Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Campaign ads ramp up


The November election is drawing closer and that means campaigns have begun taking to TV, radio and local websites with ads promoting their causes and taking digs at the opposition.

The mudslinging officially kicked off this week over Proposition 56, a ballot measure pitting health advocates and labor unions against the deep-pocketed tobacco industry over a $2 tax increase on tobacco products. The “No on 56” campaign, supported by tobacco companies, launched a 60-second radio ad describing the measure as a “special interest tax grab” that cheats public schools out of $600 million a year.

The measure would amend the state constitution and direct the tax revenues to a new account to pay for Medi-Cal and other health programs, instead of the general fund, the source of money for most state programs, including schools. It exempts the revenue from the state’s voter-approved school funding guarantee. The measure also would direct an estimated $20 million to tobacco prevention programs in schools.

Proposition 56 proponents fired back Tuesday, calling the ad the “beginning of a barrage of lies from tobacco companies, who will spend tens of millions peppering the airwaves with deceptive advertising.” The pro-tobacco tax campaign sent out cease-and-desist letters asking stations to stop broadcasting the ad and reminded the networks of their legal responsibility to eliminate false and misleading messages.

No word yet on whether any stations intend to pull the ad.

EXQUISITE CORPSE: The leaders of the Senate and the Assembly are co-hosting a screening tonight of a documentary on the Los Angeles River, a largely urban and industrial paved waterway in the midst of a revitalization effort. The 51-minute film, “Exquisite Corpse,” follows the 51-mile river from the San Fernando Valley to the Pacific Ocean and chronicles the people and environments along its path. Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, Senate President pro Tempore Kevin De León, and a slew of legislators will attend the screening alongside artist Kerry Tribe at 5:15 p.m. in Capitol room 126.

WORTH REPEATING: “Now it’s time for California’s tax code to reflect the fact that diapers (are) an absolute public necessity for babies.”

Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, before the Senate unanimously passed a sales tax exemption for diapers.

THE CALIFORNIA KID: UFC bantamweight fighter and Sacramento local Urijah Faber will serve as the keynote speaker of a free small-business summit hosted by the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development today. “The California Kid” and former UC Davis wrestling star is expected to discuss his road to success. The all-day event kicks off at 8 a.m. at 1500 11th St.

RAMPING UP: It's been just under one week since outside spending committees had to start disclosing their expenses within 24 hours. Through Monday, there had been almost $100,000 in IE's in Assembly and state Senate contests, with almost all of the activity in the San Bernardino-based 47th Assembly District. The oil industry-backed Coalition to Restore California's Middle Class has reported $76,800 in spending to oppose Democrat Eloise Gomez Reyes, who is running against Assemblywoman Cheryl Brown, D-San Bernardino. Outside groups spent almost $2.3 million in the district leading up to the June 7 primary.

TALKING SHOP: The Sacramento Valley Lincoln Club, a Republican political action group, is hosting a breakfast and panel discussion on the November election featuring Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association; Tom Ross, a partner at Meridian Pacific, Inc. and Marty Wilson, executive vice president of public affairs for the California Chamber of Commerce. The talk begins at 7:30 a.m. at the Sutter Club on 9th Street.

Taryn Luna: 916-326-5545, @TarynLuna