Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

October 19, 2011
Jerry Brown: California economy has 'tremendous dynamism'

SANTA CLARA -- It was only a ribbon-cutting, but in a flagging economy and with statewide unemployment above 12 percent, even a minor victory can get a politician to show up.

The opening of a new research and development center by Dell Inc., Gov. Jerry Brown said in Santa Clara this morning, "exemplifies the tremendous dynamism of the California economy."

The Democratic governor spoke for less than two minutes and didn't stay to mingle. His office issued a release: "Governor Brown Opens New Dell Facility, Welcomes Hundreds of New Jobs to California."

It was not lost on anyone in the audience that Dell is from Texas, where the governor, Rick Perry, boasts frequently about luring companies from California.

Brown didn't mention the Lone Star State.

But he did say, "We continue to be a place of pioneers, of people who have left one place because they want to make something better, and that's the genius of California."

October 19, 2011
Assemblyman Ricardo Lara announces run for state Senate

Democratic Assemblyman Ricardo Lara has made plans to run for a Los Angeles County Senate seat official, setting the stage for a 2012 battle with fellow Assembly Democrat Bonnie Lowenthal.

The Bell Gardens Democrat, who was elected to his first term in the state Assembly last year, plans to pass up another term in the Assembly to seek the newly drawn 33rd Senate District, which includes some communities covered by his current seat.

"We face a record jobless rate with education and health care under constant threat of deeper cuts. These challenges don't stop at some arbitrary district lines," Lara said in a statement announcing his candidacy.

The race will pit Lara against two-term Lowenthal, D-Long Beach. Both Lowenthal and her former husband, Democratic Sen. Alan Lowenthal, have represented areas overlapping with the new district.

The Democratic-leaning, majority Latino district, which stretches inland from the port of Long Beach to the city of Vernon, includes Huntington Park, Bell Gardens and the corruption-plagued city of Bell. Lara's campaign highlighted his work as chair of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee in his campaign announcement, saying he worked to prevent future "Bell-like" scandals from occurring.

Interactive map: See your new California legislative and congressional districts

October 19, 2011
Six-figure GOP donation pumps life into California map fight

Bolstered by a new $400,000 donation from the California Republican Party, officials of a referendum campaign to overturn the state's newly drawn Senate districts say 400,000 voter signatures have been collected and a full-court-press has been launched for more.

"I'm confident that we're going to do it," political strategist David Gilliard, who is running the campaign, said of prospects for gathering the required 504,760 valid voter signatures by Nov. 14 to place the issue before voters next year.

Gilliard said that signature-gathering had slowed temporarily because campaign coffers were draining, but the California Republican Party's six-figure contribution last week cured the problem and "we were able to unleash our people back again."

October 19, 2011
Fallout continues in Kristin Olsen robocall attack on Leland Yee

Fallout continues from a Central Valley assemblywoman's robocalls to San Francisco Republican voters asking them not to elect Democratic Sen. Leland Yee as their next mayor in November.

Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen, R-Modesto, posted a comment on Twitter this week making it clear that she had no regrets about trying to torpedo Yee's campaign, saying, "Sometimes you need to stand up to bullies and hold them accountable to their own words."

Meanwhile, Yee's office Tuesday sent to The Bee an itemized list of his Senate expenditures through Sept. 30 in response to a claim in Olsen's robocall that he had failed to share such information with voters.

October 19, 2011
AM Alert: Jerry Brown visits Dell; Capitol mulls Solyndra fallout

Gov. Jerry Brown goes high tech today as he joins Dell CEO Michael Dell in Santa Clara for a ribbon-cutting ceremony opening the firm's newest research and development center.

Afterward, Dell holds a career fair to recruit hundreds of employees for the center. Nearly 1,500 Dell employees are now based in the Bay Area, according to a news release. The event, which starts at 10:30 a.m., will be webcast on the governor's website at

Back in Sacramento, the fallout from the bankruptcy of the Fremont-based solar firm Solyndra -- which received $25 million in state tax breaks -- comes to the Capitol as lawmakers and others look at whether those tax breaks have had the intended effects of creating jobs and improving the state's environment.


Capitol Alert Staff

Jeremy White Jeremy B. White covers California politics and edits Capitol Alert's mobile Insider Edition. Twitter: @capitolalert

Amy Chance Amy Chance is political editor for The Sacramento Bee. Twitter: @Amy_Chance

Dan Smith Dan Smith is Capitol bureau chief for The Sacramento Bee.

Christopher Cadelago Christopher Cadelago covers California politics and health care. Twitter: @ccadelago

Micaela Massimino Micaela Massimino edits Capitol Alert.

Laurel Rosenhall Laurel Rosenhall covers the Legislature, the lobbying community and higher education. Twitter: @LaurelRosenhall

David Siders David Siders covers the Brown administration. Twitter: @davidsiders

Dan Walters Dan Walters is a columnist for The Sacramento Bee. Twitter: @WaltersBee

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