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Peace’s pieces

Who is putting up the money for the latest volley of direct mail from ex-Democratic state senator Steve Peace’s California Independent Voter Project? Because the group is a nonprofit 501(c)4 corporation, it doesn’t have to disclose its contributor list, unlike political committees that are required by state law to make regular filings. But the mailer, apparently dispatched only to those who decline to state their political affiliation when they register to vote, steps right into the national health-care debate with a distinctive GOP spin. “Don’t let them tax your health care plan,” the mailer urges.

“Californians could end up paying 33 percent more per capita in taxes than the average in the rest of the country.” The piece also attacks the alternative minimum tax. “Originally intended to be an added tax to keep millionaires from avoiding their fair share,” it says, “many people are paying this added income tax and don’t even know it!”

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Peace, who spent years in the state assembly and senate, has long been a favorite of certain special interests, and he hasn’t always been against taxes. His biggest legislative achievement was also his political undoing: the 1996 industry-favored electric utility deregulation scheme that ultimately imploded in a doubling of electric bills and the Enron scandal. As a result, Peace’s hoped-for bid for secretary of state in 2002 went out the window. He insists the reform was good and outside forces beyond its control caused the meltdown.

In 1998, Peace carried a bill that levied a $3.50 tax on each daily car rental here in order to finance a parking garage adjacent to the convention center and near a new baseball park being built by Padres owner John Moores. After Peace left the legislature, Moores made him a team executive. In an interview late last week, Peace said that Moores contributed $1 million to launch the California Independent Voter Project but has not contributed since. He says he is still working for Moores on various projects. He said that Eli Lilly Company, the drug maker, had been a contributor but declined to identify any other donors, saying that to do so might subject them to retaliation from those who disagree with some aspect of his group’s efforts, which range from the mailers to laying the groundwork for Proposition 14. The hotly debated so-called Open Primary measure would allow any voter, regardless of party registration, to vote for any candidate, with a runoff for the top two finishers, also regardless of party affiliation.

According to its most recent filing with the IRS, covering 2008, Peace’s organization received $600,000 in contributions from unidentified sources and spent $934,062, leaving it with $80,264 in cash at the end of that year. It paid $20,989 to David Takashima, a Sacramento-based ex–Peace aide and former lobbyist for Southern California Edison and PG&E. Other payments listed include a $27,000 contribution to the San Diego Asian Film Foundation and $15,000 to the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, the state’s prison guard union. “Other expenses” included $162,500 for “research,” $132,227 worth of “consulting,” and $148,029 for “information technology.”

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Who is putting up the money for the latest volley of direct mail from ex-Democratic state senator Steve Peace’s California Independent Voter Project? Because the group is a nonprofit 501(c)4 corporation, it doesn’t have to disclose its contributor list, unlike political committees that are required by state law to make regular filings. But the mailer, apparently dispatched only to those who decline to state their political affiliation when they register to vote, steps right into the national health-care debate with a distinctive GOP spin. “Don’t let them tax your health care plan,” the mailer urges.

“Californians could end up paying 33 percent more per capita in taxes than the average in the rest of the country.” The piece also attacks the alternative minimum tax. “Originally intended to be an added tax to keep millionaires from avoiding their fair share,” it says, “many people are paying this added income tax and don’t even know it!”

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Peace, who spent years in the state assembly and senate, has long been a favorite of certain special interests, and he hasn’t always been against taxes. His biggest legislative achievement was also his political undoing: the 1996 industry-favored electric utility deregulation scheme that ultimately imploded in a doubling of electric bills and the Enron scandal. As a result, Peace’s hoped-for bid for secretary of state in 2002 went out the window. He insists the reform was good and outside forces beyond its control caused the meltdown.

In 1998, Peace carried a bill that levied a $3.50 tax on each daily car rental here in order to finance a parking garage adjacent to the convention center and near a new baseball park being built by Padres owner John Moores. After Peace left the legislature, Moores made him a team executive. In an interview late last week, Peace said that Moores contributed $1 million to launch the California Independent Voter Project but has not contributed since. He says he is still working for Moores on various projects. He said that Eli Lilly Company, the drug maker, had been a contributor but declined to identify any other donors, saying that to do so might subject them to retaliation from those who disagree with some aspect of his group’s efforts, which range from the mailers to laying the groundwork for Proposition 14. The hotly debated so-called Open Primary measure would allow any voter, regardless of party registration, to vote for any candidate, with a runoff for the top two finishers, also regardless of party affiliation.

According to its most recent filing with the IRS, covering 2008, Peace’s organization received $600,000 in contributions from unidentified sources and spent $934,062, leaving it with $80,264 in cash at the end of that year. It paid $20,989 to David Takashima, a Sacramento-based ex–Peace aide and former lobbyist for Southern California Edison and PG&E. Other payments listed include a $27,000 contribution to the San Diego Asian Film Foundation and $15,000 to the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, the state’s prison guard union. “Other expenses” included $162,500 for “research,” $132,227 worth of “consulting,” and $148,029 for “information technology.”

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2

It's always good to know what Steve Peace is up to. All I can say is, thank god for the term limits that took Mr. De-Regulation off the public payroll. He remains something of a menace to the community with his well-remunerated wheeling and dealing on behalf of the half-as-rich-as-he-once-was John Moores, but they both seem diminished in energy these days, and that's the beauty of time passing.

March 11, 2010

California's Public Utility Commission also reached back for the memory of the 2000-2001 California energy crisis today to revisit the issue of direct access (DA) transmission caps, where customers were allowed to bypass SDG&E and other investor owned utilities (IOUs) in favor of purchasing power directly from independent electricity service providers (ESPs). DA was part of that mess o' stuff that resulted in the ascendency of the Governator in a recall election.

See http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PUBLISHED/FINAL_DECISION/114976-01.htm#P72_3074

March 15, 2010

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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