The Roundup: Race to the bottom

Guess who’s back … back again? Jerry’s back. Tell a friend.

Yes, Jerry Brown decided to come out of his hole Wednesday to rally supporters in Santa Rosa. And of course, the issue of airplanes was front and center.

Samantha Young reports,”The events come after weeks of negative media coverage about Brown’s use of a state plane, despite his previous statements that as governor he eliminated such perks, and questions about the size of his state pension. Brown told reporters on Tuesday that he would provide details of his pension when he gets the documents from the state.

“Brown said he has spent his summer working as attorney general, meeting with groups around California and courting donors. On Tuesday he held an intimate $10,000-a-person dinner fundraiser at the apartment across from the Capitol where he lived when he was first governor.

“Whitman, by contrast, has been traveling the state and has spent $104 million of her own money so far in the race, including spending for her divisive primary against Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner.

“Her campaign events are more akin to presidential campaign stops, featuring professional lighting and sound systems, a cadre of staffers to assist her, and stages festooned with banners and bunting.”

I love bunting!

Jennifer Chaussee looks at who’s funding the Small Business Association.

“The recent expenditures also show how groups like SBA become key instruments for funneling campaign contributions as Election Day approaches. The Small Business Action Committee had less than $2,000 to its name on June 30, but managed to scramble some fast cash by Aug. 11, when it gave the Proposition 26 campaign $800,000 – its largest single contribution to date.

“Despite its name, the money for the committee’s contribution didn’t come from small businesses: Major alcohol and tobacco companies proved to be the driving force behind the big money, according to figures the committee reported to the state Tuesday evening.

“SBA revealed that it received more than $1 million from alcohol, tobacco and real estate groups. Altria, the parent company of Philip Morris USA, donated $500,000. Anheuser-Busch, which brews Budweiser, gave $200,000 and the Wine Institute chipped in another $50,000. Los Angeles-based Cypress Management Company gave the group $250,000.

Capitol Weekly offers a run-down of some of the major legislation and last-minute deals in the closing days of the legislative session.

“The classic Capitol end-of-session brew is a high-stakes blend of confusion, rumor, policy-making, drivel and knives in the back. The government may be mired in dysfunction, but the politics of battle is doing just fine, thank you. Welcome to the California Capitol, August 2010.

“Of the thousands of bills introduced last year, only a few hundred ultimately will become law and most of those will be relatively minor. As the session draws to a close, attention is focused on perhaps two dozen major bills dealing with such diverse topics as local government bankruptcy, convenience stores, laid-off teachers, health care, horseracing, insurance rates and power plants.”

The Legislature will vote on a plan to crack down on reckless-driving paparazzi amid the sea of bills before them in the coming days.

“A plan to crack down on paparazzi who drive recklessly in pursuit of celebrities is moving through the Legislature despite heated opposition from media organizations as lawmakers approach next week’s deadline for advancing bills to the governor’s desk.

As the paparazzi bill neared a floor vote Wednesday, the full Senate and Assembly gave approval to dozens of other measures. Proposals to help finance operation of a new private hospital to replace the closed Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital, make public the names of businesses that receive state tax breaks and fine minors who ski or snowboard without a helmet all got final legislative approval.”

Geroge Skelton says Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown are under no obligation to defend Proposition 8 in court — but they should, simply because it was the will of the voters.

“There’s a legal question whether, in the federal court system, a lower court ruling that declared Prop. 8 unconstitutional can be appealed by its campaign sponsors — its sole defenders so far — or must be shepherded by the state, meaning the governor or attorney general. There’ll be a court hearing on the issue the week of Dec. 6 and the next governor doesn’t take over until Jan. 3.

“Moot or not — and regardless of Prop. 8’s merits — there’s a principle at stake here. The pertinent issue is whether voters should be hung out to dry and ignored by the state after they pass a ballot measure.

This isn’t the same as courts thwarting the people’s will. Many Prop. 8 supporters whine annoyingly that when a court throws out a measure passed by the voters, it is an affront to democracy. Nonsense. It’s central to democracy.”

The nomination of Supreme Court Chief Justice Tanil Cantil-Sakauye seems to be on the fast track after a thumbs-up from a commission on judicial appointments Wednesday, Maura Dolan reports

“The three-member Commission on Judicial Appointments heard nearly two hours of testimony before approving Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s nominee to head the state’s $3.5-billion court system and the California Supreme Court.

“A total of 12 witnesses, including a representative of a bar evaluations committee, testified in her favor, and a community activist and an attorney spoke out against her.”

A Judge has ordered Cal State Stanislaus to release documents surrounding Sarah Palin’s paid visit to the campus earlier this year.

“A California university violated the state’s open records law when it refused to release the contract and other documents related to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin‘s fundraising appearance in June, a judge has ruled.

“Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Roger M. Beauchesne ordered Cal State Stanislaus officials to release the contract as well as other documents related to the use of university facilities, personnel and services surrounding the June 25 fundraising gala.

“Cal State Stanislaus and a foundation affiliated with the campus were sued in April after failing to disclose details of Palin’s contract, including
her speaking fee. Officials argued that the nonprofit foundation that hosted the former Republican vice presidential candidate was not subject to the state’s Public Records Act.

Want to see more stories like this? Sign up for The Roundup, the free daily newsletter about California politics from the editors of Capitol Weekly. Stay up to date on the news you need to know.

Sign up below, then look for a confirmation email in your inbox.


Support for Capitol Weekly is Provided by: