At some point in most poker games, you've got to lay down your cards and see who wins.
This week, we saw a few of the cards floating around the 2012 election cycle when it comes to campaign cash. But there's still some tough poker being played on strategy -- both when it comes to ballot initiatives and tough policy debates in Sacramento.
On this week's Capital Notes Podcast, Anthony York of the Los Angeles Times and I talk about the money moves for the 2012 season as well as the debate over tax initiatives and public employee pensions.
We also touch on the buzz generated this week by the state's second highest-ranking official on his comments about the guy in job #1.
(And again, we get beaten by the news: just as we're musing on the bill to allow some internal state budget cash borrowing, Governor Brown signs the bill. Go figure.)
Now, it looks as though the white knight has ridden in... on his own jet.
The reform group assembled and underwritten by billionaire Nicolas Berggruen, the Think Long Committee for California, today endorsed and pledged its support to the wide-ranging initiative drafted by another reform group, California Forward.
Campaign finance records show as of this weekend, Brown had reported more than $1.45 million in contributions. Those dollars were raised in the first month of the governor's efforts, and will no doubt help pay for signature gathering now that his tax increase initiative has hit the streets.
And yet, in some cases, that's exactly what could happen after this weekend. Welcome to the world of intraparty competition under California's new primary election rules.
And the size of that slugfest may play a large role in determining the fate of other measures -- including Governor Jerry Brown's pitch for higher taxes.
Governor Jerry Brown has now performed his two expected duties of the month of January: a budget and, as we saw this week, the State of the State address.
Now, the tough work begins.
This week's Capital Notes Podcast mulls Brown's big mid-week speech and how it frames his agenda for the year to come. Joining me in the chat, and fresh off the first legs of the Guv's statewide campaign, are Anthony York of the Los Angeles Times and Marisa Lagos of the San Francisco Chronicle.
But we now that they have one big thing in common: they both believe now is not the time for a ballot initiative on major tax reform. And if Brown is lucky, they may have something else in common in the days to come: a use for some of Berggruen's millions.
We've talked in years past about the state budget essentially being placed on the ballot, but rarely have the stakes been as high as they will be in 2012 -- for either the state or the state's chief executive.
This week's Capital Notes Podcast looks at the ever sharpening budget debate of 2012... or is, instead, the rapidly entangling policy issues and political narratives?
I'm joined by Anthony York of the Los Angeles Times and Marisa Lagos of the San Francisco Chronicle. We also check in on the week's big court fight over redistricting, and a new chapter in the long debate over whether initiative titles and summaries are truly apolitical.
And so the headlines from an interview with Assembly Speaker John Perez in his Capitol office: shrink November's massive state water bond, keep high speed rail on track, be cautious on the budget, find an alternative to local redevelopment agencies.
A new year has arrived and, now that we've closed the book on 2011, here's a glimpse into the crystal ball at what might be some of the interesting things around the bend in California politics for 2012.
Yes, some of them are more likely than others. But foresight isn't 20/20, so take this with all of the appropriate caveats.