2012 GOP Hopefuls Head to Nevada

From the SJ Mercury:

The 2012 Republican presidential campaign heads West on Tuesday, as GOP rivals will debate and aim their campaigns at wary voters worn down by one of the nation’s most enduring economic slumps.

Then, Wednesday, some GOP candidates are scheduled to speak to a convention of Republican activists from all over the West.

Tuesday’s debate will be down one candidate from preceding forums. Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, whose chance of success here is seen as remote, will not participate. He’s protesting the state’s decision to hold its first-in-the-West caucus Jan. 14.

(Read Full Article.)

Leaders with Ginni Thomas: Rep. Tom McClintock

From the Daily Caller:

Not all members of Congress who identify with the tea party are freshmen. Rep. Tom McClintock won his election in 2008 after 22 years in the California state legislature and an unsuccessful 2003 run for California governor. In the House of Representatives, McClintock sits on the natural resources and budget committees.

The conservative establishment nationwide loves McClintock. He thoughtfully chooses the best moments to remind colleagues of the relevance of America’s Founding, the U.S. Constitution and the need for legislators to have courage of their convictions when voting. Like the old E.F. Hutton ad, his other members of Congress listen when he speaks.

McClintock voted no, with 65 other Republicans and 95 Democrats, on the August 1 debt ceiling increase, offering his typically thorough and compelling commentary to explain that decision. In May 2010, McClintock delivered a floor speech condemning Felipe Calderón on the day the Mexican President addressed the Congress. That video quickly went viral, and was many Americans’ first introduction to the California Republican, who moved west after his upbringing in White Plains, N.Y.

His voting pattern puts him at odds with progressives, the radical environmental movement and big spenders. He often warns Americans about the destructive policies that have caused a mass migration away from his beloved California. Last week, Rep. McClintock sat down with TheDC’s Ginni Thomas to discuss the “Occupy” protests, Solyndra and green jobs, the “super” deficit reduction committee and more.

(Read Full Article and Watch Interview.)

A Year in the Life of Senate Minority Leader, Bob Dutton

From the Daily Bulletin:

The partisan divide in Sacramento has become ever harder to bridge over the past few years.

Senate Minority Leader Bob Dutton, R-Rancho Cucamonga, has seen peaks and valleys in this discord.

The summer’s epic budget struggle between leaders of the Democrats and Republicans showcased the gridlock that has engulfed the Capitol. But the recent deal Dutton helped broker over the disputed sales tax for online retailers provided a rare bipartisan compromise.

(Read Full Article.)

State Voting Rights Law Reshapes Local Elections

From the Press-Enterprise:

Fresh census data and a state law meant to increase minority representation in local government are fast revamping how people elect members of school boards, city councils and other bodies.

Dozens of cities and school districts around California are of moving from at-large elections, where candidates run across a whole city or school district, to by-district elections, in which candidates run in a particular council ward or trustee area. The goal is to avoid lawsuits related to the California Voting Rights Act.

“It appears we’re seeing the biggest and fastest change in how California government is organized at the local level since the Progressive movement in the early 1900’s,” said Douglas Johnson of the Rose Institute at Claremont McKenna College, whose firm has advised agencies around the state.

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OC Educator Pensions Average $50,000 in 2010-11

From the OC Register:

Retired Orange County public school educators received an average $50,079 annual pension last year, even as nearly one in eight supplemented their pay by taking temporary jobs in California schools, according to a Register analysis of state retirement data.

The most recent figures from the California State Teachers Retirement System continue to fuel debate among experts and the public over whether the nation’s largest teacher pension fund is sustainable in the long term, and to what extent it should be overhauled.

“It’s a big debate,” said Ed Mendel, founder of Calpensions.com, a blog that tracks pension reform in California.

“If you’re a defender of public pensions, you tend to think we must tighten our belt, but we can handle it through bargaining. You have other people saying we need to make major changes and move toward 401(k) plans like in the private sector.”

Retired public school teachers make up most of the people in the system, although school district and community college administrators also are included. O.C. pensions in 2010-11 ranged from $277,376 for a retired community college chancellor, to workers who earned less than $1,000.

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Romney’s Rise Challenges Tea Party’s Clout in GOP

From the SJ Mercury:

Mitt Romney’s early success in the Republican presidential race is challenging the tea party’s clout. Will it continue to pull the GOP sharply right? Will it slowly fade? Or merge with mainstream Republican elements in a nod to pragmatism, something it’s hardly known for?

On the surface, Romney’s strength seems at odds with the tea party’s fiery success in ousting Republicans seen as compromisers, and in making the House GOP caucus more ideological, even when its leaders plead for flexibility.

Romney defends the government’s 2008 bank bailouts, plus the mandated health insurance he initiated as Massachusetts governor. He says he can work with “good Democrats.” Although he later changed, Romney once supported abortion rights, gun control and gay rights.

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Herman Cain and the Death of the Political Pro

From Pajamas Media:

Karl Rove doesn’t think Herman Cain stands a chance of being POTUS. Bush’s number one consigliere said as much on Fox Thursday night.

But is he right? I sure don’t know, but I certainly have a suspicion why Karl thinks what he does. The Herman Cain candidacy is a direct threat to his occupation. Rove — arguably the reigning monarch of political pros — went on to register his disapproval that Cain was wandering around Godforsaken places like Tennessee flogging his book, when anyserious candidate should be pressing the flesh where it counts — to wit, Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.

Worse yet, the candidate isn’t raising any money (or not enough to have flashing neon signs that say “9…9…9…” like Burma-Shave along every highway in America — not that we have to be reminded).

(Read Full Article.)

It’s Politics: Regional Think Tank Victim of Recession

From the SGV Tribune:

After nearly 30 years, the Los Angeles-based Center for Governmental Studies will shutter its doors.

Leaders of the nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank, which focuses on California and local politics but has expanded its scope in recent years, cited financial reasons in a statement last week.

“The recession has depleted our funding, and we cannot continue to operate CGS in its present form,” the statement said.

Founder and president Bob Stern, an oft-cited expert for this newspaper, will continue his work as a consultant, public speaker and political commentator.

(Read Full Article.)

Silicon Valley Can No Longer Save California — Or the US

From New Geography:

Even before Steve Jobs crashed the scene in late 1970s, California’s technology industry had already outpaced the entire world, creating the greatest collection of information companies anywhere. It was in this fertile suburban soil that Apple — and so many other innovative companies — took root.

Now this soil is showing signs of exhaustion, with Jobs’ death symbolizing the end of the state’s high-tech heroic age.

“Steve’s passing really makes you think how much the Valley has changed,” says Leslie Parks, former head of economic development for the city of San Jose, Silicon Valley’s largest city. “The Apple II was produced here and depended on what was unique here. In those days, we were the technology food chain from conception to product. Now we only dominate the top of the chain.”

(Read Full Article.)

Wall Street is Occupied with Worries Too

From the LA Times:
As anti-Wall Street protests crop up around the nation, many of the bankers and traders at the center of the storm are focused on a more immediate concern: keeping their jobs.

The financial industry shed 8,000 jobs in September, and 10,000 more are expected to be cut by the end of 2012. JPMorgan Chase posted a 13% drop in revenue this week, and next week mighty Goldman Sachs Group is widely expected to say it lost money for the first time since the financial crisis.

The woes the industry is facing now are in contrast to the success it experienced after the financial crisis — a success that helped stir up the current protests.

The anxiety rippling through banks and trading floors has generated some unexpected Wall Street sympathy for the protesters. Elliott Roman, a trader who works near the demonstrations, said that on his way home, in his suit and tie, he had a friendly exchange with a protester who asked him to join the movement.

(Read Full Article.)