Familiar Fight Heads Coastward

August 16, 2010 · Filed Under CA Budget, Elections · 2 Comments 

It was the independent candidate in tomorrow's election for California's 15th state Senate district who got off the best line of the night in a recent candidates forum -- cracking a joke about the occupations listed on the ballot of the two leading candidates, a joke which sort of served as a reminder that the Legislature often seems stranded on a deserted island, unable to find its way back to the real world.

Jim Fitzgerald told the crowd in Arroyo Grande that up on stage, he felt a little bit like he was on Gilligan's Island.

"We have the professor over there," Fitzgerald said, pointing to Democrat John Laird. "We have the millionaire here," he said motioning to Republican Sam Blakeslee.

The line got a big laugh, but everyone also knows that come Wednesday morning, either the professor or the millionaire is headed to Sacramento.
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$13 Million More In Meg Money

August 13, 2010 · Filed Under CA Politics, Elections · 3 Comments 

Photo: Getty Images

There's a powerful scene in the Oscar winning Forrest Gump that came to mind when the report surfaced tonight showing Meg Whitman has written her campaign a new check for $13 million, bringing her personal investment in the governor's race to a mind numbing $104 million.

The scene: Gump's pal Lt. Dan -- played by Gary Sinise -- climbs to the top of his fishing boat's rigging in the middle of a wild hurricane and screams, "You call this a storm?"

In my mind, Hurricane Carmen is Meg Whitman. And Lt. Dan is Jerry Brown.
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Podcast: Endless Summer

August 13, 2010 · Filed Under Podcasts · Comments Off 

You've just got to believe that the Democratic nominee for governor wishes the summer of 2010 would never end. After all, after being outspent by a gazillion-to-one, he appears headed into the fall campaign without having lost much ground -- if any -- in the race.

On this week's Capital Notes Podcast, we examine where things stand in the race for governor and conclude, when all is said and done, that you have to say Jerry Brown is the big winner of the summer contest... but maybe only because Meg Whitman didn't win it.

I'm joined by Capitol Weekly's Anthony York and Juliet Williams of The Associated Press in discussing the guv's race.

And then York and I turn our focus to the true endless summer saga: the state budget. Or lack thereof.

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Budget +43: Impasse Yes, Furloughs No (For Now)

August 12, 2010 · Filed Under CA Budget · Comments Off 

Photo: Getty Images

It's a tired old adage that "It's always darkest just before dawn," and yet that's the usual course of summer budget impasses here at the state Capitol. Just when the problem seems most unfixable, a deal is struck and everyone shakes hands.

But this summer's dark phase, which now seems to have arrived, feels different. The battle lines seem to be holding. And the smart money seems to be on a longer, not shorter, stalemate.
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Budget +40: No, No, Oh All Right

August 9, 2010 · Filed Under Ballot Measures, CA Budget, Elections · Comments Off 

No actual news to report on a new state budget --shocked, aren't you? -- but three other stories all with a tie to the state's tenuous finances are out there tonight: a win for state workers facing another furlough Friday, a win for supporters of making the budget easier to pass, and a seemingly reluctant thumbs-up from legislators to delaying voter consideration of $11 billion in water system-related borrowing.
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Podcast: Deep In The Heart of Taxes

August 6, 2010 · Filed Under Podcasts · 1 Comment 

Sure, that's a corny headline. But this week's Capital Notes Podcast is, in fact, mostly about taxes: the tax proposal from legislative Democrats.

That proposal is a key part of the Dem budget plan offered up earlier this week, a plan that also proposes deeper spending cuts and even a formal suspension of the constitutional school funding guarantee.

The Sacramento Bee's Kevin Yamamura joins me for a look at the budget proposal, as well as its chances for breaking the impasse that's now going strong into its second month.

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Judge Strikes Prop 25's Taxes Reference

August 5, 2010 · Filed Under Ballot Measures, CA Budget, Elections · 1 Comment 

Photo: Getty Images

Everyone involved in asking voters to either approve or reject the November ballot measure making it easier for the Legislature to pass a budget knows one thing: the voters won't make it easier to raise taxes.

And that's why they're duking it out over the title and summary of Proposition 25. This morning, a judge removed a sentence from the title of Prop 25 that says it won't affect the supermajority vote for a tax hike, calling that sentence "misleading."
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Whitman And a "Path to..."?

August 4, 2010 · Filed Under CA Politics, Elections · 5 Comments 

Photo: Getty Images

The issue of illegal immigration doesn't seem to be getting any easier for Meg Whitman.

In a bruising half hour interview with Los Angeles talk show hosts John Kobylt & Ken Chiampou this afternoon, the Republican gubernatorial nominee said she's against any path to citizenship for those who are in the country illegally, even though she seemed to be for such a path 10 months ago.
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Budget +34: "Governing Is A Tough Thing"

August 3, 2010 · Filed Under CA Budget · Comments Off 

That was a comment uttered Tuesday afternoon by the leader of the state Senate, and truer words have never been spoken... especially when it comes to the now annual saga of plugging the leaks in California's seemingly sinking ship of state.

And the governing's not going to get any easier from here on out this summer, as Democrats and Republicans are clearly in very different frames of mind about how to craft a budget for a fiscal year that's now into its second month on autopilot.
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The Triple Digit Campaign

August 2, 2010 · Filed Under CA Politics, Elections · Comments Off 

"What I have designed is a campaign that is designed to win."

That was Meg Whitman last week on ABC's Good Morning America, when asked about her high spending campaign for governor. She's used variations on that theme in the past when asked the same question. Tonight, we've got a new glimpse at what Whitman designed: an effort funded by a colossus of cash that may break even some national records for a non-presidential effort.
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