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Brown signs, vetoes political reform bills

Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed one political-reform bill but signed several others Tuesday.

SB 3 by state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, would have required the Fair Political Practices Commission to create an additional online training course for campaign treasurers. “This is a costly and unnecessary addition to the extensive training and outreach that the Commission already provides,” Brown wrote in his veto message.

The bill also would’ve required the Secretary of State to write a report on what it would take to have comprehensive online campaign disclosure, and Brown acknowledged “the current system – widely viewed as outdated and cumbersome – needs upgrading.” He directed the Government Operations Agency to consult with the FPPC and the Secretary of State “and come back to me with recommendations on the best way to improve campaign disclosure.”

“While I’m disappointed SB 3 hasn’t become law, I’m glad to share common ground with the governor on the need to improve Cal-Access,” Yee said in a news release this afternoon. “I look forward to working with the FPPC and the Secretary of State in finding the best means of making the system more effective. The end goal is for California to have an easily accessible and searchable system that ensures accountability in our elections.”

Philip Ung, policy advocate for the good-government group California Common Cause, said in Yee’s release that although his group disagrees with Brown on the need for treasurer training, Brown’s movement to update the Cal-Access campaign finance filing system “is a step forward to improving transparency in our elections. This action would not have been taken without the pressure from the Legislature, voters, and organizations like Common Cause and the League of Women Voters of California.”

Brown did sign AB 409 by Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, D-Fullerton, which lets the the Fair Political Practices Commission develop and operate an online system for local and state officials and candidates to file their statements of economic interests.

A legislative analysis of AB 409 said allowing electronic filing could save the state a lot of money on the staff time and public access that paper statements require, and might reduce errors on the statements too. The Legislature passed this bill with unanimous votes.

The governor also signed two bills by Assemblyman Paul Fong. AB 552 lets the Fair Political Practices Commission collect unpaid fines and penalties without needing to file a civil lawsuit in superior court. And AB 1090 lets the FPPC bring civil and administrative enforcement actions for violations of a longstanding state law prohibiting conflicts of interests in contracting decisions; it also lets the FPPC issue advice regarding a public official’s obligations under that same law.

Fong, D-Cupertino, issued a statement saying the new laws strengthen the FPPC’s authority and provide resources so those who violate the public trust can be held accountable.

And Brown signed AB 1418 by the Committee on Elections and Redistricting. That bill repeals a requirement that campaign statements must be open for public inspection and copying from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the Saturday before a statewide election in the offices of the Secretary of State and the registrars of San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego counties; online availability of such reports has made those office hours obsolete, the committee said.

AB 1418 also makes some technical changes to the state’s Political Reform Act of 1974, in part to conform with California’s new top-two primary system.

Posted on Tuesday, October 8th, 2013
Under: Assembly, California State Senate, campaign finance, Jerry Brown, Leland Yee, Paul Fong | 2 Comments »

Money matchups: AD15, AD16, AD25 & AD28

There just wasn’t room in today’s campaign fundraising article for these juicy tidbits about some Bay Area Assembly seats.

As many as six Democrats might vie to succeed Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, who’ll be term-limited out of her 15th Assembly District seat:

  • Elizabeth Echols of Oakland, former regional administrator for the Small Business Administration, raised almost $85,000 in the year’s first half and had almost $80,000 cash on hand as of June 30, but also had almost $18,000 in outstanding debts.
  • Sam Kang of Emeryville, the general counsel for an economic justice advocacy group, raised $74,000 in the year’s first half and had $69,000 cash on hand with about $4,000 in outstanding debts.
  • Andy Katz of Berkeley, president of the East Bay Municipal Utilities District’s board, raised about $56,000 and had about $49,000 cash on hand with $7,000 in outstanding debts.
  • Tony Thurmond, a former Richmond councilman and former West Contra Costa County School Board member, raised more than $52,000 in the year’s first half and had almost $36,000 cash on hand with about $12,000 in outstanding debts.
  • Peggy Moore of Oakland, who was the California political director of President Obama’s re-election campaign, raised $30,000 in the year’s first half and had $25,000 cash on hand and no outstanding debts.
  • Cecilia Valdez, a San Pablo councilwoman, also has declared her intent to run for the seat, but had not filed an electronic report of her fundraising as of Thursday morning.
  • Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo, also will be term-limited out in the 16th Assembly District. Among those potentially competing to succeed her:

  • Orinda Councilman Steve Glazer, a Democrat who was political adviser to Brown’s 2010 campaign, raised about $245,000 in the year’s first half and with about $240,000 cash on hand but $2,000 in outstanding debts as of June 30.
  • Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti, a Democrat, raised about $112,000 in the year’s first half and had about $101,000 cash on hand but $10,000 in outstanding debts.
  • Danville Mayor Newell Arnerich, raised $50,000 in the year’s first half and had $39,000 cash on hand but $7,000 in outstanding debts.
  • Attorney Catharine Baker, a Republican from Dublin, also has declared her intent to run for the seat, but had not filed an electronic report of her fundraising as of Thursday morning.
  • Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont, is raising funds to run for the 10th State Senate District seat, leaving his 25th Assembly District seat up for grabs:

  • San Jose City Councilman Kansen Chu, a Democrat, raised about $170,000 in the first half of 2013 and had about $153,000 cash on hand as of June 30, with $1,000 in outstanding debts.
  • Ohlone College Board of Trustees member Teresa Cox, a Democrat, raised about $16,000 in the year’s first half and had about $15,000 cash on hand as of June 30, with almost $4,000 in outstanding debts.
  • Milpitas Councilman Armando Gomez, a Democrat, also has declared his intent to run for the seat, but had not filed an electronic report of his fundraising as of Thursday morning.
  • In the South Bay, Assemblyman Paul Fong, D-Campbell, also is term-limited out of his 28th Assembly District seat in 2014. Those who might vie to replace him include:

  • Campbell Mayor Evan Low, a Democrat who works as an aide to Fong, raised more than $113,000 in the year’s first half and had about $240,000 cash on hand as of June 30, with about $3,000 in outstanding debts.
  • Both Cupertino City Councilman Barry Chang, a Democrat, and silicon chip processing engineer Michael Hunsweck, a Republican from Stanford, have declared intent to run for the seat, but neither had filed electronic reports on their fundraising as of Thursday morning.
  • Posted on Thursday, August 1st, 2013
    Under: 2014 primary, Assembly, Bob Wieckowski, campaign finance, Joan Buchanan, Nancy Skinner, Paul Fong | 1 Comment »

    Politicians react to same-sex marriage rulings

    EVERYBODY has something to say about today’s U.S. Supreme Court rulings on same-sex marriage. Here’s the latest from your Bay Area elected officials.

    From U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.:

    “As author of the bill to repeal the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act, I am thrilled by today’s Supreme Court decision.

    “Today’s ruling clearly establishes that the 14 senators who opposed DOMA in 1996 were correct. It also states that one class of legally married individuals cannot be denied rights under federal law accorded to all other married couples. Doing so denies ‘equal protection’ under the Constitution. This is an important and significant decision.

    “Because of inequities in the administration of more than 1,100 federal laws affected by DOMA, it is still necessary to introduce legislation to repeal DOMA and strike this law once and for all. I will introduce that legislation today with 39 cosponsors in the Senate.

    “As a Californian, I am thrilled by the Supreme Court’s decision on Proposition 8. The court’s ruling on technical grounds leaves in place former Chief Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision that Prop 8 is unconstitutional and cannot be enforced.

    “I believe this decision means marriage equality will finally be restored in California.”

    From U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.:

    “Today my spirits are soaring because the Supreme Court reaffirmed the promise of America by rejecting two blatantly unconstitutional measures that discriminated against millions of our families.
    “I was proud to have voted against the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, and it is so heartening to see that the federal government will now treat all marriages equally.

    “Because of the Court’s ruling on Proposition 8, millions of Californians will be able to marry the person they love – with all the rights and responsibilities that go along with it.”

    From House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco:

    “Today, the Supreme Court bent the arc of history once again toward justice. The court placed itself on the right side of history by discarding Section 3 of the defenseless Defense of Marriage Act and by allowing marriage equality for all families in California. The highest court in the land reaffirmed the promise inscribed into its walls: ‘equal justice under law.’

    “Soon, the federal government will no longer discriminate against any family legally married in the United States. California will join 12 other states and the District of Columbia in recognizing the fundamental rights of all families. Our country will move one step closer to securing equal protection for all of our citizens.

    “Nearly 44 years to the day after the Stonewall Riots turned the nation’s attention to discrimination against LGBT Americans, the fight for equal rights took a giant step forward. Yet even with today’s victory at the Supreme Court, the struggle for marriage equality is not over. Whether in the courts or in state legislatures, we will not rest until men and women in every state are granted equal rights. We will keep working to ensure that justice is done for every American, no matter who they love.”

    Tons more, after the jump…
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted on Wednesday, June 26th, 2013
    Under: Assembly, Barbara Boxer, Barbara Lee, Bob Wieckowski, California State Senate, Dianne Feinstein, Ellen Corbett, Eric Swalwell, George Miller, Jackie Speier, Jared Huffman, John Garamendi, Leland Yee, Mark DeSaulnier, Mark Leno, Mike Honda, Mike Thompson, Nancy Pelosi, Nancy Skinner, Nora Campos, Paul Fong, Rich Gordon, Rob Bonta, Tom Ammiano, U.S. House, U.S. Senate, Zoe Lofgren | 40 Comments »

    Reax to Gov. Jerry Brown’s ‘State of the State’

    From state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento:

    “We enter 2013 surrounded by the most positive atmosphere in several years, and the Governor’s State of the State address points us toward the great potential that lies ahead for California. With bold action, the Legislature worked with Governor Brown to weather the storm of fiscal adversity in perhaps the most difficult period in modern California history. We handled that well; we can also handle success in the better times that lie ahead.

    “I join the Governor in his call for fiscal restraint, but neither can we be afraid to be bold in our vision for California. We cannot spend money that we don’t have, and we won’t. As the economy grows, we will develop smart strategies to pay down debt, to build-up our reserves, and also to begin restoring what’s been lost when the opportunity is there to do so.

    “We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work to further restore the promise of this great state.”

    From state Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar:

    “We share the Governor’s optimism and celebration of California’s entrepreneurial spirit, business community and educators. We are encouraged by the Governor’s acknowledgement that we need to pay down debt, develop a rainy day fund, and avoid saddling our college students with more tuition increases.

    “We look forward to working with the Governor on education reforms to ensure that all California students can obtain a world class education.

    “While the Governor acknowledged the loss of jobs in California and focused on job creation in Silicon Valley, he did not offer any substantive proposals for job creation or helping California’s working families. The long-term solution to California’s economic challenges is to get Californians back to work.”

    From Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley:

    “Governor Brown’s State of the State address was a breath of fresh air and the first time since my start in the Assembly that the dark cloud of deficits was lifted.

    “To the naysayers who doubted California’s ability to bounce back from the worst global economic collapse in recent memory, the Governor reminded us that together Sacramento and California voters acted decisively and proved them wrong. Our state is on its way to economic recovery.

    “I commend Governor Brown for his message of optimism and boldness that reflects a return to California the great. He outlined our past and present efforts that will continue to secure California’s status as the golden state with unparalleled education opportunities, global leadership on transportation, clean energy and climate change and an innovative, growing economy.

    “While restraint is necessary to not invite the next bust cycle, restoration of essential safety net services is also important to support Californians still hurting from the economic downturn.

    “I am proud that, among the achievements mentioned by Governor Brown, legislation I authored is among accomplishments that have helped pave the way for internet sales taxes, responsible for over 1,000 new jobs in the state and California’s achievement of more than 20 percent renewable energy this year.

    “It’s an exciting time for California – and a proud moment for all – as we continue the work ahead of shaping a stronger economy, fueling technology, expanding health care, supporting education and combatting climate change.”

    From California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro:

    “Today, the Governor wasn’t so much kicking the can down the road as he was hiding the can entirely. And while we’re glad he embraced a number of key Republican proposals, there’s still no plan to create jobs. If you’re unemployed, you want action, not rhetoric.

    “His bold proclamations of an economic turnaround conveniently ignored the facts: our cities are going bankrupt because they can’t pay off pension obligations, 4.4 million taxpayers have left the state since 1998 while job creators are fleeing the worst business climate in the nation, and continuing government waste and abuse undermines any promise of fiscal restraint. It’s time for a reality check.

    “The overall picture of California’s economy is not nearly as good as Gov. Brown paints it, mainly because Democrats raised taxes retroactively and have virtually guaranteed future job losses to add to the millions of Californians out of work today. This all may be ‘par for the course’ for Jerry Brown, but not for those living with less through no fault of their own. They have a much more realistic outlook and our leadership would do well to accept that reality instead of trying to blur the facts.”

    Much more, after the jump…
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted on Thursday, January 24th, 2013
    Under: Assembly, California State Senate, Darrell Steinberg, Jerry Brown, Leland Yee, Mark DeSaulnier, Nancy Skinner, Paul Fong | No Comments »

    Bay Area’s new Assembly leadership assignments

    Here are your Bay Area Assembly members’ leadership assignments for the 2013-14 session, made today by Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles:

    Leadership
    Speaker pro Tempore: Nora Campos, D-San Jose
    Assistant Speaker pro Tempore: Kevin Mullin, D-South San Francisco
    Rules Committee Chair: Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley

    Committee and Subcommittee Chairs
    Accountability and Administrative Review Committee: Jim Frazier, D-Oakley
    Budget Subcommittee No. 2 (Education Finance): Susan Bonilla, D-Concord
    Business, Professions & Consumer Protection Committee: Rich Gordon, D-Los Altos
    Education Committee: Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo
    Elections and Redistricting Committee: Paul Fong, D-Mountain View
    Judiciary Committee: Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont
    Public Employees, Retirement & Social Security Committee: Rob Bonta, D-Alameda
    Public Safety Committee: Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco

    Also, Fong was elected chairman of the Asian & Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus.

    Posted on Monday, December 3rd, 2012
    Under: Assembly, Bob Wieckowski, Jim Frazier, Kevin Mullin, Nancy Skinner, Nora Campos, Paul Fong, Rich Gordon, Rob Bonta, Susan Bonilla, Tom Ammiano | No Comments »