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Morning Splash: House GOP Fails to Pass Debt Plan; Final Redistricting Maps; SFPD Says Harding Gun Found; Ed Lee; Amazon Tax Dispute

| July 29, 2011
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  • House Again Seeks Votes, After Failing to Pass Debt Plan (NY Times)

    House Republican leaders, who had abruptly put off a vote on their proposal to raise the debt ceiling and cut government spending, called their rank and file back into another closed-door session on Friday to resume their overnight search for the last few votes they need. President Obama was expected to comment on the deepening impasse shortly, and there was no clear sign what the next step would be. Among the several possibilities were changes to the House bill, an attempt by Senate Democrats to leapfrog forward with their own plan, or a new attempt to reach a compromise on the part of all the major players.

  • Citizens commission releases final maps (Contra Costa Times)

    After months of speculation and discord, California’s “citizen” mappers Thursday unveiled nearly final congressional and legislative district lines that portend significant changes in the state’s political landscape. The California Citizens Redistricting Commission’s new maps suggest that Democrats could easily gain a two-thirds majority in the state Senate and that minority groups will gain more clout, political analysts say. Dozens of other winners and losers emerged from the myriad line decisions the commissioners made in recent weeks.

  • SF police say they’ve found homicide suspect’s gun (SF Chronicle)

    The gun that a Washington state homicide suspect used in shooting himself to death accidentally during a confrontation with police in San Francisco’s Bayview neighborhood has been found, investigators said Thursday. Police recovered the .380-caliber semiautomatic pistol with the help of a citizen, investigators said, declining to be more specific. The gun was stolen from the scene of the July 16 shootout near Third Street and Oakdale Avenue, police said.

  • UC budget lacks transparency, state audit says (SF Chronicle)

    The University of California should justify to the public why it spends thousands of dollars more per student at four of its 10 campuses and also do a better job of explaining how it spends more than $1 billion it allots annually to “miscellaneous services,” state auditors said Thursday. The audit found no major malfeasance in the university system’s budgeting or spending, but noted a lack of transparency in the way it handles its finances that could erode public trust.

  • SF Mayor Ed Lee’s rivals seek probe of his backers (SF Chronicle)

    …Five rival candidates vying to replace him jointly called Thursday for an investigation into alleged campaign finance violations by Progress for All, a committee pushing for Lee to enter a mayor’s race where he would likely become the front-runner. The unprecedented show of unity by competitors comes as Lee’s political supporters and his ties to them – particularly his longtime friend, political power broker Rose Pak – face increased scrutiny as the Aug. 12 deadline for him to enter the race approaches.

  • California same-sex marriage ban case to be heard Sept. 6 (SF Examiner)

    California’s highest court says it will hear arguments right after Labor Day on an issue that is likely to prove decisive for the fate of the state’s voter-enacted ban on same-sex marriages. The California Supreme Court scheduled a Sept. 6 hearing to consider whether ballot initiative sponsors have authority to fight court rulings on their measures if the governor and attorney general refuse to appeal.

  • Online marketers hit hard by California’s new online-sales tax (San Jose Mercury News)

    …When the governor signed the state’s new online-sales tax law last month, Seattle-based Amazon and other out-of-state Web retailers immediately severed ties with thousands of California affiliates, arguing the move would put them beyond the reach of the state’s taxman. Among the victims: ShoesRUs, Loper’s comparison shopping website for shoes, confronting the Livermore entrepreneur with a life-changing reboot. After six years of growing what started as a $200-a-month business into a profitable full-time gig, Loper said he had no choice but to shutter his site, suddenly deprived of 70 percent of the commissions he’d earned sending customers to the big retailers via click-through ads on his site.

  • Amazon tax dispute puts California tax board in spotlight (Sacramento Bee)

    (The State Board of Equalization), the agency that oversees the collection of sales tax in California…normally labors in obscurity (but) has been thrust into one of the hottest political dramas of the year: the fight between California and Amazon.com over Internet taxes. And the five people who govern the agency can’t agree on the tax, either.

  • California set to move its presidential primary back to June (Sacramento Bee)

    Tired of presidential candidates treating California like an ATM, raising vast sums of money here but spending it in states where campaigns cost less and matter more, state officials four years ago agreed to hold the 2008 primary in February… But more than 20 other states moved their primaries up, too, and California, if not the afterthought it was in previous elections, was marginalized yet again. Now, Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to sign legislation moving next year’s presidential primary back to June, consolidating it with the statewide primary election.

  • Ruling may weaken escort roles at abortion clinics (SF Chronicle)

    A federal appeals court cast a cloud Thursday over measures in Oakland and other cities intended to protect women entering abortion clinics by requiring antiabortion “counselors” to keep their distance while volunteer escorts shield the women and walk them into the building. In a suit by an antiabortion pastor who was arrested outside an Oakland clinic, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said a city can require a protester to obtain the patient’s permission to approach her or talk to her – but must also apply that requirement to the escort.

  • Judge ready to strike down San Jose law barring last-minute campaign contributions (San Jose Mercury News)

    A judge says a San Jose law that bars campaign contributions to candidates in the last weeks before an election appears to be an unconstitutional muzzle on free speech and is prepared to strike it down. The ruling in a proposed decision by Santa Clara Superior Court Judge James P. Kleinberg is a victory for environmental activist Ted Smith, who filed the 2007 lawsuit challenging San Jose regulations on campaign and lobbying activity.

  • San Mateo County may ask state to let it run more all-mail elections (Palo Alto Daily News)

    A special all-mail election in May went so well that San Mateo County may lobby for state legislation allowing it to do more. Electing a county supervisor by mail instead of at precincts saved about $900,000, Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder Mark Church told the Board of Supervisors’ legislative committee on Thursday. And the mail-only approach may have sparked more than the usual interest in a special election, he added.

  • Alameda rejected firefighters’ plea to reinstate water rescue in 2009 (Oakland Tribune)

    Alameda city officials were put on notice that a water rescue program was necessary for public safety more than two years before a despondent man drowned himself off Crown Beach while firefighters watched because they said department policy prevented a rescue attempt, public records show. The warning came in a Feb. 4, 2009 grievance letter filed by a leader of the firefighters union who said the department’s fire boat and water rescue programs were first implemented “due to the inherent risk that comes with providing service for an island community” and that an estimated 2,000 private boats are docked in Alameda.

  • Two U.S. hikers face Iranian court date on spy charges (AP)

    he families of two Americans imprisoned in Iran for nearly two years say they’re counting on a court hearing Sunday to end their ordeal at last. Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, both 29, are due for what Iranian authorities have said will be a final hearing in their protracted espionage case. It’s scheduled two years to the day after they were arrested along with another American, Sarah Shourd, during a hike on the Iraq-Iran border. Shourd was released last September.

  • Chevron profits of $7.73 billion soar 43 percent, propelled by rising oil and gasoline prices (Contra Costa Times)

    Chevron powered to a second-quarter profit of $7.73 billion that soared 43 percent, fueled by a geyser of higher oil and gasoline prices, the energy giant reported Friday. San Ramon-based Chevron posted earnings that easily topped Wall Street’s predictions. Chevron earned $3.85 a share, well ahead of the average projection of $3.51 by analysts surveyed by FactSet. Revenue jumped 30.1 percent from the same quarter a year ago.

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