Republicans take off gloves in Vegas debate

From the LA Times:

The Republican presidential candidates clashed bitterly and personally over healthcare and immigration in a snarling Tuesday night debate that featured some of the most barbed and heated exchanges of the months-long campaign.

The event, staged in a hotel casino on the Las Vegas Strip, broke little new substantive ground as the candidates — facing one another for the sixth time in as many weeks — restated mostly familiar positions.

But there was a heightened degree of animus in the air, which pushed the usually unruffled Mitt Romney into a series of raised-voice, finger-jabbing confrontations, most dramatically with Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

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Six-figure GOP donation pumps life into California map fight

From the Sac Bee:

Bolstered by a new $400,000 donation from the California Republican Party, officials of a referendum campaign to overturn the state’s newly drawn Senate districts say 400,000 voter signatures have been collected and a full-court-press has been launched for more.

“I’m confident that we’re going to do it,” political strategist David Gilliard, who is running the campaign, said of prospects for gathering the required 504,760 valid voter signatures by Nov. 14 to place the issue before voters next year.

Gilliard said that signature-gathering had slowed temporarily because campaign coffers were draining, but the California Republican Party’s six-figure contribution last week cured the problem and “we were able to unleash our people back again.”

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Tough Talk on Immigration at Debate Turns Off Some Latinos

From the SJ Mercury:

Today, Republican candidates are competing over who can talk the toughest about illegal immigration — who will erect the most impenetrable border defense; who will turn off “magnets” like college tuition benefits.

But after such pointed proposals heated up yet another Republican debate Tuesday, some party officials see a yellow light signaling danger in battleground states with large Latino populations in November 2012. Will Latino voters remember and punish the eventual Republican nominee?

“The discussion of creating electrified fences from sea to sea is neither prudent nor helpful,” said Ryan Call, chairman of the Republican Party of Colorado, where Latinos cast 13 percent of votes in 2008 and helped President Barack Obama flip the state to blue. “They’re throwing red meat around in an attempt to mollify a particular aspect of the Republican base.”

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SF Plan Would Offer Tax Break for Hiring Felons

From the SF Chronicle:

San Francisco businesses that hire people with felony convictions would get a tax break, under legislation expected to be introduced today.

“Ex-felons are among the most challenged populations in getting work,” said Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, who is crafting the plan.

Persuading an employer to hire a convicted felon, particularly in this economy when the unemployment rate is hovering just under 10 percent, is difficult, especially when there’s a wide pool of job applicants without felony records.

But offering businesses a monetary incentive may get them to consider hiring someone with a criminal past, said Mirkarimi, who chairs the Board of Supervisors’ Public Safety Committee and is a candidate for sheriff in the Nov. 8 election.

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Dems Slash Business-Saving Bills

From Cal Watchdog:

Long before any of 800 bills passed by the Legislature reached Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk this legislative session, partisan politics took precedence over repairing the state’s economy. Apparently restoring confidence and faith in California’s residents and businesses was less important than party politics and flexing muscle.

In early 2011, Republicans introduced numerous bills which would have gone a long way toward improving the economic outlook for California residents and business owners. Reminiscent of  a psycho in a slasher film, most of the bills barely saw the light of day, unceremoniously stalked and killed by Democrats early in the legislative session.

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City Has Spent $100,000 on Occupy SF

From the Bay Citizen:

Interim Mayor Ed Lee on Tuesday walked a fine line between supporting growing anti-Wall Street protests and justifying the money San Francisco has spent responding to the Occupy SF encampment.

In an appearance before the Board of Supervisors Tuesday afternoon, Lee said the city had spent about $100,000 “accommodating” the protests.

He did not specify where the money went, but his spokeswoman, Christine Falvey, told The Bay Citizen via email that about $80,000 was spent on the San Francisco Police Department. The rest, she said, went to public health and public works costs such as cleaning the encampment and providing porta potties.

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Berman vs. Sherman face-off burning up millions of bucks

From the LA Times:
Many Southern California lawmakers in hot primary contests have been raising money at a brisk pace ahead of the June congressional races, reports filed with the Federal Election Commission show.

Rep. Howard L. Berman (D-Valley Village) — who will face off against Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) in what many political experts believe could become the most expensive House race in history — brought in more than $800,000 between July 1 and Sept. 30, according to documents posted on the FEC website over the weekend. Berman reported having about $2.25 million in his treasury and has more fundraisers scheduled, including a Nov. 10 dinner at the Beverly Hilton Hotel hosted by entertainment moguls Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen.

California Congressman Howard Berman (D-Los Angeles)



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Rand Paul’s Switch Clears Way for Pipeline Bill

From the SF Chronicle:

The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a pipeline safety bill late Monday after a senator with strong Tea Party ties did an about-face – lifting a hold that had blocked the legislation for weeks and adding a provision that would close a regulatory loophole that drew widespread attention after the San Bruno disaster.

The bill boosts the federal government’s regulatory enforcement powers, calls for automatic shutoff valves for new pipelines and, thanks to last-minute language, ends an exemption from rigorous safety inspections for older natural-gas pipelines.

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Conservative Activists Propose Initiative on Illegal Immigration

From the Sac Bee:

Conservative activists have submitted an initiative proposal targeting illegal immigration by imposing limits on financial aid and Medi-Cal benefits while requiring California law enforcement to work with federal immigration officials.

State Attorney General Kamala Harris, who is responsible for preparing ballot language, received the proposal Monday from former state GOP chairman Tirso Del Junco, San Diego Republican Ted Hilton and Concord Republican Bill Siler. Proponents are calling it the “California Taxpayer Protection Act of 2012.”

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Congressional Hearing Seeks Feedback on “New American” Entrepreneurship

From the SGV Tribune:

At a congressional hearing in Pasadena Monday that focused on ways to encourage entrepreneurship among “new Americans,” local business owners and community leaders described what the Small Business Administration is doing well – and where it can improve its outreach efforts.

Hosted by Rep. Judy Chu, D-El Monte, and Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., ranking Democrat and chairman of the House’s Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce, respectively, the hearing is part of a national series.

Mulvaney is a hard-line security-minded advocate of Arizona-style immigration reform. Chu takes a softer stance on immigration. The two ignored the obvious canyon between them.

Rep. Judy Chu, D-CA, with President Barack Obama at the State Dinner for Chinese President Hu Jintao at the White House on Jan. 19, 2011.

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