Capitol Alert

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The dust has settled from Gov. Jerry Brown's State of the State address.

So how does the budget battlefield look?

As Brown quipped after his address, "The speech is easy; the plan is difficult."

Brown's assertion that failing to put temporary tax extensions the ballot would be "unconscionable" and "irresponsible" was praised by Democrats and panned by Republicans reacting to the speech.

But despite continued opposition, the governor maintained he's " very hopeful" he'll get a deal by the March goal for calling a June statewide election. And, as Assembly Republican leader Connie Conway mused last night, "Maybe the dance has just begun."

Part of that dance is breaking down the specifics of Brown's plan -- a process that continues with nine budget subcommittee hearings scheduled between the two houses. Included on today's agendas are proposed cuts to health coverage for children of low-income parents, to mental health programs and to state libraries.

An Assembly subcommittee's discussion of funding reductions for Adult Day Health Care will attract some of the protesters Brown himself predicted would be crowding the Capitol in the coming weeks to oppose proposed cuts.

Seniors in wheelchairs, their families and caretakers will be waiting on the L Street sidewalk outside the Capitol with a request to talk to Sacramento-area legislators about the proposed cuts.

Meanwhile, the debate over Brown's proposal to eliminate local redevelopment agencies continues, with California Redevelopment Association President Linda Barton set to square off against Assemblyman Chris Norby, R-Fullerton, at a luncheon sponsored by the Sacramento Press Club.

Norby has long been a vocal opponent of the state's redevelopment system. The former Orange County supervisor and Fullerton city council member penned several editions of a report called "Redevelopment: The Unknown Government," including this 38-page illustrated version published in 2002. Barton, whose organization is fighting the cuts, is Livermore's city manager.

Brown, by the way, acknowledged in last night's speech the arguments presented to him by local mayors and other redevelopment agency backers, but said the debate "is a matter of hard choices, and I come down on the side of those who believe that core functions of government must be funded first."

HEARINGS: In other meetings under the dome, the Senate Energy Utilities and Communications Committee meets at 9:30 a.m. for an informational overview of the state's Renewable Energy Portfolio, while the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee meets at 9 a.m. to look at management of the state's groundwater resources. Full hearing schedules are posted in the Assembly and Senate daily files.

SCHWARZENEGGER: Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will speak at a Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills memorial park service for late fitness guru Jack LaLanne today.

REAGAN TURNS 100: The posthumous birthday bashes for former President and California Gov. Ronald Reagan have begun. The University of Southern California and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation sponsor day one of a two-day Reagan centennial at the school's Los Angeles campus today. Panelists at the symposium include historian Kevin Starr, journalist Tom Brokaw and former Gov. Pete Wilson. Reagan would have turned 100 on Sunday.

CAKE AND CANDLES: Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, turns 58 today.



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