepped into the issue over the weekend.


From the AP's Christopher Weber: "Gov. Jerry Brown ordered state smog regulators Sunday to allow winter-blend gasoline to be sold in California earlier than usual to help drive prices down. Winter-blend gas typically isn't sold until after October 31."


"Few refineries outside the state are currently making summer-blend gas, putting the pressure on already-taxed California manufacturers."


"Gas prices in California have risen to their highest levels ever, with unacceptable cost impacts on consumers and small businesses," Brown said in a letter. "I am directing the Air Resources Board to immediately take whatever steps are necessary to allow an early transition to winter-blend gasoline."


Mervin Dymally, a former lieutenant governor and a fixture in California politics for more than four decades, has died at the age of 86.


From the LAT's Jean Merl: "Dymally's political longevity and ability to return time and again to public office had him winning elections well into what for many would have been their retirement years. His latest comeback, at age 76, was perhaps his most dramatic. In 2002, dissatisfied with the potential candidates for the Compton-area Assembly seat he had first won in 1962 and dismayed at the dropping numbers of blacks in the Legislature, Dymally jumped into the race himself and won...."


"The controversies that surrounded him with some regularity over the years could never permanently derail his political career, as several corruption investigations all ended without charges ever being filed. Dymally always said the probes were baseless and politically motivated."


"The end came instead at the hands of a rival nearly 30 years his junior when, termed out of the Assembly in 2008, Dymally, then 82, lost a grueling Democratic primary election for a state Senate seat to Rod Wright. Dymally never really left politics, though, and he continued to advise others from the sidelines and led a health institute at the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in South Los Angeles. The university's School of Nursing bears his name."


California, despite the drumbeat of criticism labeling it as an economic disaster, actually is showing some major gains in comparison with the other states.


From Daniel Weintraub in HealthCal: "A funny thing happened along California’s road to economic ruin. The state that couldn’t shoot straight suddenly has emerged as a national leader in creating jobs."


"Shaking off the effects of the housing bubble and its bursting, the Golden State is using its core strengths in technology, trade and tourism to push its way toward the head of the class.

California still has a long way to go before it draws even with the number of jobs that existed here before the Great Recession. And there is no sign that the state’s manufacturing sector is ever going to return to the glory years when jet airplanes, rocket engines and automobiles rolled off factory assembly lines from San Diego to Fremont."


"But the persistent problems in government, especially at the state level, have obscured the fact that California’s core, services-oriented economy held its own through the recession and is rebounding faster than the nation as a whole."


Pete Stark, who seems to be carrying around his own banana peel, has had a stormy reelection campaign, largely because of his shoot-from-the-lip style. But he's accepting interviews -- from his own staff.


From the Chronicle's Carla Marinucci: "California East Bay Rep. Pete Stark, a 20-term Democrat facing the toughest race of his career, refuses to debate his Democratic opponent Eric Swalwell, calls press questions “stupid,” and was a no-show at a senior voter candidates’ forum this week in his CD-15 district."


"And now there’s this: he’s producing his own campaign “news” videos, showing him taking “tough” questions — from his staff."


In the video series called “Pete Stark taking the tough questions,” the often-inaccessble Congressman is shown serenely conversing in a library setting, where he’s apparently able to shield himself from pesky real life issues that have resulted in what’s been called his “year of gaffes.”.

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