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CD10 outcome could trigger more elections

The campaigns for the 10th Congressional District have nearly reached the end of the line and polls will open in a matter of hours.

By this time Wednesday, we should know the outcome of what has been a suspense-filled accelerated primary election season, chiefly due to the presence of three elected Democrats in the contest — Lt. Gov. John Garamendi of Walnut Grove, state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier of Concord and Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan of Alamo.

The Democratic top vote-getter will become the prohibitive favorite in the Nov. 3 runoff election and if one of these three ultimately prevails, it will trigger one of three events:

1. If Garamendi wins, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will nominate someone to fill out the remainder of his term or 2010. The nomination is subject to approval of both houses of the California Legislature. But if state lawmakers fail to vote within 90 days, the governor’s choice automatically takes the seat.

2 and 3. If DeSaulnier or Buchanan win, a vacancy in the Assembly or Senate seat triggers the state’s special election rules. The governor cannot appoint members of the Legislature. The governor has 14 days as soon as the seat becomes vacant to call a special general election, which must occur within 114 to 126 days. A special primary will be held eight weeks prior to the general election.

Of course, one could extend this line of thought to the extreme. Let’s say DeSaulnier wins the Congressional seat and triggers a special Senate election. Then Buchanan wins the Senate seat and her departure triggers a special Assembly election. All of which translates into millions of dollars to pay for more special elections and all on the backs of the district’s taxpayers.

A few folks have already indicated they will run for an open Senate seat, including Danville Councilman Newell Arnerich and West Contra Costa School Board Trustee Tony Thurmond. Open seats usually attract additional candidates, so we almost certainly expect that list would grow.

As for the lieutenant governor’s seat, talk among Sacramento politicos is that Schwarzenegger favors the appointment of a Republican although the names of several prominent Democrats have surfaced, too.

The governor can either use the post to elevate someone into a position where he or she can run as an incumbent in 2010 for this job or even for governor. Or he could nominate a place-holder, someone who poses no threat to the current gubernatorial or statewide candidates.

“The person who gets appointed has an advantage and the (governor and his staff) will be very careful about who they give that advantage to,” said Dan Schnur, director of the Jesse Unruh Institute of Politics at University of Southern California and a former Republican political consultant.

On the GOP side, names include state Sen. Abel Maldonado of Santa Maria. He infuriated Republicans when he voted with Schwarzenegger last year for a state budget that contained tax hikes in return for a redistricting ballot measure. On the plus side, Democrats might go along with it; his departure from the Senate creates an opportunity for Democrats to win the seat in a special election. But it would look like political pay-back, a label the moderate Maldonado might not survive in a tough 2010 primary.

Another GOP possibility is Assemblyman Mike Villines of Fresno, the former minority leader who also sided with Schwarzenegger in February on a state budget that included temporary tax hikes in return for spending reform.

There is also speculation that Tom Campbell, the governor’s former finance director, might be persuaded to give up his gubernatorial bid in exchange for the lieutenant governor’s nomination. Campbell’s presence could lead to an unusual partnership between the two Constitutional offices. (Garamendi and Schwarzenegger are not pals. Garamendi’s opposition to the governor’s policies and ballot measures cost the lieutenant governor half of his office budget.)

Democrats who might make the short list include former Assembly speaker Bob Hertzberg. I’m told the two have a strong relationship and Hertzberg might view it as a pulpit for his California Forward initiative, a study of potential governance reforms in the state.

Other Democratic names that come up include former state Controller Steve Westly, state Sen. Dean Florez, D-Shafter, and Board of Equalization Member Betty Yee.

Would Schwarzenegger appoint a Democrat? Who knows? He is unpredictable. And with just a 1 1/2 left in his term, he could always decide to shake things up.

Posted on Monday, August 31st, 2009
Under: 2009 CD10 special election, California Legislature, Congressional District 10, Schwarzenegger, Tom Campbell | No Comments »

State of the state set for Thursday morning

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger

Watch Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s state of the state speech online tomorrow beginning at 10 a.m.

It should be very interesting to hear how the governor characterizes the impasse between himself, Republicans and Democrats over the massive budget chasm.

With the state set to run out of cash next month, one wonders how much longer the public’s already thin patience with political intransigence will last.

Posted on Wednesday, January 14th, 2009
Under: Arnold Schwarzenegger, California budget, Schwarzenegger | No Comments »

‘Total Recall’ takes on new meaning

Announcement board on USS Midway, San Diego

Announcement board on USS Midway, San Diego

I toured the USS Midway museum in San Diego on Tuesday and laughed out loud when I saw this period announcement board in one of the exhibits of a crew lounge: “Tonight’s movie: Total Recall with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sharon Stone.”

That’s probably what the California Correctional Peace Officers Association has in mind with its recall petition targeting Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

(I highly recommend a visit to the Midway, a remarkably restored aircraft carrier. We spent a few days sailing in San Diego — a post-convention break — and had extra time before we had to catch our plane. Plan to spend at least two or three hours at the ship.)

Posted on Thursday, September 18th, 2008
Under: Schwarzenegger | No Comments »

Houston offers state budget stance

Assemblyman Guy Houston, R-San Ramon

Assemblyman Guy Houston, R-San Ramon

Assemblyman Guy Houston, R-San Ramon, sent over his favorable opinion (see it below) on the draft state budget that lawmakers passed earlier this week after months of delays and bickering.

Houston may be the last remaining Republican in a partisan seat in the Bay Area, but his view runs counter to that of GOP Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The governor has said he will veto the budget in an unprecedented move, calling its reforms inadequate to deal with the state’s long-term deficit. The Democrat-controlled Legislature vows to override the veto. And the governor says if that happens, he will veto all those bills still sitting on his desk.


Here’s what Houston wrote:

Why We Did Not Raise Taxes and Why That is the Right Thing for California

Why would raising taxes be the short-sighted, ill-conceived way to close our state’s budget deficit? – because you already pay too much!

The Legislature finally passed a budget at 3 AM on September 16th, although Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger promises to veto it. The compromise budget did not include any new taxes or tax increases, instead responsibly relying on $9.6 Billion in spending cuts.

When I was elected to the State Assembly in 2002, the 2003-04 budget included $71 billion dollars in General Fund spending.  As I wrap up my last year in the Assembly, the 2007-08 budget grew to $103 billion-a 31 % increase in just six years. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, September 17th, 2008
Under: California budget, California Legislature, Schwarzenegger | No Comments »

League of Cities condemns recall move

The California League of Cities just issued a statement calling the CCPOA’s (state prison guard union) move to recall Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger a “gross abuse” of the state’s initiative process.

Read more to see the full release. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, September 9th, 2008
Under: California budget, Schwarzenegger | No Comments »

Governor: No budget, no bills

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger today vowed to veto all legislation that crosses his desk prior to receiving an acceptable budget from state lawmakers.

Hey, unlike that pesky plan to cut state workers’ salaries, which will take six months to reprogram the payroll computer system, the governor holds the power over his own pen.

Click here to read the governor’s comments or watch the press conference on video.

Assembly Speaker Karen Bass had this to say about it: “Like the governor, we want to reach agreement on a budget that’s responsible and balanced, and 110 percent of our focus is on that. The Governor’s action today is yet another distraction that won’t have much impact other than the possible veto of public policy that moves our state forward.”

Posted on Wednesday, August 6th, 2008
Under: California budget, California Legislature, Schwarzenegger | No Comments »

Public gives governor and legislators the gong


The new Field Poll out today gives poor marks to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Legislature, according to a story by Mike Zapler in the Mercury News:

SACRAMENTO – Only two in five voters give Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger positive marks for his job performance, a sharp decline from his ratings late last year but virtually unchanged from a month ago, according to a California Field Poll.

The state Legislature is viewed favorably by just over one in four voters, and only one in five believe the state is heading in the right direction – half the number who said the state was on the right track six months ago.

And while two-thirds of respondents view the state budget deficit as serious, they aren’t very confident in the ability of the governor and Legislature to resolve it, the poll showed. Only 14 percent said they have a “great deal” of confidence in Schwarzenegger to “do what is right” to fix the budget; the corresponding figure for the Legislature was 4 percent.

Did we really need a poll to tell us this?

There’s no budget and the prospects for a budget include tax hikes, cuts in our schools and other services or maybe both. Everyone in Sacramento points the finger of blame at someone else but the public has its (index) finger aimed in the right direction.

I like the governor’s idea: Lock up the lawmakers in a room and don’t let them out until they come up with a budget that not only addresses this year’s problems but the ongoing structural deficit. If nothing else, it will cut down on all those useless press conferences where they puff out their chests and send verbal bombs across the aisle.

Posted on Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008
Under: California budget, California Legislature, Schwarzenegger | No Comments »

Compare California schools on-line in new site

The power of the Internet continues.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger unveiled today the California School Finder, a web site that allows you to compare side-by-side schools’ test scores, graduation rates, course offerings and other data. It’s all information that was previously available to the public but not in a single location.

The state partnered with Microsoft and Google to put it together.

Read more for the governor’s press release. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, July 16th, 2008
Under: education, Schwarzenegger | No Comments »

Governor announces local appointments

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has announced a handful of appointments of East Bay residents to local boards:

Robert Brown, 42, of Pleasant Hill, has been appointed to the Contractors State License Board. He has been a member of the board since 2005. Brown has worked for California State Automobile Association as director of corporate affairs since 2005, senior manager for governmental affairs from 2000 to 2005 and media relations manager from 1999 to 2000. From 1994 to 1999, Brown served as the assistant secretary at the State and Consumer Services Agency and, from 1996 to 1999, he served as the deputy director for communications and education at the Department of Consumer Affairs. From 1993 to 1994, Brown served as a legislative aide to California State Senator Frank Hill. He worked as a field representative to U.S. Senator John Seymour from 1991 to 1992 and was an assistant to the director at the California Arts Council from 1990 to 1991. From 1989 to 1990, Brown worked as a research policy consultant for the U.S. Department of Education. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Brown is a Republican.

Steven Limrite, 44, of Concord, has been appointed to the Contra Costa County Fair Board of Directors (23rd District Agricultural Association). He has served on the board of directors since 2001. Limrite has worked for Contra Costa County as a fire district dispatcher since 2005, sheriff’s supervising dispatcher from 1992 to 2005, sheriff’s dispatcher from 1989 to 1992, call taker from 1988 to 1989 and a reserve sheriff’s deputy from 1986 to 1988. He is a member of the Cal-Western Appaloosa Show Horse Association, Incorporated Board of Directors and the Ewa-Tom-Likhim Appaloosa Horse Club Board of Directors. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no salary. Limrite is a Republican.

Louis Mangini, 84, of Pleasant Hill, has been appointed to the Contra Costa County Fair Board of Directors (23rd District Agricultural Association). He has served on the board of directors since 1983 and has owned Mangini Farms since 1941. Mangini is a member of the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Posse Executive Board of Directors and serves on the Contra Costa County Farm Bureau Board of Directors and Rogers Ranch Board of Directors. He is a member of the Pleasant Hill Chamber of Commerce. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no salary. Mangini is a Republican.

Byron Parsons, 76, of Antioch, has been appointed to the Contra Costa County Fair Board of Directors (23rd District Agricultural Association). He has served on the board of directors since 2001 and currently serves as president. Prior to retiring, Parsons worked as a senior buyer for E.I. DuPont de Nemours from 1956 to 1996. He currently serves as the chair of the East Contra Costa Transit Authority Board of Directors, is a member of Kiwanis Club of the Delta-Antioch and is a charter member of the Antioch Historical Society. Additionally, Parsons is past president of the Antioch Chamber of Commerce and former mayor of Antioch. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no salary. Parsons is a Democrat.

Per Peterson, 48, of Berkeley, has been appointed to the Diablo Canyon Independent Safety Committee. He previously served on the committee from 2004 to 2007 as an appointee of Attorney General Bill Lockyer. Since 1990, Peterson has worked as a professor for the Nuclear Engineering Department at the University of California, Berkeley. Additionally, he has worked as a mechanical engineering faculty member for the Accelerator and Fusion Research Division at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory since 1999. Peterson served the University of California, Berkeley as chair of the Nuclear Engineering Department from 2000 to 2005 and the Energy and Resources Group from 1998 to 2000. He served at the Nuclear Engineering Department at the University of California, Berkeley as an associate professor from 1994 to 1998 and as an assistant professor from 1990 to 1994. From 1988 to 1989, Peterson was an assistant specialist for the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of California, Irvine and, in 1988, he worked as a guest researcher at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. From 1985 to 1988, Peterson served as a research assistant in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of California, Berkeley and, from 1982 to 1985, he worked as an engineer at Bechtel National, Incorporated. Peterson serves as the current chair of the Gas Turbine-Modular Helium Reactor Academic Advisory Group for General Atomics, the Sustainable Nuclear Energy Initiative Advisory Committee and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Additionally, he serves as co-chair of the Generation IV Proliferation Resistance and Physical Protection Experts Group and is a former member of the Fusion Power Associates Board of Directors and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Peterson is also a fellow of the American Nuclear Society. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no salary. Peterson is a Democrat.

Antonio Spampinato, 60, of Richmond, has been appointed to the Contra Costa County Fair Board of Directors (23rd District Agricultural Association). Since 2005, he has served as an independent medical interpreter. Additionally, he owned ChoriPan King Catering Service from 2004 to 2006. From 1997 to 2004, Spampinato co-owned and was the training director of the Healthflow Learning Center. Previously, he worked as a consultant for the California Office of AIDS from 1986 to 2000. Spampinato worked for the California Department of Health Services as a public health consultant in the Rural Health Division from 1984 to 1986 and as a public health consultant in the Hypertension Control Program from 1982 to 1984. He is a member of the Federation Wado Kai San Francisco. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no salary. Spampinato is registered American-Independent.

Paul Spinola, 40, of Brentwood, has been appointed to the Contra Costa County Fair Board of Directors (23rd District Agricultural Association). Since 1997, he has owned Spinola Farms. Additionally, Spinola has worked as a journeyman ironworker through the Iron Workers Local #378 since 1987 and is currently the general foreman for GSE Construction at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory. He is a member of the Contra Costa County Farm Bureau and currently serves as president. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no salary. Spinola is a Republican.

Louis Stout, 73, of Pleasant Hill, has been appointed to the Contra Costa County Fair Board of Directors (23rd District Agricultural Association). He has been self-employed as a consultant doing business under Louis E. Stout Consulting since 2007. Prior to retiring, Stout worked as a senior manager and director of federal programs for Shaw Environmental and Infrastructure from 1999 to 2007. Prior to that, he was a senior vice president for Inner City Fund Kaiser International, Incorporated from 1997 to 1999 and was general manager and director of government programs for International Technology, Incorporated from 1989 to 1997. From 1986 to 1989, Stout worked as the western regional director for URS Consultants environmental remediation programs and, from 1983 to 1986, he worked as a senior program manager of government environmental remediation programs for Black and Veatch Engineer Architects. From 1980 to 1983, he worked as a program manager for Collins and Ryder. Stout served in the U.S. Army from 1960 to 1980 and served as a combat engineer and public works engineer retiring as a lieutenant colonel. He is a member of the American Public Works Association, a life member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and a senior fellow in the Society of American Military Engineers. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no salary. Stout is a Republican.

Lynette Tanner-Busby, 59, of Martinez, has been appointed to the Contra Costa County Board of Directors (23rd District Agricultural Association). She has served on the board of directors since 1996. Since 1989, Tanner-Busby has worked as the executive director for the Contra Costa Centre Association. Prior to that, she worked as a community relations director for TCI Cable from 1988 to 1993. Tanner-Busby is a member of the Contra Costa Taxpayers Association, the Contra Costa Council, the Martinez Planning Commission and the John Muir Health Women’s Group. Additionally, she is chair of the Contra Costa Centre Area Municipal Advisory Council. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no salary. Tanner-Busby is a Republican.

Posted on Wednesday, July 9th, 2008
Under: Schwarzenegger, State politics | 1 Comment »

Stockton stop for McCain includes quest for cash

Well, this explains why McCain is stopping at the AG Spanos Jet Center in Stockton on Thursday and it’s probably not just because he’s holding a public campaign rally, which I blogged about yesterday.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Central Valley developers and bigwigs Faye and Alex Spanos are hosting a fund-raiser cocktail reception for McCain at the Spanos’ Stockton home Thursday night.

The governor is apparently hanging with McCain a good part of the day in the pair’s first appearance together since Schwarzenegger endorsed the Arizona senator’s presidential bid. My colleague Mary Anne Ostrom reports in the San Jose Mercury News that the duo will appear Thursday morning in Silicon Valley with tech leaders and attend a fundraiser at the home of retired eBay CEO Meg Whitman.

Want to see McCain up close? It’ll cost you. The cheap seats at the Spanos fund-raiser are $1,000 a person or for $2,300, you’ll get a McCain 2008 lapel pin. Raise $10,000 or more for the candidate and you’ll get photos with McCain, too.

Other dignitaries listed as co-chairs or members of the host committee for the Stockton reception include Assemblyman Guy Houston, R-San Ramon, developer Gerry Kamilos, former Congressman Richard Pombo and Dean Andal, a former state Board of Equalization member running for Congress. (Andal is running in Pombo’s old seat against Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton. Pombo lost his re-election in the anti-GOP wave of 2006.)

Posted on Tuesday, May 20th, 2008
Under: 2008 November election, 2008 presidential election, Republican politics, Schwarzenegger | No Comments »