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California Labor Federation makes June primary endorsements

Always an important endorsement that comes with money and boots on the ground. Here are partial results. To see the full list, click here.

U.S. Senate:  Kamala Harris (over Loretta Sanchez)

House of Representatives: Mike Honda (over Ro Khanna)

State Senate:
District 9 (Oakland to San Pablo) Nancy Skinner AND Sandre Swanson

District 15 (San Jose) Jim Beall (over Nora Campos)

BIG SNUB — No endorsement in District 11, where Democrat Steve Glazer still wants to ban BART strikes

State Assembly:

District 27 (San Jose) Ash Kalra (over Madison Nguyen, Esau Herrera, Andres Quintero, et. al)

District 24 (Peninsula) Marc Berman and Vicki Veenker

District 14 (Contra Costa) Mae Torlakson (over Tim Grayson)

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The tastes of Gov. Jerry Brown’s 4th inauguration

Experience the tastes of Gov. Jerry Brown’s fourth inauguration.

The Orange County Employees Association, California Labor Federation and other partners are holding a “People’s Inauguration” from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the State Capitol’s north lawn, serving up free hot dogs. The labor groups say inaugurations usually are exclusive events designed for politicians, lobbyists and other insiders, but their party is a testament to Brown’s commitment to representing all Californians.

“During his last inauguration, Gov. Brown came out and shared a hot dog with the people he represents, right in the middle of the crowd,” OCEA General Manager Nick Berardino said in a news release. “It’s inspiring that he stands with all the people – especially all of us in the cheap seats.”

But if Brown grabs grabs a frank, I’d bet he’ll be saving room for the “Taste of California” reception, hosted from 5 to 7 p.m. at the California State Railroad Museum by Visit California and California Grown with food, wines, beers and ciders produced here in the Golden State.

“Visitors come from all over the world to enjoy California’s culinary bounty, and this reception is an opportunity to showcase the wine and food that make our state a premier travel destination,” Visit California President and CEO Caroline Beteta said in a news release.

California Grown is an initiative of the Buy California Marketing Agreement, a joint effort of agricultural industry groups representing the products of California’s farms, ranches, forests and fisheries. Working as an advisory board to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, BCMA brings together industry and government resources to increase the awareness, consumption and value of California agricultural products.

BCMA Executive Director Nick Matteis said the menu will include:

  • Braised chicken mole tosdadas
  • Roasted pasilla pepper and artichoke cream cheese on California endive
  • Beet hummus on crostini with goat cheese
  • Harris Ranch Oak smoked prime rib slider with creamy horseradish sauce on a smoked Gouda cheese roll
  • Hamachi poke on taro chip with ginger beef sauce and micro shiso
  • Duck pastrami in a rye cup with sauerkraut salt
  • Grappa-soaked cherries and micro greens
  • “I can’t think of a better way to make sure that the Governor and his guests are enjoying the best agriculture products in the world,” California Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross said in the release.

    UPDATE @ 3:10 P.M.: And in case you wondered how Jerry Brown takes his hot dog, the Sacramento Bee has video:

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    Reich visits Capitol on CEO pay, oil extraction tax

    It’s Robert Reich day at California’s State Capitol.

    No, there hasn’t been an official proclamation. But the former U.S. Secretary of Labor, now a UC-Berkeley public policy professor, will be under the dome Thursday to speak on behalf of two bills introduced by Bay Area lawmakers.

    Reich is doing a news conference with state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord; state Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley; and California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski in support of DeSaulnier’s SB 1372, which would create a new corporate tax table that increases taxes on businesses with big disparities between the salaries of their workers and their CEOs. The bill is being heard Thursday morning by the State Governance and Finance Committee.

    “For example, if the CEO makes 100 times the median worker in the company, the company’s tax rate drops from the current 8.8 percent down to 8 percent. If the CEO makes 25 times the pay of the typical worker, the tax rate goes down to 7 percent,” Reich wrote on his blog Monday. “On the other hand, corporations with big disparities face higher taxes. If the CEO makes 200 times the typical employee, the tax rate goes to 9.5 percent; 400 times, to 13 percent.”

    “Pushing companies to put less money into the hands of their CEOs and more into the hands of average employees creates more buying power among people who will buy, and therefore more jobs,” he wrote. “For the last thirty years, almost all the incentives operating on companies have been to lower the pay of their workers while increasing the pay of their CEOs and other top executives. It’s about time some incentives were applied in the other direction.”

    And, Reich will testify to the Senate Public Education Committee in favor of SB 1017 by state Sen. Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, which would create an oil extraction tax to fund higher education, health and human services, state parks and more.

    Reich endorsed a similar student-organized ballot measure effort last year, saying that using oil severance tax revenue for education “should be a no-brainer. It will only improve our schools. The real question is why California hasn’t done this long before now.”

    The California Chamber of Commerce this month put both bills on its list of “job killers,” arguing they create barriers to economic development.

    “The economic recovery is still the number one issue for Californians,” Chamber President and CEO Allan Zaremberg said when announcing the list. “These bills pose a serious threat to our economy and, if enacted, would dampen job growth in the state.”

    Of Evans’ bill, Zaremberg said “an oil extraction tax will drive up consumer prices, push jobs away and upset a fragile economy that is showing strong signs of life.”

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    CA15: California Labor Federation backs Corbett

    It’s not so often that the California Democratic Party and the California Labor Federation end up on different sides of a Bay Area House race.

    Ellen CorbettThe labor federation – made up of more than 1,200 AFL-CIO and Change to Win unions representing 2.1 million members – announced Thursday that it has endorsed state Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, in the 15th Congressional District

    The party endorsed incumbent Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Dublin, last month. Republican Hugh Bussell of Livermore also is in the race.

    The labor federation announced this and dozens of other endorsements as its biennial pre-primary convention finished up in Oakland. In a news release, the federation said the endorsements are “the launching pad for the massive grassroots voter outreach efforts that will activate tens of thousands of volunteers from now until Election Day.”

    Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski said the labor federation’s power “derives from workers coming together on nights and weekends to talk to friends, neighbors and co-workers about the importance of this year’s election. What our grassroots efforts lack in money we more than make up for in face-to-face voter engagement.”

    That’s key for Corbett, who very much needs some institutional support to augment her campaign’s meager bankroll. Swalwell’s campaign started 2014 with four times as much money in the bank; consultant Lisa Tucker this week said he raised about $270,000 in this year’s first quarter, and had around $920,000 cash on hand as of March 31. Corbett has not yet disclosed her first-quarter fundraising; the deadline to do so is next Tuesday April 15.

    Tucker said Swalwell was on a plane coming back from Washington, D.C., on Thursday afternoon, and she didn’t want to comment on the labor federation’s choice without speaking with him first.

    Swalwell, Corbett and Bussell will share a stage for the first time at a League of Women Voters candidates’ forum at 6:30 p.m. next Tuesday, April 15 in the Castro Valley Library, 3600 Norbridge Ave.

    From the “no surprise” desk: The labor federation endorsed longtime friend to labor Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, in his bid for an eighth term, over Democratic challenger Ro Khanna and two Republicans in the 17th Congressional District.

    In races for some of the Bay Area’s open legislative seats, the labor federation endorsed Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont, in the 10th State Senate District; Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti in the 16th Assembly District; San Jose Councilman Kansen Chu in the 25th Assembly District; and Campbell Councilman Evan Low in the 28th Assembly District. The federation made a dual endorsement in the crowded 15th Assembly District race, backing both Elizabeth Echols and Tony Thurmond over three more Democrats and three additional candidates.

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    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…
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    What they’re saying about the governor’s budget

    From Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles:

    “This is a proposal that clearly shows California has turned the corner. The Governor’s budget is sober, restrained and forward thinking, and I believe it’s a solid foundation for the budget process. I am looking forward to thorough and insightful public hearings as we work with the Governor to adopt the final budget by our Constitutional deadline.”

    From California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro:

    “It’s easy for Gov. Brown to tout austerity and fiscal restraint when he has more of the taxpayers’ money in his pocket. His challenge will be to follow through on those promises when the economy continues to stagnate and the Democrats’ pie-in-the-sky projections don’t come to pass. That’s why Republican legislative leadership correctly proposed this week for the Governor to mandate that his new Prop 30 taxes fund our classrooms and protect our communities.

    “What’s disappointing about Gov. Brown’s announcement is that job creation was never mentioned. Cutting the regulatory burden was ignored. Working with Republicans to unify the state is sadly not part of his agenda. In order for California to finally emerge from its economic doldrums and enter a new Golden Age, the answer lies with policies that encourage job growth and unleash the innovation of small business owners, not with budget wrangling and deferred payments that mask billions in debt to the federal government for unemployment insurance and more.

    “We need bold reforms to go hand in hand with accountability and responsible fiscal governance if we want to return California and its citizens to prosperity. If Jerry Brown thinks we’re out of the woods just because, on paper, we’ll finally be ‘living within our means,’ he’s sadly mistaken.”

    From state Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco:

    “The budget proposal released today by Governor Brown is the most positive one we have seen in half a decade. The budget is narrowly balanced and contains elements that ensure a modest reserve. However, it reflects the difficult cuts and decisions the Legislature and Governor have made in the past few years to address the state’s structural budget deficit. It also demonstrates the confidence entrusted in us by voters in November who recognized that our fiscal situation was untenable without new temporary revenues. Although we are still under fiscal constraints, I am hopeful we are now past the period of devastating cuts we saw in previous years to education and programs that provide critical aid to elderly Californians, disabled people and working families.

    “With the improvement of our fiscal outlook comes the opportunity to continue our work to restore California. While our recent efforts have focused largely on making cuts in the least harmful manner possible, we will now have more capacity to refine our work to improve essential programs and analyze the role of government and its effectiveness. I look forward to working with Governor Brown and my colleagues in the Legislature to evaluate this year’s budget to help ensure it is the best possible plan for a state on the mend.”

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

    “New funding for our classrooms is a positive step forward for California. However, the Governor’s budget only seems to include $2.7 billion in new funding for K-12 schools and community colleges even though Proposition 30 taxes will generate $6 billion this year alone – Californians should be disappointed.

    “I remain concerned that while state spending is being increased by $5 billion over last year, much of this money is used to expand state programs and provides major pay and benefit increases for state employees.

    “Basically, this budget is balanced by a $50 billion tax increase, and Californians have yet to see any real, long-term plan to bring back jobs and help our struggling families.”

    More, after the jump…
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