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Transit strike ban bill dies on party-line vote

A bill to ban all California public transit workers from going on strike died on a party-line committee vote Monday.

SB 423 by state Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff, R-Brea, had gone first to the Senate Public Employees and Retirement Committee. There, senators Jim Beall, D-San Jose; Leland Yee, D-San Francisco; and Marty Block, D-San Diego, all voted against it, while senators Mimi Walters, R-Laguna Niguel, and Ted Gaines, R-Granite Bay, voted for it.

BART strike (AP photo)Huff suggested in a news release that the bill should’ve been heard first by the Senate Transportation Committee, since it’s all about making sure our transit systems actually work for the public.”

“But instead it was sent to the committee that focuses on the concerns of public workers,” he said. “That should tell you something about the priorities of the majority party.”

“Last year Californians witnessed the Bay Area come to a screeching halt not once, but twice, as leaders of the BART employee union called strikes and BART trains went dark,” Huff said in a news release. “Hundreds of thousands of Bay Area residents could not get to work, go to school, see the doctor, or visit with family and friends and it cost the region $73 million each day. We have made the public rely on public transit, but as a legislature, we have failed to make public transit reliable. That’s a major failure. Californians deserve a government that works for everyone but today they were let down.”

Huff in September had gutted and amended SB 423 to compel BART workers to honor the no-strike clause in their contracts even after those contracts expire. But he only amended the bill on the last working day of the legislative session, so no action was taken.

He later amended the bill further to ban strikes by all California public transit workers, with anyone who violates the ban subject to removal or other disciplinary action. Huff said the bill provided “a fair violation determination process” for such workers, but if a violation is found, such workers would lose two days of pay for every day of strike. Public transit unions similarly would have been banned from instigating strikes, and if the Public Employee Relations Board found a violation, that union’s rights would have been forfeited for an indefinite period; after three years of forfeiture, an employee organization could have sought reinstatement by the Legislature.

UPDATE @ 1:11 P.M.: Beall says he voted against the bill because it “just was not solution-oriented. It offered nothing to resolve the underlying bargaining issues that separate employees and management or to keep both sides at the table, such as binding arbitration.”

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This week in big-time campaign cash

I knew it was coming, but it still hurts my head: The number of $25,000-and-up contributions to California campaigns and committees suddenly went through the roof this past week as Election Day neared and polls tightened. Given the sudden, enormous jump in notable contributions, I must resort to a more stripped-down format this week. The highlights in brief:

The campaign to defeat Proposition 8 raked in at least about $2.5 million this past week; I’m quite sure many of the big-ticket donations gathered at high-profile Southern California fundraisers this week have not yet been logged in as of this posting.

Chesapeake Energy doubled down on Proposition 10, putting another $1 million into the alternative fuels intiative from which it stands to make a bundle (though its ante is still chump change next to the $15.75 million put up by Prop. 10 proponent T. Boone Pickens‘ Clean Energy Fuels Corp.)

A bunch of Florida Republicans anted up for California’s proposed legislative redistricting reform.

And labor unions (especially the SEIU) and safe Democratic officeholders with money to burn tithed their cash to the Democratic Party, which seems to smell GOP blood in the water in districts up and down the state.

Details — so many details — after the jump… Continue Reading

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This week in big-time campaign cash

Topping this week’s roundup of big ($25,000 or more) spenders on California campaigns and committees yet again is T. Boone Pickens‘ Seal Beach-based Clean Energy, which put another $3 million Wednesday into the campaign for Proposition 10, a $5 billion bond measure called the California Alternative Fuels Initiative that would provide cash incentives to buyers of certain high-fuel-economy and alternative-fuel vehicles as well as to companies researching and developing renewable energy and cleaner cars. You know Pickens stands to make a bundle if this measure passes; Clean Energy has now contributed almost $11.75 million of the almost $13.5 million collected overall for the campaign… so far.

The Burlingame-based California Teachers Association gave $1 million Tuesday to oppose Proposition 8, the proposed state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. Other contributions to the “No on 8” effort this week included $450,000 Wednesday from healthcare supply heir and billionaire philanthropist Jon Stryker of Kalamazoo, Mich., (bringing his total thus far to $1 million), and then $25,000 each from Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa‘s mayoral campaign committee Monday; Regent Entertainment CEO Paul Colichman on Tuesday; the Los Angeles-based Breslauer, Rutman & Anderson management services firm Wednesday; personal and dating ad Web site operator Progressive Computing LLC of San Diego on Wednesday; Malibu retiree Charles Williams on Wednesday; and Levi Strauss executive assistant Andrea Fong of San Francisco on Wednesday. Also, Equality California moved $1.45 million it had collected, and the Washington-based Human Rights Campaign moved $250,000 from its California Marriage PAC, into the main “No on 8” account. Meanwhile, A&Z Produce owner Jay Clark of Centerville, Utah gave $25,000 Sunday to support Proposition 8.

The California Correctional Peace Officers Association — the state’s prison-guard union — put up $1 million Wednesday against Proposition 5, which would expand state funding and oversight for treatment and rehab programs for nonviolent drug offenders and parolees while reducing criminal penalties and limiting courts’ authority to lock up offenders who violate probation or parole. The Pala Band of Mission Indians gave $50,000 Saturday to oppose Prop. 5.

The California Teachers Association also gave $300,000 Monday, while the Service Employees International Union’s California State Council gave $250,000 the same day, to the joint campaign against Proposititions 6 and 9; the Democratic State Central Committee of California put up $185,824.64 and the California Professional Firefighters put up $44,345.59 Wednesday to oppose the measures as well. Proposition 6 is a tough-on-crime package including adult prosecution for gang-related criminals 14 and up; annual criminal background checks for public housing residents; harsher bail conditions and penalties for certain crimes; and so on. Proposition 9 seeks to expand crime victims’ rights including restitution.

The SEIU’s State Council also gave $300,000 Tuesday to Strengthening California Through Leadership, a PAC controlled by Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles.

And the SEIU’s State Council struck yet again, giving $200,000 Tuesday to oppose Proposition 4, the proposed state constitutional amendment which would require doctors to inform the parent or guardian of a minor 48 hours before providing an abortion to that minor. San Francisco-based Planned Parenthood Golden Gate gave $125,000 the same day also to oppose Prop. 4.

Much more on propositions 1a, 2, 7 and 11, plus a bunch of legislative races, after the jump… Continue Reading

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This week in big-time campaign cash

Topping this week’s roundup of big ($25,000 or more) spenders on California campaigns and committees is the $4 million that T. Boone Pickens‘ Seal Beach-based Clean Energy put Wednesday into the campaign for Proposition 10, a $5 billion bond measure called the California Alternative Fuels Initiative that would provide cash incentives to buyers of certain high-fuel-economy and alternative-fuel vehicles as well as to companies researching and developing renewable energy and cleaner cars. This was Pickens’ idea; he stands to make a bundle from it; and his company has put up about $7 million of the almost $7.75 million collected for the campaign to date.

Next up is the $2 million that Arizona education and communications magnate Peter Sperling sank Monday into the campaign for Proposition 7, which would require California utilities to procure half of their power from renewable resources by 2025. This brings Sperling’s stake in the measure to $7.25 million so far.

Lots of money continued to roll in this week for the campaign against Proposition 8, the proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. Healthcare supply heir and billionaire philanthropist Jon Stryker of Kalamazoo, Mich., gave $350,000 Wednesday; International Flavors and Fragrances heir and philanthropist Henry Van Ameringen gave $100,000 Tuesday while the Democratic State Central Committee of California gave $100,000 Wednesday; the Proteus Fund’s Civil Marriage Collaborative of Amherst, Mass., gave $80,000 Monday; the Human Rights Campaign PAC gave $75,000 Tuesday; billionaire Dreamworks CEO David Geffen gave $50,000 Monday; and it was $25,000 each from bank president’s wife and retiree Mary Judith Meelia of Walpole, Mass., on Monday, the San Diego-based Center Advocacy Project Issues PAC on Tuesday, Good Green Home founder and CEO John Barabino of Chevy Chase, Md., on Tuesday, and Bubble Factory founder and film producer Sid Sheinberg of Beverly Hills on Wednesday. There’s also a $50,000 contribution listed as coming in Wednesday from Fall Out Boy of Point Richmond — is this the Chicago-area pop-punk band, and if so, why the East Bay address? Elsewhere, Equality California moved $500,000 Tuesday and Californians Against Elimination of Basic Rights moved $100,000 Friday of the money they’d collected into a central No on 8 account. Meanwhile, J. Cliff Johnson of Yuba City gave $25,000 Sunday to support Proposition 8.

The Democratic State Central Committee of California was busy this week, putting another $210,676.40 Monday into Manuel Perez‘s 80th Assembly District campaign; $164,500 Thursday to Fran Florez’s campaign for the 30th Assembly District; $80,000 Tuesday into former Assemblywoman Hannah Beth Jackson‘s 19th State Senate District campaign; $41,248.14 Tuesday into Marty Block‘s 78th Assembly District campaign; and $33,886.68 Monday into Assemblywoman Lois Wolk‘s 8th State Senate District campaign. Meanwhile, the a different California Democratic Party account gave $30,000 Tuesday to Joan Buchanan‘s 15th Assembly District campaign.

On the other side of the aisle, the California Republican Party gave $250,000 today to former Assemblyman Tony Strickland‘s 19th State Senate District campaign. Republican Bill Berryhill put $100,000 of his own money into his 26th Assembly District campaign Monday, and the Fresno County Republican Central Committee did pony up $116,675 Thursday for Gary Jeandron‘s 80th Assembly District campaign.

Childrens Hospital Los Angeles anted up $435,000 Wednesday for Proposition 3, the Children’s Hospital Bond Act, which would authorize almost $1 billion in bonds to be repaid from state’s General Fund to pay for construction, expansion, remodeling, renovation, furnishing and equipping of children’s hospitals.

Planned Parenthood of San Diego and Riverside Counties gave $150,000 while Concord-based Planned Parenthood Shasta-Diablo gave $100,000 Tuesday and the Democratic State Central Committee of California gave $100,000 Wednesday to the campaign against Proposition 4, the proposed state constitutional amendment which would require doctors to inform the parent or guardian of a minor 48 hours before providing an abortion to that minor. The Sacramento-based Campaign for Teen Health and Safety moved $200,000 of what it has collected against Proposition 4 into Planned Parenthood’s No on 4 account. Meanwhile, Irvine attorney Timothy R. Busch‘s Lenawee Trust gave $25,000 today to support Proposition 4.

Egg producer Moark LLC of Norco gave $280,803.20 today to oppose Proposition 2, which would prohibit confinement of certain farm animals in ways that don’t let them turn freely, lie down, stand up and fully extend their limbs. In support of Proposition 2, retired hedge fund manager Michelle Thomson of Philadelphia gave another $25,000 Sunday and Houston entrepreneur and investor William W. Nicholson, a former Amway executive and Ford Administration official, gave $25,000 Monday.

Gap Inc. chairman Emeritus Donald G. Fisher of San Francisco gave $100,000 Monday to support Proposition 11, the legislative redistricting reform measure.

Crime Victims United of California gave $100,000 Monday to support Proposition 9, which would expand crime victims’ rights including restitution.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) gave $30,200 and the California Council of Laborers PAC gave $25,000 today to the Merced County Democratic Central Committee.

My nomination for mystery contribution of the week is the $50,000 that former Los Angeles Mayor, 2002 GOP gubernatorial primary candidate and former California Secretary of Education Richard Riordan gave Tuesday to Protecting California’s Children. That’s a Los Angeles-based, statewide ballot-measure committee which said in its initial filing that it supports increased funding for foster care and child-welfare programs; it had collected only $2,500 earlier, so this marks a sudden money infusion.

STV Inc., a Rancho Cucamonga-based engineering, architectural and planning firm, gave $30,000 Tuesday to support Proposition 1A, the $10 billion bond measure for high-speed rail.

And the Lakeside-based Barona Band of Mission Indians gave $25,000 Thursday to the campaign against Proposition 5, which would expand state funding and oversight for treatment and rehab programs for nonviolent drug offenders and parolees while reducing criminal penalties and limiting courts’ authority to lock up offenders who violate probation or parole.