Political Briefs

Norby wins vacant Assembly seat

Orange County Supervisor Chris Norby was the top vote-getter in a special election this month to fill the 72nd District seat vacated by former Assemblyman Mike Duvall.

Norby, a Republican from Fullerton, easily beat two other rivals in the Jan. 12 election, earning nearly 63 percent of the vote in a district considered a safe Republican seat. Democrat John MacMurray got 31 percent and Green Party candidate Jane Rands 6 percent.

During his eight years on the Board of Supervisors, Norby was a strong ally for the homebuilding industry. He helped reform Orange County’s planning department, streamlined the development process and worked to assist the homebuilding industry by pushing for development impact fee deferrals throughout the county.

The 72nd Assembly District includes the cities of Fullerton, Anaheim, Placentia, Orange, Brea, Yorba Linda and La Habra.

Norby is expected to be sworn in to the Assembly in the coming weeks.

For more on Norby, visit his website.

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Governor turns to Maldonado

Gov. Schwarzenegger last month tapped Sen. Abel Maldonado, R-Santa Maria, to fill the lieutenant governor’s job.

As the eldest son of migrant farm workers, Maldonado grew a small family farm into an operation that works more than 6,000 acres in the Central Coast. He served as mayor of Santa Maria prior to his election to the State Assembly in 1998 and was elected to the Senate in 2004.

Considered a strong ally of the Governor, Maldonado cast a key vote for a Schwarzenegger-backed budget agreement in February that contained key reforms, including a measure on the June 2010 ballot that, if passed, would provide open primaries in state elections.

Maldonado’s appointment came following former Lt. Governor John Garamendi's election to Congress. The Legislature has 90 days from Schwarzenegger's decision to act on the appointment. If either the Assembly or Senate rejects him, the Governor can either name a new nominee or leave the job vacant. However, if the Legislature takes no action within 90 days, Maldonado will assume the post.

Confirmation would mean Maldonado’s state Senate seat would open up – one of only a handful of legislative seats considered extremely competitive.

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Recall of Assemblyman falls short

In a surprising turn of events, the Secretary of State’s Office announced last month that the effort to recall Assemblyman Anthony Adams, R-Claremont, had failed.

State law required recall proponents to submit at least 35,825 valid signatures in order to trigger a recall election against Adams. Although recall proponents submitted more than 58,000 raw signatures, a random verification process determined only 24,500 were valid – more than 10,000 signatures shy of qualifying.

Adams had been targeted for recall since voting for a budget agreement in February that included a temporary tax increase, but also sped up critical infrastructure projects, reduced overall state spending and prevented devastating cuts to public safety.

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Applicants sought to draw legislative boundaries

With support from public interest groups like the League of Women Voters and trade associations such as CBIA, California voters passed Proposition 11, the Voters First Act, on the November 2008 ballot. The act strips the legislature’s ability to draw its own Senate, Assembly and Board of Equalization districts, and instead creates a bipartisan 14-member Citizens Commission made up of registered voters from throughout the state.

The commission’s charge is simple: Draw legislative district boundaries in a non-partisan fashion that ensures fair representation for all Californians.

To ensure impartiality, the California State Auditor is charged with overseeing an open application process that began in December and continues until Feb. 12. A website has been created to accept applications and to review the process: www.wedrawthelines.ca.gov.

In order to serve on the commission, you must be a registered voter who has voted in recent elections and must not have run for elective office or contributed $2,000 or more to any candidate for public office.

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Political Briefs is compiled by CBIA Legislative Advocate Jason Bryant. He can be reached at jbryant@cbia.org.