Devin Nunes (R-Visalia) may challenge Feinstein for Senate seat

From the Bakersfield Californian:

U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Visalia, has never been known for diplomacy when it comes to Democrats in the California congressional delegation, especially Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

“It’s time for Sen. Feinstein to get off her butt and do something,” Nunes says regarding the economic problems besetting the San Joaquin Valley.

“I have tried to be nice, and I have tried to work with her. She is all talk and no action.”

Nunes has even started running television spots in his 21st Congressional District against her, paid for out of his own $1.4 million political war chest. It features her likeness and blames federal policies she either supports — or fails to fight — for making things worse for the valley on a wide range of issues, including air pollution.

It’s the kind of behavior you would expect of someone preparing to challenge the veteran senator in 2012. And Nunes, after being coy about the question for weeks, says he is now giving it serious thought.

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Liberal groups threaten Dem leaders that want to work with GOP on Social Security

From the Blaze:

The hope many had that those in American politics would move forward more cohesively following the climatic debt ceiling debate over the summer, appears to be at a standstill and perhaps faltering. Congressional leaders on the deficit “super committee” charged to find at least $1.5 trillion in additional deficit reduction through 2021 by November 23  are yet to make a joint recommendation as their deadline quickly approaches. The Hill now reports that liberal groups are applying pressure and threatening former Democratic presidential candidate and deficit super committee member Sen. John Kerry, as well as any other Democrats who they suspect are working with Republicans to find a middle ground on entitlement reform as a part of deficit reductions.

“The Massachusetts AFL-CIO and other labor entities in the state have passed resolutions calling on Sen. John Kerry (Mass.) to publicly oppose cuts to safety-net programs,” writes The Hill. Concerns from liberal activists grew after a proposal emerged from Democrats on the super committee, which has already been rejected by the GOP, that proposed cuts to Social Security cost-of-living increases (COLA) as part of a $3 trillion deficit reduction deal that included $1.3 trillion in tax increases.

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San Francisco pension debate puts politics ahead of policy

From the SJ Mercury:

As San Francisco voters head toward a Tuesday decision on dueling pension reform measures, we see what happens when politics obfuscates policy.

Even the most thoughtful residents will have a hard time evaluating the measures and appreciating the magnitude of the problem because politicians, union leaders and the media have, for the most part, mistakenly turned this into partisan warfare rather than examining the sobering numbers and the details of the proposed plans.

As a result, for example, most have overlooked how both plans — Measure C led by Mayor Ed Lee and Measure D spearheaded by Public Defender Jeff Adachi — would place a disproportionate burden on the majority of city workers, who would be essentially subsidizing police and firefighters.

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Senate to vote on payment for hiring veterans

From the SJ Mercury:

Senate Democrats have scheduled votes on two bipartisan proposals to boost job growth. Unlike previous attempts to pass President Barack Obama’s jobs agenda, next week’s votes seem likely to succeed.

One bill would give up to $5,600 to businesses that hire a veteran who has been unemployed for six months or more. Companies would get $9,600 for hiring an injured vet who has been out of work that long. Businesses would receive a $2,400 tax credit for hiring a veteran who has been out of work for a month.

The measure also would give one year’s worth of GI benefits to unemployed veterans for education or training at community colleges or technical schools.

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Southland voters to cast ballots in dozens of races

From the LA Times:

Elections are scheduled Tuesday in dozens of cities, school districts and other jurisdictions throughout Southern California. Voters will choose city council and school board members and weigh in on a handful of ballot measures designed to augment campus or municipal purses.

In San Bernardino, for example, voters will decide on four City Council members, a city attorney, city clerk, city treasurer and a school board member. Palm Springs voters will pick a mayor; six candidates are trying to defeat incumbent Steve Pougnet. Six others are vying for two seats on the City Council.

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Occupy protest turns violent outside Washington Convention Center

From the Daily Caller:

Occupy DC protesters tried to force entry into the Washington Convention Center on Friday, where Americans for Prosperity is hosting their “Defending the American Dream Summit.” The protesters also formed roadblocks, surrounding the convention center and only allowing non-luxury cars to pass.

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NRA President Calls for Holder’s Resignation

From Front Porch Politics:

National Rifle Association President David Keene told The Daily Caller on Thursday that he and the NRA think Attorney General Eric Holder should resign immediately. Keene joins 34 members of Congress calling for Holder’s immediate resignation.

NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre had made a call for the nation’s top law enforcement official to step down over Fast and Furious as far back as April of this year. Keene told TheDC all the new evidence that continues coming shows Holder committed “perjury” before the House Judiciary Committee on May 3 and that the American people no longer trust him at attorney general.

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High-speed rail dependent on $55 billion in federal funds

From California Watch:

Although planners of California’s bullet train won praise last week for candor about the train’s cost, an analysis of their 230-page plan shows they are still making highly speculative assumptions about funding and ridership.

Despite hostility toward the project from Republicans in Congress, the California High-Speed Rail Authority expects to receive $55 billion in federal grants – including $13 billion in the next 10 years.

The planners are also counting on Congress to approve a new form of infrastructure bonds – and to get 27 percent, or $13 billion, of all those bonds issued nationwide.

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State Senate dines at taxpayers’ expense

From the LA Times:

For state senators, there is such a thing as a free lunch. And dinner. And breakfast.

On an August day last year when California deferred a $2.5-billion payment to public schools because it didn’t have its finances in order, the Senate took a break from bickering over legislation to lunch on the taxpayers’ dime.

The public picked up the $935 tab for an assortment of meats, cheeses and breads from a local Italian deli. Four days earlier, the state bought 90 meals for 36 senators — who also receive a tax-free $143 per diem for Sacramento expenses — and staffers. They lunched on teriyaki chicken breast, rice pilaf, salad and fresh-baked cookies for $1,659, according to a Times review of Senate receipts.

Assembly members usually pay for their own meals. But while the state was withholding money from hundreds of small businesses, child-care centers and the disabled because of a budget standoff that dragged on for 115 days, senators charged taxpayers for more than $23,000 worth of food.

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Did Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi show intent to steal?

From Oakland Tribune:

Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi’s claim that she was distracted while carrying $2,445 worth of unpaid clothing items from San Francisco’s Neiman Marcus store will be a tough sell to the district attorney’s office, one criminal law expert says.

The Castro Valley Democrat has asserted, through her spokesman, that she was texting on her cellphone as she carried leather pants, a black leather skirt and a white blouse that she had placed in a Neiman Marcus shopping bag that she brought into the store Oct. 24. After she was confronted outside the store by an employee, she claimed she had intended to pay for the items.

The credibility of her explanation — and how it plays out in the judicial system — could go a long way in determining the 45-year-old Hayashi’s future in politics. About to enter her sixth and final year in the Assembly, Hayashi has amassed nearly $800,000 in campaign contributions with an eye on a state Senate run in 2014.

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