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Sep 2008
GOP's Poizner has governor's race on his mind

The 2010 race for governor is on the mind of California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, who is the highest-ranking Republican in the state after the governor.

With Schwarzenegger termed out, Poizner is making clear to everyone - especially potential opponents - that he is claiming front-runner status. Last week, Poizner's campaign sent out a Weekly Standard article that said the future of the state GOP rests in Poizner's hands because of his ability to self-finance a campaign.

Poizner is a Silicon Valley millionaire who - before entering politics - sold his company and became a public school teacher. For Democrats, the field is much more crowded. Attorney General Jerry Brown and Sen. Dianne Feinstein are the main focal points and could pre-empt a field that already includes Lt. Gov. John Garamendi and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.

If Brown or Feinstein does enter the race, it would take a lot of pressure off Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, allowing him to sit out with the hope that either of them would serve only one term.

The Los Angeles Police Protective League is gearing up for contract negotiations next year and recently completed a four-page survey of members' priorities. A copy of it was obtained by the Daily News, independent of the league.

Most of the survey questions involved money issues - such as guaranteed cash payments for overtime, incentives for staying in positions, increases in bonuses and improvements in health care. Only one question was devoted to the work schedule of officers - the hot-button issue during the last contract talks.

The league's board of directors also devoted a full page in the survey to note that it is endorsing Sen. John McCain for president and ask members if they back that decision.

Police and firefighters are the big Los Angeles unions to face contract talks this coming year, and both are hoping for at least what was given civilian workers this past year - roughly 3 percent a year.

Police are in a strong bargaining position, given the city's priority on public safety and the fact that next year is election year for the mayor and eight City Council seats.

For some City Council members, a lot is riding on the California Court of Appeal and what it is expected to decide in the next month. At issue is Measure R, the voter-approved measure that enacted various lobbyist reforms and gave council members the option of seeking a third four-year term in office.

The court's decision could affect the candidacies of council members Ed Reyes, Dennis Zine, Richard Alarcon, Jan Perry, Eric Garcetti and Janice Hahn. While there is indication the court will decide within 30 days, that could be cutting it close to city deadlines to qualify for the March ballot. The period to declare for the offices opens Nov. 3 and closes Dec. 6.

If the court overturns the measure, city officials plan to file an immediate appeal to allow them to run. One argument made on behalf of the measure is that it cleaned up city fundraising and limited the role of lobbyists.

However, Daily News reporter Kerry Cavanaugh examined campaign reports of incumbents and discovered $76,946 had been delivered by lobbying firms. Lobbyists also have sponsored fundraisers bringing in $137,404. Leaving one to wonder, who gave $4?

"Badges? I don't have to show you no stinkin' badges," could be the new motto of lobbyists in a battle with the city Ethics Commission.

The staff has come up with a proposal the commission is set to consider on Friday to paint the lobbyists with a version of a city scarlet letter, requiring them to wear a special identification badge whenever they are in a city building or on city property.

Lobbyists are already required to register with the city, report on their accounts and identify themselves any time they are testifying on an issue. It is not exactly clear what a badge requirement would accomplish.

Daily News Staff Writer Kerry Cavanaugh contributed to this column



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