David Cruz Thayne, a former professional tennis player from Westlake Village, on Wednesday became the second Democrat to announce plans to run in the newly drawn 26th Congressional District, which covers most of Ventura County.
Thayne, 40, is a tennis coach and the producer of two tennis-themed documentary films. He joins Moorpark City Councilman David Pollock as the only announced candidates in a district that is expected to attract considerable national attention. It is home to no incumbent and the partisan leanings of its voters are such that the candidates in last fall’s governor’s race were separated by only 1 percentage point.
The district includes all of Ventura County except for most of the city of Simi Valley and a small slice of the city of Ventura. The city of Westlake Village is the only area of Los Angeles County in the district.
It is likely the district in which incumbent Rep. Elton Gallegly, R-Simi Valley, will run if he chooses to seek re-election. Although his home is a few blocks outside the district boundary, Gallegly has represented much of the area for the last two decades.
The incumbent congressman has made no announcement about his plans for 2012.
Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday turned down a challenge from the mayor of Los Angeles to reform Proposition 13, saying he would prefer to focus his attention on bringing financial stability to California.
Brown was responding to comments by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who called on the governor and state lawmakers to think big in solving California’s ongoing fiscal problems. The mayor suggested the Prop 13 property tax cap be lifted for businesses and left in place for homeowners.
Prop 13, however, is seen as untouchable by many politicians in the state because it is so popular with the electorate.
During a speech Tuesday before the Sacramento Press Club, Villaraigosa urged the governor to convene a commission on tax reform and estimated that gradually lifting the Prop 13 cap for businesses could raise between $2.1 billion and $8 billion a year money the state could invest in education and lower property taxes for homeowners.
Brown rejected the idea after making a luncheon address at Maddy Institute in Fresno.
“I’m not planning to join (Villaraigosa), but I certainly welcome the debate,” Brown said. “I will focus my attention on ensuring financial stability and making the state more efficient.”
Brown did not offer specifics beyond saying he plans to support a ballot initiative next year for new revenue. He also said jobs would come by generating confidence that California is on stable footing.
One way he might do that is through infrastructure investment.
A group of Republicans has taken the first step toward putting a referendum on the ballot that they hope will lead to the overturning of new Senate districts drawn by a state panel.
Republican attorney Charles Bell asked the state attorney general in writing to prepare the title and summary of the referendum so that a petition drive can begin to qualify the measure for the ballot. The campaign needs to collect more than 504,000 signatures in 90 days.
“The belief is that at least a number of the districts were not drawn in accordance with the [federal] Voting Rights Act and some provisions of the state Constitution concerning compactness and avoiding county splits,” said Bell, who is an attorney for the California Republican Party and the new campaign committee Fairness and Accountability in Redistricting.
Bell said Wednesday he submitted the request on behalf of the campaign committee, which includes Orange County businesswoman Julie Vandermost. The referendum drive is being supported by the state party as well as the Senate Republican Caucus.
The head of California Common Cause said Wednesday that a Republican-backed referendum drive to overturn new Senate districts is the work of “partisan insiders” and is attacking a plan that reflects the will of voters who approved an independent redistricting process.
“This referendum is motivated by pure party politics, funded by incumbents who did not get the safe districts that they wanted,” said Kathay Feng, executive director of California Common Cause.
Her organization was one of several that supported a 2008 ballot measure that created the 14-member Citizens Redistricting Commission, taking the job of redrawing legislative districts away from lawmakers.
A referendum drive supported by the California Republican Party and Senate Republican Caucus has filed papers required before groups can begin collecting signatures to put the new districts before the voters.
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